Easy Entertaining with a Cheese Platter

Thank you to Fromager d’ Affinois for sending me a variety of cheeses to try and photograph for this post. All ideas and opinions are my own.

Tips for Creating a Cheese Board - A Well Crafted Party

If you entertain often, then cheese platters are your friend.* Not only are they delicious, but they are filling and SO easy to put together! When pressed for time, or bring an appetizer to a potluck party, or even when I just have a lot going on, I reach for my cheese boards and hit the deli section of my local grocery store.

Tips for Creating a Cheese Board - A Well Crafted Party

Tips for Creating a Cheese Board - A Well Crafted Party

Tips for creating a successful cheese platter:

  1. Buy a few different cheeses, but cap it at five different cheeses. Choice is awesome, but being overwhelmed by choice is not so fun. Keep your platters simple by choosing three to five cheeses to feature. For this platter I used three different flavors of cheese from the same brand of cheese, Fromager d’AffinoisBy going with the same type of cheese, with different flavors, I am able to let my guests enjoy discovering the differences in one type of cheese. You can also go with selections from different types of cheese to give additional variety.
  2. Make sure the cheese is easy to serve. There is nothing more awkward then trying to get some cheese off of a cheese platter that is too difficult to cut or there isn’t a cheese knife around to help get the cheese from the platter to the cracker. To ease the cheese serving conundrum pre-slice hard cheeses, put out cheese knives that are sturdy enough to cut the cheeses available, and make sure you have something to spread soft cheeses onto crackers. This platter features there soft cheeses (which I LOVE for entertaining) that are really easy to cut through with a simple cheese knife and spread onto a cracker.
  3. Serve cheese at room temp. You certainly don’t want your cheeses sitting out for hours, but cheese straight from the fridge won’t have the depth of flavor or ease of serving as one that has gotten to room temperature.
  4. Label your cheeses. I don’t know if there is anything quite as alarming to the palette than to think you are about to enjoy a nice double creme brie to get a tangy goat cheese flavor in return. While I’d love both types of cheese, it sure does help to know what is coming my way! It becomes even more important when you have the option of tasty accompaniments or toppings.  Whether you simple write out cheese names on a piece of paper and lay it next to the cheese or get fancy and print out specific labels, your guests will appreciate you taking the time to label!
  5. Don’t forget the accompaniments! Crackers are great for serving up with a good cheese platter. They are easy to store in the pantry for use at a moments notice, they make it easy to serve the cheese from the plate to your belly, and generally, can go with almost any kind of cheese. If you want to have a little more fun with your cheese platter you might think about alternative food items that might serve as a good cheese-to-belly delivery tool. Some cracker-alternative options include sliced cured meats, vegetables, breads, and different types of fruit. Is there anything better than a slice of aged cheddar on a crisp, ripe apple slice?
  6. Toppings set your platter apart. You’ve got the cheese all to temp and labeled, and your accompaniments are at the ready… it is time to think about what might really set your platter apart and make your cheese choices sing! Toppings such as pepper jelly, fig jam, apricot spread or even honey all make for tasty additions to a cheese platter. Have some fun putting out toppings so guests can mix and match.

Tips for Creating a Cheese Board - A Well Crafted Party

Tips for Creating a Cheese Board - A Well Crafted Party

More ideas for your cheese platters:

About Fromager d’Affinois:

Fromager d’Affinois is the top-selling cheese for Fromagerie Guilloteau. It is a smooth double cream cheese expresses that has been delicately matured. In addition to the original Fromager d’Affinois, this cheese also comes in flavors of Garlic & Mixed Herbs, Olive, Truffle, and Pepper. I tried the original, mixed herbs bleu and pepper varieties— all of which were creamy and flavorful! The high fat-content of this cheese positions it halfway between a traditional Brie and a triple-cream cheese. I was able to find this cheese at my local Whole Foods Market.

*Cheese platters are your friend unless you do not eat dairy, or your guests do not eat dairy. In that case, you may want to make other entertaining friends.

Food in Celebration

Tabasco Shaved Ice Topped Oysters // A Well Crafted Party images via Mary Boyden View More: http://maryboyden.pass.us/newyearseveparty

Photo via Mary BoydenTabasco Shaved Ice Oyster Topping 

Just recently I had the opportunity to visit a conference in Portland, Oregon all about food! I learned a lot from the FoodWorx sessions that I was able to catch…more-so, they got me thinking a lot! I’ve got copious notes and many great sources to connect with to bring some more food-centric posts to this blog. However, one of these talks has been resonating under the surface for a while now and I feel that I need to share my thoughts… One short talk that has stayed with me was from Ian Rubin of Whole Self Wellness titled “Rewriting Your Food Story.”

What the heck is a food story? Well, in very simplified terms, it is how life and circumstances has shaped your relationship with food. I’ve known for several years now that my food story (though not entirely unique) has made me look at food different then a lot of my friends. While someday I may get into my food story here on the blog, that isn’t what this post is about. Ian’s talk about rewriting a food story made me remember something a co-worker once lamented about…

“Why do people always want to get together for dinner or drinks? Why can’t people get together for something other than eating!?”

Food in celebration is a part of many different culture’s “food stories.” There are Sunday dinners at grandma’s house, big beautiful birthday cakes, holiday meals that people spend months prepping for… the list goes on and on. Food is a big part of celebration!

Food in Celebration - A Well Crafted Party

Photo from my 31st birthday shindig 

I actually LOVE this part of my food story. I love how food brings us together. A large portion of this celebration-centric blog is FOOD. I enjoy brining foods to work for people to share and enjoy. I enjoy planning party menus. I enjoy random dinner parties that I throw just because.

