June 26th, 2012 |

Summer Fun: Sponge Waterballs

Time for another fun idea to celebrate summer with your kids: Sponge Waterballs are one of my favorites! It’s the new water balloon. When you’re done with them outside, bring them inside for bathtime fun!

For more summer entertaining ideas and tips, visit the latest issue of The Party Dress Magazine:

Read the digital issue   |   Purchase the glossy issue

Photography by Kim Flores of Whimsy Baby Photography

June 25th, 2012 |

Heirloom Pie Crust

Every year for the Fourth of July, the women in my family gather to make pies.  Lots, and lots of pies!  This pie crust recipe has been passed down {on a hand-written recipe card} from generation to generation to me.  I’m thrilled to share it with you today!

Ingredients

3 c flour  | 1T baking powder |  3T sugar |  6 heaping T Crisco

Instructions

In a medium sized bowl, mix together the ingredients with your fingers into pea-size balls. Gradually add 1 cup ice cold water, mixing together minimally. Divide into two sections and roll out into circles on a lightly floured surface. Press into pie pan and crimp edges with fingers. If using for top pie crust, sprinkle lightly with sugar before baking.

June 25th, 2012 |

Country Chic Holiday: 4th of July

The Fourth of July always conjures up images of a homespun holiday to me.  I like to throw my typical modern prep style aside and focus on creating a tablescape or party centered around true Americana style.  This year, I am going to combine gingham check, a classic red, white and blue color palette and a mix of country chic accessories.

I turned to Pottery Barn and Crate and Barrel to dress my table for the recent summer issue of The Party Dress Magazine. Mixing in a few items I already had, the table was set with a blue and white gingham table runner, and an eclectic centerpiece made from weathered red candlesticks, bud vases wrapped in white rope (a nod to my love for nautical accents) with full white peonies, and a few votive candles scattered about.

To create my placesetting, I layered my navy charger plates with my white basic plates.  A canvas napkin with twisted rope fringe laid atop and held a red salad plate, and a striped bowl full of cherries.  Casual, red silverware and acrylic hobnail glassware completed the look.

It wouldn’t be a summer party without pies!  Stay tuned this afternoon for an heirloom pie crust recipe from our contributor, Charynn’s family!  For more summer entertaining ideas and tips, visit the latest issue of The Party Dress Magazine:

Read the digital issue   |   Purchase the glossy issue

June 22nd, 2012 |

Summer Kabobs

I think kabobs (or skewers as some like to call them) are one of the most creative and versatile options when entertaining during the summer months.  You can create new combinations virtually every time, and over the years, I have come up with a few favorites:

Shrimp, Zucchini and Cherry Tomatoes

Skewer together half moon slices of zucchini, full cherry tomatoes and raw shrimp. Sprinkle with salt & pepper and squeeze a fresh lemon over them for a little added zest.  Cook on the grill for about 7-8 minutes (rotating ever so often).

Chicken, Pineapple and Red Pepper

Skewer together cubes of un-cooked chicken, 1 inch square pieces of pineapple and red peppers. Sprinkle with salt & pepper. Cook on the gril for about 9-10 minutes (rotating ever so often).

Teriyaki Beef, Green Beans and Fingerling Potatoes

Marinate your cubes of beef in a Teriyaki sauce for at least 2 hours, up to overnight. Skewer together your beef cubes, green beans (cut in 1.5-2 inch lengths), and small fingerling potatoes (if the potatoes are too big, just cut them in half).  Cook on the grill for 8-9 minutes (rotating ever so often).

Tip: Soak your wooden skewers in water prior to assembling.  If you have any leftover, unused skewers, wrap them in tinfoil and freeze them for your next bbq!

For more summer entertaining ideas and tips, visit The Party Dress Magazine:

Read the digital issue   |   Purchase the glossy issue

June 20th, 2012 |

Citrus-Infused Water

One of my favorite elements from my summer picnic spread in The Party Dress Magazine was the citrus-infused water.  Always a fan, and inspired by Kelly’s favorite combo {see her post here}, I set out to package up individual waters for my picnic.  Using old, glass bottles that I saved from iced coffee, I filled them with different types of fruits and let them infuse in the fridge prior to packing them up in the basket.  Strawberries, lemons, pineapple and mint….delish!  And I love that my kids can still have a sweet drink without all of the sugar of fruit juice or soda pop.  Try it….you’ll like it!

For more summer entertaining ideas and tips, visit The Party Dress Magazine:

Read the digital issue   |   Purchase the glossy issue

June 19th, 2012 |

Watermelon Pops

Looking for a refreshing snack or dessert for the {HOT} 4th of July weekend?  Give my watermelon pops a try!  They are so simple to create, and you could do countless variations on this idea.  All you need is a cookie cutter, fruit and straws. Melon and pineapple would both work incredibly well.

