Inexpensive and easy to make, this festive basket greets guests and gives a hint of the night to come.
To make the arrangement: Start with a cone-shaped woven basket, and gently squeeze the sides to create an oval shape with a relatively flat back. Remove the metal chain, and replace it with ribbons to reach the desired height. Fill the cone with florist foam, securing it with floral tape. Soak the foam in water before filling the cone.
Top with reindeer moss, allowing it to loosely fall over the outer edges. Secure with florist pins. Insert fresh agapanthus flower stems (or any brightly colored, thick-stem medium bloom) into the foam, and fluff moss around as needed. For extra sparkle, insert whimsical silver balls.
Note: All florist supplies and glitter balls may be found at a local florist or crafts store.
Gardman 14-inch Hanging Cone
Available at Lowe’s
Toast for good cheer and resolutions for a happy New Year.
Gather flowers loosely, and drop into a cylinder vase. Surround it with wide green pillars and an array of flowered balls to bring an intoxicating display of fun. Sparkling green champagne flutes with mercury glass candlesticks set the stage for a bubbly bash.
Hostess Tip: Greet guests with a “toasting table” as they arrive. Set an enticing arrangement in a foyer or other greeting space, and let the champagne flow from the start.
Backyard Champagne Flutes
Available at Anthropologie
The fundamentals of a formal, yet fantastically fun, dinner party setting include color, texture, and style. Take an artistic approach when planning this memorable evening. When developing your palette, do not be afraid to mix bright combinations of old treasures and new-found additions.
A stark arrangement of agapanthus flowers mixed with lush flower balls on pedestals and an assortment of candles creates a harmonious glow. Guests will enjoy the added comforts of velvet accent pillows that add a punch of elegance and bright color to seating. The soft yet spirited ambiance is sure to capture all for the long evening ahead.
Add dimension to your display by using old and new pieces and bright colors mixed with complementary patterns. Here, fresh galax leaf chargers anchored by simple oversized ivory plates set the foundation for the strong mixture of pistachio green and purple curvy dinnerware.
To make the chargers: Start with 12-inch round pizza cardboard trays (found at restaurant supply stores). Cut stems from galax leaves, and, using a low-temp glue gun, attach leaves to the perimeter of the cardboard, filling the entire outside edge. Repeat the process, covering the bottom portions of the first row of leaves. Continue until cardboard is covered. Chargers may be made a few days before and stored in plastic bags in the refrigerator.
Milaniware Plates and Shadowleaf Bowls
Available from Milani Home
Create a geometric effect using simple shapes. Balls of reindeer moss and fresh flowers repeat the design elements used as the main theme to an artistic table design.
To make the balls: Use various sizes of round florist foam (found at crafts stores and florists) to create clean displays of natural texture and color. For reindeer moss balls, use florist pins to affix moss to each ball. (Reindeer moss will keep its color for months.) To make flower balls, we chose various types of carnations, daisies, and little green Kermit mums.
Begin by soaking foam thoroughly in water. Cut the flower stems very short and stick into the balls, covering them completely. Place them on pillar candlesticks, urns, or on the table. Mist occasionally wtih water to prolong their lifespan.
Off with the garland and holly berries. Balls of moss and fresh flowers mixed with fresh green candles atop mercury glass candlesticks present a fresh visual surprise.
Handmade invitations let guests know the evening will be special. Use assorted paper that can be found in stationary shops. There are so many options today. Let your design inspiration blend with your evening’s color theme.
Here, green and purple were used mixing a creamy cardstock with a transparent overlay. For the computer savvy, these may be printed at home. For a special touch, we threaded a small ribbon through the top of each invitation. And for a final refinement, a small silver sticker seals the envelope.
Personalize the evening with glass tags and monogrammed napkins. Include a menu card to entice guests’ appetites. And as a new twist to a traditional place card, use ring tags that can be found at a crafts or office-supply store.
Script each guest's name with a colored, thin-tip marker. Holiday metallic silver napkins are monogrammed with the hosts’ last initial by a local specialty embroidery shop. And menu card material can be quickly assembled using the wide array of cardstock.
Hostess Tip: So luscious and soft, a cloth of ultra suede in an eggplant hue is a unique backdrop for a dinner setting. Even if you're not a seamstress, this table topper can be easily sewn from just a few yards of fabric. Ultra suede fabric can be purchased at many fabric stores. This polyester faux leather should be treated with a fabric protector to help with spills and cleaned according to manufacturer’s instructions.
Plan a menu that is delicious and colorful. A simple, easy-to-prepare menu or a more complicated culinary creation will both be a delight. For the holiday-worn chef, consider using a caterer to lighten the load. It may be the best present saved for last!