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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

MOST DEFINITELY MISBEHAVIN’!!!

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mom looked like the queen she is!

 

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

Even a “croaker” has to get his nutrition!

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

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

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

I’m so proud of my Mom!!!

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

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

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

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

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

Shop ‘Til You Drop – Prepping for Black Friday

Alycia and “Better Kansas City” host Alexis del Cid, playing with dishes

Every tablescape blogger and those who read the blogs have at least one thing in common: WE LOVE TO SHOP!!! We chase after bargains, bright ideas, and innovative styling tips. Shopping can make a person awfully hungry and thirsty, and with Black Friday just over the horizon now, this super high-spirited 4-minute segment from the “Better Kansas City” show has tips on creating a fun and fanciful after-the-hunt tablescape. A few still photos of the tablescapes created on set follow, and at the end stick around for a super silly 60-second bonus clip from the show I think you’ll enjoy!

 

I created two separate tables for this segment: a colorful dining table for guests and a fun buffet table.

 

 

Bright pink/fuchsia 17″ poly napkins from LinenTablecloth.com are neatly stacked at the end of the buffet table. The fun metal figurine in the background depicts a carefree young woman out on a shopping spree and is one of 3 purchased at Hobby Lobby a couple of years ago. The cake…well, you’ll learn more about that cake in the video clip at the end of the post!

 

When I saw this stainless steel stiletto heel cake server at Burlington a few years ago, I just couldn’t resist! This would be great for showers and wedding events, too. Such a fun, feminine way to serve up dessert!

 

Here’s another of those metal shopping figurines from Hobby Lobby. This chick is ready to shop ’til she drops come rain or shine! Next to her is a fabulous glittering stiletto heel vase overflowing with an array of colorful flowers and greenery.

 

 

 

This was one of my favorite parts of the whole buffet tablescape! The drink station is set up on a wooden Lazy Susan for easy access. The wine glasses with purses all over them are from the Dollar Tree and complement the shoe wine glasses on the dining table. The stiletto heel bottle stoppers were an impulse buy from a Michaels clearance bin a couple of years back that really add style and a little shimmer. We were really pressed for time, and I asked my genius friend, Barbara, to figure out something to do with the shot glasses on the table. She stacked them pyramid style for a look that is a real winner! A+!!!!! (She’s a retired teacher!)

 

 

When setting up a buffet table, I like to have various sizes, shapes, textures and anything else available to give the table “motion.” Setting the spoons on the diagonal seem to do just that. The bowls by Rosanna feature a stiletto heel motif. They were purchased at Tuesday Morning some time back.

 

A feminine dining tablescape for ladies who have had their fill of shopping for the day. (Wait…what does that actually feel like??!?!) I chose to go with very colorful place settings to complement the buffet table. Each place setting is grounded with a hot pink Bormioli Rocca “Inca” glass charger topped with a solid white plate. The pretty salad/dessert plates by Rosanna each have a fun shopping reference along with the stiletto heel motif. The flatware is J.A. Henckels Bellaserra.

 

The polyester LinenTablecloth.com napkins in “Caribbean” blue are folded lengthwise and placed with one end beneath the charger. Each napkin is cinched with a colorful beaded napkin ring rescued from the clearance bin at Bed Bath & Beyond 5+ years ago.

 

The fun stiletto heel glassware from Dollar Tree rounds out the place setting.

 

Each place setting had its own separate nosegay displayed in a bright pink fluted glass vase from Michaels. I like to do this for ladies luncheons and such. It’s such a personal gesture that guests really appreciate both during and after the event. All flowers for this segment were purchased at Aldi’s!

 

One of my favorite tricks for bringing color and depth to the table is to layer linens. Here I used a white 85″ square (to let the colors of the accessories on top really pop) over a hot pink/fuchsia 108″ round, both from LinenTablecloth.com.  (To see a couple of other examples of linen layering on this site check out Caribbean Queen: One Table, Three Looks, Queen of Hearts Card Partyand Breast Cancer Awareness Luncheon. And if you’d like to see another post-Black Friday tablescape, check out Black Friday Luncheon from back in 2012. )

 

OK…post over, but here are a few bonus pics and a video you will get a kick out of from later in the show. The pic above is of co-host Rob in the kitchen with famed chef/author/restaurateur Lidia Bastianich who was also on the show that day. Yes…THAT Lidia!!!  I was too starstruck to ask for a selfie with her!

