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hunt, gather and host: winter picnic

by The BBB Craft Sisters

Happy New Year, everyone! We started the year off with a great plan for a winter get-together. We packed snowshoes, sleds, boots and our very best snowball-packing mittens and headed up north to Michigan. And we made invites to hand out to friends and family for a snowy sleigh ride picnic. But when we arrived, we discovered something we hadn’t even considered: no snow! Just as surprised as Bing Crosby and crew when they arrived in Vermont to find a dry, no-snow landscape, the three of us never imagined that January in northern Michigan might yield anything but a winter wonderland. 

So, we refocused our sleigh ride and opted for a winter picnic and beach bonfire. If there is one thing we’ve learned about throwing parties, it’s that you have to be flexible! And without snow covering the ground, it was easier to trek through the woods while gathering pieces of white birch bark, fallen branches and berries to make our party pretty. — bbbcraft sisters

CLICK HERE for the full party details and more ideas for throwing your own winter picnic after the jump!

We had planned on boxed lunches for our sleigh ride, and luckily we could still stick to that. We used one of our favorite cookbooks, Tom Colicchio’s ‘Wichcraft, to make the sandwiches: roasted turkey, avocado, bacon, onion relish and aioli. Homemade aioli takes a little extra effort but is so worth it!

We sliced potatoes for homemade potato chips, made pretzel sticks (from amazing bread book Local Breads), and included freshly baked chocolate-chip cookies (from Joanne Chang’s fantastic new baking book, Flour).

Then for the fun part of putting it all together! We used plaid paper napkins for a wintry, cottage feel and stamped the boxes and bags with a tree stamp.

With our packed lunches, we gathered together the rest of our supplies to keep our guests and us warm, cozy and happy. We loaded our big red cart with the essentials for a beach party in freezing temps: a thick Woolrich blanket, supplies for s’mores (we individually wrapped and packaged each so that fingers wouldn’t freeze assembling them), thermoses filled to mix hot toddies (hot water, lemon, honey, a few whole cloves, a cinnamon stick and a pinch of nutmeg) and a bottle of bourbon.

We filled a vintage slow cooker with ice and beers from two of our favorite Michigan breweries, North Peak and Bell’s.

With our cart complete, we just had to pull it on the path through the woods and down to the beach!

We cut pieces of birch bark, wrote the names of guests on them to label marshmallow roasting sticks and lit a roaring fire in the beach fire pit.

As we got set up for guests to arrive, we tried a few marshmallows ourselves (and a beer or two as well). The day after our party? It snowed.

Photos by David Robert Jones. Crafting, cooking and design by bbbcraft.

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