This weekend, I had the amazing opportunity to speak at a the Country Living fair. Please excuse the iPhone photos, but I thought I’d share a few of the photos with you today and give you a little bit of information on what I spoke about.
I was asked to do a DIY and speak on a topic related to entertaining. I chose to share with the crowd how I brainstorm and prepare for a party – one of my favorite things to do.
I’m sure you guys wouldn’t be surprised to learn that my #1 piece of advice for everyone was to have a ‘theme’. Although I don’t like themes that scream (very obvious themes), I honestly think that having an idea of your direction is imperative for having a party with a consistent vibe. You wouldn’t want to serve margaritas for drinks and sushi for food! Having a ‘theme’ keeps your vision in check and helps when you’re creating a menu to make sure everything stays on the same wavelength. A theme can be as easy as ‘tuscan wine night’ or ‘tex mex’ so long as it helps you choose accessories and food that all work together.
My number two piece of advice is to diversify your menu. Don’t serve 5 things that have to all be baked and served warm. If you do, chances are that one of those dishes will be cold before your guests are ready to eat. Mix ready made goodies (cheese, cured meats, fruits, veggies) and made ahead food with the items you want to make and serve hot.
It’s still really warm here in the midwest this week (upper 80s!) and with all of the late season produce at the peak of amazing, I’ve whipped up a Peach and Mint Iced Tea cocktail to help savor those last bits of summer.
Stone fruits are hitting the pinnacle of ripeness and you can find some really beautiful peaches in the markets this time of year. I eat one everyday with my lunch (a nice switch from the usual apple), but for the still sweltering evenings, this cocktail is just perfect.
The cocktail is easy, but there is one integral piece that makes all the difference – the mint simple syrup. I first made it when trying out Camille’s grapefruit Bellini last summer and fell in love with the flavor and versatility of an herb flavored syrup.
Just bring one cup of sugar and one cup of water to a simmer over medium heat. Add the mint and cook, stirring frequently, until the sugar is all dissolved and the mixture is not cloudy. Scoop out and discard the mint, then store the syrup in a sealable container in the fridge.
Happy Monday! I’ve spent the last few weeks traveling and now I’m back home, turning my attention to all of the things that will be happening in the next few months. As many of you know, I arrange flowers for events and parties, and although weddings are my absolute favorite, I only take on a couple each year to balance my workload.
This fall, I have the honor and pleasure of designing and arranging wedding flowers for one of my good friends, Amanda and her soon-to-be-husband, Daniel. They are getting married in Savannah, a place I’ve never been but have been itching to visit, and I could not be more excited to dig into this gorgeous wedding.
The mood is natural, slightly vintage with a bit of southern charm. I wanted to share with you my mood board that I have hung above my desk to infuse me with the spirit of the event as I’m doing my planning. We’re using lots of baby’s breath (which adds an air of delicacy to everything) mixed with some other bolder blooms like hydrangeas, garden roses, lavender, and snapdragons. I couldn’t be more excited to have the opportunity to travel to Savannah for this beautiful event and will share the preparation and final details with you as they happen!
There is so much fun to be had on the side of the main (and usually plain) dinner plate. Vibrant patterns, quirky sayings, or just a little something unique will make a table setting really pop. My favorite thing about mixing and matching dessert, salad, or appetizer plates is that you don’t have to make a big investment to make a big impact. The plates above range from $3 up to $48, so everyone can find a little something to add some pop to their plates!
Do you employ this idea for dinner parties? What other dimensional drama do you add to your tables?
Loungy, lazy summer Sundays – complete with snacks and wine – are one of my favorite parts of this season. As the weather dries out and the breeze cools slightly, the environment is perfect for an outdoor Sunday Funday.
It’s crazy to think about how much trash can be accumulated from having a party, and considering the beauty of the surrounding nature, I wanted to create a gathering that was as socially responsible as it was fun. For this reason, I was pretty excited to try out The Naked Grape‘s new Terra-Cycle boxes (yes, boxes) of wine, the first of it’s kind to be 100% recyclable. I had always wondered about Terra-Cycle after seeing their markings on several boxes and I’m impressed about their methods and the sustainability they support.
I wanted to spend some extra time playing in my back yard before I took off to travel around the world, so I put together a quick gathering all with an environmentally friendly flair.
I set up a little snack station in my backyard for friends to help themselves to drinks and food. Acrylic wine glasses and tumblers are reusable and don’t create waste. Local produce adds to the long list of ways that we can create a socially responsible party with lots of fun factor. Guests were able to grab a little nibble and lounge in the lawn with their wine. I choose two varieties, The Naked Grape Pinot Grigio and Cabernet. I prefer Cabernet, but think the Pinot Grigio is such a nice light and crisp summer wine, it went perfectly with a little cheese and fresh peach slices. For more photos of my set up and suggestions for an ecochic party, continue reading!
Firstly, how is it August? I feel like my life is flashing before my eyes. It’s giving me anxiety!
Now that that’s out of the way, I always feel like I dive head first into summer during the months of June and July, indulging in each treat that the warm months have to offer – like I can’t get those things other times of the year (ice cream anyone?). So now that August has popped up (and I’m heading to the lake with friends in 23 days), I get to feeling like I should rein it in and get back on track with a healthier lifestyle that will help me glide into the rest of summer with a lot of energy and not a lot of extra summer poundage. I’m devoting August to a slimming down and getting into a workout routine (which I’ll admit I’ve never really had before). So cheers to that!
