Monday, November 28, 2011

Fall Harvest Party

I wish I could share some photos from the Fall Harvest Party with all the tables and linens in place and the food stations filled - but there is just never enough time to get everything prepped AND take pictures.


It was a glorious day (and evening). The rains cleared up and all the Fall Leaves were in full color.

Leaves and Candelight

You will just have to imagine that everything looked beautiful and tasted even better. (You can see some of the food prep going on here).



Fresh Veggie Bar (similar to this)
Soy Aioli & Garlic Creme' Fraiche Dipping Sauces
Roasted Red Pepper Dip with Pita Chips
Tomato Basil Bruschetta (I love the one from Trader Joes)

Main Course:

Italian Stuffed Mushrooms (recipe)
Tropical BBQ Meatballs
Chicken Satay with Peanut Dipping Sauce
Shrimp Cocktail
Roasted Apple, Onion & Squash Tart
Individual Potato Gratins (adapted from this recipe)
Tortellini Skewers
Spam Musabi


Pumpkin Roll (recipe)
Apple Caramel Trifle (recipe)
Pecan Tassies
Chocolate Hazelnut Shortbread Cookies
Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Bites
Mini Cheesecakes (recipe)

I had each course set up in a different part of the house:

Appetizers at the Breakfast Bar
Main Course in the Dining Room
Desserts and Coffee in the Office
Cocktails were served at the Bar in the Family Room
Beer, Wine, Water and Punch were set up on the Deck outside the Kitchen

This set up helped traffic flowed throughout the evening, so not everyone was clumped in one area.

I used an old cheese box to hold colorful paper napkins.

Cheese Box

I love the patina of the old wood - especially against the burlap table runners.

Burlap Runner

The cheese box inspired me to make something similar for the Buffet Table Centerpiece. I've been keeping some old fence boards from when we had some repairs done.


I knew I'd find something to make out of them. Because they were pretty weathered (and not very sturdy), I attached them to a solid 1 X 8 pine board base to create a long trough like box.


Then I filled it to the rim with moss and twigs.


I couldn't resist adding some mushrooms.


Pumpkins of all sizes, and gourds and berries.


I did buy a set of handles, but other than that, everything was from my "collection" of scraps.


Candles of all different sizes tucked in between the harvest goodies made everything glow.


It looked so pretty......until the FIRE.

Yep - we had a little Fire. The Candles caught some of the mossy twigs alight.

Open Flame + Dried Wood + Moss.....I guess I should have seen that one coming?


This isn't the first time something like this has happened - it seems to be an unfortunate tradition at our dinner parties.

Luckily no damage was done and no one got hurt.

Everyone had a wonderful time. It was great to spend some personal time with my husbands Staff and their Families.



Everything Fall is now packed away and we're in full swing decorating for Christmas.

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Ten on Ten: November 2011

This is not a very interesting Ten on Ten. Sorry about that.

I'm deep into Party Prep so today was all about cooking. Yep - 10 hours in the kitchen. That's pretty much all I did today.







Pecan Tassies

Mushroom Stuffing



I'll catch up with you all after the weekend.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Gratitude Project - Week One

So many things to be GRATEFUL for.

Taking time this month to focus one special thing each day.


Gratitude Week One

1) The Skills and Talents of My Mother
2) The Crazy Carpool Schedule
3) Photography
4) Collaboration
5) Fall Temperatures
6) Helping Hands
7) The View From My Kitchen Window

We're enjoying the start to a wonderful November - hope you are too.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Decorated for Fall

The Fall Harvest Party is this weekend. I'm pretty much completed decorating the house. There are always a few more things that need done, but I think it's time to stop (because there is a boat load of food that needs prepped).


Front Doors

I love these double doors - but it presents a problem when all your holiday decorations are made for a single door.

Pumpkin and Moss Door Wreath

I needed some kind of decoration Duo. So I made a quick set of simple wreathes tied with burlap bows. I'll be using burlap for the table runners, so I thought it was a great tie in. Very messy to make - but very easy.

Mini Pumpkins

I wanted to use real mini pumpkins, but their scale was too large, so I ended up with artificial ones. I'm not thrilled with the "shiny" look - so I may give them a quick spray with a matte varnish to see if that helps. But for now - they are good enough.

For the Family Room - I made a "Welcome" Banner to string across the mantle.

Welcome Banner Mantle

What do you call them? Banner - Bunting - Garland - Flags - Pennants?

Welcome Banner

Whatever they are called - I seem to be infatuated with them lately.

Banner button detail

I made this one from a collection of fall fabrics (I love picking out coordinating fabrics). The letters are cut from felt and appliqued to the flags with a cute zig zag stitching. I had to include some buttons.

Notice how the apple fabric and button details match the invitations we sent? I love it when things come together like that.

Welcome Banner

I also made a few extra banners. They are for sale in the shop (and can be at your house in plenty of time for Thanksgiving).

I had some leftover fabric from the banner - so I made a table runner using this easy - quilt as you go - tutorial.

Fall Table runner

I am sooooo not a quilter - so I was thrilled with this unique method where you sew and quilt all at the same time.

Fall Table Runner

Candle Cozy

And I couldn't resist making a Candle Cozy while I was at it.

Now on the the Kitchen Nook area.

I love changing out these shelves seasonally. The mantle in the Living Room is very shallow which doesn't offer many options - so I make up for it with these shelves.

Kitchen Display

Pumpkin Goard Shelf

Some of the elements are part of the display year round (like the chicken and pottery).

Pumpkin Candle

Other things get moved from elsewhere in the house (the candle stick usually holds a candle in the Family Room). For this display - I added a fall berry ring and one of those fun green/white/orange pumpkins.

Are they pumpkins or gourds?

Leaf Frame Shelf

I had plans to put vintage bird prints into these yard sale frames - but now I think I like them better empty.

Picture of Leaves

Some paper leaves cut from scrapbook paper with the edges inked add a little touch of Fall. I had intended to use real fall leaves - but we've only just started to get cold here, so there is not a lot of color on the trees yet.

You can see how I decorated the Office Mantle here. I have a display of straw bails, pumpkins and gourds near the front door - but it's hard to photograph (because it's on an incline) - but I'll try and show that later.

If you happen to be a pinterest follower - many of these ideas will look familiar to you. You can see the inspiration over on my Fall Entertaining board.

Now I'm off to the store to get my food ingredients.

Happy Fall!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Gratitude Project - 2011

It's the first of November.

I love this time of year. The weather is cooler - the days are still sunny. I'm excited about the upcoming holidays. I have much to be Thankful for.

I'll be participating in the 30 Days of Gratitude flickr Project again this year (as well as posting on the blog).

30 Days of Gratitude

A photo taken every day - for the 30 Days of November - to remind me of all the things I have to be Grateful for.

This will be my third year (you can see a recap here).

I can't wait to get started - I'd love to have you join me.