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 7th, 2009 |

The Great Easter Egg Hunt of 2009

Hippity, hoppity, the great Easter egg hunt of 2009 is on its way!

I remember our neighborhood Easter egg hunt as a child as being one of the highlights of our year!  Tons of kids, dressed in their Easter dresses and hats, impatiently holding their baskets and quietly planning their strategies. In a matter of seconds, all you’ll you would see were scampering feet as every pastel egg in the vicinity was plucked from its carefully chosen nest.  Eggs full of candy, pennies and small toys – oh, it was so much fun!

Easter Egg Hunt (small)

An Easter egg hunt is a great way to host a casual get-together with your neighbors (who you probably haven’t seen as much this cold winter).  Here are a few ideas to get you inspired:

Decorations

Most would imagine the Easter Bunny’s home to be in a big, beautiful, whimsical garden. With a little creativity, your backyard can live up to the expectations of the little ones when you create a colorful wonderland of fun.

  • Plant giant flowers in the yard for an incredible “wow” effect! You can buy gorgeous nylon flowers to decorate your party or make large tissue paper flowers.

Eggs

  • Allot at least five to ten eggs per child. A few weeks in advance, you can begin filling the eggs. with small treats (one per egg), such as fuzzy chicks, temporary tattoos, stickers, small toys, pennies or bulk candy.  Looking to buy your plastic eggs in bulk?!  Check out Oriental Trading for all of your supplies.
  • Create three areas in your yard: one for kids ages three and under, one for ages four to six, and one for ages seven and older. This way, young children can find eggs without being mowed down, while their older siblings get a greater challenge.

Easter Egg Treats (small)

Treats

  • Don’t forget to have some treats for your guests!  Finger food such as Easter cookies or cupcakes would be perfect….and put out some tubs of juice boxes for the kids (they are going to need something refreshing after running around looking for eggs!).

Games

To extend the length of your party (because the egg hunt will be over before you know it!), try a couple of games to keep the kids entertained.

  • Egg Toss – Have kids choose a partner and line them up in two lines, standing across from their partner.  You know how the game goes from here – have them toss their egg back and forth, each toss taking another step away from their partner, until the egg breaks!
  • Egg & Spoon Relay Race – For the older kids, separate kids into even number teams.  Each team stands in single file behind the starting line and opposite their respective flags, set in the ground about 5 yards away. At the whistle, the first player in each line, balancing an egg on a spoon, races around his team’s flag, then back to transfer the egg onto a spoon held by the next teammate. The recipient races to the flag, and the first runner hands his spoon to the third person.  The race continues until one team finishes the course. Anyone who drops an egg must run to the starting line for another before resuming.

Images: Easter baskets (potterybarnkids.com), sign (countryliving.com), jelly beans and chocolate eggs (williams-sonoma.com), bunny cupcake (flickr.com), butterflies (landofnod.com),Easter dresses (boden.com), plastic eggs (orientaltrading.com)

April 6th, 2009 |

Weekday Lunch with the Girls

weekday-lunch-intro

A weekday lunch with the girls.  I’m thinking something light….

Scallops with Asparagus

Ingredients

  • 1 lb medium asparagus
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 lb large sea scallops, tough ligament removed from side of each if attached
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup dry white wine
  • 2 teaspoons white-wine vinegar
  • 1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter, cut into tablespoon pieces

Directions

Trim asparagus, then cut stems into 1/4-inch-thick diagonal slices, leaving tips whole.

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a 12-inch heavy nonstick skillet over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking, then sauté asparagus, stirring occasionally, until just tender, 5 to 6 minutes. Transfer with a slotted spoon to a plate, reserving skillet off heat (do not clean).

Pat scallops dry and sprinkle with pepper and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Add 1 tablespoon oil to skillet and heat over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking, then sauté half of scallops, turning over once, until browned and just cooked through, 4 to 6 minutes total. Transfer scallops with tongs to another plate as cooked.

Wipe out skillet with paper towels, then add remaining tablespoon oil and heat until hot but not smoking. Sauté remaining scallops, turning over once, until browned and cooked through, 4 to 6 minutes total, transferring to plate. (Do not wipe out skillet after second batch.)

Carefully add wine and vinegar to skillet (mixture may spatter) and boil, scraping up brown bits, until liquid is reduced to about 2 tablespoons, about 1 minute. Add any scallop juices accumulated on plate and bring to a simmer.

Reduce heat to low and whisk in butter, 1 tablespoon at a time, until incorporated.

Add asparagus and remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and cook until heated through, about 1 minute.

Serve scallops topped with asparagus and sauce.  Recipe via Epicurious.

weekday-lunch-food-small

A couple of compliments for our Scallops with Asparagus: to drink, Campari & Soda and for dessert,  Strawberry Genoise with Whipped Cream!

Images: peonies (styleathome.com), campari & soda drink, strawberry genoise (williams-sonoma.com),

scallops with asparagus (epicurious.com)

April 5th, 2009 |

Easter Egg Decorating Party

Get creative with your eggs by hosting an Easter Egg Decorating Party!

