Sunday, 26 June 2016

When life gives you lemons

It was my son's 21st coming up and I was stuck for ideas for a party theme. Mid-winter in Auckland with not much colour around and being a male's party I couldn't get away with a 'pretty' look and lots of flowers. Also my canvas was a simple football club room with not much aesthetics to work with.

It so happened that a week before the party, I attended a soirĂ©e hosted by Un Deux Trois at which Stylist Fiona Hughes from Gatherum Collectif gave table styling tips. Fiona and her business partner, Jani Shepherd, create inviting occasion settings and displays of food that can regularly been seen in Taste Magazine and within the covers of Your Garden and Home magazine. So, who better to find out about table displays than from these two.

What I love about their style is that it's relaxed, but carefully considered. It's as if you have come across an occasion, mid-way through.  

These are some of the things I learnt.
  1. Use nature from your garden or neighbourhood in your displays. In winter use bare tree branches. Magnolias are beautiful.
  2. Consider what is seasonal and use local produce or plants to keep costs down.
  3. Be true to your theme.
  4. Provide height to your displays or consider suspending decorations from a height.
  5. Use your own collections (a perfect opportunity to dip into your hoarder cupboard!).
With these simple tips in mind, I came up with these ideas. 

The theme would be black, yellow and white. The clubs's colours are yellow and white so the colour scheme could fit in with the yellow buntings hanging from the ceiling.
  1. I used herbs from the garden - rosemary twigs on the food tables with leek flowers and small posies of herbs - flat leaf parsley and mint with a few calendula flowers for colour on the tables, each surrounded with snacks. 
  2. In addition, instead of buying bunches of flowers I bought some flowering seedlings - daisies and primulas and cheap clay pots and bases. The bases were used to hold dips and cheese.

  1. My lemon tree groaning with lemons, providing the additional colour, and worked well with the food, whole, sliced or segmented. 
  2. My cork collection created a festive addition. 

It's amazing how carefully perusing the garden, using what's in season and buying only a few props that can be re-used either in the kitchen or garden, can be so effective. 
Happy sustainable decorating. And if you find you have leftover food like we did, the Auckland City Mission would be glad to have what remains.

Claudia x

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