April 14th, 2009 |
Looking for a quick, but delicious dinner to serve at your next dinner party?!
As the days get longer this Spring, you will find that your life gets busier! More activities, the kid’s sports start up….your evenings may be getting longer, but you feel like there is less time to entertain. With a little prep work, and a simple menu and table setting….you can still play the part of soccer mom and hostess with the mostess!
Here is a great menu (perfect for Spring!) to try at your next party:
April 14th, 2009 |
I love, love, love this week’s Napkin of the Week. Found in one of my favorite party planning books, Napkins with a Twist, this napkin would bring springtime cheer to any table. You could really adapt this idea to any color palette or use different types of flowers. I think this particular combination is so striking because of the use of one color, just different hues.
Solid color napkins are readily available – I found a few at Pottery Barn and Amazon.com. The construction of this is simple – simply lay the napkin out in a flat square, pinch the center of the napkin and pull up. Gather together about 3 inches down from the top of the point, and tie with a ribbon. After you tie your bow, insert a flower. Voila!
April 10th, 2009 |
Today’s COLOR inspiration comes from the ocean blues and green that I pulled out of a selection of fabrics from Calico Corners. This modern combination will have sun seekers dreaming of the ocean!
Not only do I love the combination of colors – but also the playfulness of these patterns together. It’s great inspiration not only for a party, but also for your home. This would be a beautiful palette for a porch, patio or bathroom.
I recently had a reader write in looking for inspiration for a bridal shower for a bride that is getting married in the Caribbean this year.
Your guest of honor has made this easy for you…
Beach wedding, beach-theme shower!
I always focus on the table setting – creating something that will leave your guests saying “ooh” and “ahh”. But, I think with showers it’s important to remember to make sure you have two different areas for your guests to socialize. Your tables (where you will be seating them for the meal), but also a comfortable area with multiple seating options for your guests to relax during the rest of the party (especially as the bride opens her gifts).
For your table, start by pulling in shades of blue in your linens. Use different shells to create a centerpiece – and this is my favorite part – hang starfish and sand dollars at different heights from your light fixture (or ceiling) to create a seascape chandelier. Use a gauzy, white tulle ribbon to hang them – it will create a nice light and airy effect. If your shower is at night, go ahead and hang some votive candles too – the effect will be dream-like! Tie placecards onto star fish – it will add a decorative element to your table, and make a great favor for your guests to bring home.
To create a relaxing, beach-like environment for your guests to relax and mingle in when they aren’t sitting at your beautiful table – set up a white tent outside. Fill the tent with patterned floor pillows, beach chairs, and small tables for people to put their drinks on. Hang some blue and green lanterns from the top of the tent to get a few more “ooh’s” and “ahh’s”.
Just one more accessory to complete your beach-theme bridal shower: seashell picks for appetizers or desserts! You could make these yourself if you got crafty with some small shells, toothpicks and a glue gun. BUT – to save on time, you can order these and other shell accessories from Wedding Things.
Images: fabrics (calicocorners.com), drinks, seashell table setting and tent(brides.com), starfish placecards (theknot.com), starfish (potterybarn.com), green hydregnas (stylemepretty.com)
April 9th, 2009 |
For my first post on COLOR, I decided to use a piece of Trina Turk for Schumacher fabric. This new Collection is launching this Spring – and makes me dream of decorating a fabulous vacation home in Palm Beach! Can’t you just picture the bold, vibrant colors….the clean, modern, white furniture….the pool in the backyard where I could host FABULOUS pool parties?! Sorry….I’m getting distracted! Back to the post….
Gorgeous shades of melon, pink and sunshine yellow – you can feel the energy come out of this color palette!
I think these colors lend themselves to a cheery brunch – birthday, Mother’s Day, or just a friendly get together. Use these colors as your guide to create a cohesive, vibrant party.
Joyous bursts of color above your table creates an instant celebration.
