Beach Cottage Garden Party Tablescape Vignette

Fri 1st, Mar, 2013

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Good Morning from a rainy, wet and stormy beaches…gotta love a storm to clear the air and get the lungs feeling fresh!  It’s been hot here the last few days leading up to this so it feels nice to have some cool today.

So, we have a lil’ partay in the house today in BC Land, come on in.

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The garden of this old cottage when we opened the door on that first day, as I have said before, left a whole lot to be desired, one of our first mistakes was to not plant at least a few basics in those early days, we had a bit on our minds though, hello ripping out kitchen, bathrooms, replacing boiler, things going wrong in the roof, putting up new walls and the list goes on.  So I have learnt that with gardens you need a few years to get it going at the very least.

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There’s part of me that wishes that I had got in a landscape gardener and just put in a few easy grow plants and low maintenance stuff, threw around some mulch and pebbles and left the rest to a once a month going over.  Really though there wasn’t anything much at all in the budget for landscape gardeners, about the only person around here with gardening boots and wellies was moi.

So, rather, it has been a slow emergence of things that worked and things that really oh so didn’t.   And I like how that has come to be…rather than a landscaper putting in things that ‘suit’ or are ‘low-mainenance’ I have watched this garden grow and come together as this little family has done the same – putting down our roots in Aus and growing up through our big change to a new country.

Like everything with this old cottage we just jumped right in and got on with it…doing all of it ourselves.   We knew not a thing about what we were doing in this climate, both literally (one needs to protect oneself pretty rigorously from the sun) and by means of not knowing what the climate would do (one needs to water things in this country if one doesn’t want the shrivelled up and die look).

I’ve put in many different plants, some successful, some not and now it’s getting to a place where I can go out, pick a few things, bring in herbs and flowers…there are hydrangeas in the Summer and there is Winter colour..and if there is one thing that is one of the little pleasures in life, it is the pottering in the garden late in the evening as the sun goes down or a quick look to see how the seedlings are doing while outside in the sunshine hanging out the laundry.

And even more, being able now, to bring things in and decorate with them, and with that, for me, there is the feeling that it’s kinda like yes we really do live here now…

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So this is a little table put together with things from the garden, for a gathering of a few friends who also love their gardens and think there is nothing much better than a day in the yard, hands in the earth, fresh air and a nice lunch to top it all off…

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A table dressing that is easy starts with white flowers…a classic white bunch never fails me!


I always shop the house and use things that I already have or items that I can up-cycle – when I see tablescapes in magazines with a running pricelist down the side of the page or underneath I am always gobsmacked at the cost – a pretty table can easily be done with what you already have…


Old jam jars are the perfect up-cycling item to have in the cupboard…I shop for these by the prettiness of the label and have a vast collection now – or add some sweet ribbon or twine to a plain jar to foof it up a little…

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If there is much foofing to be done, the menu needs to be super simple….shoving a quiche in the oven, chilling some beer and throwing around a few tomatoes works for me when I would rather be fussing with flowers…


A rustic linen style tablecloth, mis-matched napkins from the op-shop and the herbs and flowers lined up through the table middle…like a natural flowery herby runner…

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A few coastal things too for a bit of a nautical feel…


Colour in the herbs for a bit of ooomph to the setting…and all is too easy….


What do you think?  I think you already know I love herbs on a table!  Do you spend time foofing on a table when people are over or do you slave over the food?  Do you shove all your mess under the beds and then snip flowers into little vases and whistle while you work?

Do you have old vintage decorator ladders by your table that your husband trips over often??  haha


See you next time Beach Cottage lovelies, I am off up the beaches today for a late coffee at a beachside suburb I love to visit…hoping to get some good shots of the sea too!



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23 Responses to “Beach Cottage Garden Party Tablescape Vignette”

  1. Selby says:

    Just beautiful Sarah thankyou:) just the lift my hurting heart needed this morning after someone de-badged & scratched our car last night- it’s not the damage as much as the feeling of having my space violated iykwim.

    Love me some foofing! I am definetley the shove stuff wherever I can hide it in cupboards, under beds behind closed doors etc so I can spend more time playing with flowers school of thought!:) And easy food that means more play time? Yep definitely for me.

    Your tablescapings are beautiful! So fresh looking & I love that you up cycle & shop your house – so inspiring in a real gal achievable way! Love love love that brown white trimmed ribbon- sigh worthy:)

    Hope the beach is gorgeous for you- do breathe some beautiful fresh sea air for me too please:)

    • sarah says:

      oh no! that’s not good, I know what you mean – I always think of karma with things like that…

      thanks I love to do tablescapes etc but I think it’s so easy to get put off when you see fancy magazines with lots of expensive stuff…pretty tables aren’t too hard :-)

      • Selby says:

        Yes my first thought was Karma too- I was kinda hoping it might bite the person in the butt!! Hehe I’m not sure that’s quite how it’s supposed to work ;) but I’m sure I’ll get there when I’m done feeling cross.

