An Offer You Can’t Refuse

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

And now a few still pics from the set…



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


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






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


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


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

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

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

Run for the Roses
Celebrating Longview Farm
Kentucky Derby Buffet

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

Checkered Christmas
Derby Day Dining

Another movie night post:
March of the Penguins

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

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

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!

Italian Honeysuckle

INSPIRATION: Our neighbors' fabulous honeysuckle arbor!

INSPIRATION: Our neighbors’ fabulous honeysuckle arbor!

Hello, and welcome to my neighbors’ backyard! This past summer when the honeysuckle on their arbor was in full bloom, they phoned to say get over there and get a tablescape done. You don’t have to tell me twice! The beautiful color in the blooms, though, reminded me more of a fall day. So I created this tablescape (way back in late June!) to bring to you this autumn season. That’s REALLY thinking ahead, huh? 😉
(Click on any photo, and then click again to enhance/enlarge it.)

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One,, Italian Honeysuckle: Table set up in yardThis is the view from our deck. They’ve got so many beautiful trees! I did another fall tablescape in their yard a couple of years ago, September Wine, that is still one of my all-time favorites.

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One,, Italian Honeysuckle: Full table in front of honeysuckle arborI wanted the table to convey a bit of elegance, so I started with a flowing, full-length ivory tablecloth from

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One,, Italian Honeysuckle: Multiple place settings

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One,, Italian Honeysuckle: Single place settingI loved how the sun cast long shadows and danced around the table! The time of day this was photographed caught just the effect I wanted! Each place setting started with a mustard gold dinner plate from Pier 1 Imports that I bought at the clearance store years ago. The olive green bowl (for the mostaccioli!) is also a long ago purchase from Pier 1 and is a part of our everyday collection at home.

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One,, Italian Honeysuckle: Flatware, oil dip bowl, napkin overhang collageThe tea towel napkins were purchased at Dollar Tree. They really have a pretty decent selection, and I like to use these for napkins when messy food is served. I hung the napkin off the side of the table to add a little color at that level. You will notice how the olive branch motif mimics the centerpiece. The bright red-orange bowls are for my copycat version of Zio’s Italian Restaurant dipping oil. You can find how to make it on my recipe page HERE. This will become a staple in your pantry!

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One,, Italian Honeysuckle: Stemware and personal wine carafeThe glassware is standard from Old Time Pottery. The personal wine carafe at each place setting is something I like to do sometimes instead of sitting the actual bottles on the table. Each person can refill their own wine glass at their discretion.

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One,, Italian Honeysuckle: Green ceramic water pitcher and condiments collageCrushed red pepper and grated parmigiano-reggiano are in bowls that match the dinner plates. The green ceramic water pitcher was a Home Goods purchase from a couple of years back.

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One,, Italian Honeysuckle: Wicker chair with toss pillowRamon brought a couple of wicker chairs from our master suite for the ends of the table. I plopped in a comfy toss pillow from Home Goods. (This same pillow was used in a recent Asian-inspired tablescape, Chinese Takeout.) The colors work so nicely in this setting!

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One,, Italian Honeysuckle: Olive branch centerpiece

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One,, Italian Honeysuckle: Olive branchesI arranged a mass of faux olive branches in a towering stoneware vase from Pier 1 that usually sits in Ramon’s dressing area in our master suite.

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One,, Italian Honeysuckle: Honeysuckle arbor

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One,, Italian Honeysuckle: Honeysuckle collage

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One,, Italian Honeysuckle: View of sky through branchesThanks to my neighbors for letting me invade their backyard space once again. It really is beautiful with all the trees (just look at that view through the branches!) and flowers and that gorgeous arbor!

More autumn tables on this site:
Autumn” page (10 fabulous fall posts on this page!)
Casual Fall Harvest Dinner
September Harvest Breakfast
“Quick & Casual Plaid & Paisley Fall Dinner”

Pumpkins & Peacocks
Wondrous Wheat
Pheasants & Peacocks
Best Laid Plans
Serape High Style
Sunflower Simple
Raining Orchids
September Wine
Autumn Blues
“Autumn White Wedding”
“Copper Zen”

Other posts on this site using towels as napkins include:
Popsicle Party
Black & White Barnyard Breakfast

Most Egg-cellent Fall Breakfast
Grill It Up!
Italian Honeysuckle
Picnic Ants


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