These dahlia-like pom-poms appear to float in the air; in reality they are hung from the ceiling with clear fishing wire. See Martha Stewart for instructions on how to make these darling pom-poms. You can either carry the pom-pom theme throughout the table by making pom-pom napkin rings in citrus shades to adorn each place setting…..or you could simply tie a brightly colored napkin with a patterned ribbon.
These sherbet colors can easily be incorporated into your food – a lovely pink lemonade, a salad full of citrus fruits, and cupcakes adorned with flowers for dessert. Looking for a cute favor for your guests to bring home with them? I love this idea of planting small, bright colored pots with either herbs or flowers. Dress the pot up with a ribbon and their name….and it will be a darling reminder of your Sassy Sherbet party!
orange napkins, citrus colored pots (hostessblog.com),
flower cupcakes (theworkingdapur via flickr.com)
April 8th, 2009 |
If you are looking to spice up your table, try these festive placecards. Blumebud offers these darling placecard + bud vase in a variety of colors and patterns. What an easy way to embellish your table in a flash….great for those last minute dinner parties!
April 8th, 2009 |
A simple idea from Williams Sonoma: using multicolored winter citrus fruits and the first blossoms of spring is all it takes to make an inventive centerpiece. You can reproduce it throughout the year with the hard fruits and flowers of other seasons.
Choose a wide, low, clear glass vase or container, so that the arrangement will be stable and will allow guests to see one another across the table.
Insert one type of flower; the largest variety first and a single stem at a time, pushing the stems between the fruits to firmly anchor them.
Fill the vase two-thirds full with a variety of citrus fruits, such as oranges, lemons, limes and kumquats. Add water to come halfway up the sides of the vase.
Add two or three other types of flowers in the same way at random intervals to round out the arrangement, creating a pleasing shape and a balance of color.
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma, Entertaining, by George Dolese.
April 7th, 2009 |
I thought I would give you one more bunny-inspired napkin before Easter is upon us…..
This happy-faced bunny napkin is sure to be a charming companion to your Easter-theme party. You need napkins, jelly beans, and licorice strings – these come together quickly (you know how fast bunnies multiple!) so they are great for a party.
1. Begin with the napkin full open, laid out as a diamond. Fold up the lower point 3 or 4 inches and crease the fold with your fingers along the bottom. The thinner your band, the longer your bunny’s ears will be.
2. Fold the folded edge up 3 or 4 inches and crease the fold with your fingers along the bottom. Basically, you are “rolling” the napkin. Continue until you get to be about 3 inches from the top. Press.
3. Fold the right side of the napkin band up along the right side of the triangle (the top 3 inches you left) so that it overlaps the bottom layer by about 4 inches.
4. Repeat with the left side of the band, pointing it the opposite direction. Press.
5. Flip the napkin over and there is your bunny face.
6. Decorate as you like! Licorice strings are great for the mouth and whiskers – as they are easy to cut and shape. Try using jelly beans for the eyes and nose.
Hop to it napkin via Napkins with a Twist
April 7th, 2009 |
Hippity, hoppity, the great Easter egg hunt of 2009 is on its way!
I remember our neighborhood Easter egg hunt as a child as being one of the highlights of our year! Tons of kids, dressed in their Easter dresses and hats, impatiently holding their baskets and quietly planning their strategies. In a matter of seconds, all you’ll you would see were scampering feet as every pastel egg in the vicinity was plucked from its carefully chosen nest. Eggs full of candy, pennies and small toys – oh, it was so much fun!
An Easter egg hunt is a great way to host a casual get-together with your neighbors (who you probably haven’t seen as much this cold winter). Here are a few ideas to get you inspired:
Most would imagine the Easter Bunny’s home to be in a big, beautiful, whimsical garden. With a little creativity, your backyard can live up to the expectations of the little ones when you create a colorful wonderland of fun.
- Plant giant flowers in the yard for an incredible “wow” effect! You can buy gorgeous nylon flowers to decorate your party or make large tissue paper flowers.
