Posts tagged entertaining
DIY White Party Flower Arrangement

Hello and happy Monday everyone! My garden is in full bloom and also all of the meadows. Everywhere I go, there are flowers growing - foraging made easy! As a flower lover there is no way I could skip an arrangement with roses and peonies. Inspired by the outdoors, I wanted to create a fresh arrangement, and add flowers that represent my surroundings this time of the year. My friend is hosting a summer "white" party and this white bouquet is my contribution to her party! White flowers are the perfect gift for a summer white party from my point of view. If you are hosting one, you can make smaller arrangements and place them down the center of an old wooden table. Wouldn't that be gorgeous? Benko1

[clickToTweet tweet="“It was June, and the world smelled of roses. The sunshine was like powdered gold over the grassy hillside.” @decor8" quote="“It was June, and the world smelled of roses. The sunshine was like powdered gold over the grassy hillside.” ― Maud Hart Lovelace, Betsy-Tacy and Tib"]

White roses are one of my favorite flowers of all time - they are elegant and light up every arrangement. They look good if they are in a vase alone and they look gorgeous in a bouquet with other flowers. I am so happy it is June and I can chose from all the different varieties! For my arrangement for you today, I collected gorgeous white roses, added white peonies and went foraging in the meadow to achieve the airy look that I was going for.

Flowers used for the arrangement:

* white roses * white peonies * wild chervil * yarrow * bedstraw

Because the arrangement contained wild foraged flowers I decided to go for a more formal look and made the arrangement round and simple. I learned that cold weather gives some roses a slight touch of pink, some nights are still pretty cold where I live, this is why I also picked white yarrow that was slightly turning into pink. After I cut all flowers to one length, I arranged the bouquet in my hands, turning the slowly growing bouquet, adding the flowers one after another.


Having them in my hands instead of a vase helped me to ensure that the bouquet was not getting too big. The roses and peonies added enough white to the arrangement, so I tried to break it up a little with yarrow, wild chervil and bedstraw.


After the bouquet was finished, I cut the stems to one final length, tied it all up and placed into my vase. Here is the finished arrangement below. This could be a beautiful wedding floral bouquet too, couldn't it? Or on the table at a reception?


The roses and the peonies are so soft, feminine and fragrant while the wild flowers looked like white lace. All in all a perfect combination for a summer white party.

This is my final column on decor8, I've enjoyed so much being here and sharing my floral ideas with all of you. Have a wonderful summer and make sure to keep up with me over on my blog and on Instagram, I'd love that. All the best, Anastasia.

(Photos, styling, text: Anastasia Benk0)

Easter Sunday Tabletop Decorating Ideas

Hello and happy Monday dear readers! This is Anke with some March-inspired ideas for your coffee table, Easter gathering or any upcoming celebration with family and friends. This year still seems so very young to me – but Easter holidays are already in sight. Easter is a big deal in Germany and aside from its traditional meaning, it also makes us feel excited because when Easter comes we know that SPRING is in sight, which is so exciting, isn't it?



Easter lends a pretty good reason to set a Spring-like table in tender colors. And speaking of color, did you read that rose quartz is one of the two Pantone colors of the year for 2016? Their website said something rather interesting about their reasoning behind their pastel color choices, "As consumers seek mindfulness and well-being as an antidote to modern day stresses, welcoming colors that psychologically fulfill our yearning for reassurance and security are becoming more prominent." I have to agree, rose is such a serene color and perfect for the spring tabletop. Leave your stress and worry behind, sit down, relax and enjoy... In fact, I did not hesitate to use rose quartz in my Easter tabletop shown below. I hope that it inspires you to try a little rose quartz at home, too.

As you notice in my columns each month, I always decorate this little corner in my dining room near the pocket doors where the bench is. I like to make that corner fit the decor I have on the table for a cohesive look. For this look, I've styled some pretty flowers, hard-boiled eggs and a simple handmade wreath on the wall. The giant pleated vase was given to me by a dear friend to use for this setting, my ultimate favorite --  such an eye catcher, don't you think? It was on the table when guests arrived, but to make room for serving, I moved it over to the bench as decor. I created a loose arrangement of ranunculus, tulips, pussy willow, white anemones, wax flowers, eucalyptus and catkin branches.


While creating this look, I discovered that wax flower is a dream candidate when it comes to crafting with flowers. The fine branches are very flexible and the flowers durable. You will find them in white and pink and in my opinion, nothing is easier than making tiny wreaths out of wax flowers! I've even used them to embellish the breakfast eggs on each guests' plate.


