Run For the Roses

RUN FOR THE ROSES
(a re-post from May of 2010)

Nearly every fine home in Louisville hosts a party to celebrate the Kentucky Derby. It’s a time to bring out the heirloom china and serve wonderful food amidst fresh red roses galore. Who says a gal with a Midwestern accent and a slightly less generous budget can’t join the fun?

 

This wooden showhorse makes the perfect backdrop in the dining room. (Visit Kentucky Derby Buffet  and Celebrating Longview Farm to see him on a Derby Buffet table as a centerpiece and Carousel Colors to see him used for a Springtime decorating accessory!

 

 

Each place setting consists of a beaded silver charger with platinum-rimmed Noritake “Spectrum” china, a monogrammed linen napkin, heirloom flatware (with rose detailing), Longchamps crystal, an authentic silver julep cup, and…for a bit of whimsy in an otherwise staid & traditional setting…a real horseshoe! If you use horseshoes atop fabric, be sure to wash them thoroughly in hot, soapy water then dry with a soft cloth. Allow to air dry for at least 2 hours to assure all moisture has evaporated so as not to rust and stain. These horseshoes were surprisingly affordable at just $2.39 lb. That’s quite a bargain!

 

 

 

Menus created using white vellum over red cardstock have a craft store red rose affixed to the top. At the bottom of each menu is fun Derby trivia for guests to share during dinner. And no respectable Southerner’s derby dinner table is complete without sweet tea, cheese grits, hot biscuits, and mint juleps served in a traditional cup! (Get the recipe for deliciously rich, traditional, Southern homemade pound cake HERE.)

 

Rich, red roses are the focus of the centerpiece, buffet and foyer florals. Click HERE and scroll down to Tip #39 for a tutorial on fluffing fresh roses to get them looking nice and full.

 

A pair of beautiful show horse figurines from Hobby Lobby flank the center trophy of roses. I created the traditional “garland of roses” using red satin ribbon and rosettes like those used on the menus. (The real garland for the winning horse, of course, has more than 400 red roses!

 

Hat collage
  My Mom in her pink Derby chapeau, and me in blue!
More tablescapes on this site using roses that would be great for Kentucky Derby:
Derby Day Dining
Kentucky Derby Buffet
Roses in October
Show Me State Dinner
Should Have Put A Ring On It
88 Years & 88 Keys
Tablescapes using roses in adaptable colors include:
Celebrating 85 Years of Fabulous
Roses In October

 

Dinner With Friends (a re-post from September 2010)

I love getting together at home with friends! If time and money would allow me to do it twice a week, I would. There’s just something about the relaxed atmosphere before, during and after that generates warm, happy feelings.
My friend Andre Harper, owner of Harper’s Catering which specializes in Cajun cuisine, slaved over a hot stove to create a massive sized pot of some of the best gumbo I’ve ever tasted. Puttering around in the kitchen in a dual effort to make garlic-cheese drop biscuits, sipping cocktails, and doing a little pre-dinner munching on the wonderful seafood dip Andre made is a great way to spend a Friday evening. (The biscuits were a huge hit with all the guests and a tasty and unexpected departure from traditionally-served French bread.)
 When we finally sat down to the dinner table, spirits were high and appetites were mighty as we all dug in.
Even for casual get-togethers like this one, I still like to let friends know I care enough about them to set a pretty table. A thoughtful mix of relaxed and formal elements draws the eye to the tablescape’s place settings. Here I start with a “Natural Flower” water hyacinth round placemat from Pier 1. The rough hewn texture of these placemats is just as important as the style in creating the desired look. Next comes American Atelier’s creamy off-white “Empress” chargers and soup bowls topped with chocolate brown oak leaf-shaped salad bowls from Pier 1. Classic Cristal D’Arques Longchamps glassware and Hampton Silversmiths “Patriot” flatware add a bit of glam, and a sunny yellow napkin from Bed, Bath & Beyond add a much needed punch of unexpected color.
The buffet behind the dining table is enlivened with the shocking orange of a wooden platter from Z Gallerie. A small floral using similar flowers to those on the table softens the look. The end of the dining table is used for service with the gumbo in a sleek pale yellow tureen from Pottery Barn.
The centerpiece is a trail of dark iron candlesticks and brightly colored sunflowers, spider mums and carnations (pink, just to mix things up a bit!) from Costco in Longchamps mini vases. (TIP: Buy a single bunch of flowers and divide them up into small vases for a plentiful look on the cheap!) The total look: upscale with a casual kick.
Andre and I have collaborated on other events, most notably in the Spring of 2012. Visit Purple and Pastel a dinner party in honor of his parents’ birthdays and 60th wedding anniversary!!!

