January 29th, 2013 |

BABY CHIC | DETAILS of the BABY SHOWER

chic baby shower decorations for a mantelThose readers that follow along on facebook and instagram know that I hosted a baby shower (along with my mother) for my sister this past weekend.  We had SO much fun putting together a gender-neutral celebration, since the sex of the baby is still a surprise.  I didn’t want to use the traditional blue and pink color palette and my sister is not a fan of yellow.  We went with a coral and aqua blue color palette, with touches of nude, gold and silver.

I unfortunately can’t show you all of the details (even though I am just DYING to), because this shower and all of the creative DIY ideas will be featured in my book (launching this Fall)!  So I’ll have to keep you guessing for a while, but for now, here are two ideas that you can recreate for your next party:

braided ribbon garlandTo create a focal point behind where the mama-to-be was opening her presents, I decorated the fireplace mantel with fresh flowers, custom posters that I designed to coordinate with the baby shower invitation and a garland of baby onesies.  Instead of using twine or actual green garland, I very quickly braided three colors of satin ribbon together.  I loved the pop of color it added to the white fireplace and was so lightweight and easy to hang.  I will definitely be repeating this for future parties!

orange and white centerpieces and tablesetting for baby showerThe tables were very fresh and held simple decor.  I’m pretty obsessed with gorgeous flowers (you will ALWAYS find fresh flowers in my house, especially during the blah winter months) so it was a given that the tables had to hold a simply stunning arrangement.  I wanted to add a pop of color to my basic bubble vases, but didn’t want any permanent changes made since I reuse these vases all of the time. I came up with a very simple solution: glue dots and glitter.

polka dot vaseThis was such a simple project and added a sweet touch to the table.  After a quick trip to Michael’s craft store, I had removable glue dots and gorgeous colors of shimmer glitter from Martha Stewart’s craft line, and about 30 minutes to decorate 3 big vases.  I placed the glitter into a shallow bowl, and then just rolled a strip of the removable glue dots thru it.  They were easy to peel off the paper strip and attach to the vase.  The great thing about this project is that you could adjust it to any color palette and could even create patterns with the polka dots.  The dots are simple to peel off (thank god for the “removable” glue dots) so my vases were unharmed and ready for the next event.  It truly was as simple as that!

 

January 24th, 2013 |

PARTY PREP | BABY CHIC

baby shower prepThe very cold temps here in Chicago this week have ensured that I have been hibernating inside and catching up on design work and also prepping all of the decorations for our “Baby Chic” Baby Shower photo shoot (Friday) and baby shower (Sunday) for my sister!  If you follow me on Instagram, you have probably seen some of these.  But here are a few images of the prep work, and even with the horrible lighting, you can get an idea of the aqua/coral/silver/nude color palette we are using (gender-neutral) and some of the decor elements.

What do you think?!

January 23rd, 2013 |

THE MODERN PLATE WALL

I have an odd obsession with wall displays of beautiful plates.  I honestly don’t know where it comes from.  I think I like the dimension it gives to a flat wall, the ability to create a piece of art using items unique to your home.  Since our home renovation is basically done now (6 months after the fatel appliance flood of 2012), I’m left to focus on getting things back up on the walls.  New paint colors have caused us to rearrange some artwork and I’m left with a blank focal wall behind my dining room table (also faces my gorgeous new white kitchen).

I am LOVING this plate wall I found on Apartment Therapy.  I like the shape and spanse of it, but also how they mixed a few pattern plates in neutral colors in.  This may just be a place for me to incorporate the Country Estate plates from Juliska that I have been drooling over.

What do you think?  Do you love or hate a good plate wall?

January 21st, 2013 |

BEHIND THE SCENES | MAKING OF THE BOOK

sneak peek of Stylish Kids Parties book by Kelly LydenNow that the first half of my book has been turned into the publisher, I thought it would be fun to share a few sneak peeks….

