Posts Tagged ‘entertaining’

Thanksgiving falls on the last Thursday of the month this year, so we now have extra time to plan our table settings and our menu. As a book lover, I fell in love with this photo. I use books all the time to decorate and a dining room table or sideboard is no exception. Select books with autumnal-colored spines or choose a theme and set out books with relevant topics. Use them as pedestals for all kinds of decorations.

A wooden bowl or trug (basket) can hold a variety of things, but I think these persimmons are especially pleasing as a centerpiece. Their vibrant orange color works well when you mix in other goodies. Using everyday objects to decorate your holiday table is as easy as filling a teapot with a small bouquet of mums. Fruits and nuts not only make lovely decorations, they can also become part of the meal. Pass around the cheese platter after dinner and enjoy. Pumpkins are always welcomed on Thanksgiving, but who says they have to be orange? Paint or gilt (gold or silver) a collection of sugar pumpkins and then wrap them in bittersweet.

Nature once again makes the best decorations. I’m just nuts about nuts. My preferred variety? Hazelnuts. I love to fill bowls or glass cylinders with or without candles. My mother-in-law just gave me a bag of cranberries picked straight from the bog. Although I know I’ll need to buy more from the store, these cranberries are extra special to me and I’ll put them to good use. Grab those remaining leaves and preserve them to use as place cards.

More Thanksgiving inspiration: Thanksgiving Table Settings, Vintage: Bringing Back the Relish Tray, and Cranberries. Enjoy!

Kim Merritt – http://beautifullivingstyle.blogspot.com/
Images via marthastewart.com, Confessions of a Plate Addict, potterybarn.com, interiorsbystudiom.com

Read Full Post »

We’ve just had our third frost of the year. The leaves are scattered on the lawn and there is a definite nip in the air. Soon the house will be un-haunted and my harvest decorations will make an appearance. I was inspired by some of the photos I posted to my Pinterest board and I wanted to share some thoughts and ideas on how you too can cozy up your home for fall.

We are fortunate to have an abundance of birch trees here in New Hampshire. I like to use the fallen trees on my property as props. I have a large branch that I use on my porch which I sometimes cover in white lights. I also cut up a tree or two and use the logs as hearth decorations in the warmer months when the fireplaces are no longer in use. But I think my favorite way to use these trees is to cut small logs and then hollow them out to use as containers just like you see in the top left photo above. Simply cut a hole into the center as wide as you’d like and then insert a waterproof container inside. (You can use them as a vases or candleholders.)

Also I’m not a huge wreath fan, but I do like to use them in creative ways. I’m drawn to this berry wreath because of the addition of the letter (cut from sturdy cardstock or thin plywood depending on how protected the door is and then painted), and simple decoration. You could even choose red berries instead and hang it on your door straight through Christmas.

My sister-in-law brought me some Ponderosa pine cones from her tip out west years ago. My collection sits in a half-round basket that hangs on my kitchen wall and I use the rest for decoration. I sit one on top of a candlestick, I use them to hide the Christmas tree base, and I tuck them into my living room bookcase. They are works of art all own their own.

I really want to mix up my Thanksgiving table this year and the photo on the bottom right above is my inspiration. I already have the rattan chargers, the garden statuary, and my Spode turkey plates, now I just have to pull together some other key elements that will combine red, orange, and gold together. These vintage leaf plates from Etsy will do the trick. (Take a look at a few other Thanksgiving table decorations here.)

Nature will always inspire my decorating regardless of the season. I like lots of texture so anytime I can bring something outdoors in, I do. When creating any type of table setting, it’s best to layer a variety of different materials (shapes, sizes, colors) together. If you don’t have rattan chargers, why not use some grapevine to wrap around your dishes. You could even use a grapevine wreath if you find the right size and if it doesn’t happen to be growing wild in your backyard. Dried leaves, branches, berries, pumpkins, gourds…these are just a few of the things that you can use to add style to your fall home and for very little money. And I’m wild about hazelnuts. I use them as filler in decorative dishes, and in glass hurricanes surrounding a candle or two.

Kimberly Merritt – http://beautifullivingstyle.blogspot.com/

images via stylemepretty.com, etsy.com, frenchcountrycottage.blogspot.com, homeiswheretheboatis.wordpress.com, stonegable.blogspot.com, pin4fun8634.blogspot.com, ruthdent.blogspot.com, thefullerview.tumblr.com

Read Full Post »


People are drinking more. Honest, they are. Not sure if it is an escape from the economic climate, or just a fun, entertaining trend, but I have been in quite a few homes lately that have a bar area. Martini’s were definitely in last year, and now it seems to be a mixture of old fashioned hard liquor, straight up, and a heck of a lot of homemade concoctions. People are even buying Moonshine (who knew you could?).

So, whatever the reason, and even if your favorite drink is sparkling water with a slice of lemon, why not get creative, and make your bar area a decorative part of your home? When I started looking for some photographs, I found that re-purposing unused and over-sized furniture seemed to be the most common solution; entertainment centers, televisions and kitchen dresser’s were used a lot. Makes sense; some of these pieces are very well made, and no longer used, so why not give them a new life?

One of my favorite ideas is the television set (above). Just the look of it makes me want to smile, put on a pair of high heels, and pour Don Draper a shot of whiskey. So, while I plan my drink-serving outfit, here are some ideas that may make you re-think hiding that funky bottle of moonshine behind the olive oil…


An armoir, an entertainment center, or an old wardrobe. So Easy.

