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Essential Rules to Hosting a Holiday Not a natural in the host or hostess role? Actress entertaining expert Tori Spelling reveals how Party on a Budget and even a novice can personalize a holiday party without breaking the bank

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Inspiration Meets Execution

Everyone needs some reason to throw a party. At the holidays, the occasion is built in. Whether it’s an actual holiday, a winter birthday, anniversary or a simple season like a winter wonderland, once you have your inspiration you can personalize it with details and execute it.

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Budget, budget, budget

Set your budget before you start planning. Then make lines for food, beverage, decor and serving pieces (use your own glasses and dishware and mismatch them) and leave a little wiggle room knowing that small details and needs will always come up.

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The Venue is Where It’s At

To be budget-friendly, throw your party at home! Whether it’s in your living room or outside in your yard or on your deck not having to rent space saves so much money. Visualize the space into the party venue of your dreams. Grab some strong arms (hubby alert) and move the furniture out of the space so you can create a bar and a food and dessert table (the three pinnacles of a party). Or move your living room furniture outside for an outdoor party! I love bringing the inside out for a party! Create a cozy, chic living-room atmosphere in your backyard. Guests will love it and you don’t have to rent furniture.

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Set Date and Time and Invite!

Once you know what type of party you will have and where it will be, then decide on a date and time and get to the invitations. Remember that invitations are the first impression people get for your party, so make them personal! Even handwritten invite notes for an intimate get-together gain kudos from guests and set the tone. If, for the sake of time, you must email invites, try to send a personal email with a personal picture. There are now many apps online which help you create pictures and fonts to make it personal. CTW Features

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2 • Holiday Decorating & Entertaining • The Chronicle, Centralia/Chehalis, Wash. Tuesday, Nov. 20, 2012

Where There’s Smoke … There's Oven? Not this year. Follow two of the most popular turkey trends to the great outdoors: grilling and smoking Mr. Gobbles

Breaking with tradition is always a test of the home cook’s mettle, especially around the holidays. Loved ones have expectations and when they aren’t met, disappointment causes upset even Tums can’t relieve. For those looking to make the leap from the oven to the outdoors this year, there are a few general guidelines to make sure that the holiday turkey turns out well done – but not charred or dry. The USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service recommends the following pointers for successfully cooking your turkey:

Think Everyday

• Whole turkeys that weigh 12 pounds or less are the recommended size for safe grilling or smoking. A larger turkey remains in the “Danger Zone” – between 40 degrees F and 140 degrees F – too long. If a larger turkey has been mistakenly purchased, detach the dark meat sections (leg and thigh portions) from the breast and smoke/grill the turkey parts separately. This procedure should result in the best possible results.

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• When purchasing a whole turkey or turkey breast, the structure is as important as the weight. Generally, a turkey that is broad and flat will fit better under the covered smoker or grill than one that protrudes too high in the breast area. Remember there should be at least one inch of space between the turkey and the lid.

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• Do not stuff the smoked turkey. Because smoking is at a low temperature, it can take too long for the temperature of the stuffing to reach the required temperature of 165 degrees F. Also, smoked stuffing has an undesirable flavor. Following, a recipe for a smoked turkey and one for a grilled turkey, courtesy the National Turkey Federation.

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Instructions: 1. Remove giblets from turkey (discard or save for another use).

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2. U  sing long-handled tongs, moisten a paper towel with cooking oil and lightly coat the grill rack. Prepare grill for indirect heat, using a drip pan in the center. Skewer turkey openings closed.

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3. W  hen the grill temperature has reached about 350° F, place turkey on the grill rack, directly over the drip pan. Grill, covered, over indirect medium heat for 1 hour. 4. M  eanwhile, in a small saucepan, combine the remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat. Set aside and cover 2/3 cup for serving. CH484579sl.db

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5. C  ontinue to grill turkey 1 to 2 hours longer or until a meat thermometer reads 175° F in the thigh, basting frequently with remaining sauce. 6. C  over turkey and let stand for 15 minutes before carving. Serve with reserved sauce.

