_Entertaining Tips

Serves: 5



Hang a swag of fresh flowers over doorways and garden gates to welcome springtime guests. Just secure stems to a raffia braid using florists' wire...so simple!

Dress up pillar candles with eyelet lace, gingham ribbon or raffia bows...tuck in a fresh-picked blossom for the finishing touch.

Make a whimsical tablecloth out of a pretty floral sheet...just cut down to size and add a ribbon border. For a no-sew version, use iron-on binding for the edge.

Fresh-cut blooms look so pretty in Grandma's teapot. Look for tulips, daffodils and white daisies to brighten up the buffet or kitchen table.

Hosting a get-together to celebrate Spring? Make clever invitations using pressed flowers or stamps from the first green leaves.

Vintage glass salt and pepper shakers can be put to new use as tiny single bud vases...wire a mismatched pair together and hang from a pegboard or on the back of guests' chairs.

A pretty table centerpiece for a twilight baby shower...float tea lights in glass dessert dishes. Group 3 or 4 dishes per table and light for a magical night.

For a garden party, arrange flowers or vegetable bouquets in produce baskets or miniature watering cans. Insert seed packets attached to bamboo skewers into the arrangements or use them to identify the dishes served.

Host a bridal shower in the garden this spring...use seed packets or tiny starter plants in their own pots as favors!

A new twist on placecards! Pick a mini spring bouquet and place in a jelly jar...attach a leaf-shaped tag with the guest's name on it. Just right for garden parties and showers.

Snip new branches from a pussy willow and pair up with the very first forsythia blooms for a cheery spring bouquet...instead of a vase, gather them in a nostalgic pitcher!

Cookie cutter topiaries make sweet centerpieces for spring flings. Just secure a dowel in a terra cotta pot using sand or floral foam, glue a flower-shaped cookie cutter on top and tie on a ribbon for the "leaves."

Hosting a summer get-together? Put together topiary place markers...mount tiny birdhouses on dowels and then secure in pretty painted pots. Send them home as favors too!

For graduation, roll up napkins like diplomas and tie with ribbons. Scatter framed photos of the graduate at various ages on the table.

Pop a candle in an old blue canning jar, fill the bottom with sand and light. Lined up around a deck or down a walkway, they'll look so pretty on a summer night.

Float cut blooms in water for a 5-minute centerpiece! Roses, sunflowers and dahlias are so pretty in a cut glass bowl or tea cup.

Put everyone's favorite summertime photos together in a scrapbook to be enjoyed year 'round! Add postcards from family trips, ticket stubs from the county fair and other mementos too.

Add some spark to Fourth of July picnics by topping the table off with whimsical fireworks. Paint some assorted dowels with red, white and blue stripes, stamp on a star or 2 and add a jute "fuse"...what fun!

Fill muffin tins with a little coarse salt and nestle bright votives in the centers for an instant centerpiece in any season!

Have star-spangled barbecues all Summer long! Use red, white and blue tableware along with mini flags and sparklers in the centerpieces.

For a whimsical party favor, roll a doily into a cone and glue in place. Fill with a few flower sprigs and wrapped candy then hang on the back of each chair.

Sprinkle flower petals, bright green leaves or vintage photos down the center of the table. Lay a chiffon runner over them or any other sheer fabric. Set simple pillar candles on top to secure for a simple and elegant table.

Use vintage mini cake molds to make charming candles. Use melted colored wax or a mixture of white wax and colored candies...a birthday candle in the center makes an easy wick. Perfect last minute gifts for birthdays, holidays or anytime!

For a Thanksgiving arrangement, fill a glass vase with plump kumquats to anchor flower stems...scatter fall foliage on the table too!

For a Halloween buffet table, nestle a few Jack-'O-Lanterns of different sizes topped with bewitching hats on a handful of raffia for hair.

Hand out tricks & treats in Halloween style! Rubber stamp leaves, pumpkins or little black cats onto kraft paper bags and fill with wrapped candies of all kinds. So easy!

Gold and silver metallic felt-tip pens make placecards easy...write guests' names on mini pumpkins, pretty leaves or individual votive holders.

Keep an eye out for vintage cake stands at flea markets and auctions. Not just for cakes and pastries anymore, try them out as centerpieces holding candles or fresh fruit.

An easy harvest centerpiece...fill a bowl with bright green apples then tuck a few cut mums in harvest colors between the apples and set on the table.

Trim linen napkins for the harvest table with a simple running stitch along the edge. Choose contrasting embroidery floss or coordinate with the tablecloth for a personal touch.

Add some sparkle to fall festivities! Brush on glue in whimsical swirls or dots on miniature pumpkins and gourds...sprinkle with glitter and line up in a row down the center of the harvest table.

Tuck Indian corn, bumpy gourds, colorful autumn leaves and bright sunflowers into a Thanksgiving cornucopia for a festive addition to the mantel.

Display mini pumpkins and gourds in a whole new way...use them in a wide-mouth jar to secure bittersweet, cattails and dried autumn grasses for a nothing-to-it centerpiece!

Dress up a shiny galvanized pail with a coat of orange paint and a smiling Jack-'O-Lantern face. It'll be perfect for keeping drinks cool at the bonfire and so festive for holding tricks & treats!

Fill a shiny colander with plump red apples and mini pumpkins for an easy harvest centerpiece...tie on a gingham ribbon and tuck in a few sprigs of bittersweet too!

From "5 Ingredients or Less!" Copyright Gooseberry Patch. Used with permission of the publisher, Gooseberry Patch. All Rights Reserved.

This _Entertaining Tips recipe is from the Gooseberry Patch: 5 Ingredients or Less! Cookbook. Download this Cookbook today.

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