To quote Jo March from Little Women..."I should have been a great many things." Or rather, perhaps could is a better choice of a word. "Should have" implies regret about one's life decisions and as Mama, there is absolutely no regret here. However, I remember watching Sunday the stylist arrange this and that in our home last spring as the photographer took shot after shot and feeling at once both excited and normal. Excited because I was inwardly jumping up and down thinking "Wow! There's actually a job out there for moving things around and decorating. Pick me!" And normal because well, I love to style things, like a lot. If a well-meaning person wanted to know the logic behind why arranging cute straws next to a colorful bottle of lemonade really charges me up I'd come up empty-handed. "Just because" or "because it's fun" would be the meager offerings I'd give back in response. Friends, I just adore styling dinner parties and tables and decorating this and that. Instead of sitting around waiting for a stylist "job" to appear I just decided to make myself stylist of my own home.
Because really, why does everything have to have a title or paycheck attached? The joy I got from throwing my own family a Summer Soire was priceless.
Here's how it was done.
As you all probably know by now, I'm a prop hoarder. Err, I mean collector.
I'm always on the lookout for a great deal on props so throwing together a backyard dinner party is simply a piece of cake. I can easily shop from my own collection and match this and that.
In fact, that goes for just about anything around here. From taking styled still life photos to setting up a magical table inside or out, it's all about the props. Some favorite all-purpose props of mine are fabric, paper goods, unique containers for vases (like the yellow EVOO tin in these pics), old bottles, beautiful dishes and tea cups, candles, baskets, and unique textures like old boards or shutters to use for centerpieces.
A few of my favorite places to look for such items are thrift stores, 410 Vintage Market in Fayetteville, and the clearance at Target. Always check the clearance! I often find straws, paper lanterns, party wares, etc. for at least half off. I buy it even if I don't have an intended purpose for it yet.
My lights in these photos are my absolute fave. Like if I were Oprah, they'd totally make the "Favorite Things" list. Let me just say this, if there's a string of twinkle lights out there, I've probably bought it and tried them. Most I've been extremely disappointed with. Either they've broken or half the string quits working halfway through the summer (I'm talkin' to you, back deck LED lights).
But these beauties have lasted both inside my house and outside on the porch without a single problem. They're copper lights and are so easy to wrap around anything you like, even a book or piece of cardboard for easy transporting. The copper wire is so thin (but not breakable) so when plugged in you don't even notice the wire. Just the twinkle.....they are absolutely lovely. I even took them in our camper last time!
("Have you lost your mind?!")
Doesn't it look like the cat thinks I'm crazy?
Clearly, my family and I weren't the only ones to enjoy the fancy table. Our "Catty" has a bit of class as well it appears. She snuck out there after dinner was over and I found her lounging atop our pretty table.
For our summer soire we had homemade pizza, squash and cucumber roll-ups (inspired by Good Housekeeping mag), and store-brought breadsticks. These were a HUGE treat and we picked them up, along with the sunflowers, at our local market the day of.
This beautiful bottle of lemonade was purchased at Aldi and was sweetened with beet sugar. It tasted great! Plus, the bottle serves as an excellent flower vase after the lemonade is gone. For about $2 that sounds like a win-win to me!
We ate together outside and then I did this:
and photographed away while Brett and the girls played ball in the yard.
I was so inspired by this table I created this print, which will be available as part of my new series coming to the shop later this week!
And that's a wrap! I admit, I'm ready to throw my next party!
(Local gals, you'll be my next crowd as I host Craft Night on my farm in a couple of weeks! Read all about it here!)
What can you do to put your passions to work this week?
I'd love to hear!