Simply slice your fruit into 1/2″ thick slices, and then use your cookie cutter to cut out the desired shape.  Insert your straw into the bottom and voila!  {yes, it’s really THAT simple!}  Tip: if you plan to assemble these ahead of time, swap out the paper straws for plastic ones, as the paper straws will get soft after a while.

I think these watermelon pops will be the PERFECT cool treat during the 4th of July parade this year! For more creative ideas for entertaining over the 4th of July weekend, check out our latest issue of The Party Dress Magazine.

June 19th, 2012 |

Fun in the Sun: Everyday Party Ideas

Summer is the perfect time to get outside with your Littles and celebrate! Make everyday a party with items you have at home. Forget the party store when you have DIY projects that are easy as 1, 2, 3!  Here are a few ideas I put together for the latest issue of The Party Dress Magazine:

Idea #1: Spruce up your table by planting flowers in a watermelon

Idea #2: Make flower straws with candy and flattened cupcake wrappers

Idea #3: Make your own mini-candy bar with colorful candy cups

Idea #4: Serve seasonal flavored cupcakes on colorful mini pedestals, Georgetown Cupcake recommends Berry Lemon and Banana Split

Idea #5: Decorate your tables with paper lanterns

Photography by Kim Flores of Whimsy Baby Photography

Resources:

Martha Stewart Crafts, Mini Cupcake Wrappers and Regular Cupcake Wrappers | JoAnn Fabrics

Polka Dot + Stripe Candy Cups, Striped Paper Straws, Paper Lanterns | The TomKat Studio Shop

Pink Cupcake Stand | The Papered Nest

Cupcakes | Georgetown Cupcakes


 

June 15th, 2012 |

Cool Wine Display

Have you ever seen one of those gorgeous wine bottle chillers made as a crafty DIY project using either an old 2-liter bottle or tupperware?  You know the kind, gorgeous lemon slices, color coordinated to the event.  I have ALWAYS loved this idea…. however, the idea of cutting up a plastic bottle to make it “just perfect” seemed a bit daunting.  In steps Williams Sonoma to my rescue!

When planning my Cocktails & Croquet party, I decided I wanted to attempt making one of these to dress up my casual bar.  The new wine bottle chiller from Williams Sonoma is simple to use and creates a perfect mold each and every time.  And it comes with the silver coaster, so as your mold starts to drip on that hot summer day….it won’t make a mess or ruin your tablecloth!

I used lemon and lime slices, and raspberries to fill mine.  {Tip: the raspberries very quickly turned the ice pink, so next time I may opt for strawberry slices or blueberries!)  It’s a great conversation piece and is a very cost effective decoration: just add water!

June 14th, 2012 |

2 Parties | 2 Tables | 2 Nights in a Row!

It’s been a very busy start to June around here.  The launch of the summer magazine, a frenzy of party orders, custom party plans, lots of work on a new {top-secret} product for WH Hostess, even more work on a {very exciting, also top-secret} project for The Party Dress and photo shoots this week to bring you even more exclusive, original content this summer.

Now that the weather is nice, I’m in the mood to entertain…..always!  So leave it to me to book two dinner parties….two nights in a row this week. Yikes!  {Am I crazy?!  We’ve pretty much already established that….}

We hosted friends {who also happen to be family} Sunday night for a very casual bbq and then my family Monday night for a very early Father’s Day Dinner.  Since I knew I was up to my eyeballs in work, I had to be crafty about my tablesettings.  Use basic items that could be a canvas for both tables, but switch out some accessories to give each night a unique look.  Hopefully these pictures inspire you to do the same for your summer gatherings.

I wanted our casual, Sunday night bbq to be colorful and scream summer.  The kids practically out-numbered the adults, so I knew I wanted to use melamine plates and glasses {just in case!}.  I set the table out in our sunroom, which is why the lighting is so much better on these pictures.  I layered the table with a yellow and white large-scale plaid tablecloth, my woven charger plates, basic white plates and patterned melamine salad plates.  The centerpiece was a gorgeous bunch of peonies that I picked up from Whole Foods, but instead of using a typical, glass vase, I arranged them in a wood crate for that more casual, homespun look.

For Monday night’s Father’s Day Dinner, I moved the party into our dining room {we needed the bigger table!} and used many of the same components.

To create this look, I simply switched out the napkins, the salad plates and the glasses.  I was SO excited to use the new green ikat salad plates that I picked up at C. Wonder during my NYC trip a couple of weeks ago.  They are so fun, and I loved the juxtaposition between the ikat and the bold check pattern on the table.  I added some wood block hurricane candles and that was it!  Very simple swaps, for two different looks!

Which table is your favorite?  What are your tips for switching up your table designs between parties?

 

 

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