Archive for Party Planning

Mar
07

Wedding Cake Cheesecake in the Park

Posted by: | Comments (2)

Last week you heard about the time we spent with Aaron and Kiori in Scottsdale for their Canal Convergence exhibit.  In just a short five years of marriage they have developed a strong personal and business relationship with their company, Purring Tiger.  They collaborate on their interactive art installations in a remarkable way.  They are approaching their 5th anniversary so I thought I would share several of our most popular blog posts that revolved around their wedding cake.

Their wedding was very simple in Hernshead, a very peaceful location in NYC Central Park.centralparknyc_wedding_hernshead_.aaronsherwood_kiorisherwoodkiawahJPG

Their wedding reception was a picnic on the lawn.  For this very casual setting they requested that I make a wedding cheesecake (their favorite “mom’s” dessert).  Undaunted I set out to make this cake in NC and transport to NYC. Click here to read the story.cheesecake_wedding_centralpark_aaronsherwood_kiorisherwoodkiawah

It was a real challenge but I was up for it.  So, if you ever need to make a wedding cake cheesecake here are the details complete with the basic recipe.weedingcheesecake-cheesecake-recipe-strawberry-sauce

I have used this same recipe over and over again adapting it from mini cheesecakes to a four layer wedding cake.  The past few years I have modified the crust of the recipe to be gluten free.  If you would like more information about GF options please leave me a response.  Here is recent rendition of a mini-cheesecake with a GF chocolate cookie crust, raspberry sauce, and creme fraiche. Yum!mini-cheesecake-gluten-free-raspberrysauce-chocolatecookiecrust

If you make this cheesecake please let me know how it came out.  Don’t worry if it cracks or is not perfect.  Berries and toppings hide everything.  The pleasure is is n the taste.  Enjoy!

On another note (and topic for a future post) I had a great fused glass experience last week.  I made a 27″ tall glass totem piece.  It has not been fired yet but maybe by next week I can share.

My best to all,

Mary

Mary Sherwood Lifestyles

252-308-2694

Working with you to create your lifestyle!

 

 

 

Dec
15

Party Food Etiquette

Posted by: | Comments (7)

As you were growing up your parents taught you to be polite and courteous.  Those same rules today can be applied to planning a party menu for those with food allergies or food preferences. Last weekend we hosted our first party in our new home.  It was great to share our new place with neighbors and friends.  We had a great turn out and are excited about getting the “social” ball rolling.  But, of course, it is not all about the food (for some).  The table with flowers ifs always a must have for me.  Here is a very quick “do” for the centerpiece.  Missing the evergreens of the NC garden!

Table centerpiece using large liquor bottles for vases.

Table centerpiece using large liquor bottles for vases. By using the bottles you achieve various “heights” and it takes very few flowers. One bunch of white Hydrangeas and a few greens is all it took!

This leads me to party food planning and Party Food Etiquette.  I have been following a gluten-free dietary plan for about five years.  It is not just a fad but something that makes me feel better and my body function better.  I do not have a severe allergic reaction as some with Celiac disease but I now understand how important diet can be.

We had several guests following a gluten-free diet and/or a vegan diet.  With that in mind I started researching recipes that could suit both.  My best word of advise is to read every label.  For example, I wanted dairy/animal free cheese. I found “Veggie” cheese by the tofu and thought that would do.  Reading the label revealed that the cheese had milk solids.  So, always check labels if you are looking for some particular allergens such as dairy, nuts or wheat.  Food labeling has really improved but buyer be smart!

Enough about the why’s, here are the how’s.  I went way overboard with the food selection but learned a lot in the process. Here is three ways to build an antipasto skewers for several diets:

  1. The recipe called for tortellini, salami, mozzarella cheese balls, artichokes, olives, and cherry tomatoes.
  2. Gluten-free version leave off the tortellini.
  3. Vegan version, leave off the tortellini, salami, mozzarella and add more veggies.

    Antipasto skewers with food labels on cute little candy cane easels.

    Antipasto skewers with food labels on cute little candy cane easels.

By adjusting this one recipe I meet most of the dietary needs of my guests. Other items on the menu were more specific to just one, maybe two dietary categories.  All in all, the food was a success and everyone seemed to enjoy the options and variety.  Our diet conscientious guests were most appreciative!

The food array for our holiday party with amazing bright sunshine filtering through our windows.

The food array for our holiday party with amazing bright sunshine filtering through our windows.