However, with a philosophy that everyday is worth celebrating, I have started to re-think this part of my food story a bit.

I’ve started to ask myself questions regarding the role of food in a celebration. Does all celebratory food need to be healthful and consider my guests nutritional intake? No! Not in my book, I’m definitely going with a decadent cake if it fits the occasion. Perhaps it can add to the wellness of the soul rather than the body when eaten as an occasional treat. Though, a little consideration of the nutrition of guests is never a bad thing.

Over the past couple of years I’ve been trying to be more thoughtful in my selection of foods for celebrations. While many of my parties are still planned with food as a central part of the celebration, I try to consider the food stories of those in attendance. When brining food to work I no longer grab delicious donuts or homemade cupcakes. Instead I opt to bring more healthful and substantial offerings. (I’ll still eat the donuts if YOU bring them to me though!)

Other changes I’ve made in food in celebration is that I really look for quality over quantity as much as possible now days. I will opt to have fewer celebrations, or sometimes fewer guests, in order to be able to purchase higher quality ingredients or meals.

What traditions do you have with food in celebration? What changes have you made as you’ve grown older in this area?

How does Food in Celebration fit into YOUR food story? Comment below.

 

 

The Toast Wedding Showcase Preview and Giveaway

Many, many years ago I met the guy that turned out to be my husband. At that time I had no desire to ever be married. I had no desire to plan a wedding. Something strange happened to my very unromantic soul in dating my eventual husband. While I am still pretty sure that he is as happy as I am in the choice to marry, I am not sure he was prepared for what the planning of the wedding awakened in me… a love for weddings that would just NOT die.

I’m excited to be participating with a team of some of Portland’s very best wedding vendors to create a wedding space at the upcoming The Toast Wedding Showcase hosted by Elli.

When I say the very best in Portland’s wedding vendors I mean it! I’ve been inspired and incredibly excited by the ideas and work coming from my teammates for this event. We have a 10X10 space that we are creating with our inspiration coming from selected stationary provided by Elli.com.

Ticket Giveaway for Toast Wedding Showcase in Portland

Sneak peek into some of our inspiration for our space!

 

I’ll be creating a DIY wedding backdrop that I’ll eventually share here on the blog. In addition I’ll help with the styling of the space. Our rental company Something Borrowed Portland Vintage Rentals is bringing out all the stops with some really fabulous vintage rentals… including a brand new custom built item that will see its debut in this show! Lane’ will also be helping us style the space. The food elements are being put together with a custom menu by local northwest-style catering company, White Pepper. I’ve seen the custom menu and can’t wait see how it all looks! No wedding is complete without some gorgeous floral elements and our florist, Intimo: An Intimate Occasion Florist in Portland, has designed something truly spectacular. Local calligraphy artist Kelsey Malie is lending us talents to help really put the icing on this oh-so-gorgeous cake.

This event won’t only be a great way to gather inspiration and DIY wedding tips, but it also be a way to connect with wedding vendors in Portland that truly care about your event and their craft. In addition to seeing all the cool curated wedding spaces designed just for this event, attendees will also get:

  • Complimentary Appy Couple wedding website and app.
  • Entry into drawing for chance to win a free engagement photo shoot.
  • Gorgeous and festive photo booth pics courtesy of Happymatic.
  • Bridal style showcase with looks for events leading up to your big day.
  • First 125 attendees receive a gift bag full of surprises.
  • Complimentary food and drinks.

Click here to purchase your super affordable tickets to Toast Wedding Showcase today! 

I’m also giving away two sets of two tickets! Bring your mom, your groom, your bride or someone from your bridal party! Make a girls/guys night of it or a romantic evening for two.

Please enter the below giveaway only if you are going to be in the Portland area on March 7th and wish to attend the Toast: Curated Wedding Showcase. Winners will receive notification by March 3rd.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

More Oyster Toppings + Champagne Granita Recipe

Oysters with Tabasco and Lemon Wedges // A Well Crafted Party

Continuing with all the oyster goodness (sorry for my followers that are not a fan… I will give oysters a break soon!) I have one more quick way to make a tasty topping for your oyster platters. At my recent Black, White & Gold birthday celebration I served to different platter of oysters. I served a briny oyster with champagne granita and a sweeter oyster with tabasco and lemon. I always love a good oyster with tabasco and lemon. However, these champagne granita topped oysters were AMAZING. I could have eaten a dozen of them myself! 

Oysters with Tabasco and Lemon Wedges // A Well Crafted Party

Me and The Spicy Bee enjoying oysters

Oysters with Tabasco and Lemon Wedges // A Well Crafted Party Oysters with Tabasco and Lemon Wedges // A Well Crafted Party

Oyster tips from Whole Foods Market:

  • The smaller they are, the sweeter they are
  • Shucking is about finesse, not power
  • The Sweet Spot – There’s an open area in the back of the shell when the knife stops turning, twist the knife and pop the shell open
  • Protection – Wear a thick glove to protect your hand and use a rag to hold the oyster for leverage
  • History – Find out where the oyster is coming from. They should always have a tag. If they don’t have a tag, you don’t want that oyster!
  •  If you’re hosting an event or just craving oysters, Whole Foods Market can shuck them in-house for you!
  • Oysters are best 2-3 hours after being shucked.
  • Prime time for oysters is now through February; the colder the weather, the better the oyster!
  • Check out my post on shucking oysters here!
  • Check out my tabasco shaved ice topping for oysters here!
  • Check out even more oyster topping ideas on the Whole Foods Market Blog.
Oysters with Tabasco and Lemon Wedges // A Well Crafted Party

Briny-flavored oysters topped with champagne granita

How To Make Champagne Granita Topped Oysters

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups of champagne or sparkling wine
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • Shucked Oysters – Use a briny oyster to pair nicely with the sweetness of the granita. Shuck the oysters yourself or you can do what I do and ask the nice people at your local Whole Foods Market to shuck them for you.

