A Time to Celebrate!

I am so proud of my friend James Farmer! Not only is he one of my BFFFFFFs, but he’s cray-talented and a fantastic author! His latest book, A Time to Cook hit shelves a few months ago – it’s a follow-up to his first book A Time to Plant
James has been on a ’round the world book tour, and happened to be coming to Gainesville. He had a super successful book signing at The Crystal Plate, a fabulous boutique here, and the evening called for a celebratory dinner party at Casa Griffin! 
James can do it all! He’s a beautiful landscape and interior designer, speaker, friend, entertainer, author, and cook. It’s natural to celebrate him and his many talents!
I had a ball planning the menu, painting the menu card and invite, cooking, and designing my tables for the dinner. James had already met many of my Gainesville friends, but I wanted to make sure he was introduced to a few more of them, and that he had a chance to relax and chat! 
I used pomegranates on the invite and menu in honor of James’ family’s maternal side – the Grenades, from pomegranate. James loves the pomegranate, and uses them often in his arrangements and table scapes.
In planning the menu, I kept in mind that I didn’t want anyone to have to sit and eat, but casually dine and chat too – so everything we made could be eaten standing, but one could certainly sit too! 🙂 
James has a fabulous recipe in ATTC for asparagus with tarragon butter, as well as the Sea Island corn muffins. I was lucky enough that chef JTF made them himself for the party! 
James arrived in Gainesville a day early and made this girl very happy! We had a ball arranging flowers, fluffing, cooking, and gossiping. James, David and I have too much fun laughing, catching up and reminiscing about people from our childhood! 
We spent the day getting the house party-ready!
James grabbed the most gorgeous branches in shades of gold and red to fill my containers.

I found these gorgeous salmon roses that looked lovely with Dusty Miller from the yard.

The tropical loveliness in my bedroom came from my flower of the month club – one of my favorite gifts from my hubs. Ever.

Pumpkins and lanterns on our front steps greeted guests as they arrived.

James’ favorite color is “plaid” so I used the purple and green Scottish wool blanket on my dining room table. A mix of mercury candle sticks, vases and votive holders were placed among white pumpkins under green hydrangea and branches pulled from the yard.

In the kitchen, I used dried blue hydrangea with cat tails and cotton. James deftly tucked in the gorgeous gold leaves! 

We were so excited to wait on our guests to arrive! And we had a ball – it was a fun night with great friends, toasting to James!