Pagoda Paradise In Pink & Green

Bold color. That’s what late summer calls for. We’re broiling right now here in the Midwest, and it’s taking its toll on my beautiful flower beds. (Dear Mother Nature, Please take note: This is Missouri, not Hell!🔥🥵) So if crippling heat wants to suck the life out of what I’ve created outside, I guess I’ll just have to compensate inside!

Our dining room, awash with shades of white punctuated with blue most of this summer, has been taken over by bright hues of pink and green.

The inspiration for this tablescape came in part from this gorgeous custom pillow made by Sew Gracious Monograms on Etsy. A pink pagoda is right up my alley! Thanks, Pam!

The other part of the inspiration came from a pair of these GORGEOUS tea towels from Nell Hills in Kansas City, MO, fashioned into a table runner. Because our dining room is decorated in blue and white, the addition of pink and extension of blue via the fabulous pagodas in the runner and pillows is fabulous!

Each place setting starts with a hot pink Bormioli Rocco “Inca” glass charger, followed by a Ralph Lauren “Mandarin” dinner plate rimmed in blue, a square white B. Smith plate, a Kate Spade for Lenox “Rutherford – Navy” salad plate, and is topped off with a Granny Smith green Mikasa appetizer plate from their “Daylight” collection. Sleek stainless Hampton Forge bamboo flatware, a citrusy crushed silk napkin cinched with a Z Gallerie parrot napkin ring, and simple stemware round out the setting.

I went REALLY big and showy on the floral pieces using a mix of beautiful fauxs that tower above and around the painted pink birdcage that (somewhat) resembles a pagoda. To give the birdcage a larger presence, I perched it atop a stack of natural (to break up the profusion of color a bit) bamboo trays. Large white Z Gallerie parrots stand sentry in front of the floral arrangements.

This is a wonderful and welcome departure from the staid wash of white we have enjoyed the last couple of months. My way of easing into the deeper jewel tones of fall which is fast approaching.

Thank you for stopping in to visit! I appreciate it and welcome you to leave a comment if you wish. Have a glorious end of summer, and I hope to see you back here again soon. Meanwhile, if you would like to see other creations in pink and green on this blog:

If you’d like to check out other posts on this blog using the parrots, go to:

And if orchids – real or faux – are your thing, check out these posts:

Remember to follow me on Instagram!

The Power of Pink

It’s no secret I love the color pink. It has the power to simultaneously soothe and energize me. “Coquettish” is how it has been described, but I am invincible when cloaked in it or when my surroundings bathe in it. I’ll take it! Serve it up any way you want…from the softest blush to the boldest bright…like Shelby in Steel Magnolias”, “Pink is my signature color!”

At times I opt to keep the drama of a table confined to a single element. For this one, the WOW is in the waterfall of graceful florets (Nell Hills) spilling from a trio of tower vases.

The softness of this tablescape lends itself to the most feminine events: birthdays, wedding or baby showers, Mothers Day, Breast Cancer Awareness, or just a much needed girls’ night in.

I used these same floral branches in a totally different way in the recent post “Solemn Stars & Stripes“. White flowers instead of pink are used to keep the table from looking overly “sweet” and saturated.

A mix of old china and new Grace Teaware gold-dotted porcelain with a gorgeous pink band sits atop gold-leaf glass chargers. The faux pearl napkin rings are actually 2 rings fitted together for more girth, a trick I first used in the post “Peonies & Pearls” back in 2012.

I am so excited about and in love with these shapely gold-rimmed beverage glasses from Nell Hills!!! They are quite substantial in hand and easily pair with many items already in my repertoire. The blush pink stemless champagne glasses (Michaels) mimic the bowls with their generous sprinkle of gold dots.

This white pheasant has made an appearance in autumn posts like “Pheasants & Pumpkins” and “Candy Colored Autumn“, but never in a spring/summer setting. He just looks right at home here, though, so…voila!

These glass lamp votive holders are a favorite of mine, but I have rare occasion to use them. I bought them on clearance at Pier 1 some 20+ years ago in 3 colors, and they add just the right amount of ambient light at a slightly raised level. (I used the purple shades for “Celebrate Mardi Gras!” in 2014 but still haven’t found the right time and place for the red ones.)

The vitrine holds coffee service and dessert that includes assorted confections on a tiered tray and cupcakes under a fluffy cloud of pink frosting.

If you like pink as much as I do, check out these posts!

Thanks so much for stopping by to visit my little blog! I appreciate it more than you’ll ever know. I’m also on Instagram if you’d like to follow me there! Enjoy your day!

