Saturday, April 25, 2015

April showers bring May flowers...

We left off earlier this week with me hurrying home from Nancy's Little Miss Manners party to get ready for the older group at my house the same afternoon! When we were planning a few months ago, we had decided that we were going to host two parties in one day, but we really didn't discuss much more about the specifics. It's funny how our parties were so similar, yet so different! I guess great minds do think alike!

I found the graphics for my invitations on Pinterest and was able to have them printed at my local copy shop for less than $5. The flowers reminded me so much of the craft I had planned for us to do, that it just seemed meant to be.

Spring flowers were my focus while planning the party, and luckily, I stumbled onto a lot of cute gardening supplies at Dollar Tree back in February.  Pastel colored gardening tools, seed packets (4 for $1!) and colorful butterflies supplemented  my own plants, wicker pots and watering cans.

I love being able to decorate and set a beautiful table with things I either already own or can use again. It's so practical and economical! I don't feel guilty about buying party decorations when I know they'll come in handy again, like these garden trowels and cultivators.

A pack of pretty paper plates and napkins from Hobby Lobby matched my palette perfectly. (Say that three times fast!) Colored plastic cutlery was also inexpensive, but sturdy enough that I decided to wash it and save it to reuse one day. Classic items, like my recycled Starbuck's mocha frappe bottles and the vintage glass luncheon plates my aunt gave me as a wedding gift, show up at a lot of parties. They are the perfect way to add a little sparkle to a paper and plastic table setting. 

Guess what? As I cleared the table, I noticed that the paper plate "chargers" were spotless since the girls had eaten off the glass plates. I stuck them back in the package and tucked them away into my pantry closet where I keep leftover napkins and plates from the various parties I have. Often I have enough to use for another party or I will just pull out the mismatched extras when the kids want a snack outside.

The wider shot below shows two extra details. One - each girl got their own pair of gardening gloves to take home. They were laid under their napkins for extra color and texture. Two - I made a cute "carrot" for each girl by filling disposable icing bags with Cheetos and then tying it off with a green ribbon. It was part of their meal but I thought it looked so pretty doubling as a decoration!

The party was in the middle of the afternoon, so I didn't want to serve a heavy meal, but what's a party without food? I served party pizzas, fruit kabobs and yogurt covered pretzels along with the Cheetos "carrots". Lemonade is my go-to party beverage. My mom made party pizzas for us as we were growing up and they are always a hit. I've shared the recipe for them before and you can find it here. I've also given you the recipe for my famous "Almost Homemade Lemonade" and you can get it here. 

For dessert, we had individual Oreo Dirt Pies. Nancy made them for the younger girls, too, but while her recipe called for chocolate pudding, mine was a little different. I'll be sharing the recipe with you soon. I found the little clothespin chalkboards and felt flowers at Hobby Lobby. The chalkboards came in a pack of 6 for $1.99! The flowers were mere pennies. The flower pots came in a pack of 4 for $1 at Dollar Tree. With a little bit of time and imagination, decorations can be precious without breaking the bank!

Quick tip - I investigated the safety aspect of serving food in a terracotta pot. It is perfectly safe as long as the pot is unglazed. These were obviously new and unused pots, but I washed them in hot, soapy water. Warning - it took forever to rinse the soap away. The porous pot apparently absorbed the soap. I ended up opening up another pack of new pots.  This time, I washed them in hot water only, and used a clean brush to wash them. I will eventually use the pots washed with soap for planting, although I bet one good rain, and they'll lather up again!

The picture above also shows some trusty table coverings that you've seen before in different applications. Of course I  began with my white linen tablecloth, then I added a pink and white square accent cloth that I made a few years ago by putting a neat hem on a square piece of 60" decorator fabric. You last saw it here paired with red napkins when I made a special Valentine's Day dinner for my family. On top of that, you see a piece of green burlap. It was last used in a baby shower I hosted. You can read more about that here.  

I love the way layering linens looks. It adds depth, texture and color. It's so easy to make smaller cloths yourself, or you may find cloths on sale that are too small to fit your table but that are too good a deal to pass up. I have amassed quite a collection of table linens over time. I keep the napkins flat or rolled (so they don't permanently crease) in the drawers of the antique dresser I inherited from my grandmother. My tablecloths hang in the guest bedroom closet on the hangers you get from the dry cleaners which have a piece of round cardboard with a light adhesive on it to keep things from slipping. Again, it protects my cloths from creases. Someday soon, I'll take you on a tour of my linens so you can see how I manage them.

I hope you enjoyed a look at my tablescape for this spring flower party. I have to admit - It's one of my personal favorites! I'd like to invite you to come back in a couple of days to see the craft we made. It's really beautiful and I'll bet you'll want to make it, too!


I'm so glad you stopped by my neck of the woods!
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