Planning and executing the shoots for my first book, Stylish Kids Parties (Fall 2013, F + W Media), has been a very fun process.  Lots of hard work, but it’s so fun to think that my party ideas will be gracing bookshelves come Fall.  When approached to do this book, I thought long and hard about what message I wanted to share.  Trendy party themes?  DIY craft ideas?  After much deliberation, I decided to stay true to my roots and style: updated classics.  When selecting the party themes, I decided to take classic themes and show how to style a party for the modern hostess, so the ideas in the book will be as relevant 10 years from now as they are today.

mess of supplies

The first half of the book was shot during October and November – during our busiest holiday months at WH Hostess (and as we launched Cake Plate Clings, Inc.).  We were shooting in the morning, packing orders in the afternoon, and writing at night.  And for about a month, I didn’t know if I was coming or going!  My studio looked like a constant disaster of colorful party goods (like the shot above), and I am very lucky to have some wonderful vendors working with me on some of the details.

The best part of these shoots are getting to spend time with some serious CUTIES!  My best friends’ kids, my god-daughters and the {almost} one year old son of my friend and contributor, Vana Chupp of Le Papier Studio, were all a part of the fun!  Here are just a few shots from some of the chapters shot.

random book shots

It’s going to be such a bright, colorful, fun book….just like my job!  If you want to follow along with us as we start shooting the second half of the book, follow us on Instagram (@whhostess).  There’s a lot more party to come!

 

January 16th, 2013 |

GAME-CHANGING APPETIZERS

superbowl food ideasSuperbowl is coming up and that means everyone is looking for new appetizer ideas.  Here are three of my new favorites (or rather, new spins on old favorites) that I found while scouring the web. With universal appeal, these will appeal to guests young and old.

Mac & Cheese Cups

This is a brillant idea!  Bake your favorite mac & cheese recipe (or store-bought) into mini muffin cups to create individual servings. For the recipe, click here.

Football Pizza

Always a fan of a homemade pizza, I love the idea of creating a football topping using pepperoni.  See the recipe and instructions here.

Football Calzones

Party City came up with this darling idea.  You could make mini calzones using a football shaped cookie cutter.  See the instructions here.

 

 

January 14th, 2013 |

MOD VALENTINE’S DAY + FREE PRINTABLES

Modern Valentine's Day Party Balloon

Valentine’s Day is exactly one month from today…..it’s time to start planning your parties, classroom treats and sweet ideas for loved ones.  It’s the perfect opportunity to show your family a little extra love in the sweets department. Dessert tables have been trending for some time now and are a staple at most parties. But you don’t need to be serving a crowd of 30 to pull off a stylized table. Even if you are hosting a small party of 5, you can organize your sweets in a stylized, festive way….making your day seem that much sweeter.

valentine's day dessert table

I love the color red, so there is never a doubt that it will be the center of any of my Valentine’s Day parties. This year, I decided to update it with some bold black and white patterns: a chevron, a clover and some crisp stripes. To throw in a pop of color, I created modern conversation hearts in bright, pop colors with some contemporary sayings like “call me, maybe” and “text me”. You can download these for FREE and make cupcake toppers or string them into a banner.

valentine's day chevron cake pops

For this simple dessert table, I topped a crisp white table-cloth with a striped, square topper. The centerpiece was created by stacking cake stands and a footed candy dish together to create a tower that anchored the big, 36” balloon from Shop Sweet Lulu. The cake stands were covered with patterned Cake Plate Clings and held both cupcakes and candy. Red pots were full of tiny, pearlized candy balls, and held chevron cake pops from Sweet Lauren Cakes and darling heart lollipops from Candywarehouse.com.

valentine's day desserts

Small, 6” cake stands held jars of red gumballs, chocolate covered oreos topped with big red and pink hearts, and conversation heart cookies from Firefly Confections. Jumbo marshmallows were dipped in red chocolate and sat in striped cupcake liners. They held our darling modern conversation heart cupcake toppers. Old-fashioned candy sticks in a crisp black and white stripe fit into our theme perfectly.

heart chocolate-covered oreos

striped candy sticks

I think this table is a perfect example of creating something special for a small group, so it’s perfect for a family dinner or kids’ playdate for Valentine’s Day.

lollipops

To download the free conversation heart printables, and for more Valentine’s Day party ideas, please click on the image below.

valentine's day conversation heart free download

January 8th, 2013 |

WINTER BLUES

My home is looking sparse these days.  Now that the Christmas decorations are down, it’s time to go “shopping” in my home and redo some displays. I have been collecting blue and white china pieces – plates, jars, vases – for years now. Do you remember this party I styled centered around them that graced the cover of our first Spring Magazine? I cherish this collection and am always looking for new ways to style the pieces.

