You might already know this, but last Thursday Mr. Right and I hosted the dessert portion of a progressive party on our street. There were three houses involved. The first house had drinks and snacks, the second house had the main course, and we followed up with dessert from 8:00 – 9:00. Eighty-one people responded that they would be attending, but we probably ended up with around 50 at chez nous. (There were probably 70 at the other two houses.) We expected some folks to drop out after eating their entrees. After all, it was the coldest night of the season, and our house was a good block away from the other two. We figured some ladies might not want to do the walk in their heels.
For the outside, I prepared luminaries by buying red bags, cutting them down some, punching them with some holes, and adding sand and a candle. I didn’t get a photo of them actually burning since I was the hostess, but you can probably get the idea.
I also staged our Chippendale bench on the “stoop” with a throw and pillow. You can see the luminaries there in the background. I took these exterior photos at the sunniest part of the day (bad blogger), and so, there are lots of shadows.
I have two of these big Pottery Barn rugs. One is under the table in the kitchen, and one hangs out in the basement sitting area. I grabbed it and put it on the outdoor steps. I thought that would be a great way to offer a “red carpet welcome” and to also wipe off any dirt picked up when our guests walked down the street.
We each had a sign to put in the front of our homes so the guests would be sure to find us. This sign matched the invitations that were sent out.
The only other outdoor decoration was this Christmas wreath. It played well with the electric candles in all of our windows.
I hung fresh greenery in the foyer by combining some evergreens, magnolia leaves, pheasant feathers and a plaid bow.
More Christmas cheer came in the form of a wreath on the mirror and red pillows on the bench. (I’ll be giving you a tour of our new foyer look in the new year.)
I have mentioned before that I have a plaid thing going on this Christmas, and I wanted to use plaid on the centerpiece. I definitely thought outside of the box on this one. First, I bought three different plaid cotton flannels at the fabric store. I sewed one into a runner and then just bunched the other two in the middle. Then I added the inspiration piece – a black and white 8 x 10 photo of Mr. Right’s uncle sledding when he was in his teens. We think the photo was taken in the 1920′s. Then I added an old pair of wooden skates, an Ikea lantern, a small tree in the container I showed you last week, candles, and circled them with a string of antique sleigh bells that my mother gave me. They’re the kind that give off that great sound, but they remained silent that night.
Here’s a close-up of that photo – glare and all.
For the desserts, I made only finger foods, and I tried to make things that were a little bit old-fashioned. So, I came up with red velvet mini-cupcakes, mint chocolate bark, crack (Trisha Yearwood’s cracker cookies) and rice cereal treats. I bought little frames and typed up the names of each of the desserts so people would know what they were eating.
I also made about 100 merinques (love ‘em), caramel corn (come back tomorrow for this great recipe), peanut butter fudge, orange brownies, peanut butter blossoms, and five kinds of Christmas cookies. I had worked out a schedule ahead of time and made all of the desserts on the day before and the day of the party. For beverages, I rented a coffee urn and served decaf along with Bailey’s, decaf tea, and bottled water. They had already had drinks and wine at the previous houses. Now it was time to prepare to get home.
At first, the guests just trickled in and then bam!!! They were there! It was a great time. Since I had everything prepared, Mr. Right and I were able to enjoy our own party. And just so you know, I borrowed a coat rack, and we had it set up in the office just off of the foyer. That helped with the coat control.
Overall, we were thrilled with the way everything turned out. It was a lot of work because I wanted to do all of the decorating and food prep, but it was a LOT of fun. Since we flew out the next morning to spend the week-end in DC, I knew that relaxation was in my near future, and so, I didn’t mind being tired. Now, be sure to come back tomorrow to get the delicious caramel corn recipe.