As most parents would agree, getting your kids to sit down at the table for more than a few minutes is a daily challenge, as are the manners and etiquette all parents hope to inspire. Fall can be an unpredictable time to plan a birthday party, with stormy weather varying between rain, coveted sunshine, and (usually) more rain. As a result, many parents of fall babies opt for safe inside options (think bowling, trampoline parties, and laser tag.)
Here at Luna Bazaar, we wanted to do something the kids would love – but with a little more elegance and ample opportunity for unexpected chivalry. The tea party isn’t a new theme, but it’s one we adore because it gives both boys and girls to chance to have a civilized gathering around a table, and practice the art of ceremony. Add cake and other sweet treats, and everyone is quite happy to put on a dress and bowtie. Luna contributor and New England artist Jennifer Dackert Romans put on such an affair in celebration of her daughter Lucy’s late September birthday.
“We live in New England, where fall can be a lovely autumn with a brilliant fall foliage season – or a dreary, rainy, chilly time with only a few sunny days to enjoy nature’s colorful transition. I wanted the flexibility to go outside if we got the opportunity but rely on the safety of being indoors if it turned out to be cold or wet. In our house, we fancy a chance for the kids to practice their manners, and for the boys to pal around with the girls. They end up having the best, most hilarious conversations together – and we adults try to disappear as much as possible. My sunroom, the star interior of summer, seemed like a fun place to host, as the view to the property is similar to the English countryside (high tea, anyone?). We had everyone ‘dress for tea’ and prepare to sip (no slurping!), use a fork and knife, and of course, eat plenty of cake!”
“With adults, I might have used porcelain, but with 6 to 10-year-olds, reusable bamboo is ideal, and will not break no matter what happens. I also brought out my favorite cake platters to make it charming and featured colorful straws because as all parents know – just add a straw and kids will pretty much drink anything. We used a beautiful tapestry that was easy to throw in the wash afterward, and I noted that it hardly showed the wear and tear or stains it sustained after the Boston Cream. Vintage style glassware and colorful votives added a bohemian energy to balance our preppy Massachusetts sensibility.”
“Soft, natural light and colorful paper lanterns are my first secret weapon for kids parties, second only to hurricane candle holders. I treasure these decorative accents because they aren’t tippy and stand high enough that the littlest ones don’t stick their hands inside them, and they illuminate with shimmery ambient magic. For this party, I placed them not only on the table but also around the living room and other areas to make them feel it was an extraordinary occasion. It’s interesting that when kids feel that something is more formal, they do sweet things like say please and thank you more often and in this case, pour one another tea! Good lighting tends to have that effect – it naturally changes the mood.”
“We had a few gluten-free children as guests, so I baked one regular Boston Cream Pie and did a few GF options that everyone could enjoy. There’s a delightful donut spot in Boston where I was able to pick up fresh, natural ingredient donut holes, and another where I sourced beautiful macarons and other pastries. Color, height, and texture all matter when it comes to kids – they want to feel like they have lots of things to try. I always notice that they don’t eat nearly as much as they serve themselves – enticed by the idea that one can eat whatever and however much one wants. Even if there are leftovers, no one needs to stress about it, so in this case more isn’t always a bad thing.”
“We spent some time outside once the tea was over, to burn off some of that sugary energy, shift the mood and to get them out of the house. We have a trampoline they bounced around on, then put these lovely paper cockade hand fans all over the yard, which turned into an imaginative ‘planting’ game. With kids, you need good transitions – to keep their attention engaged and avoid complaining due to boredom.”
Tips for Kids Parties:
- The Tea Party theme was initially a bit of a groan for the boys, but they were pleased with the way they looked all dressed up and dapper. This shift from their usual sport’s jerseys was like wearing a costume – quickly everyone adopted their roles to be polite and courteous in their fancy clothes.
- Plan for a mess. Don’t try to enforce too many rules, as you might normally do, and let kids be kids. They spilled cake and even a cup of tea on the floor, but I expected it and had a dustpan and paper towels ready. No big deal.
