Tag Archives: entertaining

A Spring Table

image via mochatini

Who cares that there is a negative wind chill in the double digits and snow on the ground outside? It’s officially spring! and that’s as good an excuse as any to throw a party. Here are some table setting ideas that are a breath of fresh spring air, because whether you’re hosting Easter dinner or a spring-themed brunch, a perfect meal begins with a well dressed table.

image via on Sutton Place

No spring soiree is complete without flowers. You don’t need to spend a small fortune at the florists to style a table full of flowers. A few supermarket bouquets and some pretty jars or simple vases are all you really need. Put a handful of flowers in each container, the result is unfussy and pretty.

Sissinghurst Castle Dinner Plate from anthropologie

Sometimes all you need to create a spectacular table is the right set of dishes. These painterly plates from Anthropologie are bursting with spring blooms. I’m envisioning these with crisp white linens and gold plated utensils.

image via intimate weddings

A single colour like white, yellow, or in this case, Robin’s Egg blue, is a good starting point when designing a table. Making a bird’s nest out of twigs or grass is an easy way to create a quick centerpiece. The beauty of painted eggs, or even the simplicity of unadorned eggs, makes a lovely substitute for flowers.

image via house and home

A tempting dessert table is a lovely way to turn a meal into a special occasion. Pastel coloured treats and vintage serving platters are a dreamy combo for Easter brunch or dinner. If you don’t own a cakestand here is a great tutorial for making one out of vintage dishes.

image via Red Sole Diary

Of course, you can always ditch the pastels and go bold; lemon yellow and sky blue evoke spring in much the same way, plus they are invigorating. The tulips are definitely in keeping with the casual, fun-loving vibe of this table.

family photo eggs from a subtle revelry

For a family breakfast or brunch I love this idea of personalized photo eggs for place orders. Such a cute way to decorate. Plus it’s a good excuse to dust off those egg cups and put them to use.

Happy Friday Everyone!

Posted in Culture, Design | Tagged , ,

Small Space Entertaining Tips

image via style at home

Have you been thinking about hosting a party this holiday season but are worried you just don’t have the space to accommodate a crowd? Entertaining in a small space can hold challenges, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be done. With some pre-planning you can throw a memorable party in even the tiniest of spaces.  Here are a few party tips that will help make sure your guests have a blast, and that you keep your sanity.

image via freshome

Pre-Party Editing

This tip goes for any size space; before a party or big gathering go through the rooms guests will be gathering in and engage in some ruthless editing. Unnecessary furniture, knick-knacks and personal items can be moved to an off-limits space like a laundry room or bedroom. Guests will feel more relaxed if they’re not bumping into things all the time and you won’t have to worry about things getting broken.

image via a house in the hills

The Ever-expanding dining Table

If you’ve ever tried to seat six people at a four person dining table you know the difficulties. A drop leaf table or one with an expansion panel can be useful, but if you just don’t have the space consider finger foods and cocktails rather than a sit down dinner.

image via Style by Emily Henderson

Party Central

If you’ll be inviting guests over often consider investing in one piece of furniture where all your entertaining supplies can be stored. Maybe a cabinet or a knockout bar cart. It will clear off table space and keep you party ready all the time.  Finding something that offers some closed storage will be helpful for keeping odds and ends under control.

image via marie claire maison


Lighting really sets the tone for any event. If you’re throwing a holiday party use the sparkly lights of the season to your advantage when creating mood lighting. The glow from a Christmas tree or a few strands of white lights can keep the mood festive and distract from the close quarters.

Block Party Conversation Seating set from Designed Goods

Improvise Seating

Don’t have enough couch and chair space to fit everyone? Pull out benches, oversized throw pillows and chairs from other rooms and arrange them in conversation zones around the room.  This conversation seating set is perfect if you find yourself entertaining often. The various pieces can also be used as extra tables or ottomans if the need arises.

la marie chairs by Philippe Starck from hive

Get Stacking

Stackable furniture is a godsend for decorating any small space but it can be especially useful for entertaining. Stackable chairs or nesting tables can be brought out when needed, and tucked away to clear more room once the guests leave.

image via Everything Fabulous

The More the Merrier

Some of the best parties I remember going to were so packed with people it was standing room only. If you keep the mood lively, the music upbeat, the food plentiful and the drinks pouring chances are everyone will have a great time no matter how small your space.