As Easter breakfast may be more opulent than usual I thought Raspberry-Cream and Almond Sponge Cake might be a good idea! On top you see fresh raspberries and sugar-coated nougat eggs. This candy is very popular in Germany at Easter, they are called Möveneier (seagull eggs) and I love their speckled surface. The plates are simple white ceramic, topped with speckled gray plates from House Doctor to mimic the speckled chocolate egss on the table. For an simple, quick and classy Easter decoration I placed some edible white eggs over a simple white linen tablecloth. The eggs are hard-boiled and I cleaned the shell with pure household vinegar.


How will you spend your Easter holidays, dear readers? I'm afraid I will be away from home working, but hey – I had some Easter spirit already when decorating this table for decor8, right? ;) Have a beautiful month of March and I will see you again on April 4th with another entertaining at home idea for your tabletop! - Anke

(Photography, Styling and Text: Anke Illner. Editor: Holly Becker)

Spring Entertaining Ideas

Hello dear blog readers, this is Anke with my monthly tabletop column for decor8. How are you? I hope 2016 started off well for all of you! Are you enjoying wintertime or longing for spring like I am? At our home, it has been the same process as years past. I cannot replace the glitzy Christmas decorations with plain elements and early bloomers quick enough. So, here are some spring tabletop ideas for you!


My table is set in bright colors with white tulips, hyacinths, and snowdrops. Light-colored wood, glassware, and straight, clean shapes give your table decoration a modern, Scandinavian look. The great thing is that one doesn’t have to spend much money on it! Jam and preserving jars in different sizes will act perfectly as flower vases, and there is good news for those who like the tablecloth. It's from IKEA from their 365+ collection.


I chose small enamel cups to plant the snowdrops. Look for similar vintage ones at the flea market. Enamelware from Falcon would be just as beautiful, as would their mugs or mini tumblers.


Of course I had to put something playful on the wall again. Keeping up with the latest trend I went with a pennant wall hanging. There is special t-shirt transfer paper that allows you to print text or an image of your choice and iron it onto fabric. Check your local craft store - just ask one of the employees for fabric transfer paper. Easy-peasy! For the next step I cut the fabric to size, created a fold at the top and stitched, then folded in the bottom edges and ironed it, then sewed the hem at the short end of the pennant. To finish this DIY, just thread a wooden stick or even a cooking spoon through the hole you've created. Add baking string to the top to hang.


The small culinary delight on each guest's plate was juicy lemon-rosemary-cake. If you like the combination of fruity cake and sweet garden herbs you should definitely have a look at the Lemon & Thyme Syrup Cake from Holly's new columnist Emma. I will be giving it a try soon, that's for sure!


I wish you all a beautiful month of February! I am looking forward to meeting you here again on decor8 at the beginning of March! - Anke

(Photography, Styling, Text: Anke Illner. Editor: Jessica Senti)

Elegant Holiday Entertaining Ideas

Hello dear decor8 readers, how are you today, right before Christmas? This is Anke visiting you while Holly is recovering from eye surgery while simultaneously finishing her fourth book with Leslie Shewring. I'm back today with my monthly tabletop inspiration column. I don't know about you, but I'm in countdown mode with a long "to do" list to handle but what about you - are you rushing around too or are you laid back with all preparations done already? While enjoying a rare break on my sofa the other day I discovered a beautiful DIY story with embroidery frames in Living at Home Magazine. At that moment I knew how my December table decoration for decor8 should look like. So here I am with a festive tabletop idea for you!


I chose the Christmas rose (Hellebore) to be the picture motif for the frames. I like this white blooming plant a lot and here in Germany you can buy them almost everywhere in a pot at the moment. I took three different pictures of my Hellebore, printed the images in different sizes on a paper with a linen structure (bought in a shop for arts and craft supplies) and clamped them in wooden embroidery frames (different sizes). It took me some time as I chose a quite thick paper (185g/m2). Guess I will have a look for a thinner option next time. Nonetheless – it worked!


The frames are pretty and very versatile, on my images you can see them as placeholders (imprinting or stamping the names of your guests is also a good idea!), wall decoration and a gift tag.


The otherwise all white table setting with white dishes, napkins and pleated ceramic tea lights (last years big trend) allows the flowers and frames to attract the attention.


Matching the winter season I used white woolen ribbon to embellish the frames.


