Search Results for “hanukkah”

Merry Christmas Eve, friends! Are you prepping for a holiday party? Whether you’re hosting a casual Christmas brunch or an evening cocktail gathering, we have plenty of recipes and decorating ideas to guide your holiday entertaining. Inspired by all the seasonal festivities, here’s a mood board that will leave you ready to celebrate.

Mood Board Monday: Holiday EntertainingCocktail Party :: Open House :: Ornament-Making Party :: Hotel Recipes :: Crafty Kids’ Holiday Party :: Hanukkah Decor

Come back every Monday for an inspirational mood board. Miss a day? See all the posts here.

The holidays are sneaking up on us fast! Hanukkah began this weekend and Christmas will be here in less than 2 weeks. If you’re like me, you’re in gift wrapping crunch mode.

Honestly, wrapping gifts is one of my favorite things about the holidays but wrapping guys’ gifts can be tough — the trick is to keep them seasonal and masculine. For my mens’ gifts this year, that means this awesome blue plaid ribbon (love!) and handy-dandy, works-with-anything Kraft paper.

Another Kraft paper bonus: Thanks to its thickness, you can paint it without rippling the paper. So for Grant’s gift, I painted on a chalkboard gift tag then topped it with a blue plaid ribbon rose (in honor of his bowtie obsession) and a sparkly snowflake ornament.Chalkboard Gift Wrap With Handmade Ribbon Rose

Step 1: I planned to add the ribbon rose on one side and have the chalkboard tag take up most of the remaining space so I first taped on a band of ribbon to determine the tag’s placement. Next I used a ruler to mark out a rectangle, leaving the corners unmarked. To round the tag’s corners, I sketched around a small tin then erased any pencil marks that wouldn’t be covered by the chalkboard paint. chalkboard gift wrap

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We’re counting down to Christmas with a new holiday party tip, decorating idea or DIY project every day until December 25. Miss a day? See all the posts here.

So, you have your holiday party all lined up, decorations are coming into place, cocktails are being tested (!!!) and now you just need to find the perfect favors to send off partygoers. Coordinate favors with the theme of the party, and give them a handmade touch for an ultra-memorable sendoff.

Countdown to Christmas: DIY Holiday Party Favors

What’s your theme? If you plan on hosting an ornament-making party, let their new, handmade ornaments double as party favors. But if you’re just having a small holiday get-together with friends, you may just want to go with something charming and seasonal. Try this gold and burlap basket (left) or these custom-mixed tea favors (right). And we didn’t forget the packaging, either. We have printables, tips and wrapping ideas to give your gifts pro presentation. Check out our favorite DIY holiday party favor ideas >>

MORE HOLIDAY PARTY FAVORS:

The first night of Hanukkah is this Saturday, so you have just a couple of days to prepare for guests. If you’re scrambling to create the perfect dinner table setting, then look no further. Former Design Star contestant Britany Simon styled this haute table setting that keeps tradition alive, while bringing in a few contemporary touches to the mix.

Haute Hanukkah Table Setting

Britany added a twist to the traditional blue and white colors with plenty of hanging paper lanterns and a no-sew table runner.

See More Hanukkah Table Setting Ideas

We’re counting down to Christmas with a new holiday party tip, decorating idea or DIY project every day until December 25. Miss a day? See all the posts here.

You’ve probably been tossing around idea after idea for this year’s holiday party. Steer away from the cliche “tacky Christmas sweater” theme and try something entirely new. Your friends will love it, and it will be the perfect way to end the year.

Host a Crafty Kids' Holiday Party

Try party themes that require more guest interactivity, like fondue or holiday crafts. It’s a great way for different groups of friends to meet and mingle, plus it puts less pressure on the host/hostess to ensure everyone is occupied or entertained.

I’ve listed 10 of our favorite holiday party themes below. The best part? They’re SO easy to pull together because we have the (free!) printables and decorating how-tos right there for you. Party on!

FREE HOLIDAY PRINTABLES:

MORE HOLIDAY PARTY THEME IDEAS:

This evening at sunset marks the start of Hanukkah. People all over the world will be celebrating this eight-night holiday by exchanging gifts with friends and family, spinning the dreidel, lighting the menorah and eating traditional Hanukkah foods, like latkes and sufganiyot.

Host a Sparkling Hanukkah Celebration

Festivities may only be hours away, but I couldn’t help myself. I scoured the net in search of creative Hanukkah-inspired decor and hit the jackpot in the “awesome” department. Look at these:

handmade hannukah dreidel pouchEmbroidered Dreidel Game Pouch :: The Purl Bee

handmade hanukkah wreathsYarn Hanukkah Wreaths From Etsy :: theberkleybungalow / ItzFitz

industrial menorah hannukahMan-orah :: notschlock (Doesn’t it remind you of Erin Loechner’s industrial pipe candelabra?)

modern hannukah garlandModern Hanukkah Garland :: ModernTribe

Don’t you just love them all?! Happy Hanukkah, friends!

