Summer Entertaining Suggestions

As requested, today’s post is an updated version of a summer entertaining suggestion post from a couple of years ago. Good information is always worthy of repeating, and I am happy to share these suggestions new to the Places In The Home summer entertaining repertoire.  Summer officially arrives in two weeks with the summer solstice gift of extra daylight.  Talk about the ultimate summer entertaining hostess gift!  Invite vibrant color, easy entertaining tips, and fun home decor touches to the party and prepare to impress.

lantern luminaries

John Jacob Interiors

Summer nights frame the art of entertaining with a canvas of color and hosting ease.  For an evening under the stars, bring down the house lights and light the night with soft accent lighting.  A casual yet dramatic effect can be easily achieved by strategically placing lanterns or glass jar luminaries along a walkway.

lights-in-trees

House Beautiful

For extra ambiance wrap, hang, drape or string white twinkle string lights from trees, in shrubs and around columns.  Stunning!

 bamboo lantern

Bamboo Cloth Lantern

Tiki torches, table lamps on loan for the evening from your interior home decor, garden chandeliers, and decorative paper lanterns also make great options in the quest to create a comfortable and inviting atmosphere.

decorative-outdoor-lanterns

Pier 1 Imports

Considering a summer soirée diy project to light the summer night? Here’s several simple, effective, colorful and refreshing summer entertaining diy ideas.  Click on the link below each image to get the diy how-to scoop.

RECYCLED WINE BOTTLE TORCH

Recycled Wine Bottle Torch for Outdoor Use Only

DIY-ice-bucket

DIY Ice Buckets

The Ball Jar is a versatile party decor darling.

ball-jar

Light them up, fill them up, or chill them down.

ball-jar-purpleThis is my idea of a party 6 pack!

ball-jar-green

A midsummer night’s entertaining dream becomes a reality with these quaint and stunning  homemade hurricanes.  I discovered this impressive look last week in the new issue of Ladies Home Journal and pinned it to my Pinterest account.

Simply fill clean canning jars with dried beans to hold the votive candles in their upward position. Securely hang the mason jars at various heights from trees with twine.  A simple and affordable look to add to the perfect summer evening.  The vintage look fits right in with the KISS of summer- keep it summer simple.  Glass is slippery when wet and breakable to boot, so summer soirée with caution.

clay-pot

If you’ve hung out at Places In The Home in person or in readership, you are aware of my entertaining relationship with the clay flower pot.  Give me a reason to turn a flower pot into a serving piece and it is summer soirée party on.  I’ll never forget the look I got the first time I announced we were having pot brownies at our pot party to a co-hostess.  I don’t believe I have ever clarified something so quickly before or since.

Vidalia-onion

Anywho, clay flower pots are an inexpensive and summer appropriate alternative to traditional serving pieces.  Baked beans, barbecued wings, Creole seasoned french fries, baked Vidalia onions, summer sausage- all great “pot” options.

outdoor-tablecloth

Patio in Pink

An average patio table pops a pretty party look when topped with a stylish outdoor tablecloth and paired with chairs, cushions and outdoor pillows decked out in bright summer colors.

flamingo-pillow

Celebrate Local Life Together Flamingo Tufted Throw Pillow

Decoristas have long had a trusty trick up their sleeve.  Home decor and furnishings that work gorgeously inside our homes will rock an outdoor living space like a Led Zeppelin concert!

tablescape ideasvia

Love your inside dining chairs and know they will be  the key to pulling the entire outdoor tablescape together, but don’t want the chair legs to get dirty?

outdoor-table-setting

Architectural Digest

Why not wrap the bottom of each chair leg with clear plastic wrap?  It may be a tad time-consuming, but it will save time on the clean up end of the party.  Be as pre-party proactive as possible with certain tasks.  It’s a summer entertaining essential skill for the host and/or hostess to hone.