Directions:

  1. Pour 2 cups of champagne into a bowl with 1/2 cup sugar. 
  2. Stir until sugar is dissolved. 
  3. Pour solution into a pan or tupperware item, cover and put in freezer. 
  4. After 1 hour take a fork and break up the partially frozen mixture. You want to sort of drag the fork in lines along the mixture.
  5. Put mixture back in freezer. Repeat step 4 a few times until the mixture is a sort of snow cone consistency. 
  6. Top oysters with a spoonful (about a teaspoon) of champagne granita and serve immediately. 

Serving a less briny oyster? Pair it with little slices of lemon and tabasco for guests to use to taste or a top with a spicy tabasco shaved ice!

 Oysters with Tabasco and Lemon Wedges // A Well Crafted Party

This post was not sponsored by Whole Foods Market even though it sort of reads like it is… I learned a lot about oysters when I visited the store for an oyster tasting and then have visited several times since to purchase oysters and feed my oyster addiction. 

Oysters with Tabasco Shaved Ice

Tabasco Shaved Ice Topped Oysters // A Well Crafted Party images via Mary Boyden View More: http://maryboyden.pass.us/newyearseveparty

There is just something so decadent and fancy about oysters. They are not an everyday treat and at a restaurant they can get quite expensive. Oysters are actually quite affordable as an at home appetizer and not at all difficult to make… especially if you let the wonderful people at the seafood counter take care of the shucking for you! The fun part (for me) of serving oysters is making toppings that complement the oysters. For this recipe I used a Miyagi oyster with a full meat flavor and mild brininess (to me they were almost sweet!). I like the spicier topping for oysters that are less salty and sweeter toppings for the oysters that have a strong brininess. You’ll have to scroll through some amazing photos taken by the amazing Mary Boyden before you get to the recipe. Hopefully you don’t get TOO hungry.

Tabasco Shaved Ice Topped Oysters // A Well Crafted Party images via Mary Boyden View More: http://maryboyden.pass.us/newyearseveparty

Tabasco Shaved Ice Topped Oysters // A Well Crafted Party images via Mary Boyden View More: http://maryboyden.pass.us/newyearseveparty Tabasco Shaved Ice Topped Oysters // A Well Crafted Party images via Mary Boyden View More: http://maryboyden.pass.us/newyearseveparty

Tabasco Shaved Ice Topped Oysters

Ingredients/Supplies:

  • Oysters – Not too briny. I used Miyagi, but the seafood department may be able to help you find an oyster that they carry that will pair nicely with tabasco. I got my oysters from my local Whole Foods Market.
  • Tabasco
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • Ice
  • Food Processor

Directions:

Tops approximately 12 oysters

  1. Shuck Oysters (or have them shucked for you) and put on a bed of ice
  2. Take 1 cup of ice and put in food processor
  3. Shake in about 1 1/2 teaspoons of tabasco into the ice
  4. Squeeze 1/2 lemon juice into ice
  5. Put food processor on until ice is to a shaved consistency.
  6. Taste ice– if the ice isn’t spicy enough add more tabasco and mix by turning on the food processor
  7. Spoon about a teaspoon of the tabasco shaved ice onto each oyster and serve immediately.

Tabasco Shaved Ice Topped Oysters // A Well Crafted Party images via Mary Boyden View More: http://maryboyden.pass.us/newyearseveparty Tabasco Shaved Ice Topped Oysters // A Well Crafted Party images via Mary Boyden View More: http://maryboyden.pass.us/newyearseveparty

Want more?

Resources:
Photography by Mary Boyden— Connect: Website, Facebook, Instagram
Vintage Rentals by Something Borrowed— Connect: Website, Facebook, Instagram
Cocktail Napkins from Hen House Linens— Connect: Website, Facebook, Instagram
Aqua Leather Wrap Bracelet via Flourish Leather— Connect: Website, Facebook, Instagram
Styled Shoot by Bloggers of Create-Enjoy, Ladies in Navy & A Well Crafted Party:
Connect with Suzannah of Create-Enjoy: Website, Facebook, Instagram
Connect with Kelsey of Ladies in Navy: Website, Facebook, Instagram
Connect with ME! Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest OR Click Share on the bottom of this post!

Classic NYE Game Night + Free Printables

New Year's Eve Game Night + Free Printables // A Well Crafted Party - Photos via Mary Boyden View More: http://maryboyden.pass.us/newyearseveparty

Classic Game Night New Year’s Eve Party

Going out is great on New Year’s Eve… well, great if you like long lines, high costs, and crowds. For people who enjoy bringing the fun home this idea is perfect.

New Year's Eve Game Night + Free Printables // A Well Crafted Party - Photos via Mary Boyden View More: http://maryboyden.pass.us/newyearseveparty

I was excited to get to work with Kelsey from Ladies in Navy, Suzannah from Create-Enjoy and local photographer Mary Boyden on a New Year’s Eve party styled shoot. We wanted to show an elegant and classic mix of elements for a fun at-home game night to ring in the new year. Enjoy these gorgeous photos and let them serve as inspiration for your NYE night!

In addition to the gorgeous inspiration you’ll be able to find recipes from the event throughout the week through this blog and the blogs of my co-bloggers. Portland-local vintage rental company Something Borrowed shared some gorgeous vintage pieces for the photoshoot. Currently Something Borrowed is offering holiday dinner packages so that your holiday parties are decked out with gorgeous vintage tableware!

