White Hot

Planning a table for an low-key, intimate New Year’s Eve dinner party can be a little tough. We had a super sparkly table last year, and I am considering a similarly blinged out table for this year’s celebration. (Click HERE to see last year’s post, “Ringing in the New Year.”)

For those preferring something a bit more subdued before the noisemakers come out, here’s an idea table that just might fit the bill.

I am and always will be a sucker for a full-length white linen for most semi-formal and formal settings, unless you have a table with a pristine finish or interesting design.

I used some of my favorite TJ Maxx creamy white dishes with scrolled rims atop the polished silverplate chargers, but just about any nice white dishes will do.

International Silver “Royal Danish” sterling flatware adds to the formality of the place settings.

Godinger‘s “Chelsea” collection crystal stemware.

White linen napkins pulled through heavy crystal napkin rings from Z Gallerie‘s 2010 collection.

Simple silver spheres to hold place cards.

Reflective silver 14-inch, 5-branch candelabra dripping with crystal bobeches grace the center of the table. If you have concerns about fire safety like my husband does after THIS fiery fiasco last summer, reduce the risk by using metal case candles (also referred to as mechanical candles) such as these from Paradise Candles. Not only do they up the fire safety ante, but they save your nice linens from wax drips.

If Christmas broke the bank for you, alstroemeria is a good economical flower choice. Here, a single bunch from the florist is divided and arranged in classic silver julep cups.

The clean, polished look is finished off with scattered cut crystal votives.

This look is also appropriate for a bridal shower, rehearsal dinner, adult birthday or a little something special on Christmas Eve.

I’ll post this year’s actual New Year’s Eve dinner party tablescape next week…if I can decide exactly what I want to do with it! 🙂


Winter Brunch

Christmas Day dinner at my son and his girlfriend’s house was so much fun!

Perhaps a little too much fun! (I’m getting too old for all this frivolity!) 🙂

On the day after Christmas, my husband and I shared a leisurely winter brunch with our overnight guests. This was a great way to kick off the day before making rounds to connect with other visiting relatives.

A casual mid-morning brunch in the breakfast nook was easy to put together. This would work really well for a New Year’s Day brunch, too, with Bloody Marys or some other such “hair of the dog.”

I have had these Eddie Bauer Home pine cone dishes for about 7 years but have only used them a couple of times. What is wrong with me??!?!?! They are perfect for any time during the winter season. I really like the deep green rimmed with gold.

A white cotton napkin simply folded and drawn through the handle of the coffee mug works well for this unassuming brunch table.

Gold-rimmed crystal flutes serve up a cranberry & champagne breakfast cocktail.

Man, oh man…this goldtone flatware has really gotten a workout this Christmas season! Natural pine cone place card holders were my first and only choice!

I considered a small floral for the centerpiece, but this faux snow-dusted pine cone, berry and greenery arrangement borrowed from the living room worked out just fine.

Just as we finished brunch, the sun was overtaken by rain clouds that opened up for a brief period to cleanse the air. I think it was to wash all that reindeer smell out of the air from Christmas Eve! (Although all we got was coal. And not just a lump of coal….a whole truckload! What does that tell you?) 😉

Hope you had a very Merry Christmas filled with joy and happiness. Here’s wishing you a safe and happy New Year!!!

Don’t forget about Susan’s Tablescape Thursday this week. I’m sure you’ll find lots of beautiful Christmas-themed photos that will make you smile!

Really Red Christmas

This isn’t a tablescape, but I thought you might like to see the decor around the main floor of our home for Christmas 2011. I didn’t have to spend one thin dime (lucky me, because I don’t have one to spare!), but I had a ball rifling through all the decor stored in crates that I have either never used or haven’t worked with for a while. We may have had to scale way back this year, but I think it’s pretty…and very, very red!!!
(Click on any photo to enlarge it. Photos by Sheri L. Grant.)

Upon entering the front door, this is the view up the stairwell. I love lots of candlelight! This works beautifully for Christmas or even for a candlelight wedding anytime of year. These are all LEDs for safety’s sake, of course!

At the very top of the stairs is this goose from the family room all dressed up for Christmas.

