Diamonds Are A Girl’s Best Friend – My 60th Birthday Ladies Luncheon

My 60th birthday has come and gone, and all that’s left are the fabulous memories of the ladies luncheon I threw for myself. Yes…I threw my own birthday party! Why? I’m a (retired) professional special event planner. Who else would I put through the torture it would take to make me happy?!! So…here are photos of the June 9 luncheon for 22 of my nearest and dearest in-town friends (all on the guest list were able to attend except one!) who I thank for helping me to celebrate in style!

 

Invitations were created using clearance stationery from Hobby Lobby. I invited the ladies to drape themselves in jewels to go with the theme! I printed the Marilyn Monroe drawing in the corner of each mailing envelope to complement the insert.

 

 

 

 

Me in my party dress, trying to emulate Marilyn Monroe’s look in the pic below!

The inspiration for my party dress!

 

When I go with a theme, I go ALL THE WAY! The backdrop for the opening and closing credits of “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes” gave me inspiration to create this elaborate “wall of diamonds” against a pink satin drape on the deck for photos. I simply used drapery clips to hang the fabric and crystal curtains from TableclothFactory.com on existing cup hooks. It was so unseasonably hot & humid, though, that few pics were actually taken out here. On the other side of the deck I hung 3 mirrored outdoor LED chandeliers from Old Time Pottery that looked so cool blowing in the breeze. I planted all pink flowers for the occasion, a departure from the reds and yellows I generally favor.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Upon entering, the ladies were greeted with 2 WAY oversized hot pink balloons that were originally intended for a display at the end of the driveway. It was so hot & humid, however, I opted to just put them inside so they wouldn’t wilt. The telephone table on the other side was decorated with a “diamond-dotted” rose ball atop a facted pillar. (I’ve done these before for “Should Have Put A Ring On It“.)  The foyer table was draped in a “diamond” sash with a pink ribbon accent. I created a Harry Winston/Tiffany’s-inspired window display on the table for dramatic effect. On the walls were pink and black crowns I bought on clearance at Hobby Lobby years ago but have never used. (Another jewel-inspired post worth checking out is “Diamonds Are A Material Girl’s Best Friend“)

 

 

 

 

 

 

We didn’t have a lot of time to get pics, but this is the dining room seating area. (Because ALL but one of the invited guests accepted, I had to create 2 separate-but-complementary dining environments.) This table is draped in a black crinkle taffeta tablecloth with a silver sequin runner, “diamond” sash, pink ribbon, and mirrored trays beneath the centerpiece of tall gooseneck vases visually joined by a garland of crystal and lots of flowers in faceted vases. (I created 19 total fresh flower arrangements!!!) The buffet behind the table is similarly dressed with another jewelry display. My sweet friend, Cindy, was so gracious as to lend me chiavari chairs for this room which I tied in with the other room by threading through a pink crinkle taffeta sash with a “diamond” cuff. I found the cute poodle art on the sconces on clearance at…you guessed it!…Hobby Lobby. Some may remember the poodle from “French Poodle“, the jewelry display pieces from “Breakfast at Tiffany’s“, the mirror treatment from “Ain’t Misbehavin’ – Celebrating Mom’s 89th Birthday Gatsby Style“, the Princess In Pink signage from “Princess Pink Birthday“, and the faceted & mirrored centerpiece trays from “Happy Birthday, Barf!“.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The family room dining table was constructed using two 6-ft. folding tables to create more of a square shape. I draped them in hot pink/fuschia crinkle taffeta tablecloths and ran black sequin runners and “diamond” sashes crosswise. Towering glass vases (I taped a hanging facet on the underside at the top!) filled with “loose diamonds” and connected by crystal garland loom over faceted vases filled with roses, mini carnations, tulips, astilbe, white calcynia, variegated pittosporum and hypericum berries. I left some of the faceted vessels empty so as not to overcrowd the table. The bulbous structures in the last photo are simply one vase atop another. Ballroom chairs with black slipcovers are dressed in the same sashes and “diamond” cuffs as in the dining room. The place settings are slightly different with a double stack of chargers – white rhinestone-studded acrylic and hot pink Bormioli Rocco glass – and black napkins instead of pink. (TIP: If you have a behemoth television in the room, make lemonade from that lemon by showcasing photos or playing a movie – on mute, of course! – that relates to the party theme. For my luncheon, “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes” was perfect!)

 

 

I created the menus using the same stationery as the invitations, strategically affixing tiny rhinestones for a bit more glitz. Each menu was outfitted with a sparkling “diamond” brooch.

