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

     

Pheasants & Pumpkins

INSPIRATION: A pretty resin pheasant purchased for $3 at an estate sale.

INSPIRATION: A pretty resin pheasant purchased for $3 at an estate sale.

Thanksgiving is a week away! Here’s one quick final fall post of a laid back setting that might help fire you up if you’ve not yet decided on a tablescape for the big day.
(Click on any photo, then click again to enhance/enlarge it.)

 

Alycia Nichols, Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, Pheasants & Pumpkins: Full dining room

 

Alycia Nichols, Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, Pheasants & Pumpkins: Full tableI’m going with a “woodsy” look throughout the house for both Thanksgiving and Christmas this year. This casual table for 6 has no tablecloth so the wood of the table can be an integral part of the overall look. A tightly woven jute table runner (Pier 1) lightens up the table, anchors the elements of the centerpiece, and brings in the colors of the place settings.

 

Alycia Nichols, Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, Pheasants & Pumpkins: Place setting

 

Alycia Nichols, Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, Pheasants & Pumpkins: Stemware, flatware, napkin, pheasant salad plate collageEach place setting starts with a glossy chocolate brown charger (Hobby Lobby) that is topped with a pumpkin-colored dinner plate (just $1 each at our local grocery store). The salad plates from Z Gallerie feature the image of a lone pheasant. Striped napkins from Pier 1 pick up on the color scheme and work well with the runner. Simple, inexpensive glassware from Old Time Pottery and faux mother of pearl flatware from Target round out the setting.

 

Alycia Nichols, Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, Pheasants & Pumpkins: Centerpiece

 

Alycia Nichols, Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, Pheasants & Pumpkins: Centerpiece

 

Alycia Nichols, Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, Pheasants & Pumpkins: Resin pheasant

 

Alycia Nichols, Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, Pheasants & Pumpkins: Pheasant feathers, berries, bittersweet in wooden centerpiece box collageThe centerpiece was created using a weathered wooden box that I’ve had for years. I filled it with faux pumpkins, berries, fall leaves and a bittersweet garland. A few real pheasant feathers were added on one end only for an asymmetrical look. My inspirational pheasant was borrowed from the family room arrangement to pose in front of the box. (This, of course, is a demonstration tablescape. For your actual table, consider using real mini pumpkins, leaves, bittersweet, and perhaps whole bunches of grapes to achieve this organic look.)

 

Alycia Nichols, Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, Pheasants & Pumpkins: pumpkin orange wood finials

 

Alycia Nichols, Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, Pheasants & Pumpkins: artichoke votive holdersDistressed pumpkin orange wood finials and a pair of faux artichoke votive holders round out the centerpiece.

 

Alycia Nichols, Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, Pheasants & Pumpkins: Bar/Tea cart

 

Alycia Nichols, Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, Pheasants & Pumpkins: Pheasant feathers, berries, white pheasant on bar cart collageThe bar cart in the corner is prettied up with a small arrangement using some of the same elements as the table centerpiece and a bark-wrapped vase of pheasant feathers. The painted white pheasant (with tiny specks of clear glitter) was purchased at the same estate sale as the more colorful one.

 

Alycia Nichols, Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, Pheasants & Pumpkins: bittersweet & pheasant feather arrangement on china cabinetAcross the room on the china cabinet, a vertical spread of bittersweet is punctuated by a trio of pheasant feathers at the feet of a pumpkin-colored serving platter.

That’s it for the tablescape! I hope you were able to gather a few ideas from it. Below, in case you’re at all interested, are a few quickie snapshots offering a glimpse into what fall looked like in a few areas of the house this year. I’ve already begun the arduous transformation to Christmas and hope to bring you those photos in a couple of weeks.

Foyer table with large basket of pine cones underneath, pheasant plates on sconce shelves

Foyer table with large basket of pine cones underneath, pheasant plates on sconce shelves

 

Alycia Nichols, Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, Pheasants & Pumpkins: Fall lantern, pheasant with binoculars collage

Pheasant on stack of decorating books embellished with a flourish of autumn leaves. Binoculars for bird watching or pheasant hunting. The large lantern in the window is filled with a pumpkin stack, gourds, berries and fall leaves. The handle is embellished with a Rapunzel-like cascade of raffia and fall leaves.

