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PARTY ideas + decor


Farmers’ Market Party Favor Ideas from Sunday Suppers

brown paper bag menu and packaging for take home fresh peaches :: sunday suppers market class

I featured Sunday Suppers on several quick link posts. From what I have seen this week, I am not going to stop soon. The concept behind their Market class can be resumed in building a seasonal menu based on what is available at the market.

Casey Solomon and Karen Mordechai propose more than cooking classes. They put attention to details of the tablescape. This is how they first grabbed my attention.

sunday suppers market class menu, pasta and favors

For the market class, they came up with a brilliant yet simple idea. They wrote the menu on brown paper bags. At the end of the night, the guests used their paper bag to bring home fresh peaches.

They filled a wood crate with local peaches and put it next to the door. Small details include placing a piece of jute underneath the crate. You could use potato bags. Tea towels were used as napkins and to make a bed for the peaches. I am sure that many of you will recycle their entertaining ideas.

If you are interested in taking their classes, they are held in Brooklyn, New York.

Sunday Suppers


Three Conversation Starter Games Nicely Crafted by Martha Stewart Weddings

conversation starters

The best hostess knows that it is up to her to find ways for her guests to interact. When you host a big event, you cannot be there to introduce everyone. To avoid awkward moments or to explore new conversation topics, why not plan a conversation starter game.  With games that look as great as those ones, everyone will want to participate.

The three games I selected involved some do it yourself tasks. You probably have recognized her style. You will find the detailed set of instructions on Martha Stewart Weddings site.

I Knew you when…

During cocktail hour, each guest sticks a flag where they written their name into the year she met either the bride or groom. I imagine doing this at a milestone birthday party. Everyone later share how they met. Since you need something that you have no problem pinning the flag, ask the print shop for an oversize print to be mounted on foam board. It will be a nice souvenir for the guest(s) of honor.

Change is Good

You put vintage coins on a cute box wrapped with a ribbon. Each guest opens their box. One by one they tell the story of something good that happens to them on the year of the coins. Shown here are the chic Semikolon gift boxes. I bought the same collection to neatly store my magazines.

I Spy…

This is a game that will occupy the kids. Equipped with their own portable or digital camera, the kid who took a picture of the most challenges on the list win. This is why I think a cheap digital camera will work best for this game. It is called I spy but it could have be named I shot.

+ I Knew you when – including
+ Change is Good
+ I Spy


Rustic Decor Ideas from Starbucks 15th Ave. Coffee & Tea

Starbucks New Stealth Store

Many people, including couples who are getting married, opt for a rustic party theme. These are good reasons for that. It is style that is inviting, that feels warm and cozy.

You may have heard that Starbucks opened a new store concept, the 15th Ave. Coffee & Tea. Despite the design controversy, there are decor ideas that you can reclaim for your next rustic decor party. What caught my attention are in details. As you know, details are what transform an ordinary party into an extraordinary adventure.

The first item that I noticed is the old style teakettle. I think it is gorgeous. Setting an area outside for guest dogs to drink water is a nice touch when you are having a barbecue at the cottage or a long drive from home.

Mercantile Counter at Starbucks 15th Ave. Coffee and Tea

Another design idea that is worth recycling for a big party is the self-served counter. It has the charm of the general stores. Think how you could use that concept to serve food instead of setting a predictable buffet table. It is simple to reproduce the look. Visit flea markets to get your hands on vintage wood boxes. Secure them at an angle.

+ Via PSFK – they took the photos with a phone
+ Press Release of 15th Ave. Coffee & Tea


Yellow Celebrations | Quick Links 2009.07.19

yellow inspirations for a party

Yellow is the hot color of summer 2009. Inviting this cheerful color to your party puts everyone in a festive mood. If you are planning to devise a yellow party theme, take a look at these:

+ serve lemon mint granita from the

+ Big sunflowers make a bold statement. As you can see, they can look stylish. I like how they transformed vintage suitcases in a green garden where you plant seating cards – via Snippet & Ink

+ go green and wrap your gift in a Mustard Yellow “GIVE LUCK” reusable Fabric Gift Wrap from chewingthecud available on etsy. It is $10 each. She explained on her blog how to wrap a single box and more wrapping techniques with fabric.

+ Release your thirst with the Citrus Thyme Water by Sunday Suppers


Fabric Banner Bunting Flags for my Etsy Finds

enchanted forest Banner Bunting Flags on etsy

Banner flags are a great way to add a festive touch. As I browsing Etsy, I could not resist and I bought two banners. Both patterns will look great on my terrace. I cannot wait to hang them over and host a party.

