Posts Labeled: Fall
Wine Party: Fruit Skewers
By • Filed In: Fall, Party, Recipes, Wine

BAD NEWS: Today marks the end of Wine Week :(

GOOD NEWS: I have a few more recipes to share with ya :)

We wanted to bring some healthy freshness to our menu at the wine party, so decided on fruit skewers.  We purchased wooden shishkabob skewers and various fruits.  All you do is skewer on the fruit!

To fancy our skewers up a bit, I cut out some small circles from the same scrap book paper I used for the paper crafts.  Cortney hot glued the circles to the end of each skewer.


To give our tablescape a little more height, we stuck the skewers in vases filled with coffee beans.

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Wine Party: Mr. K’s Stuffed Mushrooms
By • Filed In: Fall, Party, Recipes, Wine

Mmmmm… my mouth is salivating just after typing the title for this post.  When Cortney and I were thinking of the menu for the wine party, I knew right away what I was asking Becky to bring.  Becky’s dad is known for his stuffed mushrooms.  It’s a fact that if the Kuennen’s are having people over, Mr. K’s mushrooms will be waiting.  Not for long though.  They get snagged quickly!

I definitely recommend you whip these up next time you need an app.  People will be begging you make them again.

For Mr. K’s Stuffed Mushrooms you’ll need:

3 Pints of Mushrooms (caps only)
Approx 10 strips of bacon – cooked and crumbled (works really well if after cooked, let slightly cool and then crunch up in a baggie)
Approx 3/4 cup of mayonnaise
1 tsp Season salt
4-5 Green onions
1 1/2 cups of grated cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 375
Wash mushrooms after removing stems
Place mushrooms in buttered Pyrex dish so that the caps face up like little bowls
Mix all other ingredients together well and fill mushrooms caps (a little overfull is OK)
Cook for 20 minutes on 375 (the mushrooms always seem to need more than 20 mins)
Broil for about 5 mins to crisp up top if needed.

 Becky and I at the wine party
I thought ya’ll needed a glimpse of the Mr. K.  Here he is cuttin a rug (nothing unusual) on the dance floor at my wedding.  Yup, that’s he himself on the left. 
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Wine Party: Brie Bites
By • Filed In: Fall, Party, Recipes, Wine

I love cheese more than Rachel Zoe loves fashion.  Brie is one of my favs, baked brie especially.   Baked brie however is overdone.  So, I got this idea on Pinterest.

It’s easy.  All you need is french bread (I picked up lunch a Jimmy Johns  earlier in the day and purchesd day old bread instead), brie and fruit preserves.  You can use any flavor of jam/preserves that your taste buds desire.  I chose apricot, but raspberry, blackberry, or fig would also be yummy.

It’s easy.  All you do is slice the bread, spread on the preserves, top with a slice or two of cheese, and pop in the oven under broil until the cheese is melted and bubbly.

Out comes a different version of  baked brie that’s quicker, silverware free, pretty, and yummy.



Keep Reading »

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Wine Party: Tablescape
By • Filed In: Fall, Party, Wine

Annnnd wine week continues. Well I guess it’s wine weeks (plural), seeing as it all started last week. Anywayzzz….we’re back with a few decoration odds n’ ends.

First up, the tablescape. The wine party wasn’t going to be a sit down dinner, so naturally we decided on a buffet style set up. We grabbed about two yards of burlap at a local fabric store to add to the rustic wine-ish feel and laid it on top of Kali’s dinning room table. Instead of just laying it out like a table cloth, we bunched it up in a few spots and placed our serving platters on those bunched up spots to hold it in place. We ended up pushing the table up against the wall to make for a more visually appealing display and then added more pom pom ball garland.

Most people probably plate their food and then place it on the table. Nope, not us. We’re rebels. We figured out what food was going to be plated on what dishes and then laid said empty dishes out on the table to decide their placement. Only once we thought we liked where everything was going to go did we actually plate the food and set up the table. I know, we’re strange. You know how there are different types of learners? Visual, auditory, etc.? Well apparently we are two very visual learners. But I digress…back to the table. We wanted to make sure we had all different heights to the dishes so we used cake stands and vases, and even apothecary jars to add dimension. Don’t worry, we’ll be sharing all the recipes in the next few days. Apparently we forgot to take a picture of the table once all the food was plated, but you get the idea.

Right next to the table is a little wine bar. We used it as a little spot to set out the plates, napkins and forks. See that picture frame leaning against the wall? It’s actually not art in there, its fabric. Kali found a little piece of fabric that went well with our colors and added it to the frame so we could use it as a dry erase board to write out the menu. Cute right?! But once again apparently we were having too much fun at the party and forgot to take a picture of it being used as such. We really need to get better at that.

Our last little decoration were shadow boxes filled with wine corks. I had a few extra white Ribba frames from Ikea laying around so I just filled them haphazardly with corks. I spray painted the backs of the frame so that the background is white instead of brown.

Want another cute idea? You could add handles to two sides of the frames an use them as serving trays!

