September Harvest Breakfast Tablescape

Since I began teaching my “Fabulous Fall Tablescaping” class last week, I am suddenly in the mood for everything fall. Never mind that the cooled temperatures and shift in barometric pressure have my arthritis jacked up to full throttle. The leaves are starting to turn, the nights are ripe for snuggling, and the mornings are just beautiful!

I created one of two harvest-inspired tables for the first night of class with hopes of getting my students fired up about the season, too. I’m joining Cuisine Kathleen’s “Let’s Dish!” Harvest Theme Tablescape Challenge this week, so if you want to really get inspired to store away those pool inflatables and flip-flops in exchange for soft sweaters and penny loafers (I’m an old Catholic school girl…loafers = fall to me!), be sure to pop over there anytime after 6:00 p.m. CDT on Wednesday.
(Click on any photo to enhance/enlarge it. Photos by Sheri L. Grant.)

Ideally this table would be set up outdoors, but for class purposes (and because the winds were gusting up around 25mph!) I set up inside with the morning sun streaming in through the windows. The table is dressed in a hunter green full-length linen (LinenTablecloth.com) and topped with supple wheat-colored burlap. Layering linens in fall and winter reminds me of how we dress ourselves in those seasons…it’s cozy and warm!

A little something different for a charger are these fun faux cast iron skillets from Old Time Pottery. Each skillet came with one of four harvest designs that I allowed to show through by using clear glass plates. I added a bow of twine to the gingham ribbon embellishment (more layering) that plays well off the burlap topper.

The simple lines of Hampton Silversmith “Patriot-Mirror” flatware work nicely next to the busy floral pattern of the Stein Mart cotton napkin.

I love to use different drinking vessels whenever possible, and the design of a Ball Mason jar – in purpose and motif – really embodies the harvest theme. If dining outdoors (as this table is designed for), the lid helps keep the proliferation of bees attendant to the month of September from honing in on your morning juice! The miniature milk bottle with an old-fashioned metal clasp (Hobby Lobby) is perfect for individual servings of plain or flavored milk…something kids in particular would really like! (Old kids like me would love it for its nostalgic value!)

For breakfast tables I like to keep the centerpiece a bit less fussy. Here an old-fashioned moonshine jug (yes, I said moonshine! :-)) embellished with jute twine and filled with a wave of blackbeard wheat creates height for the extended centerpiece. A profusion of pumpkins in various colors and sizes mixed with pine cones wind their way down the center of the table. A chalkboard cow posts the morning menu. The absence of flowers – using wheat and seasonal fruits instead – makes this a great budget idea!

I can’t help myself. You know this would not be an Alycia creation without one of our faithful valets! Here, “Cecil” (British pronunciation of SEH-cil, of course!) wades through a mound of fall leaves on his way back from picking a few pumpkins and root vegetables from the garden. In stark contrast to his very proper uniform, Cecil has donned a saucy straw gardening hat to protect his fair English skin from damaging sun rays. 🙂

On the breakfast bar, a melange of seasonal squashes & pumpkins are visually connected by a bittersweet vine. Seasonal fruits are displayed in various baskets and a tiered stand. Napkin-lined baskets of assorted baked goods to enjoy with a steaming hot cup of Joe suggest what the wheat might produce. Miniature straw bales provide varied height for the display. (P.S. For those of you with open concept kitchen/family room areas, a display like this is a sneaky practical & attractive way to partially block the mess in the kitchen as you scurry around preparing the meal!)

Other posts on this site that are great for harvest celebrations:
“September Wine”
“Wondrous Wheat”
…and be sure to check out other great seasonal tables on the “Autumn” page

In addition to the blog party at “Let’s Dish!”, I am joining Susan at Between Naps on the Porch for “Tablescape Thursday” again this week. Hope to see you there!

HAPPY FALL, EVERYONE!!!

Football Tablescape – Kansas City Chiefs in the Red Zone

Even if you aren’t a Chiefs fan (insert disdainful, incredulous sniff ;-)),
this tablescape has lots of fun decor ideas!

