garden party dinner celebration majolica pitcher flowers tablesetting
Garden Party Dinner Celebration Honoring Sallie Holder

An outdoor garden party and dinner is a beautiful way to celebrate a special occasion! Cheri Leavy, co-founder of The Southern C, took this candlelight garden party to the next level with all of the details and delicious food! I was honored to be a part of it!

garden party dinner celebration sallie holder flowers in vase on table

This dinner party was in honor of Sallie Holder, who is a dynamic lady that I have been fortunate to get to know through The Southern C. Sallie is a special person with a way of connecting the dots between your innate skills and your goals. As Cheri says, she helps you take flight like a butterfly.

garden party table setting with chavari chairs

Images of butterflies were used throughout the party details and added a perfect and thoughtful touch. Thankfully, Danielle Hulsey was there to photograph the party to share all of the fun of the night. She captured the night beautifully…

garden party celebrating sallie holder long table

Cheri was thoughtful to include fellow TSC members in every aspect of setting the table- from the plates by R. Wood to the napkins by Lisa Ellis. Flowers were sourced locally from Three Porch Farms.

garden-party-dinner-celebration-sallie-holder-butterfly on chair

Butterflies were placed in discreet places around the party table- from the occasional butterfly on a chair to each glass having an edible butterfly perched on the rim.

garden party dinner celebrating sallie holder with butterfly decorations and flowers

And, the place settings were topped off with butterfly place cards handwritten with each guest’s name~ you can see them below on top of the napkins…

garden-party-dinner-celebration-napkin-place-card-favor

Butterflies in all colors were scattered down the center of the table to continue the vibe. What a gorgeous way to incorporate a thread of a detail- it feels both subtle and straightforward at the same time.

garden party dinner celebration majolica pitcher with flowers

Cheri even decorated her bike with flowers and butterflies. It adds a sense of whimsy and light-hearted fun and makes for a great conversation piece and photo opportunity!

garden party dinner celebration with bicycle and flower basket

The guests arrived before sunset and we were able to enjoy the lovely weather and gorgeous view of the table that had been so perfectly prepared.

garden party butterfly dinner celebration wine

Cheri has wonderful helpers that were there to help keep the party running smoothly. Maggie Jordan and Becca Gemes were so attentive and helpful. Don’t you love their matching lavender aprons? Another TSC member, Libbie Summers, designed these classic and stylish aprons. The aprons offer a polished and cohesive look which I love!

garden party dinner hosts cheri becca maggie
garden party dinner celebration long table being set by helper
garden party dinner celebration becca the wouthern c

Below is the hostess and the guest of honor! Cheri and Sallie had a second to take it all in before everyone was seated around the fabulous table.

garden party dinner party honoring sallie with cheri hosting

While Becca and Maggie (and Cheri’s husband, Vance) were taking care of all of the finishing touches, we were all invited inside for cocktails and appetizers.

garden party dinner celebration appetizer charcuterie grazing board

It was such a nice way to have a chance to chat with everyone and to catch up with those that we don’t get to see often enough.

garden party dinner celebration amanda eldridge lydia menzies sallie holder
garden party dinner celebration guests lisa kitty jenny
garden party dinner charcuterie board gather
garden party dinner celebration guests lacy apryl
garden party guests with cheri leavy
garden party dinner celebration appetizers

As the sun set and the candles were lit, Cheri and Vance were ready to serve a fabulous dinner catered by Peter Dale of The National.

garden party dinner celebration cheri leavy

I can honestly tell you, it doesn’t get much better than being served dinner prepared by Peter Dale! 🙂 The meal was served family style and added to the warmth and family-feel of the group gathered around the table.

garden party dinner celebration candlelight

There was lots of chatter and lots of laughter around the table. Cheri is an impeccable hostess who knows how to create a community of sharing and interacting.

garden party night dinner celebration candlelight

Cheri so kindly honored Sallie Holder for her talents and time (Sallie spent the day offering classes on business building) and then took the time to have each of us connect around the table.

garden party dinner celebration sallie holder table dog

It was such a beautiful party filled with meaning and motivation- so reflective of the host and the guest of honor!