So obvious, it has to be mentioned. Just borrow a shelf from your bookcase. 
A vintage filing cabinet has lots of space for bar and entertaining accessories as well. 
A decorative tray can be brought out when needed, and stored away until your next party.
Still with a retro vibe, this one is new; from Crate and Barrel, it folds up when not in use. 
I love this idea for a vacation home, or a party (anywhere). An old Bread Box, metal crate, or Tool Box would be perfect.

Wendy E. Wrzos http://wendyandthebluegiraffe.blogspot.com/

Photographs were borrowed from Pinterest, Tumbler and Pottery Barn.

Read Full Post »

Dog Traveling in Car

So, this is taking a bit of artistic license, but if you squint as you read, it kind of ties into our love of a designed life…

To me, Summer seems to be one of those times when we try to capture a different American Dream; we suddenly want to create the perfect BBQ, drink strange, frozen drinks with our friends, and watch the children run through sprinklers on a perfectly manicured lawn (stopping occasionally to eat a red Popsicle, say “Thank you”, and smile lovingly at their doting parents).

We are inundated with photographs and commercials, showing us snapshots of a pretend family, and implying that we only have a few months left to grab some fun; that now is the time to whisk up a laborious, homemade, special hot sauce, go camping with the neighbors, and (inexplicably) take our dog on a long road trip to find the zombie brewery that we saw in the “Weird NJ” magazine.

So, we plan the BBQ, and we find the zombie’s, but we decide to buy the hot sauce. Our days aren’t as perfect as the photograph in the magazine, but we find some new places to visit, get the garden in good shape, and we try to spend more time with the children. Life is like that; a jumbled mixture of ideas that get thrown together and sifted through. We can’t do it all, but we can always figure out a way to do some of the fun stuff.

Although I don’t like the idea of saving my fun for Summer, I do see that for some people it is the best, guaranteed way to plan their down time. Almost like forcing you to relax, without feeling (too) guilty. Some people still find it difficult, and even their relaxing seems too exhausting for me. They look for gadgets and “things” that will make their Summer easier, and save them time. Honestly, I get tired just looking at them (never mind reading the directions on how I am supposed to use them). I prefer to try and use what I have, or do without; I tend to luxuriate in my lazy days, and keep things as simple as possible.
But, if you are someone who is less lazy than me, and your heart flutters at the thought of the newest widget, then you still have a few weeks left to buy one of these time-saving lovelies…….

Pig Tail Food Flipper:  This, I am putting first, because I know I would be the person who would misunderstand the directions, and flip my steak onto the lawn. Surely tongs are easier? But, it comes in a nice, wooden box, so would be a lovely gift.
Hot Dog Forks: Another easy way to quickly lose your food on the grass, but, it would be great for roasting marshmallows, and making S’Mores.
Doggles: Perfect for protecting your dog’s eyes on those long, hanging out the window, road trips.
Outdoor Chair with attached table, pockets, drinks holder and more:Perfect for the beach, outdoor concert, patio, camping, or even your favorite bachelor’s Living Room.
Meatball Grill Basket: I have heard that this works very well, and it looks very cute, but it seems like a lot of effort to get twelve piddly meatballs (and I can’t even imagine cleaning it afterwards).
Barbecue Dining Boat: Just to see if you were reading. This has a built in grill, a retractable umbrella, and seats ten people. (But is it worth $50,000? Personally, I would prefer the Hot Tub Boat at $42,000)
Beach Towel with speakers and a pillow: Why not? Great for your backyard, vacation by the pool, or the beach (compatible with most music sources).
Ice Cream Insulated Bucket: To me, this is the best one on the list. Sharing optional.

Wendy E. Wrzos http://wendyandthebluegiraffe.blogspot.com/

Read Full Post »

Father’s Day is less than a week away, but you can show your appreciation with this fun tablescape designed just for him. Fabric remnants and consignment stores are your best bet, but you can also improvise a little. Burlap (sold by the yard at gardening stores for very little) can serve as your tablecloth and a few of his ties can step in to jazz things up. And don’t you just love the wrapping paper? Newspaper has always been my fall back if I don’t happen to have anything else lying around. Now what about gifts? Well, new ties can stand in if dad is in sore need of a new collection. Simply whisk them away when it’s time to eat. Or you can pick and choose from a few gifts that Country Living has recommended. Now what are you going to cook? For me, that’s easy. We just drive over to his favorite ice cream place and I look the other way as he devours the extra large sundae he’ll order. But most dad’s what something a bit more substantial. Here are some ideas:

Steak Tip Skewers

Marinate steak tips cut about 1 inch square in a combination of Newman’s Own Olive Oil & Vinegar dressing and A1 Bold and Spicy steak sauce. Use equal amounts unless he’d like it a little bit hotter, then add more A1 sauce. Rub roughly chopped vegetable of your choice with a little olive oil and salt (I use red peppers, onions, and cherry tomatoes) then alternate beef and veggies on the skewer. Cook on a hot grill for about 5 minutes per side.

Here are a few more recipes.

Baja Buffalo Chicken Wings
Grilled Teriyaki Pork
Hot and Spicy Ribs

Image via http://pinterest.com/ireneturner8/entertaining-sonoma-styletm/


Kim – http://BeautifulLivingStyle.blogspot.com


Read Full Post »