A Little of This & That… Renovating, Decorating, DIY Projects & Family
A Little of This & That… Renovating, Decorating, DIY Projects & Family

2nd Trimester Maternity Dresses, Part 2

I am almost half way through this pregnancy at 18 weeks (isn’t that crazy??) and I’ve been searching out second trimester non-maternity (the flowy, casual type) summer dresses to help with this growing bump. We were in exceptionally warm summer weather this past weekend up in Sedona, Arizona with family and it was one more reminder of how valuable a great cotton, slip-on dress can be (pregnant or not).

Six more dresses that I’m eyeing right now:

2nd Trimester Summer Dresses | PepperDesignBlog.com

Easy V-Neck Knit Dress by Garnet Hill | $29 from $58
Draped Jersey Shift Dress by KAMALIKULTURE at Nordstrom | $92
Daria Tunic Dress by Soft Joie | $188
Lou & Grey Striped Chambray Dress by Loft | $69
Tiered Dress by H&M | $12 from $25
Basic Pocket Swing Dress by ASOS | $48

Test driving: I ended up ordering #1 in blue and black and LOVE how they fit (especially around the chest, which can get a little tricky with maternity). I also fell for #4 (waited for a promotional code) and really dig the chambray. Loft is surprisingly awesome right now.

Part 1 to this post, more maternity style ideas, and all of the style boards featured on this site. Happy Monday!

Happy Friday! And a Fun Shoutout for Flipping the Block

Flipping the Block

Have you guys had a chance to check out Flipping the Block on HGTV? Our friends, Curtis and Amanda (from here in San Diego) are one of the four teams in the competition! It’s been great fun to watch their creative style as they compete in crazy competitions (two bathrooms in six days? a kitchen in less than a week?). Be sure to check it out on Sunday nights. Curtis grew up in Phoenix with Kevin’s brothers and became a Navy seal in San Diego before joining the show. Now he and Kevin work together frequently and he really is the nicest, friendliest guy. The girls adore him. Fun fact: HGTV actually did a little filming at our house to prep for the airing of the show (Kev may have a teeny cameo in an episode coming up on the competitors’ hometowns) and I was dying the whole time that the HGTV crew was in our home (it was one of those ‘come on in to my unusually clean and recently remodeled kitchen so I can pour you a glass of lemonade, dear producer. PS here’s what the room looked like before!’ moments. Ha!).

We are checking out a little early this week to spend some time with family in Sedona on a mini vacation. That beautiful red rock! The sound of the creek at night! Looking forward to some family time and especially to a little rest and relaxation.

Happy weekend!!

PS we actually created a submission video to try out for the show on a complete whim in the spring – on deadline day – at the urging of HGTV who found us through the blog. We had no idea Amanda and Curtis were also applying – it was so awesome to hear their experience! We had a 4-month-old T at the time (who makes a little appearance in our very awkward home video), now watching the show there’s NO way competitors could have had babies around! This is a little embarrassing, but you can see our audition video here ☺.

Flower & Bumblebee Sugar Cookies – The Icing (Part 2)

Good Eats: Flower & Bumblebee Sugar Cookies with Royal Icing | PepperDesignBlog.com

On to the icing! Happy mid-week and happy day! If you didn’t catch part one for these little flower cookies, you can jump back here for an intro and dough overview.

Good Eats: Flower & Bumblebee Sugar Cookies with Royal Icing | PepperDesignBlog.com

I’m just starting to experiment with royal icing, so for one of my first recipe batches (also used on the sunflowers featured here), I used an ever-so-modified version of Jennifer’s from SeaKettle at a friend’s suggestion.

Powdered Sugar Icing

2 cups sifted powdered sugar
2 T butter, softened
1/4 t vanilla
3+ T milk

Other items used for these cookies: flower cookie cutters, yellow nonpareils (that’s fancy speak for round sprinkles)

In a mixing bowl beat butter and vanilla until fluffy. Slowly add sifted powdered sugar 1/2 cup at a time. Finish the icing by pouring the milk one tablespoon at a time into bowl, mixing until smooth.

I found that the key to royal icing is to have two different icing consistencies – a slightly thicker icing for piping, a smoother icing for ‘flooding’. I started by making the somewhat thicker icing in all white using the above recipe, and then divided my batch between small bowls.

Good Eats: Flower & Bumblebee Sugar Cookies with Royal Icing | PepperDesignBlog.com

To those small bowls I added different amounts of food coloring:

Good Eats: Flower & Bumblebee Sugar Cookies with Royal Icing | PepperDesignBlog.com

I piped the outside shape of my cookies using the various colors and a plastic bag + metal piping tip.

Good Eats: Flower & Bumblebee Sugar Cookies with Royal Icing | PepperDesignBlog.com

Here’s a picture of what that combination looks like:

Good Eats: Flower & Bumblebee Sugar Cookies with Royal Icing | PepperDesignBlog.com

That’s an everyday plastic sandwich baggie with the corner cut off (just a small snip) and a standard piping tip that can be purchased from the grocery store.

I also piped a small circle in the center of the cookie – these barriers will be what keeps my ‘flooded’ icing in place. Repeat for each color and all cookies (convenient if you have multiple tips, but just as easy to wash between uses).

Good Eats: Flower & Bumblebee Sugar Cookies with Royal Icing | PepperDesignBlog.com

Once the icing has had a chance to set (perhaps 15-20 minutes), now comes the fun part – flooding!

I experimented with watering down my current little bowls of icing with water and with milk and found that I preferred the water. To create a thinner icing, simply add a tablespoon of water to your current icing and mix with a spoon by hand. You may need to continue to add water until the icing coats and drips off of the spoon easily.

See? I told you I was fairly fresh at this (ignore the imperfections):

Good Eats: Flower & Bumblebee Sugar Cookies with Royal Icing | PepperDesignBlog.com

It’s amazing at how not precise you can be with flooding. Simply glop teaspoons of icing between piped edges and allow the icing to fill in. Use a toothpick or the back of a spoon to help nudge along if needed (but you probably won’t).

I’m not too worried about the center of the flowers because next up is covering those in a yellow icing and LOTS of sprinkles.

Good Eats: Flower & Bumblebee Sugar Cookies with Royal Icing | PepperDesignBlog.com

Bring on the sprinkles! I love how they cover the center and then a good chunk of the flower as well. I used a plastic sandwich bag again as my piping bag and filled it to the brim with yellow icing (you could use store bought lemon icing to make it easy, or mix up another batch of powdered sugar icing) and ice in a circular shape to fill the center of the flower. I omitted the piping tip and just used the snipped corner of the bag as my control – this part doesn’t have to be as precise. Use the back of a spoon to help spread if needed.

Shake generously with yellow nonpareils!

Good Eats: Flower & Bumblebee Sugar Cookies with Royal Icing | PepperDesignBlog.com

And enjoy :).

Good Eats: Flower & Bumblebee Sugar Cookies with Royal Icing | PepperDesignBlog.com

I wish I could claim the little sugar bees as my own but they were a craft store find but my co-hostess and added later at the party to match the rest of the decor. Though they may be my favorite part of the full flower!

Good Eats: Flower & Bumblebee Sugar Cookies with Royal Icing | PepperDesignBlog.com

There you have it. And now possibly a favorite sugar cookie of mine (though looking at these photos I’m dying to do this project over again and better). Don’t forget to start over here for a great sugar cookie dough recipe. Have a bee-autiful day.

PS more dessert recipes right here. More party ideas chronicled right here.

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