Wildflower Easter

Here is the 3rd of 3 tablescapes I’m considering for Easter Sunday…and just in the nick of time! I’ll have to decide by Friday so that I can get the ball rolling! If YOU have a favorite of the last 3 posts, please drop me a comment to let me know which most tickles your fancy! I’ll combine your votes with those from my Instagram account for the final decision!

The inspiration for this tablescape came from my Mikasa Stone Craft dishes in mixed and matched hues of mauve, pistachio, cornflower, and green. SO MANY tablescaping opportunities with a mix!

The Mikasa plates and mugs are paired up with 222 Fifth Bunny Land bowls (Home Goods) that also have varied color checkerboard rims to mix and match.

Bright lavender napkins from LinenTablecloth.com sprout from each coffee mug, and the egg cups are filled with pastel M&Ms that mimic the melange of colors in the dishes and centerpiece.

The mix/match of dish colors at each place setting is unified with uniform white ceramic and rattan chargers, bamboo stainless flatware, napkins, egg cups, and glass cloches from Nell Hills in Kansas City, MO.

The “grass” centerpiece, purchased for a mere $10 at an estate sale some years ago, has been punched up with a variety of Spring “wildflowers” in colors that complement the dishes. You’ll notice the same daisies on the plates are in the centerpiece to tie it all together.

On the vitrine behind the dining table are colorful cupcakes (in cupcake cups and on a ceramic cake pedestal from Home Goods/TJ Maxx) with another small arrangement of daisies. (All flowers used in this post are faux for demonstration purposes. I’ll use the real deal for my Sunday tablescape!)

So…take a peek back at the other 2 entries – “Lettuce Talk About Easter” and “Artichoke Easter” – then let me know which is your favorite. I’ll post the winner!

Looking for more Easter tablescape inspiration? Look no further! See if one of these floats your boat!:

Artichoke Easter

If you’ve still not decided what to do for your Easter Sunday table, I hope this will serve as inspiration and a jump start! I’m still test driving Easter tablescapes, and no, still no dining chairs…or area rugs…or artwork.😢

The inspiration for this tablescape? “Tivoli Garden” dishes by Mikasa! Wildflowers casually dancing around the dish rims make this pattern an easy one to fall for. I also slid a green cabbage plate from Bordallo Pinheiro and a lacy white plate from Pier 1 into the stack. Faux bamboo flatware, pastel napkins gathered with butterfly napkin rings, and aubergine Z Gallerie stemware complete the place setting.

This table for five has an offset centerpiece that allows the table to look more balanced and provides center space for placing serving dishes. The “centerpiece” itself is more utilitarian, too, serving as a functioning dessert prep area. M&Ms on ice cream…yeah, baby!!! (Serving dishes from Home Goods)

Ranunculus in a small white vase provides color and texture on the vitrine. The cake stand is from Home Goods.

I’ve got one more of three Easter tablescapes to consider before making my final decision on Friday. (First one was Lettuce Talk About Easter.) I’ll post the final one tomorrow! Meanwhile, I hope you’re a lot farther ahead in your planning than I am…and that you have chairs!

Thanks so much for stopping by!
Remember…you can also follow me on Instagram!
For more Easter tablescape inspiration on this blog, check out:

Diamonds Are A Girl’s Best Friend – My 60th Birthday Ladies Luncheon

My 60th birthday has come and gone, and all that’s left are the fabulous memories of the ladies luncheon I threw for myself. Yes…I threw my own birthday party! Why? I’m a (retired) professional special event planner. Who else would I put through the torture it would take to make me happy?!! So…here are photos of the June 9 luncheon for 22 of my nearest and dearest in-town friends (all on the guest list were able to attend except one!) who I thank for helping me to celebrate in style!

 

Invitations were created using clearance stationery from Hobby Lobby. I invited the ladies to drape themselves in jewels to go with the theme! I printed the Marilyn Monroe drawing in the corner of each mailing envelope to complement the insert.

 

 

 

 

Me in my party dress, trying to emulate Marilyn Monroe’s look in the pic below!

The inspiration for my party dress!

