Our trip down south this month was a whirlwind of fun events, from our Lavish panels to lunch meetings with visiting friends and a fun team dinner with eight D*S editors at Hugh Acheson’s delicious new restaurant, Empire State South. After Lavish was over (literally right after), Amy and I ran to the airport, hopped in a rental car and drove down to Savannah, Georgia, to film a fun holiday party with one of my favorite people: Elizabeth Demos. Liz recently closed what will always be one of my favorite shops, @Home (she let us borrow some gorgeous pieces from the shop for our wedding). It was a Savannah staple, and though its doors are now closed, Liz has taken her talents to many a photoshoot as a stylist for some of the country’s top home and design magazines.
Liz hosted Amy and I, along with some of her talented friends, for a delicious afternoon of snacks, drinks and a fun DIY project. Liz was kind enough to share the full menu along with her DIY steps in today’s post!
In the video above, Liz will show you how to flock and decorate a wreath, as well as create the perfect vintage-inspired centerpiece. Her full recipes for bacon-wrapped dates, pralines, trifle (amazing!), peppermint stick drinks and more appear after the jump. Liz also shares a great favor idea, so be sure to check out the full post below.
Thanks so much to Liz, her husband and son, all of her friends and Skip at Savannah Films for helping us with this video. You can check out more of Liz’s beautiful work online right here. Happy Holidays! xo, grace
CLICK HERE for the full DIY steps, recipes and favor ideas after the jump!
Decorating DIY Projects
With all my decorating projects, I love to use vintage ornaments, embellishments and decorations. I have been collecting for nearly 20 years, so it might seem like I have the mother load of supplies to choose from. If you are a hunter and gatherer like me, you can find great holiday items at estate sales, flea markets and on eBay and Etsy. Happy hunting.
- snow spray (Michael’s Craft Supply stores usually have this)
- assorted vintage holiday ornaments and embellishments
- hot glue
- hot glue gun
- floral wire
I suggest moving outside for the first stage of this project (the flocking), since there is substantial over-spray from the snow. I also use a drop cloth to minimize the mess, just in case.
1. Holding the wreath upright, spray the tips of the greens to emulate real snowfall.
2. Lay the wreath down now and again to check your coverage. Continue to spray the wreath as needed depending on the density of snow you desire.
3. Due to the wet nature of this product, you may want to let it dry between coats.
4. Once the entire wreath is dry, you can bring it indoors and begin the decorating process.
5. Lay the wreath on a flat surface and dry-fit your selection of embellishments. (I do this to check the balance of objects and make sure I have a good distribution of decorations.)
6. Once you have the items selected and placed, plug in your glue gun and get to work.
7. Place a generous amount of glue on the part of the ornament or embellishment that will attach to the wreath.
8. Glue in place. Let dry completely, and tug on it to make sure it is secure.
9. Repeat until you have all items in place.
- If you do not like the idea of actually gluing the decorations directly to the wreath, you can use floral wire.
- I save broken ornaments and misc. injured pieces for use on my wreaths, so no worries, I’m not using “perfect” specimens.
- There are no rules; in the past I have used ribbons, package tie-ons, etc. Be creative and make it your own.
- glass cake stands (3 heights)
- large round frameless mirror (18” to 20”); oval works nicely, too
- two-sided tape
- pre-shredded cotton linters (makes fantastic fake snow)
- tissue-paper fringe garland
- assortment of bottle-brush Christmas trees and decorations
1. Place mirror in the center of the table.
2. Arrange cake stands on the mirror.
3. Using two-sided tape and fringe garland, trim the edge of each cake stand.
4. Fill the cake stand with cotton linters to replicate the look of snow.
5. Position bottle-brush trees on the stands remembering to vary height and scale.
6. Place more cotton linters on the table surface and on the mirror under the cake stands.
7. Lastly, fill in with paper cottages and more bottle-brush trees.
Tip: Be sure to look at your arrangement from all sides to make sure you have an even distribution of trees, snow and cottages.
