I love summer. Picking fresh vegetables and cooking straight from the garden. Having informal get togethers with friends in the backyard. Summertime means entertaining and keeping it green outside – and enjoying longer evenings spent outdoors.
Here’s how we entertain outdoors while keeping our guests happy and go green with waste at a minimum.
- Use real plates :: Garage sales, estate sales, and second-hand stores have an endless amount of pretty plates. Buy a set of dishes that can go into the dishwasher and skip the paper/plastic route. There’s no leaking of plates when you have an actual plate and you can use them again and again. (Easy tutorial for shopping second-hand, first.)
- Use wine glasses and glass glasses :: Skip the paper or plastic cups. Yes, it may be easier to toss out the cups at the end of the night but think about how long plastic takes to break down – almost an eternity. If you’re short on glasses, borrow from a friend or use juice jars. There’s nothing wrong with drinking from a jar and they’re more difficult to spill than a wine glass! (Easy tutorial on glass jars and how to reuse them.)
- Use cloth napkins :: Find cloth napkins at a favorite kitchen supply store at the end of the season in colors that match your deco and dishes. Get enough napkins for each guest at your table to have a large dinner napkin. Cotton only. Why cloth napkins are made in polyester is beyond me. They’re not absorbent at all. Cloth napkins are so easy to sew, too. Even beginners can do it. (Easy tutorial for sewing cloth napkins.)
- Use tablecloths :: Tablecloths are my secret weapon for transforming a room quickly for the season and there’s nothing that dresses up a table faster than a pretty tablecloth. Look for end of season sales or custom fit your table with quilt backing fabric. Wash and dry in the dryer for 10-minutes only and then hang it up to finish drying. It will look like you’ve ironed your tablecloth but you have not! You’ll save time on clean up, too. Clear the table and fold the tablecloth in and shake outside. Done. (Easy tutorial for sewing a tablecloth.)
- Use flowers and herbs from the garden for decorating :: When I want my table or house to look pretty, I go outside. Let nature help you decorate your home and when the party is over with, you can compost your decorations. Pine cones, flowers from a neighbor’s yard (ask first!), a plant that’s divided and placed in a pot are all easy and inexpensive. These all embellish a home without generating waste. (Easy tutorial for forcing blooms and decorating with cherry blossoms.)
- Keep recycling containers close by :: Don’t even bring the bottles, cans or other recyclable items into the house. Have a cute container or basket handy on your patio or deck and load it up. It’s ready for recycling day and you’re still enjoying your party! (Easy tutorial for once a month garbage collection.)
- Use wine charms that can be reused :: Can anyone keep track of their own wine glass at a party? No. Well, I can tell by the lipstick mark I’ve left on a wine glass but that’s not an option for everyone! Instead of buying (and re-buying) inexpensive and cheaply made wine charms, make your own. These are made from metal rounds that I found in a free pile at an estate sale. I wasn’t completely sure what I’d make with these but odd lettered stickers and reusable ties complete the look. (Easy tutorial on making these wine charms.)
Entertaining is easy in the summer – especially when it’s happening outdoors. Go green with your entertaining and enjoy the season with less.
What’s your favorite time of year to go green? Do you entertain outside during the summer?
Go Gingham related links:
How to organize a dinner group – why not start one? It’s frugal, fancy & fun!
Last summer’s dinner group gathering is here and the appetizer we brought is here
Our dinner group followed Bon Appetit’s menu last fall