Food labels are a must when making such a wide variety of foods in different dietary categories.  Your guests do not have to “guess” what’s in the food.  I found this festive holiday template and candy cane easel ideas on Pinterest.  Common initials for various diets are shown in bold on the bottom of the label.  You can be more specific for various other ingredients, if needed, such as peanut or nut allergies.

Printed food labels with bold diet initials at bottom.

Printed food labels from www.foreveryourprints.com with bold diet initials at bottom.

Party on!  Keep your guests happy and coming back for more!  If you want more details about the menu list or recipes please reply in the comment section of the blog.

I have missed seeing all our LKG fans this holiday season!  I hope you all have a very happy and joyous holiday.

Merry Christmas to all!

Love to all!

Mary

Mary Sherwood Lifestyles – Working with you to create your lifestyle!

 

For more party printable ideas go to Printables

 

 

 

If you have recently changed your color scheme or updated your interior how do you incorporate the new color scheme into this year’s holiday décor? Look for inspiration where you least expect it.

This dining room had recently been updated using a wonderful blue accent wall (Benjamin Moore #798 Blue Suede Shoes). Could this be our inspiration?

Blue accent wall was the inspiration!

Blue accent wall was the inspiration!

 

How do you use the common holiday colors of red and green with this blue wall? With very little investment in new decorations the room began to come together with the addition of blue ornaments and a few other blue accents. The new items included inexpensive glass and plastic ornaments, multi-colored small gift bags (including blue), small little gift wrap bows and curly ribbon. Other found items from the owner’s collection were wine glasses, an antique tall pitcher with a blue rim, glass cylinders, glass vases and glass candlesticks.

Blue glass candlesticks, a vase and a pitcher were from the owner's collection.

Blue glass candlesticks, a vase and a pitcher were from the owner’s collection.

The centerpiece was the starting point which used an assortment of ornaments and objects. Heights were varied to create a pleasing arrangement. Hostess gifts were wrapped in the small foil gift bags to later be used as place cards for a holiday dinner. To give the arrangement more length on the 108” long table curly ribbon was casually placed at each end of the centerpiece.

Assorted small ornaments, glass candlesticks and containers are the components of this easy centerpiece.

Assorted small ornaments, glass candlesticks and containers are the components of this easy centerpiece.

When the table settings were placed the centerpiece was adjusted to allow more room on the table. A few of the pieces removed from the table were placed on the serving buffet to carry out the multi-color scheme.

Company is coming table setting-casual but festive!

Company is coming table setting-casual but festive!

The pièce de résistance was the valance, created with Christmas ornaments tied to staggered lengths of curly ribbon, which frames the entrance to the dining room.

Holiday valance made of assorted shapes and sizes of ornaments.

Holiday valance made of assorted shapes and sizes of ornaments.

Each area of the great space was decorated with multi-colors including a touch of the newly added blue. Think about how you can bring a little of your new interior color(s) into your holiday scheme without starting all over.

Happy holiday decorating!

Mary

Mary Sherwood Lake Living – Working with you to create your lifestyle!

Jul
23

Interior Designer or Party Planner?

Posted by: | Comments (2)

2014 has kept this girl busy. As Mary would say: “How do you even keep up with your social calendar, I would go crazy!”  You could say I’m a bit of a social butterfly. I love parties, entertaining and being around friends and family. My mom has six siblings. Four of them are my next door neighbors. Naturally we have lots of family events and my house is party central.

This year so far I have helped host four baby showers, a bridal shower,  served as maid-of-honor and attended several other weddings, birthday parties and cookouts. We are only at the halfway point of 2014! I am also a bridesmaid in another wedding in September. I am looking forward to helping host a baby shower for our very own, Autumn Wenger, due in December! However, I’m not complaining! It’s my next favorite thing to do besides designing.

I wanted to share some of the highlights and advice I could give from my experience with these parties. It’s nice to be behind the scenes, I always take mental notes of “what would I have done differently.”

1. Focal Points-something that catches the guest attention

It’s important to have a focal point at your event. This helps bring a “wow” factor to your party. You are certainly welcome to have more than one focal point depending on the size of your venue. Focal points come in all different shapes and sizes. A focal point could be the wedding cake,  a floral arrangement centerpiece or a rustic chandelier placed above the dance floor.

Interior-Designer-Or-Party-Planner-Focal-Points

My Aunt and I created the Wagon Wheel/Mason Jar Chandelier for my cousin’s rustic country wedding this past April. We also created the crystal silver tree centerpiece. It really brought the “Wow” factor and romantic atmosphere to the wedding.

