Posts Tagged ‘outdoor entertaining’

Years ago, we had a St Patrick’s Day party. Up until then, our parties had always been built around plastic; it was easy to buy, disposable, and who didn’t love writing their name and drawing funny faces on a Red Solo Cup?

But, this time, I wanted to serve Irish Stew, and it was March. So, I decided to forgo the picnic attire, and buy large soup bowls from a real, proper kitchen shop. I spent a fortune; I bought 20 of them, as well as beer glasses (I didn’t even know you could get beer glasses) and an assortment of bright green decorations. I dreaded having to wash all the dishes, but I knew it was better than having our friends stabbing at their polystyrene, trying to eat meat and potatoes with a plastic fork.

That day, I became a convert, and it had absolutely nothing to do with the environment; it was just easier. Already a collector of dishes and silverware, I realized afterwards that I actually had enough of everything to use for almost any occasion.
From then on, I decided to let go of my party “must-have’s”, and really see what I had in my home. I began to mix the plain with the fancy, and just added a steady supply of white napkins. Strangely enough, it was less expensive, and less stressful; the dishwasher did more work than me, and I avoided those last minute runs to buy a packet of something that was only sold in sets of eight.

With picnics on the calendar, and 4th of July almost here, I think we should make our days as easy as possible. Whether you entertain a lot, or a little, why not try shopping around your home before you buy…

p.s. I still love writing on a plastic cup with a sharpie (and thank you to Toby Keith for making us smile with the song – Red Solo Cup).
Vintage picnic photograph borrowed from www.4thofjulyimages.com

Wendy E. Wrzos  http://wendyandthebluegiraffe.blogspot.com/


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One of my absolute favorite movies is “Calamity Jane”, with Doris Day and Howard Keel; the cowboy version of Cinderella, comes complete with a dashing hero, a pretty transformation and lots of recycled calico. After sweeping out the dust, curtains become a tablecloth, a painted door welcomes you in, and a few wild flowers become a centerpiece. Life never felt so easy.

With Summer almost here, we crave a little simplicity outside. We want to entertain, and have friends over, but we don’t really want to try so hard. In the final hour, we don’t want to run back to the store (again) for fancy decorations and that special, organic iced tea that only Aunt Matilda will drink. So, why not take things slowly, enjoy the time with your friends, and borrow a few, home-spun ideas from my hero, Calamity Jane…

– Plan the simplest menu that you can get away with, and buy everything the day before. If in doubt, go with picnic food that can be served at room temperature (fresh bread, real butter, cold meat/chicken, cheese, apple pie, quiche, fruit, vegetables etc). If you have extra time, and feel inclined, bake something for dessert, or make a homemade drink (iced tea, lemonade, punch etc).
– Check that your picnic area is relatively clean. Sweep the patio/deck, mow the lawn, throw away any dead plants/twigs, and hide any broken/damaged items.
– Grab a tablecloth, blanket (or sheet) from the house, to put on the main table. Use something colorful,  unexpected, or just go with plain white or lace.
– Pick a big bunch of anything –  flowers/twigs/branches/buttercups – and put them in a vase or a glass on the table.
– Light some candles if you have them (again, just grab ones from the house – even a silver candelabra would be lovely).
– Use your regular (or fancy) cups, platters, bowls, glasses, plates, napkins and cutlery for everything.
– Bring chairs, pillows and blankets outside for extra seating and comfort.

Curl up, eat, have fun, and enjoy!

Wendy E. Wrzos http://wendyandthebluegiraffe.blogspot.com/

Picnic photograph borrowed from Better Homes and Gardens

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