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

May 21st, 2009 |

Seersucker: For Your Table!

seersucker-napkin-ringsIf you are a girl that loves a little seersucker now and then, you are going to love these!  Seersucker inspired napkin rings from Plum Party Supplies.  Perfect for a pool party, backyard BBQ, or a lobster bake on the beach!

May 20th, 2009 |

A Wedding Celebration at a Country Retreat

Country Wedding (small)

Today’s wedding inspiration has a little bit of country and a whole lot of charm.  A color palette of red, orange and yellow look bright and sunny, this casual, outdoor event is sure to bring pure joy to the happy couple!

Images: flower girls (brides.com), red barn (emilieinc.com), couple (gertrudeandmable.com), bouquet (weddingchannel.com)

May 19th, 2009 |

Napkin of the Week: Sail Away

sailboat

Sail into Memorial Day weekend with this napkin that just SCREAMS summer!  This festive boat would be great for any summer party or children’s birthday party.

Step 1: Fold the napkin. Lay the cloth napkin flat on the surface you are using and fold the napkin in half horizontally. Fold it again vertically so that you have a square that is the fourth of the size of your original napkin.

Step 2: Rotate the napkin. Turn the napkin so that it is in the shape of a diamond with the open edges of the napkin on the bottom.

Step 3: Crease the bottom of the napkin upwards so that you have a triangle. Fold both the left and the right points of the triangle until they touch in the middle of the napkin.

Step 4: Turn down the flaps. There will be two small flaps on your napkin. Fold them under so that the front looks like a triangle again. This time fold them with a line down the middle.

Step 5: Take the left and right points and fold them towards the back until they meet. As this is happening, crease the fold.

Step 6: Pull the flaps. There will be four flaps inside of the triangle you have formed. Pull these flaps out until they look like the sails of boats.

Image via Napkins with a Twist, instructions via ehow.com

May 19th, 2009 |

Summer Skewers

Summer Skewers

Fire up the grill and add a little excitement to your next party with these summer skewers!  Everyone has their go-to kabob or skewer for summer BBQ’s, but these 4 new crowd-pleasers from Better Homes and Gardens will leave your mouth watering!  (and your guests!)  Perfect for a Memorial Day BBQ or just a weeknight dinner on the grill.

Steak & Potato Kabobs

Pineapple & Scallop Skewers

Fontina-Stuffed Meatball Kabobs

Skewered Shrimp & Zucchini with Basil Cream Sauce

May 18th, 2009 |

Summer Treat: Frozen Watermelon Pops!

Watermelon Pops

Looking for a healthy summer treat?  Try these frozen watermelon pops for your next party….

Ingredients

  • 2-1/2 cups cubed, seeded watermelon, cantaloupe, or honeydew melon
  • 1/2 cup fresh or frozen raspberries, thawed
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 5 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon light-colored corn syrup

Directions

1. Combine all ingredients in a blender; cover and blend until smooth. Press fruit mixture through a fine-mesh strainer over a bowl to extract juices. Discard any solids. Pour the mixture into 3-ounce paper or plastic drink cups or pop molds. Cover cups with foil; cut a slit in the foil and insert wooden sticks.

2. Freeze several hours or overnight until pops are firm. To serve, remove from cups or molds. Makes 8 servings.

Recipe (bhg.com), patio (crateandbarrel.com), watermelon pops (corrinekozlak.com)

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