 

When I go with a theme, I go ALL THE WAY! The backdrop for the opening and closing credits of “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes” gave me inspiration to create this elaborate “wall of diamonds” against a pink satin drape on the deck for photos. I simply used drapery clips to hang the fabric and crystal curtains from TableclothFactory.com on existing cup hooks. It was so unseasonably hot & humid, though, that few pics were actually taken out here. On the other side of the deck I hung 3 mirrored outdoor LED chandeliers from Old Time Pottery that looked so cool blowing in the breeze. I planted all pink flowers for the occasion, a departure from the reds and yellows I generally favor.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Upon entering, the ladies were greeted with 2 WAY oversized hot pink balloons that were originally intended for a display at the end of the driveway. It was so hot & humid, however, I opted to just put them inside so they wouldn’t wilt. The telephone table on the other side was decorated with a “diamond-dotted” rose ball atop a facted pillar. (I’ve done these before for “Should Have Put A Ring On It“.)  The foyer table was draped in a “diamond” sash with a pink ribbon accent. I created a Harry Winston/Tiffany’s-inspired window display on the table for dramatic effect. On the walls were pink and black crowns I bought on clearance at Hobby Lobby years ago but have never used. (Another jewel-inspired post worth checking out is “Diamonds Are A Material Girl’s Best Friend“)

 

 

 

 

 

 

We didn’t have a lot of time to get pics, but this is the dining room seating area. (Because ALL but one of the invited guests accepted, I had to create 2 separate-but-complementary dining environments.) This table is draped in a black crinkle taffeta tablecloth with a silver sequin runner, “diamond” sash, pink ribbon, and mirrored trays beneath the centerpiece of tall gooseneck vases visually joined by a garland of crystal and lots of flowers in faceted vases. (I created 19 total fresh flower arrangements!!!) The buffet behind the table is similarly dressed with another jewelry display. My sweet friend, Cindy, was so gracious as to lend me chiavari chairs for this room which I tied in with the other room by threading through a pink crinkle taffeta sash with a “diamond” cuff. I found the cute poodle art on the sconces on clearance at…you guessed it!…Hobby Lobby. Some may remember the poodle from “French Poodle“, the jewelry display pieces from “Breakfast at Tiffany’s“, the mirror treatment from “Ain’t Misbehavin’ – Celebrating Mom’s 89th Birthday Gatsby Style“, the Princess In Pink signage from “Princess Pink Birthday“, and the faceted & mirrored centerpiece trays from “Happy Birthday, Barf!“.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The family room dining table was constructed using two 6-ft. folding tables to create more of a square shape. I draped them in hot pink/fuschia crinkle taffeta tablecloths and ran black sequin runners and “diamond” sashes crosswise. Towering glass vases (I taped a hanging facet on the underside at the top!) filled with “loose diamonds” and connected by crystal garland loom over faceted vases filled with roses, mini carnations, tulips, astilbe, white calcynia, variegated pittosporum and hypericum berries. I left some of the faceted vessels empty so as not to overcrowd the table. The bulbous structures in the last photo are simply one vase atop another. Ballroom chairs with black slipcovers are dressed in the same sashes and “diamond” cuffs as in the dining room. The place settings are slightly different with a double stack of chargers – white rhinestone-studded acrylic and hot pink Bormioli Rocco glass – and black napkins instead of pink. (TIP: If you have a behemoth television in the room, make lemonade from that lemon by showcasing photos or playing a movie – on mute, of course! – that relates to the party theme. For my luncheon, “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes” was perfect!)

 

 

I created the menus using the same stationery as the invitations, strategically affixing tiny rhinestones for a bit more glitz. Each menu was outfitted with a sparkling “diamond” brooch.

 

 

 

 

The weather demanded that we move the bar in off the deck. My friend Rachael stepped in as bartender for the afternoon before joining the other guests at the table. Good ol’ Geoffrey beckoned guests to come grab a cocktail.

 

The mantel is simply dressed with more of the facted vessels, some topped with rhinestone studded hot pink rose balls.

 

My wonderfully talented friend Patrick created the glitzy almond-vanilla cake that I further decorated with a couple of the same brooches as used on the menus. (We also served my famous carrot/”karat” cake for the occasion!)

 

Dessert course was served with these cute black paper napkins fashioned to look like a black party dress. I saw the idea on Pinterest and couldn’t resist! That’s two hours out of my life I’ll never get back, but totally worth it for the fun factor! And speaking of fun factor…

 

Pink and black paper fans for cooling down or just looking ultra fem!…

 

…rhinestone studded fortune cookies created by my sister…

 


…a fun game called “Who Knows Alycia  Best?” where Rachael won for having the most and Dixie won for having the fewest correct answers, and this was Dixie’s hilarious reaction!…

…pink raspberry lemonade “diamond” ice cubes served directly to the table…

 

 

…and the take home favors of assorted popcorn flavors from Popcorn Heaven tucked into black velvet bags and prominently displayed in a large silver compote! (Variations of the compote are at “Finally Fall“, “Cranberry Christmas – Square“, “Cranberry Christmas – Long Table“, and “Roses In October“.)