The banister in the front entry hall is adorned with lighted wreaths hung with the same gold polka-dotted red velvet ribbon used inside and out this year. The poinsettia by the front door was a gift from our neighbor.

I dressed the dining room to replicate as closely as possible the same decor I used for the children’s Christmas party earlier this season sans tableware. (Click HERE to see the children’s party post.) I also added a few wreaths to dress it up a bit more.

Across the hall in the library is a reproduction Louis XIV vitrine that we use as another bar. It is dressed in lighted greenery that reflects beautifully behind the crystal decanters.

On the opposite side of the room is a secretary with multiple Christmas trees and lighted greenery on top.

Our faithful servant, Geoffrey, is delighted (NOT!) to serve up a Christmas cocktail!

Back out into the foyer heading into the family room is a narrow table with two small decorated trees laden with red lights that cast a warm glow on the family photo in the center.

The family room window has a large grapevine wreath dripping with red berries, oversized ornaments, and frosted pinecone greenery.

Furniture has been moved all around (and some completely out!) to accommodate a modest tree. The reindeer and mantel greenery are the same used in the centerpiece for our cul-de-sac Christmas Progressive Dinner. (Click HERE for that post.)

I don’t know about you, but I don’t mind being a bit naughty at all! Mae West once quipped that “Good girls go to heaven, but bad girls go everywhere.” 😉

The bookshelves are treated with pinecone greenery dotted with shiny red ornaments and berry-filled grapevine wreaths. Another goose is all decked out for the holidays, and one of my favorite photos with my parents enjoys a special place of honor near the tree.

This is a photo of the tree when I first received it. My Mom knew it wasn’t in any way, shape, or form dressed the way I would like it, but she recognized that it was just the right size I needed so she bought it for us. So it went from this BEFORE…

…to this AFTER. We had considerably less floor space to work with this year, so a smaller tree was the solution. I ditched most of the ornaments that came with the tree, so it is now drizzled with red ornaments and berry clusters illuminated by soft white lights. I was surprised by just how many red ornaments I have amassed over the years! The “skirt” is a length of artfully scrunched gold silk fabric.

A smaller version of the reindeer by the fireplace stands guard atop the television armoire.

Moving from the family room into the kitchen, a large hurricane lantern is decorated for the holidays.

Centered in the window of the kitchen’s eating area is another grapevine wreath similar to the one in the living room. This one, however, is adorned with just a gossamer gold bow.

I spend many tedious hours at the kitchen sink, so a little tree flanked by drying red chili peppers cheers the area.

With the über crappy year we’ve had, it would be easy to simply throw up our hands, stuff our faces with Krispy Kremes, and be total Scrooges.

We choose instead to put it all behind us and forge ahead…because what matters is that through it all, we have each other.

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!

Get Me to the Church On Time!

All I can say is, “Thank you, Lord, for allowing me to squeeze this in during this busy, crazy holiday season!” (Click HERE if you would like to see all of our indoor Christmas decor for this year.)


IMG_3445WMA Christmas bridal shower and wedding presents an opportunity to include the flavor of the holiday season without overdosing on it. With this shower, held in the evening, I made a valiant pass at it using some tried-and-true techniques and design elements.



IMG_3429WMA flowing white cotton full-length linen is the start of an elegant table. The red chargers I have relied upon this season were a great start to a stylish place setting. The red charger (Target) is topped with a decorative gold one from Old Time Pottery. (Click HERE or HERE to see this same technique used with different dishes and silver chargers.) No-name dishes I bought in the early 90s at a discount department store are still a treasure to me today with their traditional holly design.


IMG_3507WMI just love it when things work out. I went with our linen napkins bearing the first initial of our last name that coincidentally (again, thank you, Lord!) is the initial of the last name the bride will take as her own this weekend. The colorful beaded napkin rings were a steal last year at Old Time Pottery for just 99¢ each!


IMG_3498WMA mix of gold-rimmed clear (Tuesday Morning) and cherry red stemware (Pier 1) is illuminated by the glow of abundant candlelight.

IMG_3482WMMy old standby goldtone flatware worked well to round out the place setting.