garden party dinner celebration guests at table with candlelight

The delicious meal was capped off with a stunning cake created by a local Athenian, Emilee Hain of Keelime Culinary. Cheri entrusted me with this part of the night, and I was honored to be in charge of dessert! 🙂

garden party dinner celebration cake with flowers and butterflies

Emilee is an incredible chef and baker and has made many cakes for me. I ordered caramel cake with a lavender buttercream frosting, and I am pretty sure we all would have happily had seconds and thirds!

garden party flower and butterfly cake

It was delicious! Emilee covered the cake in food-safe flowers, and I added butterflies flitting around it.

garden party dinner celebration dessert lavender cake with flowers

The photo below sums up the feel of the entire night. Cheers to a beautiful gathering full of thoughtfulness, creativity, delight, and warmth. It was a perfect way to celebrate a special moment!

garden party dinner celebration toast with wine

I am grateful to be a part of The Southern C and a friend of Sallie Holder. I highly recommend both and I am always happy to chat further if you have questions for me about either!

Cheers xo,

Lydia

supper club soup containers by loralee lewis
Winter Supper Club ~ Our Very First One

The idea for our very first Supper Club came to us soon after we moved into our new house. We moved in to our home on Dec. 23 and still had so much to do to get it like we wanted it. We let our wish to be in by Christmas override the fact that not everything was “complete”. But, all of the essentials were in place…and so we moved in with about 2 months of work left to do. Because we still had so much to finish, we only moved in our necessary furniture and waited to bring in the rest. That meant our house was a little bit empty! 🙂 Empty rooms made me think that it would be a great time to have a party! And so, our Supper Club was born…

supper club winter theme for teens decorated cookies

By this time, it was the beginning of January. My daughter and I decided a winter theme would be appropriate and pretty easy to pull together. We also knew we wanted to serve something warm and that we would not be able to make the food ourselves because our range had not even arrived. 🙂 I tell you that so that you know that I fully believe in not stressing about everything being absolutely perfect before you host parties.

supper club soup containers by loralee lewis

We put a temporary stove in our kitchen until ours came in, and so I ordered 2 types of soup from Zoe’s and platters of sandwiches from Chicken Salad Chick. The soups we chose were Chicken and Orzo and Tomato Basil. For the sandwiches, we chose 3 varieties. I kept the soup warm on the stove, and then we transferred it to the customized containers from Loralee Lewis. We had around 20 girls for Supper Club, and so having paper plates and soup containers worked well for it. Loralee designed dinner plates and dessert plates to coordinate with the soup containers that I requested.

supper club soup containers from loralee lewis

If you look really closely, you can see Loralee’s special touch…notice how she put the words to the song “What a Wonderful World” in a circle on the inside portion of the plate. She thinks of everything. Just for fun, Loralee also included labels for the cups that read, “Just Sippin’ Pretty with my Girls”.

supper club drink cup labels sippin pretty

Next, we decided on how to decorate to make the party feel wintry but welcoming. Because we had not moved our dining room table in yet, I set up folding tables in our vacant dining room. I rented gold Chavari chairs for seating and used my white tablecloths to cover the tables.

supper club table with white balloon garland centerpiece

For table centerpieces, we made white balloon garlands and then added fairy lights through the garland.

supper club tablesetting in white with gold chavari chairs

I loved having the balloon garlands with lights- it gave off just enough pretty light and had a perfect glow to it. You could also add different colored lights for a different effect.

supper club table setting with white balloon garland and lights

We also added balloon garlands around the fireplace and doors. The best part about the decorations was that the girls came over early to help! Some came over the day before Supper Club and some came a couple of hours before- it was the biggest help and made it all even more fun!

supper club girls helping decorate the fireplace

I had this vision of lighting clear balls with battery lights and hanging them inside of the fireplace to mimic the feel of a fire. The girls went right to work on it and made it look so cute and pretty. We added a furry rug in front of the fireplace so that they could sit if they wanted (remember we had not moved in all of our furniture). It was a great spot for them to take photos and to just hang out.

supper club fireplace with clear ornaments with lights and balloon garland
supper-club-fireplace with lights and ornaments

For dessert, we served winter-themed cookies. Macarons from Mac Lab were so cute! I custom-ordered snowmen faces on them, and we loved how they turned out! We also had hot chocolate to go with the cookies.

