Mardi Gras, Baby!

I…AM…STIR CRAZY!!! Nine – count ‘em – NINE weeks since this most recent spine surgery and I am STILL on lockdown for what seems like perpetuity! I’ve been growling and pacing, and I’m just about ready to bite!!! But I am making progress, albeit at a snail’s pace.

Thank goodness for a very welcome email from a freelancer on behalf of TasteOfHome.com who reached out to me for permission to use a photo from my 2013 post, Mardi Gras Madness.  My chance to blog without having to do any real work!!! I hope you will pop over to take a look at “10 Centerpiece Ideas for Your Mardi Gras Party” which went live yesterday. I’m #5 on the countdown.

Have a joyful and raucous (but don’t come to me for bail money!😉) Fat Tuesday, and a loving and memorable Valentine’s Day! I”ll see ya when I’m a bit more limber and mobile!

Other Mardi Gras-themed posts on this blog include:
Celebrate Mardi Gras
Laissez Les Bon Temps Rouler!
Mardi Gras Lite
Mardi Gras Mojo
The Peacock Effect
Peacock Pizzazz!

Valentine’s Day is less than a week away so here are a few posts you might consider for planning a celebration of love for your Valentine or Galentines!
Queen of Hearts Card Party
Platinum & Pink
Be Still My Heart
Should Have Put a Ring On It
Days of Wine & Roses
Chocolate Traditional
Love’s Arrow
Peonies and Pearls
French Poodle
Pretty In Pink
Fairy Tale Wedding Shower
Showered In Pink
Princess Pink Birthday Party

I’m happy to once again join all the ladies and gents over at Susan’s place for the 489th Tablescape Thursday. Pop on over to get lots of Valentine’s Day AND Mardi Gras ideas!

Are You Ready For Some (2-Year-Old) Football?

Hello, howdy, hi there! While I’m still working hard on recuperation (from surgery exactly 8 weeks ago!), I can now at least sit in my office chair for 10-15 minutes at a time before pain swallows me whole. Meanwhile, the Lord works in mysterious ways, and I came across photos from a “Better Kansas City” show Super Bowl 50 segment from two years ago that I never posted! With Super Bowl 52 this coming weekend, it’s perfect timing! Thanks for stopping by, enjoy Super Bowl weekend, and I hope to “see” you sometime in March!

 

 

For this segment I wanted to represent both teams. I had no horse in this race, so no big deal! (Fellow Kansas City Chiefs fans, please forgive me this transgression.  :-))

 

I’m quite fond of these stretchy Spandex tablecloths from LinenTablecloth.com because they go on easy, clean up nicely, and don’t have to be folded. Really! Just scrunch ’em up and store them without wrinkle worries! (I don’t get paid to say nice things about the company. I just want you to know where to find stuff!)

 

The buffet “table runner” is actually composed of 3 gridiron placemats that I previously used for “Hometown Pride: Kansas City Chiefs vs. Denver Broncos” and “Kansas City Chiefs in the Red Zone“.

 

 

 

This horse head was first used to poke fun at the Broncos in my “Hometown Pride” post, but here it is merely fun team symbolism.

 

It is rare that I advocate disposable products, but if you want faster clean up, don’t trust the rowdy folks on your guest list to not throw ironstone dishes at the TV if their team is losing, or just want some variety, there’s lots of fun stuff out there.

 

I’m a big fan of choosing food and/or drinks in the team colors!

 

 

The Denver Broncos presence is felt all over the buffet table with the team colors of orange and blue. I found the cute little “official” bottle cozies (with working whistles!) and the pom poms (fun favor for guests to cheer on their chosen team!) at a local Party City.

 

This snazzy, jazzy guest table is all decked out in the Carolina Panthers’ team colors. Layering linens is a great way to bring color and interest to your table! The triple layer linens of Carolina blue, black and white are all from LinenTablecloth.com.

 

 

The place settings are simple but fun with matching placemats and napkins. I sometimes like to use both a fabric and paper napkin. Here, the team colors are well represented by tucking the patterned paper napkin inside the fabric one and allowing it to just peek over the top. (Fabric for your lap, paper for your hands & lips!)

 

Quick, inexpensive, and easy describes this centerpiece in celebration of 50 fifty years of Super Bowl. I bought plain numbers at Hobby Lobby and spray painted them gold, the traditional color for 50th anniversaries. Three footballs from Dollar Tree were also painted gold and set atop  tiered candle holders to lend more varied height to the tablescape.

