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Entertaining: Host a Beautiful Sunday Brunch

When we think of parties we most often think of Friday or Saturday evenings, heavy foods, wine, and desserts.  But what about a get together in the morning?  Why not invite your friends over in a whole new menu and enjoy the sunshine.  Here are some tips for hosting brunch. The best part of a morning soiree is that a lot of the prep-work can done the night before and is one less thing to tackle in the morning. Splitting up the work between two days, can also make the actual event more enjoyable for the host/ hostess.

Invites

Whether large or small, formal or casual everyone loves receiving invites.  But you don't have to do printed and mailed invites if you don't want to or if time is short!  With online party planning websites, you can invite your guests (and track responses) online.  One of our favorite sites is: www.punchbowl.com.

   

Decor

 

When hosting brunch, think light and airy, soft or bright colors.  It can be as simple as everyday-ware with a rustic urn of flowers gathered from your garden.  Fine china and linen napkins would be lovely for a more formal brunch.  We gathered some inspirational photos for you on our Pinterest board

Food: 

This of course is dependent on size of your party, personal tastes and again whether you are hosting brunch that is a more formal or casual affair.  But here are some ideas to get you started.

Eggs For Each:  Use your muffin pan to create individual egg cups for each person! There are lots of recipes and variations.  This recipe includes bacon, toast and eggs.  You could also try prosciutto, pesto, tomatoes and some Parmesan cheese.  Serve these egg cups with some rosemary baked diced potatoes and you are sure to have a thankful crowd.
French Toast Casserole: The wonderful thing about breakfast casseroles is that many of them can be prepared the night before (like this one from the Food Network). Of course this would be wonderful served alongside some breakfast meat and either eggs or hash browns!  This is a favorite of ours for brunches for a crowd. 
Continental for a Crowd: You could also provide guests with a buffet of options from home-baked goods like muffins and breads, bagels, fruit salad with a yogurt dip, crepes, doughnuts and even yogurt & granola!  This would be great for a group that really wants to mingle or if you are short on seating.

Drinks

Set up a drink station for guests to help themselves to beverages.  If you set it up as more of a self-serve bar, this will allow you more time to mingle or put the finishing touches on serving the meal.  Here are some ideas for different drinks to serve:
Coffee Bar: complete with cream, sugar, chocolate syrup (it's a party), whipped cream, cups, & stirrers
Mimosa Bar: Let adult guests make their own Mimosa's.  Set the bar with champagne and different juices like: Pomegrante, Orange, Mango, Pineapple.  You can also put out some orange flavored liquor as well.  Don't forget some fruit for garnishing their creations.
Smoothie Bar: Set up your blender and some smoothie recipes and let some adult participants man the mixing for you!  Smoothies are a great addition to any brunch and if kids are in attendance, they usually will enjoy this special & sweet shake.

Enjoy

Turn on some music for you and your guests, welcome your guests and enjoy the fruits of your labor!

For your Friday

Almost the weekend! We have some fun for your Friday afternoon.

Product Highlight
The favorite product for this week is: The Vienna Trestle Table
Our customers love the look of this rustic trestle table. It can extend from 6 feet to 10 feet with three 16" extensions. The thick planked top is the perfect compliment to the unique base that features unique iron bolt details. We think this table would be perfect in Rustic Cherry with saw marks for a truly rustic look.



Helpful & Healthy
Schools out, summer is almost here. Do you struggle with lunch ideas? Verily Magazine posted 11 great ideas for easy lunches that are flavorful and pack a nutritional punch. Read more about it here: 11 Fresh & Flavorful Lunches


Weekend Cocktails
Have friends coming over this weekend? Why not serve them a refreshing cocktail? This one features a homemade lemonade with vodka. Add mint, raspberry or thyme for an even more unique drink.  Recipe here: Homemade Lemonade Cocktail.



Have a great weekend!

 

Take A Seat: Shaker Chair Styles


Continuing in our Take A Seat series, we will be looking at Shaker Chair Styles.

This distinct style was developed by American Shaker communities, beginning in the late 18th century. The designs were inspired by the ascetic religious beliefs of the members, which required communal living in linear, symmetrical structures that were sparsely furnished, and full of natural light. In Shaker buildings, furniture and architecture served the same common goal: a simple, well-ordered life. Shaker furniture is characterized by its simplicity and innovative joinery, with an emphasis on functionality and fine craftsmanship, rather than ornamentation.

Shakers made furniture for their own use, and also sold to the public. Shaker style was a source of inspiration for numerous modern furniture designers throughout the 20th century and continues to be popular today. Traditionally, shaker style chairs were made out of smooth hardwoods such as cherry and maple. Amish Tables has several Shaker chair styles, such as the Old Arlington Dining Chair and Jackson Dining Chair. Pair either of these chairs with the Shaker Mission Table or the Gathering Table for a tranquil dining space of your own.