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2. Fill the charcoal pan with a good quality charcoal. Light the charcoal and place the cover on the smoker. When the smoker has reached an internal temperature of 250º - 300º F, quickly place the turkey on the smoker rack and replace the cover. (Some smokers have built in temperature indicators. If not, place an appliance thermometer on the smoker rack before starting the heat.) 3. A  dd charcoal every hour, as necessary, to maintain 250º 300º F. Replenish the liquid as necessary. Heat and liquid are critical to maintaining the hot smoke that cooks the turkey.

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Instructions: 1. When using a charcoal smoker, fill the liquid pan with water, wine, apple juice or the liquid you desire.

4. W  hen cooking with a smoker, start with clean equipment. Place the smoker in an area shielded from winds to maintain a consistent cooking temperature. To enhance the flavors, add chunks or chips of water-soaked hardwood or fruitwood. DO NOT use softwood (pine, fir, cedar or spruce) as it gives the food a turpentine flavor and coats it with a black pitch or resin. 5. S  moking time depends on many factors: the size and shape of the turkey, the distance from the heat, temperature of the coals and the outside air temperature. Estimate 20 to 30 minutes per pound if using a smoker. Always use a food thermometer. The whole turkey is done when the food thermometer, placed in the inner thigh, reaches 180º F. The breast is done when the internal temperature reaches 170º F. CTW Features


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Holiday Decorating & Entertaining • The Chronicle, Centralia/Chehalis, Wash. Tuesday, Nov. 20, 2012 • 3

Ways Clear glass ornaments are ripe for experimentation – fill them with holiday confetti, ribbon or glitter.

of Decorating Gather up your friends and family for these fun decorating projects that will get everyone in the holiday spirit

Wrapped Frames

Kara Allen, party planning expert and author of “Kara’s Party Ideas” (Cedar Fort Publishing, 2012), has a fun idea for sprucing up a standard item: Wrap it! “We wrap picture frames in gift wrap and make them look like gifts and then hang them back on the wall,” says Allen of one of her favorite family tricks. It’s perfect for leftover gift wrap that isn’t big enough to contain a whole gift.

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Mason Jar Centerpieces

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Cake Stands and Pastry Dishes

Sometimes, new holiday decorations can come from repurposed household items. Allen suggests using cake stands and pastry dishes to display Christmas objects. “Stack three cake plates in a tier and throw ornaments and Christmas trinkets and gifts on them,” she says. If you have a cake stand with a lid, she says to turn the lid upside down and fill it with ornaments.

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Christmas Tree, Minus the Tree One of the easiest ways to free up some decorating time in a creative way is to ditch the tree altogether and look for simple, trendy alternatives. Maynes suggests a hand-drawn tree. “Paint a large sheet of lightweight plywood with blackboard paint and draw on a stylized tree, including decorations, in white chalk,” she suggests. Or experiment with colorful chalks to add depth. Prop up against the wall and arrange presents around the bottom for a simple, easygoing Christmas “tree.”to personalize.”

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Clear glass ornament bulbs are versatile for lots of different projects. Here’s an idea for tree ornaments that double as birthday decorations. Victoria Hudgins, blogger at A Subtle Revelry and contributing writer for “Handmade Wedding” (Chronicle Books, 2010),

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The rustic decorator’s darling, Mason jars, can wear many hats in Christmas decorating plans. One idea, from Tamara Maynes, an Australian craft designer and author of “82 Modern Style Ideas to Create at Home” (Murdoch, 2012), is to fill them with candles and group them together as table centerpieces. Allen suggests filling them with white sand or other white and silver decorations – like garland or lights – and to group them together in different shapes and sizes.

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Debra F. Welsh Owner/Operator

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came up with the craft when she was looking for a way to incorporate seasonal décor with a festive birthday party. To make the ornaments, start with clear bulbs, which can be purchased at craft stores, and stuff them with confetti or textured ribbon. “A stack of small candles would be a great inclusion, as well,” Hudgins says. But they don’t have to be birthday-specific – Allen does a similar Christmas version. She fills the inside of the bulb with liquid glue and then pours glitter inside, so it sticks to the sides. Hudgins has also done a version where she fills the bulbs with hot chocolate ingredients. “The clear ornaments are perfect because you can design them for any style or party you’d like,” Hudgins says.

