“Let It Snow!”

Christmas Eve 2009 brought a thick blanket of snow to the Kansas City area. What better way to celebrate it than to bring a few snowflakes inside to the dining room tablescape?

 

 

 

Because I wanted to keep a little bit of a “woodland” look, I kept the table bare of linens to expose its grainy wood.

 

 

A shiny silver charger anchors platinum rimmed white Noritake “Spectrum” dinner plates, followed by a shimmering acrylic snowflake, and finally a white snowflake-laden salad plate from Pier 1. Mikasa‘s Jamestown Platinum stemware and heirloom silver flatware complete the setting. The centerpiece is made up of a large silver cake plateau topped with “snow-dusted” faux evergreens and lots of pillar candles.

 

Sometimes one napkin is simply not enough! Layering napkins – here a sheer silver organza from Pier 1 over crisp white cotton – gives a richer look. The rhinestone flecked napkin rings continue the snowflake trend.

 

I love these mirrored candlesticks from Pier 1 (2009 collection) used to elongate the centerpiece! Silver jingle bells rest on a mound of faux snow in modern crystal mini vases, and a 3-D glittery star work to complete the centerpiece.

 

 

 

The buffet decor mimics that of the dining table with snowy faux greenery, pine cones, more jingle bells, and lots of sparkle. The glass Parisian decanter is filled with “snow” and greenery, and a length of brown satin ribbon literally “ties” the dining room in with decor in the foyer.

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
Tuscan Holiday

 

 

 

 

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!!!

Blue & White Family Picnic

What better to do on a warm August evening than gather with friends and family for an old-fashioned, fun picnic…with an elegant twist?  

Grandpa Ramon entertains the little ones while Grandma Alycia rushes to finalize details.

 

When the weather is warm, cool colors for the outdoor tablescape are definitely in order! A classic blue & white checkered tablecloth anchors the setting and renders a true “picnic” feel.

 After a few family photos are taken…
…the food is set out, the champagne expertly poured, and it’s time for everyone to sit down, relax, and enjoy!
 Reflective silver chargers, icy clear dishes & stemware (Bed Bath & Beyond), and faux mother of pearl flatware (Target) were perfect for the occasion. White pillar candles, which bring one of three levels of candlelight, are protected from the breeze with standard clear glass hurricanes.
 Silver candelabra brimming with luscious grapes are outfitted with white candles to be lit after the sun leaves the sky. (Table linen and chairs from All Seasons Tent & Party Rental.)
 Silver julep cups are filled with pure white and citrus green carnations along with hosta leaves from the garden. (They were later transferred to faux silver juleps for the guests to take home.) Notice the votive candles in addition to the pillars under the hurricane shades and candelabra. I like the look offered by multiple levels and sources of candlelight that make any tablescape dance!
 Sweet bing cherries and plump, ripe blueberries are set out in beautiful white ceramic vessels from Hobby Lobby for guests to munch on before and after dinner. I love this white jardiniere…wish I had more!
 The dessert table is dressed up with a larger version of the carnation & hosta arrangements on the dining table.
 I like to think of new ways to present old favorites. On this day fresh strawberry lemonade was served from a clear glass apothecary jar (available at Target or Function Junction). A custom engraved silver tag strung with ribbon identifies the contents. (I had several of these tags made up for various beverage and candy displays.)
 
 Guests all dressed in blue & white raise a glass! To family!!!

Chinese Takeout

I’ve been MIA thanks to aggravating the herniated discs in my lower back. If you’ve never experienced lying in bed in a brace for days on end, believe me….you have been spared a living hell!!!!!!!! Anyhoooo…I’m able to at least sit at my desk for short periods now, so I wanted to hit you with this sort of transitional summer-to-fall tablescape I created about a month ago. No traditionally autumnal elements involved, but the rich colors march in time with late summer/early fall. This tablescape would also be great for Chinese New Year, a casual birthday gathering, or even an Asian-inspired rehearsal dinner.

This time of year starts to get really busy, so what’s a girl to do when faced with a dinner party for which she only has the time and energy to either cook OR decorate? If you’re THIS girl, you decorate and order Chinese takeout!
(Click on any photo, then click again to enhance/enlarge it.)

INSPIRATION: Beautiful floral toss pillows from Home Goods that usually hang out in our living room. The design worked well with the Asian theme.

INSPIRATION: Beautiful floral toss pillows from Home Goods that usually hang out in our living room. The fabric design worked well with the Asian theme.