2. Personal Touches-Additional touches that bring out the qualities of guests of honor

I would highly recommend this for your next party or event. Personal touches are a great way to add a special touch to make your event more memorable. Your guest will recognize and appreciate that you went that extra mile adding these into your planning and decorating.

The charming young man holding the sign is my little cousin Chance. He stole the show when he walked down the isle as ring bearer holding these signs.  I love the bottom/center sign. The hors d'oeuvre placed on this table were in memory of past loved ones who couldn't attend this wedding. so special! The fruit bassinet was created in honor of the future Dawson twins and lastly I created the shadow window frame for my cousin's wedding in April.

The charming young man holding the sign is my little cousin Chance. He stole the show when he walked down the aisle as ring bearer holding these signs. I love the bottom/center sign. The hors d’oeuvre placed on this table were in memory of past loved ones who couldn’t attend this wedding. So special! The fruit bassinet was created in honor of the future Dawson twins and lastly I created the shadow window frame for my cousin’s wedding in April.

3. Recruit A Team-Support system

No matter how small of a party you are planning, try to have a team. It’s okay to have a team of one or many, as long as you have someone by your side. I have been very fortunate to have been apart of some amazing teams this year already. It’s always nice to have a second opinion and a second set of eyes. Even if your teammate has possibly never planned a party, surely they have been to one. Their past experiences combined with your expertise makes a great team to help you create an amazing event. You will be glad you had these people to help you along the way.

Cheers to having an amazing team and group of friends to help create these memorable events with friends and family! Again, having a team is a plus when party planning, Nothing wrong with opening a bottle of wine and brainstorming ideas!

Cheers to having an amazing team and group of friends to help create these memorable events. Again, having a team is a plus when party planning, there’s nothing wrong with opening a bottle of wine and brainstorming ideas!

4. Don’t loose sight-Try and remember “Why” you are doing this.

Sometimes the stress of projects can get to us. It’s hard to find time to plan these events between our normal daily routines. It can become stressful and tiring. However, it’s okay to take a break! We need to sometimes take a step back. I have been told many times in design school to walk away from the drafting table, go do something fun for a few hours and then come back to it. It’s almost like getting a second look or putting on a new set of eyes. One more thing you should do is take a moment and think about the people you are having the event for and the purpose. I’m sure there is a special reason behind the madness.  This can usually help push you through.

Here are a few of my reasons "Why" I go the extra mile! When you think of all the hours, late nights, hot glue guns burns, and the million-and-one emails, these people make it all worth while.

Here are a few of my reasons “Why” I go the extra mile! When you think of all the hours, late nights, hot glue gun burns, and the million-and-one emails, these people make it all worth while.

 5. Last but no least-ENJOY!

Once the party planning has come to an end and it’s now the day of your event. However, your behind the scenes duties may not be completely just yet. Please, remember to take a moment and enjoy the event you helped create! This is where you take all of your hard work in. This is important! There’s nothing more satisfying than realizing your efforts are appreciated. Trust me, the smiles you have put on your loved ones faces are a priceless, picture perfect memory. The months and prep for these parties that only last a few hours always seem to go by way too fast! So take a moment and enjoy them!

I hope you have enjoyed a glimpse of some of the parties and events I have helped create! Party planning is my second love right behind design. However, my design degree sure comes in handy. I look forward to the other parties and events 2014 has in store! If you ever need advice or help creating your memorable evening, don’t hesitate to ask!

-Dixie K

 Mary Sherwood Lake Living-Working with you to create your lifestyle on Lake Gaston and Beyond!

Dec
10

Christmas Party Planning Guide

Posted by: | Comments (5)

Christmas-Party-Planning-Guide

I attended an amazing Christmas party this past weekend, which gave me the inspiration for my blog this week. When I attend parties I am constantly taking mental notes of my favorite things. I’d like to think of it as a mini Pinterest board in my head. I’m constantly “pinning” these ideas to have for when I decide to host my own holiday party. Here are a few things I would keep “pinned” when planning your holiday gathering.

Christmas-Party-Planning-Guide-Food-Chart

Party Planning Guide

It’s always a good idea when you’re sending out your invitations to include a way for guest to RSVP, especially when you’re going to serve food.  The Christmas party I attended this weekend was scheduled at 7PM  with cocktails and heavy hor d’oeuvres.

