Posts tagged party
8 Easy Steps For a Romantic Summer Gathering

Would you like 8 tips for hosting an easy little party at home this summer? Hello everyone! This is Anke, I'm on decor8 once monthly with my entertaining column and today I have a very romantic tabletop story for you. But first, how are you? Did summer arrive where you live? Here in Germany it has, and the blooming flowers overwhelm as does the lush green everywhere. I also love the long, light evenings -- they are definitely more than welcome.


Today I have a romantic, floral tabletop story to inspire you for a summer gathering at your home indoors or out on the terrace. Let's follow nature as a good example and not hold back on color and light! This is more or less the motto for all of my columns, but this time each year I sorta flip out even more with pastels such as pink and peach when decorating. And I know you are out there, pastel-lovers!

1// CHOOSE YOUR FLOWER.  The peony is probably my favorite flower. What is yours? I can't pass by them when I spot the splendid bunches at the flower shops and the weekly markets in town. For this story, I've let them team up with sumptuous field-grown roses. Together peonies and roses are masterpieces made by nature, don't you think?  Select your flowers or greenery for the party and let them guide your theme. This can be your first choice of inspiration or something you do in the middle or end of your shopping. In this story, the flowers inspired everything else. Some people begin with the food they will serve or the pattern on their dinnerware. It's up to you.


2// MAKE SOMETHING. Guests love it when a little attention to detail is on display. I never tire of admiring the tender blossoms of roses, they are tissue paper look-a-likes - so poetic and delicate! This association between petal and paper gave me the idea to fold small blooms out of heart-shaped paper I bought from an online shop. Moreover I "filled" some flowers with pale pink, fringed paper centers by cutting off a narrow stripe of paper, then cut-in with very little distance on the long side and rolled it up. Easy, I promise! I scattered a few on my tabletop and others became part of the decoration on each plate as you will see later on...


3// ADD A GARLAND.  Nothing says party time quite like a garland (or you may call it bunting?). One more detail made of silk paper I chose was the garland you see in the background. Garlands are such a perfect adornment for a summer celebration. They make everything festive. You can buy them pre-made or make your own. You can also embellish pre-made garlands by adding balloons and ribbons for a little personalization.


4// DRESS THE TABLE.  A  simple tablecloth and napkins made of white linen were added along with very plain white tableware. I placed arrangements in simple glass canning jars and a single large glass vase to keep it light and bright. I didn't add ribbons or anything else, I figured the roses were enough and I didn't want the theme to get too girly. I liked the simple glass because it reflects natural light so well and visually the flowers become the focus, not the vessels.


5// MAKE PLACE CARDS.  Instead of traditional place cards I tied tiny golden frames onto napkins using jute cord and embellished each one with a paper blossom. I printed out the little tags on my computer using a favorite font.


6// HAVE A SIGNATURE PARTY DRINK.  I offered Rosé Secco poured into simple glasses filled with ice cubes, peach slices and fresh mint. Every gathering, no matter how simple, needs a signature drink - alcoholic or not. What do you like to serve? Gin tonic with slices or cucumber and mint are nice for summertime, too. "Cheers to summer!"


7// ADD SIMPLE PARTY DECORATION. A small party can still feel festive! If you have an extra 30 minutes, print out some words in color and frame them for your wall in the space. If you are good at hand lettering, use your favorite color marker or paint and paint some words - Happy Birthday, Welcome Summer, It's a Boy!, or anything else that fits your theme.


8// PLAN YOUR PARTY MENU. What will you serve? Food is key to making a party (or breaking it!). For this little gathering, serve a roasted chicken dish with roasted veggies or maybe some pasta or a salad dish -- something very summery and fresh. You can also opt for a simple spread, like a cheese and meat board with fresh bread and toppings, buffet style. Another idea is for a casual afternoon cake and coffee party only without cake and no coffee - go very light. You could plan this for after work on a Friday with the girls before a long weekend or on a Sunday afternoon. For my setting, I served one of my favorite summer desserts which is oven roasted peaches with Greek yoghurt, topped with crushed Cantuccini (Biscotti), pistachios and fresh mint. So simple and so good! Drizzled honey on top is also a good idea with some orange zests. My kids prefer vanilla ice cream, it's your choice.

