A Summer Dinner Party On The Porch

Welcome to the 310th Tablescape Thursday!

This past weekend I had a little cookout with some friends. After setting the table, I snapped a few hurried pics. Normally when I’m having friends over for a dinner party or cookout, I’ll set the table the night before. This time I was so indecisive about what direction to go with the table, I waited until the last-minute to put it together.

One part of me wanted to go in a beachy direction but the other part of me wanted to use a dishware that’s my fave for porch dining. With friends due to arrive in just a couple of hours, I finally forced myself to choose and went with a Dario Farrucci pattern called, Ma Maison. I took down the “SeaShells” sign I had up for last week’s table setting and rehung my fave “Summer Breeze” sign.

Summer Party With Friends On the Porch


These pics were snapped about a half hour before everyone arrived. I lit the candles for the photos, then blew them out afterwards. I relit them later in the evening before we sat down for dinner.

Summer Table Setting With Dario Farrucci Ma Maison Dishware


I purchased beautiful sunflowers from a local farmer’s market thinking I might use them on the table but they ended up as the centerpiece for the table in the kitchen where I had appetizers and drinks.

Once again I used the green candle holder/lantern (remember it from last week’s tablescape?) but this time I added little iron birdies on branches down the center of the table to compliment the twig flatware.

Screened Porch Summer Dinner


The weather was so great this evening…perfect for a porch party. I had a Kim Waters jazz CD playing from the speakers when my guest began to arrive.

Summer Dinner Party On Screened Porch


The dishware I used for this table is by Tabletops Unlimited, designed by Dario Farrucci and the pattern is Ma Maison. I found it in HomeGoods 4-5 years ago.

Ma Maison Dishware in a Summer Table Setting Tablescape


Green wine glasses are from Dollar Tree and the water/tea glass is “Breeze Clear” from Noritake.

Twig Flatware For a Summer Table Setting Tablescape


Butterfly napkin rings and napkins are all from Pier 1 a couple of years ago.

Spring Summer Table Setting


I turned the ceiling fan over the table down to a lower setting and lit the candles just before we sat down for dinner. One of my friends (thank you, Liz) reminded me to take a picture with the candles lit. My friends do a much better job at remembering to take pics than I do, so you can thank them for this photo. πŸ™‚

Summer Dinner Party By Candlelight


I completely forgot to snap a picture of the Sparkling Pomegranate Punch I served as my friends began arriving, but you’ll find the recipe in this older post: Sparkling Pomegranate Punch. I actually served it from a punch bowl this time, too.

This is the second time I’ve made this punch during the summer and I keep forgetting that you can’t find pomegranate seeds this time of year. So, I had everything I needed except the seeds which I think are really more for looks than anything. One of these days I’m going to make this punch around Christmastime and I’ll actually be able to garnish it with pomegranate seeds.



Everyone brought a dish to share and as usual my friends fussed at me for having too much food. I assured them that I didn’t do as much cooking as I normally do. I decided this time around to buy some prepared dishes so I could just concentrate on cleaning the house and the little bit of decorating I planned to do. The only things I made from scratch were the punch and a salad.

One friend bought asparagus for the grill and quinoa, another brought a yummy appetizer and another brought a salad and fruit for dessert. Just as we started to serve our plates, again my friends reminded me, “Take a picture of the food for the blog!” lol I can never remember to take photos during a party so I have them to thank for these next few pics.

As I so often do for casual dinner parties with friends, we placed the food along the kitchen counter to serve our plates. Below you’ll see the asparagus we cooked on the grill with a little olive oil and seasoning. To the right of that is quinoa, which was very tasty.

Food For a Summer Cookout


I stopped by Harry’s Farmer’s Market and picked up green beans made with almonds and cranberries and a bow-tie pasta salad that has a little bit of everything in it.

Green Beans With Almonds & Cranberries & Pasta Salad


One friend brought the delicious salad seen on the left and I made the Arugula Salad on the right. Both salads had goat cheese in them and they were delish. You’ll find the recipe for the Arugula salad shown below on the right, in this previous post: Summertime Salad: Arugula With Berry Dressing.

Arugula Salad With Goat Cheese & Fresh Berry Dressing -


I had also picked up marinated beef and chicken kabobs from Harry’s Farmer’s Market to cook on the grill. This wasn’t all of them, some were still on the grill cooking when this pic was taken.

