Wednesday, June 27, 2012

4th of July Party - Food Tent - Creating a Design

Several years back I found the cutest food tent at Dollar Tree.  I have kicked myself for years for not buying several of these food tents.  It opens like an umbrella without the handle.  You open it and put it over your food to keep the flies and bugs off of the dish.  When you need to store it, it closes just like an umbrella.  Not to mention it is red, white and blue. 

Since our 4th of July Party "Under the Live Oak" is outside, we need a means of keeping the flies and bugs off of the food.  As mentioned in the earlier post on this party, we do have the canopy tent, tables and tablecloth.  Now we need something to cover the food.  I began doing searches on the internet for ideas and tutorials on food tents.  The searches revealed a lot of big, regular tents with food inside.  That's not what I wanted.  Finally, there were some food tents like I want when you begin searching for camping and supplies.  Still there weren't a lot.  Pinterest has become my source for so many things these day.  A search in Pinterest for food tents brought up a wealth of food tent ideas.  Of course, I plan on making our's.  Even Pinterest didn't help much with tutorials.  One tutorial that I found was cute.  It was simply a square of tulle or netting with 6" binding on all four sides and weighted with metal washers.  The food tent is flat like a napkin to go over the dish.  I really don't want something that touches the food.  I do want something where you can see the food, so, any kind of solid fabric was out.  I did like the idea of the binding and the washers, though.  It actually reminded me that when Mama used to make curtains, she would tape a bunch of bb's in masking tape and sew into the corner of the hems to weight the curtain down to keep them from curling.  The food tent would need something to hold it down and this is a great idea -- blast from the past.

Netting or tulle would be good, but George felt that it was not sturdy enough.  Men!  Everything has to be tough and durable.  However, since we are outside and there will be several "men" there, it probably is a good idea to find something more durable.  A trip to Lowe's and George came home with a roll of fiberglass screen, 84" by 48".  It is durable.  I can sew and embroider on it.  It is see through.  Perfect!

A trip to Wal-Mart took me to their fabric department.  Yep!  Our Wal-Mart still has a fabric department.  To my surprise, our fabric department has been revamped and enlarged.  The fabric prices have gone up, too.  Nevertheless, I began looking for red, cotton fabric for the trim on the food tent.  They had solid red in silks and satins, even netting, but not in plain broadcloth.  While browsing through a wonderland of fabric, it dawned on me that I've been saving old ripped blue jeans for a long time.  I'll make the binding out of blue jean fabric.  Denim is very durable and it is blue.

Next is to design a pattern.  George and I have talked and talked about what we think the food tent should be.  Should I copy the umbrella food tent that we have?  Should it cover one dish or the whole table?  If we were to use the umbrella food tent, then people would have a plate and utensils in their hands and have to pick up the food tent and put it somewhere so they could dish up their food and replace the food tent.  You would need more than 2 hands for this, plus someplace to put the tent until it is returned over the dish.  We decided that the food tent will need a door that opens and closes.  Not unlike an Indian tent.  We also need a frame.  It needs to be something that can collapse when not in use.  We finally decided on a full table food tent.  The framing will be PVC pipe, shaped kind of like the frame for a swing set.  The fabric will be fiberglass screen with blue denim trim weighted down.  The tent will require some kind of opening for easy accessibility to the food.  Velcro seems to be the obvious choice but we have decided against Velcro because it could be hard to open with one hand.  Right now I'm thinking about an opening more like the Roman shades that I make.  Just pull the cord and wrap around a cleat to keep it up; unwrap the cleat to close.

Another trip to Lowes and George has all of the screening that we will need.  He purchased some small PVC pipe and will play around with the pipe and various couplings this evening.  Once he has the frame made, then I will be able to take measurements and design the pattern for the screen.  In the meantime, I'm cutting up old blue jeans and preparing for the denim trim.

One week until the 4th of July and time is running out.  I feel the pressure:>)

To be continued ...

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