supper club winter snowman macarons

I also ordered cookies from Bambella Cookies that coordinated with the paper designs by Loralee. The cookies were so pretty and perfect that it made it hard to eat them.

supper club decorated cookies with mittens

I asked one of the girls to help me display the macarons on a plate of sprinkles, and this is how she did it- isn’t that so pretty and creative? I love the unique way that she placed them on the platter!

supper club snowman macarons in triangle
supper club snowman macarons on plates

The timeframe for each Supper Club is an hour and a half. I like to schedule them for 6:30-8:00. Occasionally we adjust that time, but it has proven to be a convenient time for most everyone. We host them as often as possible, and we typically host about 6 times during the school year.

supper club girls at dinner table

We have tried different ways of arranging the seating- sometimes the girls draw numbers and sit at the table that matches that number. One time we had place cards at each seat…that was everyone’s least favorite seating arrangement. 🙂

supper club girls at dinner table together

The photo below makes me laugh that we had a ladder in the background! We definitely didn’t let a little construction stop us from getting everyone together and having fun!

supper club girls at table 3

I like to have an activity for the girls or something unique at each Supper Club. For this first one, we had a white mug for everyone and made Sharpie mugs. The idea was to make their own hot chocolate mug to be able to keep and enjoy at home. I found most of the white mugs at Target…

supper club shelves with white mugs

I had a large supply of Sharpie Paint Pens and the girls could create their own designs. After they finished, I saved them to put in the oven and let set. I did the oven part of the activity the next day and my daughter delivered them when they were ready. I followed these directions for Sharpie Paint Pen Mugs. These girls have some impressive artistic skills…

supper club sharpie paint pen mugs

We had such a wonderful time at our first Supper Club that it became a tradition to get this group together as often as possible. I have shared more Supper Club parties that we have hosted throughout my blog. Check out the different themes and ideas- and I hope you find one that inspires you to get a group together for a meal and lots of fun!

supper club cookie decorated with a winter mitten

Cheers xo,

Lydia

easy disco ball decorations for new years eve chandelier decoration
Quick & Easy New Year’s Eve Party Ideas
new year's eve party ideas disco ball decorations hanging from chandelier with ribbon

Starting fresh in a new year always feels exciting and worth celebrating, right? There is something special about the end of one moment in time and the immediate beginning of something all new. Although I love a big party, I also love quick and easy ideas to mark a special occasion! Here are some of my favorite quick and easy New Year’s Eve party ideas that I enjoy putting together for my family…

easy disco ball decorations for new years eve chandelier decoration

Set the scene with disco ball ornaments. This is an easy New Year’s Eve party idea that can also be used for other parties (such as dance party ideas and pop-star party ideas) or re-used from year to year. The ornaments shown differ in size and have mirrored glass around them-but sequined versions are lighter and may be easier to find. Either way, they are festive and fun!

easy new years eve party ideas with disco ball chandelier

Group them together for impact and hang them from a chandelier with your choice of ribbon. Simply tie each individual ornament with a measured amount of ribbon so that the disco balls hang where you would like for them to hang (being sure not to go too low and risk being bumped constantly). The color of ribbon can coordinate with your party colors or you can opt for a monochromatic look and hang with silver or white ribbon.

new years eve party ideas disco ball chandelier with ribbon

New Year’s Eve Party Food Ideas

It is always fun to add a little sparkle everywhere on New Year’s Eve, and the drink and food ideas for your party are no exception! 🙂 When you are ready to pour the bubbly for your guests, treat them to a star-shaped cookie decorating the glass…

easy new years eve party ideas star cookie on champagne glass

To keep this New Year’s Eve party idea easy, only decorate the points of the star cookies. This also keeps it from being too sweet with the champagne. I used a sugar cookie recipe from Jenny Cookies, a dot of frosting on each tip, and a pink pearl sprinkle. The small star cookie cutter has been in my collection for awhile and so I don’t remember where I found it. If the sugar cookie is too large for the champagne flute, lay the cookie flat on top of the glass instead. Your guests will still love the thought!