I wasn’t going to post this football tablescape until later in the season, but I was SO proud of my Kansas City Chiefs‘ comeback victory yesterday that I just feel compelled! The Chiefs put a smackdown on the New Orleans Saints, winning it 27-24 in overtime.

As a part of my “Fabulous Fall Tablescaping” class series last week, I created a football tablescape in honor of the Chiefs. I worked for the organization about 25 years and 50 pounds ago, and as an 11-year-old I cheered them to victory in the Super Bowl (January 11, 1970 against the Minnesota Vikings). I am now, and will always be even in the bad times, a lifelong fan and avid “television tailgater.” Kansas City is known for its legendary tailgating in the parking lot of  beautiful Arrowhead Stadium before home games. Those of us who watch the game from home get in on the action in our own way. Here’s my version of “television tailgating” with friends in front of the big screen.
(Click on any photo to enlarge/enhance it.
Photos by Sheri L. Grant except where noted.)

When guests come to help us cheer the Chiefs on to victory, I like to create an entire atmosphere using team colors (red, gold & white) and memorabilia. This table, set up on the lower level in front of the big screen TV, is dressed in a full-length white linen and topped with red to represent that awesome sea of red at Arrowhead Stadium during Chiefs home games.

I found these fun gridiron placemats at Old Time Pottery a couple of years ago. Given the saturation of deep colors on the table, I used a white ceramic charger (Old Time Pottery) to break up the color a bit. Mustard gold earthenware from Pier 1 completes the setting.

I created fun football place cards using these pre-painted wooden footballs I found at Hobby Lobby for around $.59 each. While I marked directly on them with permanent marker, you might consider using a little tape like the players wrap their hands with so that the footballs can be reused.

Mustard gold cotton napkins from Bed Bath & Beyond are folded to resemble penalty flags. The “napkin rings” are actually inexpensive wristbands purchased at Party City. The wristbands can go home with guests as a party favor after the game!

I considered trying to color the “red zone” (the area between the 20-yard line and the goal line for those of you who may not follow football) with paint or fabric, but neither of those ideas worked. Instead I placed a miniature Chiefs pendant there, making sure it actually extended a bit over the goal line to resemble a touchdown. 🙂 I chose the flatware based on the pattern at the bottom of the handle which resembles the laces on a football. (Tiny detail, yes, but that’s what theme tablescaping is all about! The devil is in the details, man!)

These beer pilsners are called “Fantasy” and were manufactured by the Federal Glass Co. back in the mid 1950s, which makes them vintage for sure and halfway to antique (like me!) 🙂 My Mom recently gave them to me, and I chose them for the pattern that reminds me of the Chiefs‘ arrowhead logo.

I like to keep centerpieces simple for sports tablescapes. True fans don’t like anything getting in their sight line so we can properly armchair officiate! 🙂 Here, observing that cardinal design Rule of Three, I put miniature pigskins from Dollar Tree on black wrought iron stands that mimic a football tee. That’s it! That’s all! There’s already enough going on around the room and enough color on the table.

On one end of the bar I have all the game munchies & “adult beverages” to soothe our throats after cheering loud and long. On the other end is our prized & beloved autographed Pro Football Hall of Famer Derrick Thomas (1989-1999) jersey to add a little ambience to the room and, hopefully, bring good luck to the Chiefs each game.

Other little touches around the room include a fun football remote control holder (another gift from my Mom), an autographed picture of wide receiver Eddie Kinnison (2001-2007), my Trent Green trading card, and the Chiefs helmet pin I was awarded after my tenure at Arrowhead Stadium.

Photos taken by my Mom in 1975…as if the furniture didn’t already give the year away! 🙂

This year the Chiefs celebrate 50 years of calling Kansas City, MO home and I celebrate 50 years of being a fan. I worked for them from 1973 – 1977 (yes, wearing these cheesy outfits in these mile-high go-go boots! Wait…did I say “mile-high?!?!?!!” Ick! Ugh! Boo, Broncos!!! :-)), but can cheer for them a lot more comfortably these days in sweats and flip-flops!

Are you ready for some MORE football…this time in Honolulu Blue? Click HERE (“Fun Stuff” page) and scroll down to “Home of the Lions”. And for another sports themed tablescape, click HERE for “The Boys of Summer”!

