Posts Tagged ‘party’

08/27/14

7 DIY Dinner Party Hacks

I’m excited to be partnering with Seven Daughters wine to bring you a series of posts in the coming months that revolve around my favorite subject: DIY. And today marks the first post in the series.

Much to my dismay, summer is almost over. But before we say goodbye to those long days in the sun, I thought it was only fitting to give this season one last farewell. While also giving a little shout out to the upcoming season. Kind of a transition party… Summer, meet fall. Fall, meet summer.

And what better way to do that than with a little dinner party. Right?

Summer Meets Fall Dinner Party

7 DIY Entertaining Hacks to Get You Through Your Next Dinner Party in Style

So, today I’m sharing my 7 DIY entertaining hacks for throwing a great dinner party, in partnership with Seven Daughters wine. Think DIY decor, clever custom touches, (super) quick recipes, and plenty of drinks. All with the summer to fall transition in mind. Sound good? Let’s jump in.

Here are 7 DIY entertaining hacks to get you through your next dinner party in style. 

Entertaining Hacks for your Next Dinner Party

1. Make it Comfortable. I used an irregular size table for the party, which means my tablecloth hung quite low, over the chairs. To make things comfortable for guests when they sit down, I duct taped the tablecloth underneath to be the proper height (tucked up and away so guests can scoot their chairs in comfortably. Don’t worry! You can’t see the duct tape at all, its completely hidden. Ah, the power of duct tape.

Also, it might be a good idea to remove unnecessary / excess items from the table. Feel free to use the entire room, to keep things from feeling too crowded or overwhelming. I used a bar cart to keep appetizers handy (it’s on wheels, so I could roll it over to the table when necessary). And I kept desserts on display over on the buffet credenza to add to the decor.

2. Improvise. Use a large pattern blanket as a rug underneath the table at dinner for a pop of pattern that grounds the space. Bonus! After guests go home, you can pop the blanket into the washer and clean up any spills or stains from the party. It’s a lot easier than trying to clean an expensive rug (or floors with carpet).

7 DIY Entertaining Hacks to Get You Through Your Next Dinner Party in Style

Easy DIY Floral Centerpieces

3. Create a focal point with a simple centerpiece. Using fresh flowers or succulents, you can create a simple DIY centerpiece to add interest to the table, without being too formal. Use short vases and vessels from around the house or try this DIY concrete planter idea for something more modern and minimal. And don’t forget this tutorial for a simple fresh flower centerpiece as well, if you need some inspiration.

Hand painted striped napkins + edible place cards made from pie crust

Let's Party!

4. Quirky details. A few out of the box details are always memorable for guest. So, I made DIY edible name plates out of pie crust for each person. I used store bought pie crust (that you bake yourself), to make things easy, and cut out the letters with one inch alphabet cookie cutters. Pop them in the oven for a few minutes (these will cook fast because they’re so small) and add them to each place setting after they’ve cooled. Viola. Edible place cards. Yum.

I also added leftover pie crust letters to the tiny petit four treats that guests took home with them as a late night snack. Just leave a stack of glassine bags next to the tray and guests can take them on the go.

DIY Knotted Rope Garland

Easy DIY Knotted Rope Garland

Edible Place Cards Made of Pie Crust

5. All about texture. I love incorporating different textures and textiles, so I used a simple linen tablecloth and contrasting DIY painted napkins. The grey napkins I wanted to use were a little too plain, so I painted stripes on them with white fabric paint to add interest. Each one has a slightly different pattern and I’ll reuse them again and again.

The knotted DIY garland that hung over the table adds a little bit of height and it’s a little playful. To get the look, just knot a long strand of thick yarn every 1-2 feet, and hang. Similar to the knotted garland DIY I made a while back.

Easy Appetizer // Goat Cheese, Fig and Honey Crostinis

Floral + Geometric Menu Idea

Apple Layer Cake with Fig and Champagne Grape Topper

6. Keep the menu easy. I like to do heavy appetizers and a lighter meal because it’s easier to prepare ahead of time and you can spend more time with guests, and less time in the kitchen. My go-to appetizer lately is a fig and honey goat cheese crostini. So good!

Just cut up a baguette into half inch slices and pop them in the oven at 350 for a few minutes (you want them to be toasty but not too hard). Wait for them to cool, add a soft goat cheese and a couple of figs and then a little bit of honey. This is a super easy one for guests to make themselves, right at the table, if you run out of time before people start arriving. Tip: If you don’t have a honeycomb stick, dip the handle of a spoon or fork into the jar instead. It works just as well.

I also created a DIY menu display, that I propped up on the buffet, next to a piece of art. I typed out all of the menu items and arranged them into a triangle. Then printed it, cut it out, and attached it to decorative paper that was then framed.

When it came time for dessert, there were a few choices…an apple layer cake (which was so good) and two mini pies. I decorated the cake with an edible DIY cake topper: champagne grapes and leftover figs. This is a super easy, and delicious, way to dress up a store-bought cake.

Cheers! 7 DIY Dinner Party Hacks

Cake, pie, and a bottle of wine

7. Plenty of drinks. I think the key to a good party is  having lots of options in the food and drink category. I already touched on food, so as far as drinks are concerned, I like wine for a laid back meal with friends. Seven Daughters has a great selection, so I had all of their varietals available for guests. We mostly sipped on the Rich Red Winemaker’s Blend and Chardonnay.

Of course, it’s always a good idea to pair wines with the food menu. So, keep that in mind. Be sure to have non-alcoholic beverages as well, for those that don’t drink.