Happy Friday Everyone!

Five ‘Welcome Autumn’ Party Ideas

image via celebrations at home

The Autumnal Equinox is this Saturday, September 22nd and it marks the first day of fall. The onset of a new season is the perfect time to gather friends and family together, so why not throw a welcome fall party complete with apples, pumpkins, campfires, hearty food or anything else that reminds you of this time of year.  Here are five party ideas for getting together and celebrating this magical season.

Whole Grain Pumpkin Pancakes with Apple Maple Compote via honey and jam

Relaxed Backyard Brunch

Move your table out to the backyard and host a casual brunch in the open air; mismatched chairs, dishes and decor will keep the mood relaxed, or you could even throw a blanket down and have a picnic brunch. These whole grain pumpkin pancakes would be a hearty way to fill up before a day of apple picking or an afternoon hike.

image via karas party ideas

Sweets and Cider

This is a great idea for a party where you will be entertaining plenty of kids; set up a sweets and cider buffet and let your guests help themselves. Make some savoury appetizers to keep grownups happy and decorate simply with branches or white pumpkins.

image via mochatini

image via house & home

Host an Elegant Outdoor Dinner Party

Take advantage of all the fall harvest goodness by throwing an outdoor dinner soiree. Set a table amongst the leaves in your backyard and use colours of the season such as red, orange, gold and green to inspire decorations.

When the sun starts to go down set a few of these gourd votives on the table to keep the party going. They are surprisingly easy to make, you can find all the directions here. A row of these would look beautiful lining a walkway as well.

Personalized Roasting Forks from Design Mom

Campfire Smore Party

Squeeze in one last campfire before it is too chilly outside, and while you’re at it why not throw a smores party?  Even though the graham cracker, chocolate, and marshmallow combo is a classic you can try experimenting with dried fruits, different kinds of cookies, or varieties of chocolate.  Provide a stack of wool blankets to keep guests cozy.

liquid apple pie via teroforma

Fig Old Fashioned via the kitchn

Festive Fall Cocktail Party

Stay warm during those chilly autumn nights by having a few friends over for a fall-themed cocktail party. Offer a selection of cocktails in flavours like apple, fig, or pumpkin. Appetizers can be simple and rustic like crusty bread, dips and olives or try spicy flavours to pair with spiced drinks.

Do you have any fall traditions or will you be making a new one this year?

Happy Friday Everyone!

Posted in Culture | Tagged , ,

White Elephant Party

I found a cute little volume in a second hand bookstore. It was published in the late 60′s and it does have that decade’s vibe. It’s entitled 12 Great Parties and it’s a really detailed how-to book on giving a different party every month of the year. It’s like something a wife from Mad Men would secretly have (secretly because I don’t think any of them want to have it publicized that they needed any help throwing a party).

So anyway one of the party ideas that caught my attention is the one for August — a white elephant party. I’ve never heard of this concept before, but a cursory search yielded several results, one of which is a Wikipedia entry, so I guess it isn’t that uncommon.

Illustration of an Indian prince on a white elephant. Image via Art Prints on Demand.

A white elephant is an expression that is used to refer to something in one’s possession doesn’t have any practical use yet is expensive to maintain, or more broadly, something that one doesn’t want but can’t get rid of. It originates from the practice of venerating albino elephants in some Asian countries by feeding them and taking care of them, and not allowing them to be used as beasts of burden.

Image via Purple Trail

So white elephant parties are those in which guests wrap up white elephants in their possession (usually something tacky or outrageous) and bring them to the gathering, where some sort of game is played to facilitate an exchange.

Image via Squidoo

The above motto is the guideline for choosing a gift for exchanging. Buying is discouraged. Don’t create any more white elephants, just use your own. For sure you’ve been gifted with items you don’t want or need, like a garden sculpture when you have no garden, or stuff you may already own too much of, like handmade soaps or towels.

Image via Pretty Clever Decor

Image via Geek Fill

Here are the exchange mechanics suggested by 12 Great Parties book.