I will be joining Susan at Between Naps on the Porch for Tablescape Thursday again this week!

American Royal Tablescape

I had a tough decision to make for September 18: start teaching my fall tablescaping classes or participate in the Kansas City American Royal’s Tablescapes Preview Party organized by the BOTARs (Belles of the American Royal). The tablescape event is a relatively new addition to the many activities associated with the annual 8-week American Royal, a Kansas City staple since 1899 that revolves around livestock, agriculture, and Kansas City world-famous barbecue. (Don’t let that description fool you…there’s a WHOLE LOTTA ritzy stuff goin’ on over those 8 weeks, including an Arabian Horse Show, the UPHA National Championship, a Wine Competition/Tasting/Auction, and a very swanky fundraising ball.) The preview party precedes the luncheon held the following day.

Anyhooooooooo, teaching won…sort of. I opted to create a country western/cowboy-themed tablescape right here in honor of the 113-year American Royal tradition as a part of the teaching experience. (Click on any photo to enhance/enlarge it. Photos by Sheri L. Grant)

I wanted to include as many natural and rustic elements as possible, so I chose to leave part of the wood table exposed beneath the layered denim and red bandanna table linens. Because the events of the American Royal are both “shabby” and “chic”, the bandanna fabric is allowed to stylishly puddle to the floor.

Each place setting starts with a natural grapevine wreath as a charger. A plain white round Corelle plate is the anchor piece of the dishes, followed by a Pier 1 navy blue square salad plate set on the diagonal, and topped off with a home-on-the-range-type brick red casserole from Home Goods. The Hampton Silversmith “Patriot – Mirror” flatware is given a rustic look with a simple bit of twine tied around it. The menus, printed on “Wanted poster paper” from Hobby Lobby, were created on my home computer.

Plain ol’ Mason jars serve as drinking glasses for the sarsaparilla on the menu. The place cards are created from menu paper remnants. I punched holes in each side, slipped a length of twine through the paper and then through holes in the horseshoes (TSC), tying them off in the back.

I had a lot of fun creating the centerpiece! Miniature hay bales act as risers. Super cool resin boots from Hobby Lobby serve as vases for roses dotted with blackbeard wheat. That’s where shabby meets chic once again. The boots are embellished with authentic spurs from Tractor Supply Company (TSC). Other centerpiece elements include rustic cast iron stars, a miniature “lasso”, and a few six-shooters.

“Well, where were the napkins?” you ask. Right there on the chairs tied around the straw cowboy hat favors!

The buffet behind the dining table is all ready for lots of western-style grub like Kansas City’s famous barbecue slathered in sauce. (I’m partial to smoky sweet taste Fiorella’s Jack Stack sauce, but debating that with folks around here will get you nowhere! :-)) Elements of hay bales, horse shoes, and twine are carried over to the buffet area. Food markers are created using more scraps of the “Wanted poster paper” used for the menus and place cards. A larger set of resin boots from Hobby Lobby filled with blackbeard wheat are placed on each end. Last, but never least, is “Cecil” who is one of our four personal butlers. 🙂 Cecil wanted to get in on the fun, so he added a bolo tie and black cowboy hat to his usually prim & proper uniform.

Extra cowboy hats are displayed on the sconce shelves.

My famous wooden horse has another chance to join the party! I am so grateful to my young friend, Chelsea Hudson from Pittsburg, KS, who so graciously lent her childhood saddle, a horse bit, a lasso (and other items that my citified self can’t identify! :-)) to me. These accessories successfully turned my horse (that I have used for Derby, carousel, R.A. Long Historical Society, and “looking a gift horse in the mouth” tablescaping) into a real rough and rowdy character!

My husband came home with a surprise for me: Texas longhorn cattle horns all polished up and wrapped in leather! Wow! These were on display in his late father’s home for a long time, and Ramon remembered they had been stored away. To soften the very masculine look of these massive horns, I added a raised bale of straw flanked by (faux) roses in tree bark-covered vases.

Those of you who have visited in the past are probably familiar with Geoffrey, our majordomo. Geoffrey never, ever misses a chance to play dress up, so he donned his dopey cowpoke hat and bandanna.

