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

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:

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!!!

Orange You Glad You Came To Dinner?

ORANGE YOU GLAD YOU CAME TO DINNER?
(a re-post from August of 2010)

Folks, I’m revamping my blog a bit and getting rid of “pages” that featured multiple posts in an effort to make it easier to find things. I don’t want to lose the posts altogether, though, so I’m re-posting them. Makes no sense, huh? Believe me, if there was an easier way…!!! So, if you’ve never seen this one before it’s all new to you. If you have seen it, I apologize for the rerun but hope you can enjoy it all over again! There will be additional reruns coming into your box every couple of days until I’ve emptied these pages from the early days of blogging. Who knows…maybe what’s old can be new again with ideas. Let’s hope!

 Sigh! As the kids reluctantly prepare to head back to class, we try to squeeze in just a few more outdoor family dinners.

 I’ve been itching to use these creamsicle colored dishes all summer! Orange is “the new red” when it comes to stimulating the appetite and lifting spirits. For my tablescapes indoors and out, I am totally on board!

 

Rather than my usual (and beloved!) long, narrow table, I kissed two 6-ft. tables horizontally to create more of a square shape. Doing so allows for a more generous centerpiece as well as plenty of elbow room for each guest. (With the trays, this seats 8; without trays, however, this table configuration comfortably seats 10.)

 

 

Each of this tablescape’s place settings consists of a bamboo tray (looked good, and sure made clean up a lot easier!) from Old Time Pottery. The orange & white melamine dishes are from Target. The square shape lends a contemporary feel, while the floral design gives them a timeless look without being stuffy. (See these same dishes used for another summer tablescape HERE.) I fell in love with the icy orange flatware from Burlington and the flower & butterfly napkin rings from Hobby Lobby. Even the Costco stemware is plastic, but the design gives it an “authentic” look. The cool cube place card holders from Crate & Barrel finish the place setting. Off to the side, a small table holds snacks in complementary colors.

 
I mulled over centerpiece options for this tablescape for several days. Sure, the weatherman is predicting a drastic cool down from the upper 90s to the mid 80s, but how can I be sure? Fresh flowers will wilt as soon as I walk them out the door if he’s wrong. So…I went against everything I know and bowed to decorating with FAUX flowers!!! Somehow, though, with the cool orange color and the unrealistically large heads, it looks kind of 1960s mod instead of flat out weird. I may need to find more uses for faux flowers! Stay tuned!!!
 
This is my Dad, Jim. I love him very much!!!
(postscript: Daddy died in May of 2013.
I’m so glad we had this quality time together.)
Other tablescapes with lots of orange (other than autumn and Halloween):
Mandarin Bling
Summer Orange
Oranges & Blossoms
Hot Tropical

     

Old-Fashioned Red & Green Christmas

I’m working feverishly to get photos of our home as it is currently decorated for the Christmas holidays. Meanwhile, I’ll leave you with this fast and festive tablescape in classic holiday colors.

Alycia Nichols, Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, “Old-Fashioned Red & Green Christmas”:  Full dining room in traditional red & greenThe only real inspiration for this tablescape was that I have a hunter green tablecloth from LinenTablecloth.com that fell on my head as I was trying to hang another linen. I figured that had to be a sign! From that little mishap comes this casual, quick and easy traditional Christmas tablescape that would be nice for a relaxed evening in this holiday season.
(Click on any photo, then click again to enhance/enlarge it.)

Alycia Nichols, Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, “Old-Fashioned Red & Green Christmas”:  Tablescape in traditional red & green

Alycia Nichols, Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, “Old-Fashioned Red & Green Christmas”:  Traditional place setting in red & green

Alycia Nichols, Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, “Old-Fashioned Red & Green Christmas”:  Napkin fold, napkin ring, flatware collage

Alycia Nichols, Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, “Old-Fashioned Red & Green Christmas”:  StemwareEach of the place settings is anchored by a bright red charger topped with a gold charger from Target. The dishes are a classic holly design. Each napkin is cinched with a pretty beaded ring and tucked beneath the dinner plate. I chose a mix of amber gold and cherry red stemware, both from Pier 1.

Alycia Nichols, Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, “Old-Fashioned Red & Green Christmas”:  Centerpiece

Alycia Nichols, Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, “Old-Fashioned Red & Green Christmas”:  Centerpiece collageThe centerpiece was really easy to put together. I used an amber gold glass cake plateau to elevate an oversized red ornament surrounded by snippets of pine, holly leaves, and clusters of bright red berries. The main part of the centerpiece is flanked by miniature Christmas trees and red votive holders.

Alycia Nichols, Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, “Old-Fashioned Red & Green Christmas”:  Banquet chair with red decor

Alycia Nichols, Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, “Old-Fashioned Red & Green Christmas”:  Chair cover sash embellishmentI draped the dining room chairs in dramatic red satiny chair covers (also from LinenTablecloth.com) and, like last week’s tablescape, festooned the backs of each with a cluster of beribboned ornaments. In retrospect, I probably should have added a few smaller gold balls to the mix, but I was crushing on the monochromatic color.

