Thanksgiving 2010

This time last year was difficult at best as my son struggled to recover from yet another major surgery precipitated by yet another bout with Crohn’s Disease. He was temporarily sprung from the hospital to enjoy the day with us, but he was unable to partake of the meal. Instead he received nourishment from the portable I.V. strapped on like a backpack. He took it like a champ. This year, although still not quite 100%, he is able to eat, eat, eat!!! I have prepared his favorite pecan pie just for him!


The “grownups” table for 12 set up in our living room has a little glitz and glam going for it. A seasonal rich chocolate brown table linen anchors the setting.
To offset the deep brown and add sparkle, I used lots of cut crystal that was sure to reflect the tiniest bit of light. Two crystal epergnes with gold trim are the crown jewels of the table. (Scroll further down this page to “Shake Your Tail Feather” to see this epergne used in a different tablescape, or click HERE to see it in a Christmas tablescape.)
The flowers in each of epergne include scads of seeded eucalyptus mixed with orange carnations and deep burgundy leucadendron. I opted for ivory metal case candles to avoid drips on the linens.
The smaller arrangements on this table are in cut crystal rose bowls with a pattern similar to that of the epergnes. Added to these arrangements are sprigs of russet-colored alstroemeria.
A patterned gold charger and ivory dinner plate are topped with rich chocolate napkins in a traditional fold. I gilded a handful of leaves (Lord knows there are plenty around to pick up!) and added an ivory mini pumpkin to plop on top. The leaves and pumpkins are repeated at intervals down the length of the table.
Longchamps crystal stemware again mimics the pattern of the floral vessels. Faux mother-of-pearl handled flatware completes the place setting.
I scaled back a bit on the amount of food this year, but I don’t think the menu disappoints. There’s a little something for everyone! The quote on each menu is from a book my husband received as a gift called “Gratitude”.
 The fireplace mantel receives a lightweight treatment of Longchamps crystal mini vases filled with the same flowers as I used on the table. An array of shiny gold-colored candlesticks with ivory candles (watching them like a hawk!!!) fills out the arrangement.
The children’s table is not so fancy. It’s mostly about utility here, with a shot of “ooh wee!” tossed in by way of the centerpiece. A simple ivory linen is topped with a fun runner.
Each child’s place setting consists of a pumpkin-colored melamine dinner plate topped with a colorful floral paper napkin. Everyday stemware and flatware round it out. (I want the kids to learn to use stemware as opposed to regular glasses. I don’t worry so much about breakage when I use these relatively inexpensive everyday stems.)
The centerpiece has all the same flowers as on the adults’ dining table presented in a wooden & metal planter. The floral arrangement is flanked by two metal treasure chests spilling over with apples and grapes. The framed menu is for the benefit of the lucky adult who draws the short straw and gets babysitting duty! 🙂

I wish for each of you a safe, happy, loving and warm Thanksgiving holiday!

Autumn Orchids

I recently created a few buffet and centerpiece floral arrangements for my friend, Angelynn, who is a caterer here in the Kansas City area. She wanted something with autumnal colors but appropriate for a business occasion at the KCPL Building in Kansas City’s Power & Light District.

All arrangements were created in clear glass cylinders of varying sizes. On the guest sign-in table, this asymmetrical arrangement of fresh mums, leucadendron, and a few curly willow tips was just right. Votive candles and smooth black river rock help to extend the circumference of the arrangement.

There were several areas of soft seating around the room. This is the arrangement as guests entered the reception space using a 39″H clear glass cylinder. Six-foot fresh curly willow is paired with tall stalks of leucadendron and dendrobium orchid stems anchored by greyish-white smooth river rock. The river rock is further extended onto the table, peppered with votives and orchid blossoms.

Another soft seating area on the other side of the room got a variation on the theme of the entry piece. This cylinder is created by submerging stalks of leucadendron and orchid stems, once again anchored with river rock and surrounded by votives. Tip: Both orchids and leucadendron can survive without water for several hours, so if you don’t want the burden of drying out tall floral vessels, feel free to skip the wet stuff!

