Picnic Ants

INSPIRATION: A tea towel/napkin with all the fun & whimsical elements of a summer picnic.

INSPIRATION: A tea towel/napkin with all the fun & whimsical elements of a summer picnic.

Today was the hottest day of the year so far with the mercury toeing the 100° line. The humidity was so stifling that, combined with the scorching heat, you could boil an egg  just by tossing it in the air. But that’s summer in Kansas City for you, and we intend to suck it up and party on!
(Click on any photo and then click again to enlarge/enhance it.)


Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, Picnic Ants - picnic table from the distance



Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, Picnic Ants - Full table


Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, Picnic Ants - Full tabletopSome readers may recall a tablescape (Ants In My Pants Picnic) I did on this same picnic table along the walking trail in our subdivision awhile back. (HUGE thanks to neighbors Lynn & Barbara for their help on this one!!!) Some of those same elements are used here, but in a different way. For starters, rather than covering the table with the red & white checkered fabric, it is folded and serves as a runner. (Note to my Art of Tablescaping Students…this is a great example of what we discussed about saving money by changing up the look without changing all the pieces.)


Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, Picnic Ants - Centerpiece picnic ants collageThe main attraction is the Pied Piper-esque single-form line of metal ants down the center of the table. I bought the giant ones several summers ago at Hobby Lobby. The smaller ones were purchased at a wholesale place I frequent here in the Kansas City, Mo., area. As you will soon see, the parade of ants theme will carry out in other elements on the table. The checkered runner is topped with 3 watermelon slice placemats found in a clearance bin years ago.


Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, Picnic Ants - Offset centerpiece picnic basket, fruits, flowers & Coleman lantern


Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, Picnic Ants - Picnic basket & poppies collage


Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, Picnic Ants - Picnic fruits collage


Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, Picnic Ants - Coleman lantern, cookies, condiment collagePart of the centerpiece is off-center on one end of the table which adds interest to the overall look. Centerpieces can be utilitarian like this one which includes the picnic basket (found in pristine condition at a local thrift store for just $7) filled with a tangle of red poppies, various vessels brimming with luscious summer fruits, a mound of peanut butter cookies on fun dessert plates, colorful condiment bottles, and a vintage Coleman lantern to light the area as afternoon fun rolls into evening. Notice another giant ant surveying the bowl of fruit. This detail visually connects the off-center part of the centerpiece to the elements in the center of the table, and this fun factor could possibly be the catalyst for kids choosing the healthier fruit option over the cookies. (Students…please recall our conversation about the importance of visual connectors.)


Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, Picnic Ants - Place setting


Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, Picnic Ants - black faux bamboo flatwareThe place settings here are simple: a black dinner plate from Dollar Tree, a practically indestructible white Corelle salad plate, and a fun Pier 1 red & white checkered plate covered with ants to throw those rib bones on once they’re picked clean! (Kansas City is KNOWN for its fabulous barbeque, and no picnic is complete without a slab of meaty ribs!) Faux black bamboo flatware adds a touch of class to the setting, but fits right in with the natural vibe.


Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, Picnic Ants - Mason jar of iced tead


Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, Picnic Ants - Mason jar collageMy Southern sisters will attest to the glory of sweet tea, and one of the easiest ways to sip it on a hot summer day is from an old-time Mason jar. Here the jars are dressed up a bit with a bit of earthy green raffia tied to place cards fashioned to complement the dessert plates, napkins and runner. Looks like my blog buddy Jamala from VivaLaVintage for Your Home has a seat at the table! If you’ve not visited Jamala’s blog, you really should check it out. She’s all about decorating with vintage & collectible items, and she has an uncanny knack for scouting unimaginably great bargains! Jamala waves her wand (very often that wand looks like a can of spray paint!) and turns the most practical items into fabulous!

Peeking out from behind the computer-generated place cards in a purely decorative capacity is a wooden watermelon slice napkin ring found at Bed, Bath & Beyond several years ago. (Students…remember our chat about unexpected elements…don’t be afraid to use things in unusual ways!)


Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, Picnic Ants - Watermelon & ants picnic napkinMy inspiration piece – a fun tea towel/napkin with vintage appeal from Tuesday Morning – really rounds out the place settings. The checkered design and trail of ants spelling out the word “Picnic” is an extension of the centerpiece runner and dessert plates. The slice of watermelon is a repeat of the runner, the Mason jar embellishment and summer’s signature fruit available in abundance for dessert.


Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, Picnic Ants - Cooler, Pellegrino, grill collageStaying hydrated is an essential part of hot, hazy summer days in Kansas City. Make mine something a little special like ice-cold Pellegrino with a twist of lime!