If you are curious, here is a view at my latest purchase. These items are made by Tricia of nestables on etsy:

+ Enchanted Forest Bunting Banner Flags (see top picture)

Aviary Banner Bunting Flags on etsy

+ Aviary Banner Bunting Flags with Joel Dewberry Fabric

Tablerunner Flights of Fancy by nestables on etsy

+ Reversible Tablerunner Flights of Fancy, which I think would look amazing for breakfast.

+ Nestables on etsy


Patriotic Bunting Banner Flags on etsy

patriotic bunting banner flags by springchick on etsy

This is a well-done Patriotic Bunting Banner Flags for the Fourth of July. springchick used the flag elements on a good taste manner. As you know, I am not a fan of displaying the flag at any party. This is a more subtle way to achieve the same result.

By changing a pattern or two, it could be harmonized with the DIY Fourth of July craft project from Twig & Thistle that I am shown you earlier today. It is not too late to go shopping for pieces of fabric and sew your own banner flags.

+ Patriotic Bunting Banner Flags by spingchick $32 USD on etsy


Awesome DIY Sparkler Cards, Matchbook Covers and Straw Tags for Fourth of July

template to make your own sparkler tags, matchbook covers and straw tags

The super talented Kathleen of Twig & Thistle has designed the cutest party celebration kit for the Fourth of July. Her design is modern, festive and elegant. Build your party around these elements. You could print a second batch of sparkler cards to glue on handmade paper cones. Use the cones to serve cashews, popcorn or fresh strawberries dipped in chocolate.

Kathleen provides the templates with easy to follow instructions on her blog. Basically, you simply print, cut, tape and you are ready to receive big Awe! from your guests. I absolutely adore it!

If you can remove the words “Fourth of July” with Photoshop or add a white rectangle on top to hide the unwanted words with MS-Word, you could print a second batch of the sparkler cards, matchbook covers and straw tag for when you host other summer parties.

+ DIY 4th of July on Twig & Thistle


Elevating the Home Cooking Approach at Parties

I was interviewed last Friday by a Montreal-based journalist about the art of making menu when you hosting a party at home. My best advice has always been to cook dishes that you are familiar with. This way, you will not stress out. Your meal must taste great. It is not the time to experiment. To make your dinner special, simply be original with the food presentation.

The home cooking approach is invading formal events like weddings. The New York Times published Readers’ Wedding Food to illustrate this trend. You will see that it crossed over a wide range of wedding budgets, from high to low.

Easy Inspiring Food Presentation

It is not complicated to serve french fries in paper cones. But it makes it more special. You can use parchment paper, newspapers like they do in Belgium or gingham waxed paper. Opt for professional grade grease proof waxed paper to keep your food.

french fries in paper cones :: comfort food gets elegant

I gathered from the NY Times article the best pictures that you could use for your parties this summer. My photo collage at the top would be perfect for Canada Day or the Fourth of July. As you can see this home cooking trend mixes with eating seasonal food.

+ Lobster bake on the beach in Massachusetts – photo by Paul McEvoy
+ Decorate a cheese platter or for a grand event, your cheese and charcuterie table with seasonal berries and figs
+ Be creative when preparing skewers of vegetables and fruits. An old-time favorite appetizer is a Caprese salad assembled on skewers. Drizzle some balsamic vinegar or put a small bowl of balsamic vinegar for dipping.

grilled portohouse nicely served on a wodden tray

2009 Trends in Weddings

Going back to the article on the New York Times, it talks about the current trend in weddings, even upscale weddings, to serve home cook style meals. People do not do it for saving money. It costs the same and sometimes more to elevate comfort food. This trend started out of a desire to feel less opulent. It also conveys authenticity to their celebrations. Is it representative to what you have seen in weddings this year?

One thing I would say it that guests should dress up even for a simple country weddings. It is a special occasion for the bride and groom. Tell them you know how special this day is by NOT wearing casual clothes. It is one element of etiquette that I strongly believe in.

+ Waxed Paper Red Gingham $5 USD for 50 sheets
+ Down-Home Celebrations by the New York Times


Bio Aperitif Set Brings Green to The Cocktail Party | Eco-Friendly Tuesday

disposable tableware by pandora design

Over the years, I introduced pretty cool social plates. Mingle plates are a must for the stylish hostess. They make you look resourceful. My latest mingle plate discovery comes with everything you need to sip and taste hors d’oeuvres and canapes.