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, Chinese Takeout: Full deck

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, Chinese Takeout: Multiple place settings

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, Chinese Takeout: Single place settingThis table for 6 starts with a full-length ivory tablecloth from LinenTablecloth.com. A raw silk runner adorned with bamboo images is centered on the table. The place settings are made up of stone-colored dishes purchased years ago at Tuesday Morning. The rice bowl and plate are separated by a simply-folded ivory napkin from LinenTablecloth.com.

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, Chinese Takeout: Flatware, Chopsticks, Miso Spoons, Teacup collage

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, Chinese Takeout: Black stemware from Dollar TreeThe “Cambridge”faux bamboo flatware is from Home Goods. It is set to the right of the dishes to make room for the intricately carved chopsticks and a red miso spoon from Pier 1 Imports. Each place setting has a traditionally-shaped teacup (World Market) and a very American water glass in a smoky black (Dollar Tree).

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, Chinese Takeout: Centerpiece

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, Chinese Takeout: Buddha, orchid, candle arrangement with stones collage

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, Chinese Takeout: Black Asian-inspired votive holdersI enjoyed creating this soothing centerpiece. I had all of these items already in my inventory and have used some of them in various other centerpiece designs. For instance, the rectangular vessels lined with smooth river stones, filled with water and then topped with floating candles were used in a very different way in Hooray for Vodka! The gold Buddha figurines at each end of the table were used at each place setting for the post Peaceful Peonies nearly 3 years ago. I bought the votive holders – used here to visually connect the mirror image elements at each end at a wholesale clearance sale many years ago. The pieces of bamboo laid on the table also act as visual connectors and tie in with the images on the runner.

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, Chinese Takeout: Seating areaI like to create an inviting outdoor lounge space for guests to hang out before and after dinner that works with the theme of the dining table.

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, Chinese Takeout: Coffee Table

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, Chinese Takeout: Tea tray

 Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, Chinese Takeout: Teapot, teacups, miso spoons collageThe coffee table – or tea table as it were – is set up with a tray holding a beautiful red teapot and the same black teacups found on the dining table from World Market. Another of the black votive holders is here, too, for added ambience. The miso spoons set upon black slabs of slate are for serving cocktail hour hors d’oeuvres. I set up miso spoons in a similar fashion for my stepdaughter’s 30th birthday celebration buffet, Blue & White 30th Birthday.

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, Chinese Takeout: Side table

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, Chinese Takeout: Side table collageThe side table in the corner is set with items that coordinate with elements on the dining table. The bright red orchid makes the area stand out a bit more and visually connects with the single orchid blooms used on the dining table.

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, Chinese Takeout: Paper lantern collageI bought these lighted paper lanterns with a bamboo design in the clearance section at Target many years ago and have never used them. They really add to the overall ambience and look great against the night sky. They were very easy to put up with the permanent hangers I installed earlier this year.

Other Asian-inspired tablescapes on this site:
Mandarin Bling
Copper Zen
Float Like A Butterfly
Mikasa Daylight (Design #2)
Year of the Rabbit
Zen Garden
Mum’s the Word
Peaceful Peonies
Blue & White 30th Birthday

I am linking up this week with:
Christine at Rustic & Refined for “Table It!”
Susan at Between Naps on the Porch for Tablescape Thursday

Hot Fun In the Summertime!

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, Hot Fun in the Summertime! -

INSPIRATION: Paper parasols in sizzling hot tropical colors and a new way for me to hang them outdoors!

The 4th of July has come and gone, but there are many more parties to come in the hot summer months. Hot days match up with abundant hot tropical colors like hot pink, outrageous orange, and yummy yellow. So pull out all the stops…but don’t break the bank! Shop end-of-season clearance sales like I do to stock up for next summer!
(Click on any photo, then click again to enlarge/enhance it.)

 

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, Hot Fun in the Summertime! - Full deckI am just head over heels with these stretch tablecloths from LinenTablecloth.com. They don’t pay me to say that…I just love these tablecloths! Who wants to mess around with a lot of unnecessary ironing in the hot summer? Not me! That’s why these have become my tablecloth of choice. Just stretch them on, and all the wrinkles go bye-bye. (Oh, how I wish it worked that way with my face and neck!!! 😉 ) They come in 7 different colors and 2 sizes. For me, these are a summer (and anytime!) must-have! (Students and freshman tablescapers: I used white to ground the setting and to play up all the color on the table. Students, you’ll remember we talked about wanting to avoid color saturation.)

 

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, Hot Fun in the Summertime! - full table (2 6-ft kissed horizontally)Two 6-ft. folding tables are kissed together horizontally create a “square.” Depending on what all you have on the table, this arrangement can comfortably seat up to 10 guests.

