Thursday, August 29, 2013

DIY Picnic Basket/Kit

Raise your hand if you LOVE picnics!
We really, really do.
I registered for a lovely Martha Stewart picnic basket when we got married and unfortunately we didn't receive it. Considering it had a $100 price tag, I wasn't surprised at all. And people may have been a little taken aback that we even registered for it (or maybe not, considering the wild things people register for these days). But we really love to take picnics! And for us, it was a perfect option.
Since we didn't receive it, I decided to make my own version which actually turned out very well and saved quite a bit of money. So way to go, gift purchasers!
I wanted to share that info with you, just in time for Labor Day Weekend, and perhaps inspire you to make picnic-ing a tradition in your family is well.
First you'll need a basket. I got mine from Wal-mart for like $12 a few years ago. You can find baskets in this style in most places like that (Target, Meijer, etc) or you can regular baskets as well from places like Michaels and Hobby Lobby. You don't have to have a latched basket, and my example basket is very Easter-ish. If you get one like mine (ovular or rectangular), you can add fabric to make it lovely and then use your picnic blanket to lay over top and cover food.
 Here is my typical looking basket to start with.
 I laid it over some vintage fabric I bought eons ago and haven't found a use for. Ta da!
 Next, I flipped the fabric over so the pretty side was facing the ground and traced along the basket with sharpie.
 Cut it out.
And glued it into the bottom using regular craft glue. There are a few options here, though. If you want something more uniform looking on the bottom, you can trace a piece of cardboard instead and cover THAT with fabric and then place it in the bottom of your basket. You can also choose to NOT glue the fabric in and then change it seasonally.
Now your basket is pretty, let's fill it! The great part about the Martha Stewart basket is that it included plastic plates and silverware as well. I decided to take things a step further.
First of all, I don't love plastic so I used actual china. You can definitely use plastic if you don't mind it, the nice part is that plastic is MUCH lighter. I love the Threshold collection from Target for this. For us, I used a beautiful pattern that we love but doesn't match our kitchen/home. This is a great way to bring in something special which doesn't coordinate with the rest of your scheme (if that sort of thing bothers you). I have four plates (expansion of family) as well as some bowls and salad sized plates for serving. I also bought these little espresso mugs from Target which matched the aqua/teal color to use for drinks. The threshold line had some adorable chalice type stemware in the plastic line that I would suggest if you'd like a lightweight/plastic scheme for your basket. Lastly, you'll see some cloth napkins (also from Target) which match the plates and the pattern in in my latching basket as well. Cloth napkins are less likely to fly away and really elevate the beauty of your picnic.
Next, let's talk about drinks! We generally only drink water or coffee/tea so I have three options there. Left, you'll see our glass water bottle. You can read about mine HERE or you can buy one from Target (Target should probably sponsor this post...) here. In the middle, we have a portable French Press from Bodum for coffee or even loose leaf tea. This is great for nearby picnics (such as when we dine by the lake). Far right is a nice Stanley thermos from AMAZON. This is better for long distance picnics and will keep our coffee, cider or cocoa warm for hours.
Finally- flatware! Real metal silverware is very heavy. If you don't mind or your basket is very heavy duty, then by all means use it! If not, I suggest bamboo. We got these adorable dipped bamboo sets from T.J. Maxx for $1.99 each, and they're totally reusable!
The above picture has the plates use USED to use for our picnics! I'll have to update later. You may be wondering where there will be any room for food! But it's there still. The goal is to store everything inside your basket (including all three beverage options we use!) and then pack only what you need for the particular outing that day. You can clean everything and return it back to the basket for storage once you're home again. Also, we carry our beverage holder outside of the basket as well for the picnic.
Wouldn't this be a great wedding gift to a couple? I like it because you don't need to worry about matching their home. I suggest consulting the registry (or more romantically- the color scheme of the wedding) for color and style guidance.
I hope you get out there and have a picnic in the lovely outdoors, soon! Remember- you can make your picnic anything you'd like to suit the season. We have breakfast picnics where things like scones and muffins are packed along with biscotti to complement our coffee. Sometimes it's a simple meal of grapes and baguette with butter. Another day it will be donuts + cider. And of course, the traditional dinner or lunch options.
If you'd like, you may consider adding a citronella candle, matches, a corkscrew, a small trash bag, glass or steel straws (we have some in ours, which I didn't feature) or some stain removing cloths as well.
Enjoy! All the best, and thanks for reading!

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