August 3rd, 2009 |
This shabby chic birthday brunch is all about natural sand colors mixed with cornflower blue. This lovely invitation from Minted is the perfect inspiration for the decor of the party….it has a subtle garden party feel, but with a color palette that I think is so sophisticated.
If you are hosting a larger party, consider setting up a few tables of 8-10 for brunch. In order to assure your guests have a lovely time, use placecards to determine the seating. Create a placecard display by filling a wood tray with sunflower seeds, beans, or rice (something in the natural color) and stand the placecards up in neat little rows.
Bring natural elements into your table centerpieces. Potted plants, candles perched on wood coasters, glass hurricane candles filled with pussy willow branches. Tie your napkin with a piece of raffia or a ribbon, and stick a white flower into it to finish off the presentation. Dress up a basic birthday cake with some fresh flowers on top….flowers make everything look special!
No party is complete without a signature drink….ask the birthday girl what her favorite cocktail is ahead of time. An Arnold Palmer (half lemonade, half iced tea) would be a perfect non-alcoholic option. Dress up your drinks by adding a custom flag to your straws. The pop of blue ties into our color palette, and they are darling when personalized with a cute saying, or something as simple as “Happy 30th!”
This brunch inspiration would be ideal for a bridal shower as well. The beautiful colors, simple decorations and sophisticated feel ensures a lovely afternoon with friends. Doesn’t it make you want to pull a floral party dress out of your closet and plan a party?!
Images: invitation (minted.com), drinks (brides.com), blue cake (theknot.com), table setting (artfool.com), placecards (saltharbor.com), party dresses (jcrew.com)
August 1st, 2009 |
I found these delicious looking treats over at Big Red Kitchen. Edible cocktails. Jello shots. Whatever you want to call them, they are so fun….I must try them at my next party! Festive, colorful, and perfect for an evening of outdoor entertaining. I bet a few of your guests may even squeal with delight when they see them as they recall the jello shots of their past. Don’t let these childhood-like treats fool you, they have a bite and will sneak up on you if you have a few too many.
Edible Cocktails: Sangria
1 3/4 cups Reál Sangria
1 1/2 cups Limeade
3/4 cup Cointreau
4 packets Knox Gelatine – one whole box
zest of one lime for garnish
Mix the first 3 ingredients in a small sauce pan. Add Knox and let sit 3 minutes until gel softens. Turn on heat to medium and heat for a few minutes until gel is completely dissolved, no need to boil or get very hot. Pour into a 9 inch square pan that has been lined with plastic wrap. Chill covered overnight. To unmold, turn cocktail over onto a cutting board, remove plastic wrap and cut into 36 equal sized pieces. Top each piece with a small bit of lime zest. Place on pretty tray and serve immediately. Makes 36 pieces.
Tips on Making Edible Cocktails
1. Before adding the Gelatine, taste the cocktail first and adjust flavor if needed.
2. Keep chilled at all times! These will dissolve into puddles if not kept cold. Mine got soft on the car ride over to the party, which a quick trip to the freezer fixed them up just fine, but oh the puddle they made in my lap on the warm car ride home!
3. Remember the ratio to turn your favorite cocktail into an Edible Cocktail- one packet (7 grams) Knox Gelatine to every 8 ounces (240 ml) of fluid. More Gelatine will make the cocktails even more firm if necessary.
Be creative and have fun!
July 30th, 2009 |
For a summertime wedding full of charm, take some old “country” ideas and update them to create a modern event that will have the town talking for weeks! If you are a bride planning an outdoor, casual wedding, opt for a short wedding gown, such as this one from Amsale. Short and sassy will not only update your look, but it will keep you cool on the dance floor!
Green and purple are a natural pair….but instead of opting for soft, pastel colors…..go bold! A chartreuse green and strong purple will bring your event to life and you can have a ton of fun with your decor. Use white and green as your base colors, and pop in the purple in all of your floral details.
Update a classic white wedding invitation with a bold green monogram like this one from Wedding Paper Divas, and carry the green ink thru all of your stationery. Wedding programs, thank you cards, even the placecards. When it comes to decorating your tables, take a cue from those old “country charm” ideas I mentioned above and use a plaid table cloth. Done in these bold colors, it looks updated and fresh….perfect for a summer wedding! I love the centerpieces on this table! They took footed trifle bowls and filled them with a large bunch of the same bloom – here they used irises. The single bloom, and bold color from the irises is a more modern look – paired with the plaid table cloth – it’s the perfect combination!
Carry the green throughout your event by creating a dessert buffet to surround the wedding cake. Dessert buffets offer your guests a bunch of options in terms of dessert, and when they are done in a monochromatic theme they look oh, so sophisticated!
