I spend a lot of time in my kitchen. As a matter of fact I would say it is really my favorite place in the entire house. My mum would often say "Why is the living room called living room? The Kitchen should be called the "living" room!" I used to think "Huh? Now what kind of statement is that?" But now, I completely understand where she was coming from.
There is really no place like the kitchen where all your family and friends spend so much time. That is why I love this house we are living in. The kitchen is not shunned away and out of sight in a separate room but is integrated into the whole lower floor of our house. It opens up to the dining room and the living room, which has huge glass patio doors to the back yard. When I am cooking or experimenting, I can take part in Soeren's activities where ever he is. Whether he is playing in the sandbox in the back yard or sitting at the table coloring, I am right there. When we have guests, it is the finest thing. I am not separated and doomed away to cook and prepare the meal on my own. I am able to laugh and joke with them and I have noticed that they are all the more animated to help out. Which is always a huge plus when you have things like onions to cut - LOL!
I like having a relaxing atmosphere when I entertain. So, if you ever come over you will find scented candles not only in the "living" room but also in the guest bathroom and unperfumed ones in the kitchen. Dimmed lights and soft music also play a part in giving the evening the right mood. I believe that when my friends come over they should be able to relax. The joke among our friends is the fact that we have special comfy house shoes for our guests. When they come over they can slip into these and feel right at home. I do notice how they leave behind their worries and hectic day when they walk in. When they tell me how special the evening was, I am always pleased and take that as a special compliment.
Another important factor is the decoration that accompanies the evening. Maybe it has to do with the fact of being brought up in some of the finest hotels in the world and the Hotel Management background, but I just do not feel right when certain accessories are missing. Depending on the theme or meal you are preparing, choosing this can be easy.
I remember a Thai evening we had a little while ago. Tom unhinged a long door and we covered it in black crepe paper. With red paint we copied a few Chinese letters from my Asian cookbook. On two other longer crepe paper rolls we also did the same and hung these in front of the patio windows. I filled up a large flat bowl with water and placed a lotus bud and a few floating candles as a centerpiece for the dinner table, which was the door in crepe paper! We laid out rugs and cushions and placed the door/table construction on a few wooden blocks. Everyone sat on the floor and enjoyed the evening so much. The prep time was just about 2 hours and it was inexpensive to say the least. But the impression: that was long lasting!
That is what I wanted to share with you in this post. Make a huge impact and leave a long lasting impression on your guests by adding a bit of style and pizzaz to your dinner party. It's great when they rave about the food, but it's flattering to the soul when they still talk about the atmosphere months after that evening. When my friend says "Meeta, I had such a rotten day at work, but that evening at your place I just forgot about everything. I just did not want to leave." I feel my heart go warm and I just can't help grinning.
Besides placing candles and other add-ons, the dinner table is also an important place to bring that feeling of warmth. I don't mean just with the food you'll be eating. Do you often just place the dishes on the table?
Where are the candles?
Where is the flower arrangement?
Where are the nifty little table accessories?
Having flowers and candles on the dinner table is a must. It just looks so bare without these beautiful feasts for the eyes. Please, now do not run off to the nearest Florist and order the next most expensive table arrangement. It does not have to be expensive at all. A simple yet elegant arrangement can consist of two roses and one stem of lilies. Like I used here.
For this dinner I had invited a couple who had recently come back from their honeymoon. I wanted them to extend that romantic feeling before they got caught up in the day-to-day routine of a normal relationship. I went for something soft and elegant.
Photo on Explore: September 10, 2006. View my entire Explore Photostream.
I bought two pink roses, a long stem of lilies, a bit of pink colored "extra" and two green leaves from our local flower market. Cost: EURO 8!
At home I got out one of my very tall and large vases (top picture) and filled it with a bit of water. I snipped the roses to the length I required and placed them in the vase. Flowers do not always have to hang out of the vase. I find that they look far more elegant when they are behind a bit of glass. By choosing a larger vase you can place the arrangement quite comfortably inside. I used my "extra" as another eyecatcher and placeholder. This was my centerpiece.
I used two smaller circular vases I had, on each side of the centerpiece. For each I used a green leaf and cut a lily bud (that were already open) from the stem. I placed these in the vases (middle and last picture). The lily stem I placed individually in another balloon type vase for the couch table.
With these few simple flower arrangements I was able to liven up the entire table decoration and, more important, bring that very special romantic mood over to my guests.
The neatest side effect was the romantic mood kind of spilled over to Tom and me too!!
rose, lily, flower, home, decoration, entertaining, dinner