New Year's Eve Game Night + Free Printables // A Well Crafted Party - Photos via Mary Boyden View More: http://maryboyden.pass.us/newyearseveparty

New Year's Eve Game Night + Free Printables // A Well Crafted Party - Photos via Mary Boyden View More: http://maryboyden.pass.us/newyearseveparty New Year's Eve Game Night + Free Printables // A Well Crafted Party - Photos via Mary Boyden View More: http://maryboyden.pass.us/newyearseveparty

New Year's Eve Game Night + Free Printables // A Well Crafted Party - Photos via Mary Boyden View More: http://maryboyden.pass.us/newyearseveparty

New Year's Eve Game Night + Free Printables // A Well Crafted Party - Photos via Mary Boyden View More: http://maryboyden.pass.us/newyearseveparty

New Year's Eve Game Night + Free Printables // A Well Crafted Party - Photos via Mary Boyden View More: http://maryboyden.pass.us/newyearseveparty

Free Printables:

Kelsey and I also collaborated on a beautiful collection of free printables. Kelsey wrote several phrases in her beautiful calligraphers script. I then digitized them and created an invite, signs and party circles. Click on the links below to download your free printables. Save the files to your computer and print on cardstock! I created all of the printable items seen in the photos using these printables, Scotch Brand Expressions Washi tape, and a sequined covered scrapbook paper.

New Year’s Eve Free Printables:

 

New Year's Eve Game Night + Free Printables // A Well Crafted Party - Photos via Mary Boyden View More: http://maryboyden.pass.us/newyearseveparty

Want more?

New Year's Eve Game Night + Free Printables // A Well Crafted Party - Photos via Mary Boyden View More: http://maryboyden.pass.us/newyearseveparty


 

Resources:
Photography by Mary Boyden— Connect: WebsiteFacebookInstagram
Vintage Rentals by Something Borrowed— Connect: Website, Facebook, Instagram
Cocktail Napkins from Hen House Linens— Connect: Website, Facebook, Instagram
Aqua Leather Wrap Bracelet via Flourish Leather— Connect: Website, Facebook, Instagram
Styled Shoot by Bloggers of Create-Enjoy, Ladies in Navy & A Well Crafted Party:
Connect with Suzannah of Create-Enjoy: Website, Facebook, Instagram
Connect with Kelsey of Ladies in Navy: Website, Facebook, Instagram
Connect with ME! Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest OR Click Share on the bottom of this post!

Black, White & Gold Cocktail Party

Black, White & Gold Cocktail Party // Real Party featured on A Well Crafted Party

The beautiful Bee (The Spicy Bee), Me! and the gorgeous Kayla (Fit Life Forward) celebrating!

 

Well, it happened again… I turned another year older. All those that know me know that while aging isn’t my favorite thing, BIRTHDAYS are. This year I let the West Elm party animal appetizer plates inspire a black, white and gold cocktail party that was decadent and slightly silly. I decided to share some photos from the party now because I feel like these might just inspire a fun New Year’s Eve event! Next week I’ll also share the recipes I made for the festive fare.

Read on for a list of DIYd items, resources, menu notes and activities! I’ve linked several items to posts with recipes. There are also a few affiliate links below. A portion of purchases made through affiliate links help support this blog at no cost to readers.

Black, White & Gold Cocktail Party // Real Party featured on A Well Crafted Party

Beverages:

We served the Bourbon Apple Ginger Punch as a signature beverage that was easily accessible to guests. In addition I had the fixings for classic martinis, red and white Hob Nob wine and lots of sparkling wine, including one of my favorite sparklings the Sokol Blosser Evolution Sparkling wine.  We also had a selection of non-alcoholic beverages. One of my favorite ways to make a champagne glass feel even MORE special is to add in a lollipop. Either by using homemade lollies or pretty rock candies!

Black, White & Gold Cocktail Party // Real Party featured on A Well Crafted Party Black, White & Gold Cocktail Party // Real Party featured on A Well Crafted Party

Hors d’oeurves:

The party was slated as a cocktails and cake party… which, of course we had both of those things. But, I wanted more a more savory fare to fill everyone’s bellies. I’m sharing the recipes for many of these items soon.. but, here is the cocktail party menu:

  • Oysters with Champagne Granita
  • Oysters with Lemon and Tabasco
  • Sea Salt Kettle Potato Chips with Crème Fraîche, Caviar and Chive Dip
  • Italian Cured Meats wrapped around arugula
  • Apples with Goat Cheese Spread
  • Artichoke Hearts wrapped in bacon
  • Chicago Mix Popcorn
  • Sweet & Spicy Stuffed Peppers

Black, White & Gold Cocktail Party // Real Party featured on A Well Crafted Party

Black, White & Gold Cocktail Party // Real Party featured on A Well Crafted Party

Activities & Favors:

I didn’t schedule many activities for the party as the food and drinks were the main attraction. I did however set up a photobooth area and made a fun game out of the favors. I did “grab bag” style favors and wrapped up several different gifts from which my gusts to choose. I purchased half of the gifts with the idea of “Whatever will be, will be” in mind. Those presents ended up being games of chance, alcohol, and even a Magic 8 Ball! For the other side of the favor area I chose gifts with the idea of a type-A personality in mind and chose good self-help books, journals, office supplies and the like. Before guests left I asked them to choose a gift and got to watch them open the gifts up. It ended up being my favorite part of the night!

Black, White & Gold Cocktail Party // Real Party featured on A Well Crafted Party

Black, White & Gold Cocktail Party // Real Party featured on A Well Crafted Party

Sweet Treats:

I love savory foods… but, at my birthday there is just nothing like a great sweet treat. At this party I served champagne jello squares, chocolate truffles and a layered chocolate cake I purchased at the bakery at Whole Foods Market called the “Chocolate Explosion” cake. It was super tasty!

