Posts Tagged ‘tips & tricks’

Throw a Less Stressful Holiday Party!

Thursday, November 18th, 2010

Years ago, when the mister and I were first married, we both agreed that the one thing we wanted to do together every holiday season was to throw a party the weekend before Christmas.  Eleven years ago, we started this tradition and it continues every year.  We’re all so busy during the year, and months can pass by so crazy fast when we don’t see our friends.  This is just one way we choose to show others how much we care ~ we open our doors the Saturday before Christmas and invite them all in!

You know that scene at the end of ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ when George Bailey looks around at all his friends and family and Harry toasts, “To my big brother George, the richest man in town!’  It chokes me up every single time!  You too?

harry toast its a wonderful life

The moment in the film is about the importance of friends and a purpose filled life, but here’s what I always get from this classic:  it doesn’t matter how elaborate or modest your home or your lifestyle, the best moments of the holiday season come from the togetherness and good spirits felt from surrounding ourselves with the ones we love.  It has nothing to do with money.

To me, a holiday party is a great opportunity to capture that feeling.  So many people hesitate to throw a party because they’re worried it will cost too much or their home isn’t presentable.  Nonsense!  Every year, our party has grown bigger (we’re talkin’ 100+) but we don’t spend a fortune.  I enlist the help of some friends, but I don’t cater nor do I hire a bartender. (But I did hire a babysitter when the kids were little.)

I was inspired to write about our holiday party after I read 101 Party Do’s & Don’ts in the latest issue of House Beautiful.  A worthy read, more tailored to the dinner party, but here’s a few more things I’ve learned over the years about how to make a crowd feel welcome without spending a fortune.

Tips for throwing a less stressful holiday party for a large crowd:  

country living entry table1) Decorate early!  The weekend after Thanksgiving is decorating weekend!  If you plan to do Black Friday shopping, then I recommend decorating even before Thanksgiving like the retail stores do.  I know that sounds like you’re cheating on T-day, but if you’re throwing a party, get those baubles up early!

Concentrate your holiday decor where people will enter and congregate: the front porch, the entry, your kitchen, family room, dining room, and the powder room.

Your decor need not be elaborate.  Some candles and greenery are all it takes, perhaps some ornaments and twinkle lights strung here and there, just enough to capture the holiday mood.  It doesn’t take much!  Melissa has some great tips today for easy ways to add a touch of Christmas to every room.

Resist the temptation to wait to decorate the week or day before your party, we’re talking about reducing stress, so decorating early is key!

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Winners & Water Spots

Wednesday, October 6th, 2010

Hello hello hello, I’ve got some winners of the two latest giveaways to announce.

Modern Bird Studios Winner

#562  Carrie of SewVeryCarrie  

True Value Hardware Winners:

#28 Katie at ConsumerKatiesComments

"I just bought my first house!!! I have several projects planned: including painting, trim, molding, hardware, etc. Right now I can only afford a few small things. I’m going to be moving from my apartment and I can’t wait to actually be able to put paint on the walls!"

#101 Shannon who wrote:

"We are working on our bathroom right now and could definitely use the money for refinishing our cabinets, new sinks, hardware and tile! Thanks so much!"

 swirl snip

And on a totally random and unrelated topic, I have a little tip to share!  Ever make the mistake I made last week by leaving a water ring or spot on a piece of lovely *antique* or wood furniture?  Here’s a trick I use to make the water stain boo boo go bye bye. 

The Mayo Trick:

1) Don’t panic 2) Apply a coat of mayonnaise to the stain, leave for at least four hours, preferably overnight. 3) Wipe away the next day, there should be no trace of the stain.

mayo trick

Keep it in your bag of tricks and impress your friends at parties.  *Wink*

 

 

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Custom Look Curtains and a Fall Dining Room

Wednesday, October 21st, 2009

One of my favorite things to do when the weather turns is transition the dining room.  It’s a space that serves us for both casual and formal dinners, so it has to multitask.  Last May, I transitioned the space for summer, adding off-white slipcovers and garden roses.  However, with the first autumn rain, it was time again to change the slipcovers on the chairs and update the tablescape.  This year, I also changed the window treatments.  A few candlesticks, seasonal pumpkins, and some earth toned linens, and the dining room is ready for homemade hot soups and pumpkin pie.  Yum.

place setting

One thing I wanted to change this year was the window panels.  The existing dark brown panels with a botanical pattern looked great in summertime contrasted with the crisp white slipcovers.  But in winter, with a brown rug and brown slipcovers, the whole space was looking a little, well, a little too brown.  So I opted for something lighter, and simpler.  Soft green linen look panels customized to fit my French doors.

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