ideas for outdoor entertaining...

gardnpondrAugust 13, 2002

I need some ideas for outdoor entertaining...I have seen some web sites in the past with ideas on how to decorate the table etc. and now I don't know where they are. Does someone have some ideas or some links in their favorites that they could share with me? Thanx!!!

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We have a fieldstone patio set within our yard, surrounded by trees, annuals, perennials, and a garden bench with pergola that DH made. The side of our garage has two windows that have lovely curtains that are tied back to give it a homey feel (I made them from old sheets).

I have a small shed at the back of the garage that looks like a small shingled house. It is painted a buttery cream just like our house.

We have a 60" caste alluminum dining set that sits 8, with a striped green and cream umbrella that is off to one side of the patio.

Cast iron urns with green spikes and pink, white, and purple annuals flank the doorway leading into the kitchen; varigated ivy spills out of the urns on three sides.

Small white and butter colored buckets hang from the picket fence spilling ivy, pink geraniums, and small daisyish flowers. A grapevine wreath hangs at the picket gate below the arbor leading to the yard.

An old metal milk can that I painted off white is fitted with a flower pot that sits inside the opening. A spike surrounded by verbena, geraniums, and assorted other annuals and ivies, spills out onto the patio.

That being said, my yard is always set up this way. For company I add outdoor furniture consisting of white wicker furniture (two settees, a rocker, and two chairs), and old rustic coffee table that I painted a pale sage green, small iron side tables, adirondack chairs, and sometimes director's chairs for the kids.

My tables are dressed with printed cloth napkins that are placed on the diagonal to give some interest to the tables, and with small flower pots filled with sand for the occasional smoker.

Candles in hurrican lamps are placed on the tables (nothing matches which makes this charming). An old white peely table with a fold-down leaf in the front and rear acts as a buffet for hors d'oeurves and is covered with vintage 50's tablescloths whith white backgrounds and pale pink and blue flowers or designs (I have one that has ice cream store confections on it that is beautiful). I protect the vintage cloths with a clear plastic tablecloth.

I usually place a wood box and bricks under the tablecloths to add height to different parts of the table. There I display fresh daisies or a large enclosed candle or just use it to raise the food to different heights.

White wine is set in ice and water in metal buckets covered with soft, foral wallpaper.

I hang candles from the top of the pergola, just to the sides of the bench, in old mason and baby food jars so that they twinkle like stars at night. Very cozy.

Installed lighting that highlights the various trees and shrubs sets a nice mood too. Outdoor speakers provide the tunes, which are selected based on the crowd, and the type of party.

I guess I treat the outside as an extension of our indoor space, and give it the same attention to detail.

Don;t know if that's what you were looking for, but that's what I do and it always makes...

    Bookmark   August 13, 2002 at 1:44PM
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Sue, I know it would make me feel special. Sounds as lovely as your home.

Rose, You just took me back almost 25 years. When I checked out your page I stumbled on your photo album of Dunn's Falls. Wow, has that changed!

I lived in Meridian through most of the 70s and Dunn's Falls was a favorite place to escape to. There was no walkway down to the river back then. My friends and I would climb the rocks to get to the water. There was a rope hanging over the river that we'd swing & drop from. We'd take innertubes, food and wine & beer and just have a great time. Hardly anybody knew about the falls, so it was a great getaway.

Sometimes after a day at the falls we'd all head to a restaurant on the Chunky River ... can't remember the name. They had the best fried catfish & hushpuppies.

Dh & I met in New Orleans in Dec. of '77 and he visited me for the first time in Meridian the following month. I just pulled out an old album and scanned a few pics from our trip to Dunn's Falls during his visit. They're not real easy to see, but that was 25 years ago, long before digital.

Is the road in still dirt? One of the photo's is of Mike standing in the road. The other he's down in the rocks. The black & white is moi.

Thanks for the trip down memory lane!

P.S. We had a snowfall on 1/1/02 too. Not quite as much as you. I included a couple shots.

Here is a link that might be useful: old photos from Dunn's Falls

    Bookmark   August 13, 2002 at 10:48PM
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thank you cookingrvc!!! Thats a lot of ideas! Sounds pretty special to me also. Cindy wow it HAS changed hasn't it?? Looks like from your pic they even changed the waterfall up a lot! Yep the road is paved now. I don't recall a restaurant though. It may be on around somewhere but I didn't see any signs.
We've only went once but I want to go back. It was sooooo much fun!! The water was soooo low when we went there were lots and lots of folks wading the river. I wanted to but I had hurt my back a few years earlier and I didn't have the shoes for walking in the water and it slippery like it was. I told my daughter whos name is Cindy (also) and DH to go on and wade some. They had a blast while I took lots of pics. We had a ball! This fall I wanted to go back when it was cooler and camp. They have primative camping areas to camp in. We have a 3 room tent that we have never used but one time and that was HERE IN OUR We put it up to try it out and see how to put it together and thats been the last time it was used! BUT with this west nile virus mess I dont know now if I wanna go and get munched on by mosquitoes! lol

    Bookmark   August 14, 2002 at 11:35AM
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Rose, I'm sure changes were made when they brought in the grist mill. That wasn't there in the 70s. The whole area was pretty much a well-kept secret. Can't imagine what it's like now. I'm glad I got to experience it back then.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2002 at 2:10PM
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Kewl Cindy, I wish I'd seen it back then also! I bet that was really neat! Was the river pretty deep then? When we went (like I said) folks were wading it. I'm sure it goes up and down and was just really low when we went. I have several pics of all of the area on the site.
The outdoor ideas: I thought about putting up some of the clear Christmas lights on the roof of our patio that we haven't gotten the tin on yet. Just swagging them all over it and letting them hang around there. My pond is also in the patio area so that would be really neat I think. That patio extends off of another patio where all of my chairs are. The table sits on the one that has the pond on the other side. I will be doing this when it cools off some here. It's just for a few lady friends I know.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2002 at 1:26PM
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i do a lot of summer outdoor entertaining. i use 2 foot tiki torches and place them in the center of my pots and place them down one strip flower bed i have that has dahlias and portulaca in it. i spend every summer hunting the thrift shops for shot glasses and little juice glasses, place a votive candle in each and group them around the yard. floating candles in the pond and bird bathes. i have an old galvanized wash tub and a copper boiler that i fill with ice for drink cans and bottles, and place them at opposite ends of the yard for convience. i use trays of pillar candles on the tables. as the sun goes down, the lights are awesome.

i made fitted,ground length floral table covers for those ugly white patio end tables and pin rafia bows on the corners.

i have inexpensive terra cotta flower pots that i have faux painted and trimmed with sisal rope. place a heavy cardboard circle to fit in the bottom, and fill them with chips and munchies. i use the saucers to place a tub of dip on.

my daughter paints rocks, and we have different theme villages grouped around the yard. the nome village, alps mountain village, the farm yard, etc. and occassionally, one of them becomes a grouping on the big table.

i try and dress platters of munchies with edible floweres like nasturium and pansy. some guests get brave and try them, if not they pretty things up.

hope some of these ideas will work for you. enjoy your party.

    Bookmark   August 18, 2002 at 8:48PM
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Cindy Mac - Are you referring to Chunky Junction restaurant? I LOVE that place. Sooooo much delicious food, and the catfish and hushpuppies are the best ever!!!

    Bookmark   September 21, 2002 at 12:37AM
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MsMagnolia, have no idea what it was called, but they did have the best fried catfish & hushpuppies.

    Bookmark   September 21, 2002 at 7:37PM
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