 

Alycia Nichols, Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, Pheasants & Pumpkins: Fall mantel

The fireplace mantel is covered in a swath of fall leaves and bittersweet with raffia-tied, pumpkin-colored chunky candles on each end. The huge initial on the hearth is from Hobby Lobby.

 

 

Alycia Nichols, Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, Pheasants & Pumpkins: Fall arrangement in violin case in library collage

The secretary in the library is crowned with a large leaf- and pumpkin-laden birdcage. The antique violin in its original case is decorated with a squash, leaf and pheasant feather spray. Those letters in the violin case are from the 1930s from my Dad to his Mother.

 

Alycia Nichols, Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, Pheasants & Pumpkins: Fall decor on breakfast bar, in master bedroom collage

The breakfast bar is really more of a wine bar around here in the fall! The other pics are of a corner table in our bedroom.

 

More fall tablescapes on this site:
September Harvest Breakfast Table
Most Egg-cellent Breakfast
Casual Fall Harvest Dinner
Italian Honeysuckle
Quick & Casual Fall Dinner
It’s the Great Pumpkin
Serape High Style
Raining Orchids
September Wine
Pumpkins & Peacocks
Autumn Blues
Pears & Pinecones
American Royal Tablescape
Shake Your Tail Feather
Autumn White Wedding
Simply Bittersweet
Ap-pear-ently Autumn
Copper Zen
Autumn by the Embers
Celebrating Longview Farm
Morocco for Two
Thanksgiving 2012 – A Contemporary Tablescape
Best Laid Plans
Wondrous Wheat
Thanksgiving 2010

I’ll be linking this tablescape up with Susan’s “Tablescape Thursday” on Between Naps on the Porch. Tablescape Thursday goes live at 9:00 a.m. CST on Thursday.

 

 

 

Warm Metal Christmas – Bronze, Copper & Gold

I guess I actually did much more Christmas decorating than I thought…and without spending one thin dime! Here’s the last of it since Christmas is now less than a week away. We’ll take a little tour of the dining room, the foyer, and the library which are all done in elegant, warm metal shades of bronze, copper and gold with a little cream thrown in for good holiday measure. This melds nicely with this year’s bedroom level decor, but is a complete departure from the back of the house decorated in black, red & silver.
(Click on any image to enhance/enlarge it.
Photos by Sheri L. Grant & Alycia Nichols)

IMG_0291WMThe dining room artwork includes a lot of bronze, copper, gold, orange and cream hues, so the colors chosen for this year’s Christmas Eve dinner tablescape are perfect! This tablescape would also work well for New Year’s Eve!

IMG_0265WMThe table is kept bare to add to the warmth of the room. Each place setting starts with a goldleafed glass charger and creamy white gold-rimmed china from Bed, Bath & Beyond.

IMG_0488-2WMI bought these pretty gold-footed martini glasses at Target several years ago. They alternate with bronze-footed ones around the table. They’re great not only for my signature cocktail – vodka martini…2 olives, please! 😉 – but for serving salads, the sorbet course, or dessert.

Flatware, Stemware, Napkin collageGold and white water glasses are paired with gold-rimmed crystal champagne flutes. Simple gold flatware and crisp white hemstitch napkins round out the place settings.

IMG_0263WMI bought these fun ornament place card holders at Pier 1 several years ago.

IMG_0277WM

Votive, Bead Garland, Centerpc. Foot collageThe main part of the centerpiece is actually an ornate stone candlestick. I draped beaded garland across the top and extended it to the four corners of the table for a little drama. The bronze and gold mercury glass votives are from TJ Maxx.

Centerpiece Ball collageThe secondary components of the centerpiece include these beautiful bronze glass vases topped with fabulous bronze glittered Christmas balls and flanked by gold sequined ones.

IMG_0282WM

IMG_0259WM

Buffet Urn collageThe buffet behind the dining table is aglow with lots of tiny white lights in a wreath just kind of propped against the mirror. Its only other embellishment is a single brown Christmas ball dangling top center. Flanking the wreath are the “cousins” of the fireplace hearth arrangements seen HERE, this time in stone urns. The wreaths that cushion the chocolate brown oversized balls are wrapped in the same garland as the table’s centerpiece. Lots of beautiful amber crystals hang from the edges.

