Last Sunday I had a craft-making and casual dinner holiday soiree at my house. I went to the Santa Monica Farmers’ Market the day before and decided what the menu should be based on the fresh produce that was available. I decided to get us all in the autumn mood by serving a vegetable-based minestrone to highlight the beautiful cranberry beans that are in season.

For a beverage. I mulled some wine with apple cider and herbs, which filled the house with holiday aromatics like clove and cinnamon.

I had a vegetable platter with multi-colored carrots and cauliflower. The dips were cilantro and almond pureed and a goat cheese spread that I got at the market with mango and chili flavoring. The soup was made with butternut squash, kale, the cranberry beans and topped with an almond pesto I made. For side dishes, I served roasted butternut squash topped with toasted pumpkin seeds and bacon. There were also roasted potatoes with herbs, and a salad topped with pistachios, pomegranate and Manchego cheese. For dessert, we had an apple galette I made from farm fresh apples and topped with pistachio gelato from Sweet Rose Creamery.

The crafts were inspired by a book my friend Rachel Craven recommended called A Greener Christmas by Scheherazade Goldsmith. We decided to decorate cards with lavender flowers, anise seeds and ribbon. We also made ornaments using oranges, cloves, cinnamon sticks and dried flowers.

The best part was having lovely lady friends over for some creative time as we ate and chatted.

To enjoy your own holiday crafting party, we suggest you invite some of your best friends and their kids over and stock your table with all the fixings: cloves, oranges, twine and string, hot glue guns, star anise, lavender, magnolia leaves, cinnamon sticks and dried flowers. Get creative and enjoy every minute of it!

Click through to see all of our photos of the holiday crafting soiree: 

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Meet our November guest editor,  Shiva Rose of The Local Rose!

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