Archive for the ‘Decorations’ Category

White Party

March 4th 2011

Some people think it’s a great idea to throw an all white theme party. A white party is just that; it’s a party where everyone comes dressed in white, and the fun of the party is that all the decorations and even the food is close to white as possible. If you are hosting a white party there some things you might want to keep in mind.

First, what is the venue for your white party? This will determine what type of clothes that people will wear. When a person thinks of a white party they might think of something elegant. However if you’re having this white party in a backyard or at a beach, then a white tee shirt, white tank top, or white jeans and sandals are going to be appropriate and in keeping with having a good time at this party. What kind of foods can be served at a white party? Some people might think that they’d have to stretch their imagination, but the point is to get as to as close as white as possible.

20090240032940 5429 lg White Party

So having said that, one can choose to use bread, or bread wrapping such as tortillas or sandwich wraps, and filling centers close to white as possible such as chicken or pork. Lots of savory dishes in particular can be themed around a white party. There are quite a few desserts that could be made around a white party as well. If one uses their imaginations they could come up with a lot of ideas.

Posted by admin under Decorations & Hostessing & party & Party Food | 2 Comments »

Summer Party Decorating Checklist for the Beginner Planner

August 26th 2010

list Summer Party Decorating Checklist for the Beginner Planner

Planning a summer party can be intimidating for a beginner. You have so many things to look into that it can seem like a never-ending stream of concern, issues and worries. Yes, this is true even when the party is a relatively small one.

Fortunately, you have the following summer party decorating checklist to get you through the planning stage. With this checklist on your side, you can organize a successful party with less hassle, less cost and less worry.

Table Settings
The tables are important components of a summer party for the simple reason that the guests have to eat on a comfortable platform. We suggest looking at the following aspects to make for great table settings:

• Crisp table cloths or table runners in summery colors
• Paper or cloth napkins to coordinate with the table cloths
• Dinnerware, which can either be casual or formal depending on the theme
• Flatware from forks and spoons to steak knives and butter knives, if necessary
• Glassware including glasses, mugs and cups as well as water pitchers
• Barware like assorted cocktail glasses, coasters and mixers are also necessary, if you intend to offer alcoholic drinks
• Salt and pepper shakers

And of course, don’t forget the chairs either. Your guests will appreciate comfortable chairs to rest on after the dancing and singing of the party.

Decorations
A summer party decorating checklist will be incomplete if it does not include the decorations for the venue. Said décor will depend on the theme of the party, which can range from just a few summer plants to elaborate lights setup.

• Place candles and lanterns in strategic places like the tables and the trees to provide light as well as act as insect repellants (citronella)
• Set the ambience of the venue with the right music, which can either be provided by a live band or with a DJ using a CD machine
• Scatter inflatable toys on the pool if you are planning a pool party. Add in a few palm plants, mini-torches and even seashells to add a tropical feel

Your choice of decorations should complement the theme of the party. There is no need to go over the top of your budget is tight.

Food
The star of any party is almost always the food since there is no sense in inviting guests without offering sustenance. After all, even you will become hungry with the activities, games and hobnobbing.

We suggest looking at the theme of the party and the tailoring the menu on it. Thus, if your summer party is the tea party kind, then teas, sconces and pastries are the order of the day. If it is a beach or pool party, go for finger foods, soda and lemonade. If it is a barbecue party, meat and beer are on top of the menu.

There are other things that should be on your summer party decorating checklist, of course, like favors. But if you already have these three important things on the list, then you should be alright.

Posted by admin under Decorations & Summer Entertaining | 3 Comments »

Crack Open the Rainbow and Celebrate With a Colorful Birthday Party

June 3rd 2010

If you decide to have a colorful birthday party, use the rainbow as your color scheme. Pick colors from the artist’s palette for everything from invitations to decorations to food. Mark the location of the party with a brightly colored bouquet of balloons tied to the mailbox or tree out front of the party location. Encourage attendees to wear their best and brightest colored clothes to the event.

