Run For the Roses

RUN FOR THE ROSES
(a re-post from May of 2010)

Nearly every fine home in Louisville hosts a party to celebrate the Kentucky Derby. It’s a time to bring out the heirloom china and serve wonderful food amidst fresh red roses galore. Who says a gal with a Midwestern accent and a slightly less generous budget can’t join the fun?

 

This wooden showhorse makes the perfect backdrop in the dining room. (Visit Kentucky Derby Buffet  and Celebrating Longview Farm to see him on a Derby Buffet table as a centerpiece and Carousel Colors to see him used for a Springtime decorating accessory!

 

 

Each place setting consists of a beaded silver charger with platinum-rimmed Noritake “Spectrum” china, a monogrammed linen napkin, heirloom flatware (with rose detailing), Longchamps crystal, an authentic silver julep cup, and…for a bit of whimsy in an otherwise staid & traditional setting…a real horseshoe! If you use horseshoes atop fabric, be sure to wash them thoroughly in hot, soapy water then dry with a soft cloth. Allow to air dry for at least 2 hours to assure all moisture has evaporated so as not to rust and stain. These horseshoes were surprisingly affordable at just $2.39 lb. That’s quite a bargain!

 

 

 

Menus created using white vellum over red cardstock have a craft store red rose affixed to the top. At the bottom of each menu is fun Derby trivia for guests to share during dinner. And no respectable Southerner’s derby dinner table is complete without sweet tea, cheese grits, hot biscuits, and mint juleps served in a traditional cup! (Get the recipe for deliciously rich, traditional, Southern homemade pound cake HERE.)

 

Rich, red roses are the focus of the centerpiece, buffet and foyer florals. Click HERE and scroll down to Tip #39 for a tutorial on fluffing fresh roses to get them looking nice and full.

 

A pair of beautiful show horse figurines from Hobby Lobby flank the center trophy of roses. I created the traditional “garland of roses” using red satin ribbon and rosettes like those used on the menus. (The real garland for the winning horse, of course, has more than 400 red roses!

 

Hat collage
  My Mom in her pink Derby chapeau, and me in blue!
More tablescapes on this site using roses that would be great for Kentucky Derby:
Derby Day Dining
Kentucky Derby Buffet
Roses in October
Show Me State Dinner
Should Have Put A Ring On It
88 Years & 88 Keys
Tablescapes using roses in adaptable colors include:
Celebrating 85 Years of Fabulous
Roses In October

 

Derby Day Dining

Last week I posted photos of the Kentucky Derby Buffet I created for my “Art of Tablescaping” students. This week I have the sit-down dinner version that uses a number of the same elements from that buffet table to demonstrate how various pieces can be used for either setting.
(Click on any photo to enhance/enlarge!)

The same table in the same room is all dressed up for a slightly more formal sit-down meal. I used the same black floor-length linen to let the gleam of the silver and brightness of the red roses show best. The white china tones down the dark linens and flower, thus saving the table from looking too morose.

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I swapped out the more plentiful Arcoroc “Seabreeze” glass buffet plates for my sister’s very formal Noritake “Whitebrook” china. Derby Day is the time to pull out your finest china and silver, and this china is definitely treasured in our family. The china rests atop highly polished silverplate chargers.

IMG_5107WMThese same lettered napkins were displayed in a silver champagne bucket in the buffet version. They are now simply folded, placed beneath the dinner plate and allowed to hang so as to prominently show the initial. The white of the napkin helps to break up the sea of black linen.

IMG_5121WMThe same heirloom silver flatware pattern – last week placed head-to-toe at the start of the buffet table – is used.

Noritake “Spectrum” iced beverage glasses await the traditional Southern sweet tea. The same julep cups that surrounded the huge silver punch bowl on the buffet last week are now placed at each individual setting.

Each place setting gets its own salt & pepper shakers.

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IMG_5159WMLast week these riding boots (actually a Z Gallerie umbrella stand!) were up to their straps in French baguettes. This week, sitting atop an heirloom silver tray (used last week to display veggies), they spill over with lush red roses. The silver candlesticks flanking the urns on the buffet last week are now on the table. Again I used metal case Paradise candles to keep the look pristine and avoid wax spills on my linen.

Over on the buffet behind the table where the punch bowl and julep cups were displayed last week is a more subdued coffee set up. The red rose balls on oil-rubbed bronze urns from last week remain in place.

On the wall sconces are miniature versions of the larger buffet urns with horseshoes added to further tie them in with the Derby.

With just a few tweaks here and there you can go from buffet to sit-down, casual to formal without sacrificing style. While the horse was omitted from this setting (I’m sure no one would want to spend the night staring up his rump!), the Kentucky Derby feel is definitely still there. It’s semi-formal, but made less stuffy with the addition of the whimsical centerpiece.

