Week Night Dinner Party

Nothing is more relaxing during the week than having a great dinner and wine with my friends to unwind after work.  Springtime in Charleston is perfect to do that outside before the summer heat keeps you in the air conditioning, so we grabbed the necessities and had a great dinner on a Thursday night at a friend’s house!

Here are a few tips to quickly put together your own week night dinner party after a long day at work.  Trust me, only minimal effort is required to pull off cute table and enjoy a night with the girls!

Order Take Out

The least stressful kind of dinner party is one that you aren’t cooking, so call your favorite restaurant and grab some take out to share instead.  Five Loaves Cafe has been my favorite lunch & dinner spot in Charleston since freshman year at College of Charleston.  They have a huge variety of soups, salads, sandwiches, and entrees for all types of eaters plus amazing desserts.

We shared their beet salad, egg plant fritters salad, chicken caesar salad as well as roasted turkey sandwich,  chicken salad club and rueben sandwiches for dinner.  Cut the sandwiches into smaller pieces, throw the salads in bowls with serving spoons and you’re ready to serve!

The lemon blueberry mascarpone cake, peanut butter pie and brownie caramel cheesecake were the perfect to finish to our meal.

Variety of Wine

Try to have a variety of wine to please everyone that’s coming or just have everyone bring a bottle they like to share!  Rhône Valley Wines have reds, whites, and even roses that will pair with any type of food.  We drank Domaine de la Bastide Côtes du Rhône Villages Visan (red) , Cuvée Domaine Ventoux Rosé, and Vieilles Vignes Vacqueyras (white).  The Visan was our favorite and went down so smooth and the white was a great complement with dessert!

Add Fresh Flowers

I don’t know why, but adding a vase or two of fresh flowers just makes everything seem nicer.  You don’t have to spend a fortune on flowers either – I grabbed 2 types of white flowers from the grocery store for a few bucks and just put them in a vase and mason jars.  The tall vase adds a little height to the table and the flowers just automatically class things up.

Use Your China

Just like the flowers, there’s something about serving food on platters, and not just using disposable plates, that makes the meal seem fancier.  Yes, you’ll wash the dishes later, but you didn’t register for that serving platter not to use it, right? Another perk, if people don’t know you picked up the food, they’ll guess you made it since it looks great on a plate or in a wooden bowl. 😉

Now enjoy the fun night with your friends and enjoy these types of dinners more – Cheers!

Wine: Rhône Wines | Food: Five Loaves Cafe |Photos: Michelle O | Decor: Coastal Kelder

This post was sponsored by Rhône Wines, but all opinions and text are all mine.

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Wine Cork Football

We all know I’m excited for football season – and the GT / Clemson game tonight – and since Erin gave me a HUGE bag of wine corks awhile back (thanks Samuelsons!) I wanted to do a football related wine cork project.  The obvious choice to me was to make a football out of wine corks!

Wine Cork Football

What you’ll need:

  • Wine corks (~30 for my football)
  • Hot glue
  • White paint pen

Similar to my other wine cork projects, this basically just takes corks and some hot glue.  I decided to use corks from red wine bottles with the red wine stained end being the one facing out to be the football “color.”

Start by getting your wine corks out and arranging them in a shape somewhat similar to a football.  This is harder than it may seem, so may take a little arranging to get it to a shape you’re happy with.
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When you have the layout of the corks done, begin gluing them together, one at a time.  I had all the wine stained sides facing down on the table so they would all be straight together, since not all corks are the same length.wine-cork_football-02

Once they were all glued together, flip it over.  This is what I was working with.  Pull any off and adjust / re-glue as needed.  I think we can all agree it’s not the perfect football shape, but it really was harder to put together than I thought!

wine-cork_football-03Now you’ll make the laces so people can tell it’s really a football..  I just used a white paint pen that was in my desk, so the lines were even and paint was visible.  When the laces are on, you’re done!

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Another project to add to my football and wine cork craft repertoire!

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Wine Cork Wreath

It was just a matter of time before I made a wine cork wreath considering all of the wine cork crafts I make, as well as all of the wreaths I’ve made.  The process may have been expedited when I was talking about making one of these wreaths with my co-worker Marianne, as well as my aunt Beth within a week.  Well, here you have it!

Wine Cork Wreathcork wreath 01

What you’ll need:

  • Wine corks!
  • Wooden wreath form
  • Hot glue gun
  • Twine

The thing I like about wine cork crafts is how easy and quick they are to make.  Every craft (except for the wine cork tree) takes a matter of minutes if you have the corks handy, and this was no exception.

The first thing I did was actually not related to wine corks — I tied a piece of twine around the wreath, which will make it easier to hang later without putting too much stress on the corks.
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Now to the corks!  Get your wreath form, plug in your hot glue gun, and have lots of corks ready. First, I arranged the corks on the inner part of the wreath form to make sure they fit nicely.