Send out invitations with every color in a box of 8 Crayola crayons. If it is a kid’s party send out invitations that the recipients can color and return to be included in a coloring contest. Award a small prize for the best and brightest coloring job. Send each kid home with a grab bag filled with brightly colored trinkets.

invitations

Decorate the party venue with red corvettes, blue moons, big yellow taxis, red apples, purple grapes, brown chocolate, purple Kool-Aid, rainbows, pink carnations, red roses, strawberry fields forever, green clover, yellow hay, pink elephants, yellow beans, silver bullets and gold rush.

How would a menu fit into such a birthday party? Start with a big bowl of fruit, crispy vegetables, cheese popcorn and multi colored M&M’s. The colors may clash but no one will notice. For cold drinks include different flavors of soda, juice and Hawaiian punch. If adults are at the party include Mai Tai’s, scorpion bowls and pina coladas with colored stirrers. Make different colored ice cubes for the punch bowl and the cold drinks.

mm1 Crack Open the Rainbow and Celebrate With a Colorful Birthday Party

Nothing says a colorful birthday party by setting the table with red table cloths, yellow napkins and plates and orange cups. Don’t forget brightly colored disks to be used for coasters, colored straws for the kids and the big kids. Cover the serving trays with different colored deli paper. Toss handfuls of confetti on the tables and maybe even the floor, stick balloons of different colors to the walls and ceilings, toss streamers at the guests as they enter the room.

Most food and condiments have a lot of color to them but accentuate the colors with their arrangement on the table. Arrange the mustard, ketchup, mayonnaise and relish in containers that look like a paint box. If you serve food that involves sauce or gravy put them in small paint buckets. I am relating painting with color schemes here. Corn on the cob piled on a platter will be like setting the sun on the table.

For entertainment play songs with colors in the title. Ask everyone to insert different colors as much as possible into the conversation. (“Boy did I have a crappy brown day today.”) Play charades but have the participants act out their favorite color. (“Hang loose with chartreuse” might be an interesting charade.). Movie trivia might be guessing movies with colors in the title. A cool kid’s game might be a scavenger hunt where they will have to find a red sneaker, a red headed kid, a green apple or a handful of green clover.

Possibilities of a colorful birthday party are endless and with a little colorful forethought, it will be successful.

Posted by admin under Children & Decorations & Hostessing & Occasions | 2 Comments »

Growing Herbs

May 11th 2010

onionchives Growing HerbsI love cooking with herbs. I like opening my kitchen door and picking fresh ones as the need arises. Plus you can dry or freeze the extra herbs to get you through winter or bring a whole plant inside in a pot.

Not only are herbs super cheap to grow at home, most start easily from seeds. All you need is some potting soil, a pot, a few seeds, and a little bit of research. You can go to a website like herbcompanion.com to get info on some unusual herbs, planting suggestions, and recipes to use with your bounty. You can also take a close look at your seeds packet.

You can buy seeds online, at a garden store, or even at your local Whole Foods store. The trick is to really read the seed packet. It gives you a ton of information. When to plant, if it is a cool weather herb like cilantro or if it needs the heat of summer like basil does. You can also find out if it’s better to start inside before the last frost or if you can sow it straight into a pot. It tells you how many days it will be before the seeds should emerge after you plant them.

The packet is also where you can tell if it’s an annual or perennial. An annual only lives one season then goes to seed and dies. Basil and cilantro are annuals. Perennials come back year after year. Thyme, mint, sage, and rosemary are all perennials. You may think perennials are the way to go, but while they come back every year they are not totally maintenance free. You’ll need to divide them and put them into larger pots as they outgrow the one from last year. The bonus about dividing them is you have another plant to trade or give to a friend.

There are reasons to grow annuals and perennials. The reason to select an herb is grow what you like to eat!

Posted by Myriam under Decorations & Garden | 3 Comments »

Noritake Colorwave, Modern and Elegant

April 5th 2010

squaredinnerware Noritake Colorwave, Modern and ElegantColorwave is one of my favorite sets of dinnerware. Noritake is a brand that you might see stamped on your Grandmother’s china. It has a long history, as well as being a modern choice for your household.

The color selections are very contemporary. Choose from a blue, chocolate, cream, graphite, green, lilac, mint, mustard, peach, raspberry, sky or suede. You can buy them in a complete 16 piece set, 4 piece place setting, or as individual pieces.