- Include fun favors for them to play with – we styled coordinating party tassels and paper cockade fans that they whirled around the yard. Kids are so imaginative – I had no idea what they would do with them, but they’re so naturally creative they started decorating each other!
- Create opportunities for children to be civil together. They spend a lot of time playing and attending sports games; so it’s pleasant to provide the balance of a sit-down experience where a napkin goes in the lap and manners are observed. It’s good for character building and should the grandparents be able to come; they relish demonstrations of good old-fashioned values!
Whether you’re a Burner or on your way to Summerfest, a Jazz aficionado or Newport Folk Festival fan, upcoming festivals represent a pinnacle of outdoor venues, with a variety of conditions and terrains. Between sand and grass, the challenge is how to sit between your danceathons so you can listen to music comfortably, hang with friends and enjoy the scene – with anticipated protection from the elements.
Even if you aren’t attending one of the top listed annual festivals, you’ll likely find yourself in similar situations during local events – at a town fair, Fourth of July celebration or any outdoor gathering with notable entertainment on the horizon. Luna contributors and Burning Man/Coachella veterans Leah Forrester and Angelina Carrera can be seen here with all the right accessories, using their usual California beach hangouts as their pre-festival warm-up. Here’s how we recommend you pack – and build – your Luna camp!
BYOT: Bring Your Own Tapestry
They provide shield and shade, quickly dry if they get wet; add padding, perimeter, and dimension to any sitting space, anywhere, and bring décor galore to the outdoors. Tapestries are the MVP of festival going! You will likely use them for everything. Between spreading them out to form an official “camp” area, to using one in the evening wrapped around your shoulders, or draping a small tent to block the sun, tapestries should be considered essential packing – you can’t have too many. Textiles and block prints are in our roots here at Luna Bazaar, so we relish layering pattern on pattern, and color on color, as a way to immediately invite people into the eclectic mix.
Tapestries offer a throwback to the sixties, with a bohemian casualness that festivals themselves embody. And the best part about tapestries? Spills and stains don’t stand out amidst their vibrant patterns. And we all know festivals can be all day (as well as all night!) adventures, with multiple meals and libations throughout, so to have a canvas for sitting, eating, singing and dancing – that doesn’t show much wear and tear – that is a hero product in our mind.
If you want to take your camp up a notch, just add pillows. More than any other décor accessory, when people see pillows, they feel at home, taken care of, comfortable and happy to stay-a-while. Our Shibori pillows are flying off the shelves here, due to their distinct pattern and flexibility against almost any other color or design story. Festival style is meant to be a hodge-podge, a mix of colors and patterns that create a symphony of style that’s less designed, but no less intentional. Our mandala pillows are also becoming a haute favorite, and do the same thing; add comfortable dimension. Festivals are easy-going affairs, with a built-in “no fuss” attitude – which is why you want this bohemian, unpracticed approach to festival décor. It’s authentic and easy to achieve.
Photo Credit: Craig Arend Coachella Fashion
The sun, while one of the best parts of a summer festival, is also the most unrelenting element, second only to wind. May we suggest a parasol for a little protection? This easy-to-pack accessory will do just the trick in mitigating glare, heat, and exposure, and provide sunscreen on the go – from stage to stage or during impromptu socializing. With so many colors to choose from, a group of parasols stands out as a band of stylishly appointed festival goers! Ours are solidly constructed, and can even stand up to a little wind and minor drizzle, should some come your way.
So, why wait? Get ready to get down with laid back style – the would-be envy of Coachella & Bonnaroo, whether you’re wandering the festival circuit or enjoying festivities closer to home!
Is there anything quite as thrilling as the realization that weather patterns have shifted, and the day has become longer and lighter? Finally, the hours after work until bedtime mean outdoor entertaining and time with friends. We call this unique window the magic hour, when the sun fills the atmosphere with golden light, no matter where you live in the western hemisphere.