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You can tell there’s a little space between a few, but overall they fit great.  Next, glue the corks to the inside of the wreath, one by one.  I applied a line of hot glue to the cork, and made sure that was the piece that attached on the inside of the wreath, as follows:

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Then I did the same thing for the outside of the wreath.  Again, for the most part the corks fit and filled the wreath nicely, but you can see a few spaces.

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The fun part was then filling in the middle with more rows of corks.  Instead of laying them all out and then gluing them, I just went for it and started gluing.  I glued both rows at the same time (inside cork, then outer cork) to make sure they fit together within the space nicely.

Slowly make your way around the wreath, just gluing away..

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Finally, you’ll get to a point where you’re done!  Of course I had a spot where a cork wouldn’t fit, so I ended up putting one in sideways to solve that problem.

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After looking at it, the sideways cork bothered the OCD tendencies in me, so I had to fix it.  I removed the cork, cut it in half, then glued the 2 halves into the wreath in the same direction as the others.

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Much better!  The wreath looked too plain to hang like that, but I couldn’t decide what else to do to it..

Full transparency: I made this wreath in November, but wasn’t ready to take down my cotton boll wreath yet, so it ended up sitting on the floor in our office for a few months.  When I was ready to switch them out, I had to decide what else to add to it.

After pulling the wreath back out and looking at it on our table, I decided I wanted to add “Cheers” to it (seemed appropriate considering the wreath is made of corks).  I looked at the craft stores to see if they had any wooden letters with cheers already done that I could just paint, but alas, no.  I grabbed the last small canvas I had (~4″ x 8″) and decided to paint a sign instead.

In an effort to use the Cricut, I decided to cut out a ‘cheers’ stencil on card stock to use when painting.  I cut it out, taped it to the canvas, then painted around the letters until I was happy.  I ended up using blue spray paint, then splattering silver and light blue acrylic paint on top.

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I removed the stencil, touched up the letters with a white paint pen, and hot glued some twine to the back so the sign could hang.  Cheers sign, done!

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Finally, I hung the wreath and the sign on the door.  I was worried the sign would blend into our black front door, but it still contrasts nicely.

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And how nice does it look with our new front light?  We had been planning on replacing the faded plastic lights by the front and back doors, and Hunter surprised me with new lights last weekend!  Seriously, it’s the small things like lights, new numbers on your door, a coat of paint, and a cute wreath to freshen up the front of your house!

Now what can I make with the wine corks Laney just brought me…?

Update: A few corks have fallen off after either being in the heat or hanging, so I ended up reattaching them with liquid cement, Goo.  This seems to have done the trick and is a stronger hold!

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Custom College Wine Glasses

My sister and I always have a hard time finding something to buy Pegs for any occasion, because she typically buys what she wants, when she wants it.  That was the case this year when we were struggling to find a great birthday gift from the 4 of us.

Cue Facebook.

My childhood best friend, Kathryn, recently opened an Etsy shop and I saw a post on Facebook about college themed wine glasses she started making.  My wheels started turning… then I called Lauren to run the idea by her : college wine glasses of our favorite teams for the 4 of us and Pegs to keep at her house, and use when we’re all together (or just feeling the team spirit).

Kathryn was happy to make these, and sent us a picture when she finished.  They looked even better than I anticipated!

The glasses have already gotten some use out of them while Lauren, Darren, mom and I were all together this past weekend.  Hopefully the glasses will bring GT some luck today 🙂  Thanks, Kathryn!

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Be sure to check out For the Love of Gameday if you are looking for any college related gifts this holiday season! And if you do, you’ll be getting something from this cute face.  Also, clearly my hair has always been crazy.

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Mini Wine Cork Balls

Sundays are perfect for lazy days and crafting while watching football, and that’s exactly how this craft came about!  I bought some wooden balls from Hobby Lobby earlier in the week knowing I wanted to try this with the extra corks I had lying around

Mini Wine Cork Ballwine cork ball 01

What you’ll need:

  • Wine corks (~13)
  • 1 1/2″ wooden ball
  • Hot glue gun

Like most of my projects, I saw something I liked, decided I wanted to make it, and figured out a plan of how to do it myself.  On one of my many trips to Hobby Lobby, I came across the wooden balls and figured they would be the best to use as the center of the cork ball.

I grabbed some corks, plugged in my hot glue gun and got started.  I wasn’t really sure what to do, so I basically started gluing the corks to the ball —  Seemed straight forward enough.
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I feel like with any wine cork craft, things never fit quite perfectly since all corks are slightly different.  Well, this was no exception.  Toward the end, the corks didn’t fit perfectly on the ball, but close enough, and close enough is good enough  for me!  I glued all the corks on the ball, and was done.

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It wasn’t a perfect ball, but I like it! Right now it’s sitting next to my map pumpkin, and I’m sure it’ll move around, but it’ll always be in season.

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Next, I might try to make bigger cork balls — possible Christmas ornaments?