Welcome Back, Joel!

Our young friend from the country of Benin in Africa, Joel Ayatode (pronounced AH-ya-TOW-day), came back to the States this past week. Just as we bid Joel adieu with a farewell dinner last September when he returned to his home country (Summer Breeze), we wanted to do something casual but fun to welcome him back again. His wife, Loretta, offered to do the cooking. ‘Nuff said; game on! 🙂

Teetering on that edge between winter and spring, I dressed the table with elements that reflect this “seasonally challenged” time of year. Looking in the yard, we have both bare trees and the heads of early spring flowers emerging. We’re starting to hear the birds chirping at daybreak, too.

We have all seen these versatile ivory plates from TJ Maxx. I use them frequently because they can so easily switch from one mood to another…kind of like the weather in the Kansas City area! The design also seemed to complement the flowers in linen’s the tree branches.

I bought these oil rubbed bronze napkin rings at Pier One a couple of years ago. I’ve never had a chance to use them until now. I didn’t want to go all Hitchcock and overdo the bird theme with this table, so it is the only other aviary reference besides the table linen.

To keep the look of the table’s center consistent, I used plain clear glass stemware.

Simple banded edge stainless flatware is used so as not to conflict with the busy pattern of the linen.

This is another table linen that I made!!! When I saw the fabric, I just had to have it! I found the deep mustard color very attractive, and the birds in the nearly naked branches reminded me of the fickle change of seasons.

 

This 15.5″ low glass container was used to offset the dead center of the tablescape. Smooth river rock in the water reminded me of a brook. Votive candles nicely reflected off the water, reminding me of how the stars shine on the nearby lake. A simple arrangement of tulips – a sure sign of spring – in the center added height, color, and visual depth.

 

Keeping with the clear glass used in the center, I filled these narrow cylinders with tulips. Placing two small vases on each end rather than one seemed more interesting than a single larger vase.


To mimic the linen pattern and to add lots of height to the center arrangement, I used curly willow branches in tall glass cylinders. This added to the natural, outdoorsy feel.

The simple addition of 15 clear glass cylindrical votives subtly lights the buffet adjacent to the dining table.

After a wonderful and VERY filling meal prepared by Loretta’s loving hands, it was time for dessert. While this had absolutely nothing to do with the theme of the dinner party, I just thought it would be fun to honor our special guests with their monogram on the cake and cupcakes I made! These old arthritic hands could barely squeeze the icing out! 🙂


L to R: Incredibly patient husband Ramon, very helpful stepdaughter Robyn, our guests of honor Joel & Loretta Ayatode, and Robyn’s sweet & comical longtime friend Kamille Jefferson. (Joel’s eyes look a little tired in this photo. Poor thing was suffering serious jet lag from the 15+ hour trip!)

Pudgy little ol’ me just before the guests arrive. Notice how I placed the watermark on the photo to try to cover up my problem area! I’ll need much bigger lettering than this!!! 🙂

More tablescapes using curly willow on this site:
Blushing Bridal
Copper Zen
Autumn Blues

I hope it’s much closer to spring where you are today! Thanks for stopping by, and don’t forget to check out the work of all the other incredibly talented tablescapers at Susan’s Tablescape Thursday!