Think an all white space is drab and boring? Think again! With small pops of colour you can really bring a space to life, like this ultra chic dinging room!
This unique centerpiece inspired by Anthropologie is perfect for a Christmas or New Years centerpiece. Use it for your buffet table, or your drink station for an eye catching twist on your typical floral arrangement.
Although this centerpiece is easy to make, finding a life-like goose may pose a challenge. I will be searching around a few craft stores this week…and will keep you posted if I find one. As for the eggs, they are real so all you need to do is boil them and paint them a dark shimmering gold, with paint from your local craft store such as Michaels. As for the bowl, use a large glass bowl or as depicted in the photo above a punch bowl, which would tie-in nicely to a drink station.
I really love this simple yet elegant centerpiece idea…so wish me luck on my quest to find a life-like goose that is not “stuffed”. If you have any ideas of where I could find one leave a comment down below!
What could be better than Pinot Noir? How about Pinot Noir sorbet!! This delicious recipe is great for dazzling your dinner party guests and not to mention beautiful in colour. The sorbet is very rich in taste so you do not need to serve a lot therefore, use smaller, shallow bowls to present this treat. In addition, you may serve a dark chocolate dessert such as cake or brownies as it pairs nicely with the Pinot Noir Sorbet.
Makes about 1 quart
What You’ll Need:
2 pints fresh raspberries
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup Oregon Pinot Noir
2 cups water
Combine the berries, sugar, wine and water in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally to dissolve the sugar, then reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and pass the mixture through a food mill, using the fine plate. Or, with a rubber spatula, force the mixture through a sieve. Chill the mixture completely, and then freeze in an ice cream machine following the manufacturer’s directions. Transfer the sorbet to a container, cover, and freeze for several hours or overnight until firm.
Last weekend, I celebrated my birthday alongside my brother-in-law’s, which is just ten days before mine. Since we have such a large family, and it can be quite difficult to pin everyone down for a party, we always combine our birthday’s into one making it easier for everyone to come over, as well for the hostesses (my sister and I)!
Since the event was planned last minute (again trying to pin everyone down for one day), there wasn’t too much time to decorate a birthday theme so my sister and I decided to keep it festive with the Holiday season, especially because all her Christmas decorations were already up and scattered across the house.
The evening got off to a good start with a Whiskey Sleigh Cocktail, which not only did extremely well the ladies but the men drank a few too!
Whiskey Sleigh Recipe
What You’ll Need:
In a cocktail shaker filled with ice, add all ingredients expect for pear slice and pomegranate seeds. Shake and strain into a rocks glass with ice and garnish with a pear slice and pomegranate seeds.
Makes 1 Drink
For appetizers, my sister made some baked Brie with spiced mango chutney, served with baguette slices and apples. The apples kind of make you feel like your eating healthier but you know down deep inside that you’re only telling yourself that so you can eat more of the yummy cheesy goodness!
Baked Brie with Spiced Mango Chutney Recipe
What You’ll Need:
For Dinner, we served multiple dishes including two different kinds of meat which were a ground beef wellington from Chef Jamie Oliver, and maple glazed pork loin from Chef Ross Dobson. These two men rule my kitchen at home, and I suggest you buy all their cookbooks just as I have…you will not be sorry!
As for dessert, I served white chocolate pistachio truffles (made from scratch). I found this recipe from the latest LCBO Food/Drink Holiday 2012 magazine. Although I love the satisfaction I get from making food from scratch, the white chocolate truffles were quite easy to make but extremely greasy/fattening. Let me explain; as I rolled the chocolate balls in my hands to create several round balls the chocolate left my hands VERY greasy and sort of felt like you just lathered your hands in melted butter. This could make some people think twice before eating these delicious treats – I did however eat one (I had too!). The truffles were quite tasty although a bit too sweet. Next time I would opt for using milk chocolate instead!
To bring some good Holiday cheer to your table try adding red napkins tied as bows. These bows are a simple way to add drama to your table and are a great during the Holiday’s since they are reminiscent of wrapping bows on Christmas gifts. Cranberries are also great to incorporate in your Christmas tabletop since they are very festive and can be found in you local grocers throughout the winter.