Here are a few party planning rules of thumb to consider when planning your holiday menu: (refer to the chart to the right)

If you are planning to feature hor d’oeuvres, here are some other tips:

-3-7 bites per person when accompanied by a large dinner

– 10-12 bites per person when accompanied by a light dinner

-20 bites per person if hor d’oeuvres only

Remember to provide a variety of foods to please everyone.  Try to have hot and cold foods, but also be considerate of vegetarians, vegans, and food allergies to keep everyone nibbling throughout the night. Don’t forget to have something sweet, too!

Learn How to make these adorable Santa strawberries to serve at your next holiday celebration, Just click the image!

Learn How to make these adorable Santa strawberries
to serve at your next holiday celebration,
Just click the image!

The Themed Christmas Party.

Tacky Christmas Sweater Party I must say this party makes for the best holiday photos! I have been to a few of these, I try to make it a personal challenge to find the tackiest of Christmas sweaters. Just about any sweater with a Christmas tree, reindeer, or snowmen on the front will do. This would be the easiest of parties to host, just ask your guest to please wear a Christmas sweater.

Christmas Cookie Swap:  This would be a great party with your girlfriends during the holidays. Invite your friends to bring their favorite Christmas cookies with their favorite bottle of wine, and you have an instant girl’s night.  Don’t forget to have goodie bags for your guests to take their favorite cookies home at the end of the night.  You can also ask the guest to bring copies of the recipe to share.

Melting Snowmen Sugar Cookies

Melting Snowmen Sugar Cookies

I love these cookies.  I think they would be a great hit at your next Cookie Swap event!

There are lots of other kinds of parties you can host such as: 12 Days of Christmas, Winter Wonderland,  Gift Wrapping Party, Ornament Making,  and many more.  Don’t forget the little ones. Let them join in the fun and host a gingerbread house making  party or cookie decorating event.  

 

Games/Entertainment.

Keep your guest active by adding games to your party schedule. I thoroughly enjoyed the games I part took in this weekend. Here are just a few games with their rules you should try to incorporate in your party planning:

White Elephant, Dirty Santa, & Chinese Gift Exchange:  I have heard this game called by several different names, but these are probably the most popular. It’s ultimately a fun re-gifting exchange game, Click the link to find out how to play. http://www.wikihow.com/Organize-a-White-Elephant-Gift-Exchange

The Reindeer Antlers Balloon Game will be your new holiday favorite. I had never played this game before until this weekend.  Let’s just say I wasn’t on the winning team but I had a great time participating!  Here’s how to play: http://www.cookie-exchange.com/party_games/reindeer_antlers_balloon_game.html

Christmas-Party-Planning-Guide-Reindeer-Ballon-Game-Dixie

Reindeer Antlers Balloon Game

The 12 Days of Christmas:  We were divided into groups and given one of the 12 days of Christmas. We started off the song and when your number came up it was your turn to sing and act out your number! I must say this was a great hit, I definitely enjoyed seeing my cousin acting like a “french hen” for the third day.

There are many games out there, just make sure they are appropriate for the crowd you are hosting.  There is no time limit to the games, but give your guests breaks so they don’t feel like Santa on Christmas Eve!

 

 Favors.

Favors are not something you have to do, but they are always a great way to say thank you to your guest for attending your party.  Favors do not have to cost you a fortune. They can be easy to make and become little mementos for your holiday fun filled night. Here are just a few to consider:

Red Tic Tacs can be transformed in to “Reindeer Noses”. Just add a cute little label and  “Wah Lah!” a party favor that will have your guest smiling all the way back to their homes. I have even seen green tic tacs labeled as “Christmas tree seeds.” So Cute!

Try tying a cute bow on different Christmas Cookie cutters for an instant easy party gift as well.

Christmas-Party-Planning-Favor

Christmas Candy Sleigh Party Favor

 If you have a little more time on your hand, these sleighs made of candy are an awesome Christmas party favor.

Click the picture to find out how to make this tasty sleigh!

Good Luck Party Planning.

Just remember no matter what you decided to serve, what theme your party is, or what games you play, your party will be a success only because of the loved ones that attend. Tis the season to remember our friends and family which is the true meaning of Christmas! I wish you the best of luck and safe travels to all your holiday celebrations! Last but not least, I hope you have a very Merry Christmas!

Dixie K

Mary Sherwood Lake Living,  working with you to create your lifestyle!

 

UA-15526419-1