I’m really drawn to the large clusters of different-sized jars lately, like the photo below.  Mixed with some white hydrangeas or boxwood plants, it could be just the fresh look I am craving.

Images: 1, 2, 3

January 3rd, 2013 |

Winter White Florals

As I begin the process of taking down our Christmas decorations, I am taking a quick peek around to see if there is anything that I can re-interpret into “winter” decor vs “holiday” decor.  Paper whites and white amaryllis plants are a great option.  I love having fresh flowers in our home all of the time, but especially once the Christmas decor comes down and everything looks bare.

I love the modern interpretation of these typically classic arrangements – the amaryllis mixed with boxwood and pinecones, and the cluster of small paper whites arrangements.  Which is your favorite?

Images: amaryllis (link no longer available, found via pinterest), paperwhites (stylemepretty.com)

December 31st, 2012 |

Happy New Year 2013!

As 2012 comes to an end (as does our much-needed holiday break), I wanted to pop in here quickly to say Happy New Year!  2012 was full of so many blessings and new opportunities, and as always, I want to thank all of you for following along with us. It’s such a blessing to have this wonderful community of readers – each one of you inspires me every day!

Tonight, as we ring in the new year with a glass of bubbles, I will be toasting each one of you.  I wish you a happy, healthy and prosperous 2013! We can’t wait to start a fresh new year of blog ideas on Wednesday, and with so many exciting things on the horizon, I can’t wait to see what 2013 brings…..

xo

Kelly

December 28th, 2012 |

Kelly’s Christmas Eve Tablesetting

Good Morning, Everyone!  Although we are still technically on a little holiday break, I wanted to pop in to say hello and show you all a peek into my Christmas Eve party.  We hosted my extended family of thirteen for dinner and as always, I had fun setting the table!

My Kate Spade china gets used less frequently than I prefer, so I knew that I wanted to design the table around it.  I took inspiration from the tablesetting I did for last year’s holiday magazine, as well as incorporated a few new ideas.

Since my china is black and white, I wanted to introduce a pop color in the tablecloth.  Green is my signature color, and with Pantone naming it theirs for 2013, I figured it was perfect.  I had a hard time locating a tablecloth in the exact emerald green I wanted, so I had one made.  It actually ended up being a very cost effective idea – I found both 60″ and 120″ width fabric on fabricdirect.com in my desired color – so I was able to make one tablecloth to cover my very long, extended (via card tables) table.  I had a local seamstress hem it for me, and add a black and white gingham stripe ribbon trim.

I decided to forgo traditional floral centerpieces this year, and go for something a touch more modern.  I wasn’t sure what that was until about the 22nd, but I found these darling white trees at Z Gallerie (and they were 50% off at that point!) and knew they would be perfect.  I jazzed them up a bit with black and white stripe grosgrain ribbon at the bases, as well as added it to the base of black candles.  To add a touch of glam, I placed silver ball candles from Crate and Barrel on my polka dot tibit plates from Kate Spade as part of the centerpiece.

Instead of traditional placecards, this year I decided to have a little fun with my guests’ monograms.  I had a red monogram ornament from WH Hostess made up for everyone, and tied it along with a silver jingle bell to their napkin.  (and yes, if you look closely, you can see me photographing the table in the reflection on the bell!) The napkins were made from our black berries custom fabric.  It’s a pattern that I have always loved and was able to also carry over into Cake Plate Clings for the event too.

I hope you enjoyed a peek into my holiday party….I wish their were more pictures, but once I started cooking I got too busy to take any more!

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