High boy tables along the window areas have a simple fall mum in a clear glass globe with a few river rocks for added interest and texture. These definitely must have a bit of water to survive!

The buffet arrangements are comprised of tall glass cylinders with lots of 6-ft. fresh curly willow, a few stalks of leucadendron, and two 6-ft. faux orchid stems anchored with river rock for counterbalance and visual interest.

On the guest tables, two different but complementary centerpieces using the clear floral vessels, orchids, mums, leucadendron and river rock with a couple of votives. I did add a couple of quarts of water to these arrangements after getting everything else on the table to reflect the votives dancing nearby.

Anna’s Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Angelynn Barge Howell, Proprietor


Centerpiece Wednesdays Button

I am pleased to join the busy Style Sisters for Centerpiece Wednesdays!

Morocco for Two

Thanksgiving Day is almost here! Hooray!!! Before the hungry guests descend upon the house and the busy shoppers start slugging it out in the department store aisles, it’s time to take a deep, calming breath and just relax. What better way than to snuggle in with your honey with lots and lots and lots of candlelight!!!


The last few weeks have been a bit of a whirlwind. I decided to slow things down a bit and spend a quiet evening with my husband without all the distractions of the outside world with a much needed at-home respite! I wanted to convey romance, peace and calm, so this setting did us both a world of good!




When called in for dinner, my husband was met with a bevy of candlelight on the stairway adjacent to the library.


We have dined in the library only one other time with other people. Tonight, it was just the two of us in our big leather club chairs. (To see more tablescapes in the library, click HERE, HERE, HERE , HERE , HERE, HERE and HERE.)



I’ve grown a bit weary of strictly autumnal decor. I kept the fall color palette but spiced it up with this fabulous Moroccan-style throw for the table topper with a solid black skirt. The beading on this throw is magnificent, and I really like the design. (That big ol’ reproduction Louis XVI vitrine in the background is slowly but surely becoming our home’s 3rd bar!)




It’s a little tough to discern by the photos, but the chargers are actually a rich bronze color. The dinner and salad plates are solid black. The classically folded silk napkins – a splurge for sure! – mimic one of the colors of the throw. My beautiful Hampton Silversmiths “San Remo” flatware and Godinger “Chelsea” collection crystal stemware rounds out the place settings.


With such a tiny table and so much pattern, it was hard to imagine candlesticks along with the intentionally very slender black centerpiece vase. (Notice I used a single orchid stem to keep it streamlined. Smooth black river stones anchor the orchid in the vase and keep the monochromatic black illusion alive so as not to take away from the throw’s design.) I opted for these cool copper jeweled boxes from Pier 1 into which I just dropped a clear votive candle. Just the perfect amount of romantic illumination!

Home of the Lions!

This past week was such an emotionally difficult one with the passing of my dear friend, Delia Young. To the rescue were our dear friends who moved from Kansas City to the Detroit, Michigan area a couple of years ago! Ramon and I stepped on a plane bound for Michigan on Friday morning…no small feat as I am terrified of flying. There was no way, however, I would have missed out on visiting with our very special and incredibly gracious hosts…even if it meant I had to fly to get there!


The special treatment started at the front entry of their lovely lakeside home (above). It just got more and more special as we were treated to an inspired tablescape created by our hostess, Rene, to herald our arrival and declare the team spirit that runs deep.


Rene put her creativity to work to put together this incredible tablescape to get Ramon and me into the Lions spirit for the Sunday game!

The team colors of Honolulu blue, silver, black and white were all incorporated into the imaginative place settings with the placemats, team napkins and helmets, and chargers.

The cute miniature cars pay homage to both the Ford Motor Company which is headquartered in Dearborn, a suburb of Detroit, Michigan, AND to my sweet hubby who is a plant doctor at the Ford Assembly Plant in Missouri.

