Category Archives: Decorating

Biltmore Inspirations 40% Off Sale

With the recent announcement that Biltmore Inspirations will be closing on December 15, 2012, this is your chance to purchase  our fabulous home decor, gourmet food and wine accessories from the full product line at a deep discount.  All merchandise (with a couple of exceptions) is on sale NOW at 40% off.  Download the online catalog on my website.   View all of the current specials highlighted here.

I am still conducting parties and can assist you directly with placing any orders.  There is no longer a minimum amount required for hosting a party to receive the great hostess benefits! Enjoy  great rewards with free party food, your selection of hostess gifts and discounted items by scheduling a party before the end of November.

Thanks so much for your past support and happy shopping!

Fall Bundles through OCTOBER

Holiday Gifts 2012

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Filed under Decorating, Food, Holiday, Hostess Gifts, Party

Color Inspiration for Holiday Entertaining

I’ve been thinking about the upcoming holidays and the traditional color schemes for  entertaining this time of year: black and orange for Halloween; gold, cooper, brown for Thanksgiving; and red and forest green for Christmas.  This year I want to incorporate something new, something more trendy so I looked at the 2012 fall fashion colors.  The Pantone Fall 2012 Colors include a bright shade of purple (the fashion trade refers to it as rhapsody, sugar plum, and gothic grape).  I like a little darker shade — more plum and mulberry is more my style.  I’m going to mix up the color wheel by combining olympian blue with ultramarine green (really the shade of billiard tables) together in what I hope turns out to be a smoky teal green.  I’ll add a touch of rose smoke and flashy pink flambe’ for fun, and I’ve found my color scheme for entertaining this season.

As I dream of fall parties, the perfect holiday table for me will be set with a  tablecloth in an almost rose smoke color called Acorn Contour (from BBJ Linens) around $33.00.  Next I’ll add pink flambe’ handmade fabric runners.  Each mat will drape across the table and serve as individual placements (so you’ll only need one runner for every two guests.)  Pick up fabric at a discount online, at Hobby Lobby or any fabric store and make these simple runners yourself.

For an over-the-top tablescape, I’ve chosen Biltmore Inspirations’ Lotus Leaf Platters to serve as the charger plates for each place setting.  Because these platters are so big, bold and beautiful, I won’t be removing them before serving dinner, even though etiquette books dictate otherwise.  Each gorgeous platter measures 12″L x 18″W x 2.5″H and retails for $69.98/each.  With six to eight of these on the table, this will make a dramatic statement.

Lotus Leaf Tableware

On top of each charger, guests will find a brightly colored braided fuchsia placemat with wavy design. Each mat measures 15″ in diameter.  Found online at Gifted Solution (4 for $16.00).

For serving dishes, I’ve incorporated Biltmore Inspiration’s Pisgah Baking Dishes.  The color of these dishes resemble the soft smoky teal-green Blue Ridge Mountains in Asheville, North Carolina, the corporate home to both the Biltmore Estate and  it’s newest division, Biltmore Inspirations.  The single large baking dish measures 11.25″Dia. x 2.75″H and serves  as the dinner plate ($35.98).  The smaller baking dish 10″ Dia x. 2.25″ will be used for any first courses ($45.98 set of two that includes a 8.5″Dia x 2″H dish).  Perfect for serving soup or salad.

Pisgah Baking Dishes

Pisgah Baking Dishes

Each of the Pisgah Baking Dishes are separated by an eggplant colored linen napkin that measures 21″ x 21″ at $10.00/each.  This one’s called malbec from Linoto.   A great color for dabbing those Cabernet wine stains off your lips between courses.

I envision the table to be decorated with similar colored fresh farmer’s market produce.  Purple cabbage, purple potatoes, dark kale, Chinese eggplant, asparagus, and leafy green Brussels sprouts should be ideal.

Other decorative centerpiece details include Biltmore’s new Pisgah Canisters ($59.98 for set of two).  Same beautiful blue-green color as the baking dishes.  The large measures 4.5″Dia x 13.125″H, and medium 5″Dia x 8.625″H).

Pisgah Canisters & Pedestal Dish

Biltmore’s Pisgah Canisters & Pedestal Dish

French Market Buckets

Biltmore’s French Market Buckets

Centered on the table are Biltmore’s French Market Flower Buckets $99.98 set of two (large 8″Dia. at top x 6″ Dia. at bottom x 18″ H. and medium 7″Dia. at top x 4.5″ Dia at bottom x 14″H) filled with silk hydrangeas, chrysanthemums, and other favorite flowers and greenery.

A pair of Biltmore’s Courtyard Lanterns (large 5.75″W x 5.75″D x 13″H $42.98 and small 4″W x 3.5″D x 8″H set of two for $32.98) holding mulberry colored pillar candles completes the tablescape.

Biltmore’s Courtyard Lanterns

Ideally, guests this season will include precious little friends wearing matching velvet dresses and jackets and deep eggplant colored bows in their hair like this one.

The finished table setting should bring lots of ooh’s and ah’s to this year’s festivities.  What do you think?

Autumn-Inspired Tablesetting from Biltmore Inspirations

Festive Tablescape from Biltmore Inspirations

Biltmore products can be ordered at my website.

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Filed under Decorating, Holiday, Party, Tablescapes

Happy New Year Giveaway!

Happy New Year 2012

To celebrate the new year, and to inspire you to celebrate more at home this year, we are conducting a contest to give away a number of  home entertaining products.  Several of these useful and stylish items are sold through Entertaining Inspirations, all from the Biltmore Inspirations catalog, and others are from my personal collection of gifts that I keep on hand for hostess gift giving . 

