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!

 

Ants in My Pants Picnic

I wanted to participate in Cuisine Kathleen’s “Good Earth” edition of “Let’s Dish!” this week, so I’m bringing back a post from way back in the day when I first started blogging. For those of you who have already seen it on this site’s “Summer” page, maybe a second visit will get you in the mood for summer. For those of you seeing it for the first time, I hope you enjoy it!

As much as we wish Mother Nature would take their pesky butts back, ants are a huge part of nature! As we celebrate Earth Week, though, I’ll cut ’em some slack. (Unless I see one in my house, and then he’ll be fertilizing the good earth!!!) A picnic under the trees is the perfect way to enjoy all that nature has to offer of the “Good Earth.”
(Click on any photo to enhance/enlarge it.)

In August, it’s still sweltering hot outside, but the retailers already have store aisles crammed with holiday decor from Halloween to Christmas. I am so not ready for that! I still want to play outside with my neighbors!

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A red & white checkered cloth lends a traditional look to this outdoor setting. I snatched up this piece of easy care poly-cotton fabric from a remnant table. My niece, sister, and Mom are all a whiz with a needle, but I can’t sew a stitch. So…I just tidy up the edges with a pair of my hubby’s surgical scissors and call it a day! Hey, after all…it’s a picnic! Rustic!

 What’s a picnic without lots of ice-cold, juicy, sun-ripened fruit for dessert? Delicious!

 The place settings stack up on this summer tablescape with black acrylic chargers from Hobby Lobby, white Corelle dinner plates and black salad plates from Wal-Mart, and the cutest little ant-covered top plates from Pier 1. Each person’s bottle of Coca-Cola is iced down in a red lacquered metal pail from Hobby Lobby. Napkins are from Bed Bath & Beyond, and the flatware is the Pfaltzgraff “Legacy” pattern from JC Penney.

 

IMG_2534WMAs the sun sets, pillar candles set inside oversized black lanterns provide a flicker of light to carry conversation into the evening hours.

 I bought these fun giant ants at Hobby Lobby a couple of seasons ago. When I see really cool stuff like that, I just have to buy it…even if I don’t use it for a season or two! This purchase really paid off in the end because it adds a bit of the surreal, which is always fun! Happy Dog Days, everyone!
I’m linking up with Cuisine Kathleen for “Let’s Dish!”. Stop on by anytime after 6:00 p.m. CDT to see what other tablescapers have created to celebrate the Good Earth!

Frosty the Snowman

ME: “Hi. I’m Alycia”

GROUP: “Hi, Alycia!”

ME: “I’m a tablescaper for adults.” (Group collectively gasps in horror. OctoMom and Kate Gosselin both reach for their cells to dial 911.)

There you have it! The truth is finally out. When it comes to tablescaping with children in mind, I’m like a man in Victoria’s Secret at closing time on Valentine’s Day: I haven’t got a clue and I’m desperate at best! Yes, I have a child for whom I threw parties of all kinds when he was growing up, but I never felt quite comfortable with the whole process. Kids are fickle. What’s “fly” today is “whack” tomorrow. (Even those terms are probably “whack” by now!) Who knows what will make me the cool grandma?

This week I am challenged…and I do mean CHALLENGED…with creating a tablescape for a group of “tweeners.” (For those of you like me who would have to look that up, that means kids at that age somewhere between little kids and teenagers. Middle schoolers, I suppose.) These kids don’t want to be babied, but they’re not ready for a glass of wine with dinner, either. They don’t believe in Santa Claus, but they still have a bedtime curfew and have to be reminded to wash behind their ears. You get who I’m talking about. So…..

Here’s the result for a tweeners’ Christmas luncheon to be held here on Thursday! Pity these children, for I assure you…I know not what I do! 🙂

Frosty sits in his sleigh at the front door to welcome our young guests!

 

Cheery red, snow-white and chimney black are the predominant colors used for this “tweeners” Christmas luncheon.

 Each place setting consists of a black acrylic charger topped with a white plate, a frosted snowflake, and a cheerful red & white Hallmark salad plate in one of four designs. A happy little snowman with a sprig of seasonal greenery tops it all off.  White cotton napkins, everyday stemware, and simple white flatware complete the setting.

I used these same red buckets over the summer for a picnic. For these photos each is filled with faux snow, but we’re expecting frosty weather to move in so each will be filled with the real thing to keep the Coca-Cola icy and refreshing. Using foods or containers with coordinating hues (like the red, white & black of the Coca-Cola bottle) is a great way to add color to the table.

Shiny black buckets with tasty candy canes are decorated with faux snow and shimmering snowflakes that are smaller versions of the snowflakes at each place setting. The buckets are placed on opposite ends of the table.

The tablescape is filled with 2 sizes of decorated miniature trees, bright red lanterns from Pier 1 , and more snowmen all on a carpet of cottony “snow.”

Snowmen in the lanterns, clad in jaunty black & white gingham scarves, are surrounded by mounds of snow and other seasonal elements.

On the outside of each lantern are additional snowflakes that resemble falling snow. Styrofoam “snowballs” are scattered about the blanket of glistening snow.

I bought a dozen or so of these tabletop trees in 2 sizes a few years back. A couple of years ago I handwired in all of the red & gold ornaments which took several hours and a couple of tubes of arthritis cream! 🙂

The luncheon table is fun for the young people with all the red & white. The miniature trees decked in red & gold coordinate perfectly with the red & gold-laden lighted greenery on the buffet behind the table. After the luncheon, we adults can enjoy the buffet decor on into the evening with the help of warm multi-level candlelight.

A few other winter tablescapes on this site include:
“Kaleidoscope Christmas”
“Merry & Bright – Multi-Color Christmas”
“Christmas Through the Red Door”
“Life Is A Cabaret – New Year’s Eve”
Waking Up to Christmas – Bedroom Decor
Black, White & Red All Over Christmas
Christmas 2012 – Red, Black & Silver
Checkered Christmas
Pink & Purple Chocolate Christmas
Sugar High Payback
Contemporary Christmas
Gentlemen’s Winter Retreat
Cranberry Christmas
Cranberry Christmas Squared
Get Me To the Church On Time
Christmas Progressive Dinner
White Hot
Winter Brunch
Really Red Christmas

I am once again this week pleased and proud to join Susan and tablescapers from all over the world for Tablescape Thursday. After you check out my photos, feel free to slide on over to get more great tablescaping ideas!