ALL POSTS TAGGED "Entertaining"

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Maybe you’re uber-prepared and you do all of your shopping ahead of time, but I know if I was hosting a New Year’s Eve party tonight, I’d be scrambling right about now — and I’m sure my bubbly would be less than chilly. Thankfully there are a lot of pretty ice bucket options to help keep everything just right.

ice buckets

Left column, top to bottom: Nambé “Tilt” Ice/Champagne Bucket, The Bathtub Champagne Chiller, Extra Large Teak Ice Bucket by Jens Quistgaard for Dansk, DIANE von FURSTENBERG Chain Link Ice Bucket. Large image: Top Hat Ice Bucket. Middle column, top to bottom: Waterford Crystal Lismore Ice Bucket & Tongs – Cobalt, Vintage French Champagne Ice Bucket. Right column, top to bottom: Handyman’s Ceramic Pail, Vintage Red Apple Ice Bucket.

I’m raising my glass to you, dear design lovers, and wishing you a 2012 filled with health, wealth, love, happiness and an abundance of style. See you in the new year!

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Last week, we headed to the hardware store to pick up some supplies for our massive sunroom makeover and found ourselves in the plumbing aisle, inspired by this recent DIY we spotted right here on HGTV.com. We’ve been spending so much time working on huge projects with even huger deadlines, crafting something small and fun seemed like a perfect evening activity to take our minds off the gigantic sunroom renovation.

Industrial Pipe Candelabra DIY- Erin Loechner

Our latest DIY project.

Bonus? Halloween was right around the corner and we’re always up for a bit of creepy chic in our home.

I don’t have a DIY to share because the process is completely self explanatory: choose your favorite pipes and build away! Yes, just like Lego’s. Who says kids get to have all the fun?

Industrial Pipe Candelabra DIY- Erin Loechner

Creepy chic indeed!

If you’re DIY shy and need some templates to work from, here are a few fantastic options from around the web!:
1. Nick Fraser’s pipework series is by far my favorite, but requires a powder coating process. Perhaps spray paint would do the trick?
2. This plumbing pipe candelabra makes for a unique holiday decoration, yes? I love the look!
3. And finally, a DIY candelabra video for those of you who really play by the rules.

Happy crafting, friends! I’ll be checking in next Wednesday to share another chic lighting surprise – this time in our master bedroom! See you then!

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I’ve proudly sported a moustache in my Twitter user icon since 2008, so while I may already be falling behind on NaNoWriMo, I’ve had the jump on Movember for a few years now. Movember (moustache and November, get it?) is a wonderful month-long event that involves men growing moustaches to raise money and awareness for men’s health issues like prostate cancer, but even if you weren’t born a man, or weren’t lucky enough to be blessed with a naturally bushy and beautiful ‘stache like the one that I have, you can still have plenty of facial hair fun. Bust out these moustache straws from LittleRetreats at your next party, and I’ll bet you’ll be popular.

mustache straws

How cool would these be at a birthday party, bachelor or bachelorette party, or even a wedding? Everyone loves a good photo op, and trust me, everyone looks better with a moustache. Just look at Tom Selleck, Clark Gable, and Mr. Potato Head. (Don’t forget to donate to/get involved in Movember here!)

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October 31st is right around the corner! It is such a fun holiday to celebrate with decorating, dressing up and hosting parties. Here are a few festive, creative ideas to get you in the Halloween spirit.

1. Host a Halloween Cupcake Decorating Party

Gather the kids, cupcakes and toppings and have a ball! This easy, inexpensive party theme is sure to please kids and adults. The TomKat Studio printable party collection I designed for this theme adds the finishing touches to tie it all together.