  • Each gift is tagged with a funny rhyme to give a clue as to what it is.
  • The gifts are displayed in the middle of the room, to be scrutinized and discussed by the guests.
  • The guests are asked to sit in a circle and take turns rolling dice.
  • In the first round, if a 6 or a combination totaling 6 is rolled, the player selects a gift. If two sixes are rolled, two gifts are selected.
  • When the gifts run out, round two begins. Players who roll sixes on their turns get to steal a gift from any player. Game proceeds in this way until the allotted time is consumed, after which ownership of all the gifts become fixed.

I foresee a lot of fun squabbling and clamoring in the final minutes of the game. This is one party I’d like to throw, would’t you? Doesn’t an old adage say “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure”? At best you get to take home treasure, or at worst just another kind of useless junk — at least it’s a different junk from one you had.

Finally, here are a couple of white elephants that are too cute not to keep.

If you think piggy banks are passe, how about an elephant bank? Image via Holly's Plate.

Amigurumi white elephant. Image via Lue and Sue.

Posted in Culture, Design | Tagged ,

Happy Birthday Leap Year Babies

Birthday balloons, with ribbonsImage via Geronimo Balloon-Troopers, these balloons all done up with ribbon are true show-stoppers, don’t you think?

For people born on February 29, leap years must be a big deal.  If you’re birthday is today, happy happy birthday!  I hope you plan on celebrating in grand style today!

I’ve always thought February 29 was so special. So I was sorely disappointed to not turn up all sorts of fun traditions and folklore associated with Leap Years when I Googled the term recently.   Except of course for this, by way of Wikipedia:  Apparently during a Leap Year, women can propose marriage to men.  And men, it turns out, have to accept these proposals or else pay the hefty fines ranging from a kiss and silk dress (in Scotland) to 12 pairs of gloves (in Denmark). This was a law first described in 1288.  ”Haha” you say, “Because laws are determined by petulant five year old girls?” Indeed yes, and this five-year old’s name Queen Margaret of Scotland.  The tradition entered the cultural zeitgeist in the late 19th/early 20th century.  Here’s a postcard celebrating 1908:

birthday post card

Image via Wikipedia

But I digress…  If you’re throwing a birthday bash, whether for yourself, as a surprise for that special someone, or for a little one in your life, do it in style with some these pretty party favours and decor, most of which have a fun DIY component:


Birthday balloonsImage via Geronimo Balloon-Troopers.  Order these spectacular balloons online (and inflate locally) to delight someone special.

Those balloons above by Geronimo Balloon-Troopers are simply stunning.  They’re also HUGE, requiring about as much helium as 30 regular balloons.  The master balloon-trooper herself just wants to delight and inspire the recipients of these magical spheres, which I’m certain she must.  Making people’s days, day in and out, that’s the life!   If you’re in the LA area you can place a local order and pick them up.  For the rest of us, Fed-Ex will have to do.

Here’s what Geronimo Balloon-Troopers did for Valentine’s Day:

Geronimo Balloons Valentine’s Day from hak lonh on Vimeo.

Party Hats

I must admit I love the festivity of the silly cone party hat.  Elevate yours by following these two tutorials.

DIY picture party had

Image via Martha Stewart

Martha Stewart takes you through a step-by-step guide to creating these fun party hats that truly fete the birthday babe.  These would be fun to use at an anniversary party too where guests could don hats depicting the happy couple over their marriage.

Image and tutorial via Oh Happy Day

Oh Happy Day is a blog that just makes you smile.  The photos and tutorials, the design and writing. Especially hearing about her family’s recent move to Paris for the year.  Swoon.  And here’s Jordan with a lovely how-to guide to making your own party hats.

DIY Birthday Candles

DIY Birthday candles

Image via Design Mom.  Be sure to check out the tutorial on Martha Stewart’s Craft Department.

Don’t forget the candles.  If you’re looking for something to tie into a particular theme, or just don’t care to do a lot of cake decorating, making your own festive candles can be great fun.

Treat Bag

Image via Graham and Olive on Etsy

An elegant take on the traditional grab bag, why not use furoshiki wrap cloths to enclose a lovely take away from your party.  Those pictured above are from Etsy Shop Graham and Olive and are oh so pretty and of course, reusable.  For our own how-to on furoshiki wrapping check out Mandy’s post.

Happy Birthday to Leaplings!

Posted in Culture, Design | Tagged , , ,