Paint, Misbehaving: On Neighborday, We Get Crafty Over Cocktails

PHOTO BY RYAN BENOIT

Saturday found us at the rosemary-lined house of our friend Danielle Gano, where we spent the afternoon painting chevrons on terracotta pots, drinking prosecco, and eating every kind of cheese imaginable. In other words: It was the perfect day.

Danielle’s the founder of bicoastal PR agency Elle Communications. She’s also a sparkling embodiment of style, philanthropy and the contagious sort of inventiveness that makes you want to recreate her party punch/dessert displays/tabletop bouquets the moment you get home. When she invited us over to design planters (inspired by thisthis and this), plant herbs and make cocktails (“Maybe we need a cocktail date to plan our cocktail date…” she suggested in the early stages), we jumped at the chance to get crafty. Plus: “I had a couple of friends in town and I knew the weather wasn’t going to be sunny enough for the beach,” she said, “so I thought that painting pots would be the perfect excuse to spend the afternoon outside in the yard.”

Here is what transpired:

The Elle cocktail, with vodka, kombucha, and mint.

Along with her friends Lisa, Cynthia and Nathan, we sipped the Elle, a drink Danielle invented with vodka, rose kombucha, fresh-squeezed lemon juice, cane sugar and muddled mint. Ryan garnished the glasses with edible nasturtiums he foraged earlier that day.

Danielle's Weimeraner, Sir Weylin Von Barrington

Danielle’s Weimaraner, Sir Weylin Von Barrington, eyes the nibbles. The menu included cured meats, artichoke dip, fig cocoa jam and cheeses like rosemary asiago, aged gouda and balsamic BellaVatino.

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The pots and the paints…

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…and the plants, provided by Danielle. The herbs included dill, parsley, lavender, thyme, sage and basil.

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From left: Cynthia, Danielle, Chantal and Lisa plan their potters.

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Danielle lives just a few blocks away from us near Windansea Beach. Coincidentally, the garden party fell on Neighborday!

C goes to town on her pattern, which...um, didn't turn out as planned. Let's just say, we all wondered aloud if a plant could die of shame. (Brought on by a messily painted chevron.)

C goes to town on her pattern, which…um, didn’t turn out as planned. Let’s just say, we all wondered aloud if a plant could “die of shame from a messily painted chevron.

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Designs ranged from stark and geometric to freeform and exuberant.

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“I absolutely love the unique midcentury layout of the house,” says Danielle of her home, which she moved into last September. “From the front, you hardly even see a house at all – just a hill of yellow flowers inviting you in.” It’s set around a courtyard in an L-shape. She adds, “With five girls, this means a lot of separated spaces with loads of room and privacy. Glass doors and skylights bring nature and light into the house and the midcentury touches — wood paneled walls, accordion shutters, split doors and the most fabulous turquoise laminate countertops and walls you have ever seen — give the house personality.”

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Sir Weylin’s ear gets a splash of turquoise…

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…ditto Danielle’s dress.

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For dessert, we celebrated Cynthia’s birthday over rose, lavender, pistachio, chocolate, vanilla and salted caramel macarons, mini peanut butter chocolate bon bons, mini salted caramel brownies, mini crème bruleé, mini pistachio cakes, and an oversized vanilla cupcake.

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Cynthia makes pompoms look elegant.

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In the craft section, Lisa added googly eyes to the mix, citing the following Christopher Walker classic from SNL:

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Adorable!

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Our post-painting victory portrait.

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In which we recreate American Gothic.

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Ryan takes time away from the camera to indulge another talent.

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He didn’t even use painter’s tape to achieve this groovy effect! Safe to say, whatever herb is planted here has a long life ahead of it.