I went with a variety of four different marinades/flavors and don’t remember them all now. Some were garlic and herb, some were teriyaki and ginger, another was ginger and something…and I’ve forgotten what the fourth “flavor” was now.

I also purchased two types of fresh bread at Harry’s, one was Rosemary and Garlic, forgotten what the other one was…sourdough, I think. They both looked delicious but we ended up not eating any of the bread. No one was in a bread mood that night.  Needless to say, I am enjoying a lot of leftovers this week.

Steak & Chicken Kabobs Cooked on Grill


It’s still very much summer here but I know fall is coming. I love fall but I love summer more so I’m always sad to see the days getting shorter. Okay, I know the days aren’t getting shorter, but you know what I mean. It’s already getting dark a half hour sooner now. Boo, hiss. Oh well, I’ll just stay inside all fall and winter. You guys can wake me when it’s springtime again. πŸ˜‰

Summer Party With Friends On the Porch


Looking forward to all the beautiful tablescapes posted for this week’s Tablescape Thursday!

Tablescape Thursday

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  1. Looks great! Your china is lovely on this table…glad you chose it.

  2. Hey Susan,
    This is such a pretty table. I’ve always loved your Ma Maison pieces and the iron branches and twig flat ware look perfect together.

    I’ve noticed, since you had the porch painted, you have not rehung your sheers. You probably mentioned this and I missed it. I love your porch with or without the sheers.

    Wow, those kabobs look so good. I recently learned if you put a small piece of spring onion(scallion) on the skewer between the pieces you are grilling your large pieces of food will not “spin” around. It works! I’ll be checking out the Arugula Berry salad recipe…it looks good enough to be dessert! Vikki in Va.

    • Thanks Vikki! I may leave them off for a while. I initially hadn’t put them back up because the screens are being replaced…long story but they got dented by the painter who re-installed them, so new ones are being made. Once those are ready and installed, I may put them back up then. I’m kind of enjoying seeing the windows without them, too. I’m like you, I like the porch both ways so it’s hard to decide. Thanks for the tip about the spring onions…I’m filing that away for the next time!

  3. Linda Page says

    Is this the party that I missed????? Oh no!!!! I would have had a wonderful time, too. I am glad that someone reminded you to take pics of the food. We kept forgetting to take pics of our meals on the trip, too, except for the meal in the French Quarter and the meal at the old gas station (can’t remember the names) on the levee and then it was pics of half eaten meals!! Your table looked fabulous. Wish I could have been there.

  4. Susan, I have long admired your Ma Maison and I have twig flatware envy too πŸ™‚ Everything looks delicious! My parents live in Marietta and often pick up food from Harry’s, I wish we had one near me πŸ™‚

  5. I just love these dishes! Thanks for hosting.

  6. Sounds like a fun party, and I always love seeing your Ma Maison, my favorite πŸ™‚

  7. mmmm just enough, not too much [busy-ness] = perrrfection as always!

  8. Your table looks very light and enjoyable for hot summer weather. I love that twig flatware! You now have me craving some fresh vegetables, they look so good. Thanks for hosting week after week!

  9. Having lots of dishes sometimes makes me procrastinate on which to use for the occasion; but you always choose just the perfect set and your table looks beautiful and the food looks so inviting. It must be great to be your guest, dear Susan.
    Thanks for hosting this great tablescape party.

    • This is first time I’ve had so much trouble deciding. I was pushing it close to party time, deciding this time around. Thanks, Fabby…wish you could have been here!

  10. Peggy Thal says

    Looks like a really fun party! Beautiful table in such a pretty clean green . I like the photos of the dishes you had for dinner. It is fun to see what you served to your guests. I just had a dinner and forgot to take photos now it is too late. It was a sunflower theme for my sons birthday. Even forgot to take a photo of the cake. It seems as the hostess there is so much running around to do. Love your table!

    • It’s so hard to think of taking pics in the midst of everything, isn’t it? Sunflower theme sounds perfect for summer, Peggy! I bet the cake was fabulous, too. I wish I lived close enough to bake a cake for my son each year.

  11. Susan, I love all of the twiggy features on this table. Love how the flatware picks up on on the look of the birds on limbs candle holders. This is one of my fave china patterns, so you know I like your table. looks like a fun time, and yummy food. Thank you for hosting. laurie

    • Thanks, Laurie…it was a miracle I remember I had those little birds. Came across them when I was looking for candles. I need one giant storage room where I can store everything in one place…in my dreams! πŸ˜‰

  12. crumpety cottage says

    Susan, that is a beautiful table scape. I love all the green! Green is so calming. And it looks so pretty blending in with all the green in your backyard. I really like the little twig and leaf tea light holders. Lots of beautiful things here, but I just love that the color green is featured. Very pretty, thanks for sharing and I hope you guys had fun.

