Say the word party or special occasion and instantly just like a horse charging from the gate as the start gun sounds, my mind is off and running at high speed dreaming, imagining and planning. The size and scope of the party never seems to intimidate me as I have planned intimate dinner parties for six and an International Food Fair for 1500.  But parties and celebrations aren’t always about a guest list and visitors, there are also those humble gatherings within our homes that need to be embraced and made special: the first day of school, a promotion, the completion of the backyard patio or even Sunday dinner with family. It is my goal to show you how without much effort you can create special gatherings in your home.

How does one become the “queen of all things party”? 

Parties have been my thing for a very long time, starting back when I was a small child.  On days that I was ill, or in bad weather when we couldn’t be sent outdoors my mom would carefully take out her childhood doll dishes and let me have a “pretend” party. The dishes were special, fragile, hand-painted, not molded plastic or pressed aluminum like the dishes in the toy box, but china just like a real hostess would use for a special party. The set had its typical cups and saucers but it also had beautiful serving pieces, a petite oval platter, a charming teapot and covered sugar bowl and matching creamer and a beautiful oval covered soup tureen. The specialness of the dishes demanded a party, and I didn’t just pretend.

Soon I wasn’t content just having Ritz crackers and Kool-aid as party fare, those special plates called for mini cakes, itty bitty cookies, small little sandwiches made with bread cut with canapé cutters in fancy shapes and fancy fruit kabobs on toothpicks seemed like proper party menu items. This party table needed more than special dishes and cute little food, the party table needed a centerpiece.  During the summer when pretending, I would collect white clover and small garden blooms to make a bouquet to grace the center of the table. A quick search through fabric scraps in the sewing basket and I had cloth napkins to carefully fold for each place setting. Suddenly my pretend party was the perfect venue for any guest.

The seed of creativity planted in my childhood has become the springboard to share parties and gathering with you.  Some may be simple, others elaborate but all are meant to help you make the gatherings in your home lasting memories.  What is your favorite party memory from childhood?