IMG_3450WMStock Christmas cards create a menu with the theme of the evening, “Get Me to the Church On Time!” I used this same technique last year HERE for our Christmas season kickoff dinner.


IMG_3500WMOne more “thank you, Lord!” in that I was able to reuse the cranberries used HERE. I created a similar version of this centerpiece made up of various sizes of cylinders parading down the table with vibrant orchids for a beautiful summer engagement party. Click HERE and scroll down to “Love and Orchids” to see that table. Floating cranberries and candles in the cylinders provides multi-level color and ambient light. Full-blown roses with sprigs of bright red berries and holly finish the look.

That’s it! I’m sure the wedding will go off without a hitch, and this will be a Christmas to remember!

Please take a little break from all the hustle & bustle of the season to join the party at Susan’s Tablescape Thursday again this week. There’s so much incredible tablescaping talent out there!



Photographer/Best Friend Sheri & me!


My supportive, loving parents & me!

The Art of Tablescaping Goes Live!

The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires.” — William Arthur Ward

This Spring I hope to earn my stripes as both a superior and great teacher
when I teach my first ever class,
“The Art of Tablescaping”
through Longview Community College in Lee’s Summit, MO.

Working up the nerve to stand among eager students and teach what I know like the back of my hand and love like a baby has been a long time coming. Since retiring two years ago, I have taken on a relative timidity…a complete 180° from my professional life. But because I feel so passionate about the fine art of entertaining and creating enjoyable, relaxing, memorable dining atmospheres, I am stepping up to the plate and making that first pitch on March 6, 2012.

If you live in the Kansas City area and would like to take the course, I’m posting below the school’s catalog information. If you know anyone who may be interested, please pass the information along to them. Signing up is as easy as phoning the Community Education office at Longview College at (816) 604-2030. If you live outside of the metropolitan area, I’ll be quite happy with any and all support you have to give!
Above all, please pray that I don’t wet my britches in front of all those people! 🙂

Christmas Progressive Dinner

Each Christmas season Ramon and I team up with our cul-de-sac buddies for a much-anticipated Progressive Dinner. If you’re unfamiliar with the term, it’s when several households progress from one home to the next for several dinner courses. This year the Alsups did the fabulous cocktails and hors d’ouevres which included bacon-wrapped water chestnuts, homemade cheese straws, crab-stuffed mushroom caps, and a very sneaky cranberry/vodka/sparkling wine drink. (Click on photos to enlarge.)


IMG_3735WMIt was one of those drinks that will creep up and whack you over the head if you’re not careful! Delicious!!! Next, to the Jenisons for a tasty but healthy salad with heavenly home-baked wheat bread.


Salad course at the Jenisons’. Ramon is taking the picture.

We then moved on to our home for the entrée before hopping across the street to the Rutherfords’ for a variety of sinful desserts, coffee and after-dinner drinks. I went to the doctor the day after for a routine check-up. I had gained 2 pounds from the previous week, and my blood pressure was up. Uh….duh!!!


IMG_3568WMI wanted to do a really dramatic, special, over-the-top tablescape to thank my neighbors for their kindness, generosity and goodness of heart throughout the year. Two 6-ft. tables placed together horizontally are covered with full-length white linens in our family room.



IMG_3589WMI love the double charger treatment, so a sparkly red 13″ charger (Target 2008) is topped with a goldtone 12″ (Hobby Lobby). The dishes are Pfaltzgraff’s  wonderfully traditional “Winterberry” which is one of my favorite Christmas designs.

IMG_3577WMI like to use our initialed linen dinner napkins whenever possible. For this night I dressed them up with a red berry napkin ring. I just used a standard berry stem from Hobby Lobby that I twisted to encircle the easy, classic napkin fold. LOTS of color and dimension, and it adds a little more height to the place setting!!!

IMG_3582WMI am SO happy to have finally jumped on the Dollar Tree train! This soft green stemware that I picked up there is coming in handy for so many table settings! (Click here to see it used in a very contemporary table setting.)