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n the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me ... plenty of holiday decorating ideas to make the home beautiful and festive for the season. From new crafts to updates on traditional staples, holiday decorating doesn’t have to be a chore. Take this advice from Linnea Johansson, a chef and event planner for the stars who originally is from Sweden, or as she calls it: the “home of Christmas.” She says, “The thing about the whole process of Christmas is not to be stressed out. Make it a fun thing that goes throughout the month. That’s something my family has always done.” Getting others involved means that decorating becomes a part of the holiday celebration. Homemade projects also can alleviate stress and inject some fun back into the planning process. Crafty projects get the kids involved and the creative juices flowing. So gather your friends and family and prepare some extra holiday treats to get an early start on holiday decorating.

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4 • Holiday Decorating & Entertaining • The Chronicle, Centralia/Chehalis, Wash. Tuesday, Nov. 20, 2012

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Candle Crafting

“When you receive a gift that’s handmade, you know someone’s put their heart, their time and their passion into making it,” says Cathie Filian, TV host, author and “all-around crafty, creative girl.” Filian’s do-it-yourself transformation of plain pillar candles is an easy way to create a beautiful, handmade present. “The result is a very boutique-looking candle, the kind you would spend a lot of money on,” she says.

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2. Sprinkle embossing powder on the image on the tissue paper and tap off the excess. Heat the powder on the tissue with an embossing gun until the image is embossed. 3. Swirl a wet paintbrush into watercolor paints and color in the background of the stamp. Make sure your paintbrush is not too wet or the tissue paper will tear. Allow to dry about 10 to 20 minutes.

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Steps: 1. Cut a piece of tissue paper large enough for the stamp. Ink the rubber stamp, and stamp onto the glossy side of the tissue paper.

4. Cut a piece of parchment paper large enough to cover the image and wrap it all the way around the candle, but leave an extra several inches of length. Trim the excess tissue paper around the edges of the image, and place onto the candle. The embossed side of the image can face in toward the can-

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dle or outward. Wrap the parchment paper tightly around the candle, using the excess parchment paper in the back as a handle. 5. Move the embossing gun over the image to melt the tissue paper into the candle. You will be able to see the wax melting through the parchment paper. Once the wax melts in one area, move the embossing gun to another area so as not to melt the candle too much. When the entire image has melted into the candle, carefully remove the parchment paper. 6. Add details to the candle using scrapbooking eyelets and candle paint pens. CTW Features

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Holiday Decorating & Entertaining • The Chronicle, Centralia/Chehalis, Wash. Tuesday, Nov. 20, 2012 • 5

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Tree Trivia

Many Chr istmas traditions are older than some celebrants might think. The tradition of lighting up a Christmas tree, for example, dates back to the days before Christmas lights. Before electric-powered twinkle lights were invented and even before electricity was discovered, people used actual candles to adorn their Christmas tree. As one can imagine, having an open flame next to a dried-out tree was risky, so it was customary to keep a bucket of water next to the tree in the case of fire. As if fire wasn't enough, the tinsel used to decorate trees was made from strips of silver and even lead — something that is now known to be a health hazard to adults and children alike. Although we've come a long way since candles and lead, even now trees that are overly dry and decorated with lights that have frayed wires can just as easily lead to fires. Plus, plastic tinsel can be a choking hazard for children and pets. One Christmas staple that has lost its status as a safety hazard is the poinsettia plant. It has long been thought that poinsettias are poisonous to people and animals. While there is some toxicity to the plant, it would require the ingestion of hundreds of leaves to get a toxic dose of the plant's poison.

Tips To Buying a Natural Christmas Tree

Many people harbor strong opinions with regard to which type of Christmas tree they want to purchase. Some cannot live without a natural, freshly-cut Christmas tree, while others prefer the convenience of artificial trees. Those who insist on a natural tree might want to consider the following tips when buying what's likely their biggest decorative item of the holiday season.

* Ask when the tree was cut down.

* Have the tree shaken before taking it home.

