I’m always looking for ways to show Beachboy that I actually use all of the dishes I have in boxes.  This year, he was sweet enough to let me “adopt” a table for our church’s Christmas party.  I’ve no doubt that he knew all along that it would be both messy and time consuming (as I tend to do a lot of thinking out loud…in his ear).  Nonetheless, he said, “Sure, honey.  Just don’t buy anything.” 

Right.

That would be great except all of our Christmas dishes are gold, along with NOTHING else we own.  That makes finding a centerpiece a bit of a challenge.  I scavenged through old boxes of decorations and found that, we did, in fact, only have blue and silver decorations. 

So, I called upon my teacher-brain for a cheap backup plan and headed to the backyard armed and dangerous.

Our scrubby tree needed trimming, so I thought, why not?

 

Trees…trees….think…
“…and a partridge in a pear tree!”
Maybe my habit of randomingly singing songs with words I hear isn’t so bad afterall. (Well, OK, it is, but still.)
I decided to make a pear tree for the table, but really, the scrubby tree was quite ugly.  Since the problem was that nothing matched the dishes, I figured a cheap can of spray paint would do the trick. 
  
So, I set to work spraying the branches while my fingers shook from the cold air. 
 
For good measure, I sprayed a few branches I had stripped, as well as a few still clad in leaves and berries. 
(Now, this is the part where I cross my fingers and hope the leaves don’t wither up and fall off before the party since I can’t exactly stick them in water.)
A few old Christmas bulbs from my college years later, and…
 
 
The decorations on the light fixture look like they are in the branches, but you get the idea.
After packing up all of the Christmas dishes, I rushed off to the church only to realize that the tables weren’t wide enough for centerpieces.  What? !
I ended up offsetting the vase so it would fit and everyone could still talk.  Then, it was time to hang the pears and the partridge. 
 
Done. 
Gold may not be my favorite, but it worked out in the end. 
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I love to plan parties, but when it comes down to it, I’m quite shy. So, playing the role of hostess can be a challenge.

However, last year was our first fall as residents of our new town, and we decided to make it a home by starting a family tradition.  And so, the annual Pumpkin Carving Party was born. 

Now,  I’m planning the current year’s party, which is just two short weeks away. In only its second year, our annual event has tripled in size.  This presents both planning challenges and the opportunity to try out some new tricks.

Here are some ideas I’ve been pondering.

Wreath of Pumpkins

Every party needs a welcoming entry.  This one is sure to set the mood for our event. 

 

A monogram carved pumpkin lets new guests know they have found the right house.

This year will require many more pumpkins than last and will involve a host of new guests.  To introduce them to the set up and to encourage them to settle in, I’m going to fill a wheel barrow with pumpkins, along with a sign inviting them to select their pumpkin for carving. 

 

Mulled Cranberry-Apple Cider

The house smells delicious when guests arrive to the scent of mulling cider.  This year, I want to come up with an interesting way to serve the warm treat after dark.

Mummy Dogs

On-the-move treats for the kids are a must.

 

   Jack-o'-Lantern Candy Bowl

I love the idea of pumpkins serving as bowls.

 

A peppery centerpiece greets guests who move inside to escape the chill.

 

Who says pumpkins can’t be elegant?

 

Apple Votives

As the yard darkens, candles will light the area.

 

Gift Bags

Bags of carving tools (carver, sharpie, candle, matches, personal garbage bag) worked well last year when it came time to begin carving.  Guests simply picked up a bag, grabbed their pumpkin, and went to work.  They will definitely be used again this  year! 

 

Other must haves:

  • Wipe-friendly or disposable table cloths (This makes clean up much easier!)
  • Increased table space (We bumped elbows last year.)
  • Family friendly party music
  • Torches (for added light after dark)
  • Wipies for sticky fingers
  • Large spoons for scooping