IMG_3579WMI bought these rockin’ gold metal reindeer wholesale many years ago when I owned my fine rentals business. They measure 36″H without the antlers, so they’re perfect for the “go big or go home” look I love so much. I covered the center of the table with a couple of clear plastic trash bags to keep the linens underneath clean. I dressed each for the evening with a collar of berries with a red velvet bow. (To see last year’s cul-de-sac progressive dinner – dressed up with different reindeer decor – click HERE and scroll down to “Noel Progressive Dinner“.

IMG_3575WMI painstakingly placed each branch of this flocked pine cone greenery to create a sort of wreath to cover the reindeer stands. Red berry picks and shiny red Christmas ornaments finish off the fun yet sophisticated reindeer centerpiece.

IMG_3704WMWe were dining in the family room, so I dressed the top of the television armoire to complement the table with this small reindeer and lots of lighted greenery punctuated with red berries, ribbon, and ornaments.


The grapevine wreath in the window is covered with a profusion of red berries and finished off with a few flocked faux branches, pinecones, oversized Christmas balls and red velvet ribbon. I kept the mantel simple with two smaller grapevine & berry wreaths.

Oh, and in case you’re wondering about the menu…Cornish hens basted in a garlic butter sauce, wild rice and green beans. Our neighbors, Carla and Jim, were unable to attend this year’s dinner but sent over homemade cinnamon sugar-dusted Parker rolls.

So another year, another wonderful Progressive Dinner with fine friends who we love and cherish. God is good! From our homes to yours, have a very Merry Christmas!!!

Please join me again this week for Tablescape Thursday over at Susan’s Between Naps on the Porch!

Cranberry Christmas – Squared

If you like decorating with cranberries at Christmastime, this is a look you might enjoy. This is the version of it on a square table (also suitable for a round). To see the Tuscan-style (long) table version, click HERE.


IMG_3402WMInstead of placing the 6-ft. oblong  tables end-to-end, they are placed side-by-side to create more of a square.


IMG_3409WMBecause of the formal nature of this table (bread plate, additional flatware) and the oversized charger, it will seat just 8 guests. Using the more traditionally sized 12″ charger and eliminating the bread plate buys about 8 extra inches on each side and will let you seat 10.


IMG_3412WMThis large silver bowl is filled with water topped with fresh cranberries (3 bags here) and floating candles. Cranberries naturally rise (you’ve seen the Ocean Spray Cranberry Juice commercials!), so the look is achieved without any extra work! (Note: Carefully place the candles in the arrangement so as not to get the wick wet.)

IMG_3415WMThe same small floral arrangements placed at each person’s place setting on a long table HERE are used to surround the massive silver centerpiece bowl on this table for a completely different look.

Creamy white full-blown and spray roses, red berries, and bits of winter greenery in silver julep cups are the perfect accent. Depending on how they are arranged, fewer small arrangements are required for the square table.

IMG_3414WMThe same 27″ silverplated candlesticks used on the Tuscan-style table are used here, but a fourth one has been added to completely surround the center bowl. The same silver mercury glass votives are used here again, but in a different pattern.

So that’s one table with two distinctive looks. The silver pedestal bowls used here are 17½”H and 19″W which is pretty doggone hefty. In this case, size doesn’t matter….you can get the same pretty look using a smaller bowl with shorter candlesticks.

More tables on this site using a square table:
Christmas Progressive Dinner
Pheasants & Peacocks
Serpents & Skullduggery
Sunflower Simple
“Flamingos in Paradise”

Roses in October
Noel Progressive Dinner 2010
It’s the Great Pumpkin

Don’t forget to check out Susan’s Tablescape Thursday!!!

Cranberry Christmas – Long Table

My cousin (no, not the weird one…the other one!) recently asked for formal Christmas tablescape ideas using cranberries as a part of the decor. Ask, and you shall receive! This table is shown in the Tuscan-style (long) form. Click HERE to see how the look of the same basic decor changes with a square table. (The 2nd look would also work quite well with a round table!)


IMG_3361WMHere, two 6′ x 30″ oblong tables are set end-to-end to create a 12-ft. table. With the large amount of decorative detail, generously proportioned 13″ chargers, and increased amount of china and flatware, however, it only seats 8. Using the more common 12″ charger, smaller decorative elements, and eliminating the bread plate would free up space for up to 12 guests.