Images: short wedding gown (amsale.com), purple bouquet (theknot.com), plaid table setting (brides.com), invitation (weddingpaperdivas.com), lime placecards (realsimple.com), dessert buffet (amyatlas.com)
July 29th, 2009 |
Bridal showers don’t always have to mean frilly, white, and tacky! Delight your bride-to-be and her guests with a modern art deco themed bridal shower. Using turquoise and melon orange as your color palette, choose bold patterns and modern lines for all of your party details.
Invite your guests with this modern invitation from Wedding Paper Divas. It sets the tone for this festive event, and gives your guests just a tiny glimpse into what you have in store for them!
Use white as your base color for decorations and table settings. Create a bold centerpiece by using a series of white vases. Fill each vase with a single type of flower, each in a different pop color such as orange, yellow and white. Look for clean-shaped flowers such as tulips, gerber daisies, or orchids. To add another touch of color to your white place setting, place a single bloom on each plate. Attach a card with your guest’s name on it, and it can double as your placecard!
Set up a drink station so that you aren’t running around filling up glasses…..use cylinder vases in varying sizes as your “punch bowls” and fasten drink labels to each. Garnish each glass with a small slice of fruit for little special touch! I absolutely love surprising guests with a dessert buffet at a bridal or baby shower. Not only are they absolutely beautiful, but it gives guests an opportunity to walk around and sample all of the goodies while they watch the guest of honor open her gifts. Use a variety of white dishes to showcase all of your different desserts. You can use scrapbook paper in coordinating colors or patterns to line some of your plates. Coordinate the desserts with your bakery (or with the hosts that may be baking these lovely treats), so that all of the desserts are color-coordinated. When put together, you will be thrilled with how festive and professional the dessert buffet looks. You can also provide small bags or boxes, and your guests can fill them up to bring home as a party favor.
Images: little girl (amorologyweddings.com), invitation (weddingpaperdivas.com), table setting (brides.com), monogram cookies (sweetandsaucyshop.com), orange and turquoise dessert images (amyatlas.com), drink station (elegantbride.com)
July 29th, 2009 |
Here’s a fabulous spritzer that’s great for a warm afternoon spent picnicking on the grass. Make it with either orange juice as directed, or with frozen lemonade.
- 1 cup Campari
- 1 liter mineral water
- 2 cans frozen orange juice concentrate
- orange slices
Mix all ingredients in a pitcher and serve over ice. Makes 12 servings.
Recipe via Bloom.acious
July 28th, 2009 |
Kids are natural pros when it comes to mini golf!
Part skill, part luck, and a whole lot of fun makes it the perfect activity for a child’s birthday party.
Invite your guests with an invitation far above par from Tiny Prints. Create an obstacle course for your mini-golf course. Martha Stewart has created a plan to transform your backyard into a one-of-a-kind putt-putt course (with no damage to the lawn):
Tools and Materials
Baking sheet and play sand: Makes a fine sand trap
Two-by-fours: Erect barriers for runaway balls with painted two-by-fours (see diagram below for placement).
Cardboard: Used is the foundation for the gopher and windmill
Acrylic paint and Mylar pinwheels: To dress up gopher and windmill (You can also even out a bumpy lawn or make a ramp to a hole by placing cardboard under the turf.)
Electrical tape: To create trimmings, like the flags on the croquet wickets
Colorful golf balls and kid-size clubs: Available online, they double as party favors
Golf tees: Get plenty, and use some to secure the turf edges
A xylophone: This instrument forms part of an obstacle.
Artificial turf: We used 200 square feet of this turf for the greens, and simply cut out rounds for the “holes.”
Plaid fabric and dowel: To make flags, photocopy plaid fabric, cut out, tape to a dowel, and affix a number sticker.
Backyard Nine-Hole Course Ideas (you may want to make fewer holes for younger children)
We laid out the greens (all artificial turf) as shown in the diagram (click here for printable version); they are each between 5 and 10 feet long.
No place like gnome: A wily creature tries his best to block a shot.
Picnic area: The table is both an obstacle and a spot to wait for a turn — just keep feet clear of balls in play!
Sand trap: In a piece of artificial turf, cut a rectangle slightly smaller than a rimmed baking sheet. Fill pan with sand; position rectangle over it.
Waterfall: It’s not exactly a water hazard, but a sprinkler will leave the turf nice and slippery.
Perfect pitch: Golfers can hammer out a tune as they try for the hole (a roll of tape) up a ramp to a xylophone set between two angled two-by-fours.
Sitting pretty: Two folding chairs form a tunnel and provide another comfy spot for a break.
Pinwheel windmill: To make, cut an arch in two sides of a cardboard box and trim the edges with electrical tape. Insert plastic pinwheels into the top of box. Secure handles underneath with duct tape. Affix more pinwheels to the front with tape.