It begins at around 4 pm; the sun starts it’s beautiful shift, with about three hours left in the sky. We see this as Mother Nature’s invitation to step out and create a celebration, to nourish through social connection away from our screens – and to bask in the glow of a cherished season. If anyone knows about how to appreciate this light, it’s the creative team here at Luna Bazaar. Today we share a few suggestions on making the most of this precious communion with nature.
Take mercury glass out of décor storage (or get yourself some from our stunning collection) and be sure to replenish candles & tea lights, so you aren’t caught empty handed at dusk. We always find ourselves besotted with our gold vessels of various sizes – and in this case, a cluster of them looks incredible sunlit and juxtaposed against driftwood or other natural elements.
Whether it’s just you and yours, or you’ve wrangled neighbors to stop by, be ready for spontaneous twilight festivities. You may not have time to do much décor set up when it comes to good weather, so keep your outdoor space clean and picked up from the last time (bye bye leftover wine corks and muddy rain boots!). People love the last minute invitation for a drink and nibble, so keep good cheeses, crackers, olives, veggies and an enticing spread or dip on hand – with plates and doilies that enhance their presentation.
A table runner, tapestry or throw pillow adds color and texture to outdoor gatherings. We love to layer our mandala tapestries with hand block printed and embroidered pillows. Make sure textiles are clean and folded in a nearby closet, with pillows readily on hand for distribution!
Oh, and speaking of pillows, we love matching and stacking a variety from our collection if event chairs and seating are in short supply.
Luna contributor Leah Forester takes a moment with her daughter, a one-on-one catch up after school. You don’t always need a special occasion to spruce up the deck – life’s precious details are reason enough! Beautifying your dwellings and outdoor spaces means you’ll want to be there, more often, sharing moments with the people who matter most.
Regular readers know we love an eclectic table, and Mother’s Day is no different! For this occasion, however, you’ll notice our gravitation toward vintage pink, mercury glass, and rose quartz, some of the more feminine combinations in our design reservoir. We love combining the shiny and new with something aged with a patina because table design sets a mood and a standard, and our favorites are those that seem comforting and familiar, yet inspired and inventive. We sat down with Luna Creative Director Katie Flanagan to find out what she’ll be doing for Mother’s Day, and as the busy mother of a preschooler and first grader, her first reply was “Something easy!”
Here, she breaks down her strategy with the hopes that other busy moms (and mom appreciators) will take the pressure off – and get their design chops on!
Pink & Gold
“One of my favorite combinations in our collection is the rose gold decor mixed with gold mercury glass. You almost don’t have to do much else because these two make magic together. I love them because they bring out the best in each other, and you can incorporate candles without worrying about little ones tipping them over, which is essential in my family. The vintage style glassware has been a staff obsession this year, and a favorite of our customers, too! For Mother’s Day, I plan to lay some cherry blossom across the midsection of the table as my centerpiece, with fuschia colored luxe glass candle holders atop our bridal pink table runner.”
“For vases, I use our hurricane lanterns for medium sized wild floral bouquets that I select at the farmer’s market. I might do three down the center of the table and one at the entrance. They’re a great size for anything from tulips to roses to wild greens. I even cut some forsythia and trimmed it down to fit into a hurricane lantern last year around this time. It was stunning!”
“I used to think doilies were only for my grandmother’s house, but I see the total genius in them now. I place them under almost everything because they fill the table with a lace accent that feels like high tea or brunch in an old world hotel. Our Henrietta Cotton Lace Doilies are my favorite. Under a vintage green or milk glass vase, you achieve a very modern, yet antique look with a minimal effort. The greenery looks gorgeous with all of this – you clip it yourself or find it at a local florist.”
Rest & Relax
“My last tip is not to stress, mamas. Today is your day to enjoy, not to work! So make it easy on yourself with some of my ideas here, and for the rest of the day, book a massage, read a book, hug your children and spend the day thinking of all the reasons you’re amazing. Because you are!”
Mother’s Day Gift Guide: