Planning and preparing for this secret garden ladies’ luncheon and craft was a complete joy. Half-way through setting up the luncheon space I received an email from Cottages and Bungalows Magazine promoting a tablescape design contest. I considered the tablescape I already had planned and decided it would be worth submitting it to the magazine contest. I’m still blown away that I was selected as one of the ten finalists. Even though I wasn’t even close to winning the vote, I was totally humbled and grateful for the friends and family that voted for my tablescape. Thank you so much for taking the time to support and encourage me. Now, I can share the luncheon with you since it’s not going to be published elsewhere.
While keeping the background neutral, I still wanted to add a little something. I started by adding some real grapevines to the chandelier. Once the grapevines dried up, I added some faux vines on top of the dried ones. The look of mixing real and faux turned out beautifully and added a nice touch overhead. The other background decor was made using 2.5 packages of coffee filters from the Dollar Tree. The central wall in the dining room needed a little something and to keep it neutral I came up with this design for just a few bucks. To flatten the filters, get them wet using a spray bottle, flatten, and stack some books to keep the flat shape. Once they’re dry, I spray painted the edges gold – this helped define the edges nicely and it added a vintage touch. To create this backdrop, just stretch out a strip of packing tape the length of your wall, then fold a filter in half with one side against the nonstick side of tape, and the other side sticking to the tape. Add enough filters, end to end, to cover the length of the tape. Add the tape to the wall, and secure with thumbtacks. Start at the bottom of the wall and slightly layer each new row above the last until your area is covered.
The theme was easy, I used flowers and plants to decorate the house, and I created huge tissue paper flowers because it’s a lot cheaper to make them than to buy them. They’re actually very easy to make as well, but when I attached them to my natural tree branch arch and all the leaves shriveled up and died – it didn’t look too cool anymore. So, I had several tissue paper flowers that I had to redecorate with. I ended up placing most of them around the trim work in the dining room. The final backdrop detail comes from adding garland around my brass mirror. It’s a pretty mirror on its own, but the garland added so much for the secret garden theme.
Some of the tablescape highlights were layering several floral vintage tablecloths, using mismatched vintage plates, and folding mismatched floral cloth napkins into the shape of a rose. Mismatching table settings adds a feeling of comfort and fun. Each guest had a crystal punch cup for water, and a goblet for the punch. A great way to add texture and style to your tablescape is to use plate chargers. Since my plates were mismatched, I used matching chargers in a natural basket material. This tablescape involved a lot of colors and patterns, so having a few neutral elements helped to add a solid foundation to the space.
The centerpiece arrangements were simple enough, I used wildflowers and branches outside, as well as some grocery store flowers, but the special part was the DIY pickle jar vases I made ahead of time. I used celluclay to cover the glass jar and created something special and fun. You can learn how to use celluclay and make earthenware inspired vases here. I usually don’t like using tall centerpieces on a table, but the arrangements weren’t too dense with stems that you could see across the table well enough. It’s not ideal for long mealtimes, but it was fine during this little lunch. After lunch, we moved to the table in the kitchen where I had all the DIY craft supplies set up for each guest.
Secret Garden Ladies’ Luncheon and Craft – Tools
There were several DIY crafts that would have worked with my secret garden floral theme, but I already had several supplies for making dried flower resin pendants, so I went with that one. The only downside was that the resin needed to cure for 24 hours, and some car drives home got a little messy. The resin pendants were created inside of a jewelry box to make transportation easier, but with the resin filled to brim, it can get messy. If the resin is still wet, you can carefully clean it up with Q-tips. If it dries spilled over, you can use wire cutters or pliers to break off the overflow. The point is all is not lost. Below, I will list the supplies used to make the resin pendants, and here is a list of the tools that were helpful too.
tweezers (to pick up the dried flowers)
scissors (to trim the dried flowers)
straight pin (to arrange the dried flowers in the resin)
wood stir stick (to stir the resin and hardner mixture)
Secret Garden Ladies’ Luncheon and Craft – Supplies
DIY resin flower pendants are so easy to make, for most ages, and everyone’s designs were so beautiful. It’s fun to see friends being creative – each design was different and so pretty! I love that this craft is also a memento to remember the lunch together and hopefully it serves as inspiration to get crafty whenever possible. My guests could have given their design away as a gift too, whatever each guest wanted to do with their creation was fine with me. It’s fun trying new things with friends, and I stand by my belief that God made everyone creative, it just comes out differently in each one of us.
Serving drinks to guests is something I had to learn from my bestie, Ana. She showed me that once someone walks through her front door, it’s only a few minutes before they have a drink in hand. It’s such a welcoming gesture and it really makes your guests feel comfortable and able to settle in and relax. Any hint of me being a hostess comes from Ana, she’s taught me everything I know and I’m positive I could learn even more if I simply observed her in action. So, to welcome my guests and help them to settle in, I made strawberry lemonade spritzers (punch) with the cutest garnish. I made bows out of lemon rind and used blueberries to keep the bow on the toothpick. Once made, the garnishes went into a freezer bag and into the freezer. They froze beautifully and served to help chill the spritzer too. It was too cute and made the non-alcoholic drink a little special.
I kept the lunch menu simple and made the dessert ready as a to-go option. For the main course, I made sandwiches to order. Each guest filled out a small form indicating what they wanted on their sandwich. Then I made salad on a skewer, inspired by Leslie of My 100 Year Old Home. My salad fixings were simple, iceberg lettuce, grape tomatoes, cucumber, ranch, and balsamic drizzle. Leslie provides several delicious recipes, but the beauty is that you can customize it to fit your theme or tastes. A handful of Kettle chips on the side completed the lunch menu – pretty simple. For dessert, I served cheesecakes in mini mason jars, slightly modified the recipe by Sally’s Baking Addiction. Sally’s no-bake cheesecake is absolutely delicious, and I’m not usually a cheesecake fan. Instead of graham crackers for the crust, I used only Thinsters Coconut Cookies with half the amount of butter – that’s it and it was so tasty. For the topping, I diced strawberries and mixed them with sugar to create a topping spread. These cheesecakes were light, fluffy, and perfectly sweet. Some guests finished their pendant with time to have dessert, and others took theirs to-go, it was perfect.
This secret garden ladies’ luncheon and craft was so much fun. A simple meal together is easy to put together and with just a little planning, it’s so easy to coordinate a crafty activity. To help you host this craft, you can print this PDF to help instruct your guests of each step. Thank you so much for checking out this post – I hope you have found inspiration and ideas for our next event with friends and family.