Thursday, December 30, 2010

Appetizers are Always Welcome! Part One -Crab Treats!

It seems that it's time to post some appetizer recipes. I have to say that I LOVE appetizers. In fact sometimes, I would rather eat appetizers than a real meal. I have come to the realization that it is because you can just get so creative with them. Several types are usually required when entertaining. The ingredients are never boring, and spices are fun and well, SPICY!!! It can be inspiring to create and design an appetizer platter. Food can be a fabulous part of the edible and memorable "decorations" for a party as well.
Since it is New Year's Eve Day * (This post was edited on 1-5-11 as my recipes did not show on the original post! Sorry!) I thought I would share a couple of Appetizer recipes that I have collected over the years. My Mom Sharon called me yesterday and asked me to give her that Yummy Hot crab appetizer recipe that I made last year for them. I had to pause for a moment because I actually could not remember which one that she was talking about. But this gave me the chance to go through some of the great recipes and so when I made a copy of them for her, I thought that I would share them with you too. If you can't make them for tonight, then try to make at least one over the weekend. ENJOY!
These first two recipes are from one of my favorite little mini books printed by Oxmoor House for Southern Living called "Ultimate Book of Appetizers" The last one is a crab dip that you serve cold that was published first in Southern Living Magazine in April of 2004.
Crab Dip Recipes1-11

Crab Cakes & Lime Garlic Shrimp & Mango Salsa Recipe1-11

Planning for a Successful Party.

December through February are Party Months. You will get invited to or decide to host a party more during these months than any other season, except Summer. Having a party helps most of us keep our spirits up during the long cold winter, especially after Christmas. ( Even those of you who live in Florida! ) Why do you think they have the Super Bowl when they do?! Think about it and you know I'm right! LOL. So, Let's think about putting one together...

First things first, for a Successful Party, you have to come up with a good plan and make a list. That's essential for not only keeping you organized, but also on budget and for time management. Trust me, I've learned most things the hard way.

Here is a plan for your list:

First: Come up with a Theme. Usually it is the reason you are having the party. Then get creative. Here's an example:  It's Chris' Birthday and since it's January I'm going to make Snowflakes the theme- (I usually like to embrace the negative and turn it into a positive!)

Second: Make an invitation list and make or buy the actual invites. Remember to invite those people who would enjoy each other's company. They don't have to know each other but they do need to be able to find some common ground with others, so make sure you have at least 2 other invitees that your guest can feel comfortable with, because the host will have time to mingle, but not always have time to hang around and have in depth conversations with all of the guests. This is a section that I could post a whole weeks worth of ideas for this on Create and Decorate, so that being said, this is a whole other topic to write about in the near future.

Third: Know your budget. You may not know exactly how much money you have to spend, but you probably know how much you cannot go over budget with. This is another great idea to blog about, getting creative with little money. You don't have to spend a lot of money to have a successful and fun party. But remember, you can't serve shrimp when you can only afford cheese! So keep this in mind when you are planning the next item of business.

Fourth: Make a menu. Remember, not every party needs to have an extensive list of food, but taking the time to put a little bit of thought into your menu will go a long way toward making it a memorable party. Good food = Good party. Try to look at the theme, budget and the people you invited and it will make it easier when making food selections.

Last, but not least: Come up with a date and time. This is the last thing to do on your list  and it will be a whole lot easier to decide when you look at all of the variables above. When you think of who you invited, you know if it's better to make it a week-day, week -night or week-end. For example, if it's a Birthday party, the time length would be different for other children to come, than say for family and adult guests. If it's a football party, you obviously would have it during the game. 

You also want to give your guests some time to put the event on their calendars. If you wait and only give them a few days notice, your turnout will not be a good as if you gave them 10- 14 days notice. Just a helpful hint too, not only send them something in the mail or e-mail, but follow it up with a phone call to make sure they received it. Don't leave a message as you cannot guarantee they will listen in a timely manner, connect with them in person.

My last tip for the day is to make a reminder call the day before. Life gets busy and your friends will appreciate the call.
Blessings, Pam

Thursday, December 2, 2010

25 Days until Christmas... the countdown begins!

Hello and Happy Holidays! 

Life seems to have gotten in the way a little... My intentions have always been to post at least once a week on this Create and Decorate Blog. I have been a pretty busy gal working my design businesses and have not been taking care of my blog so my apologies! But that stops now! You can look forward to seeing much more blogging from me. 

Now that the countdown 'til Christmas has started,it is time for me to share some of the great design and decorating tricks I have learned over the years so that you can use them too.