Another table on this site that I think would just look fantastic for a Kentucky Derby celebration, “Roses in October”, can be found HERE. Although it is set up using white roses, a simple switch to red roses would make it just perfect! If you’d like to see another tablescape using red rose balls and bouquets, click HERE for “Should Have Put A Ring On It” or HERE for “Kentucky Derby Buffet”.

I’ll be skipping on over to Tablescape Thursday at Susan’s Between Naps on the Porch on Thursday anytime after 9:00 a.m. CDT.

Kentucky Derby Buffet

If you missed out on the Tartan Parade that started on April 1 at Upstairs Downstairs, Hyacinths for the Soul, Vignette Design and The Polohouse, be sure to click on over to see some really fabulous representations of Scottish tradition. Since they were accepting simple plaid for us non-Scots to be able to participate, too, check out my entry “Pink Plaid & Posies” which is a charming celebration of Spring-y pastel plaid!

It’s already the first week in April, and with time flying this fast the 138th Kentucky Derby will be here before you know it! (That’s May 4th & 5th.)

For my first “Art of Tablescaping – Buffet Style” class last month, I put together a Kentucky Derby buffet for the students to consider for ideas and form. Next week I’ll feature the sit-down dinner version, so please be sure to stop back in to check that out, too!
Click on any photo to enlarge!

Yes, that’s me hiding behind the horse’s hindquarters! Perfect product placement, huh? 😉 This horse really gets around a lot lately. This week he’s prancing on a bed of red rose petals, while just last week he was featured out on the deck in my Spring/Summer brunch post “Carousel Colors“! (He can also be seen in the posts “Run for the Roses” and “Celebrating Longview Farm“.)

img_7646wm.jpgAlthough this table is facing one way, I need for you to imagine it going lengthwise this direction starting at the plates & forks. This is a heavy Mission style table, and there was no way I was going to try and move it!

I draped the table in a full-length black linen to make it just sort of disappear and allow the brilliant red and silver be the stars. The start of this casual buffet table allows guests to take a plate from the double stack and a fork from a line on either side. The forks are arranged in an interesting “head-to-toe” pattern partly for the sake of playful design and partly to help allow more forks to fit into the available space. (Try it! You really can fit in at least 2-4 more forks!)

IMG_5387WMInitialed napkins, a gift from my best friend, are displayed in a silver champagne bucket. The idea is to not only provide a basic service but to also “stair step” (forks at the lowest level, plates up a bit higher, napkins next highest) the start of the buffet for a dramatic effect.

IMG_5357WMA themed buffet is the place to really play with unusual serving pieces. For example, loaves of French bread are displayed in a pair of black riding boots that resemble those worn by the jockeys. The boots are actually an umbrella stand purchased at Z Gallerie! (I got it for half price because of a tiny chip at the top that no one will ever see!!!)

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Almost nothing says Kentucky Derby like a silver mint julep cup! Bread sticks are offered here, but you can serve just about any and everything out of these…including actual mint juleps!!! (Note: If you don’t have the budget for a lot of silver juleps, consider contacting your florist for faux silver cups like the one above. C’mon admit it…Would you have known if I hadn’t told you?)

Chafers look really great when lined up like tin soldiers in a clean, single line. These are smaller 2-qt. capacity chafers as opposed to the larger 5-qt. ones most often seen. It’s nice to have smaller ones on hand for serving smaller crowds or if you need to conserve table space. I bought these at Big Lots for $15 each about 10 years ago, and I have recently seen them in that store again. (Of course, like everything else, they cost a little more now!)

Derby time is the time to pull out all the silver – heirloom or nouveau – and put it into service in conventional and unconventional ways. For instance, when’s the last time you saw grape scissors like these? They were made popular in the super pompous Victorian era to snip small portions of grapes from a large bunch for eating. They come in just as handy in this post-dot.com era!

Instead of running for the roses, this horse is running with the roses…in his mouth! The traditional blanket of 554 red roses for the winning horse may not be his, but he’s got his own sense of style on the track! 🙂

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The area behind the buffet table is set up with a punch bowl (a loose replica of the famous punch bowl that graces the dining room sideboard of the governor’s mansion in Arkansas) full of the traditional bourbon, mint and simple syrup concoction known as a mint julep. Making juleps in large quantities in advance cuts down on time spent behind the bar. Guests can ladle their own into a silver julep cup with ease. Uncouth lushes like me may simply opt to stick a giant bendy straw in the bowl and have at it!!! 😉 The silverplated julep cups pictured here (yup…these are the real deal) are highly recommended to bring out the full experience of each frosty sip! (Unless you can afford the too-rich-for-my-blood sterling silver which is the ultimate!!!) When purchasing julep cups, make sure they are suitable for food consumption. Some contain a compound that allows them to be used for decorative display only.

