Holy smokes, things have been busy...
Kiddos all home for the summer has me balancing work with keeping them interested in life. Add to that The Husby's busy work schedule (what else is new?) and it's a recipe for much needed cocktails. But that's another blog entirely. For now, I spend the next few weeks catching up on the blog with all the new stuff I've been working on!
Among the things includes this party for an American Vintage Picnic I did this past weekend. We held the party at a nearby lake which was fabulous -- plenty for the kids to do, lots of fun swimming in the lake, fabulous natural surroundings. But doing a party outdoors especially if you have lots of craft and presentation elements can be a logistical nightmare. At the end of the post I offer some tips I learned from experience. But for now, enjoy some pictures!
I really focused this time on the dessert table.
Red checkered table cloths were an obvious choice for the table linens, offering color and cute vintage charm. I purposely went with plastic on this one for an easy clean up, but for a fancier affair like a wedding or shower I'd suggest going with true linen.
I took some wooden crates I tipped over to add both a rustic, casual feel to the table as well as height, using them to flank both sides of the table. Sitting atop and inside were homemade candy apples and red velvet cupcakes (recipe in the cookbook!). Two vintage-inspired pie plates houses two pies made from a local farm, and apothecary jars and candle holders dressed up with pretty ribbon and simply made tags compromised most of the middle of the table.
The colors I went for were red, white, dark and light blues. It was "Americana" without feeling overwhelmingly "leftover 4th of July." Incidentally, the colors would yield perfectly to a Dr. Seuss party as well. I mixed vintage-inspired patterns like sweet polka dots with the papers and ribbons, delicate hand-stitched ribbon, damask and chevron papers with crisp white, good quality hardstock paper for tags.
I really tried to have a mix of textures here as well: wooden crates added a perfect natural element to the table, mini-metal wash bins (housing the marshmallow pops) added perfect casual country as well as a contrasting color that fit in without overtaking the rest going on, the ceramic pie stands and glass jars all worked together to give the whole table a subtle dressed up but still dressed down, easy casualness feel. I thought it worked well.
For the candy I went ol'fashioned, using locally made taffy, butterscotch hard candies, cherry slices, mints that looked like little baseballs, pixy stix, cherry swizzle sticks, and various lollipops. We had a baseball activity so I tied that element in with little baseball lollipops the kids loved, as well as with the mints.
I hung a banner I made quite simply using these pretty tags I found by Martha Stewart at Michael's and some silver glittered letters, and hung the banner over the whole table that read "enjoy a slice!" The banner not only helps to focus the eye, but ties in the theme and adds nice height. I knew I wouldn't be able to add poms and didn't have time to do a balloon setup, so the banner achieved this element quite easily (and cheaply!)
The candied marshmallows made this party once again. I'm telling you -- so easy to make, so colorful and the kids just love them. This time knowing I had a lot of reds going on, I went with blue candy melts and blue crystal candy. The sunlight hit the crystals, making them sparkle which was a lovely (albeit unintended!) touch.
To help draw out the ingredients of the pies and add yet more color (and offer a healthier treat!) I added 1/2 pints of fresh raspberries all over the table. The turquoise color of the containers worked perfectly into the color theme as well. And guests got to take a container home to enjoy on the road back!
The cupcakes I did were red velvet with cream cheese frosting. Some I dotted with a perfect pecan (classic) and others I used candy pearls to play off the theme of the polka dot paper I knew I'd be using. Each cupcake sat in a double-lined red and white polka dotted paper cup which sat in turn atop little white doily papers. Again, the contrast of the colors plus the sweetness of the doilies brought home the vintage vibe I was looking to achieve here. Plus, the doilies matched the banner element, bringing the whole table together nicely.
Finally, what baseball game is complete without roasted salted peanuts?! I took simple white paper bags and filled them with peanuts, then tied them with pretty ribbon and sweet tag. All the bags were then placed in apple barrels adorned with red and white checkered ribbon.
The food table included classic American BBQ (pulled pork, brisket), cole slaw, etc. as well as my homemade BBQ sauce (recipe in the cookbook!). And homemade buttermilk biscuits.
The party was fast and complicated as I had to take care of the kiddos as well (and baby during naptime) so couldn't take a lot of pictures of all the elements. But these will do to help give you at least an idea and starting point to go from. Hope you like!