Spring is here and summer is not too far away. With the warmer weather finally here it’s time to move meal time out of the dining room and start enjoying some alfresco dining.
I love entertaining and host several large family gatherings outside every year. But when you’re eating outside, every bug, fly and crawly critter will make a bee-line to the food table and dive head-first into the dip. Guaranteed!
I’ve written about how to manage bugs outside naturally here, but when I’m hosting a large gathering it can get tricky keeping the flies away from the food table.
I have used the small ‘food tent’ which is netting stretched over an umbrella-like frame and sits over a small area. But it’s difficult to use when catering for large groups as you need a lot of them. Then it’s a tad annoying having to balance your plate, hold the food cover and pile on the food without spilling the lot.
I’ve also tried stretching a curtain of mosquito netting around the whole deck. It looks amazing, but with kids, adults, dogs and Shawn constantly pushing through the netting, it didn’t work very well. And then there’s the wind…..
This idea was close, but not quite right. This was how I came up with the idea of stretching some mosquito netting around a cantilever umbrella. This I’d be able to position over the food table, and not have to worry about enclosing the entire decking space.
I decided to go with a cantilever umbrella as it was able to cover a large area, and it also didn’t impact on any of the decorations that I like to put out for gatherings. But this style of cover would certainly work on any type of umbrella – especially the ones that fit in centre of the outdoor table.
The great thing about this is you don’t need to be an expert at sewing, need a sewing machine or fancy equipment. You just need a sewing needle and some thread in a colour that matches your umbrella. You then tack the mosquito netting to the edge of the umbrella using large stitches. It doesn’t even need to be straight! I simply sewed through the holes already in the netting and attached it to the edges of the umbrella as best I could. Easy.
I opted to sew it in place as we use this type of cover a lot throughout the year. If you’re looking for a temporary solution, then you could simply hold the material in place using bulldog clips.
Don’t forget to overlap the ends to ensure that your guests can easily access the table. By having a fairly large overlay, you’ll have enough material to cover the opening for when guests come and go, avoiding an annoying gap.
And there you have it. My simple – but effective – umbrella food cover.
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