 

 

 

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, Hot Fun in the Summertime! - Place setting

 

 

 

 

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, Hot Fun in the Summertime! - Mesh food covering collage

 

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, Hot Fun in the Summertime! - Napkin

 

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, Hot Fun in the Summertime! - hot pink acrylic tumbler

 

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, Hot Fun in the Summertime! - orange acrylic flatwareI used the trio of hot pink, orange and yellow placemats from Bed, Bath & Beyond to give each place setting a distinctive look. Each guest can pick his or her favorite! Orange-rimmed hot pink melamine plates from Burlington sit atop plain white Corelle dishes at each place setting. A bright yellow napkin folded into a simple triangle is a constant around the table, as are the brilliant orange acrylic flatware and hot pink acrylic tumblers, also from Burlington. (Students, you can successfully mix one or two elements, but be sure to have plenty of “constants” that visually tie the tablescape together.) The fun mesh food covers to keep the pests away are from Z Gallerie. I bought them several years ago but have just this summer had occasion to use them.

 

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, Hot Fun in the Summertime! - full centerpiece

 

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, Hot Fun in the Summertime! - Centerpiece collage with lanterns, votives, and placemat runnerThis centerpiece relies solely upon color and candlelight. The “runner” is an overlapping repeat of the colorful placemats used at each place setting. Metal lanterns in the theme colors are from Hobby Lobby. (Students, notice the odd number – 5 – used, and recall our discussion about “the Rule of 3” and how odd numbers are easy on the eye.) The rest of the table is sporadically dotted with votives, again using all three colors.

 

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, Hot Fun in the Summertime! - colorful paper parasolsOver the years I have collected a number of paper parasols. These from Hobby Lobby are just plain fun to add color and motion to the space. Notice they are not completely extended as they might otherwise be for other uses. Also notice how they extend the color from the dining table to the perimeter of the dining environment. (I recently spent 2 hours carefully measuring and drilling holes to insert a number of small rubber-coated cup hooks in the overhangs on our back deck. They can stay up year round for displaying whatever I wish out there on a whim! The hooks are the same color as the house, so they just “disappear”!)

 

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, Hot Fun in the Summertime! - Buffet tableI always like the buffet table to complement the dining table in some way. Here, a 90″ x 132″ white tablecloth drops full-length (to stash catering stuff underneath!) and is topped with an 85-in. square fuchsia and a 70-in. square yellow, both from LinenTablecloth.com. (Sorry, folks…the yellow has been recently discontinued. They do, however, have a great new color called “cantaloupe” that would be fabulous in this setting!)

 

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, Hot Fun in the Summertime! - tropical "palm tree" floral pieceTo add to the tropical feel of the space, I created a “palm tree” on the buffet table using a white lacquered bamboo vase purchased at Z Gallerie a few years back. (I weighted it down with pea gravel to keep it from tipping over.) Palm fronds from Michael’s are artfully arranged to create the “tree.” The centerpiece is placed off-center.

 

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, Hot Fun in the Summertime! - Ice bucket, fruits collageWhen I put a tablescape together, I look through my computerized catalog (read about it HERE) and just type in keywords to find things in various categories in the color(s) I need. Without that catalog, I might have forgotten about this fun orange metal ice bucket. The yellow metal shabby chic bowl adds a little visual texture with its wavy lines. A white melamine chip ‘n dip tray takes on new life to display various tropical fruits on ice.

 

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, Hot Fun in the Summertime! - beverage center

 

 

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, Hot Fun in the Summertime! - Martini glasses with parasols, fruit tray collage

 

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, Hot Fun in the Summertime! - plastic pitchers

 

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, Hot Fun in the Summertime! - Beverage center collageThe beverage center is set up on one end of the buffet table. This display is proof positive that you don’t have to spend a lot of money to create a fun look. The orange and pink plastic tubs from Old Time Pottery were about $3 each. Just fill with ice and insert beverages! The plastic pitchers were about $3 each, too, and are a great way to serve large quantities of your signature cocktail. Put drink garnishments like cherries and lemon slices on a cute melamine tray like this one from my friend, Monica, who recently gifted me with a bunch of these babies. 🙂 Finally, cocktail parasols in a colorful martini glass could make even your daily Metamucil go down easy! (Yes, I speak from experience!) The cocktail parasols mimic those used in the decor as well as dress up the drinks.

So there you have it…a tropical, fun-in-the-sun, casual, easy, budget-friendly dining environment in hot colors that will keep your guests in the partying mood long after the lightning bugs have said goodnight! This tablescape would be perfect for a summertime birthday, rehearsal dinner, bridal shower, bon voyage party, beach party, or just any occasion that calls for f-u-n!