 

 

 

 

The weather demanded that we move the bar in off the deck. My friend Rachael stepped in as bartender for the afternoon before joining the other guests at the table. Good ol’ Geoffrey beckoned guests to come grab a cocktail.

 

The mantel is simply dressed with more of the facted vessels, some topped with rhinestone studded hot pink rose balls.

 

My wonderfully talented friend Patrick created the glitzy almond-vanilla cake that I further decorated with a couple of the same brooches as used on the menus. (We also served my famous carrot/”karat” cake for the occasion!)

 

Dessert course was served with these cute black paper napkins fashioned to look like a black party dress. I saw the idea on Pinterest and couldn’t resist! That’s two hours out of my life I’ll never get back, but totally worth it for the fun factor! And speaking of fun factor…

 

Pink and black paper fans for cooling down or just looking ultra fem!…

 

…rhinestone studded fortune cookies created by my sister…

 


…a fun game called “Who Knows Alycia  Best?” where Rachael won for having the most and Dixie won for having the fewest correct answers, and this was Dixie’s hilarious reaction!…

…pink raspberry lemonade “diamond” ice cubes served directly to the table…

 

 

…and the take home favors of assorted popcorn flavors from Popcorn Heaven tucked into black velvet bags and prominently displayed in a large silver compote! (Variations of the compote are at “Finally Fall“, “Cranberry Christmas – Square“, “Cranberry Christmas – Long Table“, and “Roses In October“.)

I know this post was super photo heavy, but I always include lots and lots of details in every event I create. If you’d like to see other fun photos from the party, keep on scrolling!

Thanks for stopping in to celebrate the big 6-0 with me and my fabulous pink posse!!!

Such a class act!

 

Jeff and Meghan were wonderful servers for the day!!!

 

With my sister, Berishia, who looked so nice in her breezy outfit, and her daughter/my niece, Yvonne, who always rises to the occasion when bling is involved!

 

My oh-so-elegant neighbor, Leslie, and her equally chic Mom, Dixie (as Ramon photo bombs the pic trying to escape all the estrogen in the house!)

My friend and hair stylist/magician of 25 years, Dorothy

 

Good friends Ebony (another decorator/event planner!), Audrey, and Ty (organizers after my own heart!)

High school mates/lifelong friends Joan and Audrey

 

Friend/neighbor/drinkin’ buddy, Kerry who I simply adore!

Neighbors/Friends Lori and Vicky who are so skinny I just HATED taking a picture with them!!! 🙂

My dear, sweet, supremely elegant friend Marchita who means the world to me!

The stylish matriarchs – Senator Mom and Aunt “Bean Bean Dancing Machine”

I cannot tell you how much I love this woman! Ladies and gentlemen…the fabulous Carla!!!

Ever-fashionable Mom and daughter duo, Barbara and Rachael!

Melanie in her Holly Golightly “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” outfit!!!

Jane took it to the hilt looking positively radiant with her Marilyn Monroe look, while my gorgeous Mary Ellen played it sleek & understated. I LOVE all the different ways my friends interpreted the theme!!!

Best friend, Sheri, and me in PJs, enjoying a well-deserved and much needed glass of wine after the party. Cheers!

This week I’m joining Susan at Between Naps on the Porch for “Tablescape Thursday“, Beverly at How Sweet the Sound for “Pink Saturday“, the ladies at “Celebrate Your Story“, and Linda at Life & Linda for “Dishing It & Digging It“!

Ain’t Misbehavin’ – Celebrating Mom’s 89th Birthday Gatsby Style

While recuperating from my most recent spine surgery, I planned a 1920s/Gatsby-style ladies luncheon to celebrate my Mom’s 89th birthday. (Doesn’t she look beautiful??? Don’t tell me this chick “Ain’t Misbehavin'”!!!) A grand luncheon in her honor has become sort of a tradition (when I’m healthy!) since her 2011 retirement from the Missouri Senate, and it’s always a delightful challenge to come up with a theme that both she and her guests will enjoy. (Check out 88 Years & 88 Keys, Celebrating 85 Years of Fabulous, Pretty In Pink, Grazin’ in the Grass.) This year’s inspiration came from a flapper bar towel my friend/neighbor, Barbara, gifted me while I was convalescing. Mom was born in the March preceding the start of the Great Depression in 1929, and I thought it would be a fun idea to travel back in time to explore the good things about that (infamous) year!
(This post is super photo heavy, but I pay close attention to the “cat’s particulars” aka details and want to share each and every nuance with you!)

 

Setting the mood from the very start was an important part of the planning. The invitations I created on my desktop had the familiar art deco design representative of the 1920s. Along with the invitations was an insert suggesting accessories to help the ladies get “all dolled up” for the occasion. Notice the flapper lady I put in the return address corner and the Lena Horne stamps!!!

