Friday, May 18, 2012

Inspiration Friday: Al Fresco Dining!

Pictures motivate me. I'm visual like that. So it's not surprising that I've been thinking about doing a pictorial inspiration series on Fridays for a while. All work and no play makes Jane a dull girl, indeed! Well, this Jane, anyway. And you?

Some weeks I may have a theme, but other weeks, it will just be a hodgepodge of fun things I've found that inspire. Or something just pretty to see. Decorating, gardening, animal care, camping, ... who knows where this will lead! Fridays should be fun, right?

So, on to the inspiring...

About this time of year I start to think about dining al fresco. I LOVE to dine outside!

A simple table covered with a white cloth and folding chairs can help focus attention on the people and the surroundings rather than distracting from the scenery. Foodies who follow "Outstanding in the Field" will be familiar with this theme. (Click the link to view their gallery of dinner settings!). This is something everyone can do... just set up a folding table somewhere in your garden or back yard, throw a sheet over it, and let the garden be the focal point. (You can just drag out your regular dining chairs if you need to!)

Still not simple enough? What about this...

Too much sun or heat? Go covered!

Apartment Therapy
Martha Stewart
Do you have an urban setting? Why not create a garden like space?

Blythe's via Apartment Therapy
Perhaps you live in an apartment building. Do you have a balcony? Background music and a small table top water fountain can help mask traffic noise. If you have to, keep the table indoors, but put it right up against the window.

Canadian House & Home
How about some creative ideas for something totally new? Check out this incredible homemade outdoor chandelier that doubles as a planter. I'm thinking an old galvanized watering trough might work for something similar as long as you had hefty hooks! And it looks like just about everything in this photo is reclaimed. It's a great way to furnish a patio for not much money.

Where I live, evenings can be a bit chilly. Perhaps an optional heat source wouldn't be a bad idea!

The Enchanted Home
Pottery Barn
I don't think it's so much about the items on the dining table itself, but rather placement of the table. Have you given any thought to where you could dine outdoors on your homestead? Perhaps a little TLC in a favorite spot would make for an enchanted setting. Add some white christmas lights or a few candles and comfortable seating (so people want to linger at the table).

If you live where mosquitoes are a problem, be sure to use citronella candles and offer guests a natural repellent. Chilly evenings? Keep a few scarves or sweaters on hand for guests who don't have a light jacket. Sometimes I like to play soft instrumental music in the back ground (songs with words make conversations difficult).  After all, ambiance is part of the experience along with good friends, home cooked food, and great conversation!

Don't forget... outdoor dining isn't just for when you have company over. Why not dine outdoors every night? We do! After all, summer is fleeting and you've got to sieze the day (or in this case, the night)!

Now it's your turn. I'm making this into a Linky Party and the Featured Post on the right sidebar. You have till next Friday to take a picture of your own dining area and write a post on it. Tell us all about it and give us your best ideas! Talk chairs, do-it-yourself, or settings, but just keep it to outdoor dining. I can't WAIT to see your ideas!


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