Other tablescapes on this site using paper parasols:
Oopsy Daisy!
Daisy Crazy
Flamingos in Paradise
Tropicana
Under a Paper Moon

Other tablescapes on this site with a tropical theme:
Hot Tropical
Caribbean Queen
Ocean Blue Tablescape
Raining Orchids

Two of my favorite blog parties for you to check out this week: Christine’s “Table It!” over at Rustic & Refined, and Susan’s “Tablescape Thursday” at Between Naps on the Porch.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Platinum New Year’s Eve Wedding

This past week or so I have been missing the rip, run and raucous roar of the years I spent as a professional wedding designer. Thank goodness I have this blog to purge those feelings because Lord knows my body could not go back to that kind of grueling, back-breaking (literally!), sleepless schedule.
(Click on any photo to enhance/enlarge it and see details up close.)

INSPIRATION: Sparkling silver & white Christmas tree napkin created by my friend & neighbor, Barbara.

INSPIRATION: Sparkling silver & white Christmas tree napkin created by my friend & neighbor, Barbara.

I’m pretty sure I’ve said it like 100 times before, but I feel compelled to say it again: I have the best neighbors anyone could ask for!!! I was working on this tablescape for my winter 2013  “Art of Tablescaping” class that I teach through MCC-Longview, and up pops Barbara with these FABULOUS napkins!!! Her gift made me reevaluate the table and want to add design elements that would give it a little more zing. So I tore the tablescape down and started over!

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, Platinum New Year's Eve Wedding: Full dining roomThe table is covered in a beautiful 90″ x 132″ platinum pintuck tablecloth from YourChairCovers.com. The diamond shape of the pintuck cloth fits right in with diamonds for a wedding!

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, Platinum New Year's Eve Wedding: Full TableThis is a tablescape that – minus the napkins – could easily fit into any month of the year for a rehearsal dinner or wedding reception. For a Christmas or New Year’s Eve wedding reception, the napkins are spot on!

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, Platinum New Year's Eve Wedding: Place settingThe place setting begins with a 13″ silverplate charger. The china used here is Easterling “Majestic” that my Mom gave to me a few years back. It’s staid design of dove grey rimmed in platinum with a white center to break up the concentration of color seemed perfect.

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, Platinum New Year's Eve Wedding: Napkin collageEach place setting has one of Barbara’s sultry, shimmery, beautiful napkins topped with a Moravian star. To see other tablescapes with Barbara’s napkin designs, click HERE and HERE. For the tutorial on how to create them yourself, click HERE for the YouTube video or HERE and scroll down to Tablescape Tip #31 for a step-by-step photo tutorial.

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, Platinum New Year's Eve Wedding: FlatwareInternational Silver “Royal Danish” flatware, another gift from my Mom, is paired with Fifth Avenue crystal steak knives.

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, Platinum New Year's Eve Wedding: Stemware - Jamestown PlatinumMikasa’s “Jamestown Platinum” stemware is perfectly matched with the china.

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, Platinum New Year's Eve Wedding: Full centerpiece

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, Platinum New Year's Eve Wedding: Candlestick collageThe centerpiece is a mix of high and low with 29″ silver Revere candlesticks and multi-faceted candle holders in different shapes and sizes. I used rhinestone-studded wax pillars to add shine up high.

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, Platinum New Year's Eve Wedding: Centerpiece elements

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, Platinum New Year's Eve Wedding: Centerpiece faceted candle holders collageI gradually amassed this collection of faceted candle holders from Hobby Lobby and Home Goods over the years. Note how the glow of one of the votives on the table casts light beneath the rose ball. (To see another tablescape using some of these faceted votive and candle holders, click HERE for “Princess Pink Birthday”.)

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, Platinum New Year's Eve Wedding: Dining chair with embellishment

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, Platinum New Year's Eve Wedding: Dining chair ornament embellishmentThe dining chairs are covered with silver satin universal chair covers recently purchased from LinenTablecloth.com.  I love the way the so beautifully drape down the back of the chair! I used a fancy ornament hook to affix an embellishment of a pewter glass ball ornament, a clear glass ornament, and one of the Moravian stars which enhances the 3-D look.

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, Platinum New Year's Eve Wedding: Full buffet

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, Platinum New Year's Eve Wedding: Buffet collageThe buffet behind the dining table is dressed with a huge faux evergreen, pine cone and white orchid arrangement in a beautiful mercury glass pilsner vase. The height of the arrangement helps to bring balance to the tall candlesticks on the table. Other elements from the dining table are repeated here including the rhinestone-studded pillar candles, the faceted candle holders in various sizes and shapes, the rose balls, and the Moravian stars.

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, Platinum New Year's Eve Wedding: Decor on top of china cabinetThe top of the china cabinet also has a few elements repeated from the table and buffet. Faceted crown candle holders hold white rose balls.