Black, White & Gold Cocktail Party // Real Party featured on A Well Crafted Party

Black, White & Gold Cocktail Party // Real Party featured on A Well Crafted Party

Decor:

I kept the decor pretty simple. I used the Gilded Dapper Animal Plates from West Elm to inspire the look. Beyond that I put up DIY’d hand-painted signs and LOTS of gold fringe

What is your favorite thing to serve at birthday parties?

Saturday Spirits: Classic Manhattan

Classic Manhattan // A Well Crafted Party Photo via Mary Boyden View More: http://maryboyden.pass.us/newyearseveparty

The new year is a time to look forward to all the things to come. But, the thing about the new year that I like most is the time to reflect a little bit on the year that has just past and the years leading up. A classic cocktail is a great way to give a nod to the past as you celebrate the future. This year at your New Year’s Eve party serve a classic martini or this classic manhattan cocktail to give your party a touch of old-style class.

These images were taken by the fabulous Portland-area wedding photographer Mary Boyden as a part of a styled shoot collaboration with Suzannah (Create-Enjoy) and Kelsey (Ladies in Navy). The vintage rental items were sourced through Something Borrowed in Portland, Oregon. I can’t wait to show the whole shoot beginning on Monday with free printables and New Years Eve party worthy recipes.

Classic Manhattan // A Well Crafted Party Photo via Mary Boyden View More: http://maryboyden.pass.us/newyearseveparty

Classic Manhattan Cocktail // A Well Crafted Party photos by Mary Boyden View More: http://maryboyden.pass.us/newyearseveparty

How to make a Classic Manhattan Cocktail

Links below may be affiliate links. A small portion of the sales made through the affiliate links go towards supporting this blog at no cost to readers. Thank you for supporting my blog.

Ingredients:

  • 2 oz Whiskey
  • 1 oz Sweet Vermouth
  • 2 dashes Bitters (I used Angostura)
  • Maraschino Cherries
  • Ice
  • Cocktail Shaker
  • Optional: Orange peel

Note about Whiskey: Some bartenders will swear by Rye whiskey for a manhattan. Personally, I like Bourbon Whiskey the most so I use bourbon whiskey in my manhattan. I used Burnside Bourbon from Eastside Distilling for this cocktail.

Note about Maraschino Cherries: I don’t like the bright red maraschino cherries you can find with the sundae toppings in most grocery stores. Typically those cherries are bleached and then filled with a syrup that has artificial dyes to make that bright red color. I tend to skip the cherry all together if that is the cherry offered. However, you can easily make your own Maraschino cherries or buy versions that are made without artificial dyes. I used Tillen Farms Organic Maraschino Cherries (which are a beautiful bright pink in color) and they were delicious!

Directions:

  1. Pour all ingredients over ice in shaker
  2. Shake well
  3. If using the optional orange peel, rub around the rim of your cocktail glass. The orange oils will deposit on the rim and give your drink an extra delicious kick.
  4. Strain into a cocktail glass, garnish with a cherry and enjoy!

Classic Manhattan Cocktail // A Well Crafted Party Photo By May Boyden View More: http://maryboyden.pass.us/newyearseveparty


Resources:
Photography by Mary Boyden— Connect: WebsiteFacebookInstagram
Vintage Rentals by Something Borrowed— Connect: Website, Facebook, Instagram
Cocktail Napkins from Hen House Linens— Connect: Website, Facebook, Instagram
Aqua Leather Wrap Bracelet via Flourish Leather— Connect: Website, Facebook, Instagram
Styled Shoot by Bloggers of Create-Enjoy, Ladies in Navy & A Well Crafted Party:
Connect with Suzannah of Create-Enjoy: Website, Facebook, Instagram
Connect with Kelsey of Ladies in Navy: Website, Facebook, Instagram
Connect with ME! Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest OR Click Share on the bottom of this post!

Holiday Drinks Round Up – Christmas & NYE Cocktails

Whiskey Apple Ginger Punch & Other Holiday Drink Recipes // A Well Crafted Party

This festive cocktail is sweet with a kick. It is easy to throw together and serve at a party. I didn’t own a punch bowl and picked up this great Libby bowl from a craft store for around $7. Pretty sure it is going to become a staple in my future parties!

Bourbon Apple Ginger Punch

Serves 12

Ingredients:

  • 1 Apple cored and sliced
  • 2 Bottles of Ginger Brew or approximately 6 cups of Ginger soda (I used Trader Joe’s Ginger Brew – you want to use a very gingery ginger brew. If you can only use gingerale get as gingery as you can otherwise it will sweeten the punch significantly.)
  • 2 Cups Bourbon (I used Eastside Distilling’s Burnside Bourbon)
  • 4 Cups Apple Juice ( Use a nice organic, 100% Apple Juice… you won’t be sorry)
  • 1 22 oz Bottle of Sweet Apple Cider ( I used Portland Cider Company’s Sorta Sweet)
  • 1/2 Cup Sweet Vermouth
  • 8 Dashes of Bitters

Directions:

  1. Pour all contents into a large punch bowl. Put into fridge to chill. You may add ice to chill, but it will dilute the drink some so use sparingly.
  2. Dish into glasses and enjoy!

Holiday Party Drinks // A Well Crafted Party

Photo credits from top left clockwise: AWCP // Motormouth Studios for AWCP // I’m Bored, Let’s Go // Cooking with BS // The Spicy Bee // Merlot Mommy// Urban Bliss Life // Cooking with BS // The Goodhearted Woman

Holiday Cocktail Roundup

These drinks would be fun for your Christmas parties or New Year’s Eve events! Thank you to all the bloggers who participated! If marked (NA) the drink is non-alcoholic and does not contain any alcohol.

