Back to School

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Vintage German Scrapbook Images

Summer hasn't had it's last days but it already feels like yesterday. Fall is crowding my mind with thoughts of things to do in a hurry to prepare my son for school. Tippy top of the list, in front of school clothes shopping and other practical matters, is the need to create a back to school cone or Shultuete. 

A Shultuete is a large decorated cone filled with sweets and treats. It is a German tradition that dates back to 1810. Legend has it that a special tree grows in the yard of each teacher. When a child is born a blossom appears on the teachers tree. As the child grows, the blossom matures to eventually become a cone. When it is a child's time to enter first grade the teacher welcomes the child by plucking the ripe cone from the special tree and presenting it to the new student. It is a right of passage and a charming beginning for children entering the 1st grade. 

In Germany, to this day the tradition continues. The first day of school is a celebration and welcome. The Shultuete either purchased or  prepared by parents are handed out at the end of the day to each new student. The children parade home with the  magnificent cones and then enjoy the goodies. 

I first discovered the idea of the school cone many years ago. Well before my child's "blossom appeared on the teacher's tree". Almost magically all those years have flown by and now the gift fairy whispers: "It is time!" The proverbial cone is ripe and so it is now time for me to craft a school cone for my kindergarden child as he transitions to the first grade. 

If it is your time too, all you need to create a school cone are a pair of scissors, tape, poster board, gift wrap. crepe or tissue, and a ribbon. Glue or tape gift wrap or colored paper to poster board. Roll the board into a cone and tape closed. Cut top to create a neat circle. Glue or tape crepe or tissue to interior of the cone about an inch or two below the top. Fill your cone with school supplies, tiny treasures and treats and then securely close with a ribbon around the tissue or crepe top. Personalize with a name, embellish with stars or stickers to create a memorable back to school gift.

by Amy Tevelthuis 
Welcome children, I'm glad you're here. 
We're all going to have a wonderful year! 
We'll draw and we'll write, 
We'll sing and we'll play, 
We'll paint and we'll build, 
And learn new things each day!

From Shultuete and the First Day of School Pdf  here .

Vintage scrapbook images soon available at Bon Fortune Party Shop.

National S'mores Week

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Yeah, I know. Martha, Martha, Martha. But you have to admit., the stars on the sticks are brilliant. 
If you are soaking up the last fair eves of summer and celebrating under the stars by a campfire then it is prerequisite to have along marshmallows, grahams, and chocolate for S'mores. National S'mores Day was August 10th but since it landed on Wednesday and you may not be able to get out to celebrate until the weekend I extended it (unofficially) to National S'mores Week. 

About S'mores. Who came up with this idea anyhow? It is not clearly documented. From what I gather, the first printed recipe appeared in a Girl Scout booklet in 1927 and was titled "Some Mores" . My guess is that it is no coincidence that the Moon Pie, invented in 1919, likely influenced the homemade camp style version of the chocolate, graham crackers and marshmallow layer treat. 

For more on the history of the Moon Pie click here. 

A couple of S'more tips ala Martha 

1) Soak the sticks 
2) Plan ahead and bring chocolate dipped grahams. 
3) Make your own marshmallows click here for a recipe.

No, Bon Fortune will not carry Moon Pies. But we do love em along with their very close relative the S'more. 

Happy camping! 

Divine Petit Fours

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

What is a petit four? A petit four is a term, rather than a recipe, for a small fancy cake, biscuit, or sweet. The baby of the cake family is of French origin. Petit four literally means a small oven, and relates to the method of baking little cakes and biscuits a petit four, or in a low temperature oven. So, really there is no precise original recipe. There are many variations and most do not require the baking of the icing in low temp as was once the method for producing the hardened , glossy finish. What we think of today as a petit four involves fondant. Preferably, poured. 

My friend Christine made poured fondant petit fours for me once. She also hosts sit down dinners for 30 and designs fabulous kitchens. No problem. 

I am not sure how ambitious you are in the kitchen but if you really want to challenge yourself to create something truly divine, here you go. 

The video below is a lovely and simplistic overview of the process. It will trick you into thinking you can make these.

For the recipe or just more eye candy go to Sprinkle Bakes. 

Bon Fortune will help you out with all the decorative flourishes, the confection cups, and maybe a pretty display plate. The rest is entirely up to you. My recommendation is to find a friend like Christine, buy her all the goodies and let her make them for you. Or, visit a patisserie with a little France.