I love Julia Child. Always have - way before that movie came out. And I recently finished reading "My Life In France". It inspired me to cook more out of her cookbook... what better way then to have a party?!?! My husband and I hosted a "Mastering The Art Of French Cooking" dinner party for fourteen guests. The weather was ideal. Not too hot and not too cold. There were rules to the party, and each couple needed to bring a dish cooked out of that particular cookbook following the recipe exactly. They also had to provide a bottle of wine that coordinated with their particular dish.
We hung up lights, used existing decorations from previous parties I had hosted, shopped our local thrift stores, used scraps of fabric, shopped our friend's homes, and managed to keep our party decoration budget below fifty dollars. I made sixty yards of orange and green bunting which I hung from trees, along our fence, and up our front walk.
I used old wine corks and made place card holders for the men, the women having a different place-setting. The fabric bows that I tied to the back of each chair were strips I had torn from an old vintage sheet that I got from a yard sale for free! Used spaghetti jars held split peas and rice and a tea light to help light up our table. Three different clusters of branches from our yard that I spray painted an antique white gave height to our table. Two clusters held Eiffel Tower cutouts and paper rosettes with button centers. The larger cluster of branches for the very center of the dining table held orange fabric flowers that I had made from scraps of fabric I had gotten from a friend. The place-mats were simply sheets of scrapbook paper, and I used the same paper to make little flags for the straws (that were in Mason jars), and name cards.
Napkins were rolled and wrapped with the same fabric that I made the bunting from, then tied with the twine that the bunting was hung from. One friend made fabric roses that were inspired from Dana of Made. Another friend, Courtney Burge, took these pictures for me as I was busy running around and didn't take any pictures for myself! It was such a fun and cheap dinner party to host. In the words of Julia Child, "Bon Appetit!"