When you want to paddle that extra mile for a summer theme party, here's a bit of inspiration. This would be fun for kids of all ages, and especially those who love the lake and have a canoe trip or two in their memory repertoire.

Home and garden design duo Anne and Rick Vernon (www.roomsnblooms.com) dreamed up this campsite setting for a fundraiser hosted by the Junior League of Toronto. Titled “Up the Creek Without a Table,” it has elements that are familiar and memorable. The canoe is sitting on two tree stumps with a V notched out of them. English sycamore boards rest on a plywood base set into the center of the canoe. A miniature woodland garden hides the base. If you don't have a canoe on hand, the camp style can be produced with other decorative features that connect to the lake and tripping.

Check out garage and yard sales for recycled camping gear. Wood-plank mats, enamelware plates and cups, twiggy cutlery, fishing-float napkin rings made with fishing net and lures and wood and canvas camp stools all combine to set the mood.

Place cards were originally Christmas-tree decorations; the hangers were removed and names painted on. You can make these with craft paper by cutting out two canoe shapes and sewing the sides together with a blanket stitch using fine twine or yarn. Vintage oil lamps shed light on the festivities. Serve up some doughboys and S'Mores along with the catch of the day, and you've got a sure hit. I guarantee there will be singing.

Q: I have seen rooms where you have stenciled large topical leaves and bamboo patterns onto walls. I would like to do this in my bathroom, but am having difficulty finding the stencils. Do you make your own? Thanks for all your great ideas.

A: You can locate ready-made stencils for your project through the Internet by using search words “large tropical leaf stencils.” They can be used many times and are an economical decorating solution that is easy, and the results make you feel like an artist.

For my television shows, we often make our own stencils. Draw or scan the image you want and size it on a photocopier. Tape the photocopy to a cutting board and then tape a piece of Mylar (stencil plastic) over the image. Trace the shape onto the Mylar with a marker, or you can cut directly using a craft knife. It's a good idea to cut out two or three stencils. If you are creating a repeat pattern, cut small holes as registration marks so that you can position your image accurately.

Debbie Travis' House to Home column is produced by Debbie Travis and Barbara Dingle.