July 1st, 2009 |

A Very Berry Dessert

Mixed Berry Terrine

Ingredients

2 envelopes (1/4 ounce each) unflavored gelatin
2 cups white grape juice
1/2 cup sugar
5 1/2 to 6 cups (about 2 pounds) mixed fresh berries, such as strawberries (hulled and halved), raspberries, blackberries, and blueberries

Directions

In a small bowl, sprinkle gelatin over 1/4 cup grape juice; let soften 2 to 3 minutes. Meanwhile, heat sugar with another 1/4 cup grape juice in a small saucepan over medium-high heat until dissolved. Remove from the heat and stir in softened gelatin until dissolved, then stir in remaining 1 1/2 cups grape juice.

Place berries in a 4-by-8-inch loaf pan; pour gelatin mixture over, pressing berries gently to submerge completely (remove a few berries if necessary). Refrigerate until firm, at least 3 hours.
To unmold, dip bottom of pan in hotwater about 5 seconds. Invert onto a serving platter, and shake firmly to release. Slice to serve.

Recipe via Martha Stewart

July 1st, 2009 |

Creative Centerpiece with Patriotic Style

Patriotic StyleLooking for a quick, inexpensive centerpiece for your 4th of July party?  Try this idea from Woman’s Day….

Supplies

Red sand
White sand
Blue sand
Glass vases – different sizes and shapes
Red, white or blue daisies
Small, decorative American flags

Directions

1) Layer red, white and blue sand in the glass vase (varying colors and patterns as you desire)
Hint: Pour in a layer of color, then shake gently to level.
2) Add flowers or flags for a festive finish

July 1st, 2009 |

Sail Away: A Nautical Children’s Birthday Party

Sail Away (small)

Keeping with the red, white & blue theme this week in celebration of the 4th of July, here is an adorable party idea for your favorite little sailor.  Create a nautical theme birthday party full of stripes and sailboats!

I found this adorable party invitation and party favor bags from a company called Imprintables – preppy, but with a touch of modern charm!  It set the tone for the rest of the party….a color scheme of red, white and blue, bold stripes and modern sailboat silhouettes.

Decorate with nautical flags (I found the perfect ones at Land of Nod) and striped tablecloths.  Use grosgrain ribbon to accent all of your details – stripe napkin rings, and tie ribbon around bowls of food.  Use small wooden boats clustered together as a centerpiece.  Instead of serving a traditional birthday cake, serve sailboat-themed cupcakes, cookies or rice crispy treats.

If you are looking for a fun activity for the children at the party, fill up a large baby pool outside.  Buy a bunch of small, plastic boats and write numbers on the bottom of a few of them.  Buy prizes to correspond to the numbers on the boats.  Float the boats in the pool, and have the children take turns picking a boat.  If they choose a boat with a number, they win a prize!

Images: nautical flag decoration (landofnod.com), ahoy sailboat gift and party favor (imprintables.blogspot.com), stripe napkin rings and bowl of strawberries (socialcouture.com), tiered cookie stand (instyleweddings.com)

June 30th, 2009 |

4th of July: Dinner Under The Stars

Dinner under the stars (small)

Images: table under the tent (via Passion for Parties by Carolyne Roehm), red drinks (gloriawongdesign.com), berry dessert (foodportfolio.com), flower and stripe plates (kate spade via macys.com)

June 29th, 2009 |

Bridal Shower: Party of Poppies

Poppy Shower (shower)

Although put together to be a bridal shower, this happy party could be darling for a birthday party too!

Have a bride that has a beautiful style, but doesn’t love a lot of frills?!  This bridal shower is perfect for her!  With a color palette grounded in grey, and popped with green, yellow, orange and pink – this outdoor party has a few unique details that make it an event full of clean lines and happy details!

Invite your guests with this lovely invitation from Wedding Paper Divas – I love the colors and simplistic design.  A couple of ideas for decorations….set up round tables outdoors and cover with pewter grey linens.  To give the party a modern look, use rectangular, white plates.  To create these festive centerpieces, use boxes of grass (real or artificial).  Use large bloom flowers such as  poppies or gerber daisies to stick into the grass.  If you are using real flowers, just stick a piece of floral wire up the center of the stem to manipulate the shape.  It’s happy, festive and full of style….sure to thrill any bride!

Images: invitation (weddingpaperdivas.com), cake (southernaccents.com), party favor box (theknot.com), table setting (inthenowweddings.com)

June 28th, 2009 |

Dinner for 16: Country French Charm

Dinner for 16

My mother and a few of her friends recently hosted a dinner party to celebrate the retirement of a dear friend.  The party was hosted at my parent’s house, and although I wasn’t a hostess…..I hear the word party and I immediately jump on the bandwagon!  I went up to help set up for the party – and this is what we came up with.

Dinner for 16 on the patio!  My mother wanted the party to look like a country french dinner in a garden, so we set up a l-o-o-n-n-g table, and covered them in red and white check table cloths.  We used 4 lanterns as centerpieces, each dressed up with a candle, moss and a single yellow bloom.  The great thing about the lanterns is that they look beautiful in the daylight, but they set off a lovely glow at night.  The placesettings were simple – silverware was rolled in red and white napkins, each held together with a floral napkin ring.  We used her melamine dishes – a solid green dinner plate with a beaded edge, and a country french pattern salad plate.  Melamine plates are PERFECT for outdoor entertaining.  The are non-breakable, dishwasher safe, and they elevate the party to feel more like a dinner party, rather than a casual BBQ on the patio.

