I don’t know what’s worse: spending an otherwise gorgeous summer weekend attempting (and failing) to ward off pesky mosquitoes, or doing so surrounded in retro-in-a-bad-way tiki torches.
I wish I’d made time during pre-long weekend supply shopping trips to search out a few stylish alternatives. Pottery Barn has no shortage of pretty vintage-inspired lanterns just begging to disguise citronella candles, while German design company Blomus creates gorgeous, contemporary stainless steel torches that will last for years of hot summer nights.
Of course, not every outdoor occasion calls for fireside chic. These cheery Crate & Barrel citronella candles-in-a-can have portability on their side. Just stash a couple amongst your camping gear or with your evening picnic accoutrements so you’re primed to keep bugs at bay.
And, since there’s nothing stylish about scratching the evidence of a weekend out-of-doors, you may want to keep this list of home remedies handy too.
Finding Koziol’s products in Canada or the United States can be an impossible task. This is why I was glad to notice them in the latest newsletters of the Canadian etailer Gone Shopping.
A favorite of mine, Babell can be used as a fruit stand or a cupcake stand of 1 to 3 tiers, depending of your need. The look is perfect for outdoor entertaining. It works like the Russian nesting dolls for storage; each tier can be stored under the larger one.
When I first laid my eyes on this Provencal style dinnerware, I never imagined that it was made of melamine. The design is more refined than what we are used to when we talk about melamine plates and bowls. I love it! The Provence Melamine Dinnerware Collection includes dining plates, salad bowls and plates plus a serving bowl. Keep it in mind for wedding gifts.
You can either opt for placemats or for what a French hostess will put on her outdoor table, a nice tablecloth. For a nautical look, go with the Coral Embroidered Placemats. Or stay true to the Provencal style with the Floral Boutis table linen available in yellow or blue. I prefer the yellow motif.
Folding and stackable furniture comes handy when you entertain a larger crowd. You can get a long table simply by putting side by side two dining tables. I read on Country Living that interior designer Lynn-Anne Bruns found this pair at Pier 1 and only paid $100 each. The story did not say if it was on sale or when she bought them. I did not find them on Pier 1 Web site.
One option that you can buy is the white MÄLARÖ table at Ikea. You can use it to set up an impromptu bar station by the pool or the lake.
Bring Your Own Furniture at the Park
Another usage for folding outdoor furniture for picnics in the park. The folding dining table, that can sit 6, would make your picnic more comfortable and more stylish. You will be envy of everyone. Maybe that I am getting old but I intend this year to bring my table and chairs to the park. If you are not convinced, look at the setting of this guy. I spotted it last Sunday. Ever since, I want to create my own version.
If you prefer some colors, Crate & Barrel carries a must-see summer collection in a choice of 5 colors: soft green (my favorite), warm yellow, aqua, blue and white. Beware that they are only available online and that we can shop there as Canadians (but the shipping fees can be hefty).
I went to Costco yesterday to buy essential household products and baby wipes. While shopping across the aisles, I spotted a few items that would make your summer entertaining more special.
First, the BPA-free acrylic beverage dispenser, that almost look like glass, is ideal for outdoor entertaining, especially if you have a pool. A friend of mine bought it last summer. She used it for our annual summer BBQ. I was impressed by how well it works and how good it looks. Your iced tea or lemonade will not be water down since you keep ice cubes on the bottom compartment. And on top of that, it costs only $19.95 CAD (if I am not mistaken).
My second suggestion is based on practicality and affordability. The Bridge Flower Planters ($49.99 for a 5-pack) are great for condo owners and renters since it is tailored for balcony railings. You can also use them to put flowers on fences.
Third, the lady susan serving tray ($19.89) can be used any time of the year to serve crudités, fresh seasonal fruits or nuts.
A baby shower does not need to be only about baby stuff. Jen of Jen Loves Kev decided to celebrate her family heritage instead. Her vintage baby shower was filled with old-fashioned games and fashion style. A few guests wore epoch clothes. They planned the entire theme in advance. It took them a few months to collect enough old, fancy glasses from thrift stores for all the guests.
Nice details like the label on the Grandma’s Pickles jar personalized the theme. And it simple to do without modern equipment. Simply draw the label with color pens on a brown paper sheet.
More delicious desserts to beat the heat. This time, I browsed the food, mixers and garnish recipes on Imbibe magazine. You can declined the Strawberry Prosecco Sorbet into a granita, if you prefer. Ellen Jackson saiys that the delicate balance of strawberries and sugar is the key to playing up the frizzante, Prosecco’s lightly sparkling quality, in this delicious sorbet. You only need 5 ingredients to make this sorbet.
For a pool party, the Watermelon Saké Popsicles will be a hit. Ellen said that the popsicles are best made the morning of the day they’re going to be eaten. Her recipe makes 8 to 10 popsicles. So make sure you have enough pop molds.
The Fermob catalogue sells a wonderful lifestyle. It is based on joie de vivre and accessibility with a modern version of classic pieces. The stylist does that but at the same time, they capture the garden furniture details. The brand cultivates a romantic view of the French lifestyle that is hard to resist.
You get a sense of well-being by looking at the pictures. It gives my ideas for planning a kids party or how to style my table for a weekend lunch by the lake. It is about taking time to relax with a good board game and enjoy a refreshing cocktails. So even if you do not need new outdoor furniture, you will get something out of flipping their online catalogue.
I like the perforated chairs. There is Bagatelle, a folding chair with a cute perforated back rest. If you prefer an armchair, consider Louvre which comes with a perforated seat and is stackable.
Several of their garden chairs and tables are either foldable or stackable. It comes handy if you wish to bring furniture at a picnic, for storage and to keep extra chairs or tables for when you host larger dinner parties.
The furniture made of steel, iron or aluminium is available in the 24 Fermob colors. All the colors are sublime but I have a thing for the verbena and aniseed green. New colors that work well together are fjork blue and paprika. Above, they mixed turquoise and orange.
These are the style of simple flower arrangements that you can use whether you host of a big family picnic or a party at a countryside venue.
+ The simplicity of the first picture will be great for a family picnic – via Amy & Mark Surprise Wedding
+ No need to splurge on containers. A nice beer bottle even works – via Once Wed
+ Love the hanging floral concept that Amy Moss of Eat, Drink, Chic – There are plenty of good ideas from her backyard wedding
+ You can splurge in one centerpiece and put besides it a grouping of flowers that you buy at the Farmers’ market or that you find in the country fields. This design was used for Barbie + Ken’s Backyard Wedding – via Green Wedding Shoes
+ A cast-iron casserole is transformed into a flower vase for the time of Rachel + Brent’s Outdoor Wedding – via Utterly Engaged
What is great about shopping at Ikea for a party is that you can afford to buy the items in large quantity. Here are two finds that would be great for a summer party in your garden, at the beach or for a picnic in the park:
I cannot be happier that the outdoor entertaining season has started. It is so much fun to eat outside. Hay bales easily transformed into seats or tables. Make sure to place a few layers of thick fabric, like canvas, on the hay for comfort. Or you can lay out a simple fabric and add cushions on top. Then, you get an easy and affordable furniture solution for a big family picnic in the countryside.
This photo was part of an elegant western theme wedding that happens in sunny California last year. Check out the thoughtful details and the great design ideas of this wedding celebrations on Style Me Pretty.