This is the brainchild of Pandora Design, a Milan-based company known for their amazing disposable tableware. Pandora used to be a cater company but they saw a market in modern design disposable dinnerware. Pandora Design went green with their latest project for YOOXYGEN. YOOXYGEN is an eco-friendly initiative of YOOX just launched to celebrate Earth Day (April 22, 2009).

bio aperitif setting by pandora design for yooxygen

Bio Aperitif is the ultimate disposable tableware alternative for an eco-chic cocktail party. The handmade set shows imperfections. This is the new trend to infuse an authentic look. More importantly, it is more ecological since you do not throw away lots of rejects.

Bio Aperitif is made from Mater-Bi, a 100% biodegradable corn compound. Some components of the Bio Aperitif set were adapted from the existing product range of Pandora design. The only drawback is that is it not cheap; I assume they are for single usage.  A set for 4 guests costs $38 USD. Each set contains:

  • 4 Sunglass glasses
  • 4 Tapas plates
  • 4 2Spin toothpicks and
  • 4 Moscardino sporks.

The design is sure to make a lasting impression on your guests.

+ Bio Aperitif Set by YOOXYGEN $38 USD for 16 pieces
+ Pandora Design
+ Via MoCo Loco


DIY Graduation Party Decor Ideas

craft projects for graduation or wedding party decor

A college graduate contacted me because he was looking for affordable and colorful party decorations and possibly a theme for their graduation party.

The graduates are multicultural so it may be a nice touch to add elements of several cultures. Instead of coming out with a party theme, I am sharing awesome DIY craft projects to decorate the party room. Each one can be reinterpreted to suit your style.

Chinese Lanterns

big lime chinese lanterns

Lanterns create a festive mood instantly. If you host a party in at an hotel, the ceilings are high and the room are vast. You will need plenty of large lanterns to create a statement. You can attach battery-operated light or flashlight inside if you wish to lit them.

Flite Design showcased the nice mauve and lime at the 2009 Soolip Wedding, an event that happened in Los Angeles on March 29. You will find more inspirations on the blog Junebug Weddings.

DIY Mobile Ideas

A cool idea is to attach each lantern to a bamboo stick and spread them in a vase like flowers. I spotted that idea last year on Project Wedding.

Vary the sizes and colors of origami cranes. These origami mobiles were made for Yuli + Keith’s wedding. The Great Catch picture net is also from their wedding. Check out Oh, Hello friend for more stunning uses of origami cranes.

replace flower centerpieces with bird mobiles

The bird mobile is a good symbol of the life transition that occurs after graduation. Spool Sewing offered the bird pattern for free. Look for the bins with fabric scraps at fabric stores; you will save a lot of money.

Message in a Bottle Game

You can ask everyone to answer the same question before the party. Print each answer on a piece of paper to create unique message in a bottle. Spread the messages in a bottle on each table. Let people freely open the message through the night and guess who is the author of each question.

Make sure the paper is easy to remove. The paper should be almost as high as the bottle and use 2 to 3 tapes to firmly keep the roll small. Get inspired by the Send Help Project invitations featured on NOTCOT.

The idea when you wish to design a party is to find your starting point and from that, to devise the whole theme. Have fun at your graduation party!

+ mauve and lime lanterns by Flite DesignVia Junebug Wedding
+ Origami cranes and great catch images: Yuli + Keith’s wedding photographed by Robert Sukrachand – right reserved
+ Send Help Project invitations via NOTCOT
+ Lime Big Chinese Lanterns on Project Wedding
+ Three Little Birds by Spool Sewing – image on Flickr
+ Bird Mobile done by Homemade with Jill


Touch and Feel of Karim Rashid’s Globalight Champagne Cooler


I introduced last April this exquisite Champagne cooler. I got the chance to see many in person at the Interior Design Show of Toronto. Do not look in the exhibit; it was only accessible to VIP guests.

I have the chance to be a good friend of Harry Wakefield, the founding editor of MoCo Loco. If you recalled, Harry was one of the 3 bloggers invited on a Design Trends by the Minute panel at the show.

Not only did I drink a superb rose Champagne (pink) but I got the complete demonstration on how works the coolest cooler on Earth. This unique piece of technology is an avant-garde interpretation of the French candelabra. This explains why the cooler illuminates thanks to rechargeable battery.

Globalight retails for about $800 if I am not mistaken. But do not rush to the store; the Globalight cooler is only available in Europe.


In the shadow (bottom picture), you see a guy taken a picture. This is Maxwell Gillingham-Ryan of Apartment Therapy. Look at some of his pictures on Maxwell’s highlights of IDS 2009.

Go see more pictures of the VIP lounge and bar on a photo album of AHWKV’s page on Facebook.

+ Globalight for Veuve Clicquot