hello my name is

Hello, my name is summer.  With the very, very good points of summer outdoor living and summer entertaining comes the very real concern over controlling mosquitoes.  It is suggested that burning sage or rosemary repels mosquitoes.  The mosquito killing power is in the smoke so I’m thinking summer fire pit or campfire natural necessity.

mosquito_sage

Pure Wow

I like the point in the party when the food and drink has hit the spot, the music is summer smooth, the outdoor party life is kicking up a notch and the company and the conversation is hitting all the right notes.  Now comes summer relaxation party pail time.  I make up these party pails beforehand and add the chilled and cold items before handing them out.

fresh-rose-petals

I fill plastic beach pails from the dollar store with his or hers flip-flops, individual aluminum spray bottles filled with chilled homemade rose water (the guys love this stuff almost as much as the gals), cold cucumber slices in freezer bags and Burt’s Bees Cucumber & Sage facial cleansing towelettes (love the scent).  These always make a big splash.

Cucumber_Cleansing_Towelettes

Enjoy the colors and celebrations of the season.  What better excuse for throwing a stylish summer entertaining soirée!

Do Drop In: Entertaining With Ease

The welcome mat at Places In The Home is working overtime. Several of our family members are taking to the spring holiday road, and our house is do drop in central.  Good visits begin with good hosting and good hosting begins with a stress free host or hostess.  Entertaining is supposed to be a fun for guests and hosts alike, isn’t it?  I know I have a much better entertaining experience if I access and assign a theme, go with the entertaining with ease flow and keep the focus on comfortable surroundings, inviting touches and relaxing times.

Texas_bluebonnet_plant_lupinus_texensis_with_dark_blue_flowers_with_white_topTexas Bluebonnet

Texas times and family memories will be a hot topic of conversation.  Our company’s travels begin in Texas Bluebonnet country, and with Texas being the common denominator of our family tree, I played it up in theme and setting. Farmhouse chic makes an effortless foundation to build your theme upon.

carnations2

A simple arrangement of carnations mixed with greenery and placed beside an even simpler arrangement of apples and bananas in a milk glass center bowl provides a nice centerpiece in a farmhouse chic kind of way.

apples1

Fresh flowers from the floral department of the local grocery store are my weakness, and when the word clearance enters into the picture my shopping cart runneth over.  You really get your money’s worth with carnations. Carnations can last for weeks with an every other day water change and a quick stem trim.  I use tepid water, scale back leaves from the stems to prevent contact with the water, and place a couple of drops of food coloring in the water.

pink-carnations

From recipes to table setting decor, I like to source from within meaning I like to use what I have on hand.  A great home decor clearance sale and dollar store items purchased in bulk can provide all the entertaining with ease elements needed for a well designed themed tablescape.

entertaining-with-ease

kitsch
art, objects, or design considered to be in poor taste because of excessive garishness or sentimentality, but sometimes appreciated in an ironic or knowing way.

rooster-dish-towel

Into each case of design and decorating a little if kitchen kitsch is wrong, I don’t want to be right will fall.  The method to my madness lies deeply rooted in the from which I came from principle. I picked up several sets of rooster dish towels at the local dollar store back during the holidays knowing full well they would come in handy. Paired with copper napkin rings I found on clearance at Dillard’s a couple of years ago, the dish towels made great dinner napkins.

copper-napkin-rings

The Places In The Home gang comes from a long line of hen on nest dish collectors.  The women of our family felt no respectable kitchen and/or breakfast room decor complete without the addition of at least one hen on nest dish.

hen-on-nest-dish

Rubylane

On the menu front I aim to please.  Round our dinner table, quality rules over quantity which lines up perfectly with easy menu planning.  As long as the iced tea is sweet and I keep the serving sizes in just a bite territory it is all good and tasty. The culinary rule of KISS (keep it salad simple) always applies.

sideboard-partners

I set up a salad buffet for first course serve yourself ease.  Individual Mason jar salads layered with shredded iceberg lettuce, fresh tomato, chopped ham, green onion, Feta cheese crumbles, homemade buttermilk dressing and a dash of kosher salt and fine black pepper were a hit with the just a bite crowd.

salad

Biscuit BLTs with Peach Mayonnaise bring back memories of summers spent in Texas at my great-grandmother’s house.  Traditions tastes so good!

biscuit-bacon-lettuce-tomato-sandwich1

Entertaining goes hand in hand with spring and summer, and entertaining with ease goes hand in hand with y’all come back now, ya hear!