2. BOO Your Neighbors

Are you familiar with “BOOing”? If not, you should be! It is such a fun tradition. Secretly leave Halloween goodies on your neighbor’s front porch, along with this free printable sign and instructions. The idea is that they will then BOO another neighbor and the whole neighborhood will get in the Halloween spirit. We were BOOed this weekend, and we’re baking tonight to keep it going. Download Free BOO Sign + Instructions

3. Make a Spooky Halloween Banner

I hosted a girl’s night in last week, and we all made this fun Spooky Halloween banner. Download Free Printable Spooky Banner Letters 
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For October, our trend savvy HGTV.com editors chose teal as the Color of the Month. This lovely shade falls somewhere between blue and green. While researching ideas for using this rich color, I came across a wide spectrum of tones, many of which were called teal but seemed too blue. I think a true teal has more green in it. I compiled a few ideas on how you can use this color in your next event. First up, sweets like candy, cupcakes, sprinkles and candy apples that are eye-catching and easy to serve at a casual or elegant gathering.

tealpartyideasteal sweets :: sprinkles, candy apples, candy corsage, chocolate bar, cupcakes

Paper is always an essential part of the party, at least for me. Use invitations, tags, thank you notes and paper decorations in teal to carry the color scheme throughout.

tealdecoratingideasteal paper elements :: thank you cards, tags, pomettes, tissue flowers

I spotted some great decorative pieces in teal that can add the color and style to your gathering. I love this custom made initial, which could be placed on your food/dessert table or by the front door to greet guests. The gorgeous pattern is fabric, which could be used to make a table cloth or runner.
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After I spotted this silhouette pumpkin on Design Happens last week, I was totally inspired to find ideas for black and white Halloween decorating and entertaining. I am loving what I’ve come across and thinking I may just have to go with this striking palette for my mantle this year. Do you think you could decorate for Halloween without orange? C’mon, get crazy!

black and white halloween ideas

Shelley from The House of Smiths shows us how to create a Halloween vignette of mostly black and white on a budget. This knotted black ribbon wreath immediately caught my eye on Pinterest. I love how simple, yet glamorous is it. Donna from Party Wishes added a few inexpensive touches to her porch to get in the mood for Halloween. And here’s the silhouette pumpkin tutorial featured on HGTV that inspired this post. Isn’t it fabulous?

The white foam pumpkin embellished with a decal and jewels is an easy project with a spooktacular result. My printable cupcake toppers lend to a glam black and white color scheme. Pair with a plastic spider for a creepy look. I spotted this gauze mummy wreath on Etsy and love it. Do you see the skeleton hands hanging down from it? Spooky. Spiders are a must when choosing this black and white theme for decorating or a party. This downloadable print is part of Shelley’s Halloween shelves.

black and white halloween

These creepy plates are freaking me out! Scare your guests by covering up the illustrations with food only to reveal body parts while they’re eating. Talk about freaking out! These real scorpions mounted in a display box will gross everyone out. Living in Arizona, I’ve seen a few in real life, and it’s not pleasant. Need a party favor? How about sending your guests home with a tub of embalming cream? Good news, it’s pumpkin marshmallow scent. Yum. Greet your visitors with this life-size ghost that you can easily make yourself with this HGTV tutorial.

Have I inspired you to decorate with black and white this year or do you think orange is required for Halloween?

Let me know by commenting below!

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“It’s almost too pretty to eat” puts us into cliché territory, but I honestly think that’s true of these edible fall leaves from Sugar Robot. The colors are so lush, and the details so lifelike, it’s like someone collected them on a New England leaf-peeping trip. I can’t believe it’s just wafer paper and food coloring!

edible leaves

These are elegant enough for fall wedding tiers, but also fun as cupcake toppers. You could even use a few to spruce up a pumpkin pie for an extra-special Thanksgiving spread. If leaves aren’t your jam, Sugar Robot is still worth checking out for edible feathers, flowers, butterflies (imagine desserts looking like the butterfly art I posted about and you’re close), and spooky Halloween accents. See? Seasonal entertaining’s a piece of cake.

