December 31st, 2011 |
Happy New Years to all of my amazing readers. I hope you have all enjoyed a joyful holiday season, time with friends and family, and a little time to relax just for you. That is exactly what we have been doing this week (which explains the lack of posting). It was time to re-charge our batteries, un-plug for a bit, and also focus on the details of some BIG upcoming projects that needed my full attention!
I sat down about 4 times this week to compile a year-end post, recapping all of the amazing things that we were able to be a part of in 2011 and truthfully, I couldn’t get past January without the post being 10 pages long. So, in order to leave some blog space for 2012, I am going to save you from that lengthy post. However, I am going to tell you that after looking back, I am reminded once again how lucky I am. Three years ago, I was a retail buyer who *thought* she had her dream job and a secret (okay, maybe not so secret) obsession with paper.
Fast-forward three years and I found a new dream along the way. We have a blog with a daily readership that SHOCKS me every single time I look at our statistics; 2011 brought the addition of The Party Dress Magazine. A *test* to see if people would respond….and oh, yes, they responded! Our digital versions have received 3 million+ page views, and we have shipped out many, (many, many) luxe, glossy editions to happy homes.
WH Hostess flourished beyond my wildest dreams this year. We were so honored to be a part of so many celebrations. I truly have the happiest job – I get to design party invitations to celebrate milestone birthdays, birth announcements to help welcome sweet little babies, and holiday cards with our clients darling kiddos on them – like I said, it is truly a happy, happy job. We had the opportunity to work on some HUGE parties, which were followed up with countless features on some of our favorite blogs including HWTM, and Amy Atlas to name a couple, HGTV.com, Nesting Newbies, and a “Doer of the Week” feature on Martha Stewart!
2011 is one to go down in the books. I often ask myself, what’s next? Can we possibly keep this momentum going? The short answer is YES! 2012 is going to be full of new daily inspiration on the blog, new issues of the magazine (which just keeps getting better and better!), new, exciting opportunities, new party collections for WH Hostess and the official launch of our wholesale line!
Yup, life is good. And that is all thanks to you, my lovely readers, clients, and friends. We cherish each and every relationship we made this year – bloggers, “party girls”, magazine contributors, vendors. Thank you for making 2011 so amazing…..Cheers to a FABULOUS 2012!
December 27th, 2011 |
I hope everyone had a fabulous holiday weekend! We took a little time off from blogging and designing orders to spend time with family and friends and just RELAX!! We are back today with some serious inspiration for you from Chris Nease of Celebrations at Home. She put together this colorful party shoot for the holiday issue of The Party Dress Magazine. Read on for all of the sparkling details from Chris:
This new years eve party is festive and family friendly with its bright colors and glittery accents. Inspired by a trio of vases I had in fuchsia, purple, and aqua blue, I designed a party with bright colors and added a whimsical touch with a harlequin pattern. To tie in the countdown aspect of the night, I place a clock and hour glasses as part of the decor. The result is a space that is attractive to both kids and adults.
Bonbons from Bedazzle My Bonbon were the perfect go-to treat to make this dessert display shine. Some were placed on Pastry Pedestals and some were placed on top of cupcakes with coordinating wrappers. Other treats were colorful Sixlets inserted into clear ornaments and tied with an inspirational word for the New Year.
Drinks are divided with blue tinted juice available for the children, and mini bottles of champagne for the adults. To keep the color scheme uniform, I covered the gold foil on top of the bottles with pink foil and tied it along with a straw. Homemade poppers can be opened at midnight and contain candy kisses – for a midnight kiss of course! Guests can also write down their new year’s resolutions and pin them to the board above. Some final details of our family-friendly new year’s party are colorful horns, noise makers, and masks to help celebrate with.
December 23rd, 2011 |
From my family to yours, we wish you a very Merry Christmas! I hope you each have a wonderful holiday full of cheer! As we near the end of 2011, I look back on what will go down in the books as another amazing year for The Party Dress and WH Hostess….all because of you! Thank you so much for all of your support….we’re looking forward to what’s to come in 2012!
Kelly and The Party Dress Team
December 22nd, 2011 |
Whether you are looking for a last minute holiday decoration or are an avid wine drinker….this DIY project is for you! Virginia Philip Wine Shop & Academy came up with this creative use for corks and I think it would make a great decoration for any cocktail party! Read on for the DIY instructions from Virginia:
1 10” diameter Styrofoam ball
Hot glue gun and plenty of glue sticks
10” thin metal
Tons of corks
Rope and/or metal chains
- Pierce ball through with thin metal wire until it passes opposite side. Tie one end in knot to secure, and pull back through until knot is firmly stuck at bottom
- Start anywhere on the ball and in a single line begin gluing corks to Styrofoam. Place plenty of glue on the bottom of the cork and then stick cork to the ball. Make sure to hold down for a moment to ensure glue is cooling. I suggest doing one long row half way around the ball.
- Begin second row of corks slightly off-line with beginning row, making sure to place corks in crevices of two corks
- Continue in this pattern so no large spaces are visible. Each row off centered from the previous one, slide in the crevices.
- Work one side of ball and then once dry, turn ball over to complete opposite side.
- When complete, make a hook with the straight metal and secure to your rope or chain.
- Hang at will.