IMG_0378WM

Dining Room Tree collageThis room gets its own miniature tree made, to look a bit taller courtesy of a fabric-swathed riser. A rich brown ribbon swirls its way down the length of the tree among the many gold, bronze, copper, orange and cream ornaments.

Entry Hall Tiered Arrangement collageWe transition from the dining room into the foyer where at the entry there are clear glass cylinders (yes, the cylinders are making one final appearance this Christmas!) filled with pine cones, jewel-toned ornaments and soft white lights. The cylinders are further embellished with one of the long amber crystals seen on the dining room buffet urns and Christmas tree.

Garland around front doorWMThe front door casing is treated to a faux pine greenery garland laden with ornaments and sheer gold ribbon. Notice how both the greenery and the sheers on the windows are again embellished with the amber crystal ornaments. I would like to do this again next year but make it much thicker, lusher, more 3-D.

Long Entry Hall Table collageClear glass cylinders make another appearance on the long table in the foyer. Like the shorter cylinders by the door, these tall ones are filled with pine cones and ornaments that are illuminated with Christmas lights that extend out and across the table filled with faux greenery and still more pine cones. This really lights up the hallway!!!

Banister & Library View collageYou may notice that some photos do not include ornamentation on the banister. This was a later addition that I thought necessary to complete the view for guests entering the front door. The ribbon is the same as that used on the door casing garland. Let’s head on into the library.

IMG_0358WM

IMG_0199WM

Library Tree Ornaments collageAnother tree loaded with gold and cream-colored ornaments greets guests at the library entry.

IMG_0336WMThe secretary on the north wall is adorned with a flocked wreath and single candle.

IMG_0461WMThe side table near the stairwell holds a gold sleigh filled with jewel-toned ornaments.

Geoffrey In Antlers collageGeoffrey has taken to switching up his head gear on a daily basis now. He’s totally in the spirit of the season! Imagine how delighted he was to hear from his long-lost cousin, James, who he recently discovered in the service of Jenna at The Painted Apron! They have promised to Skype weekly. 🙂

Whew! That was a lot!!! As we go into these final days before Christmas, I want to extend from our household to yours the very best of the holiday season. We hope that you and yours enjoy a fun, loving, safe and warm one with the reason for the season always front and center.

Merry Christmas, everyone!
IMG_0313WM

For more holiday tablescapes and decor visit:
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
Cranberry Christmas
Cranberry Christmas Squared
Get Me To the Church On Time
Christmas Progressive Dinner
White Hot
Winter Brunch
Really Red Christmas
plus NINE other tables on one page under the WINTER tab!!!

I am joining Cuisine Kathleen for “Let’s Dish!” (anytime after 6:00 p.m., CST on Wednesday) and Susan for “Tablescape Thursday” (anytime after 9:00 a.m., CST on Thursday). If you’re looking for lots of inspiration from around the world, join me!

Pumpkins & Peacocks

Here we are once again at the crazy transitional time that calls for us to walk that pencil-thin line between summer and autumn tablescapes. A September tablescape can be one of the most difficult as we teeter on the cusp of the bright colors of summer and the warm, deeper tones that come with the crunch of autumn leaves. This mix of a bright pumpkin color and the flickering jewel tones of peacock feathers is a tablescape that might satisfy the need to meet in the middle. And, as the peacock is the national bird of India, this might also make a fun table for the festival of Diwali which marks the end of the harvest season.
(Click on any photo to enlarge/enhance it.)

The foundation of this colorful Fall tablescape is an attention-grabbing floor-length pumpkin-colored linen from LinenTablecloth.com.

While the layers of the tabletop include more of the bright pumpkin hue, the deepness of the greens and purples ground it a bit more and bring it even closer into Fall.

This table for four features complex layers that speak to the cooler autumn months but don’t abandon what’s left of summer. A double layer of square gold chargers from World Market hosts a French-inspired plate adorned with a gorgeous peacock, his iridescent plumage on full display. The lower right corner of the plate comes alive with brightly colored gloriosa lilies.