new years eve party ideas star cookies on champagne glasses

If you are like I am and often have kids (or teens) around on New Year’s Eve, remember to have some kid-friendly items to serve as you celebrate the new year. This party idea is a hit throughout the year and works well for birthday parties and celebrations, too! It is so easy but so fun! Buy your favorite mini doughnuts and stack them on a cake stand. Add party hat picks to the doughnuts in random places and you are all ready to serve!

easy new years eve party ideas doughnuts with party hats and disco balls

Another of my favorite party ideas for easy kids’ party food is dipped pretzel rods. We name these “Sparklers” at New Year’s Eve parties- in honor of the only fireworks my parents would let us use as kids! 🙂

easy new years eve party ideas pretzel sparklers

See below for a quick video of how I make them…

I hope these simple, quick New Year’s Eve party ideas are helpful for making your celebrations a little more fun! If you are looking for a few more ideas to add to your list, see this disco party for more!

new year's eve disco ball drinks with blue straws

And, I wish you the best in the coming year!

Cheers xo,

Lydia

milk and cookies party in pink and white at Christmas
Milk and Cookies Party Ideas

A Milk and Cookies Party is one of the easiest and most fun ways to host a party during the holidays! These ideas can be adapted to be a cookie exchange or a “Sweet Shoppe” party- and it is suitable for a range of ages. I am sharing ideas below to help you celebrate the season and to be able to keep it as simple as milk and cookies…or you can always make it as elaborate as you want to make it!

milk and cookies party in pink and white at Christmas
Milk and Cookies Party by Lydia Menzies at The Party Wagon

You could keep this get-together very low-key and simply and literally serve milk and cookies. Let the kids enjoy a game of Holiday Bingo, watch a holiday show or movie, or decorate sugar cookies. If you really want it to be a causal affair, invite your guests to wear their favorite holiday pajamas. I would suggest offering a few savory snack ideas to balance the sweet flavors that you have with the cookies. Serve milk in old-fashioned milk bottles with beautiful labels and paper straws for the prettiest presentation…

milk and cookies party milk bottles decorated for christmas

If you prefer to take the party up a notch, I would suggest preparing for a cookie exchange, setting up a cookie decorating station, and/or maybe even inviting Santa and Mrs. Claus to the party for photos. Encourage your guests to wear festive holiday attire and give everyone a chance to dress up in their Christmas best. Be prepared with aprons for the little ones if they are handling colored icing and candies. Teenage helpers dressed as elves could also add some fun to the get-together!

Whether you decide to go casual or fancy for your party, set the tone for your guests by having a small display of sweets ready when they arrive.

Sweet Shop Sign for milk and cookie holiday party

I especially like the Sweet Holiday paper collection by Loralee Lewis for dressing up the cookie table. The welcome sign has the cutest gingerbread kids depicted along with the gorgeous graphic design and shape. I placed the sign on a plate stand in the center of the table and then displayed beautiful cookies around the sign.

gingerbread decorated sugar cookies

Decorated cookies are always nice to have as a special treat for your guests or for individual party favors. For this party idea, I decided to order sugar cookies decorated as gingerbread men to match the cute gingerbread kids in the paper designs. It would be fun to have gingerbread cookies ready to decorate at the party. This would be the perfect activity for your guests. You could use sugar cookies or gingerbread cookies- whichever you prefer to make (or order). Use cupcake liners, candy cups, or muffin tins to help organize the cookie decorating materials. Roll out a strip of wrapping paper or craft paper to help protect the table and to make clean up easy. Add frosting to piping bags ahead of time- or use zip bags with a small hole snipped at one corner. Your guests will have fun trying their hand at decorating like the pros- and (if they are anything like I am) will have an even bigger appreciation for all cookie decorators! 🙂

milk and cookies gingerbread men on banner and cookies

If you are hosting a cookie exchange party, I think it is a great idea to have some special, decorated cookies for the kids to eat while they trade cookies with each other. For a cookie exchange, invite each guest to bake and bring a few dozen cookies to share. On a large table or kitchen island, set out each set of cookies with the recipe beside the cookies. Be sure to have a bakery box, gable box, or cookie tin available for each guest to fill with a variety of cookies to take home. A cookie exchange is great because it serves as an activity and a party favor, all in one! 🙂 If the party is not too large, you can also offer the recipe for each cookie that was made with the name of the guest who contributed the recipe. This is a fun way to share your favorite family recipes! I always love leaving a party with a new favorite recipe to try (and, as a side note, Loralee’s Sweet Shoppe Collection includes a set of recipe cards that can be used just for this reason). Another little tip…consider having photos with Santa and Mrs. Claus and let the little ones chat with them during the party. A fireside chat and photo opportunity can make for really cute memories! In the past, I have also asked my children’s music teachers if they will play the piano and lead a sing-a-long at parties. This is so much fun for everyone and is a great way to end a party on a literal high note!

