Posts by chris:
Happy Father’s Day in the warm California sun! If your looking for a tasty, last-minute Father’s Day Dessert, try a Beer Float for the Dads of the day. This weather is perfect for a cool dessert after a BBQ dinner.
1. Put some mugs or or pint glasses in the freezer asap!
2. Add a scoop or two of real Vanilla ice cream, or experiment with a coffee ice cream. As to not over power the subtleties of the beer, avoid ice creams with “fructose” corn syryp, and splurge on Haagen Dazs or Clover natural ice cream (also available in organic).
3. Pour up a Chocolate Stout, like Rouge Ales’ or Young’s Double Chocolate Stout (which is actually a little more cocoa than chocolate). If you can find it, Ommegan’s Chocolate Indulgence would be perfect. Tilt the glass to minimized the foam bubbling over. And don’t forget to pick up Root Beer for the kids’ version!
4. Add some chocolate sprinkles if you like. Then sit back and enjoy what you have left of the weekend!
We hosted a Country Kitchen themed party for my daughter and husband’s birthdays this past weekend. We love to cook AND eat as a family, so I thought it would be the perfect theme. Warm colors of orange and red, lots of flowers and comfort food helped make this party cozy and inviting – plus we had to move it indoors at the last minute! Thankfully My friend Zhuomei took some beautiful pictures.
We served lemonade in a Pottery Barn mason jar drink dispenser and used mason jars I borrowed from Stephanie as glasses. I designed the invitation myself with classic woodcut type. The red and orange Gerbera daisies and pale yellow mini carnations from my good friend Marie at Whole Food looked great in left-over mason jars.
All the kids wore orange aprons from Linen Products by Chefskin on Amazon.com
For the menu we served Pulled Pork Sliders (from pork we oven roasted the night before) with award-winning, full-flavor, mild BBQ sauce by Sonoma Ranches, my Quick-Chili, fruit salad, coleslaw, hot dogs, cucumber-corn salad and a friend’s secret-recipe Asiago pasta salad.
For Quick-Chili: sautee a Pasilla chili and 1/2 red onion in olive oil. Add 1 can each Pinto, Kidney and Black beans. Add 2 cans stewed tomatoes, 1 can tomato sauce. Slice 1 package of Saag’s Louisiana Milds, lightly heat in skillet, add to chili and bring up to a boil, stirring occasionally. Keep on Low until serving.
The awesome dutch-oven shaped cake was made by Occasional Cakes in Sonoma, complete with flames at the bottom and pasta spilling out of the lid.
I made Jello-jiggler favors in mason jars to look like jam. I designed a matching tag and tied it together with jute twine. Red patterned table cloths from Paula Deen pulled the room together.
I decorated with vintage tins and served my favorite-wine-of-the-moment (and not just because of where I work, I promise!) – Project Paso Red Wine Blend – for the grown-ups, and Trader Joe’s reduced sugar juice boxes for the kids.
Chris @ Graphic Bungalow
I was invited to a double Bridal shower to welcome two cousins’ brides into the family, both with a last name beginning with “P.” We picked Two “P’s” in a Pod as the theme, as it is a shower for two, a play on their last names and the grooms have the same birthday. A theme, usually reserved for a twin-baby shower, I was excited to make this a more elegant party.
Pea Pesto with Crostini by Giata De Laurentiis from Everyday Italian
Several great flower bouquet ideas from gardener Susan Keating
in an article in Country Living
Cupakes from my favorite baker, Christina at Occasional Cakes
Love this place setting put together by Head of the Table rentals
Congrats to the “P’s” – Chris
Inspired by Sunset Magazine’s article 11 Great Ways with Roasted Chicken, I created my own quick roasted chicken recipe – 3 ingredients and 5 minutes hand-on time. This chicken is really flavorful, but not spicy. And enough for 2-3 nights of dinners.
1 whole chicken. Have it quartered by the butcher, backbone removed.
Kitchens of India paste for Butter Chicken, available on Amazon.com
1 cup dry white wine +/-
Heat oven to about 375 degrees.
Place chicken in a dutch oven roaster and rub the curry all over the chicken, both sides, tucking a little underneath the skin on each piece.
Pour the wine into the bottom of the pan. Cover and put in the oven for about an hour. (You can adjust the temperature to a lower heat and cook longer or vise versa.) Check to make sure liquid is not absorbed once or twice. When done, chicken should easily pull off. Turn oven off, keep the chicken in the oven and keep lid on, letting rest for about 30 minutes, locking in moisture.
Serve this chicken with Basmati rice and sauteed greens or make a quick chicken soup with sauteed onions and carrots, peas, wide egg noodles and chicken broth. Also pour up the rest of that bottle of wine!
Cheers! – Chris
I love designing for people I know and love. My husband’s cousin is getting married, so here is a sneak-peak at the invitation and some ideas for the upcoming wedding. The happy couple had chosen to go with warm grey – simple and elegant.