IMG_5097WMRed roses throughout the room are a given…and a must! Here, festive yet sophisticated red rose balls are set atop heavy oil rubbed bronze urns on each end of the sideboard and flanked by a pair of silver candlesticks.

IMG_5406WMDon’t forget about your entryway! Here, a bouquet of red roses greets guests/students as they check in for class. Consider also a wreath of red roses on the front door in the shape of the traditional blanket or perhaps a horseshoe.

Don’t forget to check back in next week for more Kentucky Derby tablescape ideas. I’ll have a full sit-down dinner table prepared for you.

Other Kentucky Derby posts on this site:
Run for the Roses
Derby Day Dining
Should Have Put a Ring On It
“Roses In October”

I’m linking up this week with Kathleen for “Let’s Dish” starting at 6:00 p.m. (CDT) Wednesday, Centerpiece Wednesday with The Style Sisters, and Tablescape Thursday starting at 9:00 a.m. (CDT) Thursday. Join us, won’t you? And catch me over at BeBetsy.com, too!

Giveaway & Roses in October

I miss my husband. He’s gone for a whole week to a conference, and I’m miserable without him. To make matters much, much worse….he’s a world away and our “official” wedding anniversary is today. I say “official” because we actually count from the day and time we met, May 3, 1991, 7:41 p.m. CDT. We were married in our hearts, even if we didn’t get Uncle Sam involved until 6-1/2 years later.

Ramon, you are everything to me. I love you with all my heart, and I always will. Our marriage vows are sacrosanct, and I thank God we finally found each other.

With that in mind, I created the table we would be sharing under the stars with special friends and family if you were here.
Happy 14th “Official” Anniversary, Ramon!
(Readers….HUGE giveaway surprise toward the end of this post!!!)

IMG_2515WMAlthough I love color, I have an affinity for clean, white table decor for personal wedding or anniversary celebrations. That’s the “old school” in me shining through. White for weddings is appropriate year-round and according to Billy Idol “It’s a Nice Day for a White Wedding”, so white wedding anniversary dinner party tablescape it is! (This would also make a fabulous New Year’s Eve tablescape!!! Substitute red roses and petals, and this would be a fabulous table for a Kentucky Derby dinner party!!! Make ’em pink, and it’s great for Valentine’s Day!)
(Click here for more wedding-related tablescapes!)

On full-length white cotton linens are shiny silverplate chargers topped with one of the greatest bargains ever. My weekly pilgrimage to the thrift stores finally paid off after more than a year. I’ve never found anything good…ever! My luck changed a couple of weeks ago when I snatched up this pristine 32-pc. set of platinum-rimmed Noritake “Crestmont” china for….drum roll…$10.74!!! SO worth the wait!!!!!!!

IMG_2551WMThe menu…food I will lovingly prepare upon Ramon’s return home.

IMG_2563WMOf course, hemstitch linen napkins with our surname initial.

img_2540wm.jpgThe first flatware I bought for our home at an estate sale. (Note to Entertaining Women’s Cherry Kay and Bill at Affordable Accoutrements, Queen and King of Estate Sales…this is the only good thing I’ve ever found at an estate sale, but I’m not giving up!)

IMG_2510WMWedding crystal, Mikasa’s “Jamestown Platinum”, which complements about half of the formal china sets we own.

Who wouldn’t want a piece of the cake to take home for a midnight snack? Favor boxes adorned with white silk roses are perfect!

IMG_2518WMThe centerpiece is anchored with a frameless mirror from our old house that was headed to the trash pile before I rescued it. It’s the perfect size for these horizontally doubled 6-ft. oblong tables.

Small floral arrangements of white roses, orchids, ranunculus and waxflower in shiny silver tube vases anchor each corner. The profusion of votive candles (26 in all!) adds a lot of drama and is doubled back in the mirror. When it comes to tablescaping, candlelight and mirrors are my friends! 😉

The main centerpiece is a massive Two’s Company silverplate pedestal bowl filled with white rose petals. (I recommend piling something like Styrofoam popcorn on the bottom, then adding a layer of rose petals. Your floral bill will be quite a bit less, AND you don’t risk crushing & bruising the bottom-most layer of petals in case you want to use them to toss in the bath later.) This bowl measures 17-1/2″H and is a full 19″ wide which makes it perfect for all kinds of decorating possibilities like these:

Premiere centerpiece floral WM

 

Premiere centerpiece buffet WMWhich leads me to the really good part…

I own twenty of these beautiful silver pedestal bowls ($275 retail value). Even though the traditional gift for the 14th anniversary is ivory, to celebrate our “official” anniversary…I am giving one away!!!* If you’d like to have one, here are the rules for eligibility:

  1. Be or become a subscriber to this blog. (To become an official subscriber/follower, click on the “Sign Me Up!” button located in the upper far right-hand column of this page under BECOME A FOLLOWER. You will receive weekly design posts AND be officially entered for the drawing!)
  2. Leave a comment that let’s me know you’d like to have one. (Everyone is welcome to leave a comment, but I need to know you are interested to be eligible for the giveaway.)

