October 8th, 2010 |

Haunted Family Tree

Looking for a unique idea for Halloween decor?  Something a little more festive, than scary? I am absolutely smitten with this idea from Parents Magazine!  Create a “haunted family tree” to hang on a focal wall in your home by using black construction paper and silhouette ornaments.  You can create an silhouette ornament for each family member, and if you are looking for ideas you should check out Le Papier Studio‘s new book, Silhouette Art: Papers, Instructions, and Patterns for Making Modern Heirlooms.

Wouldn’t this be darling in your foyer?  Just think of all of the little ghosts and goblins that would admire it while trick or treating!

Amazon.com and WH Hostess are preferred sponsors of The Party Dress.

October 6th, 2010 |

Halloween Cupcakes by Wilton

halloween cupcake ideas by wiltonI am a huge fan of the Wilton products, but had never really explored their website before.  Big mistake.  HUGE!  It’s chock full of sweet inspiration for every type of occasion you can imagine!  My focus today was Halloween and I have to say – they have some of the cutest cupcake ideas on the web!  Darling, simple and easy-to-follow directions….perfect for my busy schedule!

Left to right: batty cupcake, pick your poison cupcake, silly spider cupcake, double pumpkin cupcake, and the scary snare cupcake.  Head over to wilton.com for even more darling Halloween sweets ideas.

October 5th, 2010 |

Fall Dinner Party

With a chill in the air, I’m totally in the mood to plan a fall dinner party.  You know – a cozy evening with friends – lots of candles, delicious comfort food and a few simple decorations to bring the look together.

I have has so much wonderful feedback from the layered damask invitation from WH Hostess (featured recently in my wine tasting party), that I decided to use it as inspiration for today’s dinner party idea.  The rich color palette of teal, chocolate brown and mustard yellow is perfect for this time of year!  You can take the look of the party either bold and modern, or soft and vintage.  Today’s inspiration is kind of a combination of the two….we’ll call it modern vintage!

Set your table with a brown and white patterned tablecloth, white dishes and throw in a colored glass (LOVE the teal ones featured in this tablesetting from Country Living!) Create an inexpensive centerpiece using glass cylinders by filling them with white dried beans, and a single branch of yellow berries.  Cluster a few of these together, and throw in a few votive candles for a little “glow!”  You can also bring in some natural elements, such as pine cones and feathers to add to the fall look.

For dinner, serve a delicious meal that screams “fall”: an arugula and goat cheese salad with fig vinaigrette, roast chicken with broccoli rabe, fingerling potatoes, and garlic-parsley jus, and a crispy braeburn apple and almond sheet tart for dessert.

Send your guests home with a little party favor to remember the evening….I love this mini teacup and saucer set from Beau-Coup.  Fill it with coffee beans and biscotti, or tea bags, and wrap it with cellophane and a simple gift tag.  It’s simple and will appeal to a broad spectrum of guests!

Images: invitation (whhostess.com), berry centerpiece and wine (bhg.com), table setting (countryliving.com), food (bonappetit.com) and cup and saucer party favor (beau-coup.com)

Chic Wedding Stationery from Minted.com

Amazon, Beau-Coup, Minted and WH Hostess are preferred sponsors of The Party Dress.

October 4th, 2010 |

A Fresh Look for Moss

Floral Art LA is one of my favorite go-to’s for modern floral inspiration.  My new favorite?!  These updated urns.  They are fresh and airy-looking and are perfect for transitional seasons.  For those of you that have been reading The Party Dress for a while now, you all know I have an obsession with white pumpkins and decorating with moss….so this is literally an “ah-ha!” moment for me!  Wouldn’t these be perfect for a winter bridal shower?

October 1st, 2010 |

Tailgating: It’s All About The Food!

Since we are knee-deep in football season, I figured it was time I started giving you some recipe ideas for tailgating (or watching the game at home with friends and family!).  Let’s be honest – my favorite part of football season is the food!  So, as my husband is getting geared up for the big Ohio State vs. Illinois game on Saturday – I’m looking for delicious recipes!

Country Living has fabulous ideas for tailgating!  My favorites include bloody mary’s, mini blt sliders, turkey chili and salted golden caramel bars.  YUM!

 

September 29th, 2010 |

Sunflower Centerpiece D-I-Y Instructions

Yesterday, I showed you a peak into the engagement dinner party I threw for my sister over the weekend.  The highlight of the decor was definitely the sunflower centerpiece….I loved the combination of the “palm-beach-chic” footed bowl and the sunflowers!  Today, I am here to share with you instructions, so you can re-create this look too!

