Date: November 20, 2020 | Story: Tiffany Adams | Photography: Rett Peek |
Feeling Festive: Charlie Groppetti and Todd Smith invite us onto their screened porch to learn the art of making fresh, natural Christmas décor
As the owners of Park Hill Home in Conway’s historic district as well as a new wholesale company, Porch View, Charlie Groppetti and Todd Smith have become known in the Natural State and beyond for their inviting, down-to-earth décor. And, the holiday scene at their Vilonia farmhouse is no exception. “We keep it casual with the focus on the warmth of the holidays. There’s lots of great food, good company, and plenty of seasonal flowers and foliage,” Charlie says.
They particularly enjoy hosting guests on the screened porch, which serves as a passage to connect their farm to the home’s interiors, and, more specifically, the kitchen. While you’ll often find the space’s large farm table laden with wine and appetizers for guests or a weekend country-style breakfast for the family, for this occasion it’s covered with all the necessary materials you need (or could want!) to create a fresh Christmas garland. Read on for instructions to make your own version as well as recipes from their holiday menu.
To make your own version, you’ll need paddle wire, rustic wire, wire cutters, and a bevy of fresh greenery and accents. Canadian hemlock, eucalyptus, boxwood, Leyland cypress, rosemary, bay leaves, magnolia leaves, and lemon leaf salal are great green layers, while hydrangeas, rose hips, pomegranates, artichokes, tangerines, and pine cones are just a few ideas for accents.
To create the base, cut a piece of rustic wire to your desired garland length. Create a loop on each end by bending the wire back on itself. Attach the paddle wire to the rustic wire by wrapping it around one end. Select a piece of greenery and use the paddle wire to secure it to the rustic wire. Do not cut the paddle wire, but continue wrapping it around your greenery pieces to secure them to the rustic wire until you complete the garland. When you complete the greenery layer, cut the paddle wire and begin to attach accents such as fruit and flowers with individual pieces of wire.
As Charlie and Todd welcomed a close group of friends to their home for a DIY afternoon, they prepared a seasonal lunch of roasted chicken salad sandwiches, turkey and Swiss puffed pastries with cranberry mustard, cranberry pound cake, apple skillet pie, and cranberry spritzer punch.
Cranberry Spritzer Punch
1 liter cranberry juice
1 liter ginger ale
rosemary, for garnish
Combine all ingredients, except ice, in a large punch bowl or drink dispenser. Serve over ice in glasses. Garnish with additional cranberries, orange slices, and rosemary, if desired.
Turkey and Swiss Puffed Pastry
8 slices shaved smoked turkey
4 slices Swiss cheese
¼ cup cranberry sauce
¼ cup mustard
2 sheets frozen puff pastry, unthawed
Preheat oven to 350°F. In a small bowl, combine the cranberry sauce and mustard. Spread evenly on one side of each puff pastry. Layer the meat and cheese between the sheets of pastry. Place on a baking sheet and cook approximately 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown. Cut into small slices to serve.
Visit our blog for Charlie and Todd’s Roasted Chicken Salad recipe.