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Did you catch Anna’s Color of the Month post for September? Your response to indigo was really positive. Readers called it calming, pretty, lovely, organic and many more flattering adjectives. Indigo falls somewhere between blue and violet and is named after a dye used in India and other countries around the world. When it comes to entertaining with indigo, finding inspiration gets quite a bit harder. I have personally never used this color for a party, but after my research, I think it would be beautiful for a dinner party or wedding.

sources :: plate, placemat, coasters, tea towel

What I did find, was that you often see gorgeous intricate patterns paired with items of this color, as seen above in the plate and tea towel.

While searching Etsy, I spotted a few handmade paper items including a heart garland, journal and gift tags. Aren’t they gorgeous?

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There’s almost always an array of delicious drinks at your average summer shindig: Iced tea, lemonade, soda, and adult beverages like beer. However, the cup options tend to be limited to one thing: Plastic cups. Don’t get me wrong, I have an inherent fondness for plastic cups because I associate them with having fun, but I’m not so sure they’re ideal for every bevvie. Studio Qubus’ Sommelier Wine Glasses seem like a great compromise.

plastic cup wine glass

Czech designer Maxim Velčovský perches plastic cup lookalikes atop stems for a wonderful highbrow/lowbrow effect. The shape is casual enough to be informal, but the material and stem make sipping something like a nice Pinot Noir feel a little less “frat party.” Now that’s something worth toasting!

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Men, you can keep your Transformers. Robots are cool, but I get a much bigger thrill seeing The Double bar cart (from the brand-new online entertaining store Society Social) morph into a unique accent table.

Society Social bar cart

As the name suggests, the faux bamboo cart was ingeniously designed with both uses in mind. Great height and a glitzy finish for the table days, wine/stemware racks and wheels for easy entertaining. I love furniture that can mix business and pleasure (and can help me mix a mean Manhattan). Cheers lookin’ at you, kid.

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I enjoy reading about featured blogger Brian Patrick Flynn’s design crushes on Sarah Richardson and Kyle Schuneman. And as I can’t help but have crushes of my own, every month I’ll be sharing with Design Happens readers my favorite designers in the party/event industry. Today, I’m introducing you to Jennifer Sbranti, founder of the popular website, Hostess with the Mostess.

Jenn was literally my “first crush” when I joined the party blogging community. If you’re looking for inspiration, her site is essentially a database of beautiful parties by great planners, stylists and regular readers. It’s always a thrill to have my own parties and photo shoots featured on HWTM. So, I came up with a few questions for the lovely Jenn, and I think you’ll enjoy her answers, her hosting tips and a look at the latest party trend. (Move over cake pops!)

{1} What party or shoot that you’ve styled is most popular with your readers?

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The color team at Design Happens chose cerise as HGTV’s June Color of the Month. In the reveal post, Anna shared a collection of fabulous products along with home decorating inspiration using this fun hue. Some of you loved it and some of you were not big fans. For those who adore this happy, vibrant color, I’m wrapping up our June look at cerise with entertaining inspiration featuring this deep, hot pink and similar shades. Personally, I have a weakness for all tones of pink, so searching for party ideas that incorporate this color was quite enjoyable. I adore it paired with blues, especially bright blue as shown in this gorgeous tablescape.

Cerise Collage

credits :: tablescape, cupcake liners

Planning an event or gathering? Cerise is an unexpected, gorgeous color to incorporate. It works well for showers, brunches and weddings. With such a girly color, dainty details are a must. Dress the part with a gorgeous frock or accessorize with a ruffled clutch. Yes, I am one of those hostesses who coordinates her outfit with the party. Display cupcakes beautifully by adding cerise ribbon and bows to a tiered cupcake stand.