sweet shop milk and cookies party display

If you prefer to host a party that includes more than cookies, a Holiday Sweet Shoppe theme is really cute and fun! You can still incorporate many of the ideas above, but add in a variety of treats that you will serve. Just remember that you may want to also serve light sandwiches or finger foods and water for the children to enjoy along with the sweets.

milk and cookies party with cupcakes

A Sweet Shoppe theme opens up the dessert table to a host of ideas. Cupcakes are always a hit and look extra cute with adorable gingerbread boys and girls. I love serving cupcakes with toppers because they are easy to make or buy and look so pretty with a cupcake wrapper and rosette topper. Minimal effort with maximum effect! And, then cookies ordered from Bambella Cookies always fall into that category for me, too! 🙂

milk and cookies party with sweet shop sign
milk and cookies with decorated cookies and glass bottles

Another easy way to add a sweet treat to your Sweet Shoppe party without a lot of fuss, is to order doughnuts and embellish them. I ordered these doughnuts from Dunkin Doughnuts and added wreath icing toppers made by A Party Made Perfect. Place them on a festive plate, add a colorful napkin, and let them shine! Your guests will love these!

milk and cookies and doughnuts with wreaths

Aren’t those so pretty? I love the simplicity of the pink iced doughnut topped with the pretty green royal icing wreath…

pink doughnuts with green icing wreaths
milk and cookies with donuts and royal icing green wreaths
milk and cookies party with sweet shop sign

So, whether you prefer milk and cookies, a cookie exchange, or a full sweet shop idea for a party, you can use these ideas as a guideline for hosting the holiday party that fits best for you and your family! I look forward to sharing some recipes that I could recommend for holiday parties soon. Check back as I add more ways to celebrate the everyday with you! In the meantime, enjoy these Christmas party ideasGingerbread House Party Ideas, Cabin Christmas, Penguin Christmas Party Ideas, and Christmas Craft Party Ideas too!

Also, here is where to find the beautiful Sweet Holiday Collection from Loralee Lewis

To order cookies from Bambella Cookies, you can find Tara here.

To order royal icing wreaths from A Party Made Perfect, you can contact Jennifer here.

bar cart decorated for halloween with cupcakes drinks popcorn candles
Classic Halloween Supper Club for Teens

Halloween party ideas are always some of my favorites to create! As my children have gotten older, it is fun to adapt to their age group and find ways to make parties interesting and age-appropriate for teens. The best lesson I have gained from having a house full of teens is that they just mostly enjoy being together- kind of just like I remember feeling as a teen! Although some things change from being the teen to being the mom of teens, some things really don’t change…like being with people that make you laugh and enjoying a good meal together. I enjoy decorating for the get-togethers, and I love seeing them all together at our Supper Clubs each time we host. For this Supper Club, I kept the decorations classic and traditional, the meal easy by ordering the food, and the desserts simple but fun.

bar cart decorated for halloween with cupcakes drinks popcorn candles

When the girls arrived, we served popcorn in the popcorn boxes you see on the bar cart. It gives them something to munch on while they wait for dinner and helps those who came hungry. And, it is easy for the hostess to serve- especially because the girls are great at helping pop the popcorn and fill the boxes. They always willingly jump in when they arrive and help in the kitchen or where ever they are needed.

glass bottles with Halloween straws and straw flags and monster eye rings on the rim

My friend Loralee Lewis sent me the beautiful Halloween paper collection as a gift, and I was so happy to put it to good use at our Supper Club. All of the details of the paper products dress up the party in the perfect way to me- youthful with a sophisticated twist. The fancy fonts on the straw flags combined with the fun little monster eye rings gave me the chance to combine those two looks to get the feel I was going for. The girls loved the rings and several of them had fun wearing them.

green pitcher with glass bottles decorated with monster eyes and halloween straws

Funny little Halloween signs and sayings were also a perfect touch to add to this get-together…aren’t Loralee Lewis’s designs so pretty?

halloween sign that reads one bite won't kill you in orange and black

I absolutely love the sign that Loralee designed just for the Supper Club- what a great way to add a special touch. It is one that I will save and use again!