Love your style!

 

Kentucky Derby Days Are Here Again

Kentucky Derby days are here again.  The Most Exciting Two Minutes In Sports takes places on the first Saturday in May.  Louisville, Kentucky rolls out a Southern welcome to thousands of attendees while Churchill Downs takes the lead as Kentucky Derby festivities and finery celebration central.

churchill-downs-kentucky-derby-louisvilleArchitectural Digest

Iconic to sight and tradition, the landmark Twin Spires of Churchill Downs were designed by architect Joseph Dominic Baldez. The twin hexagonal spires stand tall as the premier architectural feature so closely associated with Churchill Downs and the Kentucky Derby.

jockeyvia

Time-honored traditions and thoroughbred horse racing reigns supreme on Kentucky Derby Saturday. Red roses, mint juleps and fascinating choices of Derby Day finery fill the grandstands, box seats and infield of Churchill Downs as well as themed Kentucky Derby Days parties.

Derby Guys and Dolls Finery

Derby-mens-style

derby-finery

My parents and I attended the Kentucky Derby in the late 1970’s. Experiencing the Derby live and in person is a thrilling event, but once was enough for us. Expensive?  Yes!  Crowded?  Oh, dear goodness, yes, and that was 30+ years ago! I can only imagine the crowd control issues involved with the attendance numbers of today’s Kentucky Derby.  Are we glad we attended?  You betcha!

 Get Down and Derby Playlist

Our current Kentucky Derby Days party is an at home affair.  We are not above breaking out the good stuff as in fashion jewelry, hats, tableware, get down and Derby tunes and Kentucky bourbon in My Old Kentucky Home fashion.

Kentucky-Derby-invitation

The Run for the Roses is a win, place and show tradition for this horse racing enthusiast family, and it’s a sure bet next Saturday the hats, the party and the race will be on.  The Derby Day tablescape always includes red roses, a hat of top, feathered or derby style, a toast to jockey silks and a creative spin on cocktail and dinner napkins.  I’m using the red rose paper cocktail napkins and considering red toile fabric dinner napkins.  Silver mint julep cups are the traditional favorite, but I’m taking the long shot odds the copper plated mint julep cup will make a stylish showing. Pewter stirrup hors d’oeuvre forks keep the theme going, and the ebony dinner plates from Dollar Tree round out the field.

Derby Decor

Kentucky-Derby-Decor

It isn’t a Derby Day party until traditional Kentucky Derby delicacies are served. The fresh rosemary in Roasted Brown-Butter Pecans is the perfect taste complement to the minty bite of a Southern strong Mint Julep.  If it doesn’t bite, it isn’t right.  Tea sandwiches spread thick with Benedictine spread and garnished with radishes, pimento, cucumber slices and bacon are bite sized samples of traditional deliciousness, and a classic Run for the Roses Red Velvet cake topped with a gold horse is a Kentucky Derby dessert must.

Kentucky-Derby-party-food

And they’re off!

Love your style!

From Table to Turkey: Thanksgiving Finishing Touches

From table to turkey, holiday hosts and hostesses are putting their Thanksgiving finishing touches on all that reigns holiday supreme.

Thanksgiving-table-centerpiece

This past Friday as I was planning and primping the decorative details of our Thanksgiving gobblepalooza, an unfortunate event in the Places In The Home Thanksgiving holiday celebration occurred. I was in the dining room putting the Thanksgiving finishing touches on the sideboard and tablescape decorations, and as I always do, I asked my mother to come and see the progress. Stocking feet and hardwood floors make a hazardous combination, just ask my darling Mother.  It was the fall heard round the house, and over the river and through the woods to the emergency room we go.  Several tests and x-rays later the ER doctor delivered the unfortunate news, fractured kneecap. She’s one tough bird and a pretty good patient however, the attention to decorating detail has now shifted to total healing detail.  We’ve  rearranged our Thanksgiving dinner plans and re themed the Places In The Home Thanksgiving celebration. We are a grateful, not graceful people.

