April 20th, 2009 |

Celebrate: Earth Day 2009

April 22, 2009 marks the 39th Earth Day celebration.  Celebrate by planning a day of activities that will encourage your children to learn about planting and recycling, followed by an alfresco dinner with friends.

Earth Day Planting (small)

If it’s true that you are what you eat, then you might want to take a look at the food you are picking up at the grocery store.  The average meal travels roughly 1500 miles before it’s consumed – why not try to plant and eat organic food from your very own garden?!  It’s not only better for you, but it’s better for the earth.

Invite the neighborhood kids over to help you plant a vegetable garden.  It’s a great way to get everyone together and to teach kids how they can make a difference.  Have your garden mapped out before the kids get there – separate the kids into groups, and assign them a vegetable to plant.  Check out these great chalkboard stakes at Crate & Barrel – they are perfect for identifying what’s what!

Send the kids home with a plant of their own to nurture – you can plant them in small terracotta pots or a wooden box.

Earth Day Recycle (small)

Earth Day is a great time to teach kids about the importance of recycling.  Reuse.  Reduce.  Recycle.  Talk to your kids about why it’s important to recycle – that making new things from recycled ones takes less money, less energy and less of the Earth’s resources.  Talk to them about how they can make a difference, and help you to recycle at home.

After a day of activities with your kids, invite your friends over for a nature-inspired dinner alfresco.

Earth Day Dinner (small)

Set your table using eco-friendly linens (which you can find plenty of these days!) and use bamboo or cork serving dishes.  Use natural elements such as birch candle holders, twigs and plants as your centerpiece.  Try bringing in some other garden elements to your table – such as attaching a butterfly on to your placecard or favor box.

Menu ideas for Earth Day may include creating only foods you do not need to use energy for. This is a great way to remember the importance of the day. You can barbeque, create pasta salads, and make vegetable platters with home made dips….ranch dip with sour cream, french onion dip, bean dip are all popular.

Have all of your guests, young and old, leave their mark in your newly planted vegetable garden.  Have each one write their name on a rock and place it into your new garden.  It will be a wonderful reminder of good friends and a great day!

Images:

Recycle Images (via inmagine.com)

Dinner Images: girl (inmagine.com), table setting (rebeccathuss.com), butterfly napkin (estiloweddings.com)

April 17th, 2009 |

Spring Flowers with an Edible Twist

Incorporate Spring’s fresh vegetables into your next centerpiece….here are easy-to-follow instructions from Epicurious on how to create a spectacular floral arrangement:
Veggie Centerpiece 1 (small)

Step 1: Gather your materials

Materials needed:2 cube glass vases, one large (6″) and one small (4″); 1 small square  of floral clay; 4″-square flower frog; 5 floral stakes; 2 bunches peonies (approximately 10 stems) in two shades of pink; 1 bunch of lilacs; 1 bunch of miniature kale; 2 bunches of thin asparagus; 5 baby artichokes; 2′ pink and green ribbon

Equipment needed: cutting board; pruning shears; scissors; ruler; awl; chef’s knife; double-sided tape

Step 2: Place the floral clay in the center of the larger vase and the smaller vase on top of the clay. Asparagus stalks should be cut to approximately 5″ before being placed in between the two vases. Use a pick or skewer to scoot them closer together. Add water to the outer vase so all stalks are covered by at least 1″.
Veggie Centerpiece 2 (small)

Step 3: The flower frog—a heavy piece of lead with small spikes that sits at the bottom of the vase and holds the flowers in place—should be placed inside the smaller vase.

Step 4: Cut off the stems of the artichokes. Push floral stakes deep into artichoke centers so their weight will be fully supported. If the artichokes are very hard, make an initial hole using the awl.

Step 5: Fill the smaller vase halfway with water (2″). Cut peonies, lilacs, and kale to 8″ to 10″ and slot them randomly into the flower frog so they stay in place—longer stems should be in the middle so they stick up, shorter stems on the sides so they curl under.
Veggie Centerpiece 3 (small)

Step 6: Artichoke stakes should be cut to 9″ or 10½” and inserted so they sit higher than the flowers. The arrangement should look very full.

Step 7: Choose a ribbon that pulls together the colors used. Attach double-sided tape to the back on both sides and wrap around the square vase, ensuring it is centered before affixing.

April 15th, 2009 |

Modern Light

modern-tealights-elledecor

I love these exquisite hand blown glass tealight holders, designed by Marie Olofsson for Sagaform.  This unique Swedish designed votive will add a warm glow to any room or outdoor table setting.  The simple, modern design is made from two pieces of glass.  Lift the top, place in a votive candle, cover and it gives the illusion that the candle is floating in water.   Available in two sizes, and three lustrous color combinations…..these would be a beautiful accessory to any table!

Available at Open Room Furniture (image via pointclickhome.com)

April 14th, 2009 |

Napkin of the Week: Tied with a Flower

zinnia-napkin-nwat

I love, love, love this week’s Napkin of the Week.  Found in one of my favorite party planning books, Napkins with a Twist, this napkin would bring springtime cheer to any table.  You could really adapt this idea to any color palette or use different types of flowers.  I think this particular combination is so striking because of the use of one color, just different hues.