December 14th, 2011 |
Looking for a yummy treat for Hanukkah celebrations? This chocolate matzo toffee recipe from Maggie Hemsworth of Delish Catering Chicago that was featured in the holiday issue of The Party Dress Magazine is a MUST!
5 sheets lightly salted matzo crackers
1 ½ sticks unsalted butter cut in to small pieces
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 (10-oz) package of bittersweet chocolate chips
2/3 cup slivered almonds, toasted
½ tbsp. sea salt
Preheat oven to 275°F. Line a cookie sheet with a silpat or parchment paper. Place matzos on cookie sheet – you will have to break some of them up to for an even layer. Melt butter in a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the brown sugar and reduce heat to low. Cook, stirring often, until the sugar is dissolved and begins to bubble. Pour the sugar mixture over the matzo crackers. Spread out evenly with an off-set spatula. Place in over and cook for about 17 minutes, until the toffee glistens.
Remove from the oven, sprinkle the chocolate chips on top. Place back in oven and cook for another 3 minutes. Remove from the oven and spread chocolate evenly over the toffee mixture, using an off-set spatula. Sprinkle with the almonds and sea salt. Place in refrigerator to cool, at least 2 hours.
December 13th, 2011 |
Our colorful paper dreidel placecards will dress up any Hanukkah dinner table. So simple to make with our free downloadable template, all it takes is a little cutting and gluing. Click on the image below for the free printables, and enjoy!
December 13th, 2011 |
Hanukkah is known in the Jewish religion as the Festival of Lights, Feast of Dedication, and Feast of the Maccabees. It is a festive holiday of revived hope, faith and spiritual light. A special time of year for the Jewish community, Hanukkah it lasts for eight nights and is the perfect time to celebrate with family and friends. I created a festive holiday party full of ideas for the latest issue of The Party Dress Magazine.
Updating the traditional blue and white color palette with a bold blue, green and brown, I created a collection of paper goods that mixes a colorful chevron pattern with a mod clover pattern in blue and white. The patterns are playful and festive and really pop against a crisp white backdrop. Our ideas for a tablesetting include a textured white tablecloth, a navy blue charger plate, and a paper dreidel placecard. (make sure to download our free printable template!)
After lighting the Hanukkah Menorah, you might want to serve a variety of latkes (potato pancakes) and sufganiyot (jelly-filled donuts). Cheesecake and blintzes are served as traditional desserts, but we always love a good dessert table! Keeping with the crisp blue color palette, we created a monochromatic display of blue candy. We carried our chevron pattern into the display with both candy jar tags and labels on old-fashioned salt water taffy sticks, and add a touch of the clover pattern in as tray liners on the plates that held cupcakes decked out with fondant Jewish stars from Two Sugar Babies. With eight nights to celebrate, Jewish families can plan a variety of celebrations to entertain family and friends. We hope you enjoy our modern spin on the holiday!
December 7th, 2011 |
Some of you may remember my “Mad for Plaid” holiday party from last year. That was the start of my plaid obsession, and trust me, it has only grown throughout the year. I love incorporating this traditional pattern as simple accents in my home, as well as in tablesettings. I showed a few of these ideas in the holiday magazine…read on for some more details.
- A simple plaid napkin can add a touch of preppy pattern to any table setting. For Christmas, I wrapped a metallic bough of holly around it as a festive napkin ring.
- Source plaid accessories for your home. I came across this darling reindeer, covered in a black and white plaid fabric at my local Home Goods. He’s the perfect addition to my home this season!
- A plaid runner is a great way to add just a touch of pattern to your table setting. I like mixing this plaid with my quatrefoil plates…the mix of patterns looks fresh to me.
- You can recreate the plaid pattern in a monochromatic way by layering items atop one another. My example for this is the small table gift I placed at everyone’s placesetting. I wove a combination of wide and skinny satin ribbon in a plaid-like pattern to achieve the look, without the actual busy pattern.
December 5th, 2011 |
I always know that when our contributor, Beth Beattie, signs on to do a party for the magazine, that I will be elated with what she comes up with. I was so obsessed with her “Coastal Christmas” submission to last year’s Holiday Table Challenge, that I asked her to do another one for the holiday magazine. Living in Florida, she has that fabulous “west palm beach” and “coastal charm” influence on her designs that I love oh, so much. Her design did not disappoint, and there are so many lovely details that you can incorporate into your own holiday dinner.
More details from Beth:
For a Coastal Christmas I wanted to use a traditional color but incorporate sea fans and sea urchins in the shape of Christmas trees. The sea urchin trees from Beautiful Details by the Seashore on Etsy and sea fans from Wonders of the Sea were the perfect start. I had a custom graphic created of a wreath with Christmas ornaments and assorted shells for the invitation and menu card.
The tablescape included silver chargers from Pier 1, assorted champagne and martini glasses from Crate and Barrel, silver ornaments from Martha Stewart at Macy’s, crystal votives from Z Gallerie, candlesticks, monogrammed napkins and napkin rings from Pottery Barn.
The create-your-own Berry Sparkle Bar consisted of a premade mixer in a punch bowl with raspberries and rosemary to garnish atop a mirror turned on its back. To enhance the sea fans I spray painted them red and to give the coral a dressier feel, I spray painted it with metallic silver spray paint. Guests ended the evening with cupcakes and a cake with chocolate starfish by Southern Belle’s Cakery.
Images by Leigh Miller Photography