is in full swing and summers not far off. Its time once
again to think about entertaining outdoors. Whether its just
the family or a full-fledged outdoor dinner party on the patio,
dining alfresco does not have to mean paper plates and plastic
cups. You can find casual dinnerware and specialty serveware that
is not only attractive, but stands up to some rough handling.
Thome of George Watts shows us how easily elegance moves
We have some lovely patterns
that look especially good on the patio table, according to
Paula Gelbke, buyer for George Watts & Son, Inc. in downtown
Milwaukee. She described one pattern in green and white stripes
that blends particularly well with some oversized bottle green
glasses just made to serve iced beverages on a hot summer day.
In case you are concerned, Casual
china is very durable and can be used outdoors without worry,
according to Sue Meyer, assistant buyer. But we also carry
wooden charger plates that can be used as chargers or as oversized
buffet plates, she said. The buffets and other woodenware no
longer come in just wood tones; the yellow, green, plum, and
raspberry will add some pizzazz to your table. Bamboo patterned
serving trays and flatware finish off your casual look, Gelbke
Lucite acrylic glass and stemware
is practical and durable yet lovely and works wonderfully to serve
your favorite foods and drinks. One pattern called Grainware is
especially beautiful, Meyer noted. Theres a variety of
glassware, ice buckets, pitchers, serving platters and tubs that
can be used for holding ice or beverages, she said. You will
find nearly any size tumbler or wine goblet and even champagne
flutes and pilsners. This drinkware is durable but elegant enough
to serve to your most important guests at any occasioneven
formal. I have seen this acrylic ware next to real crystal and
you cannot tell the difference, she said.
This year, colors and patterns have
taken a turn toward softer hues.
Although there are still some
primary colors, most are much softer this year. Youll see soft
buttercup yellow, pear green and pink, Gelbke said. Looking for
an unusual touch? If you want to have a little fun, use a
colorful afghan or shawl on your table rather than a tablecloth.
Weve even used colorful woven rugs on the table. Its all
about color and texture, Meyer advised.
One word of warning about acrylic
serving pieces. Although it is quite durable, Meyer warns that
putting acrylic pieces in the dishwasher can turn them cloudy over
time. It might take a few washings, but they will eventually
lose clarity, she said.
The important thing to keep in
mind when shopping is versatility. I dont think that most of us
are able to buy for any one single event. So collecting and mixing
patterns and materials each year is important. Maybe you want to
get one new thing that changes the look of the entire table,