That’s pretty much it. You have until October 18, 7:00 a.m. CDT to enter. I’ll have Ramon pick the winner’s name out of the bowl that morning before he leaves for work. Please be sure I have your email address so I can contact you! The winner will be announced on October 18.

Other tablescapes on this site with a mirrored centerpiece include:
Happy Birthday, Barf!
Hooray For Vodka!
Breakfast at Tiffany’s
Contemporary Christmas – Fire & Ice
Shake, Rattle, & Roll ‘Em!

Please join me at Susan’s Tablescape Thursday to see what talented tablescapers around the world are up to this week!

*Winner must pay shipping, approximately $20 U.S. only
(overseas shipping costs TBD)

Show Me State Dinner

This post is dedicated to my Mom, Senator Yvonne S. Wilson (Retired)

If the past couple of months have taught me anything, it’s that LIFE HAPPENS. Everything you know – or think you know – can change in the blink of an eye. Even though I know better, for some reason I forget that from time to time, and I procrastinate. For the entire time my Mom served in the Missouri House and Senate, I put off hosting a dinner for her and her colleagues. I threw her birthday parties, parties for the Governor’s Ball, parties for the Legislator’s Ball…heck, I even put my decorative touch on her retirement party. But never in all that time did I engineer an intimate sit-down dinner that would allow her to enjoy a relaxed evening with just a few of her colleagues in the comfort and quiet of home. Bad, bad daughter!

Could have, would have, should have….didn’t. Here’s a look at the “Show Me State” dinner that never was!

I take my cue from “For the Royal Table – Dining at the Palace” by Kathryn Jones. Love this book! Yes, I realize this country does not have a monarchy. Borrowing tidbits of style and protocol from the palace, however, lends a touch of ceremony that I think my Mom deserves. If this were the real deal, I would most definitely rent gold ladderback chairs for the occasion.

Homage is paid to our great state with Missouri’s official seal.

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Nearly every party I have ever thrown in my Mom’s honor has been in hues of pink and green. This one in red & white, however, takes on colors consistent with those of our national and state flags. (Crimson and cream are also the colors associated with my Mom’s sorority, Delta Sigma Theta. Close enough!)

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Royal Scotland china sits atop goldleafed glass chargers.

Linen dinner napkins emblazoned with the state seal.

IMG_1238WMI would undoubtedly want to serve several courses. The table, therefore, would creak under the weight of goldplated flatware brazenly pilfered borrowed from my Mom and Dad’s house. (It’s her own fault, really. She needs to learn to frequently change the locks and alarm code! :-))

Borrowing another idea from “For the Royal Table”, the menus are simple and staid. The outside bears the State seal in gold. The inside bears the same seal as a watermark located between the date of the event and the place in which it was held. (Sorry, no castle here…just a lowly subdivision!) The dessert would include our official State nut – the black walnut – and, of course, all wines would be from local wineries.

I chose these water glasses because they have a very courtly look to them, and the embellishments complement the design on the china. The wine glasses, from my Mom’s collection, are etched with the state seal.

Our official state flower is white hawthorn blossom which is a member of the great rose family. Red roses grace the table, however, because I could not find white hawthorn blossom at any local nursery. Go figure. These are displayed in simple glass vessels made a bit more special with the addition of a beautiful crystal bobeche. Who says bobeches are just for candlesticks? Not me! Go on and bling up those vases!!!
(Click here and scroll to Table Tip #24 to learn how to easily strip thorns from roses.)

IMG_1255WMIn 2003 the Norton/Cynthiana grape was adopted as Missouri’s official grape. My parents used to grow them in a small orchard on their property. They are prized by many Missouri vintners who produce lush dry premium red wines of world-class quality and distinction. Again, unable to get my hands on any Norton/Cynthianas close to home, I settled for their juicy cousins displayed in beautiful gold and crystal compotes borrowed from my Mom. The Limoges salt & pepper cellars are a gift from my Mom.

And there you have it: the “Show Me State” dinner that never was.
Here’s to you, Mom!

Substitute the Missouri State seal for Kentucky’s and deep-six the flags, and you have yourself a wonderful Kentucky Derby tablescape!

Other patriotic-themed tablescapes on this site:
“Stars & Stripes”
“All-American Seafood Boil”
“Lauren in the Library”
“4th of July Coastal Style”
“Red, White & Blueberries”
“American Royal Tablescape”
“Peacefully Patriotic”

Thanks to Susan at Between Naps on the Porch for once again hosting Tablescape Thursdays!
Join us, won’t you? And please…In support of our troops and their families, join me for The Coconut Head Survival Guide’s “Memorial Day Patriotic Palooza Party”!!!