November 30th, 2009 |

Stunning Christmas Wreaths

Christmas Wreaths

I don’t know what it is lately…..maybe it’s the fact that I actually have a house to decorate now…..but I am just obsessed with cool wreaths!  Not only are they a lovely addition to your front door, but they can dress up a plain wall, hang in an open window…’s the perfect touch of Christmas for any room!

I love that each one of these has an unusual look for the traditional wreath.  Somewhat unexpected in design, but absolutely stunning in my opinion.  I think they encourage us to think outside the box…..freeze cranberries in a large jello mold and hang outside with ribbon (make sure it’s a really cold day!).  Cover a styrofoam wreath with red roses and carnations, and add in a touch of moss and a few fresh brussel sprouts for a touch of color.  If you are looking for a green wreath with a contemporary feel, try using lily grass instead of using spruce boughs.  I love the look of this wreath!  Click here for the full instructions from Better Homes and Gardens.

Does anyone have any creative wreath ideas?!  E-mail me your pictures and we’ll put a post together of all of your creative ideas!

Images: cranberry ice wreath and red roses wreath (, green lily grass wreath (

November 27th, 2009 |

Sweet Treats and Good Eats


When it comes to planning a Christmas party for little girls, I always think of that famous line “visions of sugar plums danced in their heads”.  I’m thinking pink, green, and a whole lot of candy!  This is the perfect party theme for little girls and their mommies….invite your guests with this whimsical invitation from Minted (don’t forget to check out The Party Dress’s favorite Minted invitations and take advantage of our special 15% discount!).

Decorate your space with candy garlands – you could either string them yourself (gumdrops would work best), or you could buy a faux candy garland that you will have for years to come.  If you plan on serving a meal, I would set up a “mommy table” and a “kids table”.  On the “mommy table”, create candy topiary trees using styrofoam cones, green peppermint candy, and some hot glue.  For the kids table, adjust the topiary tree concept by creating these fluffy, fondant trees with colored swirls running thru them.  Click here for the detailed instructions on how to make these darling trees.

Sugar Plum Topiary

Serve up a dessert buffet of cookies, cupcakes and candy….along with ice cream served in edible candy cane glasses.  You could take this “sweet treats and good eats” theme and make it into a cookie exchange, too.  Ask each guest to bring a different cookie to share with everyone.  Make sure to provide boxes for guests to bring all of their cookies home with them, and send the little girls home with bouquets of candy canes tied with ribbon as party favors.

Images: invitation (, candy garland (, party dress (, cookie buffet (, candy cane cups (, felt lollipop centerpiece (, peppermint topiary tree (, candy canes (, fondant swirl topiary trees (



Free Shipping Holiday Decor 09

November 26th, 2009 |

Tasty Turkey Recipes for Thanksgiving Leftovers

turkey recipes for thanksgiving leftovers

Happy Thanksgiving!  I hope you are all enjoying a wonderful turkey dinner and some quality time with your friends and family!

When Thanksgiving finally comes to an end, there is only one question left to ask yourself…..what do I do with all of this leftover turkey?!

I have searched the web for some ideas for you, and have come up with 8 tasty recipes for turkey leftovers:

1. Turkey Pot Pie

2. Turkey Tortilla Soup

3. Smoked Turkey Panini

4. Roast Turkey and Prosciutto Pizza

5. White Turkey Chili

6. Turkey Bacon Salad

7. Barbecue Pulled-Turkey Sandwiches

8. Cranberry-Turkey Spinach Salad

November 25th, 2009 |

Holiday Table by Amber Karson Event Planning

I have a great feature for you today….Amber from Amber Karson Event Planning is back to share ideas with us for creating a preppy holiday table.  Here are some images of a holiday table Amber is working on for a client……make sure to check out her tips below:

Preppy Plates (large)

