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around the world with bash, please: a nautical crab boil

by Paige

Hi D*S readers! It’s your entertaining gals, bash, please, and we’re back for another entertaining installment courtesy of the big, vast, globe. If you missed out on our first column we spun our globe (blindfolded) and landed in Seattle. This time around we spun and landed in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. Oops, we thought. We admit, we spun again. Guess what? We landed in the Pacific Ocean. Seems we weren’t getting away with any land adventures.  We could already feel the cold water our feet were dipping in.

Atlantic Ocean inspired: hmmmm. We couldn’t help but see Nautical.  It kept coming back to us even though we kind of wanted to attempt a Yellow Submarine party. (Maybe next ocean adventure). Nautical is so popular right now in design and fashion, that we thought “why not  bring it into entertaining”?  We put on our sailor hats and begun the brainstorm session.  Immediately, we thought of a deep blue and another blue and a red palette.  Must have anchors, and it must have stripes inspired by the New England lighthouses.  Must have fresh, cold water blue (or in our case red) crabs, and then of course a cute bib to wear while eating them. Paige’s kids overheard the brainstorm session and quickly asked if people actually ATE crabs? (We bet Maryland kids don’t ask their parents that). We had to show them how it’s done, so we asked if they wanted to have a crab boil and they screamed, “YES!” We called up some friends and incorporated it into a birthday party for one of their 8-year-old daughters.  It quickly spun into a true backyard summer crab boil and is perfect for this time of year. This party is also filled with super easy DIY party décor elements.

First up, DIY bibs. Striped fabric from the fabric store, penciled traced into a bib shape and cut with fabric scissors. We then cut out small squares of self-adhesive Velcro and connected them in the back with two pieces. Easy peasy. You can also tie them if you make the bib arms long enough. Next up, we designed an anchor logo that we gocco’d in red fabric ink on the bottom at a diagonal. We recommend everyone who entertains/crafts buy a gocco screen printer.  It is a compact Japanese screen printer that is genius for branding napkins, party favors, gift bags, t-shirts, boxes, etc. This time around it was bibs for us.  Of course, the grown-ups refused to wear them, but the kids sure did look cute.

Since this column was going to post right before Fourth of July, and our color palette was appropriate, we brought in big red and while dahlias for a sense of “firework” florals. Their big blooms just pop and can stand alone in any glass vessel, mason jar, old glass milk bottles, etc. They really added a simplistic, but powerful punch to our table.

CLICK HERE for the rest of the post (and a fun downloadable beer label!) after the jump!

As a fun photo booth backdrop for the kids, we took a large piece of packing foam core and cut out two holes for the kid’s heads. Painted it to mimic the invite and our nautical design theme and propped it up against a tree.  Tape off the stripes, use blue poster paint, and let your kids paint the stripes. If you can’t hand paint an anchor, you can always project the image onto the foam core and paint it live from there.

Feeling like we needed to bring in summer ale, we designed cute beer labels that fit within our décor that read “Anchor Brew”. You can DOWNLOAD THEM HERE (the file is large so please wait a minute or two for it to download) and have your nearby Kinko’s print them on sticky label paper. Remove your store bought ale labels, and stick these on for custom nautical themed ice-cold ale.

For a true summer crab boil, you need spices! And lemon! And butter dipping sauces! Of course, crackers and hammers to get the good yummy meat out. We couldn’t find blue crabs (a Maryland favorite) here on the west coast, so we went to our local seafood market for Dungeness crabs. We boiled them quickly (10 minutes) in hot water with these spices: yellow mustard seeds, coriander seeds, whole allspice, dill seeds, whole cloves, crushed red pepper, bay leaves, salt and cayenne pepper.

Cover your table with either newsprint or brown craft paper for a true New England crab fest. We incorporated a cute sign for the table that read “WHACK, CRACK, AND DIP”. We hammered and cracked and dipped in our three favorite butters: Lemon, Tabasco, and Garlic.  Corn on the cob, roasted new potatoes with fried rosemary, and a salad of arugula and lemon finished off the dinner. Washed down with the Anchor Ale and a kid’s party never was so fun.

Dessert was courtesy of good ole Martha Stewart. Kelly has tried every summer to cook a good pie and Martha’s blueberry crumble (again, trying to stay with the blue palette) is the best she’s made. You can try it for yourself here.  Top it off with some sparkler candles and it was nostalgic and festive all at once. Needless to say, there wasn’t a crumb left. (And you can see, the kids know how to make “crab” table decor).

The kids did prefer to eat the corn on the cob and the blueberry pie, and pretend the crabs were their pets… so it was definitely fun for everyone! Happy 4th of July! xoxo Paige + Kelly

all photos by bonnie tsang

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