Other wedding-related posts on this site:
“Purple & Pastel”
“Bling Wedding”
“Roses in October”
“Showered in Pink”
“Fairy Tale Wedding Shower – Princess & the Frog”
“Something Blue Bridal Luncheon”

“Autumn White Wedding”
“Fete Noir et Gris”
“Planning in Purple”
“Love & Orchids”
“Rhapsody in Blue”
“Dinner for the Ladies in Waiting”
“Tented Green!”

I’ll publish a fun, contemporary New Year’s Eve cocktail/dinner party post tomorrow that will  also be featured on Cuisine Kathleen’s blog party, “Let’s Dish!”. next Wednesday anytime after 6:00 p.m. CST. Meanwhile, join me and other talented bloggers right now for fabulous Christmas and New Year’s Eve design ideas on Susan’s 276th edition of “Tablescape Thursday”!

Love & Orchids – Revisited for the 2013 Wedding Season

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I first posted this tablescape way back in September of 2010 when I first began blogging. It has been tucked deep within the “Wedding” page of my blog, and not readily accessible. As we approach the 2013 wedding season, I thought it might be a good idea to breathe a little new life into it as the decor is as current now as it was then. My hope is that this will be helpful to those planning a wedding, a special birthday, or any other event that calls for a polished, pretty look with a shot of brilliant color. Please pardon the less-than-great photography. I was just starting out! 🙂
(Click, then click again on any photo to enhance it and see details.)

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This engagement dinner party tablescape incorporates two of my favorite design elements: crisp white linens & dishware and fresh orchids!!! The color scheme is intentionally almost all white in an attempt to coax the brilliant fuchsia color of the orchids out a bit more.
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I love these 13″ silver chargers that are a full inch bigger than the standard size! The china is from my sister’s wedding collection, Noritake‘s “Whitebrook” design. The flatware is perhaps the favorite of my formal sets: International Silver’s “Royal Danish” sterling flatware.
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The menus snatched a bit of the orchid color to break up the flatness of the mostly white tablescape. Each menu item had an ingredient that is associated with love and fidelity. Guests were treated to a one-liner history lesson on the meaning of each. (This one about fertility rites was proffered by the anxious-to-be-a-grandmother-already mother of the groom! I laughed the whole time I was typing it up!!) The opposite side of the folded menu had fun trivia about the couple’s childhood experiences and courtship.
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White cotton napkins are folded into a prim little square and placed atop the bread plate with a tiny floral embellishment that brings the color from the floral arrangements down closer to the table.
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These fabulous orchids were generously provided by my friend, Craig Sole, of Craig Sole Designs in Overland Park, Kan. The great thing about orchids is that, with proper care, they can last for days on end!
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The 31″H clear glass cylinders (Marshalls) are anchored with acrylic “ice chips”, and the orchids are partially submerged. The 12″H cylinders are just a bit different sans ice chips and with just a bit of the flower stem peeking above the rim.
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Lots of votive candles add shimmer to the table. I used silver floating candles from Pier 1that I bought nearly 15 years ago (!!!) but never had occasion to use until now. I knew they’d come in handy some day!
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IMG_3293WMThese short, squatty glass cylinders were perfect for bringing color closer to the tabletop. The nearby votives illuminate the “ice chips” and water in which the orchids rest.
The sun set just around 7:20, which was perfect for the guests’  7:30 arrival!
This tablescape would work well for any wedding-related event (shower, engagement party, rehearsal dinner, reception), a special birthday, an anniversary dinner, and even to celebrate breast cancer awareness.

Life Is A Cabaret – New Year’s Eve

This is my final post of 2012, hopefully just in time to provide a few ideas for your swingin’ New Year’s Eve celebration. I’m going to take a little time off over the next couple of weeks to enjoy my family and friends, get ready for tax season, prepare for my Spring tablescaping classes..and put away all the Christmas decor!!!

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IMG_0025WMMy goal was to create a room with the sophisticated glitz and glamour of New York cabarets and nightclubs of the 1920s, ’30s and ’40s. I wanted a room that, if you allowed yourself to focus, you could almost hear The Incomparable Hildegarde, see The Rat Pack commanding all eyes with their boyish antics, feel the pulsing of the floor as the band plays, and taste the champagne as it overflows.

This is a tablescape for guys and dolls who appreciate a good time! So gentlemen, don your penguin suit (or your best Babalu-sleeved shirt) and Brylcreem. Ladies, slip into you sultry evening gown, lacy push-up bra, silky thigh high stockings, satin evening gloves, blood-red lipstick…and let’s party!!!