Ruff!: It takes nerves of steel to tap a ball straight through the croquet wickets — they’re embellished with electrical-tape flags — and into the doghouse.
Gopher the gold: Create a cardboard gofer to greet players at the final challenge. Try taping him to a box with a hole cut out of the bottom for catching golf balls.
Carry the traditional golf theme thru your food, decorations and party favors. Set up a food table using metal buckets as a centerpiece. Fill these buckets with treats for the kids, such as popcorn balls, powdered-sugar donut holes, and white chocolate malt balls. Serve juice boxes and sandwiches for lunch….wrap sandwiches in plaid paper for a decorative touch!
Send the kids home with a plaid box of golf-themed goodies. A TY Beanie Baby – CHARITEE the PGA Golf Bear, a Mini Golf Play Set, and chocolate golf ball candy. I found these great green, plaid boxes at Plum Party Supplies.
Images: invitation (tinyprints.com), grass centerpiece (hostessblog.com), golf ball cookies (whippedbakeshop.com)
July 28th, 2009 |
Think about adding an unexpected element to your centerpieces for your next party. I L-O-V-E this idea….beautiful flowers, paired with playful fish…charming, colorful, and totally fun!
Images via Details Details
July 27th, 2009 |
If you are like me, you are always looking for ways to spice up your table setting. I like to change it up – even if it’s just dinner for 2! I love the bold colors and modern lines of the images above. There are a couple ideas that are great for everyday entertaining and are oh, so simple to do:
These can be made out of all different materials! Fabric, oil cloth (pictured above), even patterned paper.
Find a colorful bloom, snip the stem off, and stick a placecard in between the petals. Simple and perfect for everyday!
Serve a signature drink for every party (or week-night dinner, for that matter!). I came across this cucumber gimlet recipe from Epicurious that looks tasty and refreshing for a hot, summer day.
Use different shaped white dishes, but pop your place setting with one bold colored dish, such as a red bowl, a bright yellow salad plate, or a turquoise blue napkin.
Images: silverware pocket (matthewmeadstyle.com), table, zinnia placecards, dessert place (inmagine.com), cucumber gimlet (epicurious.com)
July 27th, 2009 |
It’s no secret that I absolutely L-O-V-E dessert! Chocolate, cookies, candy…..and tarts……lots, and lots of tarts! So I am pretty much obsessed with this idea….I can’t wait to have a party just to try it out!
Instead of making one large tart to serve as dessert to your guests, set up a “make-your-own-tart” dessert bar.
What type of ingredients should you use, you ask?! Well…here are my thoughts:
- Mini Tart Shells (store-bought or homemade)
- Lemon Curd
- Whipped Cream
- Sliced Strawberries
This is a perfect after-dinner activity + dessert rolled into one…enjoy!
Image via Rachael Ray
July 25th, 2009 |
Whether you are planning a romantic night with your special someone, or an intimate gathering of close friends – bring your dinner out under the stars for a picnic!
Set the mood by creating a cozy area for people to gather. Lounge chairs, blankets, big pillows will do – add lanterns, candles and potted plants around to add color and some mood lighting. Serve food that is not only easy to eat, but remember to use serving dishes that aren’t breakable and they should sit well on the ground. Baskets are perfect for this occasion! Gather bowls of different dips, slices of bread, and crackers all into one basket.
Come up with a festive dessert, such as a summer fruit salad with sambuca. Give this recipe from Williams Sonoma a try….
Feel free to vary it according to the fruit available, adding raspberries, peaches, oranges or melons. Adjust the sugar, lemon juice and sambuca to suit your taste. Kirsch or another fruit brandy can be used in place of the sambuca, if you prefer. The critical step is the long maceration, which allows the flavors to blend.
1 pint strawberries
1 cup blackberries
1 cup blueberries
1/4 cup sugar, plus more as needed
Grated zest of 1 lemon
Juice of 1/2 lemon, plus more as needed
2 Tbs. anise liqueur, such as sambuca or anisette,
plus more as needed
Hull the strawberries and halve or quarter if large. Peel and dice the mango. Dice the plum and nectarine.
In a large bowl, combine the strawberries, mango, plum, nectarine, blackberries and blueberries. Add the 1/4 cup sugar, the lemon zest, the juice of 1/2 lemon and the 2 Tbs. sambuca and stir well. Dice the banana and stir into the salad. Taste and add more sugar, lemon juice or sambuca, if needed.
Cover and refrigerate for at least 6 hours or up to overnight, stirring occasionally. Taste and adjust the flavorings before serving. Serves 4 to 6.
Images: stargazing picnic (brightideas.com), pillows (instyleweddings.com), basket of dips (inmagine.com), drinks (helennorman.com)