Thursday, January 5, 2012

RE-ceiving guests: Outdoor Dinner Party

GIRL'S NIGHT UNDER THE STARS.  Last Fall, I had my book club over for dinner outside in the cabana.  We all contributed to the meal.  My contributions were drinks and appetizers.  Sorry, I didn't take pictures of everything, but here's the place setting. 
BURLAP & LINEN.  I am mildly obsessed with burlap and I have been for years.  My husband doesn't get it, but I love how burlap adds an earthy quality to any setting.  I used it above over the white linen table cloth.  For my last birthday, I asked my husband to buy me succulents instead of the rose bouquet he normally gets me.  I am into succulents right now.  I like their shape and color.  Plus, it was very practical because they will last awhile (fingers crossed) whereas cut roses would have died in a week. 

OPPOSITE VIEW.  I bought gray wicker kooboo chairs at World Market on a tip from Joni at Cote De Texas' blog.  I also found these great gray wicker outdoor trays online.  Restoration Hardware had some, but for much more, plus the sizes I saw were too large for my setting.  I am very happy with both the wicker chairs and the wicker trays as purchases.
FLOWERS & TWINE.  I placed the white napkins in napkin rings I made from paper towel holders.  I cut the paper towel holders into 1 inch rings and wrapped twine around them and secured it with hot glue.  To glam it up a bit but still stay with the outdoor theme,  you can tuck fresh flowers or a single bloom into the napkin ring as I did above.  Simple flowers will do fine for this. 

CONTRAST.  I pulled out my silver knife rests for the party.  They, along with the sterling silver, were a nice contrast to the simple natural elements (burlap, succulents, wicker, pebbles) on the table.

DOLLAR STORE CRAFT.  Between the succulents, I placed the above candles.  The glass containers, the twine, pebbles and candles are from the Dollar Store. 

GIFTS.  My girlfriends admired the candles and asked me where I got them.  When I told them I made them, they asked if I would make some for them and I did so.  I gave them out as Christmas gifts along with tamales I helped make this year. (See: RE-ceiving-guests: A Tamalada & a Tamale Recipe )  I believe they were very happy with them.  I used them on a RUSTIC CHRISTMAS MANTEL this year to hold nuts and I already have another table setting where I plan on using them.
SUCCULENTS.  I LOVE them individually or in groups. They are so interesting looking.  They were the perfect low-key element I wanted for the center of this very laid back evening.  I wanted the setting to feel like a treat, but still very relaxed. 
NAPKIN RING.  I plan on using the napkin rings for another setting soon.  I already used them also for a Western Table setting.  They have a lot of versatility and are very easy to make.   Plus, they are basically a few pennies each because the base is a recycled material (paper towel holder) and $1 worth of twine would probably make 20.
EVERYDAY SERVICE.  I used my every day crystal, Mikasa French Country for the dinner. I also used white ironstone plates I bought at Target.  I wanted it to be a casual evening, but I pulled out the sterling because I felt the table needed some elegance to give it a little drama.  It seemed like an easy addition and cost me nothing.  Plus, it seems whimsical to use something formal outside in a casual setting which I like.

CHEESE PLATTER.  I bought these cute chalkboard picks at World Market for the cheese tray.  I am sure someone could make them, but these were only $5 and they are on white porcelain so it hardly seems worth making them.  I like to put out a cheese ball and 3 cheeses, walnuts, cranberries, crackers and a sweet sauce on a cheese tray.  My book club friends and I are cheese lovers. Brie especially disappears whenever anyone offers it. 

REFINISHED TABLE. The table is a $100 Craigslist find that I restained.  I will do a post on that project  later.
BEVERAGE TUB.  I realized I needed a drink tub for the cabana. I found a red one on mega sale at Lowe's and spray painted it green to match some plastic ware I am using outside.  I bought the stand from World Market, also on sale. I tied a bottle opener to the side of the tub with a green and white polka dot ribbon to keep it handy for guests.

LONG VIEW.  This picture makes me realize how much I need an outdoor rug.  It also makes me grin about the mirror. I got it at a 50% sale at Hobby Lobby.  I wanted to add decorative elements to the cabana to make it feel more like a room and a mirror was my first idea. I think it works well.
STORAGE. I may get something different, but for now I am storing entertaining supplies in Pottery Barn baskets  that use to be in our family room  in a tall black metal case.  It is a work in progress but for this dinner party, it worked fine.


If you would like to see my Backyard Remodel progress click   HERE

Linking this post to:

Cuisine Kathleen

Table Top Tuesday at A Stroll thru life
  See more tables  HERE

Stuff and Nonsense

Chic on a Shoestring Decorating

See more Tablescapes HERE


  1. Eldarose THANKYOU for your wonderful comment to me on my blog. Day 11:The breadsticks weren't the 'cutest' but they sure do taste good. I would be HONORED to help with your themed party menu. I am so touched that you would ask. It means a great deal to me, especially since I'm so new and am trying to get established. My email is:

    Your tablesetting is delightful. And I just love it out in your new cabana. Beautiful!


    PS Your cheese platter looks SO tempting.

  2. Wow! Your having an outdoor dinner with your girlfriends?

    Just thinking the moment makes me drool. How I wish I could sit outside on Christmas/NY's Eve.

    Hope you had a great NY...