The supplies are simple – dozens of eggs, bowls of dye, and maybe some things to add creative designs to your eggs, such as rubberbands, stickers and white crayons.  Set the dying station up in the kitchen (maybe use a plastic tablecloth for that table!) and have your dinner table set up in the other room.

Use bowls of same-colored eggs as your centerpiece – one of pink, blue, green and yellow.  Festive and modern – springy and bright!  Keep your dinner simple, as most of your time will be spent on dying the eggs!

Easter Egg Party 2 (small)

Images: egg decorating pictures (flickr.com), table setting (parents.com)

April 3rd, 2009 |

A Garden Party

Garden Party Invitation (small)

Now that Spring has Sprung, it’s time to start thinking about entertaining outside.  Hosting a party in a garden setting is one of the easiest to do in terms of decor….you have nature right at your finger tips.

A Garden Party theme is great for a bridal or baby shower, birthday party, Easter or Mother’s Day…..start by inviting your guests with a colorful invitation full of flowers, butterflies or bugs.

Garden Party Decor (small)

Use the color white to create a clean and simple palette – it will look crisp and spring-like surrounded by the green of the garden.  Make sure to use greenery and flowers throughout – on the bar, food tables, serving trays.

For placecards, plant different herbs in mini terracotta pots (available at your local craft stores).  Write your guest’s name on a Popsicle stick and place it in the pot.  They will look charming on your table and make a lovely favor for your guests to bring home.

If you have trees branches that stretch across the yard over your tables, try hanging white lanterns.  It’s a great way to add more of the white color in and helps to add a sense of festivity to the yard – and if your party continues into the evening, it will provide soft lighting and encourage your guests to stay and enjoy the party!

Garden Party People (small)

Images: colorful invitations (pearlbeachpaperie.com), herb placecards (brides.com), cheese buffet (toddevents.com), white tulips (stylemepretty.com)

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!

April 1st, 2009 |

Easter: Coming up Daisies

Easter is the start of the Spring/Summer event season.  Bridal showers, baby showers, birthday parties, graduations, Mother’s Day…..so many parties, so little time!

Since we are now officially in the month of April, it’s time to start thinking about Easter.  What are your plans?  A family brunch, an Easter egg hunt for the kids, a traditional Easter dinner?  I will be giving you all kinds of great ideas in the next couple of weeks leading up to the big day.

Today, I have a daisy-inspired Easter brunch to share with you.  I love this inspiration board because it’s not cheesy-Easter, it’s bright, sunny and really could be the inspiration for any Spring event.

Daisy Party (small)

Oh, and check out Southern Weddings Magazine blog for some adorable ideas for a daisy-inspired wedding!

Images: daisy centerpiece (flickr.com), white daisy dress, yellow placesetting, daisy floral balls (brides.com), novelty pillows (wshome.com)

March 31st, 2009 |

Napkin of the Week: Modern Bunny Ears

Bunny Ears (small)

With Easter quickly approaching, I thought it would be appropriate to show the first (of a few!) napkin ideas for your Easter celebration.  By using a bright colored napkin, these bunny ears energize any modern table!

Instructions

Bunny Ears Instructions (small)

Step 1

Take a solid-colored square napkin, and starch it for optimal workability. Thinner napkins work better, so choose a linen napkin over a thick cotton one.

Step 2

Fold the napkin in half.

Step 3

Fold the napkin in half again, to form a long rectangle.

Step 4

Fold the right and left sides up to meet in the center, forming a point at one end.

Step 5

Repeat with the opposite corners.

Step 6

Fold the side corners in so they meet in the center, but don’t fold exactly straight. Pull up above the center point, and you’ll start to see the ears shape up. The napkin will form a kite shape.

Step 7

Gently turn your napkin over.

Step 8

Fold the bottom point up, so that it is roughly 1” above the center of the napkin.

Step 9

Carefully, turn the napkin over again.

Step 10

Roll the left side over, slightly past the center of the napkin.

Step 11

Fold the right side over, tucking the end into the pocket you created on the left side, holding your napkin together.

Step 12

Turn the napkin upright, separating the bottom to form a base. Fluff your bunny’s ears.

Instructions via Good Housekeeping, images via Flickr

March 30th, 2009 |

Couture Cookies

I like to think of myself as a cookie “artist” – I decorate sugar cookies for every holiday and have been known to get a couple of compliments.  BUT….my cookies don’t come close to these!  I’m totally jealous of their modern designs.

Gumdrop Cookie Shop offers “couture” cookies and will ship them right to your door!  Choose from a variety of adorable designs, or ask them to customize with your unique design, logo or message.  These cookies would make darling party favors for any party!

Gumdrop Cookies (small)

If you are looking for a creative idea for your child’s birthday party, I absolutely love this idea…..Gumdrop Cookie Shop will send you a kit with frosted cookies, edible ink markers, cello bags and raffia (to package) – the kids can design their own sugar cookie!  It’s a great activity and favor!
Cookie Kit (small)

Images via Gumdrop Cookie Shop

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