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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 : )

July 12, 2017

Our Garden Tour | Summer

This is the third summer in our home since the new addition/renovation.  Each season we've added new elements, moved things around, replaced and replanted.  This year I finally feel like we have established most of the elements I had planned for our garden.  You can see the original garden plans here.  

What I've discovered about gardening is that I love the creative process and the constant changing and tending.  It is my never ceasing project.

During the winter months I look out the window and notice the structure of the yard, the beds and the evergreens and I think about what spring will bring and what new elements we'll add.  In the spring, I'm constantly walking around the yard and looking for the new buds to make sure everything is still alive.  I look for the peony shoots to sprout, the first daffodils to poke through (sometimes in January or February) and anxiously urge the cherry blossoms, as they are the first to come.  In the summer, I'm watering and weeding all of the time.  And mowing.  All of the time.  In the fall, I will be monitoring the maple trees as they change, endlessly raking those leaves and collecting privet berries.  I love it all.

When I was designing our garden, I had trouble finding plans for a standard 1/6 acre neighborhood yard.  I started looking at arial overviews online of neighborhoods and home I admire.  While you never view your garden overhead, I think it is really helpful to plan it with that layout in mind.  I also like thinking about it from the perspective of walking - like coming around this corner there is a lilac, and then the gate is overgrown with honeysuckle, and hasta fill and bend over the path below.  Now that the structure of our garden is in place, I look forward to adding more whimsical, eye level elements like vine covered trellis or climbing hydrangea.  

I moved the large boxwood from the foundation last year and put them on the back fence line.  We replaced them with Annabelle Hydrangea with a small boxwood hedge.  We also planted a small tulip magnolia tree and dogwood to the left of the drive.  To the right there is a plum tree... oh and that massive 150 year old oak tree.  Did I mention the leaf raking?

The Window Boxes were a super easy DIY project.  In the spring I fill them with hyacinth, daffodils and pansies.  In the summer and fall, they are boxwood.  I will plant them in the ground at the end of fall, then hopefully they'll be healthy enough to put back in the boxes in the spring.  I forgot last year and they died in the boxes over the winter.  Hopefully I do not have to buy new ones every year : ). Though I do know they will grow to large at some point and I'll need to get smaller ones.

They've doubled in size this year and I can't wait until they really fill out and spill over next summer.

We love the long porch on the back of the house.  I added the boxwood hedge at the end of last summer.  Boxwood are always my go-to because they just make everything feel lush and green all of the time.

Sandwich Lantern Co. copper onion lanterns.

This is a Hydrangea Standard Tree (see how it has bloomed below), surrounded by garden roses and a small boxwood hedge.  This is the most "structured" area of our garden, which I love, but I didn't want too formal of a feel for the rest of the yard.  But I love the little formal touch here.

They smell so good.

Annabelle Hydrangea are always my favorite.  I pruned them back to 6 inches in January and it has helped provide big blooms this year.

Resident porch pup.

The pots are planted with boxwood, then surrounded by smaller pots.

The view of the back of the yard looking off of our porch/patio.

Against the back fence line we have a fire pit.  You can see the large boxwood here that were moved from the front of the house.

These are a full sun hydrangea called Prairie Fire.  They sit in front of some Leyland Cypress Trees and to the left of the Privet Berry Shrubs.

To the right of the Privet are our Garden Boxes.

In our garden boxes, we grow tomatoes, cucumber, eggplant and herbs.  This photo was taken about a month ago and now the tomatoes have taken over the trellis completely.  I love these trellis' better than a traditional tomato cage - from Lowe's.

They also are the home of our fairies.

I've put in some new climbing garden roses that I'm hoping will take over this fence and perfume the entire yard.

We hosted a party in our backyard a couple of weeks ago.  I'll share those photos next  : )

Did you notice how much I "worked" last week?  Lots of new blog posts!  I have a couple of more planned of recent dinners and parties, so stay tuned for those in the next couple of weeks.  However, this week, I'm done for a bit and ready to relax the summer away... so, its time for a sale.  Everybody wins!

Be sure to look around, many items that were previously out of stock we have restocked with "finds" while we were sorting out our inventory.  There is still stock of kitchen and laundry room bottles, gold frames, botanical prints, wraps, candles, baking supplies, tablets, kitchen essentials and home decor items.  It is a great time to stock up on these essentials we have each season.

15% off orders over $50, code : Summer-15
25% off orders over $100, code : Summer-25
35% off orders over $150, code : Summer-35
+ FREE SHIPPING on all orders over $50 (automatically applied)

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