The Hip Hostess

Menus, tips and ideas for hosting with style!

DIY Fall Flowers: How to Make $35 Flowers Look Like $120 October 30, 2012

flower arranging tutorial fall party planning

I love having pretty flowers on the table, but ordering arrangements from a floral shop gets expensive so I started making my own.  I hit a corner flower stand (or two) to pick up my supplies and then arrange them myself.  It’s fairly simple and isn’t as hard as it looks: About 15 minutes of shopping and 30 minutes of trimming/ arranging.  For the flowers pictured here, it translated into a savings of about  $85 (3 arrangements at $40 each from a local florist, compared to my $35 worth of flowers – I own the vases so those aren’t included in the cost savings equation).  Here’s how I made these 3 flower arrangement for a fall party. (more…)


Hip Tip: DIY Coffee Candles October 25, 2012

I’m not a coffee drinker, but I love the scent of really good coffee.  That’s why I am loving these DIY coffee bean candles.  Fill a small bowl or ramekin with flavored coffee beans (like hazelnut), nestle a tea candle into the center, light it and the warmth of the candle will send the smell of delicious coffee into the air.  These candles are perfect for brunch.


Mini Pumpkin Pillars {Halloween Ideas} October 13, 2012

I love all things mini. I also love pumpkins so this idea from BHG is a must for my fall table. Place mini pumpkins on pillar candle holders for a sophisticate fall centerpiece. They’ll take you from Halloween through Thanksgiving. It’s an inexpensive centerpiece and a cleaver use for pillar candle holders. I have a set of 3 glass candle holders from PB (like these) that will look great topped with mini pumpkins this fall.


DIY Apple Place Cards {Fall Party Ideas} October 1, 2012

fall party planning ideas decorating with apples eco-friendly

Using apples as place card holders is an inexpensive and simple way to add some fall to your table.  They’re perfect for any autumnal party, whether it’s a fall bridal showers, engagement party, dinner party or Thanksgiving.  They also make great party favors for guests to take home and enjoy.

To make these DIY apple place cards, you’ll need:

Apples with stems intact (I used Macintosh but any variety will do)
Card stock (craft stores sell single sheets)
A printer
Twine or ribbon
Single-hole punch

Here’s how to put them together:  Using a Word document, printed all of the names on the card stock (leave several lines between each name, and make two columns by tabbing over so you don’t waste any space/ paper).  Make a rubber leaf template by printing it on a sheet of regular paper using this leaf template (you need Abobe Reader to download the template), or copying the shape onto a piece of paper with a pencil like I did for the place cards pictured (the rubber leaf shape is very simple to draw/ cut and they don’t need to be perfect).  Cut the template out and trace it around each of the printed names, centering the names inside the leaf (you will be able to see the printed names through your template if it is made of regular paper).  Cut the leaves out and punched a hole to the left of each name, near the end of the leaf using a single-hole punch.  Used some inexpensive twine to tie the leaves to the apple stems.  Happy fall!


Beautiful Buds: Affordable Floral Arrangements April 25, 2012

inexpensive flower arrangements

Enliven your table with an arrangement of mini bouquets set in juice glasses or small mugs.  These mini bouquets are adorable and economical: A few bunches of inexpensive spring flowers pepper your entire table.  Pick a few small-budded flowers in similar hues, such as tulips, daisies and daffodils.  Trim the stems short enough so the flowers will peek over the rims of the glasses or mugs.  If using mugs, place a small round metal floral frog in each mug to help shape and hold down the arrangements (the frog will show through clear juice glasses, so rather than using the frog, just fill them a bit tighter to keep the stems in place).

This is a great idea for a spring shower or brunch.  After your event is over, place one of the mini arrangements next to the sink in your bathroom and the rest on bedside or end tables around the house.


Hip Tip: Inexpensive Shower Decorations January 12, 2012

Stocking up of party decorations starts to add up, so I like to print a picture of whatever my theme is – a sock monkey or nursery rhyme – and frame it in a pre matted frame for the party.  Set it on the buffet or wherever you have drinks set up.  It’s a great way to add to your party decore without breaking the bank.    The best part is, you can reuse the frame for other parties or for your favorite picture.

Party Decore ideas


Frozen Vodka December 1, 2010

Take frozen vodka to a whole new level by freezing it in a decorative block of ice.  I have been making this impressive yet simple bar-staple for years and it not only adds interest to your bar, but it also keeps the vodka syrupy and delicious.

You’ll need an empty milk carton, various garnishes to fill the ice with color, and a bottle of good-quality vodka.

Before you begin, make sure that the vodka bottle you plan to use can fit in your freezer, standing upright.  Next, cut off the top of an empty milk carton to square-off the top and create a rectangular mold and rinse inside.  Place a bottle of vodka in the center of the clean carton and fill with first layer of chosen garnishes (evergreen sprigs, fruit, etc.).  Pour just enough cold water into the carton to cover the garnishes.  Freeze for several hours until the garnishes are suspended in the ice.  Add another layer of garnishes and again, pour just enough cold water into the carton to cover the garnishes.  Repeat freezing and filling until you fill the carton to about 1″ below the top.  Keep frozen until ready to serve.  Peel the carton away from the block of ice before serving.  Be sure to place frozen vodka on a tray with a lip to prevent melted water from spilling onto your bar.


Wine Cork Place Card Holders August 6, 2010

Looking for a craft project for those wine corks you’ve been saving all these years? Turn them into place card holders for your vineyard or wine tasting party!  Using a sharp knife, slice a small piece off of the cork so the cork will lay flat. On the opposite side, slice a long slit in the cork lengthwise and tuck a place card into the slit for a wine-themed place card holder.

If you’re not a DIYer but like the idea, you can order wine cork place card holders, like the ones pictured above, online.

Wine Cork Place Card Holders – $8 /set 4


Hip Tip – Potted Plant Centerpiece July 15, 2010

Use pretty potted flowers for a centerpiece – either one large pot or several smaller pots with different flowers and/or herbs.  A potted plant works especially well for a party in the garden or any outdoor event, and will last longer than fresh-cut flowers.  Tie ribbons around the pot for added interest.  For a shower or birthday party, place a colored napkin under one plate on each table and let the guest who chooses that seat take the centerpiece home.

Photo Credit:  Flowers Quata (potted Hydrangeas)


Hip Tip – Wine Cork Candles June 9, 2010

Whether you’re hosting a wine tasting or just a dinner party, add some interest to your table with wine cork candles.   No need for expensive crystal candle holders; use empty wine bottles and faux wine cork candles to add ambiance.  Wine cork candles are available from a number of online retailers.  A few I have ordered from in the past are listed below. 

Uncommon Goods – $22/ set of 12

Amazon – $10/ set of 6

Beau Coup – $7.20/ set of 4


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