September 22nd, 2010 |

Parties by WH Hostess: Wine Tasting

 

To kick our vacation off in style, my husband and I decided to host a small wine tasting party the Thursday before we departed.  I absolutely love this time of year – so why not celebrate with a “celebrate the harvest” themed wine tasting party?!

I used our layered damask invitation from WH Hostess – love the pattern and I L-O-V-E-D the rich color palette it created for the party – teal, peacock, mustard and chocolate brown.  {I might also mention that these colors work perfectly in my home!}  I focused all of my energy into creating one simple, yet stunning table.  I used a chocolate brown velvet fabric that had a tonal, embossed animal print texture to create a tablecloth, and combined my vintage-looking silver candlesticks with rustic elements such as a wheat bunch and twig balls as decor.  I also filled votive candle holders with coffee beans, which provided a lovely aroma once lit!

I separated my drinks and my appetizers onto two separate serving vessels….this helped to keep my table looking organized and stylized.  The drinks were served on a mahogany wood tray – I showcased a bottle of each of the three wines we were serving, as well as the glasses.  My favorite detail of the night were these layered damask gift tags that I turned into wine tags and tied around each bottle.  On them, I printed the name and origin of each wine, as well as a little description.

I kept my appetizers simple, and served them all on my wine barrel lazy susan {my favorite souvenir from our trip to Napa last fall}.  We served three different cheeses {which I made cupcake-like-toppers for that also stated the name, origin and brief description}, prosciutto-wrapped asparagus, bruschetta, champagne grapes, walnuts, and Parmesan-crusted bread sticks.  I added coordinating food tent cards for each appetizer for a splash of color and identification.

Towards the end of the party, I cleared away the lazy susan, and replaced it with a small candy display.  Using a couple small vases and bowls, and candy jar tags from WH Hostess, I was able to make a sweet little display. {that color coordinated, of course!}  I used teal-colored jordan almonds, licorice, and candy sticks.  Surprised that I was able to find candy in this somewhat unusual, and sophisticated color?  Candy Warehouse – it’s my one-stop shop for color-specific candy!

All in all, it was a lovely evening and a VERY simple party to throw!  The layered damask invitation was the perfect inspiration for this Fall party….it could also work for a birthday party, Thanksgiving dinner, bridal shower or rehearsal dinner.

 

September 5th, 2010 |

Parties by WH Hostess: Sweet Sixteen

 

I have a real treat for you today!  Actually….today and tomorrow!  I was contacted by a local customer to design the paper goods for her daughter’s sweet sixteen party, as well as help her plan and style a dessert table.  She fell in love with our purse invitation and we created the decor for the party around it.  My best friend joined in on the “purse” love and threw a party for her 6 year old daughter with the same theme!  Both of these parties happened within a week of one another, so I was able to use some of the same ideas – but I think you will truly love seeing the outcomes of both!

One of my goals with WH Hostess is to design invitations that inspire party themes.   But there are times in life when you don’t want a “princess party” or a “fire truck party” or even everybody’s favorite “modern train party“…..sometimes you just want something sweet and unique.  In this case, the party was a sweet sixteen….so we had to find a nice balance of sweet and sophisticated.  The purse invitation seemed to fit the bill perfectly!

The party took place at a local salon, where Susie’s mom had arranged for the girls to get manicures (since it was the day before school started!) and have lunch.  Since I had a small private room to work with space-wise, I focused on a few key visual elements: simple centerpieces, a lemonade drink bar,  and a fabulous pink, yellow and orange dessert table.  I was able to drape fabric on the walls to create a more appealing backdrop.  A pink and white polka dot pattern was used on the walls, and a yellow seersucker was used on all of the tables.  The centerpieces were simple pink bouquets, but looked modern in a yellow vase ($4.99 at IKEA!).

 

I planned a lemonade drink bar for the young ladies, with different flavors of lemonade being served in glass juice bottles.  I up’d the sophistication level by using melamine wine glasses that were embellished with little purse tags and ribbon, and darling striped paper straws.  The wine glasses were a simple touch, but made the girls feel oh, so grown up!

 

The dessert table was definitely the highlight of the party!  Done in one of my favorite color palettes, pink, yellow and orange – the table just POPPED! and looked so festive and inviting.  I used apothecary jars and vases from Pottery Barn and Crate & Barrel for most of the candy.  I ordered the candy in bulk from Candy Warehouse, including lemon pillows, pink salt water taffy, HUGE pink lollipops, lemon candy sticks, gumballs, and lemonheads.  (PS – I love shopping for dessert tables on their site – all I have to do is plug in my color palette and I’m good to go!)  One of my favorite design elements for this table is the tiered rock candy in the tall jar – I just love how the pink, yellow and orange looked striped together!  WH Hostess created all of the candy jar labels, signs and cupcake toppers.

