Summer has finally arrived and with it comes a slower pace of life. That beautiful, heavy heat makes for long, slow days filled with sunglasses, tan lines, and time spent submerged in the closest body of water one can find. But those summer nights are really the most special of all. With days too hot to linger long outside, evenings outdoors take on a whole new magic. Fireflies, bare feet on the grass, moonlight, a glass of chilled wine to sip on… there’s really nothing lovelier.
As always, we insist on turning even the most casual of gatherings into an occasion, but hosting a glamorous backyard party doesn’t mean you have to break the bank. To help you throw your own alfresco fête, here’s our 6 favorite DIYs for upgrading items you already have around the house for your next summer soiree:
DIY #1: Dip Dyed Napkins – White napkins don’t hold up for long, so give them new life with an ombre dye. Start by folding your napkins and dipping the portion you want to die in clean, warm water. This will help them better accept the dye. Next, create a dye bath by mixing indigo dye with hot water and stirring well for 1 minute to dilute. Once prepared, dip your folded napkins in and rest them over the edge, allowing the dye to slowly soak in for 10-20 minutes. Keep in mind, the color will fade once dry so don’t be afraid to really let it soak. To create a subtle ombre, slowly re-dip the napkins with smaller sections submerged, gradually allowing the lower portions to steep longer in the dye bath. Once you’ve achieved your desired color, hang them to dry.
DIY #2: Wine Bottle Candlesticks – We had a few empty bottles of Ecco Domani lying around so we decided to put them to work by turning them into sculptural candlesticks. Start by making a soaking bath using steaming hot water and dish soap. Quickly dunk your bottles in, making sure the label is fully submerged. Wait about 30 minutes to an hour (maybe enjoy the last glass of Ecco Domani wine from one as you wait), occasionally checking the bottle for progress. Once properly soaked, the label will peel straight off. Give them a chance to dry then fit a tapered candle into the top of each bottle. About 30 minutes before your party starts, light the candles, allowing the wax to drip down. As the night goes on, the candle wax will only become more & more sculptural!
DIY #3: Bouquet Place Cards – Dig up your excess wrapping supplies leftover from the holidays to create sweet bouquets for your guests that will also double as place cards. We wanted each guest’s bouquet to feel unique, so we collected wildflowers and fresh leaves to mix in with our store-bought blooms. We hand-picked each bouquet, trying to match the flowers to each guests’ personality. To wrap them up, cut squares of craft paper and coil them into cones, tying them off with twine fitted with nametags.
DIY #4: Chalk Paint Cheeseboard – Many of us have a cutting board around the house that’s overdue for a replacement. Revamp yours with chalk paint, transforming it into a fresh new cheeseboard. Start by laying out excess wrapping paper (these things can get messy), then grabbing a paintbrush and squeezing out a glob of paint. For the chalk paint to be effective, you’ll need to paint on several layers, so cover your board, wait an hour and then do a second layer (a third doesn’t hurt if you’ve got the time). Once dry, use chalk to label the cheeses you will be serving. We love this trick as it saves all of those ‘WHAT is this amazing cheese?!’ questions.
DIY #5: Wine Spritzer – A backyard party is the perfect occasion to whip up a refreshing wine spritzer. To recreate the cocktail we served, all you need is a bottle of Ecco Domani Prosecco, raspberries, and strawberries. Chill your raspberries and Prosecco overnight. The next day, mix the raspberries and Prosecco in a pitcher, place it in the fridge, then give it about 30 minutes for the flavors to blend. As you wait, fill champagne glasses with a few extra raspberries and place a cut strawberry on the rim as a garnish. Before your party begins, pour the infused Ecco Domani Prosecco into the glasses. The fruit will blend beautifully with the wine for a truly delicious combination.
DIY #6: Mood Lighting – When it comes to setting the mood, lighting is KEY. Candles are always a great go-to but to make it extra magical, we recommend stringing your old holiday lights above the table. As evening falls, watch it become a beautiful chandelier of light.
Once the scene was set, the candles were lit and the glasses were filled with Ecco Domani Pinot Grigio, we enjoyed a beautiful summer night under the stars with the ones we love, toasting the start of our favorite season.
PHOTOS| by Lindsay Brown LOCATION| Fort Lewis Lodge PARTNER| Ecco Domani