I know this post was super photo heavy, but I always include lots and lots of details in every event I create. If you’d like to see other fun photos from the party, keep on scrolling!

Thanks for stopping in to celebrate the big 6-0 with me and my fabulous pink posse!!!

Such a class act!

 

Jeff and Meghan were wonderful servers for the day!!!

 

With my sister, Berishia, who looked so nice in her breezy outfit, and her daughter/my niece, Yvonne, who always rises to the occasion when bling is involved!

 

My oh-so-elegant neighbor, Leslie, and her equally chic Mom, Dixie (as Ramon photo bombs the pic trying to escape all the estrogen in the house!)

My friend and hair stylist/magician of 25 years, Dorothy

 

Good friends Ebony (another decorator/event planner!), Audrey, and Ty (organizers after my own heart!)

High school mates/lifelong friends Joan and Audrey

 

Friend/neighbor/drinkin’ buddy, Kerry who I simply adore!

Neighbors/Friends Lori and Vicky who are so skinny I just HATED taking a picture with them!!! 🙂

My dear, sweet, supremely elegant friend Marchita who means the world to me!

The stylish matriarchs – Senator Mom and Aunt “Bean Bean Dancing Machine”

I cannot tell you how much I love this woman! Ladies and gentlemen…the fabulous Carla!!!

Ever-fashionable Mom and daughter duo, Barbara and Rachael!

Melanie in her Holly Golightly “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” outfit!!!

Jane took it to the hilt looking positively radiant with her Marilyn Monroe look, while my gorgeous Mary Ellen played it sleek & understated. I LOVE all the different ways my friends interpreted the theme!!!

Best friend, Sheri, and me in PJs, enjoying a well-deserved and much needed glass of wine after the party. Cheers!

This week I’m joining Susan at Between Naps on the Porch for “Tablescape Thursday“, Beverly at How Sweet the Sound for “Pink Saturday“, the ladies at “Celebrate Your Story“, and Linda at Life & Linda for “Dishing It & Digging It“!

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!!!

Informally Formal: Marrying modern and classic in your table setting

My 4-minute segment on yesterday’s “Better Kansas City” show on KCTV-5 was all about “informally formal” entertaining at home!

As mentioned in the video clip, our Easter dinner tablescape was, I think, a good example of informally formal design. We simultaneously celebrated my son’s 39th birthday, and I wanted both my son and the rest of the family to feel special – because they are! But this was a day I wanted to be able to relax a little, too, so instead of formal china and crystal, I pulled out some terrific Pier 1 plates to fill the bill. This tablescape, minus the obvious nods to Easter, would be perfect for any Springtime event including birthdays, Mother’s Day, ladies luncheons, bridal or baby showers, or even engagement parties.

 

 

 

 

I’ve not used these beautiful Pier 1 plates since 4 years ago when I posted a piece called “The Bluebird Special“. While certainly far from what might be construed as traditionally formal, they have a simultaneously staid/laid back look. The woven square chargers and faux bamboo flatware lend texture and an organic feel to the place setting.  The yellow undertones of the flatware complement the bird on the plate as well as the floral centerpieces. The lavender napkin is fashioned in a traditional pyramid fold, and the green goblets are from Dollar Tree.

 

I enjoy creating specialized menus on my computer for at-home events. This colorful one in shades of yellow, purple and white with a bright pink clip leans to the side of informality. The colors complement the florals.

 

 

 

 

 

I might have gone a little wild with all the florals this year, but they were all so pretty! Our generous across-the-street neighbors allowed me to snip from their lavishly blooming lilac bush to complete the springtime floral designs of pink & yellow tulips, Mardi gras Solidago, and alstroemeria in white vases. The florals extended down the length of a fresh moss runner dotted with moss bird nests from Home Finishings. (HINT: If the smell of moss wrinkles your nose, open it up and air it out for a couple of days before use.) For additional height, texture, a burst of color, and the pure drama of it all, I filled a white glass vase with forsythia branches and placed it at the very end of the table. Note that the full-length white tablecloth from LinenTablecloth.com is knotted at the end for safety as well as a cool contemporary look.

 

The alternating pink and lavender satin chair sashes almost didn’t make the cut. My husband thought the plain white stretch chair covers were sufficient. I, however, begged to differ. When he saw the chairs with the sashes, high fives and mea culpas were in order. (We agreed they made the chairs resemble Easter eggs!) Depending on the type of event you are hosting, chair sashes may or may not be appropriate. It’s up to you!