 

A pair of “V.I.P. Entrance” signs in 1920s black and gold art deco style flanked the doorway, greeting guests as they approached the porch. Music from the decadent era rang out as it would outside a bustling nightclub, courtesy of a Google Mini.

 

The computer-generated, sequin-backed sign on the front door welcomes guests to the fictional “Gold Sequin” speakeasy.

 

My friend/neighbor, Jane, was such a sexy, gracious (and convincing!) “cigarette girl” hawking bubble gum cigars and candy cigarettes I ordered from the Blair Candy Co.

 

Our modest entry hall sets the tone for thumbing our noses to Prohibition with the oversized champagne flutes! They’re filled with tiny crystals. (Crystals…Cristál…the champagne…get it?) On the walls are cute Rosanna cocktail plates I bought a few years ago for cocktail parties that were first used for “Hooray for Vodka!” back in 2013! (Smaller plates of this same design were used to serve the birthday cake!)

 

The primary bar with specialty drinks (potent Mary Pickfords and chocolate martinis that were really a couple of “quilts”!) was set up in the library, although guests were invited to get whatever they may want from any of the other 3 bars on the main floor.  (Tip: Make up pitchers of these drinks and then just have the bartender shake small portions with ice to serve!) The bar was covered with a gold crinkle taffeta tablecloth and black sequin table runner from YourChairCovers.com. The towel that inspired this theme reads “You can’t regret what you don’t remember” and jokingly refers to the temporary amnesia caused by one of the meds I was taking, prominently hangs in the front. We borrowed cocktail artwork from the basement decor to further lend to the bar atmosphere. The ostrich feather trimmed lamp (’cause that’s how I roll!) is borrowed from my dressing room, and the glass of brandy and “burning” cigarette (both fake) further lent to the speakeasy theme. The two booze hounds  in the above pics…just pitiful!!! 🙂

 

We transformed the family room into a 1920s era fine dining establishment complete with a 1920s music playlist in the background. It didn’t take long for me to know what linens I’d use from my stash. The palette of the Gatsby era was gold, black & white. I layered floor-length (90″x132″ for 6’x30″ folding tables) black linens from LinenTablecloth.com with gold sequin runners from YourChairCovers.com. The chairs clean up nicely with gold stretch leather-look covers (no longer available where I bought them, but I’ve seen them at TableclothsFactory.com) with black spandex sashes and sparkly gold slips (YourChairCovers.com).

 

I ordered 100 white ostrich feathers to create these lush (and surprisingly easy!) centerpieces. The glass tower vases are filled with odd-sized bulk “pearls” from Hobby Lobby and topped with a beautiful dangling bobeche affixed with a bit of Cling® Floral Adhesive to avoid catastrophe. The extended centerpiece is filled in with gold mercury glass votives with LED tealights, black  ceramic pieces (again, borrowed from my dressing room), and cabaret lamps created with crystal candlesticks, bobeches, and white silk shades.

 

The place setting decision was remarkably simple. As a restaurant might use, I opted for all white from the ceramic charger to the B. Smith luncheon plate to the Pier 1 “White Poppy” salad bowl. The “Graham” matte gold flatware is from Target, and the Longchamps stemware is accompanied by individual bottles of non-alcoholic Martinelli’s sparkling cider for the toast. Faux pearl napkin rings cinch simply folded black napkins. The menus layered in white, black, and gold sequin-covered cardstock from Hobby Lobby were created on my desktop using Microsoft® Word. (That sequin cardstock is no joke to cut!!!) The pearl embellishment on the menus came from a pair of summer sandals I broke! The meal served included the Louisville, Kentucky Hot Brown Sandwich, a late night/early morning diner staple back in the 1920s to soak up the liquor enjoy after a night out of unabandoned carousing. Water and lemonade bottles were placed on both sides of the dining table.

 

Other special touches around this room included another ostrich feather lamp I created using a crystal candlestick, an abundance of paper rosettes (Michaels) mixed with oversized champagne glasses of crystals and pearls, and an extra tall martini glass (Hobby Lobby) that I placed in a large flat glass bowl to give it girth. Final touch: notice a muted television in the background playing “The Great Gatsby” movie!!!

 

My sister makes fun fortune cookies for all occasions, these with art deco-style fabric. While the take-home fortune cookies were a demure little thank you to the guests, I asked her to create some funny, slightly suggestive ones for us to play the fortune cookie game “In Bed”. Ever heard of it? Each guest opens their cookie and reads the fortune aloud followed by the words “in bed.” As the pictures show, this game got lots of laughs!!!

