It's that time again! Boy did this summer fly - it seems like just yesterday we were on Angelina and J's back deck for the summer collab. In planning this fall's dinner we decided to go a bit more casual from the very formal dinner for four that we did last year. We wanted more of our friends to celebrate with us than either one of our tables could hold, so an outdoor fall picnic it was.
Angelina and J just moved into a great new apartment complex with a really nice outdoor common area that we could use. It's very rustic and natural so we decided to use that as the template for the theme and food. Angelina came up with an amazing menu featuring the best group meal - soup! She whipped up a hearty potato carrot soup with fresh french bread and a sweet potato chili with a creamy avocado topping. Not to mention the cutest little cheese trio appetizers, and not one, but two delicious deserts! Every time I think the food can't get any better, Angelina totally blows me away.
Knowing the menu, theme, and venue, I didn't feel like I had to do much to the space - sometimes the simpler the better. I used different size whiskey and bourbon bottles to place peach carnations, white delphiniums, and greenery around the tables, giving a bit of color and life to the space. As you can see, we reused the little navy blue ramekins from the last fall collab for condiment containers and I added some pretty blue and white checkered napkins I found in the Target dollar section (win!).
Coming up with the diys for this one was a bit tricky. I wanted create things that served a purpose but added to the aesthetic. I had seen these leather mason jar mug holders on A Beautiful Mess and thought it could be useful to make something similar for the bowls that would hold all of the yummy soup. I also wanted to find a solution for eating without a table and created a very simple wood lap tray. While I wouldn't say my leather bowl holders were quite the success I was hoping for, I do really love the warmth and color they added with the the white bowls and the wood lap tray.
And let's be honest, no collab would be complete without a drink. I am my father's daughter and love a good cocktail with whiskey or bourbon. In looking into cocktails with that base in mind, we found a lot that used fruit, especially blackberry. Adding a splash of earl grey to the mix competed it, making a concoction that's sweet but not too sweet and has some kick without making you cough - turning the most obstinate non-whiskey drinker, into a fan.
It was a nice change of pace doing this collab outside of our homes and being able to invite more of our friends to enjoy everything we had created. While not everything goes as planned, the most important thing to remember is that it is the people that you get to share these moments with and this night definitely won't be one I forget.
Blackberry Whiskey Tea Cocktail
-Your choice of whiskey or bourbon
-Rosemary Infused Simple Syrup
-Earl Grey tea
-Wedge or two of lime
Makes 2 servings
The first thing you want to do is make a rosemary infused simple syrup. Simply add a cup of sugar and a cup of water with a sprig or two of rosemary to a small sauce pan and set on high. Let the ingredients get to a boil and simmer for 5-7 minutes. Strain the rosemary from the simple syrup and set to the side to cool (You can store the left over simple syrup in an air tight container in the fridge for up to a month). At the same time you can make a cup of earl grey tea. Then take your container of blackberries and muddle. Combine your muddled blackberries with four ounces each of earl grey, two ounces of your whiskey or bourbon of choice, and an once of the rosemary simple syrup. Add a bit of honey and ice, and shake well. Prepare two glasses with ice and pour, add a wedge or two of fresh lime juice, and spring of rosemary for a garnish.
Best served with good company around a fire on a cool October night. Enjoy!
wood slab lap tray
The first thing I did was cut the leg slabs of wood (8") to be the width of each side of the top (15") and sanded down the edges. Then laying the top part of the tray down and legs on each side, I penciled in where each hinge would go. So that you do not split the wood, you need to pre drill a hole before screwing in the screws for the hinge.
Once you have attached the hinge to the underside of the top of the tray, mark where you need to drill for the holes on the side of the tray. Again make sure to pre drill the hole before screwing in the hinge on the sides.
In talking through this diy with Angelina's husband, J, he suggested that I put some rubber feet or bumpers on the end of each of the sides so that if pressure was applied to legs when folded under, that space from the hinge wouldn't cause the hinge to separate from the wood.
And ta da, you have a beautiful and very easy to make, wood lap tray. I would suggest coating it in a clear coat wood finish if you want the tray to last longer and show less wear and tear.