Cerise Collage

credits :: dress, cupcakes, clutch

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How are you celebrating the 4th of July this year? If you’re attending a party or gathering, I suggest you volunteer now to bring dessert. I’ve collected seven easy, festive and delicious recipes. Plus, with the patriotic cupcake wrappers and party toppers I designed exclusively for HGTV readers, you’ll be sure to impress the host and other guests!
HGTV Exclusive From The TomKat Studio - Fourth of July Cupcake Circles & Wrapper - Free Printables

Free Printable Party Circles for Desserts - 4th of July - The TomKat StudioHGTV exclusive :: download free printable party circles

Free Printable Cupcake Wrappers - 4th of July - The TomKat StudioHGTV exclusive :: download free printable cupcake wrappers

I seem to always be in charge of dessert at gatherings with family and friends. I absolutely love to bake {when I’m not blogging}, especially cupcakes. Cupcakes are easy, cute and oh so popular.

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Although our deck is far from ready to decorate (I have strict rules to finish the interior of my home before I can start on the exterior), summer is here and I can’t pretend like you all aren’t outside enjoying perfect evening dinners on your perfect patios. But if you’re not, this post is all about how to build the perfect patio (on a budget!) for every one of your summer whims.

Whether you’re an alfresco dining connoisseur, urban dweller or beach bum, I’ve got a patio design for each of you. Just humor me while I live vicariously through you, OK? Deal.

Small space HGTV Design Happens - designer Erin Loechner - patio furniture urban dweller

You never have to sacrifice style for space.

For the Urban Dweller:
Short on space but large on style? Get the most out of your tiny terrace or mini-balcony by going modern with an elemental table, side tray and hanging planters.
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It’s that time of year when you want to do everything outdoors: eat, relax and of course, entertain. I don’t know about you, but my patio set looks a bit ragged from all the dinners and late nights last year. If you’re like me, you’ll love this month’s giveaway: an All-Weather Wicker Conversation Set from online home decor and furniture retailer hayneedle.com.

Hayneedle.com Patio Set - Hayneedle.com – find everything home

Palazetto Arbor All Weather Conversation Set

This patio furniture set is everything you need to move your living room outside: a loveseat, two chairs, a coffee table and an end table.  Plus, the durable canvas fabric cushions are water- and fade-resistant.

Wanna win it? Just leave a comment below this post. This month’s question: What’s your best outdoor entertaining tip or trick? (For ideas, check out our brand new outdoor entertaining guide.)

You may only comment once to be considered, and you don’t have to purchase anything to win; a purchase will not increase your chances of winning. Odds depend on total number of entries. Void where prohibited by law. Only open to legal residents of 50 U.S., D.C. or Puerto Rico, and you must be at least 18 years of age to win. All entries (comments) must be entered between 9:00 a.m. ET on May 4, 2012 and 12:00 p.m. ET on May 7, 2012. Subject to full official rules. By leaving a comment on the blog, you acknowledge your acceptance to the Official Rules. ARV of prize: $1,499.99. Sponsor: Scripps Networks, LLC, d/b/a HGTV, 9721 Sherrill Boulevard, Knoxville, TN 37932.

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I rarely throw parties. Why? I love my friends, but so much work goes into hosting a get-together, from the food and cocktails to the entertainment and decor. It’s not cheap, either. To successfully throw an amazing soiree, every detail matters. Plus, my standards are very high, since I work in the design world. Fortunately, with an abundance of spring and summer festivities on the horizon, HGTV.com has created the go-to party planning guide for hosting casual get-togethers, dinner parties, bridal showers and more (without the cost and headaches!). Here are a few of my favorite ideas to get you started.

Simple Party Planning Table Place Settings

Welcome guests by creating simple yet eye-catching place settings and DIY centerpieces that coordinate with the theme of your dinner party:

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While I always welcome the new year with a small gathering of my closest friends and family, I can’t help feeling I’m part of a giant cosmic party celebrating with billions of people all over the world. Whether you’re hosting a New Year’s party for four or 40, check out our favorite decorating ideas for ringing in 2011…with a bang.

HGTV Rate My Space: by mypointofview

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When I first moved to Los Angeles, I remember being so madly in love with the idea of dining outdoors on our tiny apartment’s balcony. Watching the sun set over the Pacific ocean with a glass of wine and light breeze in my hair quickly became an after-work habit of mine and I vowed never to take it for granted.