A tree should be shaken in a shaker before you put it in your car and bring it home. A shaker removes any debris or dead needles from the tree, which can save you the trouble of cleaning up all of those dead needles from your living room floor later on.

* Have the tree wrapped before taking it home.

When looking for the right place to set up your natural tree, it's best to choose a spot that's cool and free of drafts. The tree should not be placed near heat sources, including appliances, fireplaces or vents, because such heat sources create a safety hazard and can make it difficult for the tree to retain moisture. There should also be ample space between the top of the tree and the ceiling.

* Place some covering on the ground beneath the tree.

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Even a freshly cut natural tree will shed needles over the course of the holiday season. Before placing the stand in the location you've chosen, put some type of covering, such as a tree bag, beneath the stand so it's easier to gather all those needles once the holiday season has ended.

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A tree should also be wrapped in twine before taking it home. The twine should be tight enough to keep the tree's branches from blowing in the wind when you attach the tree to the top of your vehicle. If

* Choose the right location.

surprised at just how thirsty natural trees get. The stand's reservoir should have lots of water, which should never dip below the stump. If the water dips below the stump, you might be forced to cut a little more off the bottom of the trunk to ensure the tree will make it through the holiday season. That can be a hassle once the tree has been decorated, so be sure to check the water in the reservoir at least once per day to maintain adequate water levels.

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Precut trees may be cut down weeks before they're sold. So if you're buying a precut tree, chances are the tree was cut down much earlier than you think. This doesn't mean the tree won't make it through the holiday season, but a tree that was cut several weeks ago should have some of its bottom trunk removed before it's placed in the stand. This will make it easier for the tree to consume water. This step likely isn't necessary if the tree was cut down the same day you bring it home.

possible, keep the tree wrapped in twine as you place it in the stand. This makes the tree easier to control.

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6 • Holiday Decorating & Entertaining • The Chronicle, Centralia/Chehalis, Wash. Tuesday, Nov. 20, 2012

Incredible & Edible Spend your hard earned dollars on display pieces that make sense.

This holiday season try decorating with edibles or working with ingredients you already have available. • Eat lots of oranges this time of the year? Adorn them with cloves and arrange them on your mantel with greenery — eat them when the party is over. • Serving veggies at your family gathering? Plate them to be nice on the eyes as well as the palate. Try cutting fruits and veggies in unique ways and arranging them on skewers.

• Have extra pumpkins that you didn't get around to carving for Halloween? Give them a fall flare and light up your walkway for Thanksgiving day. • Trim berry bushes or trees from your yard and display in a statement vase.

Give Thanks

Decorate with popcorn kernels amongst candle holders, fill glasses with cranberries or candies, or make a mobile with fall leaves. Decorating has never been so easy — or inexpensive.

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How to ‘Happy Chic’ Your Holidays Only the fantastical mind of Jonathan Adler could consider using the phrase “happy chic” as a verb. Yet somehow, that’s exactly what he teaches the reader in his new book, “100 Ways to Happy Chic Your Life” (Sterling Signature, 2012), which is packed with gorgeous photos of interiors, sketches, lists of recommendations and words of whimsy.

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round tip, but the nostalgia of thread and needles works perfectly for the holidays.

Here are some tips from this design/life guide, plus a last piece of advice from the man himself:

• Try your hand at cross-stitch. Adler provides this as a year-

• When all else fails, bring a guest. Adler says this is his number-one tip for any family gathering. “Be sure to have at least two non-family members there. Then everyone has to act a little more civilized than they really are,” he suggests, fervently.

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• Put tables under tables. “One can never have sufficient number of low tables and cubes at the ready,” he writes in the book. Nesting them keeps them out of the way for when the chowing stops and the dancing begins.

• Do something a little strange. Everyone will have snowflakes and candy canes. Put out something that people will remember specifically about your house. “Probe the inappropriate parts of your mind, then go public with what you find,” Adler writes of his knack for subverting the norm.

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Holiday Decorating & Entertaining

• Fill apothecary jars and clear vases with a variety of unshelled holiday nuts.


Holiday Decorating & Entertaining