Table lengthwise & mulitple place setting collage

Single place settingWMTo achieve the swanky look I wanted, I started with a starched white full-length table linen. The chargers are mirrored rounds that reflect a lot of light. The Easterling “Majestic” china with its platinum rims always reminds me of a stylish gray morning suit. (Think David Beckham’s cravat and trousers at the recent royal wedding. Mmmmmm….David Beckham………………………….Ahem! Sorry. Zoned out for a second there! :-))

Flatware-Rim Shot collageThe J.A. Henckels “Bellaserra” flatware, while sleek and contemporary in its styling, works well with the place settings.

Napkin & Menu collageI created the menus on our home computer using a shimmery dark gray card stock for the backing. A simple silver brad on top and bottom reminds me of the buttons on a tuxedo shirt or snappy cuff links. (Uh oh, here come those thoughts of David Beckham again!!! ;-)) The white cotton napkin is starched to within an inch of its life, gently rolled inward from each end, and tucked neatly in an unconventional spot between the plate and charger.

Stemware collageGodinger “Chelsea” crystal stemware gleams on the table.

IMG_9879WMA sleek silver dinner bell rests at the hostess’s place setting at the head of the table.

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Mirror ball collage

Feather boa & votive candle collageThe long, luxurious centerpiece was created using multi-level silver Revere candlesticks as pedestals. On top are large mirror balls resembling the Times Square ball dropped in New York City every New Year’s Eve. (With the mirror balls, this would also make a great “Dancing With the Stars” finale watch party tablescape!) Snaking its way through the mirror ball stands and mercury votive holders is a flirty white feather boa. (Elton John called. He wants his wardrobe back! :-)) Additional candlesticks guard each end of the centerpiece with 15″ white candles to lend height, drama, and more ambient light.

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Buffet feathers & candle collageThe buffet behind the dining table is all aglow with more silver mercury glass votives and tall candlesticks. I wanted the buffet to be just as cool as the table, but complement it rather than compete. I filled 8″H mirrored bud vases with stark white goose feathers and biots. For added zing, I cut the individual “branches” of bling ornament sprays (seen whole in our Christmas tree HERE) and tucked them among the feathers. These arrangements remind me of the ostrich feather centerpieces used in swanky New York nightclubs like the Copacabana. (Uh oh…the Barry Manilow song just crept into my head and it’s NEVER gonna leave!!!)

Champagne Cart Collage

Feathers in champagne glasses collageThis is just a fun little touch on our vintage tea cart. Along with a bucket of fabulous pink champagne, a plate of caviar on toast points (because that’s how we roll on New Year’s Eve!), and the requisite noisemakers, are oversized champagne flutes filled with marabou feathers. I wanted to illuminate the feathers throughout. Problem was the LEDs that weighed no more than a good luck black-eyed pea wouldn’t hold up because the feathers were…let’s say it all together now…light as a feather!!! The lights sank to the bottom every time…but I still like the glowing effect. These would look great on the bar for a ritzy cocktail party or as table centerpieces!!!

China cabinet collageThe final touch is on the china cabinet where this beautiful crystal apéritif/digestif set (given to me by my Mom) is on display. The theme is continued here with a few strategically-placed (like a sexy cabaret dancer! ;-)) white ostrich feathers.

I thank you for spending a little time with me each week in 2012, and I wish you a safe and prosperous New Year. May 2013 bring you much love, joy and blessings!

Other tablescapes on this site suitable for New Year’s Eve:
Ringing in the New Year
White Hot
Winter Dinner
Little Black Dress
Peacock Pizzazz
Fete Noir et Gris

I will be joining The Tablescaper this Sunday for “Seasonal Sundays” where you can find all sorts of wonderful ideas for pepping up the season. Next week, as always, I’ll join Cuisine Kathleen for “Let’s Dish!” (anytime Wednesday after 6:00 p.m. CST) and Susan for “Tablescape Thursday” (anytime after 9:00 a.m., CST). I’m sure there will be lots and lots of fabulous New Year’s Eve tablescapes presented by my tablescaping colleagues around the world. You can also catch me over at BeBetsy.com.

HAPPY NEW YEAR, EVERYONE!!!

GET OUT AND PARTY LIKE IT’S 1999…
OR THE END OF THE MAYAN CALENDAR!!! 🙂

Checkered Christmas – A Snowman Theme

It’s December 4 and a balmy 60°F degrees outside….in Kansas City! (For those readers who live outside the U.S.A., that’s smack dab in the middle of the country, and we are usually shivering through daytime highs of only around 35°F or 40°F by now!) Hardly the weather for a snowman! So you can imagine my tablescaping students’ surprise back in October when they walked in and saw a room full of them! A snowman-themed tablescape is always fun, though, whether you’re entertaining the mathematically young or the young at heart.

