Tag Archives: entertaining tips

Try This at Home: Throw an Oscars Watching Party

Entertaining, Parties and tagged , | | | Leave a comment

Are you hosting friends tomorrow night for the Oscars? If so, we highly recommend adding this free printable Oscars ballot to your festivities. Courtesy of Kelly over at Studio DIY, it’s the perfect way to break the ice as you gather new and old friends together to root for your favorite films and categories.

Kelly’s 2013 ballot includes all of the major award categories as well as a special list of “Oscar Favorites” you can fill out yourself. For all of her detailed instructions, head over to Studio DIY to find out how to make your own for Sunday night’s big event.

And don’t forget the refreshments! Our recommendations? These four popcorn recipes from DesignStudio, as well as a few favorite cocktails. Happy Oscars night!

Photos courtesy Studio DIY

How-To: Make Place Card Holders For Your Next Dinner Party

Decorating, DIY, Parties and tagged , , | | | 2 Replies

Did you fall in love with the place card holders featured in our garden party tablescape? You’re not alone. We’ve already received several requests from readers for directions on how to create them.

 

 

They’re perfect for weddings, dinner parties or other gatherings where a place card is needed. Karen Ondracek of General Taxonomy has all of the details for her DIY.

 

Supplies 

 

  • Small wooden blocks (toy blocks worked well – I chose them in the spirit of reuse. You can buy small wooden blocks at craft and hobby shops.)
  • Vintage clip on earrings and/or vintage pins. Larger brooches & pins can be used to make holders for menus, welcome signs, etc.
  • Spray paint (Needed only if you wish to alter the color of your blocks or jewelery. You may wish to use a spray primer as well.)
  • Masking tape (Needed only if you are spray painting and wish to retain some original colors.)
  • Hot glue gun & hot glue sticks

 

Step 1:

Spray paint the wooden blocks to coordinate with your color scheme. I chose white. If you have wooden blocks that look great as found, skip this step.

 

Step 2:

 

Spray paint vintage jewelry to coordinate with your color scheme. Mask off any jewels or other areas that you want to retain their original appearance. I spray painted gold tone, brass and pearl elements of my jewelry silver. If all your jewelry looks great as found, skip this step.

 

Tip: Try a few drops of eucalyptus oil mixed with a bit of hand lotion to remove any spray paint you might accidentally get on your skin, then wash with soap and water. Unless, of course, you are allergic or sensitive to eucalyptus.

 

Step 3:


Use hot glue to attach earrings and pins to woodblocks as shown.

 

For pins you want to create a narrow slot between the pin back and the block for the card. For large pins, you may need more than one block.

 

With the variety of jewelry styles & spray paints out there, these DIY place cards could work in many a tablescape. Have fun!

Thanks Karen! Make sure to check out her shop General Taxonomy for more arty and vintage goodness!

Outdoor Tablescape Inspiration: A Garden Party For Your Favorite Girlfriends

Entertaining, Parties and tagged , , , | | | 6 Replies

The spring and summer seasons are perfect for celebrating the important people in your life, so why not throw a garden party for your favorite girlfriends? We also thought it would be a great time to try out Pottery Barn’s Caroline Dinnerware in a less formal setting.

We teamed up with Diva Pyari of Linea Carta and artist Karen Ondracek of General Taxonomy to throw a fun garden party, perfect for reuniting with friends over refreshing drinks and an English picnic-inspired menu. (Special thanks as well to Tom Tomkinson Weddings for photographing the entire affair.) We hope our outdoor tablescape inspires one of your own as well!

 


To try something similar, move your party to a lush lawn — it doesn’t have to be at your home, either. Try a regional nature preserve or a neighborhood park if you don’t have a lawn of your own. And while our folding chairs and teak table were sturdy and easily transportable, there’s no need to go to such measures. A picnic table in a grove can be just as good of a staging surface for your gathering.

 

To create an elegant yet relaxed and artful look to this table,  Pottery Barn’s new Caroline Dinnerware was the perfect choice. We love these dishes’ mix of vintage elegance and handmade appeal, thanks to the silver banding and organic, uneven rims. We layered the dishes over kraft paper runners, which were arranged horizontally over the PB Classic Linen Tablecloth.

 

 

Karen Ondracek created the place card holders using vintage clip-on earrings (we’ll have her DIY for them on the blog on Friday).

 

 

Diva Pyari’s Tiny Heart Linen Napkins added a pop of pattern to each setting, while heirloom silver set off the banding on the Caroline dishes nicely. Pyari also handpainted the garland around each dish in place of a charger.

For flowers, we chose a mix of hot pink spray roses, mixed with wax flowers and displayed in small vintage vases. We also took advantage of our California climate, sourcing additional florals and botanicals from our home gardens. Clustered together, these mini arrangements created a gorgeous focal point for the table.

 

 

Diva also created the hand-calligraphied table menu, displayed on one of Karen’s place card holders. If you’re inspired to try something similar, Diva offers starter calligraphy kits for sale in her shop.

 

 

Chances are good that you’ll need extra room for your drinks station, as we did. We hung tassel garland from The Flair Exchange above an antique wooden ironing board, which we decked out with a cake stand, silver tray, vintage glassware and bottles of  favorite cocktails. Bouquets of florals rounded out our drinks station. Diva made hand-lettered drinks tags for the bottles as well — this is a great way to add a special touch to your drinks station.

 


However you deck out your table, we hope that you choose to share your garden party with good friends. There’s nothing quite like a good meal, enjoyed in the outdoors and shared with some of your favorite people in the world.

