Greens, Berries, Burlap and Ticking


Hi! Well, we had another successful holiday open house at our place on Saturday! We had about 50 friends, family and neighbors over throughout the evening for appetizers, desserts and drinks. This is our 3rd year hosting in this house and then we did it a few years before when we lived in P's 1 bedroom condo. Each year I am slightly more prepared and slightly less like a chicken running around without a head during the actual party. Mostly this is because my sister (you remember, the infamous MOH) comes up from Manhattan to stay with us for the weekend and acts basically as my slave (thank you again, Laura!). I have also been taking virtual lessons from a genius in the entertaining department - the hilarious, generous and super talented Katie of Good Things Catered.

So, as a testament to how much more together I was this year than last year, I actually have pictures to share! Of course, they're not pictures of like everything all ready right before the first guests walked in the door, because well, that happened while I was still doing stuff (oops) but they are of the "centerpieces" I "made" for both the kitchen and dining room tables.

{the kitchen}

We've learned a good set up that works well for our party...all drinks (beer, wine, sodas/waters, both signature punches - one champagne based and one vodka based) are in the dining room. This gets people to actually enter this room and walk around:) The kitchen table is the desert table..since its right in the middle of where everyone hangs out we figure its easy for them to grab a cookie or cupcake. Cold apps on the kitchen island and family and living room coffee tables, hot apps are passed by the previously mentioned slave, the MOH.

So I wanted "centerpieces" for both the kitchen and dining room and I wanted them to coordinate. I don't own that many table linens so I figured I'd rig up my own with some fabric. I ran into Joann's Fabrics one night in search of some burlap and ticking...I wanted a somewhat rustic natural vibe but with a bit of whimsy. I got a big piece of burlap for the dining room (I wanted to protect the table) but didn't think I needed it for the kitchen table as its already a natural wood color and been pretty beat up over the years. I also bought one long piece of red ticking fabric that was wide enough that I could cut it in half and use it as a runner in both the kitchen and dining room.

{the dining room table...see, I told you I didn't have everything out and ready yet. But here's the backdrop for all the drinks. Picture lots of pretty glasses, a big galvanized bucket of sodas, punch in a huge glass container, etc.}

You have probably noticed by now that I love nature, and I love incorporating it inside for the holidays. I also love to pretty much just leave it as it is, let it sort of speak for itself. I had a vision of lots of fresh greens in different containers. I went to the local nursery and got bunches of white cedar and boxwood. And lots of winter berries. I picked pine boughs from our yard. Then I just arranged them in different things...this tall white ceramic pitcher, a galvanized tin bucket, a white tea pot, the mugs from my white beaded dish set, mason jars, glass vases.

I also wanted lots of candlelight. So I randomly placed little mini glass votives (that I've had forever and just put a new candle in each time) and these pretty mercury glass gold and silver votives I found last week at Michaels around all the greens. I also saved, washed and peeled the labels off a few jars of food we ate over the last few weeks and put a votive candle in each of them. Of course I took these photos during the day, a few hours before the party had started, so you don't get to see everything lit and glowing. It was so pretty:)

In the dining room I hung 2 mercury glass ornaments from the chandelier. I looove these ornaments...they are from Crate and Barrel and were actually a gift to me this year from an online friend (over on the Decorating and Renovating board of the we do an Ornament Exchange every year, these were 2 of the 5 beautiful ornaments I recieved from nestie wade-n-maria - thanks, girl!!).

One of the new menu items I made this year were the Chocolate Candy Cane Cupcakes I found floating around blogland (yum!). I made these little tent signs (in brown script with green dots) for each food item so that guests would know what they were getting themselves into:)

So unfortunately that's all you get to see of our Holiday Kick-Off Open House! But I promise next year that I'll be even more prepared and vow to be ready a whole 10 minutes before the party starts so that I can take photos of everything actually set up!!! Did you guys go to any fun holiday events this weekend?

I just realized its Tuesday and so I'm going to hook this post up to DIY Day at Kimba's:) Yay!



  1. This all is so perfect! I want a taste of your cupcakes. :D Love your greenery too.

  2. Looks wonderful! I am sure your guests appreciated all your wonderful decorations. Those cupcakes look so yummy!

  3. Yummmm, the cupcakes sound delicious! Thanks again for hosting that super fun Mood Board Monday, and thank you for the incredibly sweet comment you left on my page. Loved the injection of mercury glass you used in your room, a little glam to get the day started;)


  4. Wow Sarah, this all looks absolutely AMAZING!! :)

  5. Your natural decor is just beautiful! What a great touch! And those cupcakes look like HEAVEN!

  6. Wow- those cupcakes look so good! If I would have known about those I would have certainly crashed your party! =)

  7. I love your tablescape -- the ticking and burlap is such a great combination and I love how you kept the centerpiece loose and casual, but still cohesive. Perfection!

    ...And speaking of perfection, those cupcakes look to die for!

  8. Thanks, everyone!!! The cupcakes were really good, I had about 4 myself that night. Surprisingly we had alot more leftover than I thought - maybe people were too intimidated by how pretty they looked - ha?! I used regular Betty Crocker Whipped Vanilla frosting instead of Cool Whip, it just seemed easier. And next time I think I'll just make the chocolate cupcakes with plain old choc cake mix, I don't know if it was worth adding the pudding mix and sourcream and all that. But seriously, the crunch of a candy cane on top was AWESOME!

  9. I am in love with burlap and mercury glass right now. Umm.. and those cupcakes-YUM!

    I have a 'lil give away over at The Kelton's Cozy Cottage going on now-my first ever. Stop by and sign up this week!

  10. I am so excited to see the ornaments in your home yay! Truly a pleasure shopping for you! My ultimate dream is to visit the NE states! I might have to house-crash next year and steal on of those cupcakes!!

  11. Those cupcakes look yummy! And your home is gorgeous. Nice to meet you!

    B x


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