Take A Seat: Mission Chair Styles

For our Take a Seat blog series, we will be taking a look at Mission Chair Styles.

Mission style furniture originated in America in the late 19th century, and although the term was derived from Spanish Missions in colonial California, the style has little in common with the original colonial furnishings. The designs are characterized by horizontal and vertical lines, and free from ornamentation. The minimal nature of this style was a popular alternative to ornate Victorian furnishings. Mission furniture showcases wood’s natural characteristics and graining, particularly oak varieties.

The Mission style continues to be popular today and is still appreciated for its simplicity, stability, and craftsmanship. Traditionally, this furniture was made for houses designed in the Mission style, thereby creating a unified architecture and interior, but today the style is also at home in the eclectic interior together with other revival styles. Amish Tables has many fine-crafted mission chair styles to choose from. For dining, we recommend the Bostonian Dining Chair or Williamsburg Dining Chair paired with the Bostonian Trestle Table or Aspen Trestle Table for a look that is beautifully handcrafted.

How To: Pairing the Perfect Dining Room Set

When it is time to begin the search for a complete dining room set, the task may seem a little daunting.  In a previous post, we shared some essential tips on How To Choose a Table Style. Now we would like to build upon that post with more tips to consider when pairing dining room sets, to ensure your dining room will look cohesive and beautiful.

Consider the Space and Function: First, let's answer some basic questions.  How large is your room? Is it a closed dining room? Or a space that is attached to another room that is more open and airy?   How would you like your room to function?  Is this an every day eating area or is it used primarily for formal affairs?  What pieces need to be housed in this area?  Thinking critically about your space will ensure that you do not over purchase furniture and will also help you conceptualize what pieces would best fit.  

Example: Daily Dining Space
If your space is going to be used daily by a lot of people, you want to make sure you select a table large and sturdy enough to accommodate daily usage.  You probably don't want too many large case pieces that can make the space feel cluttered.

Example: Formal Dining Area
When setting up a formal dining room area, this can be everything from minimal to packed, depending on the types of gatherings you have.  But generally, you would have a larger table, chairs, and one or two case pieces like a sideboard and hutch.  These items not only help in storing dishes and serving ware used for entertaining, but can also be used as places to put food and drinks during a meal or party.

Pair Cohesive Styles 

 

After you have decided on how you want to use your space, now it is time to begin looking at furniture pieces.  It might be easiest for you to select a table style that suits your needs and then look at pairing it with chairs and case pieces.

Our Take a Seat series that looks at chair styles will be helpful.   If your table and space lend itself to a more Mission or Arts and Crafts style, then look for hutches or sideboards that have straighter lines, reverse panels and mullions on the doors.  Examples of this would be the Arlington Hutch or Brunswick High Buffet.  For transitional spaces that would house a Georgetown or Ethan leg style table, consider case pieces like the Burlington Buffet or or the Ethan Hutch.  For eclectic spaces with antique store finds and hand me downs, the Stowell, Brookline Hoosier or Pottery Cabinet would fit in just fine.  If your space is more modern and minimal, the Carson, Cameron or Manhattan are perfect choices.

Measure, Measure, Measure 

One of the best tips we can share for helping pair the perfect dining room sets is to make sure you take a lot of accurate measurements.  We recommend leaving an extra 24" around your table to allow for sitting at the table.  Beyond this, 18" or more for a walkway.  To get a good sense of this, you can tape off the estimated size of your table and the 24" extra perimeter with newspaper or painters' tape, so you can see how much space this is.  Then look at your room and see where the best place is for a hutch or buffet.  Try to remember and think about the flow of the room.  Where is the most open space that when hutch doors are open, it will not obstruct a walkway.  This will allow the room to be usable everyday and during busy parties.  You can also tape off where the buffet or other furniture pieces will be and this will give you a complete visual when planning your space.

Take A Seat: Formal Chair Styles

Today on Take A Seat blog series, we are looking at Formal Chair Styles.

This style achieves a display of grandeur and luxury, but can be attained even in the smaller home. The formal interior is symmetrically arranged and centers around a focal point, such as a prominent window, impressive fireplace, or large painting. Specific style characteristics include rich woods, high ceilings with ornamental moldings, luxurious fabrics, paintings in carved gilt frames, oriental-style carpets, and crystal or brass light fixtures.