Punches or by the Pitcher

Cocktails

Hot Drinks

Wines

Holiday Party Food Round Up- Christmas and NYE Appetizers

Holiday Party Appetizers Round-Up // A Well Crafted Party

Photo Sources from Left Image Clockwise: Chocolate and Marrow // Good Hearted Woman // How to be Awesome on $20 a Day // MacSuzie // This Momma Loves // Newly Wed Survival

Holiday Party Appetizers

Today I’m sharing a round-up of holiday party appetizers that will be perfect for your Christmas Eve cocktail hour or your New Year’s Eve bash! Thank you to all the bloggers that took a part of this round-up.

Non-Meat Finger Foods

Dips

Meaty Appetizers

Now, tell me… what is YOUR favorite thing to serve at a holiday party? Comment below!

Healthy Holiday Neighbor Gift + Free Printable

12 Days of Christmas DIYs // A Well Crafted Party

This post is the last post in my series of the 12 Days of Christmas DIYs for A Well Crafted Party. There are lots of free printables! (Check out my last post in this series: “Wine Gift Tag Free Printables“) Even though I’m done with my  12 Christmas DIYs… I’m not done bringing fun things to the blog! I’ve got some NYE items up (including free party printables) and more holiday beverages to enjoy!


Happy and Healthy Holiday Neighbor Gifts + Free Printables // A Well Crafted Party

 

I work in an office. This time of year the colds start passing from one cubicle to the next. In addition, there is a whole table full of sweet treats in the break room that is HARD to resist. So, when thinking about the ideal affordable, but still welcome co-worker gift I wanted to do something that would encourage a healthful holiday and new year.

Happy and Healthy Holiday Neighbor Gifts + Free Printables // A Well Crafted Party

These co-worker or neighbor gifts are super affordable and can be filled with whatever you find handy. I bought three little honey containers from Trader Joes for less than $7, a box of tea and some citrus fruit to make these little gifts. After wrapping in cellophane and wrapping in a bow I topped it with a printable tag. Yes, I like printables. ;)

How to use the Happy and Healthy Printables:

  1. Click the link below to download the printables, save to your computer.
  2. Print on cardstock in full color.
  3. Cut out the tags.
  4. Use a hole punch on the white circle and thread ribbon through the hole and attach to your gift!

Click here to download—> Happy & Healthy Printables <—Click here to download

Happy and Healthy Holiday Neighbor Gifts + Free Printables // A Well Crafted Party

 

 

 

Wine Gift Tags Free Printables

12 Days of Christmas DIYs // A Well Crafted Party

This post is the eleventh in my series of the 12 Days of Christmas DIYs for A Well Crafted Party. Check in each day for the next 12 Days for new DIY posts. There will be LOTS of free printables to boot! (Check out my last post in this series: “Beauty Stocking Stuffer Gift Guide + Free Gift Card Holder Printable“)


Free Printable Holiday Wine Tags // A Well Crafted Party

So, I obviously am a tad behind with my 12 Days of Christmas DIYs as today is actually the 16th of December. I have my excuses… but, the most important part is that I’m back and I have a new DIY and a Free Printable for you today!

Free Printable Holiday Wine Tags // A Well Crafted Party

Free Printable Holiday Wine Tags // A Well Crafted Party

Free Printable Holiday Gift Tags

My favorite kind of DIY is the simplest of DIYs. Give me one to two steps and I am GOOD. Sure, I can do the more involved DIYs. But, I will always choose simple over complicated if given the choice. This DIY is a simple way to dress up a bottle of wine, liquor, juice or other beverage to make it a gift. These are great for holiday gifts and hostess gifts at your next holiday party!

Directions: 

  1. Download printable, print to fit in full-color on white cardstock.
  2. Cut out along black lines… if you follow the black lines you’ll end up cutting out the little white circle as well.
  3. Fold along thick white line.
  4. Fill out the TO and FROM areas and slip onto a bottle of wine!

Click here to download —> Free Printable Wine Gift Tags <— Click here to download

About Josh Cellars:

At $15 and under the wine pictured in the above photos would make a affordable holiday gift. Josh Cellars shared their Legacy wine and Cabernet Sauvignon wine with me to tas a pair to holiday favorites such as roasted turkey, glazed ham, pie and all the fixins.

  1. Josh Cellars Legacy Red Blend ($14.99) – “Josh Legacy is an easy-to-drink red blend that pairs well with favorite Thanksgiving staples like turkey and stuffing.  Winemaker Joseph Carr created this wine in honor of his father – making it a meaningful choice and a perfect wine to enjoy with family during the holiday season.”
  2. Josh Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon ($14.99) —”This Cabernet is an approachable blend with aromas of rich, dark fruit and baking spices on the nose yielding to fresh plum, blackberry, violet, dried fig, vanilla bean and Chinese five-spice. The wine is juicy with plum and blackberry flavors, prominently layered with smoky and sappy maple oak, roasted almonds and hazelnuts. Its firm tannins and full body will stand up against the rich fruit flavors, spices and brown sugar featured in this decadent pie.”

In addition, from now through December 31st, for every bottle of Josh Cellars wine purchase, a $1 will be donated to Operation Homefront’s Holiday Meals for Military.

Free New Year Wine Tag Printables // A Well Crafted Party

Or, use the tags on mini bottles of champagne for a fun New Year’s Eve favor. Everyone can pop their own as you count down to 2015!

Thank you to Josh Cellars for introducing me to your afforadable reds! FTC Guidelines dictate that I disclose that I received product with hopes of feature on my blog. I was not further compensated for this post. All thoughts are my own. Additional information (in quotes) about Josh Cellars were shared by the company.

