Her Kentucky Entertaining: A Piece of Home in the Big City

Her Kentucky is thrilled to present a guest post from Amy Hille Glasscock.  Amy works on energy issues as a lobbyist by day, and by night she likes to throw parties of all sorts.  Amy is from Berea, Kentucky, holds degrees from Berea College and the University of Kentucky and currently lives in Washington, DC with her husband, Will and their cat, Kira.  When she isn't planning a party she likes to blog about her party adventures at MidCitySaturdays.com

This past weekend my husband and I held our annual holiday party at our apartment in Washington, DC. I think the most comments I received came from one item of holiday décor we had prominently displayed over our dining table. It was rustic, yet elegant, modern yet timeless, rough yet sparkling. And I’m going to tell you how to make it too!

You see, a few years ago I saw a picture of a white branch with Christmas ornaments hanging over a dining table as a DIY suggestion in the cb2 catalogue. It seemed like a fun idea, but utterly impossible to recreate in an apartment in the city. First of all you have to find a branch. This requires some sort of recent severe storm to have occurred so that you can walk to a park and find a branch worthy of your project. If I were to find the perfect branch I would hope that it would be in the exact length I desired because I certainly do not have a saw in my small tool box! Then I would have to walk to the local hardware store and buy a can of spray paint, which wouldn’t be that hard, but there also wouldn’t be a great selection (I do love and support my local hardware store though!). But then where do I spray this thing? The only options would be to borrow a friend’s yard (I have no friends with yards) or carefully cover my patio in newspaper so that I do not spray any of the concrete. It’s just not easy.

When my husband and I decided to drive home to Kentucky this Thanksgiving instead of flying, a light bulb popped up over my head and I thought “branches, painting, sawing, crafting, Kentucky!” Yes, my old Kentucky home, where all things are easier. As soon as I got to Kentucky, I picked up a can of glossy white paint at Lowe’s. Then my dad and I walked around in the woods at their home outside of Berea looking for the perfect branch. His recommendation was to look for cedar or pine as most of the bark would already be gone. After about 45 minutes of searching (so many options!) my dad went to get his saw and I sawed a great branch off of a fallen cedar tree.
I was able to spray to my heart’s content outside at my parents’ place without ruining anything except for some grass that will grow back. It took me a couple of days to spray the branch. I ended up getting a different can of paint with a built in primer which worked much better than the first can (dried wood is very absorbent). It didn’t end up being super glossy white, but it looked more rustic and I was definitely okay with that. I asked Dad if he could spare some extra fishing line for hanging the branch, and he gladly cut off about six feet. When it was time to load the car and head back to DC, the branch fit in the back seat easily.
Fast forward to last week (oh, and yes, we had a lovely Thanksgiving, and you?). We used the fishing line to attach the branch to our light fixture above the table and found some sparkly purple and silver ornaments at Target to hang from the branch (with white thread). I saw a similar purple and silver branch display in a Manhattan store front the week before and was inspired by the color combination. 

Come party time last Saturday, with the lights down, and candles lit, our branch looked suspended in mid- air and absolutely fantastic! The total cost was about $15 and the new ornaments accounted for $10 of that. You may already have some you’d like to use! 

While the hanging holiday branch was beautiful, it also represented in some ways a combination of where I’m from and where I live now. I couldn’t have done it without the resources available to me back home and help from my parents, but the inspiration came from a catalogue and a city sidewalk dressed in holiday style.