Holiday Entertaining Part 1 - The Charcuterie Display

I love the holidays.  I love entertaining.  That being said, we are in the busiest stage of our lives running small businesses and raising kids.  And I actually don't think I know anyone at the moment who isn't busy no matter what stage of life they are in!  That being said it seems like entertaining at home can be daunting and more and more we shy away from it and just opt to meet friends out.  But it's just not the same.  My favorite part about the Fall and Winter seasons is that we have holidays that bring us together, weather that calls for extra coziness and a time to reflect on the year and slow down a bit.  For that reason we have put together a series on entertaining at home that will hopefully help with ideas and encourage you to bring back gatherings at home as something of the present!

This week I'm discussing the ultimate "go to" for being the hostess with the mostest without the usual stress or much preparation needed.  I'm talking about a true love of mine, that charcuterie display.  Think cured meats, an array of cheeses, a few delightful sauces, crunchy vessels and you have yourself a total winner that will impress anyone coming to visit.  Add in complementary wines and you have yourself a party!  The best part about this is that it truly is so simple, but so beautiful at the same time.  

Step 1 - Start with Your Ingredients:

Blomma Designs - Charcuterie Display

I'm fairly certain the Fred Meyer cheese counter employees can spot me a mile away.  I approach and promptly begin to smell cheeses.  I'm usually looking for the stinkiest bleu I can find as it really makes me happy.  When I'm having guests over I'll head to one of our local grocery stores or specialty shops and pick out a variety of cured meats and cheeses as a base for the display.  And I usually taste about thirty options!  If you're tight on time I suggest selecting 2-3 cheese that vary such as some soft, some sharp and something user friendly like an approachable cheddar.  For meats you can't go wrong with a prosciutto and salami.

Step 2:  Build Your Base:

Blomma Designs - Holiday Entertaining

I like to start with placing my cheeses.  This gives me a map of how much room I'll have to fill in with the rest of the ingredients and they are typically the largest item.

Step 3 - Add In Your Meats

For this particular display I used a Prosciutto, dry sliced Salami and traditional Sorpressata.  Tuck them in with the cheeses, but keep in mind to leave room for the other items you're planning to display. 

Step 4 - Add In Your Sweet and Savory Elements:

Think salty, crunchy and sweet.  I like to add mixed or spiced nuts, something pickled like olives and then some sweeter items like dried cranberries, figs and grapes pictured here.  Use these to fill in all of the gaps and you're almost finished!

Step 5 - Garnish

Add in your garnishes.  I love to use herbs like rosemary to add in a little bit of color and it makes your display feel complete.  You can even throw in seasonal items such as clementines or persimmon to add in even more color.

Step 6 - Dress Up Your Vessels:

I prefer to set up a separate display for the vessels, meaning what the meats and cheeses will be paired with.  Baguette or a hearty grain bread and assorted crackers are easy to find and quick to set up.  I also mix in sauces.  Here you see a spicy garlic mustard and a fig jam.  Use leftover grapes, figs and a few clementines to fill in any gaps.  Having a separate board for the vessels means not everyone is grabbing in the same place and you have more girth to your display never leaving it feeling skimpy.  And if one needs replenishing there is still plenty of nosh for guests to pick at until you freshen it up.

And there you have it!  This whole setup takes about twenty minutes of shopping time and about ten minutes of setup at home.  I always keep stocked on cheeses, meats and crackers in the cold months so I can invite friends over on a whim and whip this up for the perfect gathering!


An Urban Alaskan Wedding

Well it's been about 17 years since I've blogged, or so it seems!  I can't wait to share some of the goodness from this past wedding season coming down the shoot.  Exhibit A:  Anna and Joe's urban May wedding in Anchorage. 

I know what you're thinking.  Urban and Alaska in the same sentence is a sort of oxymoron.  But it isn't!  Most of our weddings are comprised outdoors in somewhat remote locations, but I was absolutely excited when Anna and Joe said they wanted to have a wedding in Anchorage, that was reflective of Anchorage.  The best way to describe these two together is they are a sort of Anchorage power couple.  A delight to be around and friends of MANY!  Community minded but also jet setting world travelers who call Anchorage home. They have a deep love for Anchorage and wanted to capture that feeling with their wedding.  Not to mention that it was so much fun to play with a more modern design style!