Wine Party: Paper Crafts
By • Filed In: Fall, Party, Projects, Wine


It’s no secret I love banners.  I make them for almost every occasion (check out the ones I made for my friend’s bridal shower, here).  They’re easy, don’t take a lot of time, and make a big statement.  When deciding what kind of banners to make for the wine party, I thought back to our invitations.  I made 5 banners, each with one of the wine 5 S’s.

I used Hippie Chic scrapbook paper as the backing for each letter.  Then, I die cut white letters and glued them onto the Hippie Chic paper.  Rather than hole punching the tops of each letter and weaving ribbon through, I used the same needle and thread technique when Cortney made the pom pom garland.  I used the embroidery needle with the thread to puncture the paper.  This way the letters were the main focal point, rather than bringing attention to the ribbon.


At parties I often find myself asking the friend sitting next to me which glass on the table is mine.  Then most of the time, neither of us knows whose glass is whose!  I’m pretty lenient when it comes to sharing glasses, but I know not all people have the germ defense I gain from being surrounded by 25 seven year olds all day long.  So, these paper nametags are a useful and colorful solution.

I got the idea here on Pinterest but decided to use the same Hippie Chic paper I used to create the banners.  I cut out circles and used a hole punch to create the hole in the middle.  I then cut a slit from the hole in the center to the edge of the circle.  This allowed the paper nametag to go around the base of the glass.  Use a sharpie to write the person’s name and you’re done!


Wine Party: Mantel and Bar Setup
By • Filed In: Fall, Party, Wine

You got a sneak peak of my fire place mantel yesterday when I explained how to make the Pom Pom Garland.  Cortney and I wanted to go along with the wine theme but stay away from the typical grapes that people tend to associate wine decorations with.  We decided to fill the mantel with tons of empty wine bottles.  Weeks leading up to the party Brian and I drank a lot of wine, which isn’t out of the ordinary.  The only thing we did differently was save wine bottles rather than toss ’em.  The day of the party Cort and I assembled the bottles on the mantel and used books and picture frames to arrange them at different heights.  It turned out to be a free focal point of the room!  Well, I guess we paid for the wine, but we would have done that regardless :)


Here are some daytime photos before the party.


  A couple candles and fresh flowers finish it off at night.


Now, more importantly… drinks!  Before our wine consultant arrived we served beer, wine, water (for our preggo friend, Wendy), and Cortney’s yummy butterscotch cider (keep coming back this week to find the recipe for the delicious concoction).  I used the hutch in my kitchen as the bar setup.  We laid out the wine glass nametags (again, keep coming back for details!), lowball glasses for Cort’s butterscotch cider, and a small tub of beer and water.  To add a little fall flair I laid out my bulletin board with pumpkin cutouts.  I used scrapbook paper to die cut the pumpkin patterns and tacked them on.



Wine Party: The Decorations
By • Filed In: Fall, Party, Wine

Last year when I was planning my wedding, I came across this idea in a Martha Stewart Weddings magazine.  Martha had taken different lace patterns and put them in embroidery rings.  In her magazine, they were hung above a reception dinner table.  I didn’t incorporate this into my wedding, but loved the simple, antique, look so much that the image has been kept in my brain’s party file.  Cort and I decided to make them for our wine party but changed them up a bit by painting the lace with our color scheme: plum, dark green, and orange.

Materials: We purchased the embroidery rings (in three different sizes), lace fabric, and paint from Hancock Fabrics.  We used sponge paint brushes to apply the paint.   You’ll also need scissors.

First, loosen the screws on the embroidery rings and  separate the rings.  Insert the lace fabric, put the rings back together, and tighten the screws. Next, cut the lace around the ring.

They looked great as is, but we wanted to add some color so we painted the lace and let it dry over night.

The day of the party we used string and tape to hang them along my windows. The best part is we can take the lace out and reuse the rings in the future.

Notice something else in the pic above (bottom left pic in the group of four)? Yep, more DIY decorations. Cortney saw a listing on Etsy a while back for a string of pom pom garland but didn’t think much of it until we started planning for this party. She loves garland of all types. Don’t believe me? Take a look at her Party Inspiration board on Pinterest. So when she couldn’t find the original garland she set her eyes on, she knew DIY was the answer. Here’s what the final product looked like:

Want a tutorial? Well if you said no, too bad, you’re getting one anyway. All you need is some embroidery thread, an embroidery needle, and a bag of pom poms of any size.

Thread the needle just like you would to sew something and knot it at the end. Then simply push the needle through the center of a pom pom and slide it down to the end of the thread. Continue doing that one at a time until you have enough pom poms on your garland. Super simple!

Just make sure you lay them flat when storing it otherwise the poms get all tangled in each other and you get a big ball O’ mess.

And there you have it, two simple DIY decorations. Enjoy!

