September 22nd, 2009 |

Napkin of the Week: Vegetable Embellishment

Radish Napkin

One of the easiest ways to dress up your place setting is to add a simple embellishment to your napin – such as a vegetable!  A bunch of radishes tied with twine offer a pop of color, an apple with a tag stuck in it serves as a place card, the possibilities are endless….just take a spin thru the produce section of your local grocery store or farmer’s market for inspiration.

Image via Inmagine.com

September 15th, 2009 |

Pancake Brunch

pancake brunch

We don’t talk about Brunch enough around here, in my opinion!  Brunch is a great form of entertaining.  It’s an easy, one course meal, typically pretty casual, and it’s held in the morning – so your guests come, they eat, and then you all go about your day!

Welcome Fall with a casual brunch with friends.  Set a table full of autumnal colors and seasonal accents.  Start with beautiful runner, layer on woven charger plates, and finish with your everyday white dishes.  To add a decorative touch to your place setting, fold your napkin into a “pocket” and insert a mini bottle of maple syrup.  Finish by writing your guests names on a silk leaf.  It’s a festive placecard and party favor for your guests to bring home!

To create a simple, yet Fall-like centerpiece like the one pictured above, take a low bowl and place a large pillar candle in the center.  Fill in the space around the candle with seasonal fruits or nuts.  Fill a variety of small bowls with different nuts, small fruits and berries to place around the main centerpiece.

Everyone has their favorite pancake recipe.  But if you are looking for something new, try making mini filled-pancakes.  Williams Sonoma has a bunch of great recipes, and they sell the pancake pan too!  Offer a couple of side dishes, such as maple-glazed bacon, and ham and egg breakfast tarts.  Add in some mimosas…..and you have the perfect brunch!

Images: place setting (matthewmeadstyle.com), dining room (potterybarn.com), centerpiece (bhg.com)

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September 7th, 2009 |

Celebrate The Harvest: Wine & Cheese Party

wine and cheese party

Fall is the perfect time to host a wine and cheese party.  It’s about that time to bring your entertaining back indoors, so why not invite friends over to cozy up with a fire, some fabulous wines, and create a cheese assortment that any die-hard fan would fall in love with?!

For this type of party, presentation is key and it is just as important as your wine and cheese selection.  Think of presenting your cheeses in the same thoughtful manner as you would set a beautiful table.  Thoughtful, decorative, with a cohesive look and feel.  Get creative with your serving pieces…..use slabs of slate, a wood lazy susan, or even an upside down wine barrel.  Try to limit your cheeses to 3 per serving dish, and add in a few accompaniments such as grapes, walnuts, fresh figs, and prosciutto.    You should also place a basket with sliced bread, crackers and bread sticks near the cheese selection.

Let’s talk supplies…..I already mentioned slate cheese plates, and wood lazy susans.  If you are going to be serving a variety of cheeses, definitely invest in cheese tags (it looks charming, and makes it easier for your guests to know what they are tasting!).  Small appetizer plates, and cocktail napkins are key.  I found these beautiful wine label appetizer plates that would be just perfect (click here)!  Don’t forget to have extra wine glasses on hand, if you will be offering your guests different wines to try.  This isn’t the time to pull out the crystal….so if you throw a lot of parties, invest in an inexpensive set of wine glasses.  You can buy them from IKEA or Amazon, and I bet you find that you will use them time and time again.

Cheers!

Images: invitation (tinyprints.com), centerpiece (stylemepretty.com), dipping oil (brides.com), cheese plates (napastyle.com), wine (potterybarn.com)

September 3rd, 2009 |

Napkin of the Week: Peacock Feathers

Peacock Napkins

Add a touch of drama to your fall table setting by using peacock feathers.  The rich, jewel tone colors are perfectly in line with the Fall fashion trends and the feather adds a touch of luxe to any decoration.