 

Check out this cake created by my longtime friend, Patrick Snuffer. I provided him with an almost childlike sketch using various elements I’d seen around the Internet, and voilà! A delicious art deco cake with a black ostrich feather! To the left of the cake are the mini martini glasses in which ice cream (choice of 4!!!) was served. The miniature gold spoons are from Michaels.

 

The candy bar in the dining room was one of my favorite elements to create! I researched candies and gums that were popular in the 1920s and then went on the hunt. The result: a favor bar laden with 22 flavor treats served up in various size martini and pilsner glasses!!! Guests scooped up what they wanted into favor bags with black, gold and/or white twist ties displayed in my Limoges swan salt & pepper cellars. The table is covered in another gold crinkle taffeta cloth with a black sequin runner. The gold painted manzanita “trees” just seemed to work with the decor, especially dressed in large hanging crystals. My generous neighbor provided the sequined dress for the dress form, and I finished it off with a few ostrich feathers, a feather boa, and all the remaining pearl necklaces from my jewelry collection!

 

The dining room was “fun central” with the candy bar AND a “photo booth” where guests could take selfies or have their photo taken. We simply took the existing artwork off the wall and replaced it with oversized gold and black paper rosettes (Michaels). I hung a huge paper rosette over the mirror and draped it with crystal garland. The photo prop table beneath was laden with vintage accessories (thanks, Dee!) and fake cocktails. (Notice I was a good girl and stayed in little black flats instead of the gorgeous T-strap heels I really wanted to wear!) Fun/Silly pics of guests at the photo booth and around the house are at the very end of the post. Such fun!!!

 

Without question this was one of the most fun birthday parties I’ve ever put together in my Mom’s honor!!! My sister, Berishia, and I both love our Mom so much, and we are blessed to have had her in our lives for all these years.

 

MOST DEFINITELY MISBEHAVIN’!!!

 

Special, HUGE thanks to: my friend/neighbor, Jane, for being the best cigarette girl a flapper could ask for; my friend/neighbor, Barbara, for mixing up those insanely potent drinks, whipping up a mean Mornay sauce for the Kentucky Hot Browns, and helping out so much in the kitchen; Barbara’s helpful husband, Lynn, for graciously taking time away from college basketball to take our group photo; my dear friend, Patrick, for creating such an extraordinary cake; my cousin, Dee, for all the props she contributed for the photo booth and for doing such a fabulous job on Mom’s makeup; my sister, Berishia, for the fortune cookies; my best friend of nearly 55 years, Sheri, for her precision serving skills and so many great photos despite the overcast skies, and; my husband, Ramon, for all the photos he took, his bartending prowess, being such an all-round good sport, and PAYING FOR THIS!!! 😉

Now…on to the fun guest pics with captions chock full of 1920s Flapper/ Gangster Slang. (The Flapper Slang Guide, Slang of the 1920s, Molls & Dolls Slang Dictionary) Enjoy!

My cousin, Dee, and I always take pictures of us rough housing. Here we are trying to put each other in a “deep sleep.” A whole new meaning to “clutching your pearls”!!! Somebody call the “coppers”!

Wow! Here’s a real “sheba”! Barbara was the ultimate flapper girl, ready to have a great time in her sparkly black dress!

Mom and her forever baby sister, Vivienne, who I call Aunt Bean Bean Dancing Machine!

Here’s a couple of “swell dames”: Mom and friend/LINK sister, Shirley Thaw.

Mom and friend/LIncoln High School classmate from the Class of 1946/”canary”, Geneva Price

Mom and friend/Delta sorority sister, Dr. Susan Wilson. Check out those “gams”!

Mom and friend, Amy Heithoff-Dominguez, lookin’ like “the cat’s meow”!

Mom and friend/Delta sorority sister/education colleague, Dr. Marjorie Williams. That’s some “dish”!

Mom and friend/LINK sister, Barbara Graham, in her “glad rags” looking “air tight.”

Mom and my good friend & neighbor, Barbara Alsup. Quite the “billboard” that Barbara!

Mom and her friend/neighbor/fellow church member, Virginia Jones, who looks like a real “floorflusher”!

Mom and her niece/my arch nemesis cousin, Dee Evans, who’s had a little too much “giggle water.”

“Jeepers Creepers”! It’s Mom and her longtime family friend from the neighborhood (Leeds) where they grew up, Kimberly Randolph!

Mom and her son-in-law/my husband, the very dapper Dr. Ramon Nichols. Hubba hubba…what a “sheik”!!!

Well, look who stopped by to say hello and have her picture taken with the birthday girl! It’s little Ava Rutherford with her own flapper boa!!!

