Labor Day Cookout
Labor Day CookoutWhen autumn’s just around the bend, say “Happy Trails” to summer with this chic Western-style picnic. Stripes and plaids tap into the beauty of the American West, from the sandy pinks of the desert to the splashy purples in the canyons to the golden-orange tinge of a spectacular sunset. Build from a tablecloth of burgundy ticking, topped with softer rose red and butterscotch plaid runners heading horizontally across the table to stand in for place mats. Brown glass bottles of beer, amber-hued cocktails, crusty breads, cheeses, and mini pinecones all add rough-hewn hues. Open up your country-chic chuck wagon and dish up juicy Tri-Tip Steak and smoky Mesquite Beans, served with deli salads and a deep-dish pie. Quench thirst in style with a posse of Plum-treenis, made with plum wine and vodka and served in glasses with metal stems. Count on it all to help you lasso a heaping helping of fun before fall begins or use its rustic reds and golds all autumn as a teaser to the holidays to come. Labor Day Cookout
Two wooden barrels—reminiscent of whiskey pouring freely in a Wild West saloon—are topped with a plank of wood for a makeshift sideboard. No barrels—no problem! You can use home store sawhorses for an equally thematic effect. Below the sideboard, I’ve put together my famous “beer-on-the-wall bench.” That’s right—I decorate with beer! And why not? The bottles have such fascinating, festive labels, they deserve showing off. Just line them up on a rustic bench to add a clever accent—and refreshment too.
Miniature wooden highback chairs tap into the cowboy color scheme, playing host to amber pillar candles that cast ambient lighting. To keep it neat—and safe—buy dripless candles and hot-glue them to the chairs to secure. Outdoorsy metal candle lanterns carry through on the bunkhouse theme (remember, citronella keeps bugs at bay).
The Georgia O’Keeffe-style invitations use scrapbooking decals. Use paper cut-outs to create the desert backdrop on blank cards; complete by computer-printing the details on light paper. Cut them into mountain shapes and paste them in place. Rustle up cowboy accents such as a Stetson® boot and sheriff’s badge and hot-glue in place.
Food and Drinks
Wheel in a barrow full of corn chips in a clear acrylic wheelbarrow. The red chips match the sidecar of salsa—and the wine—for decorative effect. Make life simpler by choosing salsas that come in pretty jars. You won’t need to bring an extra dish to the picnic—simply take off the label, open the jar, and serve. When it’s empty, toss it in the trash. Continue the food-as-decor idea with textured ready-mades, such as cheese in the rind, crackers, a deep-dish country pie, and round breads and baguettes arranged in a chinos. Love that hi-ho silver effect!