Other posts on this site featuring off-center centerpieces:
Lemonade From Bill
Summer Luncheon for Two
Midsummer Shabby Chic Apple Tablescape
Planning In Purple
Hot Fun in the Summertime!
Black & White Barnyard Breakfast

Other posts on this site featuring a picnic setting:
Grill It Up!
Blue & White Family Picnic
Oopsy Daisy!
Ants in My Pants Picnic

Other posts on this site using towels as napkins include:
Popsicle Party
Black & White Barnyard Breakfast

Most Egg-cellent Fall Breakfast
Grill It Up!
Italian Honeysuckle
Picnic Ants

Other posts on this site featuring checkered elements:
Life Is Just a Chair of Bowlies
Checkered Christmas – A Snowman Theme
Black, White & Red All Over Christmas
Apple Green Luncheon
Blue & White Family Picnic
Grill It Up!
Ants in My Pants Picnic

If you want to see another REALLY cool picnic idea, pop over to my blog buddy Jenna’s site, The Painted Apron, to check out her “Portable Picnic for 2” post. I guarantee you’ll really like it! SO creative!

I am joining Christine over at Rustic & Refined again this week for “Table It” (live now) and Susan at Between Naps on the Porch for “Tablescape Thursday” (goes live at 9:00 a.m., CDT on Thursday). Join me, and I guarantee you’ll be able to find lots of summertime tablescaping inspiration!


55 thoughts on “Picnic Ants

  1. Darling summer tablescape. Looks cool even if the temps are soaring!

    My favorite thing is the tea towel/napkin with the knife and fork placed parallel. Eye catching.
    Great details layered in perfection.


  2. How adorable is this table?!?!?!!! I love those huge ants marching down the table. Don’t let the potato salad get in the way!! The watermelon, red and white checks, mason jars, and basket (unbelievable bargain!) are perfect for your table!! It is hard for me to believe that KC is having weather that we normally have this time of year. But, we have been in the 80’s recently and are still hovering around 90 degrees. That has never happened in July! I hope y’all get a break from the heat soon. 🙂 Happy picnicin’ and ant killin’!


  3. That’s really cute but I have to admit – those big a## ants on the table runner (and in the fruit) kind of creep me out, lol! I love the old Corelle white – it’s definitely one of the hardiest settings to own (yes, I unashamedly admit having a set of those, too). Love the ant plates and all the other accessories, including the utensils. They really look great with the picnic setting in the woods. Source?


  4. Adorable! I remember the ants from the last time, great change up. The towels are adorable! Sorry to hear about the extreme heat you are having. I have lost my blog mojo. Hope I find it again, 😉
    Be well, A!


  5. Hi, Alycia! Having just returned from South Carolina, I can attest to their love for Sweet Tea – I mean . . . really sweet! Wow! They don’t skimp on the sugar, that’s for sure! What a great picnic table! It’s so nice to be able embrace all the joys of summer, including casual, relaxing picnics! Why is it that my Pellegrino water bottles never look so artistic? I love the watermelon placemats!


  6. What a very cute and whimsical picnic table setting, Alycia. I love the ant accessories and plates and mats. It’s really been hot both here in fL and when I left MS….Christine


  7. I remember those crazy ants of yours! What a cute table you’ve created! Sweet tea sounds fabulous and the fruit looks refreshing! I like your inspiration towel from Tuesday Morning! I still miss ours- they left in 2008. A barbecue sounds so good- I love good ribs! :-). I saw some ant plates at a store- wish I would’ve bought them now!


  8. Now if that isn’t the cutest summertime table, Alycia!!! Those metal ants just crack me up! What a fun, playful element to your table. The inspirational towel was a great purchase from Tuesday Morning. Like I’ve always said…I’d love to be a guest at your party!


  9. This table is so much fun: I laughed out loud when I saw the parade of ants down the table!! Your centerpiece is striking and all your red and white gingham accents are wonderful. I feel like I get an education every time I look at one of your tablescapes. Your hints for your students are reminders to all how complex this hobby can really be and how ” the devil really is in the details!” Bravo! Rosie @ The Magic Hutch


  10. I love the way you use those ants, it adds fun and whimsy to the table. Great tip about using the tablecloth as a runner to change things up too!

    We’ve been getting the heat here too but probably not as bad as you guys…90’s here yesterday but rumor has it under 80 today woo hoo!


  11. Those ants are SO MUCH FUN! And I like the sweet tea in a mason jar idea…that is such a cute idea. I love what you have done here. It really elevates an ordinary picnic 🙂


  12. Oh my, such a fun and cute table! I have some of the “props” and may do something similar (some day). I really need to spend about a week on your blog and get some inspiration for future tablescapes.


