Create an hors d'oeuvre centerpiece that recalls a vegetable patch. Buy a large, deep galvanized-metal planter from a garden-supply center, line the bottom with sprouts, and pour in enough water to moisten them. Arrange vegetables, such as cherry tomatoes, carrots, radishes, asparagus, and cauliflower, in sections inside the container, varying the colors. Serve immediately with herb dip, or cover with moist paper towels and refrigerate up to 2 hours.
More Bright Ideas
Occasions such as Mother's Day call for the floral equivalent of a big hug. Candy colors, mixed textures, and varied sizes radiate homey spontaneity, especially when the "vase" is endearingly improvised from a flea-market find. A yellow teapot, with ample room for water below a narrow opening, becomes the perfect vessel for clasping a generous bunch of tulips, hyacinths, peonies, and, of course, forget-me-nots.
SourceMartha Stewart Living
As you crack walnuts for pies and stuffing, save the shell halves that remain intact. The miniature "bowls" make natural holders for individual portions of salt and pepper -- especially handy for big gatherings at the table.
SourceMartha Stewart Living, November 2008
A basic white platter (this one's from cb2.com) just might be the most versatile item in your cupboard. We've used it here to corral cocktail garnishes; try it at your next party!
Offer accompaniments to cocktails: citrus wedges (for gin and vodka tonics), olives and caper berries (martinis, Bloody Marys), and cocktail onions (Gibsons).
SourceMartha Stewart Living, July 2009
A New Year's Eve celebration wouldn't be complete without a glass of Champagne, so bubbly is a perfect theme for end-of-the-year festivities. Ball-shaped ornaments displayed in glass flutes mimic the rising bubbles. (We mixed vintage balls with clear ones.) Gather flutes in varying styles, and cluster them on a cake stand to craft a truly effervescent centerpiece.
SourceMartha Stewart Living, January
Here's a fresh idea for the season's abundant Forelles and Anjous: Use them to make a friendly, fragrant greeting.
Line up seven pears (in the same color or a mix) on a mantel. Then, with a fine-tipped washable marker, write letters on the front of each pear. Press whole cloves into the flesh along the lines; using a pushpin or a tack first can ease their entry. Make the letters no earlier than the day your guests arrive -- the sweet and spicy aroma will be as welcoming as the message itself.
SourceMartha Stewart Living, November 2010
More Entertaining Ideas