Ramon and me. Gosh, he looked so handsome in that outfit!!!!!!!!!!!! A real “brooksy” in those snazzy “dog kennels”!!! Me…post-op flat shoes! 😦

These “dolls” came ready to party! Barbara Graham (in a coat I really wanted to steal!) and Amy Heithoff-Dominguez (with a handbag to die for!)

Our resident bootlegger, Bob Rutherford, had to come check on his moll, Jane, and have a cigar!

Mom looked like the queen she is!

 

What a “babe”! Mom wears a 1920s-inspired gown designed and created by her granddaughter/my niece, Yvonne Chamberlain, for her to wear to the Governor’s Ball about 10 years ago. She still looks fabulous in it!!!

Even a “croaker” has to get his nutrition!

A couple of snappy “sips”: My “tomato” cousin, Dee Evans, and the flapper with the sexy “stilts”, Susan Wilson.

This is the look of PURE JOY!!! I absolutely adore this picture!!!

This outfit is absolutely the “duck’s quack”!!!

I’m so proud of my Mom!!!

A trio of real “lookers”: Barbara Alsup, me, and Sheri Grant

Check out these “kittens”: Barbara Graham, Shirley Thaw, Susan Wilson, and Dee Evans

Ripe and ready “hoppers”: Shirley Thaw, Susan Wilson, Dee Evans

I’m joining Susan at Between Naps on the Porch for Tablescape Thursday this week. Check her out for a wealth of Spring and Easter ideas!

My friend, Debbie, at Debbee’s Buzz has another wonderful theme party you might like. Check out this fabulous Alice In Wonderland invitation!!!

Smoke & Mirrors – Sensational at 70

My remarkable friend, Marchita, recently celebrated becoming an official septuagenarian in high spirits and high style. I was asked to create the ambience for the 160-guest celebration. So even with flooding rains plaguing the city (hence the substandard photo quality despite my best editing efforts), my husband and I made every second count of the allotted 2-hour setup time to create a space that represented Marchita: simply, sweetly, sensationally elegant at 70.

This recent 4-minute appearance on KCTV-5’s “Better Kansas City” show summed up my thinking on how to approach the decor without using flowers.

 

My inspiration for the overall room plan was quite unexpectedly stirred by the venue’s house decorator. This luxurious ceiling treatment was going to already be in place for a wedding reception…so I just rolled with that and chose white silk, reflective silver, mirrors, candlelight, and bling for the tables to complement it.

 

 

 

This is the woman of the hour, the sensational Marchita Stanton, standing at the table I created especially for her. I started with a black full-length pinched pinwheel taffeta tablecloth, an upgrade from the venue’s lap-length poly cloths used for the guest tables. A silver 5-arm candelabra to which I added crystal bobeches for extra sparkle graced the center. (These same candelabra were used for “Blue & White Family Picnic” and “Hollywood Fright Night“.)

 

 

 

Satellite lighting included lots of votives and candle lamps created using silver Revere candlesticks topped with white silk shades. (I used a similar technique for the post “Should Have Put A Ring On It“.) I used the same bobeches on the lamps as on the candelabra.

 

I created signs like this for areas throughout the venue. The frames are laden with pearlescent gemstones and rhinestones. (I used these same frames for seating cards in the posts “Fete Noir et Gris“, “Purple & Pastel“, and “Bling Wedding“.)

 

I slipped the chairs at the guest of honor’s table into black Spandex chair covers and added a black sash to which a rhinestone cuff was affixed.

 

 

 

Centerpieces for the guest tables were more subdued than the head table with a single lamp and a few votives. While the lamps complemented the overhead decor and head table, they did not serve to compete. I opted to use the venue’s mirrors to double back the light.

 

 

Marchita requested a special table for the children next to her own table. I wanted it to be special and fun but still work with the rest of the decor. I ordered up a balloon bouquet in black, white and platinum (after all, platinum is the color for celebrating 70 years!) and omitted candles. Marchita put together fun gift/activity bags to be placed in each child’s chair.

 

A quick peek at other details I set up around the venue includes the table in the vestibule for guests to self-check their umbrellas. I admit it could have been nicer, but I didn’t think about it until a few hours before setup when I realized the rain was NOT going to back down. At any rate, it helped avoid confusion after the event as so many umbrellas look alike.

 

 

As guests stepped inside the party room they were greeted by a table reminding them to treat themselves! I dressed the table in a white pinched pinwheel linen and, like the head table, added a silver candelabra. A few scattered LED votives further illuminated the table.

 

I expected a significant amount of cards, so I opted for a silver punch bowl (also used in “Kentucky Derby Buffet” for Mint Julep Punch) to collect them on the gift table.

