July 2006: Summer Crafting Party! July 1, 2006

Summer is the perfect time of year to throw a crafty party! Invite a few friends to bring their projects-in-progress over to your backyard (or meet at a neighborhood park), and serve something cool and delicious, picnic-style.

Here are a few of my favorite drink recipes and some suggestions for cool summer-friendly stuff to make. Just don’t forget the sunscreen…

sunshine in a pitcher
photo by Charity of Pancakes and Noodles

Cold Drinks!

lavender lemonade–two ways!

I love this lemonade–it’s so summery and delicious, and such a pretty color. You can also make it with limes instead of lemons, and make it sweeter or tangier to taste. Version #1 is homemade from scratch, version #2 is a quick way to doctor up the store-bought stuff.

1-make it from scratch

You’ll need:
6 cups water
1 1/2 cups sugar (or to taste)
12-16 stalks of fresh lavender, with blossoms
2 cups of lemon juice

1. Bring the sugar and 3 cups of the water to a boil, stirring until all the sugar dissolves. Add the lavender and let it simmer for a few minutes. Remove the mixture from the heat and cover it. Let it sit for a few hours until it’s cool, then strain out the lavender stalks. (You can do this step ahead of time and set it aside in the refrigerator.)

2. When you’re ready to serve the lemonade, add the rest of the water and the lemon juice. Mix it well and serve in a pitcher with plenty of ice.

2-doctor store-bought lemonade

You’ll need:

1 cup water
a little sugar (to taste)
24 lavender stalks with blossoms
1 gallon lemonade
a little fresh lemon juice

1. Bring a cup of water with a little sugar in it to a boil. Add the lavender, stirring so that all the blooms are submerged. Let it simmer for a few minutes and then take it off the heat and cover it. Set it aside until it cools. Strain out the lavender stalks.

2. Mix the lavender-syrup (and a little fresh lemon juice, if you have any) into the lemonade, stirring well. Serve it in a pitcher with plenty of ice.

pineapple mimosas

All you’ll need is chilled champagne and pineapple juice!

Fill each glass about 2/3 full with champagne. Add pineapple juice to taste.

Or make it as a punch: pour a bottle of champagne into a large bowl, add pineapple juice to your liking, and garnish with fresh or frozen berries. Another lovely addition is a little pomegranate juice—it gives gorgeous color, too.

Craft Projects!

Skip the hot, heavy, wintery stuff and try something portable. Instead of stirring hot melt-and-pour soap or lip balms on the stove, how about mixing up

a cool papaya face mask, or a beach sand scrub for your feet?

some custom-scented dusting powder?

Instead of plugging away at the gorgeous (but thick and woolly) sweater you started months ago, how about trying…

teeny, super-stylish knitting for Blythe dolls?

crocheting your own sandals? (note: the third icon on the page offers a free PDF download of the pattern)

And instead of dragging out your trusty sewing machine, try these lightweight stitching projects—everything you’ll need fits in a tote bag or purse!

embroidery, like Jenny Hart’s deliciously cool $3 sushi patterns?

cross-stitch, like Julie Jackson’s new $5 pattern-only sets?

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Susan Beal loves summer as long as she has plenty of SPF 30 on hand.

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