Next week I’ll bring you a variation of this table for a larger number of guests to demonstrate how the same basic elements can be used to create a table with an entirely different look! I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.
(Click to enhance/enlarge any photo. Photos by Sheri L. Grant)

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IMG_9338WMThis is the kind of table that just brings me a lot of joy! It’s playful, but with a teensy air of sophistication introduced via the details. A full-length black and white checkered tablecloth from LinenTablecloth.com is the driving force behind this fun table setting. Its bold pattern commands attention in an unconventional way for Christmas. The dishes – a white ceramic charger from Old Time Pottery and a black ceramic dinner plate from Dollar Tree – are kept simple to avoid competing with the pattern.

Napkin & flatware collagePlain white cotton napkins are folded lengthwise to drape off the side of the table, gathered with ornamentation for a miniature Christmas tree, and embellished with a sprig of snow-covered pine.

Hot chocolate & stemware collageClear glass stemware from Old Time Pottery is used, including an Irish coffee mug for an after-dinner adult beverage laced with a chocolate-caramel liqueur.

Centerpiece, ribbon collageThe snowman centerpiece is made up of a squatty clear glass cylinder (I’m using these cylinders a lot this season!) layered with faux snow, pine branches and bright red berries. Red, besides being a traditional Christmas color, is a natural when paired with black and white. To complement the snowman’s attire, I added a dash of it to the table using a criss-cross of wide red ribbon. Notice how the checks in the tablecloth mimic that of the snowman’s jaunty little scarf. (I used these snowmen in a post called Frosty the Snowman two years ago. Click HERE or on the “Winter” tab above to see the difference.)

IMG_9745WMI used lots of votives on the table to counterbalance the deep tones of the black and red, further offset the quadrants already defined by the ribbon runners, and to add an adult dose of seasonal warmth and ambient light.

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Cake & cookie collage

Drink tray, urn collageOver on the vitrine is an assortment of sweet treats and “whoopie juice” for your hot chocolate. The pine boughs used here are the same as those used on the dining table. (Repeating a key element throughout the room lends the desired cohesive look. Besides the pine boughs, other repeated elements here include snow, snowmen, black & white checks, the color red, and stovepipe hats.)  Flanking the vitrine are huge urns topped with giant red ornaments.

Secretary collageThe secretary on the opposite wall from the vitrine is decorated with a few more snowmen and more pine boughs including a wreath. Notice how the “Rule of 3” is used here with the wreath as a backdrop.

Geoffrey collageGeoffrey, dressed in his sexy fur-trimmed apron and stovepipe hat, joins the evening’s fun with an offering of Christmas cookies. Really, Geoffrey, you’re an English gentleman. Find a top hat that fits, will ya!!! 🙂

IMG_9702WMA silver Revere bowl filled with shiny red ornaments is simple but elegant.

Nine other Christmas posts can be found on this site’s WINTER page.
Additional Christmas posts on this site:

Pink & Purple Chocolate Christmas
Sugar High Payback
Contemporary Christmas
Cranberry Christmas
Cranberry Christmas Squared
Get Me To the Church On Time
Christmas Progressive Dinner
White Hot
Winter Brunch

I am delighted to join Cuisine Kathleen once again this week for “Let’s Dish!” starting at 6:00 p.m. CST on Wednesday and Susan for “Tablescape Thursday” starting at 9:00 a.m. CST on Thursday. My fellow tablescapers have some marvelous ideas for you to see!!!

Contemporary Christmas Tablescape – Fire & Ice

It’s the holiday season! Already!!! And now it’s time to get serious about planning a variety of tablescapes for parties you will host throughout the season. Let’s kick it off with one whose elements of warm, glowing fire and crisp, cold ice are perfect all winter through (sans the tree, perfect for New Year’s Eve or any January tablescape)…for not a lot of money!

This quick 90-second video shows how this scrumptious winter table for eight looks with the lights down low to take full advantage of the ambient light. (We got ahead of ourselves and completely forgot to take still photos of the room with the warmth of the candlelight all aglow!) NOTE: There is Christmas music playing in the video background, so mute your system if you’re at work or the kids/hubby are napping! 🙂
(Click on any photo to enlarge/enhance. Photos and video by Sheri L. Grant)

This room was transformed to a warm but wintry haven for my “Tablescaping a Winter Wonderland” class taught through MCC-Longview. While this table is a “square” made from two 6-ft. oblong tables kissed together horizontally, the same effect could be easily achieved on a 72-in. round table using a round mirror. This table can seat up to 12 depending on whether or not a charger is used and how much stemware and flatware is at each place setting. Rather than traditional snowy white linens which would work just as well (as would pewter or silver with a few tweaks), I opted for creamy ivory from LinenTablecloth.com.