Gold-tone flatware complements the orange-y hue of the linens. Around the napkin is a showy purple “gemstone” napkin ring from Z Gallerie, usually reserved for Mardi Gras around here. (See it used HERE and HERE.) The purple in the napkin ring complements the jewel tones in the eye of the peacock feathers.

Inexpensive but nonetheless lovely green Dollar Tree stemware complements the green tones in the peacock feathers and offers another layer of color to the table’s palette.

I didn’t have a lot of gloriosa lilies, but I did have on hand enough of these faux orchid stems that were very close in both color and form. I chose to create a kind of wild, untamed, uncontrolled floral arrangement…much like the demeanor of peacocks! While a faux orchid floral arrangement is used for this demonstration, it would be REALLY cool if your budget allows for real ones!!!

Tiny pumpkin-colored tea light votives candles produce ambient light and extend the surface level girth of the centerpiece.

A simple straight line of votives across the fireplace mantel mimic those on the table.

To see more Fall tablescapes on this site, visit:
Autumn” page (has TEN different posts on one page!!!)
September Wine
Autumn Blues
Autumn White Wedding
Roses in October
Sunflower Simple
Serape High Style
Raining Orchids” (another great transitional table!)

Next week I’ll have photos of one of the four tables I have been laboring to set up for my “Fabulous Fall Tablescaping” class through Longview Community College’s Community Education department. I’m keeping my fingers and toes crossed that I get the requisite number of students so that the class isn’t cancelled. I know people are very busy and that the economy really sucks right now, but I have such great plans for this class!!! I hope it fills up! If you live in the Kansas City, MO area, you have until Friday the 14th to enroll, so give them a call at 816-604-2030. Classes start Tuesday, September 18th.

I am joining Cuisine Kathleen for “Let’s Dish!” starting Wednesday at 6:00 p.m. CDT. Also on Wednesday I will be joining The Style Sisters for “Centerpiece Wednesday“. Then on Thursday, please come along with me to Susan’s “Tablescape Thursday” starting at 9:00 a.m. CDT. I hope to see you then!

Working Lunch

My husband is giving me “that look.” You know the one: the look that says, “Here we go again! Just shoot me now!” But I swear on a stack of pancakes I am NOT getting back into the wedding business!!! I am simply lending the benefit of my expertise to two three a few couples who have recently asked me for a little jump-start in their planning. And it’s not like I’m planning the entire wedding like I used to. Just the reception decor part. I mean, what’s the harm in that? 🙂

I had a lunch meeting a couple of weeks ago with a lovely couple and Mother-of-the-bride who are planning a May 2013 wedding. We spent nearly an entire day together, grinding our way through the details of their reception decor. I wanted to continue working right through the noon hour, so I set up a casual & fun lunch table that was pretty much in line with their chosen colors…and professions!
(Click on any image to enhance/enlarge it.)

Thanks to the sweltering heat (stick a fork in me…am I done yet??!?!!), we were relegated to the basement level of our home for the marathon meeting. We worked on the soft seating/big screen TV side of the room for most of the day, but lunch was set up in a little out-of-the-way corner on a marble top table.

Both the groom and the Mother-of-the-bride are elementary school teachers, so I thought it would be fun to use these lunch trays to make them feel right at home. (And to remind them that they’ll be right back in there with those screamin’ little demons in less than a month! :-)) I got an “A” for effort on that one!

I have been holding onto these really cool lunch boxes from Kirkland’s for another upcoming project, but the couple’s colors are turquoise, orange and white. How could I resist? Another “A” for effort!

I set it up so that we could just take the food from our lunch box and put it on our plate when ready to eat.

The chocolate and white luncheon-sized melamine plates (Target 2010) have just a touch of muted orange and turquoise in the simple design. I couldn’t believe how the plate colors nearly spot on matched those of the fun retro design lunch box!!! (The lunch box design reminds me of “Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In“. If you’re old enough to remember that show, take a little break and go fix yourself – and me! – a Metamucil cocktail with a Geritol chaser! ;-)) Fun white flatware from TJ Maxx lightens the look and stands out nicely against the deep color of the lunch tray. A bottle of refreshing Sioux City orange cream soda looks great with the setting and tastes great goin’ down…like a creamsicle!!!