Personally, I bought mine as individual pieces. One reason is I can mix and match colors. This really breathes new life into an otherwise boring week night dinner. No need to run to the store for flowers when you are using your dinnerware as a decorative accent.

The second thing that I love about Colorwave is that you can get round and square plates. You can use one shape as serving dishes and the other for dinner plates. Imagine mixing shapes and colors too. The possibilities are truly endless. I like to use a large round plate and top with a square salad plate.

And my very favorite part about this Noritake dinnerware is that you also have accent plates for each color. The accent plates match the color scheme, but are different than the rest of the plates. For instance, the sky has a blue poppy flower on a barely there blue background while the suede has a tan daisy.  Don’t like flowers? Take a look at the other colors that are available, not all accent plates have flowers or images on them. However they all add to the ambiance that Colorwave provides. The accent plates are great for serving appetizers on or to set the table with. It really makes this dinnerware unique.

There are white plates with a thin rim of color or ones with a thick rim of color that are round. Matching salt and pepper shakers, sugar bowl, and other serving dishes. I like to take a rice bowl, fill it with water and place a few flowers or floating candles in it as a centerpiece.

I love the matching pitcher. It’s perfect for putting in ice water and topping with fresh mint, lemon balm, or even basil. You and your friends will find yourself actually drinking enough water because it tastes so good!

Make sure to check out the Dinnerware Center website while Colorwave is on sale. The sale ends May 31, 2010.

Posted by Myriam under Decorations & dinnerware | 2 Comments »

Have a Healthy Dinner Party

January 6th 2010

veggies Have a Healthy Dinner PartyEveryone needs a break from rich artery clogging fare after the holidays.  So have your friends over for a healthy dinner. Keep it simple and you’ll find yourself having a dinner party every week. It doesn’t have to be stressful at all.

The house may not be as decorated as it was last month, but you don’t need to go all out. A beautiful house plant that you can enjoy the rest of the dark, winter season is well worth the investment. I go to Trader Joe’s to get fresh flowers. They are inexpensive and I separate the flowers in the bouquet into smaller arrangements I put throughout the house. Try putting Asiatic lilies in a small bathroom, they scent the room while they beauty it up.

You don’t need to have the house spotless. It can be an excuse to clean a few things that you tend to put off. For me having a weekly dinner keeps my table cleared of the daily pile of papers it can collect and the rug vacuumed. It works perfect for me, since I procrastinate on my daily chores.

You don’t need to make a meal out of a food magazine. If your friends have a favorite dish of yours you can always make a healthy version of it. I make a version of biscuits and gravy that my friends always ask for. I make whole wheat biscuits and gravy with no fat, vegetarian sausage and fat free milk. You get all of the comfort but don’t regret the indulgence later.

One of my favorite mid-week dinners is slow cooker full of veggie chili or of split pea soup. Be sure to put in dry beans the night before since they take so long to cook, add veggies and seasonings in the morning before you go to work.

Try having veggie burgers and baked sweet potato fires instead of the normal beef and greasy fries. Making a healthy meal is easier than you may think.

Posted by Myriam under Decorations & Hostessing & Party Food & Winter Entertaining | No Comments »

Throw an Ornament Making Party

November 30th 2009

dinnerware ornament Throw an Ornament Making PartyEver since I was in college I’ve hosted an annual Christmas tree decorating party. I’d buy a live tree and all my friends would make ornaments out of things they had around the house. You’d be surprised at how creative you can get when you don’t have the money to run out and buy ornaments. Cotton ball snowmen with felt cut out for their faces, paper cut out snowflakes, fresh oranges with cloves stuck in them all make an unique tree.

Now I have a whole supply of crafting supplies and tools, not to mention access to half price Michaels’ coupons. You can still make popcorn balls, string fresh cranberries, and create paper doll angels. But there’s a wide variety of crafting ideas for you to choose from. You can make ornaments from wire, cereal boxes, silk flowers, beads, yarn, and more. Need some help getting you ideas into reality? Disney’s Family Fun site has a ton of great ornament tutorials. I love the felted wreath one myself.

Decide on a few specific ornaments to make and purchase the supplies ahead of time. It’s a good idea to cover your dinner table with plastic bags and tape them securely underneath. If you will have kids at the party, you might want to put down a drop cloth too. It won’t make you happy if you have red paint on your beige carpet. But with the right precautions, there will be nothing to worry about.