        Know what you mean about fancy mags- some of them can be really off putting & leave me feeling less than & I love that your stuff dosent do that. As you say it’s not too hard to do pretty- a few jars & tealights can do wonders can’t they with a bit of creative loveliness. You’ve been inspiring me to get back to doing more of it again at my house lately & when I make the time/space for it it really does make me feel great:)

        • sarah says:

          yes it does me too…I have been making an effort to keep things organised, makes me feel so much calmer – it’s easy for things to go pear-shaped quickly here with 5 of us in a very small cottage!

          when your crossness is gone you can think of how revolting and low it must be to be that person with that as their life :-) xx

  2. Marnie says:

    Just lovely Sarah. I love to dress up my table when people come over for lunch/dinner, I just wish I got to do it more! It’s my big 40 is the new 30 this year and I’ve been thinking of doing a party at my house with a rustic, vintage, recycle kind of them, I’ve already been collecting my jars which I’m going to use for cocktails as well as candle holders as well as vases like you! I won’t be spending a lot on all of the decorations, just upcycling, can’t wait! x

    • sarah says:

      oooh sounds fab Marnie – I did hundreds of tealights in jam jars for a party once (not good if there are kids though this was adults only) …also had lots of lanterns and lined them up and down the path outside…it was cheap and super easy and looked MAGICAL…

  3. Helen says:

    Thanks for the inspiration Sarah. Your photographs are so refreshing and a lovely reminder of how much pleasure one can get from the simple things in life. After a challenging start to my day it was just what I needed to give me that extra oomph to start on a new project.

    And yes, I have three vintage ladders plus a few rusty old trunks that my husband falls over all the time. It wouldn’t be so bad if I kept them in the same place but I also love foofing and rearranging everything : )

    • sarah says:

      haha yes it is because they move around all the time that the cause obstruction…the latest one for me was a vintage suitcase in the hallway ;-)

  4. Felicity says:

    Amazing and what beautiful photos to drool over on this wet and overcast day. So stunning. I wish I had friends who appreciated fun tablescapes like yours. Maybe I need new friends! Last weekend I celebrated the big 40 and my sweet husband gave me 3 blue mason jars,one of them being rare. Family and friends were very confused as to why I was so excited over “old” jars, they just don’t get it. I am looking forward to having a play around with a table setting and my new jars in the near future. Thank you for brightening my day, have a great weekend.

    • sarah says:

      I hear you…I ask from some strange things for birthdays but what is better than a blue mason jar lol!!! xxx

  5. Sooo lovely Sarah. I always find if I do all the gardening myself I kind of get to know the plants and actually take care of them more?!? As for my table setting…my fave ‘tablecloth’ is an old white heavy cotton sheet that was my grandmother’s…usually in need of a good iron!!! Happy w’end…xx

  6. alison says:

    I felt all warm and fuzzy when I read this post. Lovely :)


  7. Rochelle says:

    Ah Sarah, this is leaving me breathless. Seriously someone better check on me. So beautiful, calm and I just love jam jars. One of my favourite items I hoard. And Bonne Maman is the best jam ever! Have a great weekend. This should be featured somewhere in a book, when is that book coming out again? xox

  8. Seriously beautiful Sarah! Love all the jam jars, reminded me of my Grandma and Mother bringing in flowers from their gardens and decorating using old jars. I wonder if they knew years from then I would be on a blog with a gal from Australia who too foofs with jars and flowers. Thank you for bringing back precious memories! Love that ribbon, is it burlap?

  9. Julie Johnson says:

    I love your tablescape. It’s so fresh. I’m going to try my hand at growing me some herbs this spring here in the state of Georgia in the old US of A if winter ever decides to let go. For now I just have to look
    at what you’ve been up to on the usually sunny shores of Australia.

  10. Deb says:

    Just beautiful, as always! Makes me want to get out in my garden, and plant some more things to bring inside! On the whole party idea, when I had my 40th a couple of years ago (yikes!!!) I had collected a whole heap of old plates, bowls, crystal etc, all clear glass, and along with a whole collection of jars, had the tealights lining the drive, lighting the way for guests to come around the back. It truely does look magical, and is so cheap to do, especially when you end up with 100 tealights from our fave swedish shop, for not very much money at all!!
    Anyway, ladies, enjoy your wonderful weekend, and I am looking forward to my first saturday off in a long time, alas I have managed to fill it all up with meaningless stuff, that has to be done, and there will be no foofing around here today!
    Mwah, Deb. xxx

  11. Diana says:

    Always loved the blue mason jars. Then our son got a job at “Ball” Aerospace and now the blue Ball
    jars are that much more special.

  12. Alice says:

    Swoon… Just the eye candy I needed…Energises these tired bones…

  13. kiim h says:

    Lovely! I love using herbs in jars for the table – herbs and olive sprigs are my favourites and they last so long. Sometimes they even sprout depending on how slack I am at changing the water and throwing them out;) x

  14. Lisa says:

    I stumbled across your site today on pinterest, I just love all of it…your taste is so beautiful. I love how you have styled everything in your beautiful cottage, no detail has been left out. this is how i want my home to be too…

  15. Pro Copiis says:

    Hi Sarah,

    Boy am I glad I found back! I came across your wonderful site some time ago and forgot the address…But at last I stumbled on it again on Pinterest! So happy!

    Your site is full of inspiration – great articles and pictures, overall calmness. We are just about to start to build our beach bungalow on the other side of the world – in Finland! Just waiting for the snow to melt, so we can start building. I’m planning on a coastal look for our very tiny “hut”, and you definitely have that same kind of vibe going on.

    Happy Easter and keep up your good work!