Alycia Nichols, Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, “Old-Fashioned Red & Green Christmas”:  Buffet decor

Alycia Nichols, Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, “Old-Fashioned Red & Green Christmas”:  Buffet decorThe buffet and china cabinet decor work well with that of the table with lighted & decorated greenery, red votive holders, and a scattering of red hurricane lanterns from Old Time Pottery.

 I’ll be back later this week with a tour of our home’s 2014 Christmas decor. I invite you to drop back by to take a look!

 More Christmas tablescapes on this site:
Cardinal Christmas
Christmas in the Woods

Tartan on the Tee
Confectionery Christmas
Christmas Progressive Dinner

Black, White & Red All Over
Frosty the Snowman
Checkered Christmas
March of the Penguins
Woodland Men’s Tablescape
Contemporary Christmas – Fire & Ice

Pink & Purple Chocolate Christmas
Black Friday Luncheon Tablescape
Winter Dinner
Christmas Through the Red Door
Sugar High
Celebrating the Season
Roman Holiday
Winter Cardinal
Merry & Bright
Kaleidoscope Christmas
Cranberry Christmas
Cranberry Christmas – Squared
Get Me to The Church On Time
Noel Progressive Dinner
Christmas Fiesta
Warm Metal Christmas
Christmas Coffee
Winter Brunch
White Hot
‘Twas the Night Before Christmas Progressive Dinner
Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow!
Tuscan Holiday

I’m joining Christine at Rustic & Refined for “Table It!” and Susan at Between Naps on the Porch for “Tablescape Thursday”

Simply Bittersweet

I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I am glad fall has arrived! I so enjoy entertaining in summer, but there’s just something about fall that can’t be beat. Probably something to do with the rich colors and fragrant, warm food!

With the chill of the season in the air, I’m entertaining outside less and less now. I’ve invited a few friends over for a casual dinner and a sappy movie. Nothing fancy, just pure fun tonight! I fashioned the main part of the extended centerpiece to mimic something I recently saw in a Pottery Barn circular. Quick, simple, speaks to the season. The addition of the smaller hurricanes lends more presence to the overall centerpiece. Votives add another level of light.

 

These multi-hued placemats from Pier 1 are among my fall favorites. The chocolate brown acrylic chargers are from Target and the bone colored 10 Strawberry Street stoneware plates were a bargain at Tuesday Morning. I went all European and did the French treatment on the flatware placement (tines and bowls down) even without a fancy monogram to show off!

 

Look  closely and you’ll see that the cotton napkins from Pier 1 are two-toned! I separated one color from the other with a fun wooden pumpkin napkin ring, also from Pier 1. I kept the fan fold of the napkin a bit more relaxed to match the feel of the evening.

 

 

Pier 1 sold this fabulous stemware a couple of years back, and I just can’t get enough of it! Each piece is so sturdy, and the wave of contrasting colors is very pleasing to the eye. The orange, cream and brown fit perfectly into my dining room color scheme. Gotta run! My popovers are done! Have a wonderful weekend everyone!!!

A few other autumn tablescapes you might like to visit on this site:
Casual Fall Harvest Dinner
September Harvest Breakfast
Pumpkins & Peacocks
Wondrous Wheat
Pheasants & Peacocks
Best Laid Plans
Serape High Style
Sunflower Simple
Raining Orchids
September Wine
Autumn Blues

 

I am delighted once again to share in this Tablescape Thursday with Susan and all my friends at Between Naps on the Porch. If you want to enjoy lots of fabulous tablescapes, hop on over there (after looking here, of course!) to see the work of people from all around the world! Just click on the link to your right.

Pears and Pine Cones

It was a dark and stormy night, and….wait. This isn’t a mystery novel. It’s a dinner party! Sure, it was dark and stormy, but inside all was cozy, a little bit casual, and a whole lot of fun…even with a power outage that hit right after I snapped the above photo.

 

Humble clear glass hurricanes take center stage enveloped in wreaths of grapevine and pinecones, spiked with fall berries. The pine cone theme is gently repeated in the salad plates.

 

This is one of my favorite salad plate patterns! With a motif that is suitable year-round, this pattern from Pier 1 is not just for the birds! Paired with unembellished white dinner plates, a mustard-colored napkin ties the suite together. A simple gold charger and Revere style flatware lends a stylish touch. A crunchy, sweet Bosc pear – one of autumn’s many gems – is tonight’s guest favor.

 

I am head over heels with these chunky amber goblets from Z Gallerie!!! They are perfect any time of year, but especially in fall as the leaves begin to turn a similar color! The clear stem on the goblets opens the door for the colorless wine glasses.

 

On the buffet behind the dining table are a pair of obelisk centerpieces I used again for the “Ap-Pear-ently Autumn” tablescape.

This is the first of many autumn tablescapes to come. This season will feature everything from soft and subdued (tonight), to haunting beauty (Halloween), to sheer elegance. The rich hues of the season allow for so many decorating opportunities, and I look forward to sharing a few of my interpretations with you! And just so you know, I’m not real big on Halloween, but this year I’m going to give it a try just the same!

Cheers, everyone, and best of the fall season to you and yours! And don’t forget to visit the new “Table Tips” section for lots of nifty ideas!