ALL POSTS TAGGED "Entertaining"

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Centerpieces are one of my most-requested crafts, and with good reason: they make the biggest impact on your party table, and the wrong choice can seriously impact your good time. After all, there is nothing worse than having a spirited conversation interrupted by a towering flower arrangement, am I right? To add insult to injury, cut flower centerpieces are often expensive and only last for a few days.

With this in mind, I set out to create a lovely, low, and inexpensive centerpiece for our holiday party. I started with a moodboard knowing that I wanted to include velvety dried celosia cockscomb, feathery small ferns for texture, and copper for glamour and warmth. Then it struck me–what better container for a long, low, dramatic centerpiece than a length of gutter? Check out the results in the video below:

The best thing about this centerpiece is that with the proper care it will last from Thanksgiving straight through to Christmas. Here is a total rundown of the materials I used:

  1. aluminum gutter, cut to size with tin snips (be sure to wear work gloves)
  2. gutter end caps
  3. copper metallic spray paint
  4. assorted small succulents
  5. Xerographica air plant
  6. dried celosia cockscomb
  7. flowering kale
  8. lemon button ferns
  9. rabbit foot fern
  10. assorted dried mosses

Be sure to watch this space (as well as our friends at Made + Remade!) this week as we reveal the rest of our holiday table setting ideas. And join me next week for another entertaining Weekday Crafternoon video!

We’ve teamed up with our friends over at DIYNetwork.com’s Made + Remade to throw a holiday party, and you’re invited!

Follow along as we craft the party decor, set the holiday table and cook up the menu. Along the way, you’ll get the step-by-step instructions and tips to throw a great party in your home. Catch up on all the posts here.

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I love a party, so when I heard about the Design Happens/Made + Remade holiday party, I jumped at the chance to contribute. And I must say, the projects I made for this party are among some of the favorite things I’ve ever made, ever. To kick things off, my sights were set on the food table. I dusted off a wood burning tool and made this rustic modern cheese board — I don’t think I’ve used one of these tools since summer camp!

This cheese board is a simple afternoon project that you will use for Thanksgiving straight through to New Years Eve, and did I mention it also makes a lovely hostess gift?

Wood-Burned Cheese Board

Stick around, in the coming weeks I’ll show you how to top that board with the perfect cheeses, as well as gift wrap, entertaining, and holiday decorating ideas. It’s gonna be fun, y’all.

We’ve teamed up with our friends over at DIYNetwork.com’s Made + Remade to throw a holiday party, and you’re invited!

Follow along as we craft the party decor, set the holiday table and cook up the menu. Along the way, you’ll get the step-by-step instructions and tips to throw a great party in your home. Catch up on all the posts here.

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Congratulations to our winner Josh, who loves to mix up pumpkin martinis with a cinnamon and sugar rim. Come back on November 1 for another great giveaway.

I tend to go a little overboard with Halloween party preparations. Partly because I’m a lifestyle editor and partly because Halloween is my absolute favorite holiday, I’ve been thinking about pumpkins, DIY costumes and creepy food for months. But you can still have a low-stress Halloween gathering even if you haven’t planned a thing until this very minute. Yes, really.

Here’s your game plan: Make a sweet and a savory snack (say, maple nut popcorn and creepy chips with guacamole) and both kid- and adult-friendly punches. Kids will love our cemetery slime punch (complete with gummy worms!), and adults will be crazy for this Pumpkin Spice Sangria served inside a pumpkin. For a large group, ask guests to bring an additional appetizer or drink to share.

Pumpkin Spice Halloween Punch Recipe

To help you out with last-minute decorations, we’ve partnered with Target to give one lucky Design Happens reader a free party pack complete with plates, napkins, straws, decorations and more. Read on for the full Pumpkin Spice Sangria recipe, plus enter for a chance to win this party pack.

ENTER FOR A CHANCE TO WIN

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If her irreverent personality and great fashion sense weren’t enough to make you love Nicole Richie, just look at her backyard:

Nicole Richie's Outdoor Entertaining Tips
When she’s not acting or designing pieces for her House of Harlow collection, she loves to entertain outdoors at the Laurel Canyon, Calif. home she shares with husband and Good Charlotte frontman Joel Madden, daughter Harlow, 5, and son Sparrow, 3.

She can’t stand the b-word (bohemian, that is), so she designed the outdoor space with a “relaxed and eclectic vibe” in mind. Richie unveiled the newly-revamped space to Domaine Home at a recent dinner party. It’s a stunning mix of classic outdoor elements (like natural stone) paired with modern touches like mismatched, industrial metal chairs.  See the entire space here >>

On her backyard color palette: “It was important to me to keep the color palette strong but not too overpowering. We’re all about having everything be really eclectic and relaxed.” She settled on turquoise, yellow and black as a unifying colorway for her.

On dinner party seating charts: “I’m against assigned seating. I like people to come to my house and feel like they can do whatever they want.”