Lunch was a quick and easy one: a piquant Southern fried chicken sandwich, a parchment paper cone filled with crispy thin Lay’s potato chips, and little Ziploc baggies of celery and carrot sticks. Just like in grade school…but without the stinky kid with the perpetually runny nose wanting to sit next to you! 🙂 I put a little ice pack in the bottom of each lunch box to keep the contents cold until time to eat.


The little wine table beneath the small screen TV was perfect for setting up munchies and dessert. (Yes….sadly, we have two televisions in the basement. My husband has grand delusions of this being a TGIFriday’s!)

We finally called it a day around 4:20. Sheesh….7 grueling hours of decision making!!! But guess what? The decor side of the wedding is now all but set in stone, and we won’t have to meet again until early April to finalize everything. Hallelujah! I love it when things work out like that!!! I hope you’ll check back next May to see the fruits of our labor!

Oh…I forgot the other thing: I got a glowing report card of straight A’s on my tablescape!!! 🙂 It would work really well for any kind of meeting including a teachers’ back to school planning session. This lunch and learn tablescape would also be something fun and different for a teen study group!

I’m linking up on Wednesday night with Cuisine Kathleen for Let’s Dish! and on Thursday morning with Susan for Tablescape Thursday over at Between Naps on the Porch. You can also find me at BeBetsy.com. I hope you’ll join us!

Summer Orange Tablescape

If you’re lucky enough to live in an area where the mid-summer heat and humidity doesn’t rob you of all your energy and drench you from head to toe, this saucy orange tablescape might work well for your next casual dinner party. As for me, I’m campin’ out in the big produce cooler at Costco! 😉
(Click on any image to enhance/enlarge it!)

If your outdoor tables are unsightly like ours (average Joe folding tables), just add a full-length linen to cover up the scene of the crime. It masks the ugly and adds a touch of class a la Carolyne Roehm! LinenTablecloth.com is a good place to start your search for linens that fully cover all sizes in white, ivory or black. (Their customer service re: returns/exchanges is not the best from my experience, so choose carefully!)

I skipped chargers this go round. Instead, each place is set with just an orange dinner plate with a meandering white floral design and a salad plate with a reversed color palette. These melamine plates from Target’s 2010 summer collection are just one of so many great patterns available these days at very affordable prices.

The sheer simplicity of Hampton Silversmiths’ “Patriot” flatware works well with so many settings!

Simple clear glass stemware from Old Time Pottery is both inexpensive and functional, and the austere design won’t clash with even the busiest dinnerware pattern.

There are so many great reasons to opt for a long Tuscan-style table for your entertaining needs. Many tend to think that round tables allow for conversation with more guests, but that’s not necessarily the case. If you measure the distance between 6 guests seated at a 72″ round table and compare it to that of 6 guests seated at an 72″ oblong, you’ll see what I mean! The decorating possibilities are extended, too, both literally and figuratively because you can create wonderfully lush centerpieces in the spirit of fabled King Arthur’s era!!!

I used a number of elements to fill out the center of this table. The central component that lends height and allows for candlelight at an elevated level is a pair of white metal hurricane lanterns from Z Gallerie. Flanking 2 sides of each lantern are pots of grass that add both color and texture to the tablescape. Note that the votive holders used are the same shape of the cylinder in the hurricane. Similarly shaped decorative pieces create a subtle sense of order and uniformity.

Whenever possible, I like to place multiple small floral arrangements across the table. Grouping some and leaving some as singles adds visual interest and forms a kind of “link” between elements down the entire length. Here clusters of inexpensive white alstroemeria are displayed in fun pear-shaped orange ceramic vases from Old Time Pottery.