When planning your next Springtime event, keep in mind who your guests are, what feeling you’d like the space to evoke and, as always, just what level of formality is within your comfort zone! As alluded to in the video clip, formality may be circling the bowl, but it ain’t dead yet! 😉

For more photos of tablescapes seen in the video clip:
“Blurred Lines With Shades of Pink”
“Celebrating 85 Years of Fabulous”
“My Sister’s Wedding China”

A few other Spring tablescapes on this blog you may enjoy include:
“Springtime In Paris”
“Patisserie de Paris”
“Easter Brunch”
“Pinky Peter Cottontail”
“Barton’s Easter Brunch”
“All A’Bloom For Spring”
“Spring Has Sprung”
“Welcome Back, Joel”
“Peony Power”
“Tulips in the IHOP Hour”
“Float Like A Butterfly”
“Purple & Pastel”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

88 Years and 88 Keys

 

This is a 2-minute compilation video of the birthday celebration.
See still photos below.

 

My Mom very recently celebrated her 88th birthday. Here’s the thing, though: In no way does this woman personify the “typical” 88-year-old. Although she retired from the Missouri Senate about 6 years ago to care for my ailing Dad, she never really retired. She still has a seat on several boards, is active in her church and community, shops like a demon, and continues to pick up various civic awards. In fact, I had to postpone her annual birthday luncheon by 5 days so that she could attend an awards luncheon on her actual birthday! The Starr Women’s Hall of Fame Induction & Award Luncheon had an impressive guest list of about 1,000 and featured keynote speaker actor/activist/author Ashley Judd (so nice, so pretty, and a powerful speaker). It was a different but fun way to celebrate.

Sen. Yvonne S. Wilson (Ret.)

Mom entering the stage as she is introduced.

 

Sen. Yvonne S. Wilson (ret.)

Mom with her medal

 

Sen. Yvonne S. Wilson (ret.)

Proud moment for my husband and me to be there with my Mom!

 

L to R: my cousin Dee, me, my Mom, Ashley Judd, my Aunt Vivienne, my niece Yvonne, and my sister Berishia

 

How on earth could I possibly follow something as cool as that??!?!??!!? Answer: Don’t even try to compete! Just do what you do, or as the kids say, “Just do you.”

The invitations were the inspiration for the tablescape. My Mom has always loved piano music (she endured me tickling the ivories for years!), and so I came up with the idea to pair the 88 keys of the piano with the celebration of her 88 years. I bought 3-part invitations at Hobby Lobby, but decided to create the actual invitation insert myself on plain white cardstock. You’ll see what I did with the other part later.

 

We moved the keyboard upstairs from the basement level to the library for our featured pianist, 10-year-old music student Gabriella Howell, to regale the ladies as they arrived for cocktail hour. (This is Gabriella with her mother, my friend, Angelynn Howell.)

 

 

 

Each guest stopped in the foyer to greet Mom and have an individual photo taken with her. Guests included longtime friends and family. I asked guests to please wear black, white, or a combination of the two for the event so that Mom would stand out in her brilliant red outfit.

 

The dining table was, as almost always during inclement weather, set up in the living room. In keeping with our 88 Keys theme, I chose black & white striped stretch chair covers from LinenTablecloth.com. I’ve used these same chair covers in other diverse tablescapes including Hometown Pride: Kansas City Chiefs vs. Denver Broncos and Blurred Lines With Shades of Pink. The invitation and menu had beautiful black & white damask, so I represented that in the table runner, also from LinenTablecloth.com.

 

The tablecloth used on each of the two 6-ft. tables is simply a white washable 90″ x 132″ poly from LinenTablecloth.com. I loosely tie the ends to keep guests from tripping over the generously proportioned cloth.

 

Nothing pops on black and white quite like red does, so I put together five arrangements of deep red regular size and spray roses along with fluffy, fragrant carnations in cut crystal rose bowls. Simple, but elegant.

 

Each place setting began with a black charger in a contemporary cut topped with a simple square cut B. Smith plate. Black “San Remo” flatware is paired with a cut crystal-handled luncheon knife. “Longchamps” stemware completes the setting.

 

Here is where I used the intended invitation insert…for the menu! I couldn’t get them to go through my computer, so I MacGyver’ed it and printed the menu onto plain white cardstock which was then cut to size and clipped to the backdrop with a tiny black clothespin from Michaels. The red grosgrain ribbon and rhinestone buckle were included with the invitations, so I used them to add a dash of color to the menu. The menus were placed atop a plain black napkin set on the luncheon plates.