I’m a big believer in giving something useful for a party favor, so for my gathering, I enlisted the help of a local screen printer who makes fantastic coasters. I tied them up with pink and white twine and embellished with a tiny vintage Christmas ball.
Caramelized Onions with Fig Preserves & Goat Cheese Spread on Crostini
- 3 onions, sliced
- 1 tbsp. butter
- 1 jar of fig preserves
- 4 oz. goat cheese
- 4 oz. cream cheese
- 1 package of crostini rounds
1. In a skillet, melt butter over medium heat.
2. Add sliced onions. Turn up the heat slightly, and stir occasionally to brown onions evenly.
3. Cook until onions become soft and caramel in color.
4. Add 4 oz. of fig preserves and stir to incorporate preserves with onions. Warm through and set aside once blended.
Goat Cheese Spread:
1. Blend 4 oz. goat cheese and 4 oz. cream cheese.
2. To assemble: Using the back of a teaspoon, spread the goat cheese spread on each crostini round top with warm onions. Plate and serve.
Amounts: I let the size of the crostini determine how much of the spread and the onion mix I use.
Notes: Prepare both the onion mixture and the goat cheese spread ahead of time. Just warm the onions through before assembly, and let the cheese spread come to room temperature (makes for better spreading).
Bacon Wrapped Dates
- 40 dried dates (available in the produce section)
- 40 slices of bacon
- toothpicks (soaked in water so they don’t scorch in the oven)
1. Preheat oven to 395 degrees.
2. Wrap each date with a slice of bacon and secure with a toothpick.
3. Place on a baking sheet and put in the oven.
4. Cook until bacon is brown and crispy (about 15–20 min., depending on your oven).
5. Remove from oven and place on a paper towel to soak up the bacon drippings.
6. Remove toothpicks and serve warm.
- 1–2 cups of toasted pecans
- 1½ cups of white sugar
- ¾ cup of brown sugar
- 3/8 cup of butter
- ½ cup of milk
- 1 tsp. of vanilla extract
1. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.
2. Combine pecans, white and brown sugar, milk, vanilla and butter in a large saucepan over medium heat.
3. Heat to between 235 and 240 degrees F (or until a small amount of the syrup dropped into water makes a small ball and then flattens when it is placed on a flat surface).
4. Drop spoonfuls of your pecan syrup mixture onto the baking sheet and cool completely.
5. Serve at room temperature.
Cheese Board with Savannah Bee Company Honeycomb
To assemble, place all items onto a large platter or cutting board and serve.
- 4 oz. goat cheese
- 4–6 oz. blue cheese wedge
- 4–6 oz. gruyere wedge
- flat bread crackers
- gourmet crackers blend
- Savannah Bee Company honeycomb (You can of course use a local variety if you have a good source.)
Served in petite trifle dishes (makes 8–10)
- 3 prepared pound cakes (Sara Lee brand found in freezer section)
- raspberry preserves
- 1 cup dry sherry
- 2 pints of Bird’s custard style pudding mix (prepared according to package instructions)
- 1 cup of heavy cream, whipped
- ¼ – ½ cup powdered sugar (depending on how sweet you like your whipped cream)
1. Prepare custard pudding mix and set aside to cool.
2. Slice pound cake length-wise, and using a round cookie cutter, cut rounds of pound cake that fit the inside of the petite trifle dishes. Set aside.
3. Whip cream with powdered sugar and set aside.
1. Pour sherry into a shallow bowl.
2. Moisten pound cake round with sherry and place into the bottom of the dish.
3. Spread with ½ teaspoon of raspberry preserves.
4. Spread with 1 teaspoon of custard pudding.
5. Repeat until your ingredients come within ¼” of the top of the dish.
6. Finish with whipped cream and refrigerate.
7. Serve chilled (garnish with fresh raspberries if available).
Peppermint Stick Drink
- 1 oz. Crème de Cacao
- 1 oz. Peppermint Schnapps
- 1 1/2 oz. light cream or half & half
In a cocktail shaker, shake all ingredients with ice and strain into a glass. Garnish with a peppermint stick (our sticks were dipped in chocolate).