Then it just got loopy around there!

 

Rob and Alexis just had TOO much fun with that fake food!!!

 

Group hug! Me with co-hosts Hallie, Rob and Alexis with my buddy Barbara on the other end. Another show down!!

I will once again join Susan and the gang over at Between Naps on the Porch for Tablescape Thursday. I’m also joining Sandra at Sweet Sensations for Celebrate Your Story. You can still catch cool ideas for your Thanksgiving tablescaping as well as the upcoming Christmas holidays!

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!!!

(Click on any photo to enhance/enlarge it.)

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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!!! 🙂

Strawberries in the Library

I shared this idea with my first “Art of Tablescaping” students in early March, and I just love it for so many reasons! (Too bad I couldn’t use real strawberries for it…the ladies would have loved that!)

We have a small library in our home that is just the perfect size for a self-serve dessert table. This 30″ round wooden table (the kind you screw the legs into that sells for about $8 at stores like Walmart) is draped in a soft buttery yellow 90″ cotton linen. It’s just the right size for people to walk around without tripping over the existing furniture. The point of setting it up in the library is to get people moving around the house. They can pick up a dessert and then linger to chat or take in the decor. I like to set small stations like this up in 2 or 3 rooms (don’t forget about hallways or the foyer!) starting with hors d’eouvres. Note: Something like this works really great for cocktail parties!!!

 

A 20″H stone urn is filled with a simple arrangement of creamy yellow and ivory roses and centered on the table. (This is real stone. Those little tables can handle a lot of weight! I wouldn’t push my luck, though…opt for the lightest weight you can if using one of these do-it-yourself tables.)

Inexpensive clear wine glasses from Old Time Pottery act as serving vessels. Pictured here are 23 wine glasses, but a 30″ table can accomodate up to about 40 depending on the size and how they are spaced. I opted to leave an artistic open space at the front of the arrangement, but a full circle would work just as well.

Just about any size, color or fun-shaped glasses or serving dishes will do including martini glasses, beer pilsners, champagne flutes, compotes or even tiny dishes the size of votive cups. Desserts served can range from fresh fruits to trifles to plain ol’ Jell-O®. This is also a fun arrangement for hors d’eouvres served in shot glasses, miso spoons, or other such vessels. Try it, too, for a signature drink, champagne, or wine display for guests to pick up on arrival. (Cuts down on the line at the bar!)

A few votives in holders that are a shape similar to the glasses give shimmer and shine to the table. It looks absolutely gorgeous at twilight!!! For a daytime event, simply omit the votives.

I’m linking up with Cuisine Kathleen’s “Let’s Dish!” again this week. Join us, won’t you?

Taste of Wine Buffet

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Even before ABC’s “Cougar Town” became so popular, I knew that enjoying a glass of good wine was a popular American pasttime. We may not all look like Courtney Cox (seriously…this woman is 47 years old with upper arms and stomach muscles that tight?!?!!), but we can sure put on a wine tasting party to rival any neighborly fete her character, Jules, could.

Spring is the perfect time to try new wines that will accompany your warm weather meals and desserts. A wine tasting party needn’t run you to the poor house, either. Ask your guests to bring along a bottle of their favorite, put some good cheese, breads, fruits, olives and desserts out for them to sample, and you’ve got yourself a smashing springtime soirée.
(Click on any photo to enlarge!)

img_5516wm.jpgThis is buffetscape #2 created for my first “Art of Tablescaping – Buffet Styling” class back on March 6. I started with a full-length white linen topped with a deep yellow bird & branch covered topper placed on the diagonal. (See the topper used on a dining table for a sit-down meal HERE.)