I found some great peacock feathers at amazon.com – loose feathers to stick in your napkin rings like the picture above, a peacock feather wreath (perfect for your front door….even better, use it flat on a table as a centerpiece!  Fill the inside of the circle up with floating candles in cylinder vases….oohh….love that idea!), and tall peacock feather sprays that would be stunning in an elaborate wedding centerpiece.

I can’t wait to try out this trend….what are you going to do with peacock feathers this Fall?!

Image via nancyluichin.com

August 31st, 2009 |

End Of The Summer Birthday Bash

summer birthday bash

Looking to plan an end of the summer birthday bash?!  A casual neighborhood gathering to say goodbye to Summer, and hello to Fall?!  Gather friends for a casual party decorated with bright colors, lots of patterns, and some delicious summer appetizers.

Set the mood for this colorful party with this invitation from Minted….I love the colors and the bohemian chic feel to it.  Decorate your space with brightly colored flowers, serving dishes, and patterned linens.  Now….on to the important part…the food!

Serve a buffet of appetizers, including these delicious summer favorites:

And don’t forget a signature cocktail……something fruity and fun….try a pineapple greyhound!

Images: drink table (simplystated.com), napkins (heatherbaileystore.com), invitation (minted.com)

August 27th, 2009 |

Bridal Shower: Apple Green!

 

Hot pink and candy apple green are two of my favorite colors….especially when paired together!  Move this bright color palette into a Fall party with the use of apples.  Perfect for a bridal shower, or a special birthday party!

Invite your guests with this mod/preppy invitation from Minted.  It sets the tone for a sophisticated party that will have your guests talking for weeks!  Start your decorations at the front door by creating a moss-covered initial (or you could spell out a name if you hang them on a wall) – it’s a more modern look than a traditional wreath.  You can find the letters at your local craft store, and order the moss in bulk on-line.  A little hot-glue-gun-action, a beautiful hot pink ribbon – and you have yourself a stunning decoration.

Create a simple centerpiece by using different sized glass cylinder vases grouped together.  Stack green apples in one, and float a stem of hot pink orchids in the others.  I found some great pink and green party supplies that would be perfect for this party:  green or hot pink lacquered placecard holders, floral print melamine plates, a green lacquer serving tray, and pink and green plastic wine glasses.  You all know I am a fan of a beautiful, creative napkin….I L-O-V-E this idea!  Fold your napkin like a fortune teller, and place a round card inside that states a question for your to ask the bride during lunch.  Some examples are, “where are you going for your honeymoon?”, “how did your fiance propose?”…you get the idea!

Serve a buffet of food for lunch, featuring a bunch of green salads (throw a few strawberries into the salads for a pop of pink!), some small tea sandwiches, and festive cupcakes for dessert.  Do you have a cupcake stand?  If you invest in a basic white stand, you can decorate it to match each party.  This one would be darling with hot pink and green ribbon along the edges.  Create signage for your buffet by attaching a placecard on a stick, and inserting it into the top of an apple.  It’s cute, affordable, and it carries the apple theme thru the whole party.

Don’t forget to serve a signature drink.  If you are looking for a pink cocktail, check out the Hostessblog.com for great recipes!  This party is fun, and preppy with a touch of modern flair….perfect for the style-conscious bride!

 

Images: hanging moss initial, orchid and apple centerpieces, and apple placecard (weddingchannel.com), invitation (minted.com), cupcakes (simplysweetsaz.blogspot.com), pink cocktail (hostessblog.com), fortune teller napkin (brides.com), green and pink lacquer placecard holders (plumparty.com), floral melamine plate, green tray, green and pink wine glasses (amazon.com)

August 25th, 2009 |

Tomato Fest Dinner Party

tomato fest dinner party

Food-wise, late summer may be my F-A-V-O-R-I-T-E time of the year! Why, you ask?! Tomato season.