“With instructions from the client to keep it festive and fun, I decided to layer textures and patterns to create a one-of-a-kind look.  Although there are so many fabulous color combinations out there this season, I decided to feature the classic red and green duo but unexpected ways.  Green satin tablecloths were layered with custom table runners made from Michael Miller’s adorable Funky Christmas fabric line, while monochromatic centerpieces sit atop red felt laser-cut mats.  Jonathan Adler’s bird salt and pepper shakers are a modern play to the classic “a partridge in a pear tree”.  Each place setting is adorned with a monogrammed plate with the dinner guest’s initials.  The plate will play double duty as a place card (to communicate seating assignments) and also a party favor.  The caterer will wash them after the entree is served, load them up with Christmas cookies and wrap them for the guests to take them home at the end of the evening.”

Amber sells the adorable Preppy Plates collection of monogrammed melamine plates, lucite serving trays (with removable inserts that you can customize for all of your future parties), and coordinating coasters.  This collection is a fabulous way to personalize a party, or give someone an extra special gift this holiday season.  Check out Amber’s website for a complete catalog and pricing.

Thanks for stopping by today, Amber!  LOVE the preppy holiday table….and the preppy plates!  I think my Christmas wish list just got a little bit bigger!  😉

November 24th, 2009 |

Winter Wreath

Winter Wreath

I love this simple, snowflake wreath I found at Midwest Living.  Perfect for winter – something that can carry you all the way thru January, February….let’s hope, winter doesn’t continue into March too!


— 2 yards of white wool-blend felt
— Ready-made flat rigid foam wreath (20-inch diameter)
— Stiffening spray
— Spray glue
— Glitter
— Mounting squares
— Black marker
— Scissors
— Fabric glue
— White embroidery floss

Note: Suggested yardages are based on wool-blend felt with a 36-inch width. Please adjust yardages as needed.


1. To make the wreath base, cut out white felt pieces to cover the ready-made flat rigid foam wreath. (Our wreath has a 20-inch diameter). Using the wreath form as a pattern, trace and cut two pieces of white felt to cover the front and back of the foam. Then cut a band of felt to cover the inside edge and a second band to cover the outside edge.

2. Attach the felt pieces around the wreath form with upholstery glue.

3. Hand-stitch all edges with white embroidery floss to secure.

4. Sew a loop of embroidery floss on the back of the wreath to hang.

5. Cut out the 6 snowflake patterns. (There are 3 snowflake patterns in 2 sizes).

6. Apply stiffening spray to the white felt so that the snowflakes will keep their shape.

7. Trace and cut out 3 snowflakes in each size for a total of 18 snowflakes. (Trace and cut more, if needed).

8. Layer snowflakes in random order on the wreath. Start with the biggest snowflakes on the bottom layer. Adhere with fabric glue.

9. For dimension, apply more snowflakes with stacks of mounting squares.

10. Apply spray glue and sprinkle on glitter. Let dry.

November 24th, 2009 |

Holiday D-I-Y Placemats

DIY Felt Placemat

Sometimes all your table needs is a pop of color….placemats can get expensive, especially if you are entertaining a crowd!  When I was in Europe earlier this Fall, all of the high-end home stores were showing thick, felt placemats.  When used on a table, they created a warm and cozy look….perfect for the Holidays!  The placemats I found in Europe were pricy…..$40-30 a piece….and it occurred to me that they would be so simple to make.  Extra-thick felt (available at your local fabric store), and a set of pinking shears is all you need.  Draw a pattern out on cardboard first to create a template, trace it on to the backside of the felt, and then cut it out.  Voila!

Image via Real Simple

November 23rd, 2009 |

The Party Dress + Open Sky: A New Way to Shop!

I’m so excited to announce our partnership with The OpenSky Project, an innovative on-line community of shopkeepers.  OpenSky is full of “experts” – people like me who have a passion for what they do, what they write about – who offer shoppers products that they recommend.  It’s focused, it’s personal….it’s bringing the human touch back to the world of e-commerce.  There are experts in all areas of interest;  cooking, parenting, gardening, bird watching, and so much more.  The Party Dress is so pleased to be involved in these very early days of the OpenSky development!