Pretty In Pink (a re-post from April of 2010)

My parents are very special to me, and I snatch every opportunity to celebrate them. In April of 2010 I hosted a good old-fashioned ladies’ luncheon for my Mom and a few of her closest friends.


The woman of the hour/birthday girl, Sen. Yvonne S. Wilson, a.k.a. Mom!

 

Hustle and bustle to create an inviting surprise for the guests with a pink strawberry sangria service on a petal-filled silver gallery tray in the foyer.

 

 

The guest of honor makes her entrance!

 

The Ladies’ Luncheon honoring my Mother’s 81st birthday had a tablescape reminiscent of childhood fantasies. A 12-ft. table placed in the living room maximizes space and takes advantage of south-facing windows that catch the afternoon sun. A setup such as this would also work very well for a Mother’s Day brunch/luncheon, a pink & white wedding, or a Breast Cancer Awareness Month luncheon.

 

The menus were created on my home computer, cut and affixed to colorful cardstock, then finished with a simple silk rosebud from a craft store. The monogram watermark on the menu pays tribute to the honoree.

 

My Mom is a “super shopper” who loves snappy shoes and handbags!!! I chose these pewter shoe and handbag place card holders for that reason. My Grandmother used to say, “The devil is in the details.”

 

A “girlie” yet sophisticated place setting is made easy with a mix of traditional & contemporary pieces. Heirloom flatware completes the essentials. The Maxcera “Victorian Toile Rose” luncheon plates – a contemporary square – are adorned in traditional Victorian roses. White “doily” plates from Pier 1 are just perfect for dessert! Silver pew cones (often used for weddings) are brought into service as eye-catching and unusual napkin holders. (Also used for “A Dorothy By Any Other Name“.)  The striped pink/green/yellow/white cotton placemats from Pier 1 are reversible. (See the other side at “Days of Wine & Roses“.)

 

 

The “devil in the details” shows up again in each cup that bears the graceful image of a rose just inside the lip.

 

 

Branches dotted with cheerful cherry blossoms (from Costco of all places!) add height to the spring tablescape without blocking the view from across the table. Decorating with cherry blossoms is a colorful nod to the spring season. Petite bouquets of pink roses and fresh eucalyptus in crystal vases complement the tablescape’s motif, add texture and subtle fragrance, and make a nice take home treat.

 

Keeping with the overall color scheme of the tablescape, the ladies sipped pink sparkling lemonade adorned with a fresh strawberry. A thin slice of lemon in each water glass adds color.

 

 

 

I’m no gourmet cook, but I think food should complement the setting and vice versa. Finishing off the meal is a 6-inch, four-layer, luncheon size pink-tinted vanilla-almond cake with a crown of frothy white. The  cake is adorned with fresh strawberries. Fanned strawberries and fresh lemon leaves sent by a California friend accessorize each plate. Last but not least, a choice of vanilla or strawberry ice cream served up in a miniature martini glass.

 

Serving  coffee and/or tea with dessert is an age-old custom. Here the pink & white Silvestri “Sculpted Rose” tea service is ramped up with the addition of fragrant pink rose petals arranged on an heirloom silver tray.

 

Front Row (l to r): Wilhelmina Stewart, Delia Young (now deceased, she is the lady who encouraged me to start my blog), Sen. Yvonne S. Wilson, and Rosemary Lowe. Back Row (l to r): Alycia Nichols, Irene Watson, Thelma Crawford, Rep. Shalon “Kiki” Curls, and Liz Wilson.

The honoree, guests, and hostess!

Other pretty pink tablescapes on this site include:
Peaceful Peonies
Days of Wine & Roses
Peonies & Pearls
Chocolate Traditional
Platinum & Pink Valentine
Blushing Bridal Shower
Easter Floral
Easter Bloom
Pink Plaid & Posies
All A’Bloom In Pink For Spring
Princess Pink Birthday Dinner
Showered In Pink
Easter In Pink & Grey
French Poodle
Peony Power
Fairy Princess Party
Fairy Tale Wedding Shower
Blurred Lines With Shades of Pink
Tea Roses
Coming Up Roses

Breast Cancer Awareness Month
Pretty In Pink, Wicked In Spurs – Breast Cancer Awareness
Bald Is Beautiful – Breast Cancer Awareness
Pink & Purple Chocolate Christmas