  13. Susan, I’ve always thought this set of dishes was made specifically for your porch. I love the cool feel of the soft greens of this table for a summer evening. I can feel the breeze! The twig flatware is also some of my favorite. Whimsy always grabs my heart! Dinner looks delicious. I’ll take one of the kabobs, thank you!

    • Wish you had been here, Sarah! How much fun would that have been! I so agree with you…Ma Maison is such a great outdoor/porch dishware. It’s def my fave for the porch. Wish they would bring it back into production.

  14. rattlebridge farm says

    I have always loved your Ma Maison, Susan. The candlelight adds such a magical touch. The colors are perfect for a late August table, with a hint of the vibrant hues of Fall. Your food looks mouthwatering!

  15. Love your table. I want to come to one of your get togethers someday. It is always so fun and inviting. I do miss the seashell sign. If you ever decide to get rid of it, just send it my way. The food all looked so scrumptious! Thanks, as always for sharing.

  16. Your dinner party looks great. I am turning a blind-eye to all this talk of fall. It comes too quickly in MI and I need at least one more month of summer to recharge by solar batteries to last thru winter. I will hold on to summer until September 22nd.

  17. Now you know how to have a dinner party! Love that you picked up ready made food! SO smart! I have always LOVED those dishes, they are SO perfect on your porch! I know a GREAT time was had by all. The food looks DELISH for sure! have a beautiful weekend and thanks for hosting. And thank your friends for the pics:):)

  18. Doreen Krajzel says

    Hi Susan;
    Wow, this tablescape is absolutely gorgeous, you have outdone yourself!! And dinner looks soooo good! I too wish I could be a guest at one of your parties! Love, Doreen

  19. I’ve always loved those dishes, and how perfect they are for the end of summer and to usher in fall!!! Food looks great!!! The napkin combo is so sweet and love the soft greens you used. Now don’t get depressed over the ending of summer…….in the South you have a longer way to go. Up here in the North we are starting to see some changes. Fall is my fav season and it can still be very warm to hot in Sept. and Oct. !!!

  20. Your table is very pretty! I am amazed at the beautiful tables you set to inspire me! It all looks effortless!
    I love that you used all the twiggy items on this table. Very unique! The dishes are gorgeous. Not to mention the food looks yummie too!
    Thanks for sharing and hosting! I bet your friends love to come to your house for a party! Party on!
    Blessings My Friend,

  21. Your table looks great! The food looks super yummy and I wish you could overnight the leftovers to me!

  22. I think that is my favorite of your dishes for a pretty casual table. The twiggy candles look great with the green glass candle holder. I think remember that you used these plates in an early spring table and they were as perfect for spring as this lovely late summer (and transitional to fall) table. I am going to try to link from my work computer. I don’t know if I will be successful. Thank you for hosting, it means so much to all of us.

    PS – The food does look very tasty!

  23. Your table looks so cool and refreshing. Just perfect for a summer evening dinner. The food looks so yummy. I don’t know why I never thought of combining chicken and beef for kabobs, but I will happily do it now. Thanks so much Susan!

    Big Texas Hugs,
    Susan and Bentley

  24. This is my favorite tablescape of all! Love your dishes and how your iron bird candle holders match the twig flatware perfectly. Also love your pretty green centerpiece candle holder. Your dinner options were great & I like how you ordered some things. I do that sometimes too! There is just something about this tablescape that feels cool and so relaxing which is how it has to be underneath that Summer Breeze sign!

  25. Hi Susan,
    So missed your parties while I was away for 5 weeks vacay in Asia to celebrate and throw a special party.

    Hope to visit to see the happenings @ DΒ΄BoX.

    Greetings from chilly Stockholm,

  26. Cheryl Ann says

    Thanks Susan…this is a good reminder to just let everyone bring something. Then I’ll entertain more! I love the pretty set-up part (yours are always inspirational) but am daunted by all the food prep. Now I can enjoy my parties! Cheryl Ann

  27. I’m so glad to see you aren’t doing fall stuff yet! Too early!! Your tablescape is beautiful, love the greens, and the twig flatware with the twig/bird candle holders looks great! The Summer Breeze sign has always been a favorite of mine!