(Looking for something last minute? Take a peek around our Hanukkah page for decorations, crafts and recipes.)

Tomorrow marks the first night of Hanukkah (Did you see Kayla’s table setting and recipe ideas?). Before the latkes and sufganiyot hit the table, jazz up each guest’s seat with these sparkling Star of David place cards.

Sparkling Hanukkah Place Cards
To make, combine two Star of David cutouts to form a three-dimensional place card.  Fold the bottom of each side out to make the card stand up. Outline the star with glue and glitter and write each guest’s name in the center using a metallic gold paint pen. Happy Hanukkah, everyone!

Get even more handmade ideas from our 12 Days of Handmade series and our Handmade Holidays feature. Check back tomorrow for another great DIY project!

Hanukkah begins on December 20, which means you have just eight days to prepare for the all the exciting festivities ahead. Are you hosting a Hanukkah celebration with friends and family this year? We have a sparkling blue and white tablescape that’s easy to put together and will dazzle guests with an unconventional menorah centerpiece, Hanukkah gelt and elegant place settings.

hanukkah table setting hanukkah celebration hanukkah 2012 festival of lights

Use mismatched blue and white plates to tie in the traditional colors of the holiday.

hanukkah table setting hanukkah 2012 hanukkah celebration festival of lights

Make your table unique by using a glass cake pedestal to hold the Shamash. Create glittery, three-dimensional Star of David place cards and send your guests home with gelt party favors to end the evening.

hanukkah centerpiece hanukkah celebration festival of lights hanukkah gelt hanukkah candles

Don’t forget the food! Get recipes for potato latkes and braised Coca-Cola beef brisket.

If you’re looking for more Hanukkah inspiration, these quick and easy decorating ideas can be done in a snap, just in time for the Festival of Lights.

Around this time last year, Hanukkah was just starting, and though it falls a bit later this year (December 20-28), it’s never too early to get a jump on the holidays. This Jonathan Adler peacock menorah is a modern way to display the Festival of Lights.

modern menorah

It’s definitely non-traditional, but a clever play on the shape of the typical menorah, with the elevated extra light (the shamash) lining up with the peacock’s head. I can imagine lingering around the candles on this beautiful bird. With lots of latkes and applesauce, please.

Matthew Mead is an incredibly talented stylist, photographer and writer. I discovered his work while browsing an issue of Summer with Matthew Mead. I was thrilled to have the opportunity to interview him and get to know more about him and his team.

All photos by Matthew Mead

1. As I was browsing your fall issue of your online magazine, I noticed that you not only style nearly every story, but also photographed the entire publication. Obviously, you have a natural eye for design, style and photography. What is your background and training?I’ve been styling and producing editorial stories for more than 15 years. I was an English major at the University of New Hampshire but always knew that design was my true love.  My mother introduced me to the work of  Mary Emmerling (the queen of country design) back in the ’80s and I was hooked. Once out of college I began developed a portfolio of images with a local photographer and writing letters to Mary and other style luminaries.

Matthew’s Favorite Potluck Dinner Party Tips

Long story short, I became friends with Mary as she began producing her own magazine and became a contributor. Mary soon moved on to be Creative Director at Country Home and I joined her there as style editor and produced many, many beautiful stories for 12 years. I’ve met hundreds of talented and creative leaders over the years and have been fortunate to work at a level where my work advertises what I can do.

I am totally self-taught in my career … I see my ideas and work in images in my head so I am really able to formulate my final image prior to production or photography. It has been such a wonderful and exciting field of work and I enjoy every chaotic challenge of creating seasonal ideas for my readers.

The photography began about 4 years ago when the bottom dropped out of publishing and Country Home closed its doors. I decided in order to save my business and work in the new “low/no” budget industry that I needed to be a one-stop shop for my clients.

Celebrating Hanukkah: Easy and Stylish Jewish Holiday Ideas With Recipes by Matthew Mead

I learned the photography end and began producing my own work. Aside from what my readers see, I have many commercial clients, including an arm of Dove Chocolate and Lowe’s Home Centers.

2. Of all of the hundreds of features you have styled, what has been your all-time favorite? And which feature has gotten the most attention?

There was a pumpkin story that I did for Country Home back in 2004 that was a very artful look at heirloom pumpkins and the paint colors they inspired. It was a beautiful and painterly story and so many readers loved it. I still get it as tear sheets from many clients.

Matthew Mead: 12 Chic, Easy Holiday Table Ideas

Since I started my own magazine, it is such a joy to be part of every step of the work. I especially like features on artisans and designers and visiting them at their studios and homes. A recent visit was one with designer Tricia Foley. She has always inspired me and now with my own magazine I get to work with her … it is a dream job.

3. You play many roles while while producing the magazine. What is your favorite part of the process? What do you least like doing?

