Giveaway: Handmade Gatherings by Ashley English

July 9, 2014

handmade gatherings cover

I have long been of the believe that when it comes to entertaining, people break down into just two groups. There are the dinner party people and potluck people. The dinner party folk like to have a certain amount of control over the menu and flow of the evening, whereas potluck people are fully content to put out a stack of plates and just see what happens.

handmade gatherings interior

However, with her new book, Handmade Gatherings, Ashley English offers up a middle way. With 16 seasonal gatherings, including recipes and crafts, these festive events give the dinner party people some structure while encouraging them to involve their guests in the process. For the potluck people among us, the book serves as encouragement to up the game ever so slightly.

handmade gatherings cake walk

Ashley opens the book with a little peek into her own entertaining history and then offers some insight about how to communicate with your guests, how to pick a location, and how to plan so that no one goes hungry (always have a back-up plan!). She also offers useful instruction on how to be a good guest, including a most helpful reminder to bring a serving utensil with your dish.

handmade gatherings canning

Because the parties are seasonally grounded, you’ll find things like egg-centric events, canning afternoons, ice cream socials, and even cookie swaps. The recipes, activities, and crafts are delicious, engaging, and fun (and manage never to cross the line into overly cutesy territory).

handmade gatherings morocco

What I find so nice about this book is that it is written so that every reader can take what they need from it. Some folks will recreate Ashley’s parties down to the very last dish, while others will use it for the inspiration it has to offer. I do like an entertaining book that adapts to the reader.

handmade gatherings spine

Thanks to Ashley and the team at Roost Books, I have one copy of Handmade Gatherings to give away. Here’s how to enter!

  • Leave a comment on this post and share a tale of a favorite party or potluck
  • Comments will close at 11:59 pm eastern time on Saturday, July 12, 2014. Winners will be chosen at random and will be posted to the blog on Sunday, July 13, 2014
  • Giveaway open to United States residents only.
  • One comment per person, please. Entries must be left via the comment form on the blog at the bottom of this post.

Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book for review and photography purposes. All opinions remain entirely my own. 

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314 thoughts on "Giveaway: Handmade Gatherings by Ashley English"

  • My favorite potlucks are the impromptu kind! These are the ones that are destined to be and seem to magically come together. At the last minute we hosted friends on Thanksgiving day when we heard that their power had gone out and my friend was not feeling very festive. We made a holiday-themed craft with the kids, which we used as table décor, and we combined a unique blend of cultural, family foods. It all turned out perfect! Our gathering created a new energy of fellowship and fun and I can’t tell you who felt more blessed!! We both continue to reminisce about that day. These are moments I don’t want to miss!!!

  • A structured potluck is my entertainment style I usually provide a main dish and a beverage. Guests bring sides and desserts. I could use this book

  • I belong to a Supper Club and this book would be a welcome addition for ideas, recipes, and crafts.

  • Every year we overgrow vegetable garden and fruit trees. As the season goes on we throw a potluck dinner with neighbors from the bounty. Everyone uses old family recipes or asks elders for avant garde recipes. The abundance from the garden are the staple ingredients. We have homemade break and use preserves from the previous year as appetizers. I never tire of gazpacho!!

  • My favorite potluck experiences were at a farm in Hawaii. We would bring a dish and also spend a few hours working in the veggie garden before dinner. There was always a large group and new friends to be introduced to. I wish I had participated more often when I lived there. I miss it! I think this book would help inspire me and guide me in hosting my own potluck events.

  • We bought an old house in a small town, on main st, and one of the biggest reasons was that it had a huge kitchen, so we’d be able to host parties- and after living for 4 yrs in a tiny philly condo, that thought was amazing! We now regularly host an annual 4th of July party and bbq, as the house is on the parade route, and while the planning can be daunting, I love it each yr!

  • I co hosted an evening engagement party for my best friend in my parent’s backyard last September. Their yard is fenced in with a large vegetable garden, scattered cosmos and hollyhocks and a rock water fountain that my step-mom had just finished constructing after three seasons of hunting for perfect rocks off the mountain. We set up intimate seating areas throughout the yard with small tables adorned by lit candles and vases of flowers. We have an old, very large, iron cauldron that kept a nice roaring fire going all evening.

    The back porch was lit with white twinkle lights and this was where we set out all the food. We decided on serving only appetizers and my co host and I each made something and had other close friends bring their favorite hors d’oeuvers as well. My step-mom and I had baked cupcakes earlier in the day which we decorated with frosting and a variety of candies using the color scheme of the party (red, turquoise, white and black). The cupcakes were displayed on a tiered holder and was used as the centerpiece of the main table. A large metal trough like container filled with ice was centrally placed and kept our beer and sodas cool throughout the event.

    My co host produces commercials for a living and we had spent three weeks earlier in the summer creating a music video for our friend and once it became dark enough we projected it onto a white sheet hung from a clothesline. Lots of laughter and tears. It was a huge success!

    This is by far the most meaningful and memorable party I have ever thrown. The evening was perfect and I felt everyone had an enjoyable time eating, drinking, and celebrating the engagement.

  • During the summer (specifically summer solstice) we love to have friends over for a pool party and clam bake cook off. We all provide a yummy clam dish and something easy to throw on the grill and vote on the winning dish at the end of the night. Yummy libations and wonderful fellowship are always flowing! Thanks @foodinjars! Love Ashley and can’t wait to see this book!

  • any family get together. the food doesn’t have to be fancy just being with family makes everything seem incredible. oh, and did I mention wine. Plenty of good wine.

  • When we first moved into our neighborhood a few years ago, it was winter in Denver and nobody wanted to come out of their houses. By June, we still didn’t know anyone but our next door neighbor. I made up invitations to give everyone on the street inviting them to a potluck at our house. Five households showed up. Folks who had lived across the street from one another for 15 years finally learned one another’s names! Can you imagine? That potluck tuned into a monthly knitting/sewing group. Thanks to that one potluck, we have become not a neighborhood, but a community.