I encourage all of you to click on over to our shop….check out the great entertaining items we currently have in stock.  Perfect for your upcoming Holiday parties, perfect for gift-giving!  And while you are there….take a spin around the neighborhood and check out the other shops…..I think you will be pleasantly surprised.

Holiday Coupon GiveawayNow, onto the FUN part!  OpenSky and The Party Dress are offering 5 readers a coupon for $25 off a purchase of $50 as a welcome to OpenSky.  Here’s how to play….

Since the Holiday season is upon us, The Party Dress is putting together all kinds of inspiration for parties.  Leave a comment and let us know what type of party ideas you would like to see this season.

Want a second chance at entering?!  Here’s how:

1) E-mail me a picture(s) of a holiday party you have styled

2) Become a fan on our Facebook page

3)Blog about this giveaway on your blog or website!

The contest starts NOW! and will end Friday, November 27th at midnight.  The 5 winners will be announced on Saturday, November 28th.  Good luck!

Holiday Coupon

November 23rd, 2009 |

Sunny Yellow + Bold Pattern: A Cheerful Dinner Party

Every year, my husband and I host a “thanksgiving” dinner party with friends.  This is our 4th year doing this – and we absolutely love it!  We all have our own traditional family Thanksgiving dinners… this is our opportunity to have a little fun with the dinner (and the table setting)!yellow and black dinner party

It’s been so dreary and grey here in Chicago lately, that when it came time for me to set the table, I decided we needed some color!  A bold black and white damask tablecloth, sunny yellow napkins, and darling stripe placecards did the trick.  It had a cheery, festive vibe…..and although we loved it for our “Thanksgiving” dinner, I think this table setting would be PERFECT for a bridal shower or birthday party.

We kept the food simple, since we had quite a few little ones with us, but we did try a couple new recipes that I thought I would share with you.  In addition to turkey and mashed potatoes, we served a sourdough stuffing with sausage, apples and grapes, and a broccoli-pecorino gratinata.  Both turned out yummy, so if you are still looking for sides for this Thursday….give these a try!

All in all a very fun evening….Thanksgiving #1 down….looking forward to Thanksgiving #2 on Thursday!

November 20th, 2009 |

Holiday Party Invitations

There are so many cute Holiday party invitations out there this season…..I really can’t decide what kind of party I want to have!  Perusing stationary websites makes me feel like a kid in a candy shop… I thought I would share a little bit of my favorite eye candy with you….in hopes that it inspires you to host a little Holiday party of your own!  Oh, and if you are interested in some of the invitations from Minted – don’t forget to take advantage of our special discount this season (see banner on the left!)

(click on the image to take you to the website)










November 20th, 2009 |

An Engagement Party with Holiday Cheer

There is something about the Holidays that brings forth a lot of engagements!  If a loved one gets engaged over the Holidays, host an engagement party that is full of Holiday cheer!

This invitation from Tiny Prints is perfect for the occasion…..I love that you could go two different ways with it.  1) A partridge in a pear tree…..very Christmas!  2) The perfect pear (pair)….the perfect theme for an engagement party.  The invitation sets a beautiful color palette of chartreuse green and brown, which just happens to be one of my favorite Holiday combinations.

Keep your table simple and sophisticated with white dishes and brown napkins (dressed up with a little chartreuse ribbon).  For a centerpiece idea, I love the idea of a low white vase full of green moss.  Scatter in a few bud vases of white orchids, some brown and white stripe placecards, and some beautiful stemware….and you have yourself a gorgeous table!

Since it is the Holidays…and this is an engagement party celebrating love….mistletoe is an absolute must!  Instead of hanging a traditional ball, try dressing up your display by tying some mistletoe to a beautiful ornament and hanging it from some ribbon.

Images: pear invitation (, table setting (, wine (, centerpiece (, mistletoe ball (

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