When we dine in the yard, I like to create an outdoor lounge area for guests to chill out before and after the meal. Here I arranged our wrought iron set much as you would in a living room with silk pillows and a “sofa table” (actually just an ugly old 4′ folding table from the garage!) behind the settee. (Cushions are MIA due to a sudden hailstorm of bird poo that had to be vigorously scrubbed off! :-()

The sofa table is covered with a full-length white linen to better show off the orange accessories on top including an actual lamp brought out from our dining room. (Just run the cord to the nearest outdoor outlet! No outlet? Consider creating a cordless lamp using a shade on a glass vase with a battery-operated candle or uplight as seen HERE.) Use a “bug light” rather than a white bulb. It will not only ward off pesky insects, but the amber shade is very flattering and adds to the ambience! Cocktails – in this case, fuzzy navels made with peach schnapps, a splash of triple sec, and fresh-squeezed orange juice – are served from the table.

I’ll be really glad when I can fold up my tent and vacate the Costco produce cooler. Meanwhile, I hope you’re finding a way to stay cool and enjoy your outdoor entertaining!

Other summery tablescapes on this site using orange to jazz it up:
Orange You Glad You Came to Dinner?
Mandarin Bling
Oranges & Blossoms
Raining Orchids
Hot Tropical

I’m pleased to once again join Cuisine Kathleen for Let’s Dish! starting Wednesday anytime after 6:00 CDT and Susan for “Tablescape Thursday” starting anytime after 9:00 a.m. on Thursday.

Tulips In the iHop Hour

My parents have for as long as I can remember preferred to eat Sunday dinner in what I affectionately call “the iHop Hour.” You know…those early bird special hours between 3 and 6 p.m. when seniors aged 55+ can get a discounted meal at the International House of Pancakes. (I’m not knockin’ it! That’s exactly where I plan to have lunch…yes, 3:00 will still be lunch for me!…on my 55th next year!) Although my husband and I still like to wait until after the sun goes down, we always try to honor the tick tock of my parents’ gastronomic time clock and get “dinner” served by 3:30 at the latest.

This year’s Mothers Day celebration will be no different. Our table will, therefore, be devoid of candles reserved for twilight dining and take on instead a light, sunshiny, Skip-to-My-Lou air with energetic orange as the star color.
(Click on any image to enhance/enlarge it.)

Tulips In the IHop Hour

Fearful of Mother Nature’s unpredictable outbursts of wind and showers, I have decided to serve a nice sit-down meal in the dining room. Surprisingly, no full-length linen this time around! (I’m just as shocked at myself as you are!!! :-)) This would be an excellent table for a casual ladies’ luncheon or birthday celebration.

Inspiration…as slow as it was to take hold…came from these Prima Design tulip-splashed salad plates I found at TJ Maxx. I love the happy color and the simplicity of the design. That simplicity, I thought, is what mandated the absence of linens and effusive decor. The plain white ceramic charger is from Old Time Pottery. The vivid orange dinner plate is one of the best finds of the year from the Dollar Tree. (Did you know that Dollar Tree and Deal$ are owned by the same company and therefore carry many of the same items??? It was news to me until a couple of days ago!)

I created the menus using cardstock from Michaels. (I wait it out until it goes on sale for 25¢ a sheet and then go nuts!!!) I included a bit of yellow to mirror some of the flowers used in the centerpieces and add depth to the menu piece. The little flower brads are from Hobby Lobby. (Again, catch them on sale for a song!) I am not a “crafty” person by any stretch, so I am so grateful for my handy, dandy Fiskars paper cutter!

White bird salt & pepper shakers from Pier 1 fit right in!

It’s too early to buy the real flowers, so I’m using faux blooms here. I plan bouquets by creating them in advance with faux flowers. It makes the trip to the flower market go so much faster and easier! One book that really inspires me to keep my arrangements fun and creative is Paula Pryke’s “Table Flowers”. (Click HERE for my brief review of her book.) I never try to imitate a creation bloom-for-bloom, but innovative and unabandoned style is what gives me a kick in the britches. (Used here: Holland tulips, daylilies, calla lilies, poppies, and mums.)

I like for the items on the buffet behind the table to coordinate whenever possible. This time around I used a massive orange wooden platter from Z Gallerie as a backdrop. The pure white pitchers, purchased a couple of years ago at Home Goods, are spruced up with silver beverage tags affixed with mandarin orange ribbon. A jumble of orange, yellow & green beads add color and texture.