Solid color napkins are readily available – I found a few at Pottery Barn and Amazon.com.  The construction of this is simple – simply lay the napkin out in a flat square, pinch the center of the napkin and pull up.  Gather together about 3 inches down from the top of the point, and tie with a ribbon.  After you tie your bow, insert a flower.  Voila!

April 9th, 2009 |

New Tabletop from Jonathan Adler

I was so excited to get an e-mail from Jonathan Adler this morning announcing their new line of melamine plates.

ja-2

Plates, bowls and trays are offered in two patterns and colors – and are priced incredibly well.  Perfect for your summer backyard parties – this fresh-looking collection is sure to make paper plates a thing of the past!

ja-1

April 9th, 2009 |

COLOR: Sassy Sherbet

color-intro1

For my first post on COLOR, I decided to use a piece of Trina Turk for Schumacher fabric.  This new Collection is launching this Spring – and makes me dream of decorating a fabulous vacation home in Palm Beach!  Can’t you just picture the bold, vibrant colors….the clean, modern, white furniture….the pool in the backyard where I could host FABULOUS pool parties?!  Sorry….I’m getting distracted!  Back to the post….

Gorgeous shades of melon, pink and sunshine yellow – you can feel the energy come out of this color palette!

POY Color Palette (small)

I think these colors lend themselves to a cheery brunch – birthday, Mother’s Day, or just a friendly get together.  Use these colors as your guide to create a cohesive, vibrant party.

POY Party (small)

Joyous bursts of color above your table creates an instant celebration.

These dahlia-like pom-poms appear to float in the air; in reality they are hung from the ceiling with clear fishing wire. See Martha Stewart for instructions on how to make these darling pom-poms.  You can either carry the pom-pom theme throughout the table by making pom-pom napkin rings in citrus shades to adorn each place setting…..or you could simply tie a brightly colored napkin with a patterned ribbon.

These sherbet colors can easily be incorporated into your food – a lovely pink lemonade, a salad full of citrus fruits, and cupcakes adorned with flowers for dessert.  Looking for a cute favor for your guests to bring home with them?  I love this idea of planting small, bright colored pots with either herbs or flowers.  Dress the pot up with a ribbon and their name….and it will be a darling reminder of your Sassy Sherbet party!

Images: chairs (marthastewartweddings.com), fabric (trina turk for schumacher),

orange napkins, citrus colored pots (hostessblog.com),

flower cupcakes (theworkingdapur via flickr.com)

April 8th, 2009 |

Easy Way To Embellish Your Table

If you are looking to spice up your table, try these festive placecards.  Blumebud offers these darling placecard + bud vase in a variety of colors and patterns. What an easy way to embellish your table in a flash….great for those last minute dinner parties!

blumebud-placecards

Images via Blumebud and Hostess with the Mostess

April 8th, 2009 |

Flowers + Fruit = Stunning Spring Centerpiece

spring-centerpiece-ws

A simple idea from Williams Sonoma: using multicolored winter citrus fruits and the first blossoms of spring is all it takes to make an inventive centerpiece. You can reproduce it throughout the year with the hard fruits and flowers of other seasons.

Choose a wide, low, clear glass vase or container, so that the arrangement will be stable and will allow guests to see one another across the table.

Insert one type of flower; the largest variety first and a single stem at a time, pushing the stems between the fruits to firmly anchor them.

Fill the vase two-thirds full with a variety of citrus fruits, such as oranges, lemons, limes and kumquats. Add water to come halfway up the sides of the vase.

Add two or three other types of flowers in the same way at random intervals to round out the arrangement, creating a pleasing shape and a balance of color.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma, Entertaining, by George Dolese.

April 7th, 2009 |

Napkin of the Week: Hop to it

Bunny Face Napkin (small)

I thought I would give you one more bunny-inspired napkin before Easter is upon us…..

This happy-faced bunny napkin is sure to be a charming companion to your Easter-theme party.  You need napkins, jelly beans, and licorice strings – these come together quickly (you know how fast bunnies multiple!) so they are great for a party.

Instructions

1. Begin with the napkin full open, laid out as a diamond.  Fold up the lower point 3 or 4 inches and crease the fold with your fingers along the bottom.  The thinner your band, the longer your bunny’s ears will be.

2. Fold the folded edge up 3 or 4 inches and crease the fold with your fingers along the bottom.  Basically, you are “rolling” the napkin.  Continue until you get to be about 3 inches from the top.  Press.

3. Fold the right side of the napkin band up along the right side of the triangle (the top 3 inches you left) so that it overlaps the bottom layer by about 4 inches.

4. Repeat with the left side of the band, pointing it the opposite direction.  Press.

5. Flip the napkin over and there is your bunny face.

6. Decorate as you like!  Licorice strings are great for the mouth and whiskers – as they are easy to cut and shape.  Try using jelly beans for the eyes and nose.

Hop to it napkin via Napkins with a Twist

April 3rd, 2009 |

Garden Party Favor Idea

garden-party-favor

Perfect as a favor for your Garden Party, these Matchstick Garden booklets from Romp are a modern herb garden just waiting to grow!  Packaged in a darling packet, these tiny cardboard stakes are packed with herb seeds.  Plant the stakes in a pot with a little dirt, add some sun and a little love…and you will have your own herb garden before you know it!

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