I am part of every aspect of the process. By far, I love picking all of the props and then photographing and styling. Editing and choosing the final images is a dream and having creative control is such a true joy. Not fond of the warehousing process and the distribution of the magazine or picking up and returning props after, but it is a treat to hold the final product in your hands and find that you have really relayed something new to readers.

4. Every page in your magazine is perfect. We all know it takes a lot of work to get it that way and things don’t always go as planned. Can you tell us about a behind-the-scenes disaster and how you recovered the situation?

First, I have an incredible team that has been with me for my career, that includes my wife and two assistants, both named Lisa. Much of the pressure of work comes from others expectations but I have been fortunate to have much of my work be independent of clients on the set. We’ve had a few situations where one-of-a-kind items have fallen off the wall and gotten broken, but one of the most memorable shoots was a feature that included children, ice cream, a dog parade and a visiting editor in chief, all on a hot summer day.

Check Out Matthew’s Summer Clambake

We planned well and placed all the ice cream in a chest freezer in the back of a pick-up and plugged in to an outlet whenever we could.  We wrangled children in one area with games until their time on the set, and kept the dogs separate but occupied until needed. The ice cream was perfect, no one got bit or riled and the day went off with out a hitch. Except the bunny someone brought instead of a dog was too terrified to march in the parade.  But as far as working with both children and animals, it was a success.

5. What is next for the Matthew Mead brand?

We are expanding. The magazine will likely become a nationally distributed quarterly. We now have a beautiful product line, which will be growing over the next year.

We are delving into video with our own YouTube channel so readers will be able to really be part of all the action at the studio as we live, work and create new and simple lifestyle ideas. I am the food photographer for the Associated Press which keeps me busy and I will continue to find more ways to help clients bring their products to life.


“Holiday With Matthew Mead” is available at newsstands, as well as online.

Matthew, In His Own Words

I am 43 years old and have been married to my wife Jenny for 15 years.  I have two grown step-daughters and was born and raised and still reside here in Concord, NH.  I have always felt fortunate to be here in New England as I can really capture all four seasons and make use of all the beautiful, natural surroundings. I have a daylight studio in a nearby town, which is equipped with a kitchen and a large area for pulling together sets. I am a ravenous collector of all things and am lucky to house my collection close by so that I can easily pull projects together for photo shoots. One day I hope to have a destination location where people interested in the process can see a magazine photo shoot unfold, shop a store of interesting props and artisan items and enjoy organic farm to table food at a restaurant.  Its a dream with  miles to go … but you have to have dreams.

As the sun sets, so begins the eight-night celebration of Hanukkah. Around the world, families and friends will spin the dreidel, light the menorah and exchange presents.

The Little Round Table

D’oh! Did you forget someone on your gift list? Clearly “Comet the Hanukkat” looks miffed! This handmade felt dreidel stuffed with organic catnip is sure to put a smile on his face.

OhBoyCatToy: Organic Catnip Dreidel

Whether you’re punting for a last minute hostess gift or looking to shop ahead for next year for your bubbeh, zeyde or mameleh, here are some of our favorite, beautifully designed and cool crafted Hanukkah and Judaica gifts from Etsy.

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Hanukkah falls early this year, so grab that leftover turkey sandwich and start thinking blue and gold. Or not. Thanks to top interior designers, architects, artists and indie crafters, there are more and more decorations that are not too shabby for celebrating those eight crazy nights of the Festival of Lights.

Jonathan Adler

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menorahHanukkah begins at sunset on December 11th. There is still time to pick up some nice new items for your celebration. Check out the beautiful vinyl wall cling, a variety of Menorahs, Dreidels, and some kid-friendly Hanukkah-themed toys for the kids, along with  many other gift items. This Menorah, for example, is a contemporary, yet elegant addition to your collection. Since it is crafted from polished aluminum, it will not tarnish, but should stand the test of time for future generations.

Visit our Hanukkah Celebration wishlist here.

I had a lot of lovely responses and well-wishes after posting the Design Happens Pledge — thanks to all the pledge pals! I’m looking forward to visiting all your blogs in the quest to make good design happen.

Now, back to the everyday. It’s been a super busy holiday season, and Christmas is officially only two weeks away. Normally, this would send me into a tizzy of excitement. However, I am no longer five (even though my mom still tries to make me believe in Santa) and I have presents to bake and boxes to wrap.

I still love the season very much, and no matter what you celebrate, whether it’s Kwanzaa, Hanukkah or Christmas, you can make it a special one for a child in your life (maybe you!) with
ASTROPUNKS — contemporary art for kids and their parents.

astropunks-canvas-prints.jpg
Images from ASTROPUNKS

The illustrations are super cute and colorful, but I especially love the text on each one. It helps create a story and gives children something to latch onto, rather than just a pretty picture. The stretched canvas prints ($105 each) are designed and made in Australia by Sharon Lee. Sharon says she’ll be producing four series each year of differing styles. Can’t wait to see next year’s!

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