    Wishes from Stockholm,

  3. Your outdoor table looks amazing! Thanks for sharing! Visiting from the 'Picket Fence' linky party :) xo K

  4. Nann,

    You are so sweet. Thank you for offering to help me figure out a menu for my next themed party. I told Reba about your blog and how much I liked your turtle dove croutons and she went wild, in Reba's understated way, and asked me to please send her the link again. She was like, Ohhhh, that sounds so good, I could use them on salads. I laughed and told her I knew she would be excited about the idea and I told her how many cool food/dish projects you have posted. Very creative.

    I will email you in a bit. Thank you for visiting our blog and for leaving a comment.


  5. Hi....I love your tablescape. It is charming and so inviting. Each detail is perfect.

    Happy weekend,

  6. Chi,

    The weather in Austin is notoriously unpredictable. It often swings 40 degrees or more in a day. But, it can be very nice during the Fall and winter to get a warm day to sit outside and enjoy the sun again. It makes me feel so much more SANE. I tend to have anxiety issues and fret and worry and get worked up, so being outdoors helps me feel peaceful again. It is actually where I feel closest to God. I just soak up the beauty of his creation. But, snow is gorgeous as well. I think wherever you are, there is something nice to enjoy. Everything has good points and bad.

    Thank you for visiting our blog and leaving a comment. I hope you get some warmer weather soon, but I know it stays cold in Stockholm for long periods so you may have a wait.

    Until then, stay warm!

  7. Kirsty,

    Thank you for visiting and leaving a comment. It is a bit weird putting one's tables out for the public. Some ppl could hate them. And it is hard not to wonder if ppl don't like what they are seeing since they are not leaving a message, so thank you SO much for leaving a comment, so I don't think the worst and that everyone hated it and thought it was ugly, plain, etc. It is very encouraging to get a nice comment.


  8. Barb,

    Thank you for your nice compliment. I'm so glad you liked the table setting. I liked it for our dinner party, but right after I posted it, I worried that it was a mistake and the setting was too ordinary to post. I began second-guessing what I did because I thought it looked so poorly arranged compared to all the elaborate tablescapes pple post. Your comment made me feel much better.

    Thanks again.

  9. Reba and Eldarose,

    I was on the computer when your comment came in. Now following you also.

    First.....never worry or fret about your pictures. They are lovely from what I can see. Always be yourself and don't worry about what everyone else does. I know that is easier said then done.

    After three years of blogging, I can say firsthand, you must do what speaks to your heart or you will not enjoy blogging.

    So glad my comment helped....that is what it is all about. Thanks for stopping over. Come back soon.

    Have a lovely weekend,
    Barb ♥

  10. Barb,

    Thank you so much for leaving this comment. I don't really know many folks who blog and it feels like everyone else in blogland knows what they are doing and have such expertise that it is hard not to feel inadequate. I love how the lady at the nester uses the slogan it doesn't have to be perfect to be beautiful. That is such a powerful statement and something I struggle to internalize. I'm trying to find a balance where I can work on fixing problems instead of worrying about them. Adding blogging to the mix is an extra chore, but blogging is very exciting to me. It is making me feel happier and more fulfilled than I have in years. I need the creative outlet, but at the same time, there is a new, real risk of rejection and failure that comes with it. But, I feel it is definitely worth it.

    Thank you for taking the time to share your experience and advice with me. I appreciate it very much. Have a great weekend.


  11. What a fun party! I have a book club too but haven't had them over for dinner yet. Your table is beautiful! :)


    P.S. I'm following you now... hope you will come by and say hi.

  12. What a lovely space and how fun for your party!

    Thank you for linking this lovely post to Potpourri Friday!

  13. Liz,

    Book club dinners are so fun. You should definitely have them over. But, we are the Bad Girls Book Club because we are sometimes bad and don't read the book. We're trying to be better though. LOL.

    So glad you liked the table. We have a fun night.

    Liz, I will definitely visit your blog to say hi.


  14. Hi Eldarose!
    Thank you so much! I think this was a perfect post to add to the party. I hope you will join in again on the 3rd. :)

    P.S. Thank you for following my blog!! :)

  15. Fabulous! I love the burlap and the napkin rings. Thanks for sharing with my newbie party.

  16. Can I come lounge in your backyard??? It seems so peaceful.

  17. Honey,

    Thank you for visiting our blog and leaving a comment. And thank you for hosting the link party so we can share our projects. It was a very fun party. I am blessed with wonderful friends and the company makes the party more than anything else.


  18. Liz,

    I'm so glad this was an ok post to add to your link party. I think your site is so great. Love flowers. And if I have anything to contribute to your next link party, I will certainly try to do so.


  19. Debbie,

    Thank you for hosting the link party. I'm glad you like the burlap and the napkin rings. It was a very rejuvenating evening. We just laughed and danced and enjoyed all the delicious food our friends bought to share with us. I am very lucky to have my friends.


  20. Hey Uncluttered lifestyle,

    Great name. And thank you for visiting our blog and leaving a comment. Sure, come on over. :D I think the backyard is going to get there. It will just need some more work. But,thank you for the encouraging comment.


  21. Hello!
    I love this table and your description. I like how you used the votives, and made the napkin rings, very clever!
    The table is lovely and I am sure your guests were happy!
    I love that wicker outdoor cloche. You said you got that at World Market? We don't have those here, but I have ordered on line from them!
    Thanks so much for linking to Let's Dish! I hope you will come back again, we meet every Wed. at 7 sharp!

  22. Pretty table. Love your back yard dining space. It's wonderful!

  23. Lovely table...neat idea to make your own napkin rings!

  24. What a lovely outdoor celebration! I almost bought those chairs last year. Love them.