Monday, July 18, 2011

Summer Entertaining

Yesterday we hosted our first real party at our new place, a 91st birthday party for my grandpa. Here he is pretending to blow out his birthday candles, since we forgot to snap pics when he actually did it.

We all had a great time, and even though this place felt like home even when we were living in boxes, it's amazing how much more it feels like ours - like we are not just playing house - now that we hosted a family event here.

But I had a lot of help. I made two helpings of my Creamy Potato Salad with Lemon and Fresh Herbs and the Perfect Summer Salad (recipes here and here), but everyone else brought some food and drinks to share. That meant there was not a lot of cooking to do beforehand so I could focus on the preparations: spray-painting, cleaning, and tablescapes.

Since we live in a little pocket of sun surrounded by fog, and since they were too many of us to be seated comfortably in the house, I knew we would have to utilize our outdoor spaces. First on my list was gussying up our outdoor furniture that all-but-disappeared into our tan walls.


After, thanks to three cans of spray paint:

Appetizers were set up here, which is where the men tended to gather. 

I will break down how I took our patio set from mild to wild tomorrow, but if you are foaming at the bit, you can check out this post from Young House Love, who scooped me last Thursday as I was spraying away. Hey, great minds think alike, right?

I will spare you the cleaning details. But here are the two tables I set up. The first one is our dining room table transformed by some flowers and this tablecloth from DwellStudio for Target. 

The sunflowers echo the sunflower-like shape in the center of the Suzani pattern. A happy accident, I assure you. To complete the summery table setting, I set the table with placemats we had on hand; our "china" (Crate and Barrel's Century Dinnerware); and our flatware (Crate and Barrel's Couture Flatware).

Then I set up another 6 person table outside on our deck. Other than some fresh dahlias from farmer's market, I used linens, placemats, and dishes we already had on hand. 

The fun chartreuse tablecloth I picked up on sale at Anthropologie a couple of years back, and the dishes are our everyday set, now discontinued, from Cost Plus. The aqua, grellows, and browns were set off with the pink and orange pops of the dahlias. Maybe it was the summery palette, or maybe it was just the lovely weather, but everyone gravitated to this table outside. 

The party was a success, so much so that my entertaining-weary aunties are calling for our family's Christmas to be held at our place this year. At 30+ people, I hope they're kidding. But seriously, having people over and celebrating in our new place was so much fun and much easier than I had thought that it's making me want to throw a real housewarming. Maybe after we paint all those walls we will really want to celebrate. Here's hoping that motivates me to start priming today. 

What did you do this weekend?


  1. Looks gorgeous! I can't believe your grandpa is 91, wow. You are certainly one DIY entertaining diva!

  2. Found you over at The Mustard Ceiling. I've added a link to you in my blogroll at


  3. Hi Nicole - I've linked you from The Mustard Ceiling :) Love the tablecloth - so wish we had a Target in the UK. I'll be keeping an eye on you now
    Nice meeting you


  4. Beautiful table setting! I'm visiting from The Mustard Ceiling.