Some people call Kansas City a “cow town” like that’s a bad thing. Whatever! Have you seen the price of beef, leather and dairy products? Sounds like a gold mine to me! And that’s what the American Royal is all about: all the good things that constitute farming, agriculture, livestock, cowboy (and cowgirl!) fun, world-famous barbecue, posh events (why else would I wear a screamin’ red gown like this one?!!?) and, of course, the beef industry right here in good ol’ Kansas City, Mo.!

Maybe next year I can postpone classes until after the tablescape event at the American Royal! 🙂

Other posts on this site with a horse theme:
Carousel Colors
Kentucky Derby Buffet
Derby Day Dining
Run for the Roses” (scroll down the page to the end)

I am joining Cuisine Kathleen for “Let’s Dish!“, The Style Sisters for “Centerpiece Wednesday“, and Susan for “Tablescape Thursday” again this week. I’m sure there are tons of fabulous tables you would just love to see out there!!!

Pumpkins & Peacocks

Here we are once again at the crazy transitional time that calls for us to walk that pencil-thin line between summer and autumn tablescapes. A September tablescape can be one of the most difficult as we teeter on the cusp of the bright colors of summer and the warm, deeper tones that come with the crunch of autumn leaves. This mix of a bright pumpkin color and the flickering jewel tones of peacock feathers is a tablescape that might satisfy the need to meet in the middle. And, as the peacock is the national bird of India, this might also make a fun table for the festival of Diwali which marks the end of the harvest season.
(Click on any photo to enlarge/enhance it.)

The foundation of this colorful Fall tablescape is an attention-grabbing floor-length pumpkin-colored linen from LinenTablecloth.com.

While the layers of the tabletop include more of the bright pumpkin hue, the deepness of the greens and purples ground it a bit more and bring it even closer into Fall.

This table for four features complex layers that speak to the cooler autumn months but don’t abandon what’s left of summer. A double layer of square gold chargers from World Market hosts a French-inspired plate adorned with a gorgeous peacock, his iridescent plumage on full display. The lower right corner of the plate comes alive with brightly colored gloriosa lilies.

Gold-tone flatware complements the orange-y hue of the linens. Around the napkin is a showy purple “gemstone” napkin ring from Z Gallerie, usually reserved for Mardi Gras around here. (See it used HERE and HERE.) The purple in the napkin ring complements the jewel tones in the eye of the peacock feathers.

Inexpensive but nonetheless lovely green Dollar Tree stemware complements the green tones in the peacock feathers and offers another layer of color to the table’s palette.

I didn’t have a lot of gloriosa lilies, but I did have on hand enough of these faux orchid stems that were very close in both color and form. I chose to create a kind of wild, untamed, uncontrolled floral arrangement…much like the demeanor of peacocks! While a faux orchid floral arrangement is used for this demonstration, it would be REALLY cool if your budget allows for real ones!!!

Tiny pumpkin-colored tea light votives candles produce ambient light and extend the surface level girth of the centerpiece.

A simple straight line of votives across the fireplace mantel mimic those on the table.

To see more Fall tablescapes on this site, visit:
Autumn” page (has TEN different posts on one page!!!)
September Wine
Autumn Blues
Autumn White Wedding
Roses in October
Sunflower Simple
Serape High Style
Raining Orchids” (another great transitional table!)

Next week I’ll have photos of one of the four tables I have been laboring to set up for my “Fabulous Fall Tablescaping” class through Longview Community College’s Community Education department. I’m keeping my fingers and toes crossed that I get the requisite number of students so that the class isn’t cancelled. I know people are very busy and that the economy really sucks right now, but I have such great plans for this class!!! I hope it fills up! If you live in the Kansas City, MO area, you have until Friday the 14th to enroll, so give them a call at 816-604-2030. Classes start Tuesday, September 18th.

I am joining Cuisine Kathleen for “Let’s Dish!” starting Wednesday at 6:00 p.m. CDT. Also on Wednesday I will be joining The Style Sisters for “Centerpiece Wednesday“. Then on Thursday, please come along with me to Susan’s “Tablescape Thursday” starting at 9:00 a.m. CDT. I hope to see you then!