As the air grows colder and the leaves turn vivid colors we have a few precious weeks to enjoy the beautify of outdoor entertaining. Eileen Biskerstaff, owner of The Seasonal Home, shows us how to usher in Fall with a stunning and simple family picnic.
PHOTOGRAPHS BY: EILEEN BICKERSTAFF
WRITTEN BY: SOUTHERN GUIDE GUIDE TO LIFE
Six years ago Eileen Bickerstaff, owner of The Seasonal Home, began the beautiful tradition of a ‘Welcome Fall Picnic,’ an outdoor gathering of family and friends to usher in the changing season. Using simple materials and amazing creativity she transforms her backyard into a mirror of the glories of Fall.
A neighbors discarded table and chairs take on a new life with a fresh coat of paint. A burlap table cloth adds rustic texture beneath a vivid tablerunner with natural fringe details.
A weathered candelabra hangs from Eileen’s pergola, creating a perfect place for added color and decor.
Eileen added pillar candles in autumnal colors and encased the candelabra in a fall leaf vine, available in many craft stores. She added sunflowers for an additional punch of color.
She added stripped place mats and mixed-matched dinnerware, found in the summer clearance section of a local store. The look adds a relaxed feel, perfect for a backyard picnic. In place of formal napkin holders, Eileen used satin ribbon tied in a simple bow. The ribbon echoes the bow used to accent the candelabra.
A decorative wagon forms the foundation of this wonderful autumn vignette. Eileen prefers to decorate with pine straw verses traditional hay. After the season, the pine straw become perfect mulch for garden beds. On top of the straw she added a scarecrow, pumpkin, and bright potted mums. She added more autumn leave vines to the edge of the wagon for added color and interest that draws together the yellows, oranges, and reds of Fall.
Great design is all about details. When a design can be seen from multiple angles, it is important to ensure it is beautiful from each viewpoint. Eileen placed Mums in baskets to conceal the garden-center-grade plastic containers. She tucked more fall leaves behind the baskets for color and interest.
If the weather is expected to be be nice, don’t be afraid to bring indoor furniture outside. This hand painted console table is a wonderful addition to the overall design of the party. It also provides a great location for the drink station. Eileen used miniature pumpkins as glass toppers to ensure bug-free drinks.
Keeping it simple and easy, she served a relaxed brunch menu. She chopped up fruit and added them to a large glass trifle dish. Ever the eye for detail, Eileen chose fruit that complimented her autumnal color scheme.
Eileen paired the fresh fruit salad with her Homemade Fruit Cream. The recipe is available online at The Seasonal Home.
Eileen made sure the kids had plenty to keep them busy. Even the crafting projects kept to the Fall theme. Using fall leaves, a jar of Mod Podge, and dollar tree vases, the kids made these beautiful jars that are perfect for votive candles, flowers, or pens and pencils.
To make these beauties: Wash the vases ahead of time. Use rubbing alcohol to remove any lingering residue and allow to dry. Next add a layer of Mod Podge. Press Fall leaves into the well-coated jars. Finally, add a second layer of Mod Podge to seal the leaves into place. Allow it to dry completely before using.
The final product has a beautiful stained glass effect.
Photographs by: Eileen, courtesy of The Seasonal Home.
To see more of Eileen’s beautiful home and designs visit her blog The Seasonal Home.