 

So this was me two years ago (the picture of good health, loud & proud in my Kansas City Chiefs jersey!), one year out from the 3 surgeries (2 spine, 1 shoulder) I endured that year. I was feeling strong and energized after months of physical therapy. This look of healthy glee and accomplishment is my goal for later down the line in 2018, so I’m going to let slow and steady win this race. While I’m still nowhere near being able to create tablescapes at this point, I hope to get there soon!

Other sports themed tablescapes on this blog include:
Hometown Pride
Kansas City Chiefs in the Red Zone
Home of the Lions
Boys of Summer – Baseball Tablescape
The 19th Hole – Golf and Forever Love
Tartan on the Tee

I’m joining Susan at Between Naps on the Porch for her 488th Tablescape Thursday blog party and the 114th Celebrate Your Story with Chloe and Sandra. Lots to see over there from other very talented tablescapers, so check it out!

 

 

 

Autumn In Cactus Country

My good friend (since 6th grade!), Monica, was recently swept away from the Kansas City area to Arizona. Arizona??!?!??!? We’re Midwestern girls! We don’t know anything about ARIZONA!!! We’re used to perceptible changes of seasons, with autumn (next to Christmas, of course) being at the top of our decorating list! We know that spring means pastels, summer means ice cream colors, winter means Chiefs red, and fall means russet, burgundy, deep greens and orange. Lots and lots of orange! What in heaven’s name is a Missouri transplant to do for fall in Arizona??!???!

Asked and answered on a recent “Better Kansas City” segment! This 2-1/2 minute clip includes four different autumn tablescaping palettes I think you’ll enjoy!

One way to bring the season to your table in climes where warm colors can overpower and autumn leaves simply don’t exist is to use white and pastel pumpkins along with lots of succulents.

 

 

 

 

 

 

While the palette is predominantly white, it’s the accompanying elements that lend to the fall feeling. Notice the use of translucent stemware and votive holders that keep the table light. The Home Essentials Antique White dishes, faux mother of pearl flatware, napkins…all in the white family but not the exact tone to add subtle variety.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tucked among the varied sizes of white pumpkins are chicks & hens, jelly bean plants, echeveria, agave and seeded eucalyptus. The greens and burgundy in the succulents are a deliberate nod to the season and keep the tablescape from becoming too austere.

 

While standard votives would look perfectly fine with this vignette, I chose these cylindrical ones from Pier 1 to add just a teensy bit of height. It’s already hot in Arizona, so just a few for ambience!

 

The dining table is loaded with decor, so I elected to keep the buffet behind it sparse. The clay pots I chose for these flowing succulents remind me of a weathered adobe home with its pinkish tones.

The elements used in this tablescape could be applied all around the house for light, airy, fresh fall decorating in southwestern U.S. states like Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada and Oklahoma, and in parts of California, Utah, Texas, and Colorado as well as in Mexico.

Without question this was one of the most fun challenges ever! Monica, I hope this helps! Michael, I still don’t forgive you for taking Monica away! 😉

Other tablescapes on this site from this
“Better Kansas City” show clip:

Autumn Chinoiserie
(others soon to come!)

Other tablescapes on this site
using white pumpkins for fall:

Thanksgiving 2010
Autumn White Wedding
Finally Fall
Over the River and Through the Woods

Another tablescape suitable for fall
using succulents (and sunflowers!):

Cinco de Mayo Simply Done

I’m linking up this week for the first time to “Dishing It & Digging It” and the “Share Your Style” blog party where you can see all kinds of talent in the blog world!

An Offer You Can’t Refuse

The weather is beginning to cool, which means nights snuggled up with a good movie. I’m back with another fun segment from “Better Kansas City”, and if you don’t watch any other clip, YOU MUST SEE THIS ONE!!! My hope is that by including these short demonstration clips from the show (this one is just 3-1/2 minutes), you can get a better grasp of the tablescape construction and the thinking behind each.

And now a few still pics from the set…

 

 

I found the black, red & white melamine plates at Hobby Lobby 4 or 5 years ago but never had a chance to use them until now. Disposable (gasp!) Italian-themed napkins are from Tuesday Morning.

 

Long wicker bread baskets are used for a loaf of crusty Italian bread and a fun tomato and artichoke display that adds color and texture to the buffet table.

 

 

 

 

 

I liked the idea of using olives as part of the decor as “The Godfather – Part II” explores “the old country” and the Genco Pura Olive Oil Company (a front company for the Don’s real operations) in America. If you live in an area where olive branches are readily available, by all means…go for it!!! Here in the Kansas City area, however, artificial branches had to suffice. They make the perfect substitution for flowers casually plopped into a Methuselah wine bottle. (This bottle was also used for the wine tasting dinner “September Wine” and “Taste of Wine Buffet“.)