I took a cue from my sweet blogger buddy, Vernice at We Three Dogs & Me, and wove orange ribbon through the slats of the Ralph Lauren “Pavillion” footed stand that will hold the key lime pie. (I’ve never made key lime pie before. Check back to make sure we’re all still alive, please! :-)) Vernice did the same using bright pink ribbon for her Mother’s Day 2012 post in which she told the most touching story about her own Mom and her very interesting childhood. HIGHLY recommended reading…have tissues handy!

Mom & me, 1958

So that…finally!!!…is our Mother’s Day 2012 table. Simple, sweet, sunny, and fun! I hope my Mom likes it. I was warned NOT to go pink & green for her, so I just stepped WAY outside the color box!
Happy Mother’s Day, Mom, and the same to my dear readers…even if you’re not dining in the IHop hour! 😉

Other Spring/Summer tablescapes using orange on this site:
Mandarin Bling
Orange You Glad You Came to Dinner?”
Oranges & Blossoms

I will be joining Cuisine Kathleen again this week for her “Let’s Dish!” Mother’s Day Tablescape Challenge. Be sure to check it out for lots of great ideas from other tablescapers around the world! I’m also joining Susan at Between Naps on the Porch for “Tablescape Thursday“, and I hope you’ll drop by!

Raining Orchids

Yes, I am going to be stubborn about this. SUMMER IS NOT OVER YET!!! Temperatures have cooled from the horrific triple digits in most parts of the United States to something that feels like autumn, but I assure you it is temporary. It’s a fluke. A hiccup. An anomaly. The autumnal equinox doesn’t start until September 23 for countries in the Northern Hemisphere, so for the next two weeks I’m going to party like it’s 1999!!!

"Raining Orchids" - Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com

The one concession in my quest to savor the last days of summer will be a move toward deeper colored flowers. A profusion of richly hued orchids (accented with Asiatic lilies on the lamps) are the star of this September/late summer tablescape.

"Raining Orchids" - Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com

I decided to go with relatively simple pieces down low on the table to allow the higher pieces to fully shine. Standard white full-length poly-cotton table linens are topped with braided edge gold chargers. The gold-banded white china here is from Pier 1.

"Raining Orchids" - Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.comThe white cotton monogrammed napkins are laid upon the plates with a simple fold. Each is topped with a stem of orchids. Because my wallet is lighter than usual these days and this is a demo table, faux orchids are used here. I would, however, recommend the real deal for guests. Orchids can last for hours and hours out of water under temperate conditions.

Bright gold flatware with a barely there pattern is right in line with the simple design.

"Raining Orchids" - Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com

The stemware is from Godinger’s “Chelsea” collection. I tend to serve a lot of beverages before, during and after dinner, so my table is almost always loaded down with various drinking vessels. Clusters of gleaming crystal always looks great!

Crystal decanters filled with the spirit-du-jour always look pretty. These were a great buy from Tuesday Morning.

The center floral on this 12-ft. long table is a glass cylinder filled with 6-ft.H orchid stems. I arranged the stems to appear to be “raining” over the center of the table. (Click here and scroll down to “Autumn Orchids” to see another way to use these super tall orchid stems in glass cylinders!)

"Raining Orchids" - Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com

"Raining Orchids" -I am a big fan of bringing the indoors out for a little air. Almost everything you love inside your house will look twice as great outside! These lampshades are from our dining room where the palette is predominantly orange.

The lamp base here is constructed of a simple clear glass 31″H cylinder. (Glass cylinders can be your very best friend!! Click here and scroll down to “Love and Orchids” for another great glass cylinder & orchid combo!))

"Raining Orchids" - Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.comSuspended from the lampshade frame and “raining” into the glass cylinder are garlands of bling along with silk orchids sewn onto fishing wire. I hot glued a rhinestone to the center of each bloom to give it a little more “oomph!” and amp up the sparkle within the glass base.

"Raining Orchids" -This offers a glimpse as to how the lamp looks in pitch darkness. I used an uplight turned upside down to project light downward into the glass cylinder. Click here or on the Table Tips tab above, and scroll to Tip #29 to see how this lamp is constructed for this total effect. (For more candle lamps on this site, see “All A’Bloom for Spring“, “Should Have Put a Ring On It“, “It’s All About Me!“, and “Just Us Girls“.)

