After spending a few hours during the last weekend working on some backyard updates (see here, if you haven’t already read my previous post), it’s now time to enjoy it! And what a better idea than inviting a couple of friends over for dinner. That was just the motivation I needed to make some summer outdoor placemats that would match my new backyard setting.
These pre-cut plywood discs that I found at the hardware store seemed just perfect! Their diameter is almost 12 inches (about 30 cm) and they’re about 3/4 inch high (about 19mm).
At first I made only one to make sure that it would turn out the way I was imagining it. It didn’t require much work! To begin with, it got a little sanding on its top and all around the border to level its surface. Then, a couple of coats of flat white spray paint. And finally a modern blue stencil design. I applied one of these circle stencils in the middle, and four half circles on the sides.
No need to say that I loved how it turned out! Would you call this a placemat or charger? Either way, it serves the exact same purpose.
In no time, I prepared another three. The only thing that was a little time consuming was washing and drying the stencil in between applications.
After having had so much fun making all four of them, the second fun part began:
And before dinner is served, I have to give you every detail on how it came all together.
The white and blue chevron external napkins were another DIY project. I used a little more than a yard of inexpensive fabric to make these large squares that are mostly decorative. They hold fine linen napkins in their interior and match so well with the placemats. The fabric costed about $2.90 for all four napkins, and I’ve seen some as high as $38 for a set of four!
No prep time was required to sew these napkins. I didn’t even take the time to add pins to get the seam right and it came out almost perfect.
To make each one of these nautical napkin rings I used about a foot of rope (about 30 cm) that I tied behind the napkin. So simple.
Every table setting needs some kind of flower arrangement Here, some petunias that cost me no more than $3 (for all) are temporarily placed in these $1 galvanized buckets which I lined with aluminum foil for protection. I will replant the petunias in my extra large planter some day after the dinner party so that they last longer.
The fuchsia color of the flowers was the perfect choice. I was debating between getting flowers in a bright yellow or a classic white, but I think that my final choice was the best. Fuchsia makes such a nice contrast against the dark blue of the lanterns, and the placemats and napkins.
These chunky wooden placemats add weight and volume to the table setting. They make a statement and give the feeling I’ve spent a good amount of money on them. But they are rather inexpensive: Each ply-wood disc costs a little over $5, so about $22 for all four. Honestly, I don’t think I could have done better than that!
One last little detail: I chose square plates so the design on the placemats could show. Round plates would have hidden the designs on the border completely, especially when a normal plate is just a little smaller than the size of my placemat itself.
The design in the center may be hidden by the plate, but when dessert time comes, lifting the dinner plate will reveal the central stencil.
Neither too bright, nor too dark, sunset is the best time of the day to light up the candles.
Our guests will be here soon…