Speaking of cupcake toppers….how cute are those cupcakes!  Yellow and white striped cupcake liners from Bake It Pretty added a touch of pattern, and this beautiful pink cake stand from Rosanna was the perfect “girly” addition to the table.  In order to add a splash of color, I lined the inside of the stand with lemonheads, and then placed the cupcakes atop them.  Totally cute!  These darling cookies stole the show!  I worked with Two Sugar Babies to create custom fondant toppers to place on basic sugar cookies.  She did an amazing job re-creating the purse design from our invitation.

 

The ladies loved filling up their candy boxes to bring home!  Much to their surprise, Susie and her mother also presented each girl with a white box full of beauty supplies (nail polish, files, lip gloss) to start the new school year with – the boxes were perfect for holding small goods, and we jazzed them up a bit with a cute sticker.

This party turned out so cute and I believe the concept would also make a charming bridal shower!  Come on back tomorrow to see how my best friend and I translated this sweet sixteen theme into a darling party for her 6 year old!

September 1st, 2010 |

Fall Entertaining: The Excitement Builds

Don’t get me wrong, I love summer entertaining…especially the simplicity of it, the casualness, and the availability of outdoor space.  BUT….there is nothing more exciting to me than the idea of Fall coming.  I love everything about it!  The crisp, cool air, the cozy, cableknit sweaters, the rich colors, and the delicious food!  That being said, I felt September 1st was the perfect time to start throwing around ideas for entertaining this fall season.

Today, I am dreaming of ideas on how to smoothly transition my dinner parties from summer to fall.  The first things that come to mind:

  • Filling your home with baskets of bounty – apples, artichokes – things that look natural but still add color.
  • Change out your hurricanes so they reflect the season.  Leaves, acorns, moss – all make great additions to your candlelight.
  • Set your table with richer tones – browns, oranges, mustards, teal.  Try tying a leaf to you napkin to help bring the outdoors in.
  • Food!  Start adding some richer elements to your menu.  On my list for this week?!  Baked risotto with grilled asparagus and fried zucchini sticks!

Images: dinner party invitation (weddingpaperdivas.com), fall buffet (eramanagement.com), fall hurricanes (potterybarn.com), napkin (flickr.com)

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August 30th, 2010 |

Halloween!

Due to {very} popular demand, WH Hostess just put our very first Halloween collection up in the shop!  Check it out!

You will find all tools you need to look like one SPOOK-tacular mom or hostess this Halloween…..whether you want us to print your goods or prefer to print them yourselves, Halloween has never been easier or more stylish!

August 20th, 2010 |

Heavenly Blooms Tablesetting

After writing this blog for over a year and a half, it is safe to say that I have seen a million beautiful table settings.  Because I am surrounded by such beauty, it takes a lot to REALLY wow me.  This fabulous, stunning, crazy-inventive table setting and hanging decor (which you know is my latest obsession!) literally took my breath away.

A combination of talents pulled together this stunning photo shoot – the inspiration was a modern Coco Chanel/Parisian influenced  bridal shower. With a color palette was a soft, blush pink with accents of crisp white and black. Chandra of Oh Lovely Day and Jaclyne of Heavenly Blooms dreamed up this shoot with the help of  Jasmine Star and Amanda with In the Now Weddings.

Head over to Jacylne’s post on Heavenly Blooms for more amazing eye candy – trust me, there are a million more details yet to be discovered.  And P.S. – I would LOVE to be invited to this bridal shower – and can’t wait to try my hand at these hanging carnation garlands!

August 9th, 2010 |

Real Parties: Vintage Chic Bridal Shower

Jenna of Eat Drink Pretty blog sent me a darling bridal shower she recently hosted for her best friend Kristin who is getting married in September.  The shower theme was vintage/garden and I just fell in love with all of the chic little details….


A few details from Jenna herself:

  • Gorgeous flowers, lots of lace, a perfect backyard venue, good food and drinks and a lot of fun guests and hosts brought this shower to life!
  • Using different color ribbon, I hung bud vases from the side of the tent.
  • I found cute yellow floral fabric at JoAnn Fabrics and created bunting.  I took many shortcuts making this bunting.  There was no sewing involved (I don’t own a sewing machine and though I may seem somewhat crafty, I have no idea how to sew).  Instead, I cut penants and then used fabric glue to adhere them to a pretty lace ribbon.  It was so simple and I loved the results.  Materials needed: fabric, scissors, ribbon and fabric glue.
  • The flowers were from one of the bridesmaids mom’s house.  They really helped bring the “garden” vibe to the shower given the flowers were truly from a garden and we had tons and tons of them.  The flowers were placed in mason jars and then some were tied with lace ribbon.
  • We used a tea pot and some dainty tea cups/saucers as decor.  Delicate, simple and lovely.
  • We had a brunch cocktail table set up with build-your-own mimosas, bellinis and bloody mary’s.  If you haven’t noticed already, I am a huge fan of alcoholic beverages at showers!
  • I used a free download for the drink tags via Eat Drink Chic.  I absolutely love finding free downloads for party stationery!
  • Kristin chose her favorite cupcakes from Cafe Latte in St. Paul for dessert, chocolate with vanilla buttercream.  I embellished them with an edible pansy from one of my favorite Mpls Farmers’ Market vendors, Dehn’s Garden.
  • Mini chalkboards were used to label the dessert and menu