Nicole Richie's Outdoor Entertaining Tips
On her design aesthetic: “My house has that summery look and feel all year round…luckily for me I live in LA and can get away with it.”

Nicole Richie's Outdoor Entertaining Tips

On her home: “Our house is the one people come to, to hang.”

Nicole, feel free to invite me over anytime! Photos by Justin Coit for Domaine Home

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We can’t all throw lavish parties on the scale of Jay Gatsby, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t celebrate today’s release of Baz Luhrmann’s take on Fitzgerald’s classic novel. Grab a gin-based cocktail (no bathtub required) and celebrate The Great Gatsby with vintage accessories and our free 1920s printables.

1920s Great Gatsby Photo Props

To recreate the lavish style on a dime, print out our free printable Great Gatsby and Classic Glam accessories, then cut out and attach to wooden skewers with double-sided tape or hot glue.

DOWNLOAD THE GREAT GATSBY PARTY PRINTABLES >>

DOWNLOAD THE CLASSIC GLAM PARTY PRINTABLES >>

1920s Great Gatsby Party Printables

SEE MORE GREAT GATSBY PARTY OUTFIT STYLE

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And they’re off! Well, not just yet — but Saturday, the Kentucky Derby will be run and that means there’s another excuse to throw a shindig. And, of course, you’re going to need a dessert for your party. Bridget from Bake at 350 has the perfect sweet for you to serve — Kentucky Derby Cookies!

Kentucky Derby Cookies

Kentucky Derby Cookies

Photos From Bake at 350

Head to the Races:
Mint Julep Cocktail Recipe
Equestrian-Style Decor
Jockey Table Lamp

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Even though I graduated from high school several years back (OK, maybe more than “several”), I still get very excited every late April/early May as students prepare for their own graduations. This time of year is when invitations go flying out, gifts/checks start coming back and if you’re really lucky, your family begins planning a celebration for you because, well — they’re just so darn proud. It’s an all-round happy-go-lucky time. It all makes me want to be a kid, er — “young adult” again.

So, yes — this is why I’m focusing so much on graduation party ideas — I’m looking on with nostalgic envy at the students who will be having them. And, look at what I’ve found today for your 2013 graduate. Who wouldn’t be out-of-this-world thrilled over these adorable candy cup caps from Bakerella?

Graduation Party Ideas

Itty-bitty candy cup graduation caps from Bakerella

Did you have a party when you graduated from high school (or even college)? Tell me about it in the Comments.

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Bloody Marys and brunch go together like, well, Bloody Marys and brunch. While the classic Bloody Mary starts with a vodka base, this spicy interpretation from Elise of A Beautiful Mess begins with a generous helping of curry-spiced, tea-infused tequila. Mix it up with carrot juice, Bloody Mary mix and a few shakes of hot sauce.

Carrot Bloody Mary

Make this drink spring brunch-ready by serving in a mason jar with a salted rim. Garnish with a fresh veggie skewer, a slice of lime and the traditional stalk of celery.  What are you waiting for? Mix one up this weekend.

Get the Recipe

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Decorating eggs is an Easter rite of passage for me and my sister. We’re not doing it “for the kids” since neither of us have any (yet); we just love sketching, coloring and creating our own designs. If you use real eggs like we do, there’s a secondary benefit: Once you’re done admiring your tie-dyed handiwork, you can eat your art (well, you know, the inside part.)

At best, hard-boiled eggs are tender and delicious; at worst, they’re overcooked and rubbery with a greenish tint. Whether you’re making egg salad or deviled eggs this Easter, try this simple technique to get hard-boiled eggs that are delicious every time.

How to Hard Boil Eggs for Easter - HGTV's Design Happens
Get Easy Hard-Boiled Egg Instructions

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If you’re a baker, you’ve likely had that moment of panic in the middle of a tedious decorating project. Since I’m a late-night gal, mine usually happens about 2 a.m. when I’m, say, painstakingly weaving lattice crusts for 100 mini apple pies. Most times, it’s worth the extra effort in the end (who doesn’t love a mini apple pie?!), but when you’re entertaining, simpler is usually better.

That’s why I set out to simplify my Easter cupcakes this year: You can start each of these designs with the same lemon-scented cupcake recipe and vanilla buttercream frosting, and all of the toppings are things you’ll likely find at your local supermarket.

Baby Chick Easter Cupcake Decorating Idea - HGTV's Design Happens

These bite-sized mini cupcake chicks, for instance, start with a layer of robin’s egg blue frosting. Add a couple of mini chocolate chip eyes and turn two triangles of fruit leather into an edible beak, then tuck them into a “nest” of shredded paper or Easter grass.

Carrot Easter Cupcake Decorating Idea - HGTV's Design Happens

This next cupcake is an ode to our March Color of the Month: a mini garden plot of carrots! Dip a frosted cupcake into crushed chocolate graham crackers, then push chunks of coconut-peanut butter candy as carrot stand-ins. Top the “carrots” with a dollop of orange frosting and add a few pieces of green licorice as leaves. I used half of a craft stick as a crop marker, but you could also write on Easter guests’ names and use the cupcakes as tasty place cards.

