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By Debbe Daley

Spring has been fickle, but we've had a taste of warm weather, and in New England, summer often comes before its official start. My favorite time of year -- when all I want is to be outside -- is just about here. With Mother's Day being the best weather day of the year so far, my siblings and I opted for a last-minute celebration of a picnic in the park for mom.

This was no ordinary picnic. We took it one step further. We could have celebrated Mother's Day in the beautiful backyard, but after mulling that idea over, she would have felt compelled to be in the kitchen. This was her day, and we made it all about Mom.

We kept a vintage theme. An old-fashioned, fancy setting.

There would be no paper plates, no paper cups and the goal was to create an event as comfortable and enjoyable for her as possible.

Being a lover of vintage linens and stemware, I was fortunate enough to have linens from my mom and tableware from my grandmother to pull this off. It wasn't as much work as one would think. We pulled this event together in less than 24 hours.

Setting the picnic table

For the table, use a compact folding table. I used a lightweight solid cotton, ivory chenille dotted bed throw. For the tablecloth, I used a vintage piece that I acquired from my mom's linen closet many years ago. Dishware and platters were used, with Shaw Farm milk bottles displaying homemade ice tea and water placed in a chicken-wire bottle carrier.


My grandmother's Cape Cod glass salt and pepper shakers adorned the table setting as well. For transporting olives, feta cheese and marinated mushrooms, small jars were great for portioning and avoiding spillage. A larger jar embellished with sheer wire ribbon kept silverware within easy reach. Vintage etched wine glasses and yellow painted drinking glasses finished off the table, with fresh flowers as the centerpiece.


No need going to too much trouble with the food prep. Instead of peanut butter sandwiches, we decided on good-tasting picnic food that was easy to prepare. In a casserole, we combined rotisserie chicken from the supermarket with homemade gravy, and garnished it with fresh lemon. Pasta salad was another easy fixing. Fresh egg salad and bakery rolls, as well as my brother-in-law's cold broccoli salad displayed nicely in a vintage Depression-era glass bowl.

Seating and ambiance

Of course, a picnic blanket would be necessary. Again, the use of my mother's vintage Martha Washington bedspread embellished with chenille pompoms made the scene along with spring-green throw pillows for napping under the cherry tree. Distressed wood benches served as small eating tables on the blanket.

If you're lucky enough, Mother Nature may shed some sunshine, a light breeze and tropical temperatures. And if you're luckier, you'll enjoy quality family time and Mom will say, "This is awesome!"

Debbe Daley, owner of Debbe Daley Designs and RAW Furnishings, is an interior designer with more than 25 years of experience as a professional interior redesigner, stylist, stager, trainer and project manager. Follow her blog at She also blogs at debbedaley