Made in the Shade


It is a little warm, but entertaining in the garden is always inspiring. Flowers are abundant, which makes setting the scene simple. Most stores have fabulous umbrellas and umbrella stands on sale now. So why not take advantage of a show stopping focal point. In these two examples, all we used were faux flowers, hydrangeas and brightly colored Gerber daisies and fabric. Invite friends and serve frozen margaritas, a fresh herb salad, boiled seafood – if you can still get it – and a delectable frozen dessert.

Here’s how you do it:

Table one: Blue & White Polka Dot

1. Umbrella Accent: Take five yards of fabric and slit in half
down the middle. Sew on opposite side, flip and pull through
so correct side shows. Iron and place. Get hat pins and
start decorating.

2. Umbrella Center: Finish off with two yards of tulle down
the center of the umbrella.

3. Tablecloth: Four yards or whatever will drape off of your
table correctly. Hot glue or sew faux flowers and leaves
around perimeter.

4. Flower & Leaf Chargers: Take eight 14-inch cardboard cake rounds, sketch a leaf or flower design on them and cut out. Cover with fabric and hot glue in place.

6. Napkins: Cut contrasting fabric use pinking shears if you
do not have time to sew two yards of fabric.    
7. Vases: Look around the house for your most eclectic vases
and add flowers from around the garden.


Many times you’re serving something a little messy, so I’ve come up with the idea of using umbrella fabric for the tablecloth because of its resistance to sun and water. Get out the hot glue gun and accent the entire rim of the tablecloth with brightly colored flowers and leaves. Cut a hole in the center and surround it with more flowers to provide an opening for the umbrella.

Table 2: Hydrangea Table

1. Umbrella Accent: Use pins to hold fabric in place and hot glue flowers when necessary.  

2. Tablecloth: This is a long piece of fabric that I found on sale. Drape the table so that it covers and undulates.

3. Umbrella Stand: Use a pool umbrella stand on top of the table draped with tulle and faux flowers. Put the umbrella in the center to serve as your focal point.

4. Details: Cut gesso-backed canvas into circles, paint with acrylic and accent with tiny hydrangea flowers. We added banana trees filled with roses and Gerber daisies to complete the look.

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