The Christmas holidays are a time for over-the-top tablescapes that have a lush, luxurious feel to them. Using an additional charger can help achieve that look and feel. I like to remove the first one after the salad course and the second after the entrée. (Formal etiquette calls for removing all chargers before the entrée is served, but many guests enjoy the additional razamatazz. Depending on who I’m entertaining, it might stay or go!) For this place setting, a 13″ sparkly red charger (Target) is topped with a 12″ silverplate charger. Any plates with a formal holiday vibe will work. I used my trusty Noritake “Spectrum” dinner and salad plates with the simple, sleek platinum band.

A crisp white cotton napkin with a monogram or initial is always perfect for a formal setting. An icy crystal napkin ring from Z Gallerie helps to set this one off against the silver and white plates.

J.A. Henckels’ “Bellaserra” flatware has a beautiful mirrored finish that works well with the silver & white tablescape. A black-handled steak knife is added for use with the entrée.

IMG_3379WMCristal d’Arques “Longchamps” crystal stemware is always a nice choice. The diamond-shaped cut of this crystal mimics the cut of the Z Gallerie napkin ring.

Cranberries are wonderful for Christmastime decorating! They are relatively inexpensive (you can pick them up for as little as 99¢ a bag at Aldi’s or similar discount grocery stores), and they can be used in SO many ways. To dress them up, I am floating them in silver pedestal bowls with candles. (I used this pedestal bowl filled with rose petals for a wedding tablescape HERE.)

IMG_3366WMPlaced at strategic intervals down the table are three 27″ silverplate candlesticks with pillar candles. The candlesticks lend height to the table as well as ambient light at a higher level. The rose-filled silver julep cups placed at each person’s place setting work well as tabletop decor during the meal and as a nice take-home gift after dinner.

Ambient light at the lowest level is provided by silver mercury glass votive holders.

The red berry theme is extended with a berry-covered grapevine wreath over the mantel. The greenery on the wreath is the same used in the small julep arrangements on the table. Additional silver mercury glass votives flank the wreath.

So…if you have space for a 12-ft.+ table, this style works very well. (Two 8-ft. tables would require additional decorative pieces, but would be extra FABulous!!!) Of course, it requires a bit more decor because of its length, but it’s the same as doing two rounds. To see the squared version of this table which can also be done with a round, click HERE.

More tablescape designs on this site using long tables:
Oopsy Daisy!”
Raining Orchids
September Wine
Autumn White Wedding
Get Me to the Church On Time
Daisy Crazy
Blue & White Family Picnic
Thanksgiving 2010
Hollywood Fright Night
Celebrate the Season
Black, White & Red All Over
Pretty In Pink
Love & Orchids”
Tented Green

A few other Christmas tablescapes on this site include:
Celebrate the Season
Christmas in the Woods
“Kaleidoscope Christmas”
“Merry & Bright – Multi-Color Christmas”
“Christmas Through the Red Door”
“Life Is A Cabaret – New Year’s Eve”
Waking Up to Christmas – Bedroom Decor
Black, White & Red All Over Christmas
Christmas 2012 – Red, Black & Silver
Checkered Christmas
Pink & Purple Chocolate Christmas
Sugar High Payback
Contemporary Christmas
Gentlemen’s Winter Retreat
Woodland Men’s Tablescape
Cranberry Christmas Squared
Get Me To the Church On Time
Christmas Progressive Dinner
White Hot
Winter Brunch
Really Red Christmas
Roman Holiday
Cardinal Christmas
Frosty the Snowman
March of the Penguins
Winter Cardinal
Ideas for Throwing a Winter Dessert Party
Christmas Fiesta
Over the River and Through the Woods
Black Friday Luncheon
Noel Progressive Dinner
Old-Fashioned Red & Green Christmas
Timberland Christmas
Christmas Coffee
Warm Metal Christmas
Let It Snow
Tuscan Holiday

Fa-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la! I am joining Susan and the other tablescapers from around our glorious world for Tablescape Thursday again this week. You’re invited to come along for the ride!