Today was the first day of December. 

Three pieces of advice: 

Don't Stress. 

Get Yourself Organized!

Enjoy the Spirit of the Season.

Now you can really start to go crazy putting up and displaying all of your Holiday decorations that you have collected over the years. If you are really on the ball, you spent some time this past weekend shopping and getting some of those great Black Friday or Cyber Monday deals! Now, I am sure that all of you happen to have at least one friend or family member who always seems to have everything decorated and all her shopping for the Holidays done by Halloween. That is NOT what the majority of us do, so don't let those wonderfully super organized people stress you out when it's just the first week of December! 

You can still make great things happen and get your home and life spruced up, looking perfectly holiday pretty with plenty of time before the holidays are hear. The Key is simple- make a list of all things that you want to get done, and then sit down and plan in your calendar when you are going to do them. If you don't have a day to day or weekly calendar, it is time to get one.

Also organize your tasks in order of importance, and make sure that you check with your spouse and kids so you can write in any functions that you might have to participate in with them. The worst thing you can do is double book yourself and have to miss out on some holiday fun! 

So I'm going to end this post with a quick message. I'm going to take my own advice and will post my list of tasks  along with a christmas design tip tomorrow, later in the afternoon or evening! 

Blessings- Pam

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Happy Fall! It's time for some Great Halloween & Game Day Recipes. Enjoy!

TGIF! Now that football weather is here, Here are some handy treat ideas to make for tailgating or "Game Day" parties. You know you have to design a party and that includes the details of good food to serve your guests. It should be fun, delicious tasting and most importantly get you out of the kitchen quick! 

These recipes easy to make ahead, they taste yummy! 
  Pumpkin Dip, 
  Pumpkin Cheese Ball 
  And Chocolate Mint Brownie Pie 
are all favorites at my house. I have also included a recipe for Goblin Hotdogs. Super Easy and the Kids will love it!

I will add some more good recipes so keep coming back or subscribe to my blog, click on the button below. Also to give credit where credit is due, most of these recipes came from my cache of Southern Living Recipes over the years. They have the absolute best test kitchen and publish great recipes in their magazine.If you are ever looking for a certain kind of dish to cook, be sure to go to their website and check out their recipe archives.  I don't think I've ever had one not turn out. My Grandma Esther used to swear by her "Deadly but Delicious Pecan Pie" that she made from a recipe in SL magazine 30+years ago. I'll post that one before Thanksgiving. Enjoy and have fun with these recipes.

Click on this link to view and download some recipes: 

P.S. Our Willow House food mixes are perfect to keep handy for last minute guests! 

We carry 3 different kinds of Specialty Dip Mixes:
Tuscan Roasted Garlic, Santa Fe and Parmesan Peppercorn Herb Dip Mixes.

Plus we offer these specialty drink mixes: 
Strawberry Daiquiri,
Sangria and  Margarita Mixes,as well as
Ciabatta and Rosemary Olive Bread Mixes,
and these specialty desserts: Tiramisu, Pound cake and Cappuccino Mousse Mixes.

Check them out on my web site in the Shop/Order section:  

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Sometimes it's the little things...

...That make your decorating perfect. 
It was hard to think of what I wanted to post about next, as there is just so much to talk about when it comes to decorating. I finally decided that I would start out my blogging with writing about easy simple things that you can do to a room to make it feel like you've changed it up.
You are looking at what you already have and are not very excited about it. You would love to add some new accessories to your room but are going to work with what you already have first. 
So you pull out your candles, vases and containers to see what you can do with them. Although I do love fresh flowers, they can be expensive and they are expendable, or rather they are just temporary. Fresh flowers are always my first choice, but when adding to your decor where it is going to be around for awhile, you need to go with silk or artificial flowers. I'm not going to go into specifics at this time because as the title of this blog indicates: 
Sometimes it is the little things 
that make your decorating Perfect! 
Lets talk about R-I-B-B-O-N-S!
Ribbons may be a tiny thing, but can add that perfect little something you were missing to pull your decorating together.
I love my White washed French Bucket! It is hung right by my front door, on the inside of my house, on the wall that leads into the living room. It stays there all year round. Although it has pretty embossing on the surface, it is still a pretty subtle decoration. I change the flowers in it all the time, depending on what season it is. But when I first got it, it just seemed like it was missing something. I then came up with the idea of putting a ribbon around the bucket itself. That little ribbon turned out to be the little extra that I needed to make this little decoration pop. 
Sometimes a glass vase is really nice as it highlights your flowers, but it may be a little boring, so why not add a pretty sheer ribbon around the glass and it really makes it look like a present! 
Another good example would be a plain candle or candle holder. After putting the candle out, pick a cute little ribbon to wrap around the candle or candle stick. It's always good to go one of two ways- coordinating colors with what's already going on in the room, or colors that relate to the season, or holiday.
Tomorrow I'm going to post a fun picture of all the different types of ribbon that I have. I always buy it on sale and save it for when I need it. Ribbon is a really inexpensive way to add that special touch that turns average into fun and beautiful without breaking the budget!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Hosting a Willow House Show with Pam