More Easy Cupcake Decorating Ideas

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Easter celebrations are right around the corner — time to banish winter blahs and freshen up indoors and out with a few springy touches. We’ve gathered 25 of our favorite Easter decorating ideas to inspire you. From quick-and-easy centerpiece ideas to a clever way to glam up your Easter eggs to a free, printable Easter banner — we’ve got you covered.

All 25 ideas have the official Easter Bunny stamp of approval (seriously!) but here are my 5 favorites: 

Delight Easter guests with this creative place setting idea featuring cute (and oh-so-fluffy!) feathered chicks and candy eggs:Set your Easter table with a creative place card like these cute (and oh-so-fluffy!) chicks and candy eggs

Weather permitting, bring your dining table and chairs outside and enjoy Easter dinner al fresco surrounded by Mother Nature’s changing scenery.
Weather permitting, bring your dining table outside and enjoy your Easter dinner al fresco.

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Did you resolve to eat better in 2013? After a month of cookie overload, I’m ready to make some healthier choices, too. It’s easy enough to honor resolutions during the week, but weekend party foods are often heavy on cheese, cream and calories.

Luckily, a few simple swaps can lighten up your appetizer spread without sacrificing great flavor. Here are some recipes to try this weekend.

Carrot Ginger Soup

Carrot-Ginger Soup Shooters
This vegetarian carrot-ginger soup is flavored with vibrant curry spices and fresh ginger. Pureed carrots give the soup a velvety texture without high-calorie cream. Spoon hot or room temperature soup into shot glasses for the perfect party-sized portion. Pressed for time? Pick up a box of prepared carrot-ginger soup, then top each shot glass-sized serving with Greek yogurt and a fresh mint leaf.

Eggplant Chips With Cilantro Pesto

Eggplant Chips With Cilantro Pesto
Baked eggplant chips are sweet, crunchy and delicious, and make a surprising alternative to classic potato chips.  For a seasonal twist, swap the basil in the pesto for kale, arugula or spinach.

4 More Healthy Appetizer Recipes

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It seems like every family has different customs to ring in the New Year. In my mostly-German family, pork and cabbage are musts on New Year’s Day for good luck in the coming year. This January 1, start a new tradition alongside loved ones with a New Year’s Day brunch full of breakfast favorites and modern twists on traditional recipes.

New Year's Day Brunch Table Setting
Flatbread With Arugula, Roasted Tomatoes and Eggs
This egg-topped flatbread offers a twist on traditional breakfast pizza.

Roasted Tomato, Egg and Arugula Flatbread
More New Year’s Day Brunch Ideas

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It seems like every family has different customs to ring in the New Year. In my mostly-German family, pork and cabbage are musts on New Year’s Day for good luck in the coming year. This January 1, start a new tradition alongside loved ones with a New Year’s Day brunch full of breakfast favorites and modern twists on traditional recipes.

New Year's Day Brunch Table Setting
Flatbread With Arugula, Roasted Tomatoes and Eggs
This egg-topped flatbread offers a twist on traditional breakfast pizza.

Roasted Tomato, Egg and Arugula Flatbread
More New Year’s Day Brunch Ideas

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Have a flapjack lover in your house? This may be the perfect holiday gift for him or her.

Designed with a raised edge that gently slopes the plate toward you and an ingenious reservoir for pooling loose syrup, this plate was made for slicing, dipping and delighting in each bite of pancake goodness.

Pancake Plate

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As the resident happy hour blogger around here, I get emails from my fellow Design Happens bloggers all the time with great new recipes for drinks that they have made and loved. Briana recently sent a recipe for an eggnog martini that is now on my list of go-to holiday drinks. A martini? With eggnog? Does it get any better than that? Decide for yourself:

Polar Eggnog Skinny 'Nog-Tini

Eggnog Skinny ‘Nog-Tini

Skinny ‘Nog-Tini
1 part high quality bourbon
1 part spiced rum *we used what we had on hand, blackstrap rum
1 part maple syrup
2 parts almond milk (or whole milk) *we used unsweetened vanilla almond milk
4 parts Polar® Eggnog Seltzer
Fresh grated nutmeg (garnish)
Combine all ingredients, except the seltzer, until foamy and aerated (you can always froth with a mini blender). Add ice, and swirl to chill. Strain into large festive glass; top generously with Polar® Eggnog Seltzer. Top with grated spice.

A note from Briana: I was skeptical at first, but it ended up tasting pretty decent! That said, this is coming from someone allergic to real eggnog who drinks SilkNog every year. The fiancé liked it, too, though, so I think it passes the test.

We’ve got more delicious holiday cocktails to the rescue. Infuriating in-laws? Kitchen woes? Long lines at the mall? Yep, there’s a drink for that. Here are our favorite holiday cocktail pairings to soften any situation the season throws your way.

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