Saturday, February 21, 2009

Our second seasonal season party: Winter

For those of you who are new to the blog, I am excited to introduce you to a new Toney Family/Joyful Weddings Tradition. This fall, we came up with the idea to host a small dinner party each season. We started with a Fall party and it was a blast! You can check out the details here.

Last month, we held our Winter Party. We scaled it back a bit as far as details go because we were moving that week (yes, we are indeed crazy). But, never fear, it was still an inspired beautiful event.

We tried to build the party around our favorite things about winter: soup, hot chocolate and tea, fire in the fireplace, moody music and lots of quality time with friends. What we came up with: A Soup potluck!! It was a hit- each couple brought a different type of homemade soup and we got to enjoy all of them. Delicious!

Color palate: grey and white.
 **side note: while writing this post, I decided to research the difference between grey and gray. They are the same- both acceptable. I read that "gray is a color and grey is a colour". My husband likes colour, so for the rest of this post, gray will be grey :)

Here are some photos, captured by my good friend Jenetta:
For the  mantle, I left up my wreath from Christmas (intentionally- not laziness!) and then added two cheap potted plants from Trader Joes which I transferred into cute white vases. A few grey candles from Target, a beautiful piece of Martha Stewart ribbon and some Cricut letters and viola! 

I decided to do long tables to make it more of a communal dinner event. I just love the look of long tables! The tablecloths, china, flatware and glassware all were from my girl Megan at Classic Party Rentals.

I wanted to recreate the look of snow in a creative way. I came up with white circles of paper and buttons.

I made the runners by cutting out over 350 circles on my Cricut, using many different styles of white paper- some glittery, some embossed, some with a light grey design. I then laid them out and moved them around until I had the perfect combination, much like you would lay out quilt pieces. A million and a half whole punches later, I tied each circle together using some white string. It was pretty time consuming, but relaxing and I am really happy with how they turned out. Sorry I don't have a more close up photo- I forgot to get one.
For the centerpiece, I took whatever silver or white vases/urns I had and made each unique, filled with a single type of flower that I picked up from Trader Joes or Costco. I was bummed that I did not have time to go to the flower mart (I had other flower visions in my head), but it worked out because it forced me to be creative with what I found. 

For instance, this was a potted plant that I tore apart and turned into an arrangement:
More flowers:
I wrapped some votives in the same light grey ribbon used on the fireplace, which you can see in the above photo.

I decided to continue the branch theme from our Fall party. With the change of the seasons, the branches lost their paper leaves and gained some white buttons, mimicking snow. I sewed each one of the buttons on by hand- which was 100% unnecessary and way more time consuming than just glueing them on, but I thought it made them just that much cuter. 

I made the cutest little bathroom tree- but forgot to get a picture of it. I stuck a button-ed up branch in a small clear pot filled with more buttons. It was super cute. 

I added a couple of "brr"'s to the vases in an effort to convince my guests that it really was winter (we had a crazy heat wave here in Southern Cal the week prior to the party).

I adore these tall votive holders I found on clearance at Target- aren't they so cool and unique? (You can get a better view of them on some of the table shots above) I used a mix of clear and gray ones. I about squealed when I found them at the store and they were only $2.99. Seriously? I couldn't pass it up. I bought all they had left (only after breaking one- oops!)

A shot of the placesetting:

I had quite a few snowballs left over, so I started throwing them wherever I could: in the bathroom, on the walls and they ended up in each soup bowl. My intention was to have them be placecards, however, my husband was strongly against assigning seating. And I mean strongly. I tried to convince him to just let me write names on them for photos and then let guests move, but he insisted. Alas, the nameless placecards just looked cute.

Now, on to the good stuff:

We had each guest bring some homemade soup to share. Would you believe that we did not think to get a single shot of the soups? Not one. We were too busy devouring them. We had potato cheddar (my personal fav), butternut squash, broccoli cheddar, two different types of tortilla soup, roasted red pepper and an Indian soup. Everyone ate way more than they should have and commented on how much they loved the idea for a party. 

In addition to the soups, we had a yummy pear, pine nut & gorgonzola salad and a few different types of bread. For dessert we had these:

(that last photo was taken by me, not jenetta)

Over Christmas, my hubby became very skilled in making homemade hot chocolate. Grating the chocolate and whipping the whipped cream and all. It is absolutely amazing. Here is a peak:

It was a great party all around and we are already excited for Spring! 

A HUGE thank you goes out to: 
*Jenetta for loving me even though I make you bring your camera to parties
*Megan and Classic for being so generous and all around awesome
*Shae for your mad baking skills,
*everyone for your mad soup-making skills, 
*my hubby for cleaning while I sewed buttons on to sticks
*and my dad for being a rockstar and saving the day by returning the rentals for me while we were packing that whole next week!


Melissa said...

So cute! I love the snowball table runner you made and the button branches the best. Very creative:)

Erin said...

I get such a kick out of these parties! Everything you do is so stinkin' cute!! I even used one of your ideas (scrapbook paper layered on the placemats) and it was a huge hit with our guests! Thanks for always keeping me joyful and inspired!

IzzyE said...

So cute, Courtney! We had a soup potluck for Christmas Eve and it was so fun! What size Cricut do you have?? Cutting that many circles on mine would take FOREVER.

My Sweet & Saucy said...

I love the table spread...such great ideas!

barbara said...

Makes me wish I was in your home group :) love the "brrrrr" very very cute... hugs!!

Megan said...

love it courtney! so excited to see these photos! and it was my pleasure to contribute by helping with the rentals! fantastic!! What you going to do on March 21st...i think you are pretty busy?? :)

delighted heart said...

Such cute ideas! I love sticks also. Used them all over my house for Christmas. You can see them in the Winter Wonderland Tour in my archives. I'll be back...helping my son and FDIL to plan their fun wedding. I'd love to feature you on one of my future Wedding Wednesday blog posts. Thanks for sharing your ideas...they were super!

kristin said...

Another fabulous fete! You are such a party girl :)

amorology said...

Courtney this is darling! I want to come to dinner! :) I don't know how you find the energy to do this at home too! Super cute.

Simply Modern Weddings said...

I am so in love with your are such a crafty diva!

Jodi {In Any Event} said...

SO many wonderful details, where do I begin? Those buttons on the branches, I go crazy for decor like that! Those are the things that really make a party unique. Great work!

laura r. said...

Your ideas are so great, and important for many people, inexpensive!
I saw a photo of a runner made with various-sized doilies (from thrift and antique stores, or grandma) sewn together...more of a traditional or rustic/Americana look, but a neat idea, too.

Lil Mama Stuart said...

I LOVE this...I am currently planning my daughter's winter wonderland themed party and this just got me even more excited! Would you mind sharing the hot chocolate recipe? I plan on putting them in baby jars for individual servings as giveaways.