Put on Christmas music to set the atmosphere. If your prefer play a few old Christmas movies or cartoons. Either way it will set the mood for your party. Make a Crockpot full of hot apple cider. Add cinnamon sticks, whole cloves, whole peppercorns, and orange rind to make it taste really special. You can have a nice rum or bourbon for adults to add to theirs if they want. Next year I bet someone will ask you to make it again. It’s always popular at my house during the holidays.

People work up an appetite creating ornaments, so you’ll need to make some snacks. A tray of finger sandwiches is always a welcome sight. Make sure to include something for vegetarians, and make a few lettuce wraps if you have any friends with a gluten allergy. You can use the same fillings in the lettuce wraps. Bib lettuce or iceberg hold up the best as a wrap. They will all look beautiful arranged on a Noritake holiday plate. Assorted bar cookies are another winner. Peppermint brownies and cranberry blondies are beautiful additions to your spread. Your table will be all dressed up for Christmas as well.

Posted by Myriam under Decorations & Holiday Entertaining & Hostessing & Winter Entertaining | No Comments »

Don’t Forget the Centerpiece

November 24th 2009

sm fallcenterpiece Dont Forget the CenterpieceThanksgiving is growing nearer and I’m confident that you have your menu ready. You’ve already arranged to get extra chairs, folding tables, and even silverware if you need it. But have you put any thought into your table centerpiece yet? Don’t get me wrong, the food is the focus of this holiday, but it’s always nice to add a special touch on the table as well.

You can go the traditional route and have some Indian corn cobs, or a basket filled with the season’s beautiful winter squashes. Of course, whatever you pick needs to go with your table linens. You could try a tall rectangle glass vase filled with autumn leaves and pine cones. You could get a square glass vase and fill it with popcorn and a pillar candle. You can even get colored popcorn for a more unusual display. Remember, if you add anything in with a candle; make sure what you add not flammable.

Another vase idea is to find some branches in your own backyard and put them in a large vase. You can add in some flowers as well, to make it a spectacular addition to your family’s meal. Hollow out mini pumpkins or gourds, then add a votive inside. They are delightful candle holders.

Don’t forget about your houseplants. They can go on your favorite Noritake dish surrounded by leaves or mini pumpkins. Use a cake plate to raise it up from the table. Doing this gives any center piece more dimension, and catches the eye more readily. Fresh flowers are always a welcome sight on the table. Try for warm orange colors if you can find them. Also don’t be afraid to get some poinsettias early and use them as well. The white ones are my favorite to have before the Christmas holiday kicks in.

Big trifle bowls of apples, pomegranates, and pears is another dynamic center piece. Plus it’s one you can eat for dessert too! A bowl of citrus can be pretty too, especially when you add in some kumquats and satumas. My favorite functional ‘center piece’ is sliced oranges, limes, and lemons in big glass pitchers of drinking water. It add great flavor and is amazing to look at too.

Try mixing and matching some of the ideas above to create your own master piece. You could create a vase of white roses in a clear vase lined with kumquats. Or add a houseplant into the center of a bowl of Indian corn. Mix dried leaves in with mini pumpkins and pears. The possibilities are truly endless.

Posted by Myriam under Decorations & Fall Entertaining & Holiday Entertaining & Thanksgiving | 1 Comment »

Plan Your Way to an Easier Thanksgiving

November 13th 2009

dinnerware pumpkin with autumn corn Plan Your Way to an Easier Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is coming up fast, so you need to start thinking about it now. No matter how busy you are now, it will only seem worse the closer to turkey day that you begin. Making a plan isn’t doing all the work at one time. You will be making a chore list to make your life easier.

The first order of business is to order a turkey if you want a fresh one. You can try local farmers to see if they still have any organic ones. They may cost more, but the taste is worth it. If you’re not interested in a fresh turkey, go ahead and buy a frozen one. Don’t wait too long, or you may find yourself without a turkey on the big day!