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Erin’s Dining Room Tips

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For many of us, Domino Magazine was a design bible. I have kept every issue of Domino in the past two years and I find myself going back into old issues for inspiration on a weekly basis. Domino billed itself as a shopping magazine — some said it was a shelter magazine — but I felt like it was a lifestyle magazine.

It was one of the first publications to make the Green Movement chic. It brought me into celebrity homes without making me feel bad about my home. Domino made me feel like I was part of a secret tribe of strong, stylish, independent women.

I know it’s borderline lame to mourn the loss of a magazine, but I’m really sad about the death of Domino. Based solely on the uproar in the design blogosphere, many other people are floating in my boat.

Here in the programming department of HGTV, we always chat about our desire to be featured on the “10 Things That Make Me Happy” page of Domino.

So, in honor of my favorite fallen monthly mag, I present you with “The Ten Things That Make Me Happy: Design Happens Edition.”

Who: Lindsey Weidhorn
Where: New York, NY
What: Program Development, HGTV

My Bike

I was riding a vintage Schwinn for the longest time until it just gave out on me. This summer, I was at Governors Island and they were selling off all of the rental bikes because the season had ended. If you live in NYC, go to Governors Island on the last weekend that it is open and buy yourself one of these bikes. They retail for $300. Governors Island sells them for $75. I bought the bike, took it to my bike shop and got hand breaks and some speeders added on for only $35. Now I ride my brand new vintage inspired beach cruiser to and from work every day. It totally beats sitting on the subway in the mornings!

Personal Calling Cards from Crane & Co.

When I meet someone at a non-work related event I give them one of my personal calling cards. You can go to Finestationary.com and design your own unique calling card. I designed the one above using the Crane & Co. cards, but they have lots of fun and funky options all over the site that vary in price and style. I don’t want to meet someone on a personal level and give them my business card. It just devalues the exchange. Business cards are for business contacts, so why not have cards for personal contacts? I hate meeting someone new and standing there awkwardly while they type your number into their cell phone. These cards are such a fun and classy way to pass your info along.

Laura Mercier Creme Brulee Body Cream

This cream is expensive but TRUST ME…once you buy it, you’ll never spend money on perfume again. This cream smells like warm vanilla and it makes your skin feel like butter. You can buy it at Sephora.

Frye Cowboy Boots

I like to think of myself as an urban cowgirl (my bike is my horse). I bought these boots 5 years ago. I wear them at least twice a week and they are still in great condition. They’ve only gotten better with age. They take a boring all black outfit and give it a fun twist. They are impeccably designed and absurdly comfortable.

My Polaroid Camera

Ever since they announced the end of Polaroid film I have been buying packs like it’s my job. I love my Polaroid camera. I love how authentic and in the moment a Polaroid picture feels. I’m not a camera snob, but no digital image will ever feel as good as a Polaroid picture. Also, a Polaroid camera is a great conversation starter. I have an entire wall in my apartment devoted to my Polaroid pictures. When people come over to my place they spend the first 20 minutes staring at the wall.

Cashmere Herringbone Throw

Toastis one of my favorite stores. Unfortunately they are only in the UK but they do have an online store to make up for that. Toast specializes in comfort. This deeply soft, pure cashmere throw is from Scotland. If I am in my apartment, I have this blanket wrapped around me. It is the softest most amazing blanket in the history of blankets.

Apples to Apples

This is one of my favorite party games. If you’re entertaining and some of your guests don’t know each other, this game is a great icebreaker. This game will have you and your friends on the floor laughing.

Notting Hill

I’m just a girl standing in front of a boy…Asking him to love me. My heart breaks every time I watch that scene. Notting Hill is my “trapped on a desert island with only one movie” movie.