Rene thought of absolutely everything when putting this tablescape together, including this hilarious depiction of the Lions crushing the New York Jets!!! She and her imaginative friend, Karen, conspired to create the ultimate centerpiece with this bronze-come-silver lion. They actually came up with the brilliant idea to dust the bronze lion with silver cake dust to sync with the Lions’ official colors!!! Is that not the greatest??!?!?!!

The menu included a feast fit for a King of the Jungle! (I actually turned down dessert at one of the city’s toniest restaurants to get back home to Rene’s pear upside-down cake!)

Rene thought of everything! The Beef Wellington even had a puff pastry “L” for Lions on it! (This was her first attempt at Beef Wellington, but had I not seen her prepare it with my own eyes, I would have sworn it was catered! Magnificent!!!) For the record, I officially gained 4 pounds from Rene’s wonderful cooking over the three days we were there!

Our lovely and very thoughtful hostess surveys her handiwork.

Ramon and I are still staunch Kansas City Chiefs fans (forever!!!), but thanks to our gracious hosts we have a special place in our hearts for the Motor City and home of the Lions!

Other sports-themed posts on this blog include:
Hometown Pride – Kansas City Chiefs
The 19th Hole – Golf & Forever Love
Boys of Summer
Football Tablescape – Kansas City Chiefs In the Red Zone

I am so happy to share my thoughtful friend’s creation with everyone who visits my blog and that of the Style Sisters’ Centerpiece Wednesday and Susan’s Tablescape Thursdays! Enjoy!!!

Centerpiece Wednesdays ButtonBetween Naps On The Porch

Autumn by the Embers


I want to dedicate this post to the memory of my dear friend, Delia Young, whose life was senselessly cut short at the tender of age of 67. Without getting into graphic detail, Delia’s body was discovered by a maintenance worker in her townhome in the gated community where she lived this past Monday, the victim of a robbery/homicide. Delia, who lived alone since her husband passed away, was incapacitated and recently confined to a wheelchair. Her incomprehensible demise was vicious and ruthless.

Delia Young was a wonderfully motivational woman with a gift of gab. She was a teacher, a leader, a workhorse and a gracious lady all in one. Along with my husband and best friend, she “pestered” me into starting a blog and teaching a Communiversity course on the art of tablescaping.  Delia lived a distinguishable life with great pride, persistence, dignity, and deliberation. Those enviable personal qualities, along with her incomparable smile, are among the treasured memories I will keep in my mind and my heart. So, unto that end, I devote this post to my “fancy friend”, Delia, and promise to make her proud in heaven.

For My Fancy Friend,
Delia Young

There is nothing that speaks of a chilly night’s relief like the warmth of a crackling fire. I wish we had a fireplace in every room of the house! But since we don’t, I tuck furniture away in Ramon’s office (thanks, honey!) and set up intimate dining in our casual, cozy family room.

On any given night, especially in the cool weather months, I’m a firm believer that you can never have too much candlelight!



It’s fun for us to linger in front of the fireplace over dinner and dessert with another couple. The food is always hearty, the conversation is relaxed and witty, and the wine bottle is bottomless! We’ve been entertaining a lot over the past year, and this little table for just the four of us was a nice change of pace.


I used rich rust-colored metal chargers, rustic avocado green (does that description date me?) plates and soup bowls, brown cotton napkins and simple faux mother-of-pearl flatware. To keep the tablescape from looking blah, I used a fanciful print cotton table linen with a plain ivory underskirt. The centerpiece floral was loosely constructed, using complementary colors. The ivory centerpiece pillar candles rest atop rustic…dare I say it again…avocado green candlesticks.


I thought it would be kind of fun to put a faux artichoke votive holder at each place setting.


Ramon gets very antsy about all this fire, but I love it! It’s so soothing and everybody looks better by candlelight!!! (After that near disaster in September, I watch candles like a hawk!!!) The tapers set against the mirror double back the look for depth and extra light. The side votives extend the mantel piece and provide an additional level of light. (Varied levels of light is infinitely more interesting to the eye than a static level!)