What are you up to this weekend? If you've been toying with the idea of hosting a get-together with your friends, then I've got the perfect inspiration for you.
Earlier today, I introduced you to Colleen Reilly and Stephania Stanley, two friends who've been hosting girls' night get-togethers complete with crafts, cooking, and lots of conversation for seven years running. In the first part of our interview, where the two discussed their Thursday night dinners, they offered some general tips on getting your own event started. Now they're back with even more ideas to make your hosting dreams a reality.
CasaSugar: What would you recommend as a good starter Thursday night craft night or dinner hosting experience?
Colleen Reilly: Our "Not Your Typical Doily-ed Valentines" are a good starter Thursday craft because the supplies needed are very shareable and they require little artistic skill, so ladies who don't feel as confident in their crafting abilities can feel comfortable to join in.
Stephania Stanley: Anything in our Lazy Thursdays section on our website would be good for a starter Thursday. Also, Yiayia's Quick Bean Soup is a great, easy cold weather recipe that will feed a lot of people.
Keep reading for more advice on hosting your own girls' night!
CS: What's one of your favorite craft projects for a get-together?
SS: One of my favorite memories of doing crafts together was when our dear friend Emily taught us all how to crochet. I think it was one of the first really "crafty" skills I learned. We were cracking up when I held up my "scarf" that was filled with holes the size of tennis balls, and laughed even harder when my first blanket was shaped like a kite. It just didn't matter. I eventually got the hang of crocheting, and we still use that blanket on cold Thursday nights.
CR: In addition to the Valentine's cards, our Fancy Feather Hairclip and Easy Beaded Button Bracelet are two other crafts that have easily shareable materials that everyone can contribute. It's fun to bounce creative ideas off your girlfriends for arranging your hairclips and bracelets.
CS: What other activities are good, besides eating and crafting, on a girls' night get-together?
CR: Something we've recently started doing in our Louisville group is adding a book club element once a month. We'll take turns choosing a book and then at one Thursdays group a month we'll discuss the book. I know I'm always looking for books to read, so it's been great to get those suggestions from my friends, and then discussing the book adds an extra layer to your discussion. Also, we've recently befriended these ladies who do Yoga nights in LA — one person teaches a yoga lesson for the group and afterward they chow down on a vegetarian feast. When we were in college, we used to often include a group workout before dinner, and it was always a lot of fun.
SS: We help each other out with larger projects like cleaning out and organizing very cluttered rooms, fixing up the backyard, or helping each other out with work and school projects like editing for critiques, practicing for work presentations, editing each others' résumés, etc.
CS: Say someone is trying to start the equivalent of a Thursday night dinner — essentially, a running tradition — with her group of friends. How would you recommend she approach it?
CR: First, she should find a day of the week that typically works for her friends — for our groups it happens to be Thursday. Then she should explain the concept — low-maintenance, stress-free, weekly get-togethers with girlfriends over food and crafts. For the first one, whoever is taking charge may want to choose a good, easy recipe and divvy up ingredients for people to bring.
SS: Suggest a fun group craft like our Valentine's cards, hairclips, and bracelets and ask guests to bring some of the needed items, but make sure you have everything you would need at your house, just until people get used to how it works. Then after a couple of weeks try switching things up and let someone else be in charge of hosting, recipe and craft choosing, etc. Just make sure that the tradition works for your group of friends.