All photos courtesy Tom Tomkinson Weddings

Special thanks to April, Magnolia, Diva and Dani for modeling!

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How To Set Up a Festive Drinks Station For Your Holiday Party

Entertaining, Holiday, Recipes and tagged , , , , | | | 6 Replies

We’re excited to feature a post today from Carmen Taylor, who shows you how to create an easy and festive drinks station for your upcoming holiday soirees!

Setting up a drink station for a large crowd can be stylish and fun. Follow these guidelines for a seamless holiday beverage service.

Choose a signature drink that may be customized using infusions, purees and juices. An interactive beverage station is personal and exciting for guests. Use a beverage dispenser suited for larger service like the Decorator’s Drink Dispenser.

 Fill the base of the drink dispenser with seasonal decor elements.

 Mercury Glass Ball Ornaments add the perfect amount of glimmer.Prep glassware by garnishing Jewel Cut Double Old-Fashioned glasses before guests arrive. I enjoy using fresh herbs or fruit slices.

 

Rosemary Gin Sparkler

1 ½ cup of sugar

1 ½ cup of water

8 sprigs of rosemary

2 ¼ cup of gin

2 cups of club soda

½ cup of lime juice

In a small saucepan, bring the sugar, 4 of the rosemary sprigs, and water to a simmer. Remove from heat and let cool.

Strain the sugar syrup into a large pitcher. Add the gin, club soda, and lime juice and stir to combine. Chill before serving; garnish each glass with rosemary sprigs.
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Source: Photos courtesy Carmen Taylor

Family, Friends and Festivities: Tony’s Top Tips For Making the Most of the Holidays

Entertaining, Holiday and tagged , , | | | Leave a comment

Last week, we were thrilled to host a Facebook chat with Pottery Barn’s entertaining expert, Tony. (Psst, he also designed this gorgeous cocktail shaker.) Tony provided such an incredible wealth of holiday entertaining tips that we had to pass them along to blog readers who might not have been able to join the chat. Keep reading for Tony’s Top Tips!

 

  • Remember what really matters. “I always try to keep the three Fs in mind: Family, Friends and Festivities.”
  • Create formality in a small and casual home. “You can make a small space feel really formal by using elevated candelabras and candles and your choice of favorite linens. Try our caterer’s tablecloth. It comes at a great price and you won’t worry about it if you have clumsy guests.”
  • Make your Christmas tree do double duty. “If you’ve already bought your Christmas tree, cut off the branches from the base and use them on a table runner intermixed with festive pillar candles.”
  • Update a classic red-and-green color scheme. “For a great option and to modernize it, choose either red or green and then mix that one color with neutrals. Burlaps and ivories will mix well with either.”
  • Decorate with larger centerpieces at a holiday dinner. “Larger centerpieces add a dramatic element to the table, but once dinner is served it can be a good idea to move them to a console or mantel to free up room for the main course.”
  • Throw a holiday party with a small budget: “Limit the drinks to just wine and champagne. There are plenty of well-priced wines and champagnes under $10 that you can find on the lower shelf of your supermarket. You might be surprised by what you find! If you go this route, you can spend more time mingling with your guests and less time mixing drinks. It will feel just as festive, and much more effortless.”
  • Successfully mix real florals and “fauxtanicals”: “Mix it up! The fauxtanicals will fill out your arrangements and you can have them at the ready for next year’s entertaining season. Check out some of our favorites here.”
  • Set a well-decorated kids’ holiday table: “There are so many crafty options that you can try for tables that have to accomodate kids. Start with your favored color palette for your table, then mix in rustic elements such as stars made from cinnamon sticks and colored yarn or twigs and ribbon. For more ideas, check out this Pinterest board.”
  • Creatively set the table without napkin rings: “Try this: Wrap your flatware in a cloth napkin. Then take a five-inch sprig of branch from your Christmas tree and use twine to wrap it multiple times around the napkin and flatware. Simple, seasonal elegance that will add rustic charm to your table. No napkin rings required!”
  • Avoid a major party foul: “Do not, I repeat do not run out of ice at your party! Fill a second cooler with ice beforehand and store it outside. It’s always a downer when you have to send someone on an ice run in the middle of a party.”
  • Whip up fun holiday finger foods: “For finger foods, we love decorated Christmas cookies for a sweet finger food option. (Check out more cookie recipes in Pottery Barn’s Party Planner:.) For something savory, bruschetta with basil and tomato features classic Christmas colors.”
  • Pop in one essential DVD: “If, like me, you don’t have a fireplace, bust out that yule log DVD. I know I’m going to! Even in warm climates the yule log gives you a cozy holiday feeling and adds a little levity to every celebration.”
  • One Pottery Barn product Tony can’t live without: “I’m here to sing the praises of flameless candles. No longer will you have a singed centerpiece or false alarm from your smoke detector. I’m obsessed with them. I have them on a timer and my living room has amazing ambience every day when the sun goes down. For holiday decor, you can mix them with botanicals and vase filler inside lanterns and never worry that they’ll cause an accident.”
  • An easy way to create a great party vibe. “I go on Pandora and choose Frank Sinatra all night long. If that’s not your style, we have some great playlists, too.”
  • How to be a great party guest: “My family’s mantra is, Always bring something to the table. We have so many great hostess gifts this year — it’s easy to bring something fabulous for any style of home. Here are some great ideas to start.
  • What to bring your hostess: “A no-fail hostess gift is a great candle. Try giving a gift that gives back, like our selection of St. Jude’s gifts.”