After being thrown a fun Halloween party for her thirtieth birthday, Tammy wasn't going to worry about doing anything much for her 31st birthday... Until, hospitable soul that she is, she decided to throw a dinner party for her friends - and have, appropriately, 31 people there altogether. (Since some of the chosen few were her young nieces and nephews, the dinner actually only had to seat about 26 people.)
The back veranda of the lovely old Queenslander that she shares with some friends was the perfect location. Fortunately, Tammy let us help to prepare the party. (We of course tried to get her to do nothing, but she loves to entertain, so...)
Tammy was happy to go with a hot pink and orange colour scheme, (that I'd been wanting to try out), and we loved how vibrant the table looked :) I ran a length of hot pink chiffon along the table over white damask cloths, then used bright orange serviettes, and some beautiful orange, hot pink, lime green and white flowers from the Brisbane markets - and some oranges, naturally. Don't you love the way that the (non-alcoholic) punch matches the colour theme so well? It's made with an orange and pineapple-juice base, with a small amount of raspberry cordial sploshed into the glass after it has been poured. The cordial sinks to the bottom to effect the pretty layered look. (This punch is really quite delicious and we use it often, so I've put the recipe at the end of the post.)
Abby made some pretty place-cards, which needed to be anchored by the cutlery when the breeze came up as night fell.
Tammy strung pretty fairy lights along the balcony railing, and littered the table with tea-lights in mason jars and gold-painted candle glasses. It was all the candles, and especially the hanging mason jars that made the lighting truly magical. Using jars that she purchased from K-Mart to decorate a friend's wedding, Tammy hung the lights at different heights from the edge of the veranda roof and along the lattice walls, using twine. So simple and sooo pretty!
Dinner consisted of a soup course, a main, and a very simple dessert table. Abby made pumpkin pies (a nod to Halloween, and Tammy loves them - and, now I think of it, they are orange. Did we think of that at the time? Impressive if we did, yes? :), Bethy did apple pie with 'Tammy' as a pastry decoration, I did the cheese and fruit and creme caramels, and Jonny and Jessima made a fabulous chocolate layer cake with chocolate ganache icing that celebrated Tammy's talent on the piano.
As a surprise for Tammy, we secretly asked each of the guests to write her a birthday poem that we litstened to over dinner. They were mostly hilarious, and all were entertaining. Two girls got together to present a lengthy 'Tammy Rap', which was a lot of fun.
(Do you see Bethy's smile in the photo below? This beautiful girl has a major 'smile at the camera and look fabulous' talent that both completely eludes and completely fascinates all of the other girls in our family! We awestruck, who always look less-than-fabulous-in-photos, salute you, Bethy! :)
I think there were some trick candles on the cake! (Tammy couldn't blow them out!)
Perfect weather, delightful company, Tammy's favourite big-band swing music playing, great food, beautiful flowers and the fabulous table colours, a wonderful occasion, and the so-pretty fairy lights and candles in jars all made it a memorable night!
I found myself sitting at the table until quite late, just because it was so nice to be there :)
Mix together 3 litres of Sunshine Punch (a 'tropical' fruit juice drink), 1 litre of 100% orange juice, 2 litres of lemonade, 1.25 litres of Kirks' Ginger Ale, 1/4 large bag of ice, and a splash of raspberry cordial to give some colour.
If you like the look of the colour layers staying separate, first pour the punch into the glass, before sploshing in a little raspberry cordial. (It will sink to the bottom.) Decorate with a half slice of orange, a mint leaf, and half a strawberry.