June 4th, 2009 |

Sunflower Soiree

Sunflower Soiree

Sunflowers and black and white patterns – two of my favorites combine here to make one striking party!  The inspiration for this party came from Carolyne Roehm’s new book, A Passion for Parties.  If you haven’t seen it yet, it’s an absolute must-read!  Fabulous ideas and tons of eye candy.

Sunflowers are abundant during the summer months – so take advantage of these “happy” flowers and use them for your next birthday or dinner party.  Mixed with the bold stripes, the sunflowers create a graphic, modern look.

Images: table setting and cabana ( via A Passion for Parties by Carolyne Roehm)

June 3rd, 2009 |

Backyard Movie Party

backyard-movie-partyToday, we are going to forget the fancy invitations, the big, bold centerpieces and the creative placecards….today, we are throwing a different type of party.

Take advantage of the good weather while you have it and host a backyard movie party.  Create a makeshift movie screen and invite friends to stop over for a picnic and movie.

If you are lucky enough to own a projector – you are in good shape!  If not, don’t frete – you can rent one from a local audio-visual store for the night.  Although there are plenty of screens available these days, you can just hang a sheet on a wall or attached to a clothesline.

Set up different tiers of seating – blankets and pillows down front, then a tier of low-to-the-ground folding chairs, and then a row of taller director chairs in back.  If you have them available, you may want to add in a couple of small tables among the chairs so people can put their food and drinks  on them.

Looking to add a touch of ambiance to your “theater”?  Put up some Christmas lights in the trees – it will add a little twinkle!

backyard-movie-party-popcorn-lampServe up movie popcorn and candy to your guests.  Set up a consession stand with different glass jars of candy and big bowls of popcorn.  Place small glasses on the table so people can fill them up with treats to eat while watching the movie.  Plum Party Supplies has popcorn containers that are adorable….they would be perfect!

Now, I know I made a fuss about keeping this simple and not doing any sort of extravegant centerpieces……but, come on?!  Did you really think I could do a party without a centerpiece?!  We need just a little something on our food table and I love, love, love this idea from Rachael Ray….and it’s so simple to do!  All you need are two different glass cylinder vases (the smaller one could even be a tall glass), a candle and popcorn!

It is simple as this: place a candle into the small vase (or glass) and then place that into the larger vase.  Pour the popcorn into the vase to fill up the space in between.  Once you light that candle – your popcorn will glow!

Now, the only decision left is what movie to show!

Images via Rachael Ray Magazine

June 2nd, 2009 |

Lobster Boil

Lobster Boil

I don’t know about you, but nothing screams summer to me like a lobster boil!  Whether you host one on the beach or in your backyard, make sure to create your own little seafood soire this summer.

lobster-boil-platesSet your table using acrylic or melamine dishes – perfect for the patio or the beach!  I love these lobster appetizer plates from Plum Party Supplies – they would be great for either appetizers or dessert.  To add a creative, yet useful touch to your place setting – place a mini colander on each guest’s plate.  Fill the colander with a lemon (to squeeze over their lobster or crab), and a small bottle of wine.  Take it a step further by writing your guest’s name on a sand dollar and tying around the neck of the bottle – what a charming placecard, right?!

Use a galvanized bucket to house your party favors – lobster shaped suckers!  Tie a cute tag on them that says “thanks for coming to our lobster boil!”

Make the food simple and yummy – let the flavors of the spectacular seafood really shine.  Whether you decide to serve steamed lobster, or crab legs (or both!) – make sure you have a couple of easy, complementary side dishes.  My choices would include a shrimp cocktail to start,  fire-roasted corn salad, cheddar biscuits, and slices of fresh fruit.  Oh, and don’t forget the bucket of Corona’s!

Images: table setting (potterybarn.com), raniculus centerpiece (bhg.com), shrimp cocktail (brides.com), lobster sucker favors (theknot.com), crab legs (williams-sonoma.com), beach chairs (wshome.com)

June 1st, 2009 |

Iced Tea with a Twist

grenedine-iced-tea

Try this refreshing summer drink at your next BBQ…

One of my Food Network favorites, Giada, came up with this festive drink:

Ingredients

  • 4 cups iced tea (homemade or store-bought)
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (1 to 2 lemons)
  • 1/4 cup grenadine
  • Ice, for serving

Directions

In a large ball jar (or other transporting container), mix together the tea, lemon juice, and grenadine. Pour over ice when ready to serve.

May 31st, 2009 |

Simplify the Sundae Bar

simplify-the-sundae

Country Living is the magazine behind this genius idea….

