Here at the Frugal Village Homestead we love throwing parties. Our .52 acre lot is the scene of multiple barbeques in the spring, summer and fall (yay tailgating!) and as the weather grows cooler we throw big family style gatherings for Halloween and the Holidays (like my annual “low stress” cookie swap party). So when Walmart asked me to talk about summer parties and entertaining, well, I kind of felt like I’ve said it all before.
So I decided to take a completely different tact. We were heading up to the Adirondacks for our annual week at the lake courtesy of my lovely Mother in Law, and Yankee Bill and I usually try to take an evening and spend some couple time while we are up there (and have Nana on tap for babysitting!) Who said a party has to be big? What about a special summer party for two?
It really doesn’t have to cost much money or even take much effort to make things look extraordinary! And you can do it all with items that will have multiple uses in your home (trust me–if I’m going to spend money on something these days I want it to be something I can get some serious use out of!) I started out with a set of basic white Better Homes and Garden dishes that we were sent after our last trip down to Walmart Headquarters. I love white dishes because they show off your food to advantage–that’s why so many food photos are taken on a white plate or dish. These had a tiny bit of interest with a ridged pattern around the sides. The 16 piece set (BH&G Porcelain Round Ribbed) is $39.
To the dishes I added just a few accessories:
A couple of cobalt blue placemats, some white cloth napkins, stemless plastic wine glasses (that look like glass but don’t break!), melamine plates that look like pottery but aren’t, tea lights and holders, and a scarf.
Yup you read that last one right, a scarf! I just toddled myself over to the accessory section at Walmart and found a cute scarf that matched my color scheme. Princess loved it and asked if she could keep it after I was done with this post, but I told her it was mine all mine!
On the porch of the cabin we rented I set up our lovely “Party for Two”
Wasn’t it pretty?
Here are some quick tips on decorating a tablescape I learned from my “Summer Party for Two”.
1. If you start with basic white dishes you can make many combinations just by adding a variety of inexpensive “salad” plates. Not only is it less expensive then buying an entire set of patterned dishes that will get only occasional use, but it also gives a layered effect and lets the patterned plate really “pop”.
2. Pick a simple color or scheme and repeat it. I chose to highlight red in my dishes, utensils (aka flatware), scarf/table runner and candles. Even though they are slightly different shades and different styles, the repeat of the color makes it look cohesive.
3. Anything can be used as a table linen. I used a scarf as a runner. Not only does Walmart have a lot of inexpensive fashionable scarves right now, but you can pick them up at thrift shops or by digging through your own closet (I have an entire BIN of scarves–and knowing how much they scrunch down. . . that’s a lot of scarves!). In the past I’ve pulled a lace sheer off a little used window to act as a table cloth, or even used unhemmed but nicely folded fabric yardage right off the bolt.
4. Candles are always a hit. I only needed to add a couple of tea lights in some holders for a lovely effect (a nice set of glass tumblers from your cupboard would have worked as well).
5. Setting can make all the difference. Let’s face it–a pretty tablescape on a beautiful lakeside porch in the mountains was just perfect.