In honor of this magnificent time of the year, host your own tomato fest dinner party. Using a color palette of bright reds, yellows and greens, set your table using what else?! Tomatoes as your centerpiece! Stack bowls on top of bowls, piles of them on top of cake plates, mix different colored tomatoes (and maybe throw in a few leaves here and there)….colorful, theme-oriented and you can eat them after the party! :)

Try to incorporate tomatoes into each dish you serve at your party…..and if you are looking for suggestions:

tomato fest recipes

1) Grilled Tomatoes with a Basil Vinaigrette 2) Chilled Tomato Soup with Avocado Salsa 3) Spicy Fried Noodles with Tomatoes and Cabbage 4) Adobo Flank Steak with Corn-Tomato Relish 5) Sun-Dried Tomato Jam 6) Bread Salad with Tomatoes and Lemon Cucumbers 7) Spicy Bloody Mary 8) Tomato Tart

Images: tomato centerpiece (bhg.com), little girl (ba-reps.com), napkin (realsimple.com), tomatoes (inmagine.com)

August 15th, 2009 |

Cocktail Party: Mad Men Premiere

Made Men Cocktail Party (small)

With the long awaited premiere of Mad Men’s season 3  upon us this weekend, channel your inner Betty Draper and host a 1960′s inspired cocktail party.  Bon Appetit has a menu full of classic drinks, and post-modern appetizers that are perfect for the occasion:

Images: food (bonappetit.com)

August 14th, 2009 |

Dinner Party: Straight Off The Grill

dinner party grill

We love entertaining at home, so I am always looking for new recipes and creative ways to set my table.  I think this dinner party invitation from Minted sets the tone for a casual, yet polished evening.  Setting the table is easy for me during the late summer months.  Sunflowers are in bloom and they are my favorite!  They just scream festive to me!  Tie the sunflowers idea into your placecards too.  You can create this festive, colorful place setting by simply using a sunflower stamp on a basic white placecard.  I think the napkin fold is really pretty…..see below for the instructions (click on the image for a bigger view).

sunflower napkin roll

Now, in terms of food…..I love dishes that are simple, yet full of flavor and style!  These grilled mushroom kabobs look delicious to me!  I found this recipe on Cully’s Kitchen.  I’m a sucker for barbecue chicken…and this recipe for grilled chicken with white barbecue sauce has been calling my name for a while now.  Perfect for a summer dinner party!  Now for dessert….it’s summer, so fruit must be involved!  Try to mix it up a little by trying something new like a goat cheese and fruit tart.  Not only does it sound delicious, but look at it!  Any guest would be oh, so impressed!

goat cheese and fruit tart

What are some of your favorite dinner party ideas?  Have a recipe to share….have a table setting idea….leave a comment and share your ideas with us!

Images: invitation (minted.com), sunflower centerpiece (inmagine.com), napkin roll (via Napkins with a Twist), table setting (horchow.com)

August 12th, 2009 |

Housewarming Party: Home Sweet Home

housewarming party home sweet home

My husband and I are moving into our very first home next week….so I have moving, decorating, and housewarming parties on the brain lately! A housewarming party is a great way not only to show off your new home, but also a chance to gather your friends and get decorating ideas!

I have found some fabulous new home stationery out there that I just had to share with you……

Houswarming Invite 1

I love the simplicity and warmth of this invitation from Minted….it would be perfect for a Fall gathering!

Houswarming Invite 2

This lawnmower announcement from Minted would be so cute for a family moving into the suburbs, right?!

Houswarming Invite 3

“We’ve planted new roots” – a charming, yet playful announcement from Tiny Prints.

Houswarming Invite 4

This is the announement I chose for us from Tiny Prints….I love how it pictures the perfect little neighborhood.

Houswarming Invite 5

Simple and sophisticated, this announcement from Wedding Paper Divas would be perfect for a house or apartment!

Images: dining room, wine, cheese (potterybarn.com), lattice housewarming invitation (minted.com), potted hydrangeas (customeventgroup.com)

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