 

 

 

I forgot the silver trays for the ladies and mens room pampering stations!!! Ugh!!! Oh, well…several guests remarked how appreciative they were to have things like breath mints, floss sticks, and hair spray at their disposal. Notice how the men got FAR less!!! But those shoe mitts came in handy after coming in out of the driving rain.

A few other birthday celebration posts on this site include:
88 Years & 88 Keys
Pretty In Pink
Blue & White 30th Birthday
Celebrating 85 Years of Fabulous!
Purple & Pastel
Grazin’ In the Grass
Princess Pink Birthday Dinner
Happy Birthday, Barf!
Black, White & Red All Over

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Grazin’ In The Grass – 80th Birthday Party

GRAZIN’ IN THE GRASS
(a re-post from April 2009)

My husband and I hosted a much less formal birthday bash for my Mom in 2009 to celebrate #80. We started off with a wine and cheese bar for family & friends.

 

My Mom’s official birth date is March 22, so what better way to ring in the season than with a spring tablescape rich with the colors and elements we miss over the long, cold winter? Mom really got a kick out of my sudden “green thumb” with rye grass grown just for the occasion in clear glass containers. (She then tried to play it off…like, “Whatever, dude. No big deal. I could’ve done that with my eyes closed.” Look at that look on her face…and the one on mine!!! 🙂 🙂 🙂 )  Rye grass only takes a couple of weeks to look like this! See Tip #15 under the “Table Tips” tab above. Fresh Gerbera daisies add a playful and colorful element to the centerpiece set atop a length of moss.

 The casual dining room setting included a double layer of placemats. The cabbage leaf placemats were perfect for ushering in Spring! Mikasa stoneware in various Spring colors gave the table a little kick in the pants, while plain yellow linen napkins layered with gauzy floral ones danced above.
 
Just about everybody loves a cupcake! Makes you feel like a kid again, doesn’t it? For this celebration, vanilla cupcakes frosted in spring pastels and decorated with “fluttering” butterflies were the talk of the party! You can’t go wrong when decorating with butterflies…they enchant both young and “not-as-young”!
 The official octogenarian and moi! I’m not scared of aging…I’ve got good genes! 🙂
Other birthday posts on this site include:
The Party She Deserves
Celebrating 85 Years of Fabulous!
88 Years & 88 Keys
Princess Pink Birthday Dinner

Bellini Birthday Brunch

BELLINI BIRTHDAY BRUNCH
(a re-post from August 2009)

 In 2009 we celebrated my stepdaughter’s birthday with an open house brunch. As a hint of what was to come, guests were greeted by our jolly old English butler, Geoffrey, offering coffee and a donut on the front porch.
  Upon entering the foyer, guests were offered peach Bellinis served in cut crystal Mikasa flutes displayed on a beautiful silver tray.
 The dining room was set for six with fun coffee motif placemats from Bed Bath & Beyond.
I like to use edible centerpieces on tablescapes whenever possible. This one includes lots of fresh fruit stacked on glass cake plateaus, accented by aromatic roasted coffee beans and simple bouquets of colorful alstroemeria.
 Set up on the buffet behind the table is a scrumptious coffee bar with variety sugars and liqueurs. The silver Victorian sugar scuttle and rock candy sticks are fun details that help it all special. The faux mother-of-pearl handled flatware from Target is set end-to-end for visual impact. I created the fun coffee bar sign using an inexpensive miniature chalkboard from Hobby Lobby. Displaying it on the gold easel makes it look a little bit fancier despite the unfinished wood frame.
 Fun touches like this chalkboard cow from J’Adore in Kansas City, MO, make the buffet service area a little more fun. The kitchen pigs presiding over the chafers and condiments are from Stein Mart.
 A juice bar was set up near the buffet, with each serving vessel accented with corresponding fresh fruit slices. Name tags are displayed on card holders resembling miniature coffee pots.

Black, White, & Red All Over

BLACK, WHITE, & RED ALL OVER
(a re-post from April 2010)

Happy Birthday dinner party on the deck is ready to get underway.

 

 

A casual birthday dinner to celebrate my son and sister-in-law’s birthdays brought out the black & white Royal Stafford “Herdsman” dinner plates. I set black chargers and linen napkins against a crisp white cotton tablecloth, and keeping with the tablescape’s natural theme, I used plain rattan napkin rings. A traditional flatware pattern, Hampton Smith’s “Patriot”, complemented the ensemble. Individual wine tags were put on each person’s glass for mingling after the meal.

