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The Art and Craft of Entertaining

Excerpt from The Art and Craft of Entertainingby Kimberly Kennedy

Having a good time, that's what it's really all about. Actually, entertaining is perhaps about creating as well as enjoying a good time, about making special memories for you and your friends and guests.

This book was born out of my love of entertaining. Many people find that very word "entertaining" intimidating. Gathering friends and family at your place to enjoy good food and good company sounds so appealing, but the idea of planning the party, cleaning the house, making the food, and playing hostess seems so stressful and time-consuming. Over the years, friends have turned to me because they want to entertain but don't know where to start. I realized that despite the plethora of glossy entertaining tomes on bookstore shelves, there was room for mine. A book that tells you how you can do it but doesn't demand you copy my style. A book full of information and inspirations that will start you on the path to entertaining savvy or, if you are already a seasoned hostess, can provide fresh inspiration for the parties to come.

I believe that entertaining can be empowering. Pulling off an enjoyable party is something to be proud of. You should feel good that you can plan, organize, and execute a successful event, that you can entertain in your own inimitable style. Be guided by the information in this book, take some of the ideas and marry them with your own, and you'll be on the way to developing your style and gaining confidence as a hostess and elsewhere in your life. Take pride in what you do and how you do it.

I really relish making all kinds of things, from invitations to decorations, to gifts and stylish binders and inspiration boards that encourage my creativity and help me to be organized when planning a party. My love of sewing, cooking, and entertaining comes from my mother. When I was growing up, my parents invited friends over regularly, and my mom always enjoyed setting an elegant table and serving interesting and delicious food. I am lucky to have had such a great example to follow. My mom says that when I was small she was determined to interest me in crafting, but there were not many craft stores back then (in the late seventies!).

She did manage to find a large art store across town and we would make weekly trips to pick out the "craft of the week." Usually that meant a hook latch rug, pom-pom animals, jewelry supplies, or a doll-making kit. I would get lost for hours within the aisles of Treasure Island, always eager to try my little hands at every possible craft. By the time I was five, I had my first sewing machine (a children's hand-crank model), and my dad was letting me help in his woodshop. That's where my interest in woodworking started.

Now I'm lucky enough to have a very practical spouse; Todd and I built our first home together and he is a constant inspiration to me, urging me to try different tools and techniques, to give it a shot.

I want to encourage you to try this approach. Not everything works the first time, but as some old sage said, we learn by our mistakes. I've found that it's possible to learn a lot along the way; as you try new projects and recipes, plan bigger or more sophisticated parties, there is much fun to be had. I realize that not everyone wants to make everything from scratch or has the time to do so, so this book is an à la carte offering. Take from it what you can use and build on it in your own unique way. Give it a go and let me be your guide to stylish entertaining.

Excerpt from The Art and Craft of Entertainingby Kimberly Kennedy
Copyright © by Kimberly Kennedy

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