 

After-luncheon coffee and dessert service was set up on the breakfast bar. Our kitchen is mercifully decorated in black & white, so everything worked well together through the semi-open space.

 

I found painted white wood numbers in the clearance bin at Hobby Lobby.

 

The dollar store now has cool black & white striped paper napkins!!!

 

I made vanilla cupcakes with light buttercream frosting sprinkled with red & black sugar confetti. They are displayed on white Ralph Lauren “Pavillion” cake stands.

 

No one leaves our home after an event without some sort of favor in hand! I baked sugar cookies, some in musical note shapes and some stamped with musical notes using black gel dye. The black & white striped cardboard favor boxes from Michaels each got a splatter of notes, too. I stuffed them with black & white crinkled & shredded paper.

 

Happy 88th Birthday, Mom! You know I so enjoy being able to host you and your friends each year. Here’s wishing you many, many more!

If you’d like to see previous birthday celebrations for my Mom:
“Celebrating 85 Years of Fabulous”,

One more you might really like on this site:
“The Party She Deserves”

Happy April, everyone!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Valentine Tablescape – Queen of Hearts Card Party

INSPIRATION: Dessert plates found in the clearance section at Tuesday Morning. Just $1.99 for each set of 4!!!

My Mom and I were out scouting after-Christmas bargains and ended up spending nearly an hour in the clearance section at one of our local Tuesday Morning stores. I saw these fun, modern “Queen of Hearts” dessert plates had been marked down 60%, so I scooped 2 sets right up. Imagine my surprise and sheer delight when I checked out and they were actually 90% off!!! I knew I had to do a fun and really different Valentine’s Day luncheon tablescape for my card shark pals. Yes…you people know who you are! (If you’re looking to buy some, I’ve seen them on Amazon.com for $13.99.)
(Click on any photo and then click again to enhance/enlarge it.)

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, Queen of Hearts Card Party: Full tableThe rim of the otherwise pink, red & white dessert plates is chocolate brown. Valentine’s Day definitely = chocolate, so chocolate brown 85-in. tablecloth over a 108-in. round one it was!

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, Queen of Hearts Card Party: Place setting

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, Queen of Hearts Card Party: Flatware, stemware, napkin & rim shot collageThe place setting begins with hot pink Bormioli Rocco Inca glass chargers purchased in a frenzied shopping spree a couple of years ago. Plain white Corelle plates for the entrée come next, topped off with the dessert plates in 3 of the 4 designs. A starched white cotton napkin drapes off the side of the table from beneath the stack. Simple stainless flatware and curvy Dollar Tree glassware completes the place setting.

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, Queen of Hearts Card Party: Full centerpiece

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, Queen of Hearts Card Party: Centerpiece from overhead

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, Queen of Hearts Card Party: Queen crown, chest amulet & Modern Queen collageLong story short: I found this standard card deck queen figurine on 80% off clearance at a nearby Hobby Lobby. Put her and a King in my basket, and then decided against them at the last minute. Slept on it, realized my huge mistake, got up at the crack of dawn and waited in the parking lot until the doors opened only to find out someone apparently much smarter than me already took them. Horrors!!! Drove to THREE other Hobby Lobby stores that day. Third time was a charm! Not only did I find the King & Queen, but also a Jack! Bent down, kissed the floor (not really…more like a Hollywood air kiss!), thanked the Lord, and hustled on home with my treasures. Interestingly, she was a Queen of Clubs, so I just used Hallmark heart stickers to give her crown and amulet a quickie makeover. Notice how staid she looks compared to the modern, curvy, sexy Queen on the plates. Still, both quite regal! (Seriously…these must have been created by some man with a Sophia Vergara fascination. Just look at “the girls” on that modern Queen!!! 😉 )

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, Queen of Hearts Card Party: Card handAfter lunch, the dishes and centerpiece will be cleared and IT IS ON like Donkey Kong as we used to say back in the day!!! (Back in what day?!?! I’m going to be chewed up and spit out. I have no idea how to play Hearts or any other card game!)

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, Queen of Hearts Card Party: Dessert buffet on vitrine

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, Queen of Hearts Card Party: Gummie, marshmallow, M&M, cookie collage

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, Queen of Hearts Card Party: Pretzels & popcornThe vitrine holds plenty of sweet and salty snacks to munch on during the card playing portion of the afternoon.

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, Queen of Hearts Card Party: Tarts on Ralph Lauren pedestalThe dessert plates do quote the 1782 poem that begins, “The Queen of Hearts, She made some tarts, All on a summer’s day…“, so what would this luncheon/card party be without a few tarts? (OK, those of you with randy little minds! Don’t go there!!! 😉 ) Faux tarts are used here for demonstration purposes, but I’ll be making some using mini phyllo dough shells for the luncheon.