    Thanks for hosting!


  28. P.S. – I forgot to say – the food looks delicious! Great menu!


  29. Love the green and whites of your table. And I have to admit I saw some pieces of that Ma Maison at HomeGoods and if my budget had allowed it, I’d have bought every piece! Its just beautiful….

    The food looks wonderful, I am craving kabobs…my sister makes a great chicken one. I’m going to call her and see if I can talk her into doing them if I do the table…Have a great night!

  30. Another beautiful table set with Ma Maison–I love it!!! I so wish there was some way to buy a set of Ma Maison, I would love to add dishes like these to my growing collection. I’ve searched the internet, eBay, Ask.com–EVERYTHING LOL–far and wide, and there is no place that sells these beautiful dishes. Waaahhhhh…. Thanks for sharing your lovely tablescape and delicious menu :0)

    • Thanks, Elena! They need to make this pattern again. I get so many emails about those dishes. They would sell like crazy if they would produce them again. I don’t think they made very many the first time around because I never see them on eBay.

  31. Good for you–keep the summer alive! Big thanks to your friends for the candlelight/evening shot, love it!

  32. LOVE the Ma Maison dishes~wish I was one of your neighbors/friends to join in your dinner parties. πŸ˜‰ Those kabobs look wonderfully delicious. Haven’t given up hope on finding the Ma Maison collection…it’s on alert with both e-bay & Replacements…wishing & hoping & dreaming & thinking.

  33. Susan another lovely table I would love to join your group for such a nice evening and barbeque the food looked delish.always enjoy your tables Susie

  34. Wow, fantastic!!!I like it!!!!

  35. Everything looks wonderful. Question: Just how comfortable is the twig flatware to eat with? The “stems” look so skinny, I was just wondering if they “rolled” in your hand.

    • Bernie, I wondered about that too when I first bought it a couple of years ago…wondered if it would be comfortable to hold. I’ve used it several times now and amazingly, it’s just like eating with any other flatware. You forget quickly that it’s twig flatware. So, yes it works great! πŸ™‚

  36. Thank goodness for friends who support your blogging! They know to remind you when you’re busy wearing your other hat of hostess that you have another very big hat to wear later…blogging!

    This is a terrific example of how elements can come together from all different sources and price ranges. Everything doesn’t have to be Donald Trump-esque, and it’s still great. I think that’s where a lot of people get tripped up…they think everything has to be “high end” to look good. Not so at all. It’s about the HOW, not the how much.

    I’m glad you and your friends had a great time. The food was certainly wide and varied! I’m suddenly feeling very deprived just having had Grape Nuts for breakfast! πŸ™‚

    Twig flatware…one of the coolest things ever! A certain little Mr. around here needs to buy me a set for just being me! πŸ™‚ Have a great weekend, and thanks again for hosting!

  37. bobbi duncan says

    Yum!! The food is making my mouth water. Unfortunately, we only had two day old spaghetti tonight while sitting in front of the TV, eating off trays. Love the china and the candle holders are just the perfect match for the flatware–too cute. I so agree about the HOW and not the how much, and it allows the average person many more tablescapes (which aren’t inexpensive, either, when you have several settings and all the accoutrements). Somehow, even your less expensive table settings look fabulous because you just have a knack for knowing what goes with what, and that’s really what makes for an interesting, great look. Hope you have a wonderful week-end.

  38. Lovely table Susan. Are those Lobmeyr’s Alpha glasses used to serve the sparkling pomegranate punch ?

  39. Jill Brewster says

    Always love your tablescapes and especially the green dinnerware with the twig flatware, and what could be more fun than a party out on the porch. You left me wanting kabobs and summer salads. Here in Texas we tend to get caught up in BIG everything. I’m thinking kabobs, a variety of salads and a light desert (raspberry sherbet) would be so refreshing with the hot days we have been experiencing this past week. My Sister, Brother-in-law and Mother are coming up Thursday to spend a couple of days with us and I think I now have a dinner plan. Now all I need is the enclosed porch to keep the mosquitoes away. Enjoy the rest of your Summer. As for me I am looking forward to Fall and the cooler day it will bring.

  40. Your table is beautifully set. I love everything! Can you tell me where you purchased the table and chairs? I am looking for something at least similar to this. Thanks for any help you can give me.

  41. Linda Green says

    Love your table and you encourage me to make my table settings pretty for my family. Thank You Linda

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