I realized on a recent trip to Chicago how good some of these lower cal cocktails can be and decided to share a couple of my favorite recipes with you today! Continue Reading…
Sometimes, all it takes is a split second to take a regular dinner and make it into a party. Maybe more people popped by than what you’d planned, or maybe there is just a festive feeling in the air. Either way, you can take an everyday moment and make it party perfect in the blink of an eye with this little trick.
Just sandwich some fabric, a napkin, paper, or anything between a drinking class and a vase to give your centerpieces some patterned gusto.
ONE fold your fabric to the proper height and circumference of the exterior vase. TWO roll up a drinking glass which easily fits inside the vase with room to spare. THREEinsert the glass into the vase.
I’m not going to lie… it was just about two years ago that I learned how to properly open champagne. Previously, I always went through the first two steps and then passed it off to my husband and pulled an, “oh honey, could you please get this for me, because I just can’t be bothered”.
It’s surprisingly liberating to not only pull this off solo, but to do it gracefully without losing any bubbles out the top.
There are two big secrets to opening up your bottle. First, always make sure the bottle is chilled. The lower temps will keep the carbonation in check and prevent you from having a ton of the good stuff spilling all over. Just a 30 minute chill in an ice bucket should suffice. Second is to never, ever use a corkscrew. letting air into the bottle via a hole in the cork will cause the cork to pop out along with your corkscrew creating a metal and cork missile.
ONE remove the paper from the bottle’s top. TWO untwist the metal cage and remove completely, again, we don’t want flying corks with metal on them. THREE drape a hand towel over the top of the bottle and firmly grasp the cork and the bottle. Twist the bottle and the cork in opposite directions, holding the cork firmly, until you hear the soft pop of the cork releasing.
See, now wasn’t that easier than you expected! TO finish it all off nicely, know that you should pour just about and inch of champagne into the bottle of your glass first, let the bubbles subside, then continue pouring the glass. This prevents overflow!
Now go wow your friends with your new skill.
Want more easy basics of entertaining? Shoot me a question at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have one and I’ll answer it on this new series!
Ok, some might call this tie dye, but I’m calling it fireworks. This washed down blue tablecloth is perfect for covering any folding table, getting your group ready for the 4th of July celebrations this week. It’s MUCH cheaper than buying one and would be a fun project for the kiddos (outside, of course).
The ‘cloth’ part of the tablecloth is actually canvas dropcloth from The Home Depot. It is so much less expensive than buying yardage from the store (shoot, it’s cheaper than a flat sheet) and it comes in squares, rectangles, and ‘runner’ sized (for hallways) but I like to think that size is actually for a banquet 6ft table! A little ScotchBlue™ Painter’s Tape and some fabric dye (I used RIT navy blue) and that’s all it took.
ONE pinch up a few inches of canvas and form it into a cone. TWO tape the cone together tightly with the painters tape and ensure the bottom of the tape strand is secure. THREE do this all over your cloth. FOUR dunk it into your dye bath and agitate for 15 minutes.
I love that the end result is a little less traditional and kind of whimsical. I did a very casual beer and BBQ style dinner to go with the laid back nature of the ‘firework’ tablecloth.
This project is sponsored by ScotchBlue Painters tape and if you guys aren’t inspired to create, maybe a plethora of ideas in the Ready, Set, Paint Blog Hop will help! A group of bloggers from around the web all got together to show off their stuff and what they could create with ScotchBlue. What would help you get creative? Another Home Depot GIFTCARD GIVEAWAY you say? Well, let’s do it!
We will giveaway $75 to The Home Depot to one lucky reader.
To enter this giveaway, please leave a link to your favorite summer DIY or painting project in the comments below for a chance to win a $75 Home Depot gift card!
Entries must be posted by next Monday, July 8th, at 11:59 p.m. EST, and one winner will be chosen at random.
*Limited to readers in the U.S. only. Entries for this giveaway are made on the House of Earnest comment page and by sharing this giveaway via social media. Winner will be contacted by email once entries close, and announced at the bottom of this post soon after. Total retail value is $255. This post was brought to you in partnership with The Home Depot and ScotchBlue Painters Tape. All opinions and creations are my own.
One of my favorite parts of summer is all of the beautiful weddings. I’m getting to the age where I don’t go to as many as I did in my 20’s, but with the wedding flower work I do, I still stay pretty connected to the beautiful events out there.
This week on 100 Layer Cake, I saw this fabulously colorful wedding in Texas and it really caught my eye. I love flowers and I feel that the blooms really were the showstopper – except for the bride, of course!
And this is just a peek at the gorgeous event. Click on over to 100 Layer Cake for the stunning details.
Have a beautiful Thursday!
p.s. The winner of the $250 Home Depot and Bounty giveaway is MOLLY from Flour & Whisk! Congrats, Molly! I’ll contact you via email to get you your giftcard and rolls of Bounty!
p.p.s. For those of you who were disappointed you didn’t win, there might be another opportunity very soon (wink!).
Hi, I'm Erin!
House of Earnest is the place for Home Decor, Hand Made Projects and Party Style made easy. My style is simple, natural, rustic and slightly modern. Take a look around, leave a comment and have fun! That's the whole point, right?