Wednesday, August 16, 2017  

Summer Entertaining
Let Mother Nature be your Guide

As the cost of an evening out continues to grow, so does the trend of staying home to entertain family and friends. If you’re a budget-conscious consumer, you don’t have to spend a fortune to dazzle your guests; experts say you can get some of the best summer decorating ideas from Mother Nature.

So many of us work really hard on our flower gardens and unfortunately those tender blossoms just don’t last all that long. Whether you have large flower beds or just a window box, it’s very easy to let nature be your guide and take advantage of the vibrant seasonal colors and textures by adding flowers and other greenery to your dinner table.

Think Fresh
Summer decorating can go way beyond simply picking a bouquet for your favorite vase. With a little creativity you can come up with ideas as fresh as your summer flowers. Start by looking for the beautiful things blooming in your yard and work those into your table setting.

You can easily incorporate pieces of your china pattern as well by filling a soup tureen or other large serving pieces with water and floating fragrant blossoms such as gardenias, magnolias or peonies. This will create great ambiance by filling your house with a lovely summer smell.

Another suggestion is to tie cut flowers to colorful fabric napkins with ribbon or twine, or even wrapping running vines like ivy, jasmine or honeysuckle around candle sticks. You can also fill unused tea cups or crystal pieces with colorful blossoms to use at each individual place setting, or arrange candles and flowers on cake stands to use as table centerpieces or in any room of your home. If you live near a lake or the ocean, use sand, shells, driftwood or other materials found along the water’s edge.

Go Green
Leaves, fern fronds and other greenery also make great accents. Another quick summer decorating trick is to take a pretty variegated leaf from a plant such as a hosta and lay it flat on a dinner plate, then place a clear glass luncheon or salad plate over the leaf to place food on. You can use various colored plates, leaves or flowers to create different looks for each guest.

Head Outdoors
Why stay inside when you can go directly to Mother Nature? So many people are trapped in the mindset that fine china should only be used for formal meals around the dining room table. That’s just so limiting. You can have fantastic alfresco entertaining such as a beautiful dinner at sunset or under the stars simply by using ‘your good stuff’ outdoors.