Beauty Stocking Stuffer Gift Guide + Free Gift Card Holder Printable

12 Days of Christmas DIYs // A Well Crafted Party

This post is the tenth in my series of the 12 Days of Christmas DIYs for A Well Crafted Party. Check in each day for the next 12 Days for new DIY posts. There will be LOTS of free printables to boot! (Check out yesterday’s post: “Foodie Stocking Stuffer Gift Guide + Free Gift Card Holder Printable“)


Beauty Themed Stocking Stuffer Ideas // A Well Crafted Party

My next stocking stuffer gift guide is all for the beauty lover. It is for someone who likes accessories and beauty products. Beacause, just like food, they are often items that I don’t want to spend a ton of money on for myself, but I love having and receiving. Beauty items make for fun items to give in stockings because they are typically affordable and small!

Beauty Themed Stocking Stuffer Ideas // A Well Crafted Party

Beauty Stocking Stuffer Gift Ideas:

  1. Lip gloss, chapsticks, lipsticks, etc.
  2. Fake eyelashes!
  3. Make up of any sort
  4. Perfume
  5. Soaps
  6. Lotions
  7. Slippers
  8. Jewlery
  9. Skinny Belts
  10. Small zippered pouches/ makeup bags
  11. Disposable Razors or Razor refill cartridges (Or is it just me who cringes EVERYTIME I buy these things?)
  12. Bath Salts
  13. Nail Pollish
  14. New Tweezers, Make Up Brushes, Etc.
  15. Gift Cards

Beauty Themed Stocking Stuffer Ideas // A Well Crafted Party

Beauty Themed Stocking Stuffer Ideas // A Well Crafted Party

My Picks for Beauty-Centered Stocking Stuffers

This post was not sponsored. I did receive some product to review throughout the year and I chose to include some of those items in this gift guide. Some of the links below are affiliate links. 

  • Jewlery: I think accessories are one of the best items to receive in my stocking. (Well, jewelry AND speciality spices/condiments—check out yesterday’s post on foodie stocking stuffers for more on that.) For this stocking I put in one of my favorite necklaces from Lucky Brand Official and a leather cuff from Flourish Leather. I got the cuff for a steal at Flourish Leather’s new Flash Sale Site!
  • My Favorite Things Set from Pur Minerals: Three award-winning bestsellers in one convenient kit make for an essential gift for the beauty lover in your life. Pür Minerals’ classic Mineral Glow bronzer contains skin-boosting antioxidants, and a buttery Berry Pretty lip gloss stick moisturizes lips and fights signs of aging. Bold Big Look mascara rounds out the trio with lash-loving Argan Oil that conditions and protects for the perfect beauty boost.
  • Lipstick: I love this fun lipstick Gerard Cosmetics‘ “Gimme Some Lip” collection called “All Dolled Up.” I think it would be such a fun New Year’s Eve lip color!
  • Body Cream: Touch of Light body cream from Rituals provides deep moisture to leave skin feeling radiant and smooth throughout the day.This whipped body cream is from the new limited edition by rituals called Diwali, or Festival of Lights.  The Diwali collection consists of an exclusive range of body and home cosmetics, enriched with the fragrance of White Patchouli and Cardamom.
  • Let It Glow! Makeup Stick Trio from Pur Minerals: Give your skin a rosy glow with this cheeky trio. This limited-edition set features three twist-up makeup sticks that highlight your features for natural radiance. Define, contour, and brighten while conditioning for smoother, softer skin. Gentle Lavender Oil calms skin, while Vitamin E protects against free radicals. The trio includes bronzer in Naughty & Nice, blush in Sugar & Spice, and highlighter in Glisten & Glow.
  • Holiday Gift Soap: I loved these Holiday Gift Soaps from the Snow Drop Collection from Soap & Paper Factory. These carefully crafted artisan soaps are made the old-fashioned way, hand-stirred in small batches. Packed with nourishing Shea Butter to keep skin soft and supple, these soaps come wrapped in beautiful packaging and are just the right size for stockings. They also will make the stockings smell DIVINE.
  • Geluxury Slippers: Featuring SmartGel® technology, the Geluxury Slippers provide comfort and skin repair at the same time.  Infused with  7 botanical oils and ceramides, the dermatologist tested SmartGel® is formulated to restore, repair and rejuvenate distressed skin on the feet. The GeluxurySlippers are fully lined with a contoured fit, providing treatment to the entire foot. With regular use, these moisture replenishing slippers will soften and smooth dry, rough skin and calluses, while repairing damaged cuticles and nail beds. While these felt a little weird going on… I loved how my feet felt after just wearing them for a bit.
  • Shea Butter Hand Creams: The beautifully packaged hand cream from Soap & Paper Factory‘s Snow Drop collection is a pure, velvety cream is beautifully perfumed and loaded with the finest natural oils. Featuring creamy Shea Butter and with no parabens, phthalates or petroleum, these creams leave skin silky smooth all winter long.
  • DVD: Why not add in a fun, classic and inexpensive DVD that you know your loved one doesn’t have! Breakfast at Tiffanys seemed to go with this stocking’s theme and would make for a fun ladies night in. Pair it with a bottle of festive wine (such as a wine from the Chloe Wine Collection which is already dressed up for a fun evening) and you’re set!

Free Printable Beauty Gift Card Holder // A Well Crafted Party

Free Printable Beauty Gift Card Holder

Gift cards are perfect for stocking stuffers. Personalize your gift card gift just a tad with these free “beauty” gift card holders. Simply click the link below and download the file onto your computer. Print in full color on white cardstock. Cut out along the red of the gift card. Fold along the white lines. Use a glue stick, glue dots or double sided glue to attach the flaps to the back of the flap. Slip in your gift card and you’re good to go!