We had plates to match and more funny signs to add to the party. “Please check broomsticks, bats, and toads at the door” makes me laugh- Loralee has a great sense of humor that always shines through on her clever sayings. She also added touches of encouragement on each plate which is a bonus to me when hoping to encourage girls to feel confident- and it is subtle and sweet.

I ordered these pottery ghost candles and really loved the look of them- I like grouping them together or spreading them down the center of a table or on a mantle. I use them with battery operated candles but they look so pretty with real candles, too. I just feel a little better knowing the flames aren’t real when having a house full of friends. I added the ribbon on two of the ghost candles but, even without the bows, the ghosts have lots of personality and expression.

halloween-ghost-candles-mollie-jenkins-pottery

Halloween candy boxes shaped like a piece of candy were so pretty and cute, too! I assembled the boxes, added the small candy (Hershey’s Kisses and Starburts), tied the ribbon at both ends and added the sticker to keep the boxes closed at the seam. I put them at the place setting of each girl.

halloween candy box party favors shaped like candy

October in Georgia is usually a beautiful month and mostly mild- we were lucky to have a great night to set up the tables outside. Our garage is black and white, and so my husband and I set up the tables on the driveway in front of the garage. I really wanted to decorate the garage doors with balloons, but I just didn’t have time.

halloween party place setting in orange and black
terra cotta jack o lantern on table
halloween party table setting with boo bucket with green plant inside

I always like to have the food fit the theme in some way–for this Halloween dinner, we decided on crepes from a local food truck called Holy Crepe. They were totally game to go along with my Halloween food fun with my little buffet sign from Loralee…

holy crepe food truck owner cooking at private party

It was really fun to have Holy Crepe set up his on-site crepe cooker (I don’t know what to call it- griddle, maybe?) on our back porch and make the crepes on the spot. He set up his menu sign and the girls could place their orders and watch it being made. They also enjoyed chatting with the owner who is from France- there were lots of questions about France and his experiences there.

menu for holy crepes food truck athens ga
teen girls around the dinner table at a halloween party

We set up 3 tables, but they always end up squeezing everyone around 2 tables- which I love to see. To keep their drinks filled, I rolled the bar cart outside during dinner and set up a serve-yourself drink station. I served iced tea (eyes-tea), L(eye)made, and water on the bar cart.

girls at halloween party sitting around dinner table

For dessert, these ice cream sandwiches were a huge hit! The girls loved the rename and play on words- and dessert doesn’t get any easier than this! 🙂 We also served Brownie Tr(eye)fles as you can see a little further down…

halloween ice cream sandwiches with san witch stickers on them

I put my daughter and a friend in charge of making the Brownie Trifles for the party, and they did such a great job with them! They layered brownies, chocolate pudding, and Cool Whip– and then topped with candy eyes. I put a spoon in each one just before we served them, and they were ready to go! I like having options for dessert, but it usually ends up that they all like them all of it and devour everything pretty quickly. Haha!

Individual servings of brownie trifles with candy eyes and gold spoons

This was definitely one of my favorite Halloween parties- and each Supper Club becomes really fun memories. If you ever have questions about how I host these, please let me know. I hope you are inspired by what you see and read- I would love to see if you do something similar! Comments on my blog were turned off because bots make it almost impossible to keep comments turned on – but feel free to message me if you have questions! Thanks for reading, and have a Happy Halloween! You can find more of my Halloween ideas and favorite parties here, here, and here!

girls at halloween party on front steps of home

Cheers and xo,

Lydia

blue sculpted camera cake with fondant strap with name on it
Celebrate with Cake~ Ideas from “For Heaven Bakes”

If you are looking for cake ideas for a birthday, wedding, graduation, baby shower, or any celebration, then I have the baker for you!! Julie McAllister is the owner of For Heaven Bakes and is such an amazing cake artist. I have always been drawn to all things art, but make it edible (and add in a celebration) and I am doubly all in!!! Julie’s cakes are jaw-dropping and inspiring! Take a look! I feel like “Matt” had to be pretty impressed with this. What do you think?

