Summer Entertaining

Entertain your friends and family in style this summer, with fun ideas that
are simple enough for a Sunday barbeque and special enough for a patio

Studio 5 Party, Holiday and Idea Contributor Alisa Bangerter shares quick
and easy ideas to entertain friends this summer.

Teacup Candelabra Centerpiece
Use a sturdy new or old candelabra that has arms on it and is made for
taper candles. If desired paint and distress the holder. I also like to use
old tarnished silver holders for this. Glue teacups, saucers or both to the
cup of each arm of the candle holder. Fill teacups with potted flowers,
herbs, candles, candies, tiny cookies, after dinner mints, etc. A grouping of
single candle holders with teacups/saucers also works well.

Layered Bean Centerpiece
Place white dry beans (navy, great white, lima, etc.) in a box and spray paint
with color of your choice. Let dry and then shake the box with the beans
and spray again. Continue until beans are coated with color. Layer beans
in glass jars alternating colors as desired. Use as a base to hold flower
stems, branches, candles, skewers of candy, flags, sparklers, etc. Tip: make
sure to let each coat of paint dry on the beans thoroughly before shaking
the box and painting again. This will avoid the beans from sticking and
pulling paint off each other.

Bandana Table Coverings
Make tablecloths or table runners by sewing together bandanas. Three
across usually is a great width for picnic tables by however long is needed.
A single row of bandannas makes a great table runner or use nine to make
a square perfect for a card table size. Bandanas also make great
placemats, napkins or garlands for a picnic or barbecue. Bandanas come in
plain or printed styles and in many colors.

Chalkboard Placemats/Trays
This is a great idea for kids to keep them busy while waiting for a meal to
be ready. Simply purchase inexpensive metal baking sheets or metal pizza
pans that have raised rims (mask off the edges if desired) and spray with
chalkboard spray. You can also use colored chalkboard paint which is great
for matching colors to a party theme. Include chalk and the rims will
contain the chalk and work as a tray like interactive placemats for kids. (I
have found some fancier metal trays in the wedding section of my local
Dollar Tree store that would be really great for prettier chalkboard trays at
a summer wedding to keep kids busy at refreshment tables while adults
visit.) Edges of trays or sides of small metal buckets can also be sprayed
with chalkboard paint to use as serving pieces where a word can be written
as to what is in the item or to be put on it. Simple serving trays can also be
made from baking sheets and lining the bottom with scrapbook paper to
match an event or by spraying the entire tray a color.

Utensil Caddy
Remove labels from empty tin food cans and wash well. Use 4, 6 or 9 cans.
Place cans in arrangement desired and wrap tightly around numerous time
with tie wire and curling ends. (Use a Crop o’ Dile tool to punch holes in the
sides of the can and wire the grouping together if more stability is desired.)
Attach a large wire handle and curl ends. This is cute for a barbecue or
picnic where you need a casual silverware caddy. The cans can be
embellished with scrapbook paper if desired.

Dipped Utensils
Want to have eating utensils with a creative flair? Simply dip the handles of
metal utensils (buy an inexpensive set for this or purchase at thrift or dollar
type stores) or plastic silverware in acrylic paint. Let excess drip off and let
dry. Brush paint on handle with a light coat of Mod Podge. Faux silver
plastic silverware works great for this project. Try red, white and blue
serving utensils for a patriotic look or simply dip fork handles in bright
colors or vintage color paint for a luncheon. Handles can be embellished
with jewels if desired.

Lighted Outdoor Garland
Lighting can add a lot of atmosphere to a party, especially outdoors in the
evening or night. A simple way to make a garland is to use a strand of
white lights (think Christmas lights). I found a great set of 20 lights on
white cord at Hobby Lobby for $2.99 or a strand of 35 lights for $3.99.
Simply choose the color theme you wish to create and tie pieces of ribbon,
fabric and tuelle on the strand and you have an instant lighted garland. I
especially like this in a patriotic look. These also look great hung vertical
from trees or lining a pathway.

Fabric Wrapped Lantern Balls
Tear wide strips of fabric or lace and wrap around paper ball lanterns. I
simply secure the ends of the fabric under with packaging tape. Be creative
with fabric matching a party or holiday theme. Calico fabrics would make a
nice vintage look or satin and taffeta for a wedding. Hang a grouping over
a table or from trees. Embellish with ribbons, silk flowers, rhinestone pins,
etc. Attach a small led light inside for used at night.

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