We incorporated the Bride's bright color palette of teals, oranges and bold hues with a mixture of greens.  I have a strong love for Monsterra leaves, and finally was able to incorporate them with this theme.  Matt, being the builder that he is, built a geometric ceremony backdrop and wooden mountain silhouettes that were displayed as guests entered the event.  My favorite part, Matt's creation of 7ft to 10ft large geometric shapes that were suspended above the dance floor and seating areas of the Dena'ina Ballroom.  The large ceilings made it feel as if they were floating and they were so much fun to see come to life!

There are almost too many highlights to mention of this wedding.  One of the best moments was when the ceremony started, the crowd was literally cheering as the wedding party walked down the aisle.  Cheering!  Their friends and family were ecstatic about seeing them get married. So much was custom from the Anchorage photo backdrop (taken by a local artist) on their wedding invitations to the hand made ties cut from the same fabric as the bridesmaid dresses to the Anchorage skyline on their wedding cake.  This wedding was all about the details.  To top it off, it probably was one of the best dance parties I've seen at a wedding.  Not a single person left sitting and everyone danced until the last possible moment at closing time.  Congratulations to Anna and Joe and thank you for letting us be a part of your wedding!

Planning + Design - Blomma Designs

Photography - Lauren Roberts

Floral - Bloomsbury Blooms

Venue - Dena'ina Civic and Convention Center

Desserts - Midnight Sun Cakery

Gown + Accessories - Bateau Bridal Boutique

DJ - Spin Entertainment

Rentals - Special Events Alaska 

Hair - Kelly Trice

MUA - Mary Alice Turletes

Nails - Rosehip Nail Studio


Modern Industrial + Romantic Spring Wedding

This Spring wedding made all of our heart strings tug just a little bit.  Tanisha and Corey came to us seeking help with the design and florals for their wedding.  Their wedding was small (a total of 38 guests) and it was important to them to focus on the little details and truly give their guests an experience that encompassed love and togetherness.  The Bride gave us complete creative license and trust to create her vision.  We discussed her style preferences and her vision and then ran with it.  Dream come true!

Their wedding took place on a sunny March day in Girdwood.  The private home they chose as their venue had beautiful architecture and details, but a somewhat teeny dining area.  Like, no way were we fitting 38 people for dinner kind of small!  With a little (or a lot) of creativity, we transformed the garage into a dreamy dinner area and chose to capitalize on the beauty of the main living spaces for their ceremony and dancing after dinner.  When I told the Bride that I wanted to transform the garage into their dining space, there was a bit of a long pause and she finally said "Ok, I trust you!"  No pressure.  We used soft white draping and uplighting to soften the space, but purposely left the concrete walls and exposed wood beams as they were to create that wonderful kind of juxtaposition when mixing soft and rough elements.  Matt made two beautiful hanging wood installations that I covered in greenery and florals.  They were hung over the tables as "chandeliers."  Constructing those was like scratching a creative itch that I've had for almost two years and they were SO much fun!  Black and white stationary, gold, copper, creams, brass and the loveliest black taper candles completed the setting.  We were so honored to be a part of this process and it was a treat to work with the modern industrial backdrop.  We wish you all of the best Tanisha and Corey!  Thank you so much for trusting us with this special day!

Design + Florals - Blomma Designs

Photography - Erica Rose Photography

Rentals - Special Events Alaska

Catering - Spoons Catering

Hanging Floral Hoops - A Tutorial With Alaska Knit Nat

Last Saturday we had the chance to get together with a few talented ladies for a fun lesson on how to make these fabulous hanging floral hoops.  Natasha from Alaska Knit Nat taught us all about this fun technique and Anne-Marie Moran was gracious enough to snap photos of the entire experience so that we can share it with all of you!  I love a reason to get together, learn something new and curate new relationships with fellow entrepreneurs.  We spent the afternoon learning all about how to make these sweet and whimsical hanging floral hoops, sipped coffee, did a whole lot of chit chatting and swapped many pieces of creative ideas amongst each other.

So what exactly, you may ask, would one use these fun creations for?  Well, I can think of about 100 uses!  If you are a DIY bride, these would be a fantastic way to dress up your ceremony or reception space.  You can easily hang these from a wedding arch, tent cross wires or gently tack them to a ceiling.  If you are hosting a bridal shower, baby shower or any wedding related gathering, I think these would be a wonderful way to surprise guests with unexpected and simple decor to dress up your home or space!  I know that I'll be hanging my floral hoop in our studio downtown for a few weeks, as the greens will last and I can replace the flowers with fresh if I like to give it a longer life.

For a full list of ingredients and the step-by-step instructions of how to construct your own hanging floral hoop, visit Natasha's blog post here.  Many thanks to Anne-Marie Moran for these lovely photos and spending the afternoon with us playing with flowers!