3 D golf bag cake in blue standing upright with clubs in the bag and green grass below
Cake by Julie McAllister of For Heaven Bakes

It is hard to believe that the golf bag is made of all cake! The pouches and zippers- and those golf clubs- not to mention that it is 3-dimensional and standing up! Julie is cake baker, artist, and apparently a bit of an engineer, too! Here is Julie with the golf bag cake and a pineapple cake that she made…along with look-alike fruit that she created.

Julie McAllister of For Heaven Bakes Bakery with her sculpted golf bag cake
Cakes by Julie McAllister of For Heaven Bakes

I was lucky enough to meet Julie when I was connected with her at The Southern Coterie (The Southern C) Summit and asked her to make my daughter’s birthday cake. It was really hard to decide what to make because Julie is so talented. My daughter decided on a camera because that was her biggest wish for her birthday- a new camera. After having Julie’s version of her camera, I bet my daughter has a new favorite camera! Here is Julie’s camera masterpiece for Camille’s 16th birthday!

blue sculpted camera cake with fondant strap with name on it
Camera Cake by For Heaven Bakes/ Photo by Lydia Menzies

We had a family party to celebrate my daughter’s birthday and this cake was the perfect size. Everyone loved how it had Camille on the camera in place of the brand Canon- and how her name was also on the camera strap. Blue is Camille’s favorite color and so it was fun to add that little twist to her cake.

blue sculpted camera cake with custom name on camera strap with birthday girl in photo

Julie created the back of the cake to be as realistic as the front of the cake! The cake was a show-stopper and was such a fun addition to the day. Even better, the cake and frosting inside were really delicious! Camille requested chocolate cake and chocolate frosting and it was a really great choice! Camille likes fondant, and so she was quite happy that she could have a cake with fondant and buttercream frosting all in one! The details that Julie put onto the camera cake made it hard to believe that there was actual cake inside there!

back of sculpted camera cake in blue
blue camera cake sculpted and decorated in fondant

I am crazy for cakes and so I am excited to share more of For Heaven Bakes cakes with you below. Julie’s talent will blow your mind! I have several favorites, and I would love to hear which ones are your favorites, too!

Look at this Lilly Pulitzer inspired paddle board cake…what a great idea for a Lilly Party! How cute is the fondant beach ball and paddle? The Lilly lobster print is one of my all-time favorite prints- and look how the name resembles the writing of Lilly Pulitzer’s signature that you see on the clothing and merchandise. Allison doesn’t miss a detail!

Lilly pulitzer hand painted lobster print paddle board cake
Lilly Pulitzer Paddle Board Cake by For Heaven Bakes
Lilly Pulitzer paddle board cake with the Lilly Lobster Print pattern and a beach ball and paddle made of fondant

And, then there is this…a “Breakfast in Bed” cake- oh, my goodness! The entire thing is a cake- not just the stack of pancakes…

birthday cake shaped like breakfast on a tray with pancakes eggs fruit and juice
Breakfast Cake by For Heaven Bakes
birthday cake that looks like breakfast served on a tray with eggs fruit and pancakes
Breakfast on a Tray Cake by For Heaven Bakes

It takes a minute for it to sink in that this whole thing is a cake created by For Heaven Bakes. The tray, the eggs, the oranges, the juice glass, the flowers and the stack of pancakes- all made by hand by Allison! I just love it! I am amazed and I wish I had been at the party to see the reaction of the guest of honor!

a cake that looks like breakfast in bed with a stack of pancakes eggs and toast
Pancake Cake by For Heaven Bakes

And, then there’s this little order Allison received to make a cake for Reese Witherspoon’s birthday- I can only imagine how exciting this was to make! The cake is modeled after a handbag that was Reese’s birthday gift from her Draper James family. Allison made it spot-on to look like the actual bag! I think it is gorgeous!