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, Queen of Hearts Card Party: Side table with score card

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, Queen of Hearts Card Party: Score card & cloisonne heart collageI have created score cards for the occasion using my PC. From the looks of it, scoring is very complicated! A pretty red and pink cloisonné heart jewelry box serves as decoration for the side table.

So if you have no plans for Valentine’s Day or just want to do something fun with friends, a Queen of Hearts card party might be right up your alley!

More Valentine’s Day tablescapes on this site:
Should Have Put a Ring On It
Platinum & Pink Valentine
Diamonds Are a Material Girl’s Best Friend

Be Still My Heart
Peonies and Pearls
Chocolate Traditional
Days of Wine & Roses
Love’s Arrow

I’m linking up with The Tablescaper for “Seasonal Sunday” this week and Laurie for her annual Valentine Blog Party. This Thursday I’ll be joining Susan at Between Naps on the Porch for “Tablescape Thursday” once again. Check it out to see what I’m sure will be a bevy of wonderful tablescapes from talented bloggers all around the world who join these weekly blog parties!

♠ ♣ ♥ ♦ Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone!!! ♠ ♣ ♥ ♦

Breakfast at Tiffany’s

Just as suddenly as I reappeared last week, I will disappear again after this week as I prepare to go under the knife on Friday. I am both terrified and relieved to have it finally happening. My shoulders have been the source of much pain and anguish for a long time now, and I’m ready to get the first one fixed. My understanding is that using my right arm will be all but impossible for at least 2 months, so I’ll be on the computer only when in the mood to hunt & peck with my left hand. I hope that you will once again forgive my spotty appearances as I go about the business of physical therapy on my way to recovery. I have several tablescapes that I created back in early Spring (including this one) in anticipation of this down time, and I will hopefully be able to post those before summer’s fast-approaching end.

INSPIRATION: The chic and quirky Holly Golightly enjoying a breakfast pastry and a cup of coffee outside the window of Tiffany's - new York

INSPIRATION: The chic and quirky Holly Golightly enjoying a breakfast pastry and a cup of coffee outside the window of Tiffany’s – New York. Source: Amazon.com

Yes, I know the Breakfast at Tiffany’s theme has been done and done and done again. I’m gonna take a pass at it, too, just for kicks. OK? I think it would make a really fun theme for a bridal shower, bridal luncheon, special ladies brunch, birthday brunch (especially a milestone birthday!), or even a mid-morning engagement party!
(Click on any photo, then click again to enlarge it and see details up close!)

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One - Breakfast at Tiffany's - full dining roomThe table is draped in a sleek black 90″ x 132″ tablecloth from LinenTablecloth.com for the sophisticated look of the proverbial little black dress.

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One - Breakfast at Tiffany'sThis rectangular dining table is set for 6, but would look just as great set on a longer rectangular table for multiple guests or even a round table.

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One - Breakfast at Tiffany's

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One - Breakfast at Tiffany's place settingI kept each place setting sleek and simple. The white chargers are rimmed in rhinestones. (I wonder if they come with real diamonds at Tiffany’s? 😉 ) The china is very simply adorned Noritake “Spectrum”.

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One - Breakfast at Tiffany's - Menu collageThe custom-created menus are white paper on black and Tiffany blue card stock embellished with a small gemstone. I included an image of a tiara to mimic the one worn by Holly Golightly in this famous poster. Also notice the print on the menu. I chose two print fonts that closely match those on the poster!

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One - Breakfast at Tiffany's - Flatware, napkin, rim shot, stemware collageMikasa “Jamestown Platinum” stemware and International Silver “Royal Danish” flatware work well with the place setting. (Get it? Royal Danish flatware? As in Holly Golightly eating a Danish pastry for her breakfast at Tiffany’s??? 🙂 ) A sleek black napkin is folded twice lengthwise and tucked around the charger beneath the dinner plate.

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One - Breakfast at Tiffany's - Breakfast Pastry, Croissant collageWhat else to serve but breakfast pastries? That was Holly’s breakfast of choice!

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One - Breakfast at Tiffany's - centerpieceA blinged out breakfast or brunch calls for a very creative, upscale, but still lighthearted centerpiece.