Each place setting is anchored with a 13″ mirrored charger from Hobby Lobby. (Buy these when they’re 50% off!) Bone white 10 Strawberry Street dinner plates are from Tuesday Morning, and the J.A. Henckels very contemporary “Bellaserra” flatware can be found at Macy’s. An ivory napkin with a sleek silver napkin ring rounds out the place setting.

Clear glass stemware is from Old Time Pottery. It goes on sale for 99¢ per stem fairly often, and I keep it around by the case for entertaining large groups. The style is so versatile and works for both casual and formal tables.

This is no doubt my favorite part of the entire room! An old frameless mirror from the bathroom wall in our former home is just the perfect size for the table centerpiece. Without a frame, the mirror lays flat like a slick sheet of ice. I use these clear glass cylinders a lot, and having a number of them in various sizes in your decorating arsenal is a good thing. They can be so easily transformed into whatever you need for them to be! Here they are filled with “icy” branches anchored with lots of acrylic “ice.” (Faux snow would be another viable option that would render the same frosty effect.) The shorter cylinders are filled with silver ornaments and more “ice.” The silver pieces and crystal faux ice are both highly reflective in the mirror below. (To see another tablescape using the frameless mirror, click HERE.)

To break up the expanse of glass across the mirror, I anchored the four corners with these silver urns. If silver urns aren’t in your budget, try spray painting clay pots. The evergreens bring in another wintertime element, are a splash of nature, and are the only real “color” on the table. Buy evergreens that can be planted in your yard at a later date to get more bang for your buck.

Now this is where the drama is taken to a whole other level: the votive candles!!! Line them up like a fiery fortress around the perimeter of the mirror. This is a relatively inexpensive way to add ambiance, glow and sass to your tablescape. Notice the shape of the votive holders is the same as the taller glass cylinders for a uniform look. Don’t skimp here. The more the merrier!

I always like to dress the fireplace mantel with decor that reflects what’s going on on my table. Here it is decorated with more glass cylinders, some of which are filled with icy garland and others with the same “ice” used on the table. A smattering of clear acrylic Moravian stars – some stacked on top of each other just for fun! – bring shape and more shine to the vignette. (I had no idea these were called Moravian stars until my sweet blog buddy, Jewel of Carolina Jewel’s Table told me!) Notice how the silver urns with evergreens are repeated here. Votive candles finish the look and add warmth.

Both the fireplace mantel and this tree underwent several changes over the three weeks of my winter tablescaping series! This is the first night’s look for the tree, and it’s a little more sparse due to the contemporary nature of the tablescape. The silver and crystal ornaments work well with the table and mantel decor. Rather than spending money I don’t have on a silver tree skirt, I used this round crushed silk tablecloth folded in half and carefully arranged around the bottom. (This is the same tree that started out as a Charlie Brown Christmas look-alike last year. See it HERE for its sad little “before” and glorious red & gold “after.” Ironically, I am wearing the exact same outfit in the 2011 photos. Santa, Mama needs a new wardrobe!!! :-))

So this is the first of many Christmas tablescapes created as a teaching tool for my students. Stay tuned for more in the coming weeks!

For more Christmas tablescapes on this site:
“Winter Cardinal”
Really Red Christmas
Pink & Purple Chocolate Christmas
Winter Dinner
Cranberry Christmas
Cranberry Christmas Squared
Sugar High Payback
After the Hunt – Gentlemen’s Winter Retreat

Get Me To the Church On Time!
Christmas Progressive Dinner
White Hot
Winter Brunch

For more tablescapes on this site using glass cylinders:
And the Winner Is…
Welcome Back, Joel
Flamingos In Paradise
Oopsy Daisy
Raining Orchids
Winter Dinner
Get Me to the Church On Time
Mardi Gras Mojo
Apple Green Luncheon
Pretty In Pink
Love & Orchids
Autumn Orchids
March of the Penguins

Other tablescapes on this site using a mirror centerpiece include:
Roses In October
Happy Birthday, Barf!
Hooray For Vodka!
Breakfast at Tiffany’s
Shake, Rattle & Roll ‘Em!
Princess Pink Birthday Dinner

I’m so excited to join my fellow tablescapers on a couple of the really fun blog parties again this week including Cuisine Kathleen’s “Let’s Dish!” (anytime after 6:00 p.m. CST on Wednesday) and Susan’s “Tablescape Thursday” (anytime after 9:00 a.m. CST on Thursday).