The formal style home typically features a private dining room for elegant entertaining. Furnishings for the formal dining room should have graceful lines, finely carved elements, deep wood tones, and upholstered chairs for luxurious comfort. Woods with fine-graining, such as cherry and hard maple, are the ideal choice for the sophisticated interior. At Amish Tables, our favorite formal chair styles are the Callahan Dining Chair and
Richwood Dining Chair. Select a complementary table, such as the Kingsley Single Pedestal, Richland Leg Table, or the Chancellor Double Pedestal to complete your formal dining room.

 

Take A Seat: Country Chair Styles

For our next post in our Take A Seat series, we are focusing on Country Chair Styles.

Country is a wide-ranging term used to describe an interior design scheme that evokes a feeling of simple rustic living. Typical design elements include soft, muted colors, simple furnishings with natural or painted finishes, handmade accessories such as wooden bowls, pottery, and woven baskets, and fabrics in variations of check, striped, or floral patterns. All of these elements are combined in an eclectic way to achieve a charming, cozy environment. A more contemporary country style can be achieved with the use of brighter colors.

Since the country interior features a mix of unmatched furnishings, there are many types of chairs that coordinate well with this style. Particularly well-suited are chairs with simple lines that are made from rustic wood types, such as oak or rustic cherry. Or, chairs featuring special finishing techniques, including distressing, rub through, or painted surfaces. Two of our favorite Amish Tables country chair styles include the Albany Dining Chair and the Heidi Dining Chair. Pair these chairs with tables such as the Traditional Single Pedestal or Traditional Leg Table to bring simple, country living into your home.

Take A Seat: Contemporary Chair Styles

In our newest post for the Take A Seat series, we are looking at Contemporary Chair Styles.

Contemporary design developed in the 1950s and 1960s following a period of transition after World War II. The Contemporary movement was motivated by a post-war optimism for a new modern aesthetic which emphasized function in design, the use of new materials and technology, and streamlined living at an affordable price. The style drew from historical and traditional models, but set out to reinvent forms and reinterpret interior design.

Today, contemporary design is still concerned with the principles of form and function. The term is used to describe what is current for modern, practical living. Contemporary furniture features basic geometric shapes, subtle sophistication, and smooth lines, without curves and decoration. The quintessential contemporary interior is an interplay of open space and simple accessorizing, where each furnishing is individual and unique. Neutral tones, with minimal accent colors and restrained patterning advance the aesthetic. The Parkland Dining Chair and the Savannah Dining Chair are two of our favorite contemporary chair styles at Amish Tables. We recommend the Ethan Leg Table or the Imperial Single Pedestal Table for a fresh, modern look.

Take A Seat: Casual Chair Styles



For the second post in our Take a Seat series, we are exploring casual chair styles.

Comfort and ease are the priorities of the casual interior; perfect symmetry and stiff right angles are avoided. Casual rooms feature low profile, soft, oversized furnishings, neutral and textural fabrics, light or medium wood tones, flea market or antique finds, light fixtures in simple iron or antique metals, and a touch of whimsy. This style is meant to achieve an environment of relaxation and warmth.

The casual dining space is often adjacent to the kitchen and provides an area where family and friends can be involved in cooking and conversation. Dining furnishings have relaxed lines with simple carved elements, they can be mismatched and eclectic. Two-tone finishes and painted surfaces also work well. Amish Tables features many casual dining chair styles. Two of our favorites are the Ripley Chair and Somerset Chair. Pair either of these chairs with the Bancroft Pedestal Table or Brady Leg Table to keep your dining space cozy and casual.

Take A Seat: Arts & Crafts Chair Styles

Our first post in the Take a Seat series is focused on the Arts & Crafts Chair Styles.

The Arts & Crafts style flourished in England from 1860 until 1910 and began as a reaction against the ornate Victorian design which was popular in the period. The style became an international design movement that was widely influential in Europe and North America well into the 1930s. The movement was motivated by a return to traditional craftsmanship and a belief in “honest construction” whereby construction techniques, such as joinery, were often visible. The style employed simple forms with decoration inspired by medieval and folk art traditions, as well as nature. The Arts & Crafts influenced nearly every medium including architecture, fine arts, metalwork, and textiles.

As a style, Arts & Crafts continues to be revived and enjoyed today. In today’s busy home, the designs are still appreciated for their simplicity, clean lines, and subtle details. Showcasing the natural texture and prominent grain patterning of the wood is an important tenant of the style, and so, varieties of oak are an ideal choice. Furniture in the Arts & Crafts style is well-suited to the cozy, handcrafted home. Amish Tables has many  Arts & Crafts chair styles to choose from including the Olde Century Dining Chair and the McCoy Dining Chair. Continue the theme with the Beaumont Trestle Table or the Manitoba Trestle Table for a perfect pairing.

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