Bridal Bouquet is from Elizabeth Anne
Table cloth, glassware and place settings are from Horchow
“Pretty Please” and “Spirit of Paris” collections
Cake with silver ribbon and white dots is from Ryke’s Bakery
Boutonniere with dusty miller, silver berry and feathers are from Holly Chapple Flowers
Chris at Graphic Bungalow
Hope you all had a wonderful Mother’s day! What were the best gifts you received or the best gift you gave? Here are a few of my favorites.
FOR THE COFFEE OR TEA DRINKER
Take it to go
REI coffee mug, I love having a mug that I can throw in my bag when I’m finished with my coffee.
FOR THE AVID READER – Go for the classics
Out of Print Clothing has a great selection of Classic book covers, or go for the real thing from Abebooks.com
Abe Books rare book room has some great finds as well as great prices on the latest reads on those days you feel like unplugging and picking up a paperback.
FOR THE GARDNER
skip the cut flowers and pick something with a little more heratige
Select plants that you won’t find in your average produce section, like heirloom peppers, beans and tomatoes. If you can’t find what you are looking for a the local nursery try Seed Savers pepper and tomato transplants.
FOR THE PERSON WHO HAS EVERYTHING
Bring the person you love, a person they love. We put our heads (and our pocket books) together and surprised my mother-in-law with a visit from her eldest granddaughter. This visit was long over due and made it a Mother’s Week to remember!
Of course, as part of my Mother’s Day gift, I did have steal my niece away one day for an afternoon of champagne tasting at my favorite spot.
I was asked to design an invitation for my cousin who is hosting a Luau for her daughter’s birthday. She looked on several websites for an invitation, but could not find one that she liked. Most luau style invitations she found were geared towards adults or toddlers. My approach was to create an invitation that was fresh and young in bright, youthful, tropical colors – focusing on her favorite color pink. For inspiration I checked out my favorite Hawaiian surf company Honolua. Here are a few of the remaining invitation designs.
Design 1 is simple with four Plumeria flowers floating on a brightly colored sea of pink.
Design 2 is bright hibiscus flowers contrasted with hand drawn type and turquoise swirls.
Design 3 I used graphic or stylized hibiscus on a clean, simple layout.
Design 4 is a classic retro-style hula girl, with a bold pink boarder.
I’d love to know – Which Luau style invitation would suit your Tiny Wahine?
Aloha! – Chris at Graphic Bunglow
The celebratory tradition of a toast transverses virtually all backgrounds and cultures.
My husband and I hosted a small brunch at our house this Sunday. We made Mimosas – always brunch favorite. When make a toast, we not only express the jubilant spirit of the season, but can do it in a way that includes everyone. Our small family gatherings include several diverse beliefs – Atheists, devout Catholics and Pagans and so I have especially come to enjoy our holiday toasts, when we all take a moment together, raise our glasses and pause to acknowledge this special occasion – for which ever reason we find it special!
The fun stuff – Mimosas!
Champagne, Sparkling Wine, Prosecco or Cava, select around a $10-12 bottle. You want something that you won’t feel bad about mixing, but something that is still tasty enough for those who prefer to for go the juice and just sip the bubbly. Skip the Brut and try a Blanc de Noirs or something of a similar style. The slightly less tart profile mixes better with the acidic orange juice.
For the juice, when you can go for fresh squeezed orange juice. Fresh juice has more flavor than juice from the carton, so you may want to use a smaller amount. We are fortunate enough to have two orange trees, loaded with sweet fruit and used this occasion to break out our juicer. Also try juice blends like Santa Cruz Organic orange-mango or orange-pineapple, for a slight twist.
For the presentation, a rimmed metal tray is an excellent choice. It makes for easy clean-up and prevents soaked table cloths if your bubbly happens to bubble over!
I really enjoyed designing the invitation for our backyard S’mores Party. Yum!
The sun is shining, and my family and I are starting to plan our camping trips for the summer. It reminded me of our S’mores Party we had at the end of the season last year. This was a simple yet fun party. We had a bonfire in the back yard, bundled up, roasted marshmallows and drank hot chocolate. My favorite s’more was definitely the Nutella-banana s’more! Check out a similar recipe at Sunset Magazine
This will definitely become an annual tradition at our house. A desert-only party made for easy prep and clean-up, and fun for the whole family.
Chris at Graphic Bungalow
2. Flowers in season, Daffodils $10 for 6 bouquets at Whole Foods
3. Stationary store for a card, lime green cake plates and green ribbon for glassware
4. Gourmet Cookie favors by Dancing Deer Baking Co.
5. As a graphic designer by day, I quickly created personalized tags and printed them out on cardstock, attaching them to the treat bags.
Deanna loved it! She was “so happy” and really enjoyed her birthday celebration.