Gorgeous details, right?!  I especially love the hanging bud vases (they fit right into my hanging decoration obsession!)  I think you could pull inspiration from this for a baby shower, birthday party or luncheon, too!

July 28th, 2010 |

Floating Candles

I am absolutely in love with this gorgeous centerpiece I saw from a recent wedding featured on Style Me Pretty!  It’s such a simple and inexpensive idea – gather a series of glass vases and hurricanes, fill with water, and place a floating candle in each of them.  Clustered together the glow makes a huge impact!  This could be a lovely centerpiece for a buffet table, a holiday party or bridal shower.

Image via Style Me Pretty

July 26th, 2010 |

Tropical Dinner Party

Hot, summer nights have me dreaming of tropical vacations!  The next best thing?  A tropical dinner party, of course!

I love the idea of creating a sophisticated version of the traditional luau theme – bright, floral linens with modern, orchid centerpieces, tropical cocktails served in martini glasses, and an outdoor location decorated with the modern-day tiki torch – the lantern!

Head on back tomorrow to see our vision for a kid’s tropical luau party!

Images: invitation (paperculture.com), centerpiece (weddingchannel.com), drinks (gemmacomas.com), table setting (instyleweddings.com), paper umbrella placecards (bethhelmstetter.com), picnic (brightideas.com)

July 23rd, 2010 |

Dinner Alfresco

I’ve been drooling over this outdoor room from Pottery Barn all summer – it’s the perfect inspiration for an outdoor entertaining space, and would make the perfect location for an alfresco dinner party!  Pop ruby red and canary yellow against the black and white patterns in accents such as napkins, cocktails or a floral centerpiece.  Delicious and pretty!

Images: outdoor room (potterybarn.com), tart sampler (horchow.com), hurricanes (midwestliving.com), placecard (whhostess.com), tomato stack appetizer (cookinglight.com), centerpiece (theknot.com), drink dispenser (potterybarn.com)

 

Fresh Party Invitations from Minted

July 21st, 2010 |

Summer Decor

We’ve been having quite the heat wave here in Chicago this summer!  The heat has me craving decor that SCREAMS summer, and now that the fourth of july and my birthday are over, my house needs a little summer update to get me thru until fall.

I’ve scoured the web for ideas, and here are a few that stood out to me that are perfect for making my home party-ready all summer long:

  • Use sand dollars as placecards at your next dinner party.  Simply write your guest’s name on the top and place it atop their napkin.
  • Fill hurricanes or large cylinder vases with sand.  You can add in some sea shells or starfish to add more of a beach look to it.  These would be great clustered together on your table, or place large vessels on the floor.
  • I keep fresh flowers in the house at all times.  They make me happy!  I love, love, love all white flowers – so this table setting just spoke to me!
  • I love the idea of a miniature pie as a party favor for each one of your guests.  Such a darling, homespun idea….perfect for a summer bbq!
  • Create a hanging votive candle chandelier to hang over your patio table.  This one was made out of simple, hardware store purchases – a pizza pan, chain links and a hook!  Simply cover it with moss, add a few candles and voila!  An inexpensive yet stylish update.
  • It’s always good to have a couple hostess gifts on hand for those last minute invitations.  These sea shell soaps from Beau-Coup are perfect!  They also make a lovely party favor for a summer bridal shower or birthday party.
  • Lemonade.  This is my summer drink of choice and I simply can’t get enough!  I love the idea of bottling it in juice bottles and gifting it to my guests at my next dinner party!
  • Adding starfish to your decor adds a beach-y feeling that I just love!  Tie a name card onto them and they serve as a fabulous placecard.
  • Lanterns add a twinkle to your yard – whether they are big or small.  Repeat, repeat, repeat!  Trust me, they will add a festive feel to your home and yard!

Those are my finds for updating my home’s summer decor…..what are yours?

Images: sand dollar placecards, starfish placecards, mason jar lanterns (theknot.com), hurricanes (midwestliving.com), pie tablesetting (stylemepretty.com), hanging votive chandelier(goodhousekeeping.com), sea shell soaps (beau-coup.com), lemonade (eatdrinkchic.com)

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