 

A night in front of the television screen sometimes calls for a good old-fashioned TV tray! Dress it up a little to complement the theme of the movie. Here a black & white checkered placemat is topped with a white dinner plate and the melamine salad plate from the buffet table.

 

Have a little fun and do something campy or totally unexpected to get guests in the spirit of the theme. Extract some idea from the movie that is easy to replicate. Here, I took a cue from the gruesome yet iconic scene in sleazy film mogul Jack Woltz’s palatial bedroom. My wooden horse’s head is swathed in “bloody” Halloween gauze from Dollar Tree. Fun little thing to put at the doorway as guests come in!

This was fun! Enjoy your next movie night at home!

Other posts on this blog using the horse (all of him!):
Carousel Colors

Run for the Roses
Celebrating Longview Farm
Kentucky Derby Buffet

Other posts on this blog using black, white & red:
Black, White & Red All Over
Black, White & Red All Over Christmas
Grill It Up!
Life Is Just A Chair of Bowlies

Checkered Christmas
Derby Day Dining

Another movie night post:
March of the Penguins

I’m joining Susan’s Tablescape Thursday this week! There are some very creative fall tablescapes you’ll not want to miss!!!

Finally Fall

I didn’t get a chance to share last year’s fall decor, so while I’m still tinkering with the decor for 2017, I thought I’d drop a few detail pics from fall 2016 – frequently punctuated with bittersweet, pumpkins and acorns – on you. First, a little 3-minute video clip from a recent stint on KCTV-5’s “Better Kansas City” show to remind you of some of the free and easy things you can incorporate into your fall decorating!

 

The modestly proportioned entry hall…

I bought this branch and twig frame plain at Home Finishings here in Lee’s Summit and wired in a bit of fall foliage. (Lots of goodies from Home Finishings are used in my 2017 decor. I’m so excited!!!)

 

I created this tilted pumpkin look using just a dot of hot glue on each one. I wasn’t sure it would work out, but it did!

 

 

 

The vintage “telephone table” just inside the doorway had a huge lantern with a cherub inside. I added a little bittersweet garland to tie in with the wreath on the bigger foyer table, a couple of mini pumpkins and a candle. (See the cherub used in a Spring setting, “Showered In Pink“.

 

The library…

 

I wanted something with a “gathered” look, so I started with a bed of reindeer moss and a plump white pumpkin then just started adding fall-like elements. I elevated the silver compote with a stack of old cigar boxes.

 

Dining room…

This huge pumpkin is just plopped down into a large silver compote with a wreath of grapevine, leaves, pine cones, berries and gourds. The woven tray beneath breaks up the riot of color between the arrangement and the runner, and it adds a bit of extra texture. (See the large silver compote used in different ways at “Cranberry Christmas“, “Cranberry Christmas – Squared“, “Roses In October“,  and “Happy Mother’s Day, Senator Mom“.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

The kitchen…

 

 

 

I have enjoyed changing out the seasonal decor on this 3-tier galvanized tray (from Costco…just $19.99!!!) over the last year or so. (See the Spring setup at “Spring & Easter Around the House“, the Winter styling on Pinterest, and the Summer arrangement on Pinterest.)

 

Simple but dramatic, a mass of berry-laden branches create a nice side decor piece.

 

 

 

 

Top floor hallway…

 

And finally, the family room…

Those are giant (faux) acorns with the mini pumpkins on a bed for green Spanish moss!

 

 

 

 

More giant acorns!

 

I really liked this simple yet effective display of a white pumpkin, leaves, and a berry garland on a bed of green Spanish moss with a deer shed at the base of the putty-colored Z Gallerie “St. Helena” bowl.

 

 

That’s it for now. I hope to introduce my Fall 2017 decor in the next week or so. At least it won’t be a whole year late like this one! 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

Polly Want a Party!

Every summer I feel the need to do one real doozy of a tablescape, and earlier this summer THIS was IT.  My inspiration: the pool parties and other hot cha cha patio gatherings my parents hosted WAY back in the day (1960s), and it just kind of took off from there.
(P.S. – In response to requests to please do so, I have turned the Comments section back on. PLEASE do not feel obligated in any way to comment. I’m totally OK with “glance-and-go” or “peek-and-pin” without remarks. The Comments section is merely there for your convenience.)

C’mon up the back steps and join the Beach Blanket Bingo fun! (Those 55+ will totally understand that reference!)

 

When we got new energy-efficient windows, I couldn’t bear to part with all of the original ones that came with the house. I use them in decorative ways in various places inside and out like here at the top of the deck steps.

 

The barrage of bright-colored paper lanterns hung with hot pink ribbon starts here at the top of the stairs.