Dinner was served buffet style, so we set up a round table (easy for people to maneuver around) with an umbrella above it.  Okay – get ready for this – this was my favorite part of the decor!  We hung clear votive candles from the inside of the umbrella – the candles were hung on ribbons at all different heights.  Red, green, white, checked, polka dot, and plaid ribbon…..the mix of colors and patterns played into the country french theme.  The pictures don’t do it justice – it was absolutely charming!

The setting was perfect, the food looked delicious, and from what I could tell – the ladies were all having a great time!  (I had to leave after cocktails to go do a little entertaining of my own at my house!)  As you can see….the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree!  I definitely learned from the best!

Stay tuned for a great beverage idea for summer…..

All images property of The Party Dress

June 28th, 2009 |

Citrus-Infused Water

Citrus Infused Water

Okay….summer is hot!

And as much as we all love a good cocktail, glass of wine or cold beer during a summer BBQ….sometimes it’s just too hot!

Picture this scenario: You are hosting a BBQ on a hot,  sunny day, and suddenly your guests are asking for a glass of water.  Water?!  Water is so boring, right?  WRONG!  Infuse your water with slices of lemons, limes, strawberries and bunches of mint.  Not only will your guests be delighted by how delicious it tastes….they won’t stop talking about how pretty it looks!

June 27th, 2009 |

Serve it on Ice!

Watermelon Cooler (images.meredith

Is your silver drink bucket a little too fancy for your summer picnic?!  I love this idea…..cut off the top third of the watermelon (could be a straight cut, but I L-O-V-E the curved out version in the picture), and carve out the insides.  Fill with ice, stick in your wine bottles and voila!

Image (betterrecipes.com)

June 26th, 2009 |

Dinner for Three

Dinner for Three

My brother-in-law is visiting us this weekend – so it’s dinner for three tonight!  Me and two boys?!  Let’s just say they don’t appreciate the fuss I typically put into a dinner party!  So this dinner is going to be low on design but high in flavor.

If there is one thing I know they both appreciate, it’s homemade pasta…..so I am going to make capellini with fresh tomatoes and basil.    So simple to do:

Ingredients:

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

2 lb. plum tomatoes, seeded and diced

1 cup fresh basil leaves, cut into thin strips

Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

1 lb. dried capellini

Directions:

In a large nonreactive bowl, combine the olive oil, tomatoes, basil, salt and pepper, and stir until blended. Set aside.

Bring a large pot two-thirds full of water to a boil over high heat. Add salt and the pasta and cook according to the package instructions until al dente (tender but firm to the bite). Drain the pasta, add it to the tomato sauce and toss to mix. Taste and adjust the seasonings with salt and pepper. Divide the pasta among individual bowls and serve immediately. Serves 4.

recipe via Williams-Sonoma

June 24th, 2009 |

Swanky Soiree

Swanky Soiree

Although I am a classic girl at heart, the festive colors and modern lines of this party bring a little flutter to my heart.  Just looking at it makes me want to go pull out a flirty party dress from my closet and sip a drink poolside!  I’m going to take a gamble and guess that most of us don’t have this picturesque pool in our backyard – so let’s take inspiration from these gorgeous pictures and figure out how to incorporate some of these ideas into your own home or backyard for your next party.

Set the tone for your party by sending an invitation that reflects the image of the party – I found two that I absolutely love!  This one from Minted for it’s clean, modern lines and this one from Tiny Prints for it’s bright, festive colors.  Create a comfortable, yet swanky atmosphere by creating multiple seating areas with ottomans, chairs and small cocktail tables.  Use the color white for all of your tables and chairs, and infuse the area with bright colored pillows and floor cushions in your pop colors of royal blue, yellow, and lime green.

Don’t you just love the clean shape of this blue ottoman pictured by the pool?  I do – but I don’t necessarily want to invest a lot of money into something that I won’t use everyday!  So – get creative!  Here is how you can recreate the look for next to nothing in price:

Use a side table from IKEA ($12.99) as your base. Head to your local Home Depot or craft store for a piece of extra thick foam, and cut a piece of fabric that will fit around it.  I would chose something textured and on the thicker side, such as a cotton pique (remember, people will be sitting on this).  Glue the fabric around the cushion, and then glue to the top of the side table – and there you go, you have your own modern ottoman for around $20 dollars!

Now, let’s get to the table setting…… Create a centerpiece of brightly colored candle sticks, and small square vases of flowers.  I love these tightly packed roses – the solid color looks modern, and adding a piece of lettuce in the vase not only hides the stems, but also adds a different texture to the arrangement.  Use all white dishes, but pop the blue and lime green in your napkins.  If you can find a trimmed napkin in your specific colors, perfect!  If not, take this hint and run with it…  Use two solid napkins!  Lay them on top of each other, pull up in the center and gather with a ribbon or napkin ring – you will get the same affect!

Images via Brides.com

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