Make a menu plan for the big day. If you are having guests bring something, make sure that they tell you what they want to bring now. This way you can fill in any holes yourself. A typical menu would look something like this:

  • wine – I suggest a mix of red, white and rose to give everyone something they’ll like.
  • soda, sparking water, juice
  • slow cooker pear delicata squash soup or other winter squash soup
  • field green salad with chopped apple and dried cranberries
  • turkey
  • cranberry sauce
  • stuffing
  • mashed potatoes
  • green bean (regular or in casserole form)
  • sweet potato (baked or in casserole form)
  • creamed corn
  • dinner rolls
  • pumpkin pie, pecan pie, or another of your favorite desserts

Make a shopping list so you don’t find yourself running out to the store at the last minute. Include baking supplies, seasonal vegetables, stuffing mix, and add some Indian corn and mini pumpkins to decorate your table with. Order the list by each store you need to go to make it easier.

Make a list of anything you may need to rent or borrow from friends. I always borrow a few extra chairs and a card table myself. Think about silverware, serving platters, and dinnerware too, are you sure you have enough? Now is a perfect time to bring out you best Noritake plates, and your best silver.

The day before give the bathroom a thorough cleaning and vacuum and mop all the floors. Go ahead and make your pie(s) and soup if it will reheat well. You can even begin to set your table if you don’t have cats that are likely to nap on your clean pressed linens. Take your frozen turkey out of the freezer and put in the fridge for the night. Chill the white and rose wines.

You can setup to have a separate kids table, like the one we all knew growing up. If you do it separate or together cover the tables with matching tablecloths to add some extra ambiance to your dinner. Make a center piece by scattering the Indian corn and mini pumpkins on various places on your table. Go ahead and put wine glasses and coffee cups on the table, so you have less running around to do during your dinner party.

The morning of Thanksgiving cook the Turkey, stuffing, and other dishes that need to be made the day you eat them. Set the table early if you didn’t set it the night before. Open the red wine to breathe. Go ahead and open the chilled wines as well and put them in an ice chest to keep it cool.

Most importantly take a half hour before your guest arrive and enjoy the feeling of having everything ready before the last minute!

Posted by Myriam under Decorations & Holiday Entertaining & Hostessing & Seasonal Entertaining & Thanksgiving | No Comments »

Make Some Halloween Trees

October 5th 2009

dinnerware scary tree xsmall Make Some Halloween TreesWhen you think of a spooky setting, one scene that may come to mind is a forest – a haunted forest of course.

The most inexpensive way to set up a haunted forest at your house can be found in your own backyard. If you don’t have any trees in your yard, you can ask a neighbor to help you out, or even buy some fake branches at a craft store.

First, think of how you want to display your Halloween tree(s). In a vase as the table centerpiece you would want a smaller, more narrow branch. But for a large front porch display, you could use branches as large as small trees.

Look for branches that are not rotted or crumbly. We want them to hold together through our crafting, and the bewitching night as well. You want to get some spray paint. I’d recommend black for a traditional look, but you could be bold and use glow in the dark paint. I’m thinking of making a few small ones to line my walk and paint them with the glow in the dark paint for a creepily ‘lit’ pathway. Feel free to match them with any Halloween party theme you may have chosen. Red, silver, green, and purple are also good Halloween paint choices. Not to mention you can glue glitter on them for a glam look as well.

I like to keep my trees simple. Painted black and showcased in a tall, clear vase filled with Halloween trinkets, or in a large fake stone planter stuck right into the dirt. I try to select branches that look more like little trees, with quite a few limbs to hang things from.

Go through your trunk of decorations from Halloweens past, and see what would look stylish on your tree. You will want to add a string or twisty tie to secure them. This is especially important if you plan on having the tree outside, where wind and rain could be an issue.

Part of the fun is decorating your own ornaments. You can use shrinky dinks, glass ornaments, even cutouts to decorate to your party theme. Any craft that you love can be used. I love the felted ornaments that I’ve seen. Just remember to only use weather resistant ones outside. You can dip glass ornaments into a solution of alcohol inks and water to create a ghoulish swirl. Take a look at this tutorial on the Ranger Ink site.

You’ll have a bewitching time making your own decorations. It’s also an opportunity for a tree making party, so invite a few friends over and let them enjoy the fun too.

Posted by Myriam under Decorations & Fall Entertaining & Halloween | No Comments »

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