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One - Breakfast at Tiffany's

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One - Breakfast at Tiffany's - Hand collage I

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One - Breakfast at Tiffany's - Hand collage IIThe centerpiece is created using two identical black rectangular mirrors with tiers of rhinestones from Hobby Lobby. (Also used HERE in the post “Happy Birthday, Barf!”) Just as a jewelry store like Tiffany’s might, I used these black hand display pieces (Michael’s) holding jewelry from my own collection including a Tiffany bracelet and necklace. (TIP: If you’re a bride who is gifting her bridesmaids with a little something-something from Tiffany’s to wear in the wedding, this would be a fun way to display it during brunch and then let them know they can pick theirs off the display afterwards!)

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One - Breakfast at Tiffany's

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One - Breakfast at Tiffany's - Roses, mirrored vase collageWhile promotional posters showed a red rose on Holly’s table, I decided to go with clusters of petite white roses in sleek mirrored vases. The arrangements are festooned with big, clunky bursts of bling.

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One - Breakfast at Tiffany's - Votive, runner corner collageHere you can better see the tiered mirror’s edge. Simple votive candles demurely reflect on each mirror.

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One - Breakfast at Tiffany's - Goodie bagsWhat’s a bridesmaid’s brunch without goodie bags??? 🙂

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One - Breakfast at Tiffany's - Goodie bag collageThese Breakfast At Tiffany’s nylon bags were found at Michael’s in the fun stuff aisle! Each bag is adorned with lots of “pearls” spilling out along the side.

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One - Breakfast at Tiffany's

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One - Breakfast at Tiffany's - Tiffany's boxes, pearl bracelets, tennis bracelet collage

The buffet behind the dining table holds the goodie bags and displays fun things from Tiffany's that Holly might wear including a fabulous tiara, black shades, pearls, and those famous opera gloves - Rings, gloves, Tiffany pouch collageThe buffet behind the dining table holds the goodie bags and displays fun things that Holly might wear including Tiffany’s jewelry, a fabulous tiara, black shades, pearls, and those famous opera gloves.

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One - Breakfast at Tiffany'sA little something extra to brighten up the space and make it very girly is a bust form in a little black dress and flirty black feather boa. (Thanks to my friend, Barbara, for the boa and the rhinestone-flecked gloves shown here!)

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One - Breakfast at Tiffany's - floral head

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One - Breakfast at Tiffany's - Floral head bling, tiara collage

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One - Breakfast at Tiffany's - Necklace collageI created a fun centerpiece using a bust form for a Breast Cancer Awareness Luncheon a couple of years ago. This is the same basic concept, but a little more playful. The floral head here has chunky bling shooting out of it and boasts another tiara. I created a replica of Holly’s famous pearl necklace using faux pearl strands from Hobby Lobby. I simply quadrupled them and tied them with a gossamer ribbon at the nape of the neck. I then added a huge brooch to the front of the necklace. Not exactly like Holly’s, but a fun play on it!

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One - Breakfast at Tiffany's - Candelabra, bobeche, Tiffany logo collageThe promotional poster used as my inspiration piece shows Holly gazing wistfully into the Tiffany’s display window. Hanging in the window are beautiful bling-laden candlelight chandeliers. The play on that here is this 5-lite silver candelabra with bling bobeches.

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One - Breakfast at Tiffany's tea cart

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One - Breakfast at Tiffany's - Teacart spoons, cups, pastries collageCoffee and an assortment of breakfast pastries are served from the vintage tea cart in a corner of the room.

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One - Breakfast at Tiffany's - Tea cart box, brooch, Tiffany's logo collageWhat girl doesn’t suck all the air out of the room when she sees this famous blue box? 😉

As a parting gift, I leave you with my original idea for the bust form. It’s silly, really, but I created it in a weak moment and thought you might get a good laugh out of it.

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One - Breakfast at Tiffany's - "Bee hive hairdo" collageIt was going to represent the “beehive hairdo” Holly wore. Get it? Bee hive? Lame, I know. I just covered a beehive in wired pearls and bling. Don’t hate! 🙂

OK…so that’s it. I’m outta here! See you after the snip-snip!

For more “blinged out” tablescapes on this site:
“Platinum & Pink Valentine”
“Should Have Put a Ring On It”
“Princess Pink Birthday”
“Fairy Tale Wedding Shower – Princess & the Frog”
“Love’s Arrow”
“Peonies and Pearls”
“Fete Noir et Gris”
“Rhapsody in Blue”

I will be joining Cuisine Kathleen for “Let’s Dish!” starting Wednesday at 6:00 p.m., CDT. I’ll also join Susan for “Tablescape Thursday” starting Thursday at 9:00 a.m., CDT. Come along if you’d like to get inspired by some really talented tablescapers!!! You can also find me over at BeBetsy.com!