I'd like to wish all of you many beautiful, sunny, memorable and relaxed summer moments (filled with a party or two) in the upcoming weeks!

If you have some nice parties this summer and want to share them with decor8 readers, post your tabletop on Instagram and use hashtags #decor8 #decorateforaparty so we can see what you've done. We'd love to see and if we have some nice submissions, we can feature our favorites on decor8!

I'm looking forward to returning with my late summer column after I return from our summer vacation, so expect to see me here again in early August with another tabletop idea for end of summer. - Anke.

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

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

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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)

Decorate With A Tabletop Rod + Clamp

I have a very clever party decoration to share with you today, but first... Hello everyone it's Anke! Peony season is here and is one of the most beautiful times of the year, don't you think? In Germany it's one of our biggest and most celebrated flower seasons (here they are called Pfingstrose with the various shades of pink being the most popular variety found in every flower kiosk for very little money). As long as there are fresh, fragrant peonies in the flower shops, gardens and at the farmers' markets, they'll be in my house too! The same holds true for rhubarb, which is also in season at the moment. Yum!


When decorating with peonies, my table setting almost always becomes a romantic one in soft colors. Who is playing the leading role in the following picture series is clear -- Miss Peony! For my tabletop, I chose four different types of peonies in shades of white and pale pink, some with yellow inside. I'm not sure of the name of this particular one, but if you have time maybe you can help me. Also, there is a list here for identifying the various peonies in English.


As an additional eye-catcher, I ordered a white painted "Tafelklem" (*Dutch for "table clamp") online at Deens – and oh my! How great is this idea? Holly has one of them too, she found the idea first inside of a very famous Dutch design magazine called VTWonen and vowed she had to have one but hasn't used hers yet.


Is this something that is available in your country? What would you add to yours? I wonder if you can buy clamps and DIY something like this? Hmmmm. Thankfully, Deens ships to Germany so I ordered mine from their site. There are so many creative ways to use this, it's definitely one of my favorite discoveries when it comes to tabletop decoration.


Using the table clamp for the first time, I printed some peony images and floral patterns on heavy paper to hang the prints in the rack afterwards (mainly using the napkin pattern by photocopying it). This tiny picture gallery has been joined by a small hanging glass vase with a big peony blossom and some more attached with white raffia at one end of the pole.


Speaking of pattern, you see one of my favorites on this table. It is called "flora dusty green" from the gorgeous Danish home brand, Bungalow. I made four napkins by sewing them out of two block-printed kitchen towels. The leaves could almost pass as peony leaves, right?


What else? Yes – a sweet rhubarb dish for the guests invited! For my June table (aka my family and neighbors after the shooting) I made "Coconut Cheesecake in a jar". I crumbled coconut rusk/ zwieback, mixed it with melted butter and pressed it into small heatproof preserving jars. I filled in with a cheesecake mixture of your choice (maybe use a little coconut syrup?) and baked according to the recipe (mine went into the oven for 20 minutes/ 180° top and bottom heat). Nigella Lawson's Rhubarb & Ginger Compote (from the book Simply Nigella) was my choice of topping together with some zwieback crumble and fresh mint! Bon appétit! :)


I wish you beautiful, warm and colorful first days of summer and I am already looking forward to see you again in July here on decor8! - Anke

(Photography, Text and Styling: Anke Illner - table clamp photos from VTWonen and Deens)

Springtime Entertaining With Pink Confetti + Tulips

Hello everyone! April was a running joke with typical rainy-sunshiny-snowy-icy-rainy weather where I'm at in Germany yet I only had eyes for all the breathtaking "cotton candy trees" around filled with cherry blossoms. This month's tabletop column is a homage to this petal-confetti time of year and though I've not used cherry blossoms, they inspired this overall look for the perfect spring tabletop which is lovely for tea time.