Diptyque Feu de Bois (Firewood) Candle

I know this is extravagant. $65 for a candle, in a recession is insane. I get it, but I’m addicted. When I was a kid, my mother would make a fire every winter night. The crackling and the smell of wood burning always makes me feel at home when it is cold out. Wood burning, for me, is the smell of winter with my family. Here in Manhattan one out of every zillion people are lucky enough to have a working wood burning fire place. I am not one of those lucky people. So I buy this candle. It smells like winter and it lasts forever. You can get it on Amazon.

Crumbs Cupcakes

Here’s a little secret about the HGTV programming team…We LOVE CUPCAKES! It’s insane. We eat cupcakes all the time. We have been known to schedule “Cupcake Meetings” on our calendars on exceptionally busy days to lift spirits. Lately we have been getting Magnolia Cupcakes, but Crumbs is still, hands-down, our favorite cupcake spot. They have the craziest flavors, cupcakes you couldn’t even dream of. My personal favorite…The Fluffernutter Cupcake. Vanilla cake, marshmallow butter cream filling, vanilla frosting mixed with Peanutbutter and drizzled with white chocolate.

I know I’m not alone in always wanting to be in Domino’s “10 Things That Make Me Happy.” So, in the spirit of Domino Magazine…What Makes YOU happy?

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Last year my grandmother called me and told me that she was throwing a Superbowl party at her home. About 10 minutes into the conversation I realized that she had no clue what the Superbowl was. She was preparing a 4 course, sit-down meal for 12 people! So I staged a Superbowl party intervention.

The most important part of throwing a party is to understand what you are celebrating. In the case of a Superbowl party, you need to plan your event around the television screen. First, clear your knick-knacks off of every table that surrounds the television area. Those tables should be for food and drinks, because no one wants to walk too far away from the big game.

Designate one table for the main dish, in this case I ordered sub sandwiches. I like to figure 2 feet for every 5 people when ordering a Sub. On that same table you can put a nice big salad and some big plates, heavy duty napkins and cutlery. A few years ago I bought 2 dozen cafeteria trays, and every Superbowl I put a piece of construction paper (usually in my home team’s colors) on each one and stack them next to the sandwiches. This way, people know its okay to take their food back to the couch with them, and they have a tray to eat over.

It gives your party a fun and casual vibe. Cafeteria trays cost about $2 each at a restaurant supply store and they are sold online for about the same price. (Fun tip: use them for spontaneous backyard sledding when winter comes!)  Scatter salty snacks on side tables close to couches, so people can reach-n-eat.

Craque is a new snack sold on Etsty (HERE). It’s my Superbowl Snack Pick. They sell Craque Corn (popcorn dunked in chocolate and peanut butter, covered in powdered sugar) and Original Craque (chocolate and peanut butter in a thin crunchy shell, covered in powdered sugar). Put bowls of this delicious snack out on the table and it will be gone before half time. Added bonus, Craque is handmade, and supporting the Handmade Movement gives you big-time bonus points!

On the coffee table place a veggie platter with dipping sauce and hot wngs with dipping sauce. Because hot wings leave a mess, I put metal buckets on the ground under the coffee table to hold discarded wing scraps and napkins.

The buckets, like the cafeteria trays reinforce the fun, casual vibe of the party. Last, I keep coolers filled with beer and soda next to the couches to make it feel more like a parking lot tailgate party.

For game watching fun I hand out Bad Call bricks. They are really just pieces of foam painted in red. Whenever someone thinks the ref made a bad call, they can throw the brick at the television. A Superbowl Point Spread Pool is also a fun activity for the party. This pool calls for no skill or knowledge of the game of football, so it’s fun for everyone. Making one is super easy; all you need is a big piece of paper and a big marker. Learn to make one HERE.  Last but certainly not least, remember to have fun! If the host is having fun then the guests will follow!

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  • As seen on the HGTV series, House Hunters Renovation

  • As seen on the HGTV series, House Hunters Renovation

  • As seen on the HGTV series, House Hunters Renovation

  • As seen on the HGTV series, House Hunters Renovation