So those are my DIY dinner party hacks. Now that you’re prepared for your next get-together, here are a few more photos from the shoot…

Goat Cheese, Fig and Honey Crostinis

Pour another glass

A DIY Summer to Fall Dinner Party

Fig and Goat Cheese Crostinis with Drizzled Honey

Goat Cheese + Champagne Grapes

7 DIY Dinner Party Hacks

Apple Layer Cake with Fig + Champagne Grape Topper

Photography by Sarah Eddy
Models Jordan Brantley and Amber Hoadley
Concept, projects, and styling Brittni Mehlhoff

What are some of your tips (or tricks) for entertaining? Any DIY hacks to share?

This post is in partnership with Seven Daughters Wine. Thank you for supporting the brands that make this site possible.

08/04/14

Mini Donut Shaped Candy DIY

Over the weekend, I made these tiny candy donuts and I thought I would share the tutorial this morning to kick off the week.

They’re really easy to make and look just like mini donuts, but they’re not the real deal… They’re made of of chocolate (and peanut butter chips) instead. Fun, huh?

These little candies would be great party favors for birthday parties and other special occasions. Or on a dessert table, just as they are. Want to make your own? Here’s how…

Mini Donut Candy

Supplies + Ingredients:

mini donut silicone mold (available right here on Amazon) // microwave safe bowls in various sizes (for melting chocolate) // small spoon // bamboo skewers (optional) // 1 bag of white chocolate chips + 1 bag of peanut butter or butterscotch chips // food coloring (gel or liquid) // sprinkles

How to Make Mini Donut Chocolate Candy

How-To:

1. Start by creating your donut base. Melt peanut butter and white chocolate chips in a microwave safe bowl, in 20-30 second intervals (stirring in between) until melted.

You can play around with the chips ratio here…I made some donuts strictly from peanut butter chips (for a darker donut base) and some that were a half and half mixture of white chocolate chips and peanut butter chips (for a lighter donut base).

2. Next, pour or scoop the melted chips into the mini donut mold. Then, pop the mold into the freezer for about an hour to harden.

3. Remove the donuts from the mold and let them warm to room temperature again.

4. Next, in three separate bowls, begin melting white chocolate chips the same way you did in step one. Once melted, add a small amount of food coloring to each one (I used pink, purple, and green) and stir, to create the donut icing. Then, using a small spoon, pour the chocolate over the donuts to create an iced donut look. *Work fast for this part – if the chocolate cools to much before pouring, it won’t look like donut icing. If you’re having trouble, you can add a little bit of vegetable shortening to thin out the chocolate a bit more.

5. Add sprinkles, then place the finished candy donuts back into the fridge or freezer to harden. Once hardening, pull the candies out and poke through the center of each donut shape with a bamboo skewer if any chocolate has covered up the hole. If you’re using a cooling rack, that probably won’t be an issue. But if you’ve set your donuts on a plate, like I did, you have a few holes to re-poke.

Note: If you use the same mold that I have, you’ll be able to make roughly three batches of mini donuts with two bags of chocolate chips. Which is 54 candy donuts.

DIY // Teeny Tiny Donut Shaped Chocolate Candies

Make mini donut chocolate candies

Teeny Tiny Donut Shaped Chocolate Candies

Mini donut candies made of chocolate

Mini Donut Candy Ice Cream Sandwiches

Other ideas for these candy donuts… Decorate a plain cake or turn them into the mini version of my donut ice cream sandwiches.

Concept, photography, and styling by Brittni Mehlhoff

07/30/14

6 Unique Ice Cream Toppings

Tomorrow is the last day of national ice cream month and I couldn’t resist posting one last ice cream idea before July is over. I’m going to miss you national ice cream month!

This month is also my blog birthday… Paper & Stitch is now officially six years old! So, I put together six DIY ice cream topping ideas to celebrate. One topping for each year P&S has been around. Hope you’ll grab a sweet treat and celebrate with me.

Here are 6 unique ice cream toppings to celebrate the last two days of national ice cream month (and my blog b-day)…

Fruit Pebbles + Ice Cream

1. Fruity Pebbles - The most colorful ice cream topping / cereal ever created. Better than sprinkles, if you ask me.

Polka Dot Ice Cream

2. Lemonheads - These are just fun. Polka dot ice cream? Come on. You know you want to try this.

Lucky Charms Ice Cream

3. Dehydrated Marshmallows - AKA the only reason why anyone buys Lucky Charms cereal. You can pick the marshmallows out of the cereal box, or order a bag of just marshmallows from Amazon and fulfill your childhood fantasy. No regrets.

Unusual Ice Cream Toppings // Wasabi Peas

4. Wasabi Peas - Okay this is the weird one of the group, but it’s an interesting combo with ice cream. Salty and sweet. And a little bit spicy.

Watermelon ice cream

5. Watermelon Sour Gummies - It’s still summer, after all, so I needed a little watermelon in the mix.

Fancy Licorice Ice Cream

Unusual Ice Cream Toppings // Licorice

6. Fancy Licorice - If you remember this post, you know I’m partial to these pretty candies. And I really like licorice. So it’s a win-win for me.

Birthday Ice Cream Cone

…And a birthday candle to round things out.

Before I go, though, I wanted to tell you how thankful I am to every single one of you who stops by to read Paper & Stitch each day. I am fully aware that I am super lucky to be doing something I love day after day. And that wouldn’t have ever been possible without you. For real. Your support means so much to me! So THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart. You’re the best!!!

Concept, photography, and styling by Brittni Mehlhoff