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)

May 26th, 2009 |

Napkin of the Week: Summer Bandanna

bandanna-napkins

For a quick and vibrant table – turn to a summer staple for inspiration – the bandanna.  Sold at most craft stores in a large array of colors (and incredibly inexpensive, I might add) – these colorful squares can brighten up any table in no time!  Check out these great ideas from Country Living:

To make the bandanna napkin rings:

Cut a bandanna into 6- by 9-inch strips. Fold each strip in thirds lengthwise, then fold in thirds widthwise. Sew a button on one end, about 1 inch from the edge. (Choose any colorful loose buttons you may have on hand; they don’t need to match.) Then cut a corresponding buttonhole on the opposite end of the strip.

To make the bandanna placesetting:

This quick-and-easy place setting also makes a sweet party favor for guests. Cut a bandanna into fourths. Fill squares with candy, gather edges, and tie with ribbon. For the name tag, make color photocopies of bandannas. Cut into rectangles, punch a hole at one end, and string on ribbon.

May 22nd, 2009 |

Summer Style

wine-toteThis beautiful grasscloth carrier helps you easily tote your wine in style.  It holds 4 bottles of wine and is perfect for summer picnics, outdoor music festivals or even a hostess gift for a weekend at the beach!  Check out Toss Designs for this fabulous product!

May 22nd, 2009 |

Friday Night: The New Fish Fry

Friday Fish Fry

Remember that old Friday night fish fry?!  Update that concept by inviting friends over for a healthy dinner of cedar-planked salmon with seasoned lemon butter.  Serve up a green salad with serrano ham and a tomato vinagrette, iced tea, and chocolate orange cookie stacks for dessert.

To set the mood for this relaxed, modern patio, set your table using shades of brown.  Fill a long tray with natural rocks. Place small vases with single stems of yellow orchids and small votive candles in the tray.  Light a few torches around the patio for a little extra light.  Another option?  Fill that same long, low tray with lemons and add in a few votive candles.

Images: brown dishes (horchow.com), tablesetting (sheknows.com)

May 21st, 2009 |

Tips for a Modern Picnic

Modern Picnic

The official start of summer is upon us this weekend – and that means it’s time to embrace outdoor entertaining!  BBQ’s, pool parties, dining alfresco in the garden – they are all fun!  But don’t forget the picnic – whether it is the end-of-the-year school picnic, dinner at  a music festival, a picnic on the beach or in your favorite park, or even under the stars in your backyard – picnics are a great way to casually entertain this summer.

So, what’s to set your picnic apart from any old picnic?  It’s all in the set-up!

Take time to plan out your picnic the way you would any party – choose a color scheme, define the space with decorations, and choose a fabulous menu.  Choose a bold blanket to be the backdrop of your party, and surround the area with stakes draped with either lanterns or ribbon, or tiki torches.  Add some bright throw pillows, and a low table to use as your buffet.  (the one pictured above from Crate & Barrel is fabulous – it rolls up, which makes for easy transportation!)

Acrylic or melamine plates and glasses are key to outdoor entertaining!  We all want to be environmentally-friendly – if you can invest in a set of plates this summer, you will definitely use them time and time again.  You can really have fun with these – try to find a bright color, or festive pattern that matches your party’s theme.

When it comes to food, remember that it needs to be transported to your picnic spot in a cooler.  Try to pack a separate one for food, and one for drinks (since that one will probably be opening more frequently).  Pack your serving dishes separately, and arrange your food on them once you arrive at your location.  Don’t forget to pack a sharp knife, a corkscrew and bottle opener, salt & pepper shakers, and garbage bags for easy clean-up.  If your picnic will continue into the night, don’t forget your candles!

The food you serve should be fairly easy to eat – traditionally, sandwiches, fruit salad, even burgers or hot dogs are served.  Looking for a few new ideas?  Try lobster sliders, watermelon salad, and carrot cake cupcakes.

Modern Picnic Food

Picnic image via Lollipop Events

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