Here’s how the contest works.  It’s a two-step process.  First, visit my Facebook Page, Entertaining Inspirations, and “LIKE” this page.  The link is:!/pages/Entertaining-Inspirations/207172932680855

In addition, subscribe to my blog:  Entertaining Inspirations (a weekly update with decorating hints, design ideas and recipes for entertaining in style.)  You can sign up by completing the e-mail subscription link on this website:

If you are already a Facebook fan, or a subscriber to the blog, you are still eligible to participate.

The prizes will be announced daily.  One winner will be selected daily, at random from ALL participates who complete the two-step process.  You will be notified through an e-mail message if you win, and the prize will be sent to you.  The contest starts today and ends on Sunday, January 1, 2012, New Year’s Day.

Today’s (Thursday, December 29) prize is a set of four Biltmore Inspirations Reserve Wine Label Coasters.  As the most-visited winery in the United States, Biltmore created these authentic “Biltmore” Wine labels on aged resin coasters.  Clean with a damp cloth.  4″ Square.  The set retails for $21.98, plus tax and shipping.

Biltmore Inspirations Reserve Wine Coasters

Spread the news and share this contest with your friends!  Thanks so much for participating, and good luck!

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Filed under Contests, Decorating, Holiday, Hostess Gifts, Wines

Ideas for Autumn Centerpieces

It’s Fall and the weather in Phoenix is beginning to cool down.  Once the temperature drops to the 80’s, I get inspired to begin decorating for Halloween and the Fall season. Here’s five fun ideas I’ve discovered that you may be inspired to replicate in your home.  Any of these creations can be incorporated as a centerpiece, or as part of a holiday-inspired vignette on your mantel, side table, or kitchen island.

Photo from Martha Stewart Living

1.  This easy to create idea comes from Martha Stewart.  Scoop out a medium to large-sized orange or white pumpkin.  In this photo, she used a white one to create a vase to function as a centerpiece on her festive table.  It is filled with a bundle of fresh flowers including roses, daffodils, ranunculuses, calla lilies, tulips and berries. The flowers are in Autumn’s best colors: orange, shades of peach and yellow. Surrounding the large pumpkin vase, she placed a number of smaller pumpkins in assorted sizes, along with small votive candles.  This elegant idea is perfect for both Halloween and Thanksgiving celebrations.

Photo from Better Homes & Gardens

2.  A fun Chartreuse green centerpiece is made up of just picked Granny Smith apples, nestled next to a large green pillar candle, all arranged in a giant glass bowl.  This clever idea comes from Better Homes & Garden.  The same concept could be created with red apples and a red candle for Christmas decorating.

Photo from Better Homes & Gardens

3.  It doesn’t get any easier than this!   This large pumpkin is trimmed out with a twirling branch from a bittersweet vine.  Dried fruit, nuts and seeds can be scattered below.  Another great idea from Better Homes & Gardens.

Photo from Better Homes & Gardens

4.  In this photo, Better Homes & Gardens fills a rusty antique urn with dried corn stalks and sprigs of wheat to create the base.  It is simply topped off with a bright orange pumpkin.

5.  Lastly, a simple pumpkin is hallowed out and filled with assorted fall leaves to create a very simple, yet festive idea.  Can’t you see several sizes of these centered on your dining room table?

Adding a few inspired designs to your table at this time of year invites the fun, Autumn holidays into your home.

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Filed under Decorating, Flowers, Holiday, Rooms, Tablescapes

Keeping Flowers Fresh

Fresh blooms are a festive way to brighten up your home when entertaining.  The coffee table, kitchen island and your dining table will all benefit by a vase full of beautiful and colorful flowers.

When purchasing cut flowers from a farmers market, florist, grocery or neighborhood nursery, always look over the green foliage and make certain that it doesn’t look wilted.  You want the stems to be firm and not limp.  If they lack strength or structure, then the flowers are already beginning to deteriorate and you should look for a fresher bunch.

Select the type of vase you plan to use.  Anything from a crystal heirloom container to a metal bucket, or perhaps this ornate Brocade Vase from Biltmore Inspirations ($48.98), will make a lovely centerpiece.

Brocade Vase from Biltmore Inspirations

When you are ready to arrange the flowers, ensure that the vase is clean by rinsing the container with soapy, warm water before using.  Fill the vase halfway with clear, cool water.  Using a scissors, trim away any excess or damaged foliage from each single stem.  Keep the best-looking leaves that are the closest to the neck of the flower, plucking away all of the remaining leaves.  Also, you do not want any leaves resting below the water line in the vase because this will cause the water to become cloudy very quickly.

Using a pair of sharp clippers, make a 45-degree angle cut to each flower stem, clipping off at least two inches from the base to remove any damaged or dried stems.  Cutting at this angle ensures that the maximum amount of water will enter the straw like tube of the stem, resulting in more water going directly to the flower head.  If your plant has a woody stem, cut an additional inch-long cut up the center of the stem to allow more water to be absorbed.

Check the water every other day, and replace as needed.  The stems are only alive as long as they are drinking water.  If the water becomes cloudy, replace it immediately.  You should also check the stems after a few days and if they seem mushy, cut off the deteriorated section, and return the flowers to fresh water.

If some of the stems start fading away, trim those off too.  Be certain not to keep the vase of flowers near a heat source, or windows with southern exposure as this hastens their decline.  Incorporating these ideas should allow your flowers to last about one week, keeping them aromatic and beautiful for all to enjoy.

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Filed under Decorating, Flowers, Tablescapes