 

 

 

1. Gather your materials: a footed bowl, a wet foam half circle, and sunflowers (any full flower would work!).

2. Cut your foam to fit into the footed bowl (I squared off my sides to make it fit well), and soak it with water so it holds moisture.

3. Cut your flower so they have a 2-3″ stem – if your stems are not strong enough, use a little floral wire to strengthen them.  Starting at the very top of your foam, insert the stems into your foam.

4. Make sure you space your blooms far enough that the stems won’t hit each other when being inserted into the foam, but close enough that you create a compact arrangement.

5. Repeat, working downwards from the top.

6. Voila!  The finish product!  Perfect for a dinner party, bridal shower or wedding celebration.

September 27th, 2010 |

Parties by WH Hostess: Engagement Celebration

I hosted a little engagement dinner party for my sister and her fiance over the weekend.  Newly engaged, it was time to pop the bubbly and celebrate!  Since the cool weather seems to be headed our way, I decided to host one last dinner party in our sunroom.  The room is primarily white (with a few navy and yellow accents), so it was the perfect backdrop for a bold black, white and yellow color palette.

Seeing as though I just got home from Hawaii, I had to whip this party together quickly!  But I still had time to do a few cute touches…

  • Placecards – no matter what size your party is, I love placecards!  It adds a pop of color to your table….kind of like an accessory!
  • Statement Centerpiece – I chose to stick with one type of flower (sunflowers) and using an unusual vessel.  This footed bowl from Rosanna was perfect!  Check back tomorrow for a full tutorial on how to arrange this type of centerpiece!
  • Conversation Starter – my husband and I had found these darling books a while back and had been holding on to them for awhile, waiting for the right occasion to pull them out!  “Don’ts for Wives” and “Don’ts for husbands” from 1913.  Let me tell you, some of the quotes were hilarious!  Placed on the bride and groom-to-be’s plates, they made for funny table talk, and a humorous intro into Marriage 101!
  • Dessert Presentation – It’s amazing how some polka dot ribbon, striped cupcake wrappers and initial cupcake toppers can dress up dessert!  Sometimes it’s those little details that really pull the look together.

Now that we have toasted the happy couple…..let the wedding planning begin!  But first, head back here tomorrow for the full tutorial on my sunflower centerpiece!

September 27th, 2010 |

Project Nursery: Stylish Halloween Wreath Project

I’m giving the “how-to” instructions on making this stylish candy corn wreath (from Woman’s Day Magazine) over on Project Nursery today.  Isn’t it fabulous?!  Head on over to get the full instructions…..

Image via Woman’s Day

September 24th, 2010 |

Weekend Recipe: Milk Fudge

These colorful little gems caught my eye as I was scrolling thru Style At Home.  What are they?!  Cake, brownie, cookie?

Fudge.  Milk fudge, to be exact and I can’t wait to try this recipe!  Think how fun – you can color coordinate to your dessert table!  Here’s the how-to:

Ingredients

  • 2 (14 oz.) cans condensed milk
  • 1 (12 oz.) can evaporated goat’s or cow’s milk
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt

Directions
1 Lightly grease a 9 by 9-inch square pan. Line the pan with a piece of parchment paper or aluminum foil, leaving about a 1-inch overhang on all sides.

2 Combine the condensed milk, evaporated milk, butter, vanilla, and salt in a saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring continuously with a wooden spoon or heatproof spatula, until the mixture has thickened and starts pulling away from the sides of the pan, 20 to 30 minutes. When ready, it will slide easily out of the pan when tilted.

3 Pour into the prepared pan and allow to set, about 2 hours. Cut into rectangles or desired shapes.

Double the flavour
You can mix and match flavors as you like, and you can do it quite simply. Pour half of the mixture into the prepared pan, stir another flavor—such as coffee extract or any kind of flavored oil with a few drops of food coloring—into the other half, then pour that on top. Alternatively, you can make two separate flavors and make half a batch of each.

Variations

Chocolate
Add 6 tablespoons unsweetened natural cocoa powder (preferably Dutch processed) along with the other ingredients.

Lime
Replace the vanilla with 1 teaspoon grated lime zest and add 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice and a few drops of green food coloring (if desired) once the mixture has been removed from the heat, making sure you add them slowly and stir well so it doesn’t separate.

Coffee
Add 2 teaspoons coffee extract along with the other ingredients.

Coconut
Replace the evaporated milk with the same size can of coconut milk.

Tequila
Add 1 tablespoon white or reposado tequila once the mixture has been removed from the heat, making sure you add it slowly and stir well so it doesn’t separate.

Makes about 2 dozen

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.

 

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