For my flower bouquets I chose pale pink clove, dark ruby colored peony, white bleeding heart, tulip, fancy frill tulips, parrot tulips and ornamental cherry to bring the eye candy colors from outside to my table.

I have been inspired by decor8 columnist Anastasia's recent posting so much. You should absolutely take a look if you haven't yet! It made me want to start immediately with arranging spring flowers and cherry blossom branches in the oh so romantic way she did. Thank you for sharing dear Anastasia – you are such a flower poet!


There is no way around marble currently - it gives your table decoration a noble, trendy look and contrasts delightfully with the playful bouquets. You can do it yourself easily! I took plain glass vases and cut and applied self-adhesive marble foil I bought in the local building supply store. It is typically used to line drawers.


To go with the confetti theme I decorated the table with punched paper confetti in many shades of pink and different sizes over my table. My little son gave me a laugh when he – after watching for a while – told me not to arrange each dot by itself (more or less). "Just throw it mummy! It'll look much more natural!"... ha ha.... Uhm, yes, right! He knows his mother pretty well I'm afraid. It was a good reminder to not always true to aim for perfection when entertaining.


As I overdid it a little with punching I had so much confetti that it was enough for another DIY project so I decided to create a (very) long garland out of it by sewing the paper dots in a row with my sewing machine.


Surrounded by confetti and sweet colors I thought – we should certainly have a suitable cake! Here we go... Rhubarb Lemonade Cheesecake. It is partly my own creation. I chose my favorite cheesecake recipe from Annik Wecker (with white chocolate), added a layer of jelly made from organic rhubarb lemonade and rhubarb syrup-infused whipped cream.


I hope that this tabletop has given you some joy and I wish you all a great month of May! And thank you very much for your sweet words about my last tabletop column with the green theme (shown here), it means a lot to me to read your comments and inspires me to keep creating! See you again on June 6th with another tabletop. - Anke

Note: Please always be careful when arranging flowers with food! Research first. Though I took an image with my cake and a lush flower decoration around you should always check if your flowers are poisonous, in particular when eating together with kids.

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

Decorate With Spring Green + White Luncheon With Friends

April is here! Hello dear decor8 readers, this is Anke with some fresh tabletop ideas for you today. I am already dreaming of relaxing on a green summer meadow which is why I've decided to create a green garland for my table theme this month. Everything else was inspired by my garland which was made using several branches of my all-time favorite eucalyptus and shepherd's purse along with white wax flowers and tender pink flowering boronia anemonifolia (called "Duftsternchen" here in Germany).


But first things first – I wove a long braid out of raffia which served as a basis. Next, I attached the shorter branches and flowers in small bundles, overlapping them as I secured to the raffia with wire. I suggest choosing flowers that can do without water for a few hours, otherwise your garland may look wilted once guests arrive! This is one reason why I use and suggest eucalyptus as a base. In the image above I have shown it on my wall but you can also lay it down the center of your table as you can see below.


I've used large, flat bowls from Bloomingvilles'Nordic Sand series because I love their surface, rustic look and organic shape. In my opinion, they are just perfect to beautifully present food especially pasta but also lush green salads! Just in time for spring, I served a lukewarm pasta salad made using chopped smoked salmon, green peas, sliced baby pickles, chopped apple, sour cream dressing and a lot of dill! This delicious recipe comes from Living at Home magazine. Just my taste!


As a Welcome to my guests (and to the brand new month of April) I placed small printed, green marbled cards on everyone's plate. Tender patterned napkins (from Anthropologie) took my garland theme up a notch and the trendy brass cutlery added a little glamour to the decoration.


Finally, a promise – no more eucalyptus when I see you again in May! Instead, I'll develop a tabletop theme focusing on color and lush blooms. I'm looking forward to this already! I'll meet you back here with that column on May 2 so stay tuned.  Have a beautiful and hopefully sunny month of April everyone! Love - Anke

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

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)