Backyard fish fry party ideas with Chinet® Cut Crystal® plus a giveaway

As the weather (finally) turns warm in our neck of the woods, I’ve got two things on my mind: backyard parties and outdoor DIY projects. Today I want to share with you some cute décor and food ideas we put together for a backyard fish fry.

To begin creating a themed tablescape for our backyard party, I dressed the table with a painter’s dropcloth. I use painter’s dropcloths for so many craft and DIY projects. For the table runner, I used a roll of burlap I picked up at Walmart. I chose coordinating pieces of fish-themed scrapbook paper as placemats. 

I set the table with Chinet® Cut Crystal® tableware. They have a perfectly coordinated line that includes matching disposable plates, cups and cutlery. That means I can have a stylish table setting, yet still avoid doing the dishes. 😉 


The truth is, I don’t invite folks over as often as I should. This year, I want to make a conscious effort to make get-togethers a priority. Disposable tableware makes serving and clean-up a little easier, so I can spend more time with guests while they’re here.

Check out what I used the Chinet® Cut Crystal® stemless wine glasses for:  worms in dirt dessert cups. The kids absolutely loved this idea. For the recipe, click here.

To continue with my bait theme (anyone else using minnows on their fishing lines?), I added Swedish fish to the cups and punch bowl. 

In the new Chinet® Classic White® Chip & Dip Party Tray, I chose a smoked salmon dip, served with crackers, pretzels and veggies.

What do you think of these personalized wooden tags I made as placecards? They are super easy to DIY.

I started with a piece of scrap wood I had left over from my DIY magnetic knife block project.

I cut out six, three-inch pieces on my miter saw. Then I clamped the pieces together and drilled a hole through all of them at once using a quarter-inch drill bit.

I gave them a quick sanding and a coat of wood stain.

Once they dried, I used a white chalkboard marker to add names and tied them to disposable napkins using twine. Done!

Finally, it’s time to add the catch of the day to those plates. 

Here’s a great beer-battered fish recipe that’s sure to please your backyard guests (adapted from


2 quarts vegetable oil for frying
8 fillets of your catch of the day
Salt and pepper to taste
1 cup flour
2 tablespoons garlic powder
2 tablespoons paprika
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons ground black pepper
1 egg, beaten
1 can or bottle of beer (12 fluid oz.)


Heat oil in a deep fryer to 365 degrees F. Rinse fish, pat dry and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Combine flour, garlic powder, paprika, 2 teaspoons salt and 2 teaspoons pepper. Stir egg into dry ingredients. Gradually mix in beer until a thin batter is formed.

Dip fish fillets into batter, then drop one at a time into hot oil. Fry fish, turning once, until both sides are golden brown. Drain on paper towels and serve warm. Enjoy!

For more decorations, crafts and recipes that feature disposable tableware, check out

Now on to the giveaway!

Leave a comment below telling me how Chinet® Cut Crystal® would elevate your next get together.

Your comment will automatically enter you for a chance to win a $100 Visa gift card and a Chinet® gift pack (approximate retail value of gift pack $50). You’ll be all set for your next backyard party. 

Entry Instructions:

No duplicate comments.

You may receive (2) total entries by selecting from the following entry methods:

  1. Leave a comment in response to the sweepstakes prompt on this post
  2. Tweet (public message) about this promotion; including exactly the following unique term in your tweet message: “#SweepstakesEntry”; and leave the URL to that tweet in a comment on this post
  3. Blog about this promotion, including a disclosure that you are receiving a sweepstakes entry in exchange for writing the blog post, and leave the URL to that post in a comment on this post
  4. For those with no Twitter or blog, read the official rules to learn about an alternate form of entry.

This giveaway is open to US Residents age 18 or older (or nineteen (19) years of age or older in Alabama and Nebraska). Winners will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by e-mail. The notification email will come directly from BlogHer via the sweeps@blogher email address. You will have 2 business days to respond; otherwise a new winner will be selected.

The Official Rules are available here.

This sweepstakes runs from 5/4/15 – 6/14/15.

Be sure to visit the Chinet brand page on where you can read other bloggers’ posts!

DIY distressed blue wooden caddy

One of the many perks of attending the Haven Conference each year is that I get to take home some cool swag. (By the way, if you’re a DIYer and/or a home niche blogger, you should seriously consider attending Haven this year. Bonus: We can meet in person and hang out!)

For example, last year the folks from Home Depot handed out cute wine rack and wooden caddy kits.


I finally got around to putting my caddy together this week, so I wanted to share with you how I made it extra special. (For a free plan on how to build your own wooden caddy, click here.)

I started by stenciling the two long side pieces with the Royal Design Studio French Number Stencil. I already had this stencil on hand after using it on my wooden coat rack project.


I used Royal Design Studio Stencil Crème in Bronze Age for the color.


After that dried, I mixed together a combination of Bleached Blue and Vintage Aqua Varathane® wood stains.


I applied the stain mixture to every piece of the caddy except the handle. (The pieces weren’t put together yet.) I even brushed the stain right over the stenciled numbers.


I wiped back the stain and this was the result:


While that dried, I spray-painted the caddy’s handle with a coat of Rust-Oleum® Aged Metallic Paint & Primer in One – in Weathered Steel.


I used my orbital sander to distress the edges of each wooden piece. Then I attached all the pieces.


To give the caddy an aged look, I used a watered-down coat of Varathane Wood Stain – in Kona – over the sanded edges. I wiped back the stain with a damp piece of steel wool until I achieved my desired result.


Finally, I applied a clear topcoat in a matte finish. Done! I can use this caddy to hold my tools or garden supplies.

Distressed-garden-caddyOr I can use it as a decorative piece in my living room.

Decorative-garden-caddyHave you stained any wooden pieces lately? I’d love for you to share your project in a comment.

Special thanks to Rust-Oleum, Home Depot and Royal Design Studio for providing the supplies needed to complete this project. 

25-cent yard sale find transformation

Confession: The hoarding situation in my basement is dire. I absolutely have to clean and organize it before a dog or small child gets swallowed in the clutter. Part of the reason things have gotten so out of control is because I have so many “treasures” down there I just can’t bear to part with. 😉 One of them is this 25-cent yard sale find I rescued from the rubble recently:


My goal was to repaint the wooden bottom to look like aged metal, similar to what I did with my Pottery Barn knockoff sign and dumpster chair redo.

So instead of cleaning and organizing my basement yesterday, I got to work redoing my yard sale treasure instead. There’s always tomorrow, right? 😉

I started by giving the wooden base a good coat of my favorite black primer.


After that dried, I brushed on a coat of Modern Masters® Metallic Paint in Warm Silver.


For the second and third coats, I sponged on a combination of Modern Masters Metallic Paint in Pewter, Black Pearl and Smoke. I’ve found the key to achieving a realistic aged-metal look is by layering different metallic colors.


While the wooden base dried, I created a small decorative display for under the glass cloche. I cut out a tiny piece of floral foam using my electric knife.


I pushed a few sprigs of spring faux flowers into the foam and wrapped the foam with burlap, securing it with twine. Done!


I already had all the supplies on hand, so this project literally cost me a total of 25 cents!


Now I should start cleaning and organizing that basement …

Have you picked up any yard sale treasures yet this year?