Preparing this post I jumped at the chance to try a delicious dessert I also found in Living at Home Magazine – Greek Yoghurt with Poached Pears, Honey- Rosemary-Syrup and crunchy Pine Nuts-Pistachios-Topping. How does that sound? After the photoshoot my husband and I ate everything right down to the smallest crumb and I am pretty sure this one is going to be part of our Christmas Dinner! :)


What will your Holiday table look like? Traditional, classical or modern, opulent or clear, I would like to be a fly on the wall! Well anyway... The most important is to be with those we love, right? In this spirit I am wishing you a peaceful Christmas season and happy holidays with your loved ones! See you in 2016 with another year of my tabletop column! – Anke.

(images/text: anke illner)

Autumn Dinner Party Entertaining Ideas

It's Monday, a new week and new inspiration to be found! This is Anke and I'm back with a new theme for you this month, today with an autumnal table for you. Let's celebrate the golden month of October with warm colors, oak wood, soul food and beautiful flowers. Before I develop my ideas for table decor I usually begin with my current color crush. Lately I'm falling for ochre yellow, which is a bit brownish, like curry powder. I enjoy viewing the autumn forest so much and have noticed lots of ochre this year. Do you have a favorite color at the moment? What is it?


When it comes to eating, my go-to food at this time of the year is a hot and creamy soup. In my photos you'll see a pureed pumpkin potato soup garnished with roasted seeds, fresh parsley and coarsely grounded black pepper. If desired my guests can help themselves with french farmhouse bread, homemade herb butter and fleur de sel (which you'll always find on my table as I am a little addicted to it). I also like the idea of serving soup in small espresso cups for an amuse-bouche. I found a non-alcoholic apple quince apéritif in our local shop the other day. A perfect fit for autumn cuisine.


My table decoration combines rustic elements such as cutting boards, small butter knives with a wooden grip, and clear simple design such as my plain white tableware and thick tea candle glasses. I added the little oak houses because I like playful details and autumn reminds me of how cozy it is at home.


The four cotton napkins were formerly two aprons. I purchased them at a gorgeous store in Amsterdam when I was out shopping for napkins. I'm not the most talented sewer but I can manage on small projects such as for napkins, pillowcases and anything else that only requires me to sew in a straight line!


I hand cut some petite branches with leaves using paper with the "Autumn" banner as an template. Paper will always be my favorite craft material, you too? The vases on my table are filled with loosely arranged huge mums (Japanese Chrysanthemum), protea, dahlias and two different kind of eucalyptus.


I hope that you have enjoyed this autumn-themed setting. I also want to thank you so much for your kind comments on the first article of my column here on decor8. If you have any questions about a recipe, please you contact me through email which you can find on my blog. Have a comfy autumn everyone and see you again in November! - Anke


(text, styling, photography: Anke Illner / Text edits: Holly Becker)

Midsummer Entertaining Ideas

Hi everybody! This is Anke Illner and usually I post about table decoration on my blog but today I'm both very happy and excited to be sharing my first new column on decor8 all about tabletop decorating. I'll show you the same table in my dining room each month styled a different way to hopefully inspiring your next gathering. Entertaining is a big trend, wouldn't you agree, and it will only become stronger since many have come to discover that gatherings at home are more intimate than meeting up at restaurants - and a lot more affordable and give you a chance to be creative. Okay, time to get started with my first installment in my tabletop series. For this look, I'm bringing you some late summer inspiration.


I always liked a table styling that tells a little story about the current season of the year. And I love the month of September. The warm light, fresh air, luscious colors and opulence make me happy all round. It is the best time of the year to ramble around the farmers markets, if you ask me. During my last visit, I could not resist the dahlias and small yellow plums (called Mirabellen in German). In good company with a homemade marzipan pound cake I set my September themed table with floral bouquets in small vases (formerly jam jars), rustic-style ceramics and linen-napkins. A big round wooden board functions as the centerpiece, giving the cake a perfect stage. Last but not least, I scattered some small yellow plums. Not only do they add some spots of yellow color to the table but also make the guests happy.


When guests come, I mostly arrange several medium-sized bunches of flowers as they allow everybody to see each other. You`ll find a step-by-step tutorial for medium arrangements in Holly & Leslie's, "Decorate with Flowers". Furthermore, I discovered beautiful images of floating flowers in their book, the inspiration for my mini version on every guests' plate. My flower choice this time: multicolored dahlias, white phlox, sage and some grass. I can highly recommend sage as an add-on, its delicate scent is just wonderful!


Along with coffee and cake I prepared cucumber and ginger infused water. I tried this for the very first time when visiting Amsterdam this summer and was surprised about the fresh, aromatic taste. Have you given infused water a try? Which variation? I hope you liked this table setting and I wish you the most beautiful late summer, dear readers! See you again in October for my next tabletop theme! - Anke.

(photography and styling: anke illner)