Angie requested a post on how to pack a charming picnic! I love picnics ~ there are so many charming things you can do for picnics and they are one of the ultimate simple pleasures!
To me, a picnic evokes a slower pace. A focusing on the things that are important - special memories with those you love! It is an opportunity to make a meal something extra special!
Eating outside is something special in itself - but taking the extra initiative and effort to pack a beautiful meal outside is just a pleasure to the senses! I am one of those people who thinks that food tastes better outside and the beauty of the surroundings just enhances that.
It does take more time to pack a charming picnic - it will require a bit of extra transporting of items to use and it will require sliding the dishes into a plastic bag until you get home where they will need washed instead of thrown away. Obviously, going to all this trouble and effort is not for everyone - but I would not have it any other way.
I try not to use plastic or paper items when packing a picnic if at all possible! Here are some ideas for packing a charming picnic:
~ Bring a table cloth for your table or a quilt for the ground. This could be a sheet (from the thrift store or your own linen closet!), a large piece of fabric, a duvet cover with no filling, a quilt, an actual table cloth, bed skirt or a layered combination of any of the above.
~ Pack something pretty for your table. There are tons of things that would make a cute and simple vase and just grab some flowers, greens or berries from your yard - whatever is available.
~ Wrap sandwiches in waxed paper tied with twine rather than using plastic bags. Or, make a batch of sandwiches and put in a roasting pan.
~ Rather than just sticking a bag of chips on the table - why not put them in a pan with a lid? Or a basket with a napkin lining. You could take the chips in a bag in your car and simply pour them into your serving item when you arrive for easy transport.
~ I love packing chicken salad in a jar, fruit in a jar, dessert in jars, etc... Jars will serve you well in many capacities for picnics.
~ Collect a set of picnic dishes. There are lots of cute melamine options these days - I have collected a set of blue enamel ware dishes and they still sell these in the camping section of Wal-Mart.
~ Use real silverware and cloth napkins. This doesn't mean it has to be fancy or expensive! I use mismatched silverware from the thrift store bin and inexpensive bandannas for the napkins.
My favorite picnic containers are anything enamelware and canning jars of all sorts. These lend themselves to a multitude of uses and are certainly full of charm! Watch thrift stores or even regular retail stores for a picnic basket you like and that would be useful to you in transporting things to your picnic. I found mine in the Restoration Hardware catalog years ago and I would not buy it because it was expensive. In the next catalog, it was half off and I ordered it immediately - I have loved the red tin box that has served us so well!
Here are some past posts on picnics that will show you other ideas of themes, things you can make and charming touches:
* Mother's Day Picnic
* Memorial Day
* Avonlea Picnic
* Old Fashioned Picnic one and two
* Donut Picnic
* Post Wedding Picnic
* Solo Breakfast Picnic
* Autumn Picnic
What are your favorite ideas for adding some charm to a picnic?