Thanksgiving finishing touches

What decorating I accomplished before the fall will have to be as good as it gets. No formal place settings, adorned placemats and table runner, silver flatware, crystal goblets or formal china patterns this year, but with a pumpkin here and a turkey figurine there it festively all came together.

centerpiece-Thanksgiving

The dining room redo is not quite finished, but far enough along to give a glimpse of things to come.

accent-chair

I am thrilled with the leopard print accent chairs as the choice for captain’s chairs.

captain's-chair

One change in placement and one edit took the look from “this just isn’t working” to “that’s it!”

sideboard-candle

I’m looking forward to a thankful and grateful group of loved ones coming together and the next round of holiday decorating.

sideboard-view

As we enter the Thanksgiving homestretch, take a moment to admire the Thanksgiving finishing touches and the Home for the Holidays beauty you’ve created.  It’s one of the best parts of holiday decorating season.

Love your style!

 

Company’s Coming! This Year’s Thanksgiving Table

Places In The Home Home for the Holidays planning is in full swing. Decorative accents and accessories are going into place and company’s coming. Clearance sales making room for Black Friday deals and steals makes anticipating the decorative needs of this year’s Thanksgiving table and hitting the place order button a gobble gobble gotta have it a no-brainer.

woodland-turkeyWoodland Turkey

Traditional is the flavor of the Places In The Home Thanksgiving month, and the preparation begins at the first hint of the harvest moon.

dishes

Colors and natural decor that intermingle well with fall through to Christmas decorations and tablescapes keeps costs in check.

turkey-centerpiece1

Shades of blue, green, red and creamy white are as stunning on a harvest themed table as well as the Holiday table.

ironstone-plates-etsy Etsy

Dave the Builder worked on the dining room redo this past weekend with success in the major improvement department!  Lighter paint colors and natural light will open up a space, guaranteed.  We’re hoping to have it all pulled together by next week in order to get the Thanksgiving tablescape ball rolling.

Thanksgiving-corn-centerpieceNew England Home Magazine

thanksgiving-table

Pheasant Dinner Plates ||   Cabin Themed 2-piece Carving Set || Hobnail Pitcher || Vintage Monogramed Dinner Napkins  ||  Candle Holders  || Pumpkin Bowl  ||  S/4 Acorn & Pine Cone Tumblers  ||

I’m depending on traditional simplicity to make an elegant statement for this year’s Thanksgiving table.

Love your style!

A Most Fetching Friday

fetch·ing

/ˈfeCHiNG/

adjective

adjective: fetching

attractive.

synonyms: attractive, appealing, sweet, pretty, good-looking, lovely, delightful, charming, prepossessing, captivating, enchanting, irresistible

This week’s Fetching Friday features impressions and inspirations associated with the star of the moment, October.

fall-leaves

Hello, October.  I’ve been anxiously waiting your arrival.

ff-tureen-and-apple

Berthe Morisot Tureen and Apple

Cucurbita_pepo_small_edible_White_Pumpkins_9.16via

ff-blanketsStyle Me Pretty – Photography by Judy Pak Photography

Seatings and settings.  Crisp evenings set the tone and texture for seasonal tablescapes with attention to cozy details.

rolling-pinRustic Olive Wood Rolling Pin

Currently craving.

ff-apple-pancakeApple Pancake

I hope you have a most Fetching Friday.

Love your style!

A Most Fetching Friday

fetch·ing

/ˈfeCHiNG/

adjective

adjective: fetching

attractive.

synonyms: attractive, appealing, sweet, pretty, good-looking, lovely, delightful, charming, prepossessing, captivating, enchanting, irresistible

This week’s Fetching Friday features signature signs of the season in sight and word, warm reminders, a DIY project, and a pair of birds from a distinct feather.

