Summer is a time for get-togethers with family and friends. Weddings, bridal showers, school and family reunions, birthdays, anniversaries, pot luck suppers, bon fires and back yard barbeques are part of our summer celebrations. Food, beverages and decorating make these special events enjoyable and memorable. I recently attended a school reunion with my husband. I admired the creative use of old school textbooks used as centerpieces for the table. There were also simple flower arrangements that looked like you might have picked a small bouquet of local wild flowers on your way home from school. The decorators wrapped the pots of cedar trees in brown craft paper which was tied with large green raffia bows, while white mini lights in the cedars added sparkle to the room. These decorations along with the fabulous meal and beverages added so much to the enjoyment of old friends and classmates reuniting.
To decorate is to celebrate. When you walk into a room or outdoor space and see the decorations, you know that someone has put a lot of thought, time and care into the event. You don’t have to break the bank to have a fun event. There are lots of low cost ways and creative ways to decorate and add presence to a summer event. The use of mason jars is a fun way to make a party both trendy and cost effective. Quart size mason jars can be used as vases and look lovely with garden flowers. The smaller jam type mason jars are great to hold votive candles or tea lights. The jars can be tied around with burlap twine, lace or ribbon. In fact any type of jar can be wrapped with snare wire at the top and made to be able to hang in trees with tea lights. Battery operated candles are now available in both pillars and tea lights. There are floating candles, which can be floated in water with flowers or petals to have a stunning centerpiece.
Bunting is another decoration that is currently trending. Fortunately you can make your own. I have made bunting out of both fabric and paper. Bunting can be used both indoors and outside. To make bunting I purchased several packages of bias tape at a sewing supply shop and cut pennant triangles out of fabric, felt or paper. The cut triangles are inserted inside the bias tape, with a 1” space between each one. Sew across the bias tape to secure the pennants inside the bias tape. If you use matching thread, no one will be able to judge how straight a sewer you are. I saw a photo of many strings of white bunting used in a wedding and it was gorgeous. For a local art show of world photography paper bunting was made out of the pages of an old world atlas. I have made several strings of bunting in seasonal colors, out of decorator fabrics to use on my shop window. You can get creative and up cycle what you have, old blue jeans, and flowered sheets etc. for bunting or purchase specific colored materials for your project. Bunting is a big trend in England where it is often used for outdoor garden tea parties and other celebrations.
Last year I made the mistake of having an outdoor party in mid July without citronella candles or citronella tiki torches and lots of uninvited mosquitoes crashed the party for an hour at sundown. I did have lots of bug spray for my guests, but having no mosquitoes would have been so much better. There are now fire pots which burn a citronella gel alcohol to also help keep mosquitoes away and add cozy warmth. Strings of outdoor lights will create a romantic and festive atmosphere. Votive candles in jars can be placed in a row on the ground to light a walk way. Even the ice cubes can be decorated with edible flower petals, fruit such as raspberries, sliced strawberries or blueberries frozen right in, ready to add cool pizzazz to summer beverages. Summer parties are fabulous and the best part is taking time to enjoy yourself, and have a fun time with your family and friends.