  13. Super cute, Alycia! I bought some metal red and white plates with ants on them over a year ago and have yet to set a table with them. Maybe this will give me a kick in the ants, um, pants!


  14. Hi Alycia – I think I scrolled up and down like 4-5 times just to see everything. I love the whole picnic theme and red checkers and ants. The big ants scare me a little. But the little ones are too cute! It’s a scorcher here in DC too. Hugs, Holly


  15. Such a quintessential summer picnic Alycia! Love the tea towels that inspired this setting. So pretty. Would much prefer picnicking with these adorable whimsical creatures. I love the rustic tabke under the shady tree. I’m afraid the Missouri weather has arrived in Philly. We’ve had such a nice summer so far and today the usual humidity has made an unwelcomed return. Pass that iced tea, please!


  16. Love love love this rustic picnic table setting. So perfect, Alycia! The picnic basket centerpiece is so cool. The creative ideas you put together are so much fun. Great idea to put that fruit on ice…


  17. I really like the placement of the centerpiece and those ant are killing me! You have the most unique props ever! Luckily (maybe) we haven’t had many super hot days where we had to turn the air on. Still I’d gladly take one of those jars of sweet tea. Probably enhance it a bit if you know what I mean. Ha!!!!


  18. I totally agree with Ginene Nagel! Too cute! This made me think of and miss my childhood home in the country. It’s like you took this scene right out of our family photo book minus your beautiful tablescape of course. A true picture of summer enjoyment.


  19. I do love a good picnic, and you’ve taken this one to an all time high. Every detail is full of goodness, Alycia. Loving that wonderful picnic table too.
    Hot here in TX too. Time for a jar of ice tea! ‘-)


  20. Alycia, You have the best picnic ants to ever grace a picnic table. This is so cute. I love the way they are roaming about and checking out the food. The little guy climbing into the fruit bowl is the cutest ever. I feel inspired to do a picnic table too. I was going to try to make ants by spray painting jingle bells and wiring them together but after seeing your ants I feel they would pale by comparison. Yup, I’m in love with your ants!


  21. Now I wonder how many people would have looked over to your picnic table and say- dang! that girl has it going on!! I’m crashing that picnic!! Only to be scared off by your adorable ants!!! So cute!! I love the picnic basket centerpiece. I hope you are enjoying your summer.


  22. Your ants really creeped me out Alycia! Yikes, I wouldn’t stay at that table long ribs or no ribs! Haha, just kidding, it’s super cute and fun. I just love the off center basket vignette at the table’s end in lieu of a “center” piece. Also love the way you folded your tablecloth and were able to blend the watermelon pink with the red checks~the watermelon napkin rings are great tied on the jars!! Very fun! Now,march those ants back to their storage box and get inside to the AC!


  23. Alycia, you can suck it up and party on, but I will stay inside with the a/c blasting away and wave to you while you are wiping the sweat off your brow! The last few days have been pretty brutal, haven’t they? In no time at all we will be complaining of the freezing cold, ice and snow…guess it is just human nature to carp about the immediate weather.
    I ♥♥♥ all those ants perfectly marching down the center of the table looking for something sweet to nibble on.
    Great deal on the picnic basket…I always pick them up when I see them…I must have close to a dozen now…they hold lots of linens.
    Have a wonderful weekend.


  24. Oh Alycia, I want this adorable summer tablescape too! This is so summer perfect and fun for everyone. I am making myself a list of the items needed for this cute idea. With this party theme, who wouldl be thinking about the heat! Love it…………..


  25. Hi Alycia, I hope your ants don’t eat much, because I would be diving in. As usual this is much fun….A great table for a picnic out in the yard. The red and white checked means a perfectly summer table. The watermelon is great with this. What a great concept adding the picnic basket. Love your centerpiece….Just too much fun.


  26. Even the ice tea glasses have tags that coordinate with your table…just amazing…and the ants are certainly honored that you created such a great table filled with things they love…and they have all agreed that your table is the best in picnic land!…Hope you do not have many more 100 degree temps…I think even the ants would take cover underground in that heat!….Wonderful table as always Miss Alycia!…you are the best!


  27. Alycia,
    This tablescape took me back to our family Summer Picnics at Wyandotte County Lake! That’s been many, many years ago, dear friend!!!
    Kansas City Summers are hotter than any other I can remember!!!
    I would “brave” the heat just to dine at this amazing “ant” picnic table!!!
    Love the way you’ve used the tablecloth as a runner!
    Those black bamboo utensils are “classy”, indeed!!!
    Thanks for sharing!
    Each accessory and element was truly inspiring!


  28. So wonderful! I could wax poetic about each and every detail…love them all. The unifying ant theme is carried out perfectly. I would love to sit at this table…


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