Free Printable Gift Card Holder for Beauties

What do you like to get in your stocking? Give to others? Comment Below!

 Printable designs are my own and are free for personal use. The beauty elements are Designed by Freepik

Update: Corrected the business name for Soap and Paper Factory.

 

Foodie Stocking Stuffer Gift Guide + Free Gift Card Holder Printable

12 Days of Christmas DIYs // A Well Crafted Party

This post is the ninth in my series of the 12 Days of Christmas DIYs for A Well Crafted Party. Check in each day for the next 12 Days for new DIY posts. There will be LOTS of free printables to boot! (Check out yesterday’s post: “How to Shuck Oysters – A DIY Oyster Platter“)


 

Stocking Stuffer Gift Ideas for Foodies // A Well Crafted Party

I feel like the stocking stuffer is often overlooked… when it can be the BEST part of Christmas. I like giving people items that they’d love, but would rarely buy themselves. I am a big beliver in making sure stocking stuffers are filled with fun little items that the receiver will actually enjoy. They don’t need to be expensive. They don’t need to be important even. But, they should be thoughtful. I’ve put together a list of ideas that would make for fun stocking stuffer ideas for the Foodie or Home Entertainer in your life.

Stocking Stuffer Gift Ideas for Foodies // A Well Crafted Party Stocking Stuffer Gift Ideas for Foodies // A Well Crafted Party

Stocking Stuffer Ideas for Your Favorite Foodie:

  1. Canned or bottled specialty beverages
  2. Teas, Coffees, Hot Chocolates, etc.
  3. Chewing gum
  4. Specialty Candies
  5. Breath Spray
  6. Caviar
  7. Cocktail Napkins
  8. Table Runner
  9. Foodie Ornaments
  10. Grocery Bags
  11. Mini Condiments
  12. Tasty Spreads or Jams
  13. Pickled Items
  14. Olives
  15. Cured Meats
  16. Mini Wines/ Alcohols
  17. Simple Syrups
  18. Salts, Spices and Extracts
  19. Kitchen Utensils
  20. Specialty Pastas, Rices, Baking Mixes, Etc.
  21. Mini Forks/ Spoons
  22. Travel Mugs
  23. Local Honey
  24. Snack Bars/ Protein Bars
  25. Gift Cards to local restaurants or specialty cooking shops

Stocking Stuffer Gift Ideas for Foodies // A Well Crafted Party

My Picks for a Foodie-Centered Stocking Stuffers:

This post was not sponsored. I did receive some product to review throughout the year and I chose to include some of those items in this gift guide. Some of the links below are affiliate links. 

  • Kombucha Wonder Drink: Brew of pasteurized and raw kombucha, both of which contain naturally occuring acids that can help detoxify and energize. Kombucha Wonder Drink was founded by Steve Lee, co-founder of Stash Tea and Tazo. The Kombucha is available in cans and bottles.
  • Organic Hot Chocolate Mix: I got mine from Whole Foods Market. Hot Chocolate and teas are fantastic things to purchase and split among many stockings.
  • Hello Breath SprayA sweet little breath freshener with no alcohol and cute packaging!
  • Nocciolata Organic Hazelnut SpreadTasty chocolate-hazelnut spread from Italy. The spread is made from certified organic ingredients– absolutely zero palm oil.  Ingredients include dark chocolate from the Antillean Islands, Italian hazelnuts (16%), brown sugar, skim milk and Bourbon vanilla extract. This would be a TREAT in any stocking.
  • Hen House Linens Table Runner: House of Linens sells beautiful fabric tabletop accessories such as napkins, table cloths and runners. Table runners are fun to give to people that love to throw parties because it is an easy to store, inexpensive way to change up the table. I got the Garden Gate Ochre table runner. It is a dark gold ochre color and will look beautiful for the holidays!
  • “Bite Me” Macaroon Bag: This adorable little grocery/tote bag was ordered from RedBubble. RedBubble has a ton of fabulous designs to choose from and you can have several different items made with the design you choose. Don’t need another grocery bag but need NanLawson‘s Macaroon design in your life? Perhaps it’ll be better on a T-shirt, throw pillow, or phone cover!
  • Mini Tabasco SaucesI love the idea of travel-ready condiments. These mini Tabasco Sauces make me so happy. I think these travel salts from Jacobsen Salt Co. would also be a welcome gift for any foodie!
  • Cocktail Napkins – I have an entire container filled with paper goods for parties. I love having a stash of cute cocktail napkins to bring out when needed. These gold Keep Calm and have a Cocktail napkins will be a nice reminder over the crazy holiday season!
  • Gift Card! (See Below!)

Free Printable Gift Card Printable // A Well Crafted Party

Free Printable Foodie Gift Card Holder

Gift cards are perfect for stocking stuffers. Personalize your gift card gift just a tad with these free “foodie” gift card holders. Simply click the link below and download the file onto your computer. Print in full color on white cardstock. Cut out along the red of the gift card. Fold along the white lines. Use a glue stick, glue dots or double sided glue to attach the flaps to the back of the flap. Slip in your gift card and you’re good to go!

Free Printable Gift Card Holder for Foodies

What do you like to get in your stocking? Give to others? Comment Below!

 Printable designs are my own and are free for personal use. The Food vectors used in this design are designed by Freepik.

 

 

Gotta Get Paid
Googleicious Ads
Super Sponsors
Check This Awesomeness Out
Past Posts
Follow Along


Follow on Bloglovin


Want the News?

Fill out this short little form to sign up for our newsletter. We promise not to overload your inbox and to send fresh new printables with each newsletter!

Free Printable Blog Planner