It’s the fourth day of 100+ degree heat, 97 percent humidity. The lawn just steams like a radiator, even after the sun goes down. It takes about 10 seconds before you are completely soaked after stepping outside. And do we need to talk about the bugs? The mosquitoes, the ants, the junebugs?
Kind of quashes those quaint summer picnic notions, doesn’t it?
Not if you are up for thinking outside the picnic basket. Why not move the picnic indoors? Air conditioning, no bugs, a dry surface to spread out on, and the date of your choice – sounds practically perfect.
Now, it’s up to you whether you want this to be a family affair or a romantic rendezvous (I always opt for the latter when possible), but whichever you choose, here are a few ideas to get you started:
1. Set the scene.
Create sunny blue skies and clouds using blue streamers or ribbon and paper cutouts for the clouds and sun. Experiment with cutting your clouds into shapes, so that you and your company can imagine your way through a cloud wonderland. Alternately, hang a dark sheet across the ceiling with star shapes cut into it. When you turn on the overhead light, starlight will shine down. Create constellations for perfect stargazing.
2. Take a cue ...
From Couvoisier’s Café du Pique Nique. Devoted to bringing the outdoors in, this festival hosts events that mix traditional picnicking with indoor fun. You don’t have to go so far as to lay sod in your living room, but branches can be lashed together to create the structure for a canopy. Topiaries and other potted plantings bring in the leafy green element without the accompanying bugs. Large bouquets of sunflowers, gladiolas and other summery blooms add another touch. Include a bit of jasmine or honeysuckle if you want a summery scent.
3. Break out the basket.
Just because you are picnicking indoors doesn’t mean you have to continue to use your everyday dishes and silverware. Pack a real picnic basket, like this eco-friendly basket – complete with bamboo utensils, plates and cutting board, and wine glasses from recycled glass. Or, mix and match a vintage hamper with some bright (and unbreakable) melamine plates.
4. Unfurl the blanket.
Choose a special blanket to spread out – it can be one that you already own, or you could make an excuse for picking up a blanket specifically for picnicking, like this one that folds into a tote complete with carrying handle. Either way, define your picnic space, just like you are staking a claim to the hillside for July 4th fireworks.
5. Make out.
Eat great food. Allow yourself this brief time to let distractions fall by the wayside. Make out with your partner. Delight in the little things, like the wonky constellation you cut into the sheet, or the fact that your rabbit cloud really looks a bit more like a mutant donkey. Play that game of travel checkers that slipped its way into the picnic basket, and set the stakes high: a massage, doing the dishes, whatever you can come up with! And when you are done, stow everything away, including your decorations, into a little indoor picnic kit so that when the mood strikes, all you have to do is roll out the blanket and hang the streamers.