 

 

This old wrought iron bakers rack on the deck comes in handy for food and beverage service from time to time. Here I have stacked up bamboo trays, plates and flatware bundles for those who prefer to eat away from the main table. Just pick up your tray cafeteria style, go through the buffet line, then pick your seat! Notice the throwback paper honeycomb pineapples! (To see this baker’s rack completely decked out for food service, check out “Patisserie de Paris“.

 

 

 

 

The “lounge” area of the deck includes the coffee table where an abundance of fresh tropical fruit serves as a centerpiece. I spread out a trio of monstera leaf placemats over the glass for visual interest.

 

 

 

A mini bar is set up on a round side table. Today’s specialties: your choice of mind-blowing margaritas or fresh and frothy piña coladas! (Seriously, y’all…drink a couple of my margaritas and you’ll find yourself in a hotel room with a tramp stamp, eyebrow piercing and French braided hair, staring at a license signed by “Not-the-Real-Elvis” that makes it official between you and some gnarly barely-of-age surfer dude named Bodhi!)

 

 

I used weathered crates (reminds me of driftwood) as side tables in a couple of areas. Yep…there sits one of those life-altering margaritas! The bamboo tray is loaded up and can easily balance on your lap. To see another way I’ve used these bamboo trays purchased at Old Time Pottery, see “Orange You Glad You Came to Dinner?” And speaking of dinner, I guess I should show you the actual table!

 

A sweeping 108-in. fuchsia tablecloth from LinenTablecloth.com sets the scene for this table for 5.

 

 

I like to layer up! In this instance, TWO placemats: natural round “Water Hyacinth” from Pier 1 topped with a fun and floppy off-center monstera leaf from Z Gallerie. (I also used the monstera leaf placemats for “Caribbean Queen“.) The brightly colored ruffled chargers in hot pink, lime, and turquoise are from Crate & Barrel, and can also be seen on posts like “Popsicle Party“, “Pleasant Under Glass“, and “Tropicana“.

 

Faux bamboo flatware is a staple around here! I use it a LOT!!!

 

Paper napkins striped with bright colors are tucked into these fun parrot napkin rings from Z Gallerie.

 

Mixing stemware is a definite YES!!! Just find something that ties them together like shape, color, or style. (The aqua blue stemware is from Pier 1, and the clear hurricane glasses from Old Time Pottery.)

 

 

Just like on the bar (filled with lemons and limes), these jaunty floral Hawaiian shorts are a fun addition! Here the shorts are filled with sago palms for an easy-to-assemble tropical centerpiece.

 

 

 

Yes, my paper lantern addiction continues!! (Don’t they look extra pretty in that 2nd pic with the lights glowing?) This time they have a bright pink grass skirt backdrop. I dropped in a few more swingin’ parrots, too.

 

Off to the side is a bowl of leis for guests to get in the spirit of the evening. Flip flops for everyone!!!

 

Cheers, everyone, from my buddy, Barbara (who is probably still laid out trying to make the room stop spinning from this drink!!!).

Other tropical-inspired posts on this blog include:
Flashy Flamingos – Navy, White & Pink Tablescape
Summer Breeze
Hot Tropical
Hot Fun In the Summertime
Flamingos In Paradise
Old Navy Seafood Cruise
Oranges & Blossoms
Caribbean Queen
Tropicana

Other posts using paper lanterns include:
Fairy Princess Party for Little Girls
Chinese Takeout
Cupcake Colors
Butterfly Kaleidoscope
Blue & White 30th Birthday
Easter Brunch
Under A Paper Moon

I’m joining Susan and the gang for “Tablescape Thursday” this week. If you want to see some really cool tablescapes by a variety of talented artists, head on over!

 

 

 

 

Tuscan Holiday

A neighbor asked me to help her with the design of a dinner tablescape for an Italian Christmas feast. She wanted to keep the look “very low key.” Further, she wanted the colors to be warm and not “overtly Italian.” My solution was to pair her white bowls with my mustard-color plates. We also used her existing flatware & stemware.

The long, lush centerpiece uses rustic wooden bowls as the foundation. (September Wine to see these wooden bowls & oversized hurricane sleeves used in a similar design on a long Tuscan-style table.) To this I added massive 24″H clear glass hurricane sleeves from Pottery Barn with an ivory pillar candle atop an oil-rubbed bronze candlestick. The outer edges of the bowl are filled with assorted seasonal fruits. To finish the look, fragrant evergreens cut fresh from the yard.
To finish each place setting, a bronzed charger and simple yellow apple serve as a subtle extension of the centerpiece. Rich chocolate linens convey the desired warmth and subtlety.
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
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

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!