Sugar and Charm has an easy tutorial on how to fold napkins into bows.
Another simple trick to create a unique Holiday table is to use cranberry garland (which can be found at a Dollar Store or craft supply store) and tie it around the ends of your runner. Although it does not stand out as much, it’s all in the details!
Walking along the beach this summer I collected many pieces of driftwood that had washed ashore. My intention was to create a large centerpiece. However, once I took home the gathered bundles of driftwood and began arranging them on the table, I soon realized that one long piece of driftwood looked much cleaner and simpler than grouping the sticks in a cluster. However, with just one long piece of driftwood something was missing. There was just too much empty space.
Inspired by Martha Stewart’s “Wing it” butterfly party decorations, I decided to use her butterfly template to create patterned paper butterflies which I then glued onto various parts of the driftwood. I then placed reindeer moss around the parts of the wood, which had direct contact with the table, as well as in crevices in the driftwood itself. To complete the look, I scattered smoothed stones of different sizes around the table.
Lastly, for a pop of color I used hot orange basketweave pattern square placemats, purchased from CB2, which not only helped bring the centerpiece to life but also were small enough in size that I could fit 9 people around the table with no overlapping placemats!
Martha Stewart “Wing It”:
Crate and Barrel “Reindeer Moss”:
CB2 “Basketweave Placemats”:
These tumblers will surely give your next dinner party a solid bump in the “wow factor” department. However, don’t go overboard with the amount of guests you invite, since at 58 bucks each, these things don’t come cheap.
These unique drink containers can be found at one of my favorite stores, Anthropology. It is hard to keep your eyes off of these “Vetrario Tumblers” and having them on the table will surely spike up some conversation.
Each tumbler is handcrafted in Italy by Imperio Rossi. Using an intricate millefiori glass making technique, multicolored beads are heated into the glass to create sumptuous patterns, while the rim of the glass is dipped into a vivid coloured glass, which then trickles down the sides.
For more on these tumblers, click on the link down below.
The next time you host a party try decorating the drink’s table/ bar with colorful pompom’s to help direct your guests to the drinks!
If you don’t have a bar then segregate a small area or table to use as a bar, and display all your glasses, punches, ice bucket, and liquor right on the table.
The pompom decorations are surprisingly inexpensive to make, or if you don’t feel like doing that, they can be had for the princely sum of $10 (each!) at any party store. I opted to go the DIY route by purchasing coloured tissue paper and wire at the dollar store. You can visit Martha Stewarts website to find out how you can create your own pompom decorations http://www.marthastewart.com/how-to/tissue-paper-pom-poms-how-to. Take note, that after creating the first two pompoms the last step of the crafting process became very tiresome and frustrating, so try making these with a friend to split that part up evenly. Splitting the last step makes a lot of sense when you are making more than a couple of pompoms!
The instructions do not give you any ideas on hanging the pompoms from the ceiling, so I had to experiment a bit. At first, I purchased a double-sided plastic hook which proved completely useless as it fell off the moment I let go of it. Next I used tape which seemed to be the perfect choice because it worked, but when I took down the pompom’s the tape left a sticky residue and even peeled off some of the ceiling paint, yikes! What I have yet to try is to pinning them to the ceiling using a thumbtack, which I was told could be a good idea. If anyone has any ideas on putting these decorations up with minimal damage to your ceiling please let me know by posting your comments down below!
More Pompom Inspiration and Colors
This year both my sisters and mothers birthdays were missed at they were both out of the country at the time. Since their birthday dates are very close to one another, my family and I decided to throw them a belated birthday dinner with just the immediate family. Even with just immediate family members, we had 10 adults and two kids on the guestlist. The large number of invitees meant that there was no way dinner would be at my place, getting everyone into my condo would be a bit too cramped. My sister offered to host it a her place, more space for everyone to sit comfortably.
As for the dinner theme, I wanted it to be a classic intimate setting, nothing that screamed Happy Birthday, as it was already belated. The table was entirely decorated using an all white color scheme, which included a white tablecloth, white plates, white napkins, white placemats, and white flowers creating a clean and simple table setting.