 

A shot of color was added to the tablescape with bright red geraniums in simple terra cotta pots. By substituting the geraniums for something more spring-like such as potted tulips or hyacinth, a table like this would also work quite well for a Mother’s Day brunch or luncheon, or any Spring tablescape.

 

To add height, texture and interest to the tablescape, simple potted topiaries shared the center of the table with the geraniums.

 

Wonderful made-from-scratch food and fabulous drink including my introduction to Menage a Trois. The WINE! Get your mind out of the gutter!!!

 

The Birthday Queen and King blow out their candles!

Other black, white, and red tablescapes on this site include:
Black, White, & Red All Over Christmas
Checkered Christmas – A Snowman Theme
Derby Day Dining
Grill It Up!

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

Fairy Princess Party – For Little Girls!

My expertise doesn’t run particularly strong when it comes to tablescapes for children, but I still take the plunge every so often. This time around I’ve tried my hand at a little girls’ party fit for a fairy princess.

 

 

 

The Dollar Tree often sells really terrific stuff for entertaining. I’m always so glad to hap upon items like these fairy wings and cute Disney princess products that sparked an idea for a kids’ tablescape with very feminine features.

 

Every little girl should have the benefit of a special party created in her honor. To do so doesn’t require a ton of money, but little touches can make it extra special. I started the tablescape for 4 with a luxurious pink pinched pinwheel taffeta tablecloth from LinenTablecloth.com.  (These tablecloths are machine washable and easy care, so you can rest easy while little girls enjoy.) Bling runners are crisscrossed on the table for an extra lavish touch.

 

 

 

I used disposable tableware including a clear plastic plate (the better to see the princess placemat with, my dear!), a trio of lavender, white & pink paper napkins (messy hands need lots of napkins!), and plastic cutlery in pink, lavender and yellow. Pink striped princess party hats for each guest and a “gemstone” candy ring top off each place setting. Reusable Dollar Tree Disney fairy-themed cups with bright yellow straws serve as a part of the take-home favors.

 

 

 

 

Dessert is part of the off-center centerpiece! A trio of clear glass cake stands are stacked and topped with a princess dress form clad in pink, white & yellow tulle (to which I hot glued white fairy wings) that creates a fun and pretty way to display cupcakes.

 

Dollar Tree is the place for kid-friendly favors, too! Disney princess coloring books and crayons become a part of the centerpiece that can be easily accessed for coloring together at the party. Each guest can then take her book & crayons home to continue the fun.

 

I found these cute polka-dotted pink & green butterfly canvases in the clearance section at Hobby Lobby some years ago. This seemed like the perfect tablescape to finally use them.

 

 

I’m on a roll with these paper lanterns this year! A fun mix of royal purple, princess pink, diamond white, lime green, and juicy orange lanterns that complement the colors on the cups and placemats sway overhead. To amp up the deluxe factor, I added garlands of crystal bling. (Are we still using that word? It’s all I’ve got, man!)

Fairy Princess Party…OUT!!!

Other clumsy attempts at parties suitable for children on this site:
Life is Just a Chair of Bowlies
Popsicle Party
Cupcake Colors
Pink & Purple Chocolate Christmas
Confectionery Christmas
Sugar High
Kaleidoscope Christmas
Frosty the Snowman

Other princess-inspired posts on this site:
Princess Pink Birthday Dinner
Breakfast at Tiffany’s
Fairy Tale Wedding Shower – The Princess & the Frog

 

 

Informally Formal: Marrying modern and classic in your table setting

My 4-minute segment on yesterday’s “Better Kansas City” show on KCTV-5 was all about “informally formal” entertaining at home!

As mentioned in the video clip, our Easter dinner tablescape was, I think, a good example of informally formal design. We simultaneously celebrated my son’s 39th birthday, and I wanted both my son and the rest of the family to feel special – because they are! But this was a day I wanted to be able to relax a little, too, so instead of formal china and crystal, I pulled out some terrific Pier 1 plates to fill the bill. This tablescape, minus the obvious nods to Easter, would be perfect for any Springtime event including birthdays, Mother’s Day, ladies luncheons, bridal or baby showers, or even engagement parties.

 

 

 

 

I’ve not used these beautiful Pier 1 plates since 4 years ago when I posted a piece called “The Bluebird Special“. While certainly far from what might be construed as traditionally formal, they have a simultaneously staid/laid back look. The woven square chargers and faux bamboo flatware lend texture and an organic feel to the place setting.  The yellow undertones of the flatware complement the bird on the plate as well as the floral centerpieces. The lavender napkin is fashioned in a traditional pyramid fold, and the green goblets are from Dollar Tree.

