HGTV's Monica Pedersen Interview + Book Giveaway

Monica Pedersen Make It Beautiful book giveaway
Left photo by Michael Dar. All book photos were taken by myself  and additional photos are used with permission: Make It Beautiful: Designs and Ideas for Entertaining at Home, by Monica Pedersen, Agate Midway, May 2012.
When I found out that HGTV star Monica Pedersen had a new book, Make It Beautiful: Designs and Ideas for Entertaining at Home I had to run out and get my hands on it. Monica‚Äôs design background led her to become the host and designer on HGTV shows like Designed to Sell and HGTV Dream Home Giveaway. So you know her book would have to be just as fabulous and it is.

Each of the ten chapters is devoted to an entire party and theme, from a fabulous eco-friendly graduation party and a rustic wine-tasting party to a very chic pink baby shower with amazing zebra accents. There are lots of sample recipes, including one from Top Chef fan favorite and All-Star Fabio Viviani.
So imagine my delight when her peeps reached out to me to do an interview and offer my readers an autographed copy. We'll get to that a little later, so keep on reading for fabulous party insight and tips to add to your arsenal...

1. You have clearly conquered the design world, so what inspired you to write such a fabulous book?
MP - As a self-taught designer, I have always loved and appreciated what I have learned from my own collection of design books and always wanted to do one of my own someday. The idea for a book on entertaining came from my secret lifelong obsessions with pretty tables and china! 

My good friend and photographer for the book, Peter Rosenbaum, has the same passion, so we thought it would be a great project to do together. I also felt that there was a lack of books on entertaining available that showed pretty tables in home settings. Most of the entertaining books out there are more about recipes or high-end parties that are completely unattainable. 

Monica Pedersen book giveaway
2. I LOVED all the parties in your book, but my favorite was the stunning graduation table with all of its fabulous elements. If you are on a tight party budget, what would be a few suggestions to recreate a similar look?
MP -  Design wise, the graduation is actually my favorite party too! Many people have asked me how to recreate the look on a tight budget, here is how you do it! Table: Use a checked fabric, large or smaller scale gingham will work, however a larger check will make your table look fuller (try Jo-Ann Fabrics or Hobby Lobby). 
Monica Pedersen 4th of July table
Monica's 4th Of July table using local party store rented chairs
Seating: The wooden chairs we found were ten dollars each, and because of all of the entertaining going on, the farm found them to be a good investment. However a local party rental store in my neighborhood rents the same chair for $1.50 each. 

Overhead lighting: Pick a spot for your party that provides a little shelter and can bear the weight of a chandelier. I borrowed the ones you see in the book, but any cheap iron or garage sale chandelier will do. Remove the wires and give life to an old fixture (check out Ikea or Home Depot). Inexpensive white paper lanterns would have been just as beautiful. It's more about having the romance of overhead lighting than it is about the fixture. 

3. The moment I know a party's theme, the ideas start rushing in and I start research (bless you, Pinterest!) then I weed through. Does your party brain work like mine or do you simmer for a few days and work with a few ideas?
MP -  The first thing I do once I know the party's theme and location is hit the fabric store. I always start with my tablecloth then build my design around it. I am a bit fabric obsessed! 

4. I always have a signature 'thing' at my parties like an interesting backdrop or something clever for my guests to craft. Do you have a favorite 'thing' you like to do for your own parties?
MP - The one thing I always do for my parties is have an over sized tray of cheeses and crackers, and a lot of appetizers. If dinner is a flop, (which it sometimes is) then I know my guests won't be starving. 

5. We are moving into peak holiday season! Do you have a favorite holiday you love to celebrate?
MP - Christmas is definitely my favorite holdiay to celebrate and to decorate around. I start thinking of my decorations a few months ahead of time. My holiday china is also my favorite possession. 

6. You inspire us to design and celebrate with style, but who inspired you? Do you have favorite blogs and/or websites you like to visit when you have a moment?
MP -  My mom is my greatest inspiration!!! She always made the effort to celebrate even the smallest occasions, and did so beautifully and on a very tight budget. When it comes to decorating she also taught me not to be afraid to jump in and do it myself. She and my father were always disagreeing when it came to decorating, so rather then wait for him to agree with her and get soemthing done, she learned to use a few tools and would do things herself. 

My dad used to come home from work, and look around and say, "what has she done now?" It was very funny, and ironically when I got married I was the one bringing the toolbox to the marriage. I also love The White Library and Sucre Shop blogs for entertaining. 

7. I love to ask everyone I interview the age old question: if you are stranded on a desert island and can bring only one item and one meal, what would they be?
MP -  I would definitely bring my husband. He is my best friend and makes me laugh harder than anybody! As for food...I can live on chips, guacamole and would like to bring a gallon of mint chocolate chip ice cream from Baskin Robbins too. Can I bring a pretty little desert bowl to serve it in?

Of course you can bring a bowl, it would look amazing on a beautiful sandy beach! Thank you so much Monica for sharing your fabulous insight with my readers.

Alright, the moment you've been waiting for...Monica is offering one of my readers a signed copy of her book! Just enter below on Rafflecopter and make sure to read the fine details.  If you just can't wait, you can purchase your own copy on

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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