Books: Decorate for a Party

Extract from Decorate for a Party by Holly Becker & Leslie Shewring.

Forest + Family

This is a gathering of friends and their little ones beneath a canopy of trees to celebrate the pleasure of exploration and the bounty and generosity of nature. This gathering is a portable party that can be packed using only a few large bags. Children can easily entertain themselves for hours if given a spot to explore and the tools to do it, which also makes this a family-friendly afternoon.

© Holly Marder

© Holly Marder

WHAT INSPIRED US. . . torn fabrics; a rustic traditional German beer garden table; a favourite wool blanket; simple brown takeaway boxes; colourful floral fabrics sourced from a shop with a lovely owner who always cuts more than you’ve ordered without adding a penny to the price; specimen kits that we enjoyed as children recreated in a simple way to encourage exploration for our younger guests; the weather and mood of late summer/early autumn weather with its changing leaves and crisp air; teepees; the challenge of creating something special and memorable out of very little; and keeping the overall look inexpensive and relatively simple to prep.

© Holly Marder

© Holly Marder

Our FOREST PARTY is perfect for parents of young children who love to explore nature. Whether you live near a forest or park and have access to public picnic tables, or the party is for a special occasion and you want to venture further and pack a folding table and benches in your car, an outing in the autumn as temperatures start to cool is an idea your friends will love.

© Holly Marder

© Holly Marder

KRAFTY LUNCH

We packed lunch in kraft paper takeaway boxes. To personalize, each was tied with torn fabric strips and presented with a sprig of something green from the forest.

© Leslie Shewring

© Leslie Shewring

FOREST CAKE

A cake is dressed up in a forest theme with mini animals, sprigs of rosemary to create little trees and bunting created using two kebab skewers, string and some strips of washi tape. This is easy to assemble – just bring your supplies and add once you arrive.

 © Holly Marder

 © Holly Marder

FINISHING TOUCHES

Wooden cutlery was given special, albeit simple, custom treatment by painting the tips with white acrylic paint. Leave to dry overnight and tie to a cloth napkin with string.

 © Holly Marder

 © Holly Marder

FRUITY TREATS

Glass fruit-juice bottles can be customized easily (skip plastic, they don’t look as nice). Pour out a little of the juice to make space. Cut up fruits that complement the juice and add to the bottle. Cover the labels with fabric bands using a glue stick and some string. Apply a kraft sticker on the lid to identify the juice.

Decorate for a Party.jpg

Decorate for a Party by Holly Becker and Leslie Shewring, published by Jacqui Small (£20).