coral colored handbag sculpted cake with draper James tag on it for Reese Witherspoon's birthday
Draper James Handbag Cake by For Heaven Bakes

Fashion accessories seem to be right up Allison’s alley – this cake is made to look like a wide-brimmed sun hat and, well, it does! It looks just like a hat! Notice the detail of each layer that resembles how a straw beach hat would look. And, topped off with a ribbon that literally ties together the look of the hat! For Heaven Bakes wows me!

cake made to look like a straw sunhat with wide brim
Hat Cake by For Heaven Bakes

While we are thinking sandy beaches, look at this Shrimp Boil cake! Allison lives in the low country of South Carolina which is all about a low country boil. This would be a fun birthday or groom’s cake for the guys!

low country boil cake sculpted to look like a pot of seafood corn and potatoes with old bay seasoning and corn on the cob
Low Country Shrimp Boil Cake by For Heaven Bakes

It looks so much like the real thing! It is all cake and fondant. It is like our eyes are playing tricks on us!

low country boil shrimp boil cake with red potatoes and corn on the cob all made of fondant and cake

All of Julie’s cakes deserve to be in glossy magazines- and I am thinking someone needs to sign her to a book deal right away! I could literally post photo after photo of Julie’s cakes. I love each one! I wanted to find out more about the lady behind the incredible talent, and so I asked Julie a few questions to help us know more about her…and at the end I share another of her many amazing cakes!!

You are such a talented baker…what led you to focus on sculpted cakes?

I have been a hobby baker for as long as I can remember, and when I was in grad school, I started to teach myself cake sculpting for fun. I continued to bake and try different types of cake decorating over the years, took catering jobs on the side and even had a part time job at a bakery in DC for a period of time—all in an effort to gain as much experience in as many different types of baking as I could. In trying those different avenues, I learned that I loved novelty cake decorating above and beyond anything else, so when I was ready to start my own business here in Charleston, I knew exactly what I wanted my focus to be.

Do you have favorites that you bake other than cakes? Cookies or cupcakes or family recipes?

Even though I only make sculpted, novelty cakes for my business, I still do traditional baking all the time for myself and my family. I think, because I spend so much time making cakes, that when I have free time I tend to make cookies, bars, pies or pastries, just to give myself some variety! 🙂 I usually try to bake my way through each issue of Bake From Scratch, and then I have some family recipe staples that I can pretty much make from muscle memory at this point, so those are my go-to’s when I just need a quick dessert.

Can you estimate how long it took to make the camera cake?  I think it is important for all of us to understand the time it takes to create! 🙂


Sculpted cakes like these almost always take about 15 hours from absolute start (baking the cakes) to finish (the last decorative detail). This camera cake clocked in at 14 hours.

Do you have a long-term goal for your cake business?


My long-term goals are always evolving for me. I think when it’s all said and done, I’ll feel like I’ve succeeded if I’m creating cake art on a large scale. I have such a passion for novelty cake decorating and genuinely view it as a form of art, and my ultimate goal would be to share this love with others. 🙂

What is the biggest challenge of running For Heaven Bakes?


I think a lot of people who create products tend to create the same product or similar products over and over, until they become an absolute expert at those particular designs. Because these cakes are so unique, I rarely make the same cake twice, so sometimes there is a figure-it-out-as-you-go element, which can make it challenging. But the problem solving element is one of the things I love the most about these cakes.

What is the biggest perk?


Aside from the joy I get from owning my own business, there is never not cake or cake scraps in our house, which to me, is the ultimate job perk!

After having Julie’s cake, I would definitely see that as a job perk! I am so happy to get to share Julie and her work at For Heaven Bakes with all of you! I am already excited to get on her schedule for another cake soon!!

Julie McAllister at For Heaven Bakes Bakery holding a tray of sculpted fruit made of cake and fondant
Julie McAllister of For Heaven Bakes

And, I will leave us all with this little beauty to look at as we end. A mint julep sculpted cake! I would love to plan a party around this cake!! Cheers, y’all!

Kentucky Derby Party cake mint julep sculpted cake by For Heaven Bakes Julie McAllister
Mint Julep Cake by For Heaven Bakes

Cheers and XO,

Lydia