Autumn_Koyasan_Wakayama04s5s4272via

Warm is a hot topic of fall conversation.  We have entered the season so closely associated with a changing and impressive palette.

ff=fireplaceHGTV

It may be a coincidence, but it seems the senses become heightened as the days shorten, colors deepen, spices and aromas entice and the tones and textures of nature engage us by sight, sound, touch, smell and taste.

ff-throwsvia

I call this the apple of my eye wreath.  This stunning DIY apple wreath on fall home tour display at The Wood Grain Cottage is my kind of DIY project.

Apple-Wreath-by-The-Wood-Grain-Cottage-12-682x1024

Lowe’s knows color.

ff-autumn-lowes

Natural elements come together to create a tablecsape with a nod to the seasonal influence of color, texture and pattern.

ff-Chrysanthemums-style-me-prettyvia

This time of year is deliciously referred to as soup weather, and this Pumpkin-Chestnut soup recipe from Martha Stewart is a quintessential fall favorite.

pumpkin-soup

A member of the duck, swan and goose family, the ruddy shelduck or Tadorna ferruginea is a distinctive species mostly found in central and Southern Asia.  Beautiful markings, don’t you think?

ff-birdsvia

I hope you have a most Fetching Friday.

Love your style!

A Most Fetching Friday

fetch·ing

/ˈfeCHiNG/

adjective

fetching

attractive.

synonyms: attractive, appealing, sweet, pretty, good-looking, lovely, delightful, charming, prepossessing, captivating, enchanting, irresistible

This week’s Fetching Friday features bold and stunning scenes of nature, seasons, sequins, speak and Saints.

flower-gif-shorter-lgn

Fresh Flower Arrangement Tricks – Good Housekeeping

continental-tole-shield-with-lion

Continental Tole Shield With Lion – 1stdibs

glitterguide_white_tshirt_3d_140609_4I highly recommend taking the Sparkle and Shine Your Way Through Life approach!  Life is Short Wear Sequins T – Glitter Guide for eLUXE

lavender hill farmsLavender Hill Farms in Boyne City, Michigan – Midwest Living Magazine

ff-cognacColor Extraordinaire: Cognac – HGTV

van-goghVincent van Gogh

pumpkin-platterSeasonal Simplicity!  Pumpkin Platter Centerpiece – Better Homes and Gardens

Saints-helmtWho Dat Proud – New Orleans Saints

I hope yours is a most fetching Friday.

Love your style!

Time to Get The 4th of July Patriotic Party Ideas Started

Are you ready to get patriotic with a 4th of July blowout?  Not only is the The 4th of July the quintessential summer celebration of freedom, this year it is the summer holiday that keeps on giving, complete with a three day weekend.  Talk about a host/hostess gift of the very best kind!  As the decorating and entertaining patriotic party ideas begin to flow, it has dawned on me I might need to work up a few idea boards.

red-white-blue-Southern-Livingvia

In honor of summer and its favorite celebration, The 4th of July, I’ve gathered red, white and blue themed decorating, entertaining and tablescape goodies for your 4th of July let freedom ring patriotic party ideas gotta have it list.  These patriotic party decorations and ideas range from the easy clean-up paper picnic fare to home decor items for year round indoor and outdoor use.

red-white-blue-party-decorations

  Made In The USA  American Flag Fan Bunting ||  Party menu prep and serve on a good ole USA bamboo wood cutting board ||  Red, White and Blue Paper Lanterns  ||  Carmelo Melamine Dinnerware || Sorrento Corn Dish Set  ||  Ceramic Corn Holder||  USA Flag Picks  ||  Patriotic Eagle Wall Décor