- Allot at least five to ten eggs per child. A few weeks in advance, you can begin filling the eggs. with small treats (one per egg), such as fuzzy chicks, temporary tattoos, stickers, small toys, pennies or bulk candy. Looking to buy your plastic eggs in bulk?! Check out Oriental Trading for all of your supplies.
- Create three areas in your yard: one for kids ages three and under, one for ages four to six, and one for ages seven and older. This way, young children can find eggs without being mowed down, while their older siblings get a greater challenge.
- Don’t forget to have some treats for your guests! Finger food such as Easter cookies or cupcakes would be perfect….and put out some tubs of juice boxes for the kids (they are going to need something refreshing after running around looking for eggs!).
To extend the length of your party (because the egg hunt will be over before you know it!), try a couple of games to keep the kids entertained.
- Egg Toss – Have kids choose a partner and line them up in two lines, standing across from their partner. You know how the game goes from here – have them toss their egg back and forth, each toss taking another step away from their partner, until the egg breaks!
- Egg & Spoon Relay Race – For the older kids, separate kids into even number teams. Each team stands in single file behind the starting line and opposite their respective flags, set in the ground about 5 yards away. At the whistle, the first player in each line, balancing an egg on a spoon, races around his team’s flag, then back to transfer the egg onto a spoon held by the next teammate. The recipient races to the flag, and the first runner hands his spoon to the third person. The race continues until one team finishes the course. Anyone who drops an egg must run to the starting line for another before resuming.
Images: Easter baskets (potterybarnkids.com), sign (countryliving.com), jelly beans and chocolate eggs (williams-sonoma.com), bunny cupcake (flickr.com), butterflies (landofnod.com),Easter dresses (boden.com), plastic eggs (orientaltrading.com)
April 6th, 2009 |
A weekday lunch with the girls. I’m thinking something light….
Scallops with Asparagus
- 1 lb medium asparagus
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 lb large sea scallops, tough ligament removed from side of each if attached
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/3 cup dry white wine
- 2 teaspoons white-wine vinegar
- 1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter, cut into tablespoon pieces
Trim asparagus, then cut stems into 1/4-inch-thick diagonal slices, leaving tips whole.
Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a 12-inch heavy nonstick skillet over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking, then sauté asparagus, stirring occasionally, until just tender, 5 to 6 minutes. Transfer with a slotted spoon to a plate, reserving skillet off heat (do not clean).
Pat scallops dry and sprinkle with pepper and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Add 1 tablespoon oil to skillet and heat over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking, then sauté half of scallops, turning over once, until browned and just cooked through, 4 to 6 minutes total. Transfer scallops with tongs to another plate as cooked.
Wipe out skillet with paper towels, then add remaining tablespoon oil and heat until hot but not smoking. Sauté remaining scallops, turning over once, until browned and cooked through, 4 to 6 minutes total, transferring to plate. (Do not wipe out skillet after second batch.)
Carefully add wine and vinegar to skillet (mixture may spatter) and boil, scraping up brown bits, until liquid is reduced to about 2 tablespoons, about 1 minute. Add any scallop juices accumulated on plate and bring to a simmer.
Reduce heat to low and whisk in butter, 1 tablespoon at a time, until incorporated.
Add asparagus and remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and cook until heated through, about 1 minute.
Serve scallops topped with asparagus and sauce. Recipe via Epicurious.
A couple of compliments for our Scallops with Asparagus: to drink, Campari & Soda and for dessert, Strawberry Genoise with Whipped Cream!
April 5th, 2009 |
Get creative with your eggs by hosting an Easter Egg Decorating Party!
The supplies are simple – dozens of eggs, bowls of dye, and maybe some things to add creative designs to your eggs, such as rubberbands, stickers and white crayons. Set the dying station up in the kitchen (maybe use a plastic tablecloth for that table!) and have your dinner table set up in the other room.
Use bowls of same-colored eggs as your centerpiece – one of pink, blue, green and yellow. Festive and modern – springy and bright! Keep your dinner simple, as most of your time will be spent on dying the eggs!
Images: egg decorating pictures (flickr.com), table setting (parents.com)