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July 19, 2017

A Garden Party | Our Annual "Clambake"

A couple of weeks ago, we hosted our 6th Annual Clambake... after an 8 year hiatus.  We invited 4 couples, half new and half old friends.  Last week, I gave you a tour of our back yard (here), and today you get to see it in action.  

A real party.  So many times when I'm doing a new product launch, I have to set a "fake" table - which I hate!  It feels so unnatural.  But this is a real party.  With people and everything : )   

This is the first time we've hosted an adult dinner party in our backyard, so I went ahead and fulfilled all of my outdoor entertaining fantasies.  Flowers from the garden, candles everywhere, white and creams with accents of natural wood tones set in a lush green yard.

(the napkins are new, here, and the willow vases are back in stock!)

Our typical backyard entertaining looks nothing like this... more like kids running around, parents perched on the steps, everyone eating in laps or at the picnic table and not much sitting and relaxing by candle light.   However, sometimes, we like to step it up and treat our friends to a real party.

Those casual summer parties have a certain magic, but it is nice to sometimes have real, uninterupted adult conversations while sitting in a garden sipping rose, feasting on lobster with butter dripping down your chin.  What a treat it was!

Willow Vases, $16
White Napkins with Natural Jute Braid, 4 for $24
Anchor Place Cards

Willow Vases, $16

The table has a slightly nautical feel, thanks to the Anchor place cards, but everything else was simple and neutral.

  I made the striped cloth from outdoor awning fabric, cut to fit the table.

Willow Vases, $16
White Napkins with Natural Jute Braid, 4 for $24
Anchor Place Cards

Sorry, the photos just keep going : )

And for a little behind the scenes set up : 

For 10 guests, I used 2 x 6ft tables.  The 6ft tables were a perfect fit for my car so I could avoid the delivery charge from the rental company.

I covered it in a long striped cloth that was in three sections.  I covered the ends with plain white clothes.  I rented natural wood folding chairs.  I think they feel more charming and casual than the white wooden that are often used at weddings.

And, a few detail shots to help set the mood.

 Then it started to rain... pour!

Inside, party prep continued with crossed fingers that the rain would stop.

I like to get everything out, lined up and ready to go.  Nothing left until the last minute - the only way I can enjoy myself at the party, too.

Ice cream goes in short tumblers for Black Cherry Soda & Vanilla Ice Cream Floats.  I put the entire tray in my freezer and just had to pour the soda over for server.  Super easy, yummy and light on a hot summer night after an indulgent dinner.

Herbed Garlic Bread ready to be wrapped in foil and go in the oven.

Heirloom Tomato, Mozzarella, Basil & Prosciutto Platter served with toasted baguette for an appetizer with prosecco and beer.

Terry clothes rolled and ready for hot water & lemon, for after the seafood.  Butter ready for melting, then pouring into the cutest 2oz ramekins.

Darling lobster cocktail napkins that I've been waiting to use for 6 years.

Claw crackers and bowls for shells.

I referenced the Barefoot Contessa's Poached Lobster recipe (Cooking for Jeffery), plus added shrimp.

Menu :

Prosecco & Beer
Tomato & Mozzarella Platter with Prosciutto and Toasts
Lobster Tails
Large Shrimp
Corn on the Cob
Garlic & Herb Bread
Drawn Butter
Black Cherry & Vanilla Ice Cream Floats

About an hour before guests were going to arrive, the rain stopped and the table got reset.  Yay!

The heat is so bad here now that no one would dream of sitting outside for dinner, but when September rolls around, this is where we'll be again... but probably with lots of kids running around while the grill is going.  I'm so glad I have these photos to remember our lovely evening with friends.

There have been a couple of updates and out of stock items in the online store - stop by and take a look around : )


  1. Such a beautiful summer party (minus the cloud burst)- elegant and relaxed but not fussy. You make it look easy.

  2. Really looks fabulous....I am inspired

  3. What kind of apples did you use for bread/cake?


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