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!

 

 

 

 

 

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!!!

Red, White & Blueberries

Believe it or not, I am not a huge fan of purely “thematic” tablescapes. Christmas may be the exception, although I work hard to mix it up there, too. To celebrate our 234th year as an independent nation, however, I couldn’t help but to get a little kitschy with an indoor picnic on this rainy, blustery day.

The place settings for this tablescape were simple and fairly straightforward: Layered placemats from Pier 1 on a plain white cotton linen. The navy blue square plates, star bowls, and red goblets are also from Pier 1. The white flatware was a bargain at TJ Maxx as were the napkins (Hobby Lobby) and napkin rings (Bed Bath & Beyond). (See these star bowls and American flag napkins in another patriotic tablescape HERE.)
The menu was pretty simple, too, with blueberries taking a starring role in the Orange Spice/Blueberry Tea. (Just crush blueberries and steep in prepared tea overnight.)
What’s the 4th of July without a classic lattice-crust blueberry pie? There were also lots of blueberries and fresh cherries for munching, as well as all-American deviled eggs and Rice Krispies treats for the young-at-heart!
Thank goodness for a great sale on red roses (just $3.99 a dozen if you can believe that!!!). Mixed with flashy white statice, hosta leaves and a touch of dusty miller from my flower garden, they made really nice arrangements for the dining room tablescape, buffet and foyer.
Hope you all enjoyed a safe and happy 4th!

 A few more (but not all of them!) Summer tablescapes on this site:

Brilliant Italian (a re-post from July 2010)

Summer has become one of my favorite seasons. Sure, it’s hot and often sticky here in the Midwest. That’s to be expected. But there are just so many opportunities for outdoor entertaining that just can’t be taken for granted! My husband and I hosted a little dinner party that involved wine tasting (one of my favorite activities!) to forget about the heat for awhile. Neighbors came over to feast on tasty homemade Italian dishes while sampling red wines from the Adam Puchta Winery in Hermann, Mo.
First things first….gather up all the necessary items and create a menu board. The chalkboard is from Kirkland’s, and it really works out well for casual events!
 I let the wine breathe a bit before the guests wandered out onto the deck.
 Juicy black grapes to munch on before dinner sit alongside the night’s chalkboard menu.
  The pasta dish gets a chance to “rest” for about 15 minutes after pulling it from the oven.
This little table was set up near the dining table so that guests could nibble on homemade bruschetta and antipasto while sipping a glass of wine before dinner.
 The 6-ft. oblong table is set for six.
This occasion provided a wonderful opportunity for me to pull out colorful Italian-inspired dishes in brilliant, cheerful reds, blues and yellows. “Yellow Talavera” dishes by Maxcera (TJ Maxx) set atop sunny yellow placemats from Bed Bath & Beyond were the foundation of the color scheme. Bright cobalt blue water glasses (Pier One) juxtaposed clear wine stems. A mix of red roses and playful yellow Gerbera daisies in cobalt blue vessels completed the look. Corks of wine parties past displayed each place card. (Square appetizer plates and red dipping oil bowls from Crate & Barrel.)
You simply can’t go wrong with brilliant colors when serving Italian food!
Mangia, y’all!

Sun & Sky

 
The blazing, unforgiving heat of August in Kansas City just wilts me! Aside from blasting the A/C and sipping cool drinks, the best thing I can do to lift my spirits (next to shopping, of course!) is to surround myself with lots of bright color. I hosted a luncheon with a brightly colored tablescape and did just that!
 
I am a huge fan of classic cobalt blue which reminds me of the sea and sky, especially when paired with sunny yellow. A dose of white makes the brilliant colors in this tablescape really pop. This casual luncheon tablescape contains elements from Pier 1 Imports (“Mirandela” chargers, stemware, yellow crockery), Tuesday Morning (napkins, napkin rings, placemats), Macy’s (flatware), and one of my favorite haunts, Z Gallerie (centerpiece finials). Fun, wispy yellow spider & acid green button mums from Costco rounded out the look. (Click HERE to see the dishes in the same design as these chargers in another tablescape.)
A cup of rich, creamy broccoli cheese soup makes the perfect appetizer, followed by a (relatively) healthy chicken Caesar salad with freshly shaved parmesan for the main course.
The 3″ square yellow crockery was used to bake individual apple-walnut cakes that topped with cinnamon ice cream. These were the perfect luncheon size, and the presentation in the tiny crock made them a little more fun!
With my tummy full and my mind swimming with the feeling brought on by all the bright color…I think I’m back on track! Crisis averted!

Summer Blues… and Greens!

SUMMER BLUES…AND GREENS!
(a re-post from August 2010)

There is really nothing quite like the cooling, soothing look of cobalt blue in a summer tablescape! Mixed here with grassy greens and cloud-like white, it takes on a casually sophisticated look that is one with nature.

For each place setting, I started with a crisp, white cotton linen. The beautiful blue & white placemats are a vinyl reversible from Bed, Bath & Beyond that caught my eye. The stark white square dinner plates, also from BB&B, are from the B. Smith With Style collection. The deep blue salad plates and graceful finger bowls are from Pier 1 Imports. I like these bowls because they can be used in so many ways! I’m sure you’ll be seeing a lot of them in subsequent tablescapes. Simple Pfaltzgraff “Legacy” flatware and cobalt blue glass tumblers from Old Time Pottery finish the look.

I picked up this gorgeous green & blue glass compote several years ago, and I am always thrilled to get a chance to use it in a tablescape! Filled here with an abundance of juicy Granny Smith apples, succulent limes, and cymbidium orchids, it really stands out. Orchids are so pricey that I often can only afford a single stem or two. Plucking the blooms and floating them in water (or tucking the stem into a water tube as in the centerpiece) is a wonderful option with a lot of impact. The flames of white candles in the cobalt hurricanes dance when the sun goes down. The potted grass is just another way to pull in the color green and to add texture and interest to the overall centerpiece.

Another way to punctuate the tablescape’s look with a bit more green was to place individual bottles of refreshing Perrier at each guest’s setting.

Want to see a couple of other tablescapes using blue and green?:
Under A Paper Moon
Butterfly Kaleidoscope