My parents have a beautiful chestnut tree behind their home with wide branches that I think is the perfect spot for an alfresco dinner party and I’ve been itching to stage one out there. Do you have spots like that around you? Places that seem to beckon you to come and sit-a-spell? Settings like these can be wonderful inspiration for a special occasion but also for a “just because” party. Being in a beautiful environment with good friends is all the reason I need to create an impromptu celebration!
This week I’m going to share some of the details on how I created this Dessert Under the Stars party as seen in the Summer 2012 issue of my online magazine Celebrating Everyday Life with Jennifer Carroll. When creating this party I wanted to emphasize simple decorations (many from the grocery store!) that when brought together make a big impact. Here’s how I did it:
When designing a table, sometimes I’ll begin with the centerpiece sometimes the place setting, it just depends on what inspires me most. For this party, I began by planning the place setting. I love the ombre look that’s popular right now and I’ve been looking for the right project to make & use hand-dyed coffee filters and suddenly realized, this was it! I could dye the filters in soft shades which would compliment the gradient hues of aqua and lime – my chosen color palette – and they are flexible enough to be used in different ways throughout the setting to create continuity. (By the way, I will be sharing a video-tutorial on hand-dying these later this week – please stay tuned!)
My first idea for them? To create chargers for these pretty blue plates from Target. This plate makes a perfect base for the cupcake “boxed nests” I created. I new I wanted to have a cupcake at each setting and I liked the idea of trying to do this in a nest since we were outdoors but I also wanted it to feel like a gift. Thus, I created the box nest! I used small paper mâché boxes with a sweet scalloped lid. I liked the natural color of the box but I did want to give it a bit of a punch so I added a two-tone grosgrain ribbon in aqua and lime. To give it that wild, nest-y feeling, I filled the box with a rustic shred from the craft store. A cupcake pedestal (a great find off of DecorSteals.com) centered in the box was the perfect height for the cupcakes. To tie into the filter charger I tucked 3 filters around the cupcake almost like a blooming flower. That was one thing that I really liked about the filters – they were so soft like flower petals.
I wanted to add placecards but I wanted something beyond the usual so I created these sweet little name banners. I created the letters in photoshop and hand cut them out and used tape to attach the letters to twine. Then I tied the twine to drinking straws. I “sunk” the straws into baby food jars filled with heart-shaped rice so they’d stand up straight. It worked like a charm!
A special thank you to my friends Anita with Maliha Creations for making the amazing cake and cupcakes featured in this story and to Jen Fariello for capturing these images as only she can!! You ladies are such a blessing and inspiration to me!
Tomorrow I’ll be sharing an encouraging quote but on Wednesday I’ll be back with more fun behind-the-scenes/this-is-how-I-did-it details on more of the decor! I hope you’ll join me!