See Swirl Sniff Sip Savor
By • Filed In: Fall, Party, Wine

Earlier today we posted a preview of our fall wine tasting party. You can read more about that here. Now I’m back with one of the details. These days you see more evites or emails serving as party invitations than anything else. I don’t know about you, but I appreciate a good old fashioned paper invitation. I love the excitement of opening the mailbox and finding something more than just bills. So Kalin and I decided to do just that, send out real invitations. A while ago I pinned a cute invite on Pinterest with what seemed to be a wine ring on the paper. I thought it was adorable, but it looked like it was either professionally printed or created in Photoshop. We had zero intentions of paying big bucks for a professional design, nor do we have Photoshop. Although we both want it BADLY (hint, hint, wink, for those who are wondering what to get us for Christmas). So we decided to DIY our own version instead.

No, there isn’t something wrong with it. I blurred out the address. Even thought there are about two people reading this blog, we still don’t want stalkers :)

I had some Paper Source cards in Luxe Cream left over from a previous project, so we decided to use those. Since we don’t have Photoshop, we just printed up the information using Word on our computer. We decided to keep what we printed fairly simple since we would be adding the red wine ring. So we kept it to a fun title and the information on the party. See, swirl, sniff, sip, and savor are the five S’s about wine and we thought that would be a cute and creative way to let our guests know what the party was about. Once they were printed we added the wine ring…using real wine.

First we poured ourselves a glass of wine (What? You thought we would use wine for a project and not enjoy a glass? That’s just crazy talk). Then we poured just a little in a dish and took a small wine glass and dipped it in the wine. We just let the excess drip off before we placed it on the invite.

Then we just carefully placed it on the invite. The only reason we were careful (I mean this is only an invite we’re talking about) is because we didn’t want it to overlap with the printed words or it would bleed.

We weren’t sure how it was going to look when dry, but we were pleased to realize it dried darker than expected. It turned out to be the perfect shade of wine purplish/redish. How’s that for a color? I should write names for crayons. Kidding! Here’s one more look at how it turned out.

Who would have thought that red wine would be the perfect embellishment for an invitation!?

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This Week Is For Wine Lovers
By • Filed In: Fall, Party, Wine

There are people that like to throw parties and people who don’t. Kalin and I fall into the first of the two. We get really into it and plan for days (ok sometimes weeks). And really, what’s a better way to get together with friends? I can’t think of many. We hadn’t thrown one in a while and were feeling the itch for a party, so we started brainstorming ideas. When we started thinking about it, fall was just around the corner. So we thought a fall themed wine party was a fabulous way to welcome the season. A couple weekends ago that party came together and we had a great time sipping wine and laughing with friends. Here’s a preview of what the get together entailed:

Wonderful food, and delicious drinks.

Tablescape In Progress

Drinks in the Kitchen

Fun handmade decorations that kept with our fall color scheme.

Lots of wine.

We hired a wine company to come out to Kalin’s house and bring the vineyard to us! They presented different wines for tasting, shared pairing ideas, and answered questions. And if you liked what you tasted, you could order it to be sent right to your house. It was a great way to learn about wine with great friends while keeping it intimate and fun in the comfort of a home. They even brought the glasses! Less dishes for us to wash = perfect!

Our wine consultant presenting some delicious wine

A good time was had by all! Who doesn’t have a good time with a glass of wine in hand, good food, and great company? If you don’t then go see a doctor, because something must be wrong!

It’s wine week ya’all! So grab a glass of your favorite wine and stay tuned, because throughout the next week or so Kalin and I will be posting more on the invitations, recipes, and DIY decorations!

Falling Into Fall
By • Filed In: Fall, Recipes

I love most everything about fall. It offers amazing bold colors strewn all over the outdoors, and cool crisp air that makes for great sweater weather – without even needing a coat!  Some people might think that living in the city would mean you don’t get to enjoy these things. Some might think that the city is just one big concrete jungle without many trees or leaves. Well friends, I don’t find that to be the case. There are plenty of pockets that offer all the comforts of fall with the added bonus of walkability. I often find myself wondering the streets, taking in my surroundings and thinking to myself “I love where I live, it’s just so gorgeous.” Feast your eyes on the beauty of Chicago in the fall.

Probably my absolute favorite thing to do in the fall is take a nice long walk and crunch a whole lotta leaves! Yes, I still like to run around seeking out a big pile to jump in or step on. I’m not kidding, I will go out of my way to step on a leaf that looks nice and crunchy. Something about the sound of a crunching leaf gets me every time!

And then there is the comfort food. I love a good pot of chili, a slice of fresh apple pie, or warm apple crisp. The other day I got into a baking mood and decided to whip up a batch of caramel apples. They were so simple and I swear they tasted even better because I made them myself. I got a block of caramel from a local orchard and melted it down in a deep bowl (not sure if it was meant for caramel apples or not), Stuck some sticks in the top of the apples and then dipped and twirled them in the caramel. I placed them on some parchment paper to dry and then drizzled a few with melted chocolate and walnuts. Aaaannnd voila! That’s it!


Come to think of it, there is only one thing I don’t love about fall: The fact that winter is coming. It’s pretty and I’m obsessed with Christmas, but the snow and all the traffic that comes with it makes me shudder.

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