WELCOME to CAROLINA PANACHE! I believe our homes should be a haven, a place of beauty and peace that reflect who we are and what's important to us. I'm on a journey to add personality and panache to every corner of my house. For me, good design evolves, grows and changes with the needs of one's lifestyle. I want my home to be creative, to be stylish, to be entertaining, to be real. I hope you will join me on my journey. It's always more fun to travel together.
This blog is all about bringing style and elegance to the home. The art of dressing your home goes beyond hanging a few items on the wall and arranging furniture. Much like a fabulous set of earrings or a new stylish handbag may take your little black dress from fine to fabulous, home accesories and key furnishings can take your rooms from ho-hum to singing the Halleluiah Chorus! Join with me as we discover new ways to add panache to every room of the house.

Host a Garden Party - Ready, SET, Go!

I love SPRING - here in North Carolina it's not too hot nor too cold! Just like Goldilocks said - it's just right - for hosting an outdoor event, that is. Yesterday, I surveyed my back yard and deck. Yuck! Winter has taken it's toll! Time to get out the pressure washer, the weedeater and plant some color in those empty containers! Well that's gonna take a while with all the other things piling up on my "To Do" list. Searching for some inspiration and letting my fingers do the walking - or surfing - I found a few pics to get my creative energy flowing. In order to host that Mother's Day luncheon in a few weeks, I thought I would share some ideas for hosting your own garden party - Ready? Set. GO! First thing - READY the Garden.
About 5 to 7 days before you plan to host your event is the perfect time to catch up on your yard work. Cut your grass at least two days before your party. In case any of your guests have seasonal allergies, this will give the pollen and dust time to settle. Mr. Panache always uses a bagging device on the mower. This way we don't track around grass clippings. In case your planters look like mine and haven't had time to bloom and fill out, try this little trick. Clip some greenery or stems from shrubs or flowering trees. Fill them in around your plants. The key to a lush look is fullness and color. No one will ever know and by the time the clippings start to wilt, the party is over.
Next, SET the Boundaries.
This means you need to decide the layout of your outdoor space. If you are hosting something duirng the middle of the day, try to arrange your table under some shade. Also have some seating tucked under an umbrella, porch, canopy or shade trees. This will be appreciated by any guests who are not sun lovers. I like to have multiple areas for food, drinks, desserts, etc. This way traffic flows just a little better and lines are always shorter.

Thirdly, SET the Mood.
There's just something magical about entering a lush, outdoor paradise. AND you don't have to have the backyard of the Rich and Famous! You can set a romantic mood by hanging sheets, shower curtains or unused sheer panels from fishing line tied in tree branches or on clothes lines. Tie them to the beams of a pergola or from bamboo stakes. You can also hang pretty quilts or throws over the railing of your deck. Draping colorful or sheer fabric around your space adds softness to your outdoor room. For a festive mood, use colorful paper lanterns or tie oodles of helium balloons on to weights and use them to define your party space. I use this idea for my kid's parties.

Lastly, SET the Table.
My BFF, Melanie, reminded me last week that "we eat with our eyes first". How true! And doesn't everything taste better when it looks good too! So make sure your table is as pretty as your food is tasty. For a more sophisticated affair, drape a pretty tablecloth over your table. Another great idea is to drape the backs of your chairs with pretty pillowcases. Yes, that's right - pillowcases. This will unify your chairbacks and add elegance to your garden party. I have an old, round dining table that I use and mismatched chairs. They are all pretty rough looking but magic happens when they get all dressed up in layers of pretty fabric. I love to mix and layer patterns - stripes, florals, polkadots and plaids - for fun and whimsical style.
For more casual entertaining, keep your table decorations simple and natural. I've been known to use garden boots to hold pretty, colorful annuals. Once the party is over, the annuals get planted in the garden. Another thing I like to do is mix daisies with fresh herbs - fresh Basil, Pineapple Mint, Chocolate Mint, Chives, Rosemary - not only do you get a pretty centerpiece but you have the delicious fragrant aroma filling the air.

Now, GO and enjoy yourself!
Turn on your favorite tunes, pour yourself an icy lemonade or tea and sit back, enjoy your friends and your beautiful outdoor space!
Yesterday I took a trip to my local LOWES Home Improvement store. Guess what I found? A kitchen island all decked out in beadboard and black paint! It had been distressed for an aged look but offered me tons of inspiration for my Kitchen Island makeover. Check back tomorrow evening for a peek at my inspiration. Until then,
Happy Decorating!


Chari at Happy To Design said...

Hi Alisa...

What a fabulous post, my friend!!! I am so ready to do some outdoor entertaining and dining! Here in Colorful Colorado we have actually begun to have some nicer weather...soooo, maybe soon!

Loved all of your ideas!!! I think the idea of adding other greenery clippings to potted plants is a fabulous idea!!! I love that! And you're right, at the beginning of Spring and Summer, my potted plants haven't really filled in yet! I'll be using that idea for sure!!!

I also loved the idea of using pillow cases to slip cover the backs of the chairs...that's a grand idea!!!

Well my friend, I really enjoyed all of the lovely photos of the outdoor entertaining! So very inspirational!!! Thanks for sharing all of your great ideas, my friend!

Have a fabulous Friday and weekend!
Warmest wishes,

Blondie's Journal said...


Again I have come away from your blog with so many wonderful ideas. I think that the idea of adding greenery to potted flowers that haven't filled out is just fantastic! I am also learning to think outside the box with floral arrangements by adding cut herbs (and I have huge herb gardens~just never thought of it!)

Your blog truly engages me because after years of reading decorating magazines, I think I am really getting fresh, new ideas that inspire me instead of the same repetative things.

Thanks so much and have a wonderful weekend! :-D


The Stylish House said...

Thank you for this wonderful outdoor inspiration! It is finally warming in my little corner of the world so I am to spend time in the fresh air and enjoy dining on my deck.

Unknown said...

What a timely subject full of great ideas and beautiful pictures! Loved it!

Tammy518 said...

I love all the beautiful outdoor vignettes you posted! I would love to get my backyard whipped in to shape to where we could have some pretty outdoor dining like that.

Anonymous said...

A very timely and great post. I'm in the beginning stages of planning a garden party for the women in my church. Thank you for the pictures and tips. Last month I had an Easter tea for some friends. The bulbs in planter by the front porch had bloomed yet. I bought some little pots of daffodils from the grocery store and buried the pots in the planter box.

I enjoy your blog so much. It's practical, informative, creative, and covers subjects I happen to love. I've been trying to decide what to do with my kitchen island. Lo and behold, here you are blogging about that very subject. I'm going to try to enlarge my island by adding another piece of cabinet to it then put on a new top. I look forward to your future posts on the subject.

Blessings, Joy

Anonymous said...

Your idea is very good

Anonymous said...

Yes, really. So happens.

Anonymous said...

Time and tide wait for no man.


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