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The 2-tier wrought iron and wood stand is great for displaying whole fruits for guests’ enjoyment. An assortment of cheeses and olives are presented on a wine barrel Lazy Susan from Pottery Barn. Olives are scooped into Pier 1 white poppy serving bowls, and varietal breads are piled into a long linen-lined basket.

IMG_5519WMI like to add fun little items to buffet tables like this wine placard.

A 2-tiered wrought iron stand from Traditions in downtown Lee’s Summit, Mo., balances out the tall fruit display on the opposite end of the buffet table. Displaying the plates here puts them up high where guests can easily access them. The bird on top peeks out through branches of apple blossoms casually arranged in a white ceramic cylinder.

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That takes care of the food, so let’s move on to the real star of the evening: the wine! It’s set up on the bar just beyond the food station.

IMG_5456WMA wine tasting should always include lots of glasses. (Aw, quit your whining…no pun intended. That’s why dishwashers were invented!) Not only does it look really cool to display lots and lots of stemware, but it provides an opportunity for guests to use a different glass to enjoy the full flavor of each wine. Here, the wines are displayed in the recommended order for tasting starting with the light Pinot grigio, moving on to the heavier, more full-bodied Cabernet Sauvignon, and finishing with sweet dessert wines. Appropriately sized and shaped glasses are used for each.

I was so lucky to get these fun wine butlers from Bombay Company just before they closed their storefronts. They are a terrific way to showcase the wines up for tasting. Even though Bombay Company is no longer around, try places like Kirkland’s or specialty wine shops for something similar.

IMG_5454WMBe sure to include a few bite-sized desserts when offering champagne or sherry for tasting. You can’t go wrong with strawberries and chocolates!

Thirsty yet?

Other wine tasting posts on this site:
September Wine
Brilliant Italian

Please be sure to join me again this week for Tablescape Thursday starting at 9:00am (CDT)! Ooohhh…and don’t forget that many of my fellow bloggers from around the world are showing off their most festive Irish tablescapes at Cuisine Kathleen’s 4th Annual St. Patrick’s Day Blog Crawl starting March 13! You won’t want to miss either of these great blog parties!

Autumn Orchids

I recently created a few buffet and centerpiece floral arrangements for my friend, Angelynn, who is a caterer here in the Kansas City area. She wanted something with autumnal colors but appropriate for a business occasion at the KCPL Building in Kansas City’s Power & Light District.

All arrangements were created in clear glass cylinders of varying sizes. On the guest sign-in table, this asymmetrical arrangement of fresh mums, leucadendron, and a few curly willow tips was just right. Votive candles and smooth black river rock help to extend the circumference of the arrangement.

There were several areas of soft seating around the room. This is the arrangement as guests entered the reception space using a 39″H clear glass cylinder. Six-foot fresh curly willow is paired with tall stalks of leucadendron and dendrobium orchid stems anchored by greyish-white smooth river rock. The river rock is further extended onto the table, peppered with votives and orchid blossoms.

Another soft seating area on the other side of the room got a variation on the theme of the entry piece. This cylinder is created by submerging stalks of leucadendron and orchid stems, once again anchored with river rock and surrounded by votives. Tip: Both orchids and leucadendron can survive without water for several hours, so if you don’t want the burden of drying out tall floral vessels, feel free to skip the wet stuff!

High boy tables along the window areas have a simple fall mum in a clear glass globe with a few river rocks for added interest and texture. These definitely must have a bit of water to survive!

The buffet arrangements are comprised of tall glass cylinders with lots of 6-ft. fresh curly willow, a few stalks of leucadendron, and two 6-ft. faux orchid stems anchored with river rock for counterbalance and visual interest.

On the guest tables, two different but complementary centerpieces using the clear floral vessels, orchids, mums, leucadendron and river rock with a couple of votives. I did add a couple of quarts of water to these arrangements after getting everything else on the table to reflect the votives dancing nearby.

Anna’s Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Angelynn Barge Howell, Proprietor

 

Centerpiece Wednesdays Button

I am pleased to join the busy Style Sisters for Centerpiece Wednesdays!