Yes, It's all about the FREE STUFF when you host a Willow House Show! LOL- It really is, as my hosts earn FREE PRODUCTS when they host with Willow House.  The best part is, as a Host, you also get to choose one item and purchase it at 70% off the retail price!
Let me give you an example -One of the most expensive items at Willow House is the Graymont Party Bucket and Stand priced at $145.96 - when you host a show it's only $43.78, which is quite frankly, a steal! One of the most popular hostess items, The Savannah Beverage Server is $119.96 and when you host, it will only cost you $35.98! WOW!

If you are thinking about hosting a show with Willow House, you should know that hosting in your home is the best way to get the most Hostess Rewards. But, if you can't host one in your home or a friend or family's home and still want to get all those Free Host rewards and that 70% off any item in the catalog, then a Virtual Catalog Show is what you should do! Here's our Host Rewards sheet:
The downside to this is, that you will have to "work it" yourself rather than me, your WH Design Consultant. You will need to share the catalog with others personally and follow up with your guest about the online invites that you sent out. 

Remember, every guest can also have their own special when they purchase $39.96 in products. They can get an additional item worth $40 for 50% off

You will want to take advantage of using my Willow House web site as you can use the Host Central Area. 
Once you have contacted me about hosting a show, I will send you a link to your own personal spot in my web site. There you can fill out and send evites to your guests. You want to do this, because when you send evites from my site, they are automatically linked back to my site and your show. It makes it easy for your guest to order.

So contact me today and let's get started on hosting a show at your home!

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Pam's Design Tip of the Day

Pam's Design Tip Number One - Designing Tablescapes
You can turn an average basic kitchen table into an inviting place for family and friends to sit, share conversation and enjoy each others company by putting something as simple as a vase with flowers or a candle arrangement with a table cloth, place mats or table runner. 
Remember this tip! To keep the guests at your table talking, remember to place your centerpiece either below or above eye level or it needs to be translucent- something you can see through. This way it will end up staying on the table as well as styling it. Nothing is worse than trying to talk through the hosts decoration!

This photo was taken at the Willow House Idea and Product showcase from the first Willow House National Convention in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in July 2010. 
The large glass statement vases are WH exclusive Lady Jane Bottleneck vases modeled after classic demijohn bottles in wine making. WH has two sizes in shades of aqua or apple. The red casserole dish is from our Cinnabar collection, which includes,tidbits, plates, canisters, servers, appetizer tray. In the foreground is the "must have decoration of the Season" our WH holiday Door bucket. 
Check out Pam's Willow House website link for more details on purchasing them.

Hello World! Are you ready for a Sneak Peek?

Hi and Welcome to Create and Decorate! This blog is going to cover everything design related- as well as starting and running your own business. You may not realize it, but  Designers rule the world. There are lots of topics to cover, but then if there wasn't much Creative Design around us to talk about, I wouldn't start this blog! 

Don't you just LOVE this picture of the beautiful Rustic Villa table setting pictured in this post?! The majority of the products beautifying the table are exclusive Willow House products. Everyone loves to learn or buy something new and current to decorate and update their home. The extra touches are the magic that helps turn your house into a Home. It's what makes guests feel special when you entertain or makes you and your home stand out among the rest.
Today I am very excited to start to share a Sneak Peek about my business as a Design Consultant with Willow House. Willow House is a brand new business launching August 4th, 2010. Here's a link to a sneak peek of the catalog.

Willow House is Simply Good Design and Simply a Great Opportunity to get in on the ground floor and beginning of the only Community Commerce business opportunity in the world. It is the worlds first social media direct selling company. 

Follow Me as I continue to post more about Design. I plan on sharing a fun and easy decorating or entertaining tip or two every week. Plus, learn more details about the amazing opportunity whether you Buy a Willow House product, Host a Show or Join my Incredibles Team at Willow House.