patriotic-plates

USA Party Patriotic Dinner Plates

Fourth-of-July-party-supplies

A red box fan and a blue extension cord make the top of my outdoor party guest list. Don’t try to be a hot and humid hero- plug in and cool off.  I like to decorate with items already in my party decoration inventory, or at least with items I can reuse.  The Martha Stewart Collection acrylic glasses from Macy’s are as fun as they are affordable, and the Crosley Griffith Metal Chair from Walmart is pure blast from the past style. Jute table linens from Pier 1 Imports give a classic and chic outdoor living look and will stand up for use at other entertaining events.  Hot dog holders, Snoopy and Woodstock napkins, American flag themed coasters, serveware in patriotic colors and chic patterns, a baseball planter for all your centerpiece needs and these printable patriotic napkin rings from The Graphics Fairy round out the Fourth of July patriotic party supplies.

patriotic-napikin-rings_sam

What’s a 4th of July celebration without a DIY project of the red, white, blue and Mason jar kind?  Addicted to DIY gives the scoop on how to make these lovelies.

fourth-of-july-mason-jars-flagCountry Living via Addicted to DIY

Fabrics in patriotic colors and an in the good old summertime theme are my party go-to solution for tablecloths, napkins, basket and serving dish liners.

red-white-blue-fabricsOnline Fabric Store

Ready to go goodies keep with the summer chillin’ & grillin’ theme.  The individual picnic baskets from Save on Crafts would make a great utensils holder.  Line the baskets with red and blue bandannas, add utensils and a wet-nap.  Remember when a meal from Kentucky Fried Chicken came with plastic utensils and a wet-nap?  Smart thinking, Colonel!  Citronella candles from Home Depot in holiday colors and designs will help to combat mosquitoes, the party guest pest of summer outdoor living times.

fourth-of-July-decorations

These are just a few ideas and deals I’ve spotted in my daily sourcing detail.  The whole idea of a red, white and blue celebration is KISS- Keep It Summer Simple.

4th-of-July-color-palette

Go 4th, color up your holiday weekend and party in the USA with these stylish, affordable and reusable decorating and entertaining essentials.

 

Love your style!

Setting The Tone and The Table: Easter Tablescape Ideas Part 1

An Easter tablescape can rival fashion’s finery for the spotlight in the Easter parade.  Dressed to impress not only applies to the fashions, but to Easter baskets and Easter tablescapes.  To look upon a beautiful Easter tablescape as a work of art is no over exaggeration of the term.   I’m featuring a two part series this week appropriately titled Easter Tablescape Ideas.

Flower Tipsvia

A centerpiece full of fresh flowers from nature’s floral department aka our own yards broadens the field for artistic interpretation.  Begin with a vase, jar, tureen, pitcher, decorative coffee can- any type container that floats your boat or flower frog will do.  Fern and magnolia leaves, camellias, hydrangea, knock out roses, palm fronds, daffodils, dogwood branches, bridal wreath spirea, azaleas and the flower of the season, lilies- all eggscellent (you knew it was coming!) centerpiece options.  Inspiration lives in the great and colorful outdoors.

craft-tipNever underestimate the decorative power of paint.  Hobby Lobby makes a great point!

We see oodles of pictures showing lovely kitchen and dining rooms with dining tables polished and pristine.  You won’t see one of our kitchen tabletop.  It’s a working tabletop- one big catchall for house plans, design boards, material lists and shelter magazines.  Now you know my little secret and why I am in total support of the statement, “the kitchen is the heart of the home.”  Tablescapes usually take place on the dining room tabletop, but not this year. Why?  The dining room chandelier is still sitting in the box waiting to be rewired…for the second time.

crystal-chandelier1

Dave the Builder stripped the new wiring as he was threading it through  the center tube. He didn’t discover this very important development until he was in the process of hanging the chandelier and the wires sparked in Katy Perry style.  You’re probably thinking it so I’ll address it. What’s the point of a tablescape post?  Because I absolutely love sourcing and creating tablescape ideas. Here’s a preview of what I’m working on for Set the Tone and the Table: Easter Tablescape Ideas Part 2.

Easter-tablescape-ideas

 

 

Stay tuned!

Love your style!