A few key pieces, all purchased at Crate & Barrel, that really stood out on the table are showcased on the left hand side of the photo above. The first item I’d like to talk about are the white capizshell round placemats. Each placemat is exquisitely crafted out of capiz shell and has natural iridescence. Although this item is a little pricey at $20 per, it is a unique design that will surely engage a conversation amongst your guests!
The second image displayed on the left hand side is called the Teeny candleholder, and was on sale for $0.50. I purchased a total of 12 candleholders to scatter across the table and, as a bonus, they happened to match the Kent hurricane shown in the last image. For the table I just got the large Kent Hurricane for $59 and used it as a centerpiece vase. The only drawback to the Hurricane is that since it is so large you need to purchase a lot of flowers to fill it. In total, I spent $70 on flowers, a mix of white hydrangeas and white peonies, to fill the entire vase, however the overall look was worth every penny!
Next time I host a larger gathering, or maybe even a smaller one, I would like to incorporate shells, starfish, ropes, and driftwood to create a beachy themed table setting!
Capiz Shell Placemat
While flipping through the pages of my new July Canadian House and Home magazine, I came across a delicious Tex-Mex dinner menu in their cooking section. What first drew my attention about this menu was the tableware used in the photos, as it was very different and unique in relation to what you would typically see in terms of a traditional colorful Mexican fiesta. So last Thursday, since my parents and in-laws were already coming over for dinner, I used the opportunity to recreate the dinner I saw in the magazine.
In order to create the look I needed, I first had to buy the appropriate dinnerware and platter to match those displayed in Canadian House and Home. I was happy to find all the items I was searching for at one store, West Elm, at affordable prices. The dark grey plates shown in the images above were $8 each, while the slate platter shown in the photos below was $25, which was the best price I found while comparison shopping. A fun feature about the slate platter is that you may use chalk to describe what is being served. I also purchased a blue woven tortilla warmer shown in the image above for the great price of only $8! Keep in mind that the basket can only hold 6 inch tortillas and nothing larger. You’ll have to get a bigger basket for 8”, or monster 12” tortillas.
Preparing the food was pretty labour intensive as all the food was homemade, but in the end, it was worth all the effort as the food was healthier and more delicious than store bought. The menu was as follows:
Watercress, Orange And Radish Salad
Pulled Chicken Tacos with Pineapple Salsa And Pickled Onion (Below left)
Mushroom Tacos With Corn Salsa And Chipotle Crema (Below Middle)
Grilled Tuna Tacos With Guacamole And Red Cabbage (Below Right)
Salted Peanut Chocolate Pudding (See my BlogDot. Dot. Dot! for photos)
Canadian House and Home Magazine July Issue:
Woven Tortilla Warmer:
To celebrate my one-year wedding anniversary, my husband and I decided to get out of the city and spend a little time with nature. We spent the weekend camping in Allegheny National Forest in Pennsylvania, about four hours away from home. Although the weather was wet and cold, we made the most of our time there by going on hikes when the weather cleared and doing a little shopping when the weather was not so cooperative.
On Saturday night the rain had cleared and we were finally able to sit by a fire and roast some marshmallows. Since we were celebrating a special occasion and plastic cups would not be sufficient I purchased two acrylic wine glasses from Loblaw’s, President’s Choice product line, for $2.99 each. The wine glasses were perfect for camping as they were inexpensive, scratch and shatter resistant while still giving you a sense that you are drinking wine from a nice glass.
On the negative side, these acrylic wine glasses were unable to fit the average cup holder on a fold out camping chair. Since we needed both hands to roast and eat the ginormous marshmallows we individually stuffed with caramel treats, my husband brought over a tree stump to use as a side table as shown in the photo above. The idea was brilliant and I have always secretly wanted a tree stump table of my own thus I was able to enjoy the company of one in its natural environment!
While planning my husband’s birthday this year I came across this numbered birthday cake on Martha Stewart’s online website. I instantaneously fell in love with this cake idea and had to make it for the party, especially because I had already made a number themed photo collage to be used as a party decoration shown in my blog “A Trip Down Memory Lane”.
As excited as I was to make this cake I became equally depressed when I could not find any one color or shade of m&m’s in Canada, as they only sell the standard assortment of m&m colors in a package. After browsing and calling many different specialty candy stores without success, I decided that it was time to take my m&m search online.
