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Designer Monthly Preview

The woman who helped usher the interior design industry into full flower in the United States was prolific in putting out ideas that will help freshen up today's interior design business. Look at our latest Designer Monthly, Interior Design: Look Forward by Looking Back to Dorothy Draper.

Did you ever have a problem designing small spaces?  Take a look at how top interior designers solved this common problem in our latest Designer Monthly, How to Design Small Spaces at the Kips Bay Decorator Show House.





Entries in party (2)


Event Planning: You're Going to Love This Peachy Kids Birthday Party!

Love the simplicity of this peachy 4th birthday party from Michelle Sterling for her daughter, Avery. Click here to see Avery’s 2nd birthday party. And this is perfect timing as a number of you asked for more “realistic” DIY birthday party ideas, in addition to those planned by moms who are event designers. We couldn’t agree more! This one is adorable and do-able. The best kind.

The inspiration for the entire party started with that fuzzy orange cat, affectionately known as “cat ball” around the Sterling house. These guys have been a favorite of Avery’s since her first steps. One actually makes an appearance in her 2nd birthday photos!

How cute is this idea for a party activity? Cheerios and lifesavers on pretty ribbon, inspired by an idea in this book. Easy enough for small hands of all ages.

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Jockeying for Position: Sit-Down Parties

(Spring setting, courtesy of HGTV)Have you ever been to a big sit-down party or a wedding and didn't know where to sit?  Mass confusion erupts!  Last year I hosted an 18-person holiday dinner - which is really not that big a party - and no one knew where to sit.  Suddenly, it looked like a frantic merry-go-round scene or a game of musical chairs. I vowed not this year!  I discovered place card holders!

Okay, everyone knows about them but I always thought they were meant for really large parties - like weddings or big formal dinners where no one knows each other.  I really didn’t believe they were needed for smaller family and friend parties.  But you can probably picture it when my guests approached the dinner table: the new guests attending for the first time looked like lost lambs.  Small family tensions start bubbling up - no one wanted to get stuck next to non-stop chatterbox Aunt Sally or deaf as a post Uncle Eddie.  Understandably, everyone wants to sit next to at least one good table companion. 

The best way to alleviate the confusion is to marshal the guests like a general and just position them with place cards.  As host or hostess, you know the guests best and it’s their comfort that you are ensuring.  I always think it’s best to start with the most outgoing, sociable people and spread them apart so the lively conversations can be distributed evenly.  I then position Shy Sam or Quiet Christy near them so they can be drawn out to join the conversations. 

It also helps to start the conversation flowing with a wonderfully decorated table and fun place card holders.  It takes away a little bit of the pain of table positioning. Above is a whimsical but elegant elephant card holder.  Below was my holiday place card holder - a snowflake card holder to complement my blue and white snowflake table theme.  

If you're planning a garden party or a little afternoon tea party - these colorful purse card holders will brighten your table decor.  If a wine and cheese party is more your style - the wine cork card holders is another inventive way to position your guests. 

Another idea is to reposition your guests for the dessert course.  This will force new table companions and relieve them of any long-winded guests.  You can reuse the place cards – just add the second name on the back of the card.  This may even start new friendships!