To make summer parties a little bit simpler, try dressing up a dozen cones before the party starts to streamline the ice cream sundae process. To make these treats, just dip each cone in melted white or milk chocolate and roll in tiny marshmallows, coconut flakes, chopped nuts, crushed cookies, or candy chips. Set out a selection of ice cream flavors chilled in a tub of ice, and voila!  Dessert is done!

May 30th, 2009 |

Do-It-Yourself Picnic: Reusable Sandwich Bags

stylish-sandwich-bagsLast week, I posted on creating the perfect, modern picnic for the summer.  I just discovered this idea in Tastebud magazine – and it’s perfect for our modern picnic!

Make a simple reusable sandwich bag from oil cloth. There are tons of great prints out there (look at your local fabric or craft store) and can be hand washed after each use.  Stylish and good for the environment – they would also be great for your kids playdates!

Here’s the how-to:

  1. cut a rectangle approximately 8 1/2″ x 16 1/2″ out of oilcloth with pinking shears or sharp scissors.
  2. turn edges under 1/4″ and stitch with machine.
  3. with wrong sides facing each other, fold over oilcloth leaving 2 1/2″ of extra material for the flap.
  4. stitch along sides to form the pocket.
  5. attach velcro on flap and pocket of bag.
  6. enjoy your reusable sandwich bag and hand wash with soap and water.

I found some great oilcloth fabric that you can buy by the yard at Doxie Shop.  Here are a couple that I think would be perfect for these sandwich bags:

stylish-sandwich-bags-fabric

May 29th, 2009 |

10 Money-Saving Tips for Flowers

Brides.com has a great article this week – celebrity event planner, Colin Cowie, offers up his top 10 tips to save money on flowers for any event.  For all of you out there planning a wedding, a charity event, or looking for creative centerpiece ideas for your next bridal or baby shower, birthday party, or dinner party….I hope these come in handy!

centerpieces-small

1. Rather than using expensive cut flowers, use candles and intersperse a few fully blown blooms in between.

2. Consider incorporating fresh fruit and vegetables into your arrangements.

3. Use smaller tables to seat your guests. I like to have 8-10 guests at a 54″ round, and 10-12 guests at a 60″ round. Avoid tables larger than 60″ rounds; it’s difficult to make conversation and you’ll spend a fortune on your centerpieces just to fill the empty space in the middle of your table.

4. Serve dinner family style so food becomes the centerpiece. A platter of grilled chicken, a plate of crispy potatoes and small bowls of fresh green beans placed on the center of your table will look visually appealing and inviting.

5. Select inexpensive materials and use them en mass. Bunches of carnations, Baby’s Breath, Gerber Daisies or even Spider Mums will look rich and lush. The key is to keep them on their own and not mix them with other materials. No filler and no greens.

6. For a country look, instead of buying vases or renting them from your florist, use coffee pot creamers and sugar holders found at your local flea market. When stuffed with herbs and a few blooms, you’ll achieve a stunning country look without spending a fortune.

7. Use pots of planted flowers and herbs instead of costly arranged flowers.

8. Stay away from vases with large openings. Instead, select small vases that can be packed tightly with a few blossoms. Have a few on each table interspersed with candles to provide a rich look without the cost.

9. Instead of renting containers from your florist, use fabric remnants to cover inexpensive cardboard boxes.

10. Use floating candles in vases that have been filled with colored water. Select vases of different heights and size to achieve a dramatic look.

Images: orange and pink table (brides.com), green vases (coutureweddingdecor.com)

May 28th, 2009 |

Retro Citrus Party

I fell in love with this party by Lollipop Events and Designs featured on  Project Wedding!  Love, love, love the citrus colors and bold patterns!  Check out Project Wedding for simple, do-it-yourself ideas to create your own Retro Citrus party.

retro-citrus-party

May 27th, 2009 |

Preppy Summer Wreath

preppy-summer-wreath

Looking for the perfect way to add a little bit of your preppy style to your home this season?  Perfect to grace your front door for summer, or to welcome guests to your next bridal shower or birthday party….this peony wreath is beautiful on it’s own….but hang it with a grosgrain ribbon belt….and it’s preppy perfection!

Click here for instructions from Country Living.

May 27th, 2009 |

Trend Alert: Bold Stripes

Bold Stripes

Freshen up your home, wardrobe and parties this summer with BOLD stripes!  Done in different variations, and every color under the rainbow – stripes are all over the market this season.  I personally love the navy and white combo – it lends it self perfectly to the nautical look for summer!

Images: stripe and polka dot china by kate spade (macys.com), party table setting (via A Passion for Parties), stripe dress (polo.com), napkin (brides.com)

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