with a Twist
The season is upon
us. Are you ready to party?
Holiday parties can be the easiest to
host. Most people are in a festive mood and are eager to get out and
mingle - especially with people that they may only see on special
occasions. You can sustain that holiday mood with preparations that need
not be time consuming or difficult. Your guest list, available space,
budget, time and energy will all have an influence on your planned event.
A theme gives a party focus. It helps in planning time, foods,
activities and decoration. It can increase anticipation amongst your
invitees, prompt RSVP's and thereby make your planning easier.
Originality and creativity can give standard parties a fresh spin.
For example, instead of inviting your guests to a wine and cheese party,
send an invitation to an "Open That Bottle Night!" The premise of the
evening is to give your guests an excuse to bring a bottle of wine that
may have been saved for a special occasion or to buy one that they have
been meaning to try. This theme, suggested by Dorothy Gaiter and John
Brecher, co-authors of the Wall Street Journal's wine column, gives your
guests a chance to experience and share their selection as well as
interact with other guests. As the host you would supply the foods to
compliment the wines and one or two interesting selections to round out
the offerings, including some non alcoholic beverages. (There are lots of
interesting sparkling, non alcoholic beverages that are a refreshing
change from sodas!)
Take any holiday gathering and put your
personal stamp on it. Try a play on words for your party's theme, a
different take on a standard as mentioned above, an updated version of a
classic like a scavenger hunt or even a themed holiday costume party with
The most memorable holiday party is not necessarily one
that was the most elaborate or expensive to create. It is the one where
your guests felt special and welcome and everyone, including you, had a
~ Pam Faulkner, Faulkner House Interior Redesign
Is gift wrapping a
chore or a creative outlet for you?
Having everything you need in
one place makes the process easier, of course, but how and where do you
store it all? Take an inventory. List what you have, need, and what ought
to be used up. Then determine how many presents need to be wrapped.
The Container Store's web site offers at least 13 storage items
specifically for wrapping as do many other sites and local stores at this
time of year. The key is finding the one that will fit your needs and is
easy to store itself.
If you use gift bags and tags and only
occasionally use folded or rolled wrapping paper, an organizer that will
store multiple rolls of paper and ribbon isn't for you. Read the
descriptions, note the sizes of the organizers and what they store . Some look good but the design makes the product, when full, difficult to
store, and/or move! Choose a versatile piece that fits your needs and
maybe store things other than gift wrap in case your needs change.
Once your presents are wrapped, you'll know what supplies you'll
need next time. Make notes so you don't under or over buy again. You may
find that you'll have less to store next season.
For gift wrapping
ideas, click on the link below.
You've just received
a party invitation and you are trying to decide what to wear. The hosts
helpfully stated "Informal" on the invitation, but how informal? A quick
call to RSVP is the answer. (You were going to RSVP, weren't
Our more casual,
relaxed way of entertaining means that the terms of dress and what they
indicate have been forgotten or seem charmingly antiquated-until you need
to know what they mean because of a business or formal occasion like a
"Black or White
Tie"- Dinner jacket / tails for men or understated black tux and white
shirt; fanciest dress for women
"Costume or Black Tie"-For a
charity ball, black tie or evening dress unless you are on a committee,
then a costume may be expected. For a party, some attempt at an
appropriate costume is appreciated.
"Black Tie"-If the
invitation is for a ball, the same as above. For a dinner at a club or
home, a black tux for men; long dinner dresses or short cocktail dresses
"Informal"-Traditionally, dark suits for men and
short cocktail dresses for women. "Casual"-Can mean anything from
business casual to jeans so check with the hosts.
A few specific events
and what to wear:
- Debut balls at night are always black tie.
- Engraved invitations to dinner or to weddings after 6 p.m. are
usually black tie.
- Sunday brunch, unless otherwise stated, calls for men in jackets
(with or without ties) and women in dresses or dressy blouse and slacks.
- Cocktail buffets, unless otherwise stated, call for men in dark
suits and women in cocktail dresses/dressy pantsuits.
- Dinners or parties held in restaurants-dress requirements go up in
formality in direct relation to occasion, price and reputation of
Christmas is a time
when decorating to excess can be as contagious as a cold. Christmas
clutter can be charming-to a point. Mantels can be magnets for excess
decoration. When you can't see and appreciate each decoration then you
have too much.
The rules of scale, color and texture apply to a
pleasing mantel decoration just as they do to the decoration of the rest
of the room. The mantel in the photo above is a case in point. The desired
effect was to have simple greenery without a lot of fuss and detail.Though
the greenery is simple, it overpowers the mantel and even the furniture
that surrounds it. The thickness of the garland and the amount that is
used seems out of proportion.
To counter this the garland could be
trimmed somewhat and used just around the lower mantel or two slightly
thinner swags could be used: one at the top and one swagged on the mantle.
The starkness and contrast of the deep greenery in the otherwise pale room
could be softened with simple cream colored or tone on tone ribbon,
cording, or cream- edged English holly branches. Adding a deep green throw
and/or green pillows with decorative braid or fringe edging would create a
more seamless color flow in the room.
When decorating any area of
your home for the holidays, take time throughout the process to stand back
to check your progress as you add each element. Stop when you have
achieved the desired effect, even if you have leftover decorations. You
may find another place for them as you move through the house. If not, you
may use them next time. There is no law that says you must use every
decoration you own each year!
Need a little help with your holiday
decorating? There's still time to call me for Decorating Coaching or hands
Parties are planned for next year. The growing list of favorites will
include the introduction of the Decorative Accessory Exchange Party. This
theme has grown out of the popularity of the "What Do I Do With It?"
segment in many of the other Redesign Parties. Guests may bring
their most difficult to use accessory to exchange and learn ways to use
these challenging pieces.
For more information
on this or any of the Redesign Parties please call or email Faulkner House
Notebook is devoted to tips and articles relating to interior
redesign, decorating, entertaining, organizing and related subjects, and
may include contributions from members of the Interior Redesign Industry
If you have an interest or question that
you would like to see addressed, or a community event that you would like
to see included that relates to our subjects of decorating, real estate
staging, entertaining and organizing please contact me. Your comments and
suggestions are always appreciated!
~ Pam Faulkner, Faulkner House