 

I enjoy creating specialized menus on my computer for at-home events. This colorful one in shades of yellow, purple and white with a bright pink clip leans to the side of informality. The colors complement the florals.

 

 

 

 

 

I might have gone a little wild with all the florals this year, but they were all so pretty! Our generous across-the-street neighbors allowed me to snip from their lavishly blooming lilac bush to complete the springtime floral designs of pink & yellow tulips, Mardi gras Solidago, and alstroemeria in white vases. The florals extended down the length of a fresh moss runner dotted with moss bird nests from Home Finishings. (HINT: If the smell of moss wrinkles your nose, open it up and air it out for a couple of days before use.) For additional height, texture, a burst of color, and the pure drama of it all, I filled a white glass vase with forsythia branches and placed it at the very end of the table. Note that the full-length white tablecloth from LinenTablecloth.com is knotted at the end for safety as well as a cool contemporary look.

 

The alternating pink and lavender satin chair sashes almost didn’t make the cut. My husband thought the plain white stretch chair covers were sufficient. I, however, begged to differ. When he saw the chairs with the sashes, high fives and mea culpas were in order. (We agreed they made the chairs resemble Easter eggs!) Depending on the type of event you are hosting, chair sashes may or may not be appropriate. It’s up to you!

When planning your next Springtime event, keep in mind who your guests are, what feeling you’d like the space to evoke and, as always, just what level of formality is within your comfort zone! As alluded to in the video clip, formality may be circling the bowl, but it ain’t dead yet! 😉

For more photos of tablescapes seen in the video clip:
“Blurred Lines With Shades of Pink”
“Celebrating 85 Years of Fabulous”
“My Sister’s Wedding China”

A few other Spring tablescapes on this blog you may enjoy include:
“Springtime In Paris”
“Patisserie de Paris”
“Easter Brunch”
“Pinky Peter Cottontail”
“Barton’s Easter Brunch”
“All A’Bloom For Spring”
“Spring Has Sprung”
“Welcome Back, Joel”
“Peony Power”
“Tulips in the IHOP Hour”
“Float Like A Butterfly”
“Purple & Pastel”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Dorothy By Any Other Name: Purple and Cream 80th Birthday

There have been many remarkable Dorothys to walk this earth. Among them the brainy Dorothy Johnson-Vaughn (NASA mathematician recently depicted in the movie “Hidden Figures”), the brazen Dorothy Height (women’s and civil rights activist), the brilliant Dorothy Hamill (ice skater), the beguiling Dorothy Dandridge (actress), the bubbly Dorothy who captured our hearts along the Yellow Brick Road, the beleaguered Dorothy Tucker-Roberts (my poor hairstylist of 20+ years for whom one must feel sympathy having to put up with me!), and finally the blissful, beautiful and beloved Mrs. Dorothy J. Knight, the honoree for this lovely celebration. When my high school friend, Audrey, asked me to craft a head table with the colors and flowers her Mother adored to celebrate her 80 birthday, I was most humbled.

 

Mrs. Knight’s birthday celebration was held in the auditorium at the Bruce R. Watkins Cultural Heritage in Kansas City, Missouri.

 

 

 

 

 

I created a dramatic centerpiece using a silver faux manzanita tree branch adorned with various hanging crystals and cream spray roses. I placed it on a round mirror to reflect back the sparkle, shine and movement of the crystals. A cluster of four standard size julep cups filled with cream roses, spider mums, baby’s breath, and miniature chrysanthemums. Satellite miniature juleps each held a single rose surrounded by baby’s breath and a few mini chrysanthemums.

 

 

Each place setting at the table included a mirrored charger, creamy dishes, lovely heirloom flatware, and a cream colored napkin emerging from a silver pew cone, also known as a cherub cone. (Other posts on this blog incorporating silver pew cones as napkin holders include “Purple & Pastel” and “Pretty in Pink”.) I placed a personal set of salt & pepper shakers at the top of each place setting.

 

 

 

The creamy ivory rosette table runner contrasts with the royal purple full-length tablecloth and complements the chair caps that are placed over ivory stretch chair covers and all tied up with a lavender satin sash.

Family members worked hard to plan and create the remaining atmosphere. They put a lot of love into it! To play on Shakespeare’s words in Romeo & Juliet, a Dorothy by any other name would not be as sweet as Mrs. Dorothy J. Knight.

For more birthday celebrations on this blog:
“88 Years & 88 Keys”
“Celebrating 85 Years of Fabulous”
“The Party She Deserves”
“Purple and Pastel”
“Blue & White 30th Birthday”
“Purple + Green = Happy Birthday!”
“Happy Birthday, Barf!”
and see FIVE additional birthday celebrations on the “Birthdays” tab!