I was relieved to find that both Amazon and eBay had a wide variety of m&m colors and shades to choose from, with practical and affordable prices. However, what I did not anticipate was the extremely high costs of shipping the product to Canada. Three pounds of m&m’s plus shipping would end up costing me a total of $100, which is ridiculously high for some candy to be used as cake decoration. I decided that it was time to find a new birthday cake idea and recipe as the cake shown above would be far too costly to create.
With that being said I definitely want to attempt to make this cake again as it has that “wow factor” that I always look for at events. If anyone has any great substitutions or ideas on what decorations to put on this cake give me a shout, I would love to hear them!
Martha Stewart’s “Whose Counting?” Number Cake:
I have always been curious as to how hard or easy egg rolls are to make. In the past I always assumed that both egg rolls and spring rolls would take a lot of both time and effort to make to make yourself, thus forever opting store bought. However, upon finding an egg roll recipe in Ross Dobson’s “Chinatown” cookbook, I decided to give it a try. To my surprise, egg rolls are very simple and easy to make and result in a delicious snack or appetizer! The great thing about making your own is that you control what goes in there, meat, veggies, spices and you get to eat them fresh and not frozen.
For the wrappers I went with store bought (Wing’s brand), but I’ll work up the nerve to try to make my own one-day too. Maybe next time?
After frying up the rolls, I quickly got out two rounded rectangular plates, and placed a shallow square bowl on each for the sweet chili dipping sauce, resulting in a simple yet delicious midday snack.
Janice Minor is a stylemaker who sells some of her products through Horchow.com, an online luxury-mail catalogue. Roger Horchow, the creator of The Horchow Collection, created a retailing empire without ever having to open a single store. Horchow.com offers everything from furniture and luxury linens, to distinctive tabletop designs, lighting, antiques, rugs, and decorative accents from around the world. However, if you live outside the U.S you are not eligible to purchase items from the website but can still order your wanted items over the phone.
Posted above is a compiled image of unique luxury tabletop serve ware that I found on Horchow’s website. These items display elegance with a spring inspired theme. Although, keep in mind that these pieces are luxury items and this luxury comes with a hefty price tag. The most expensive of the items above is the “Morning Glory” cake stand, coming in at $415. Nevertheless, I still wanted to display these unique pieces as they are beautifully crafted, even if it they might be out of reach for most people.
This summer, why not encourage your guests to serve their own drinks through your very own drink dispenser… an essential for every outdoor party! The beverage jar is the newest trend in entertaining, putting a fun twist on the classic punch bowl.
Above are photos of a few types of beverage jars, which I like, but there is a wide range of shapes and sizes to choose from. The ones above can be found on potterybarn.com, along with matching stands. Although beverage jars may get a little pricey, they are definitely worth the investment. Think of it like buying more time to actually talk to your guests and less time mixing drinks. You could justify the cost by giving it to yourself as an upcoming birthday present**.
These jars are perfect for large parties or gatherings not only because they’re self-serve option but also because they look great filled with fruit and whatever liquid you mix. It also allows guests to grab as much or as little fruit to add to their drinks. In my experience, my guests can’t resist and end up eating most of the fruit, which is great because that way it doesn’t go to waste, and I don’t have to deal with sangria leftovers.
You can also have fun with decorating the outside of your beverage jars using different dispenser tags such as the round chalkboard dispenser tag shown in the second photo above, mixing complimentary fruits and herbs into the drink, or using various drink dispenser stands.
If you don’t have a lot of space or money to buy multiple drink dispenser stands, a good option is the “Decorator’s Drink Dispenser with Stand” shown in the first image above, under the title “Unique Stands.” What I like about this stand is the options you have when it comes to decorating the lower glass chamber. In the photo above, the lemons in the stand give your guests a clue to what type of drink is inside the dispenser.
You can also decorate the stand based on the theme of your party. For example, if I were having a beach themed party I could fill sand and seashells in the lower chamber, or if I were having a sweets themed party, I could put candy in the stand…the possibilities are there to be really creative!
Check out Pottery Barn’s website for more summer beverage jars at http://www.potterybarn.com.