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Fresh Ideas for Your Summer Get-togethers

It’s summertime once again, and it’s time to take full advantage of the season. Summertime brings with itself leisurely mornings, easy afternoons, and relaxing evenings.  Truly it is the time to entertain.  Whether it’s a simple barbeque in your backyard, a beach party, a picnic, a clam bake, lobster boil, cocktail party or a dinner party, it’s the perfect time to prepare those mouthwatering dishes, delicious desserts and refreshing drinks for everyone.

Indoor Dinner Parties

You can make your summer dinner party chic and summery even without emptying your wallet.  Simply look around and learn from what experts have to say.  “With the higher gas prices and tough economy, many people are looking for ways to dazzle their guests without spending a lot of money,” that coming from Keith Winkler, product marketing manager of Replacements Ltd., deemed as the world’s biggest retailer of old and new tableware.  He says you should start considering how to use your fine tableware for uses other than special occasions.  Ingenious ideas would not only impress your guests, but could also be great ice-breaker topics.

Make use of your clear glasses. Iced tea glasses are wonderful for parfaits or fruit salads.   The champagne glasses are ideal for ice cream or other desserts.  Your martini glasses are great for your shrimp cocktails.   Get those double old fashioned glasses that you have stored in your china cabinet, pick some fresh flowers from your garden and use all these to set up floral arrangements all around the place.

Your larger pieces can be useful, too.  Take that clear glass pitcher, stuff it with smooth stones and stick a large flower inside it.  Fill it with water to create a wonderful effect.   Or you can use those punchbowls or soup tureens as chillers for wine and other drinks.  You can use it to hold buns and bread, too.  Get that clear vase, add lemons, water and fresh flowers in it, and voila, you have created a remarkable accent for your living room.  Cake stand?  Putting candles on it or filling it with flowers or seashells create a perfect centerpiece that would contrast with your linens.

Outdoor Parties

You can spice up your outdoor parties with extra-special strokes, too.  Here are a few tips from lifestyle specialist Martha Stewart:

Dress your tables.  Make use of colorful linens to cover your tables, making your party more vibrant and attractive.

Covered candles.  Take pleasure in candlelight dinners even on windy nights by making use of large hurricane lanterns or jam jars to screen the flames.

Get imaginative with natural stuff.  Freshly cut big leaves make natural leaf coasters and make the setting more tropical and summery.  Set the leaves in water immediately after cutting and allow them to remain hydrated until it’s time to serve drinks.  Leaf-covered candleholders blend with your theme, too.  Drape glass candleholders in smooth plant leaves (hostas or calatheas are said to be perfect for it) to get the feel of the season.   Highlight your party with watermelon boats.  Display the fruit with nautical flags before serving, making use of colored masking tape waving from toothpick masts.

And this year’s summer colors?  Dubravka Vujinovic, visual merchandiser, announced that the hot color trends for summer 2011 include vivid, vibrant colors such as coral, turquoise and honeysuckle.  Perfect colors for your linens, plates and party decorations.