Reusing…Entertaining Ways

Summertime is a fine time to gather with gal pals for a succulent brunch, a box lunch or an herbilicious tappa time. If it’s your turn to do the entertaining, play your clever card with upcycled containers plucked from their usual abode and placed center stage upon your table. Previously planted vintage vessels can easily be transformed from garden goods to chic centerpieces with a few simple alterations. 

Succulent Show Stopper

Succulents are a favorite of mine for a variety of reasons. They’re exquisite, thrive on neglect and almost impossible to kill. It’s hard not to love a low-maintenance beauty. 

I spotted two little vintage lovelies at TaDa! Consign in Rochester and knew instantly how to put them back to work. Succulents are arid plants so a strainer is an ideal receptacle for my pretty friends. I originally planted the enamel strainer and added the cute little milk glass creamer as a candleholder to provide ambient evening porch light. 

For my brunch table I replaced the candle with a summertime bouquet. Delicate white napkins, pretty plates, juice and an egg bake complete the brunch ensemble.

Put This on Your Bucket List

If lunch is what you’re serving I have a perky centerpiece idea for you. Shopping at Rustic Bloom in Stewartville yielded an adorable vintage lunch bucket. The container’s daily purpose is to grow wheat grass for my smoothies. Wheat grass is super simple to plant and germinates in just a few days. Look for seeds at your local greenhouse or your neighborhood health food store in the bulk section. The lush green grass provides the backdrop for a quick and easy centerpiece solution. I placed my flowers in floral water tubes and stuck them in the dirt. 

After your tabletop center of attraction is ready to go, gather some additional dining components that play well in the sandbox with your main attraction to complete your table presentation. 

What’s for lunch? I’m feeling like a salad fresh from the garden, a baguette and a tall, cool glass of freshly squeezed lemonade fit the bill. 

Happy Hour Herbs

Tappa time is my favorite time of the day to gather with my girls. A glass or two of wine is typically up for grabs. A small plate menu, fine wine and a gathering of friends calls for a fragrant, sweet-smelling herb bouquet for the table. I like to think of myself as a chef so I have a wide variety of herbs growing in the kitchen windowsill for easy access. 

During one of my many shopping excursions to Adourn in Chatfield, I purchased a well-worn aluminum cone strainer and wooden pestle. I gave it a just-right for the kitchen makeover with a coat of white paint, a lining of moss and trio of herbs. The wooden pestle came back to its former gorgeous self with a quick coat of gel stain and was added to the mix. I opted not to add any fresh floral to the arrangement as the herbs stand alone nicely. From windowsill to tabletop, this garden great is a true master of the multitask. 

The repurposing of vintage wares for your entertaining ways is fast, affordable and fun. The next time you head out shopping for your home, put your creative cap on and look at items with a different eye. It’s a wonderful way to add individuality to your decor inspired by your own imagination.

Sue Whitney is a best-selling author, “Better Homes & Gardens” editor, nationally renowned public speaker, founder and owner of JUNKMARKET Style and the nation’s leading expert in the vintage re-design industry. To learn more about Sue visit