Join me at Susan’s place, Between Naps on the Porch” for Tablescape Thursday!

Mandarin Bling

Regained a smidge of my creative mojo, y’all!
This is the first tablescape I have created since…well, you know! 😉

I’ve been in a creative slump lately, drowning in the cesspool of the last couple of months. I recently decided to surface, catch my breath, and get my hips back to tablescaping!!! 🙂 I drew inspiration from Alberto Pinto’s book “Table Settings”. (Click here or on the “Books That Make You Go Ooh!” tab above to read my review.) I was drawn to his continental style that is markedly different and quite dramatic. Hence, the color palate used here is bright Mandarin orange, blue and white.

 

To create this Oriental tablescape with European style, I started with a starched white floor-length cotton table linen. Floor-length in this case was a must to convey the relative formality of the evening. A 13″ round mirrored charger is topped with Ralph Lauren’s “Mandarin Blue” dinner and salad plates. The plates have two separate but complementary designs. Other pieces in Lauren’s “Mandarin Blue” have orange flourishes.

IMG_1116WM

I created the menus using a lightweight neon orange cardstock layered with white. A clip art Mandarin symbol adorns the front of each and separates the listed courses.

Now that my mojo is back, my love of energetic color has returned as well. Cobalt blue water goblets from Pier 1 team up with Crystal d’Arques wine glasses and fun orange martinis in which dessert would be served. (Orange martinis found at Old Time Pottery.) This eclectic but complementary mix is typical Alberto Pinto style.

With dishes in a pattern called “Mandarin Blue”, it seemed fitting to use flatware with an Asian influence. Adding a pair of chopsticks alongside the bamboo stainless flatware offers those with the necessary skills a chance to eat in an authentic manner.

IMG_1172WM

IMG_1179WMThe centerpiece is composed of 29″H clear pilsner vases topped with bright orange rose balls that are visually “connected” by crystal garlands. A single crystal prism, suspended from the bottom of the rose ball, dances in the light of 25″ Paradise candles. (Click here to see another table decorated with rose balls. Click here or on the “Table Tips” tab above – Tip #27 – to see how the prisms are discreetly attached.)

Gilded servants from Z Gallerie offer another level of intimate candlelight.

IMG_1121WMThe buffet display has a Z Gallerie 24″ orange wooden tray tucked behind an oversized ginger jar from Home Goods. More servants with votive candles stand guard in front of the display. Tea service uses “Mandarin Blue” cups and saucers along with a simply designed teapot from Home Goods.

Though very non-traditional in color & style for the holiday, this tablescape would be great for Chinese New Year!

So…who says eating Chinese takeout is just for college students and sitcom characters? “Homey don’t play that!” 🙂 For me, it’s all about the Mandarin Bling!!!

Other Asian-inspired tablescapes on this site:
Year of the Rabbit
Peaceful Peonies
Copper Zen
Mikasa ‘Daylight’ Giveaway

You are invited to join Susan at Between Naps on the Porch along with a bevy of wonderfully talented tablescapers for Tablescape Thursday. You can also catch me over at BeBetsy.com. See you there!

It’s the Great Pumpkin!

Those of you who know me know I love to eat! Luckily, so do many of my friends! We enjoy dining like the Europeans: slowly and with purpose. For this casual 3-hour dinner on the deck, the pace fit the menu and the colors are all about the season!

Inspired by Charles Schultz’s wonderful classic cartoon, “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown”, I created this autumn tablescape for a few close friends who just wanted a quiet but fun evening.

 

Each place setting featured a rusty, almost orange-colored metal charger that I picked up at Tuesday Morning several years back. Brown rimmed yellow stoneware from Pier 1 was perfect for our entrée. Pumpkin colored melamine dishes from Target took on the salad, and brown rimmed green soup bowls were there for a delicious chunky tomato soup with crabmeat which could have been a meal in and of itself!

 

Taking full advantage of my newly purchased David Stark book, Napkins With a Twist, I pulled together this fun fold with this colorful cotton napkin from Stein Mart. The fold is incredibly easy to do, despite all the resulting nooks & crannies. Each napkin is topped with a mini pumpkin and faux autumn leaves. (See this napkin used in another fall tablescape HERE.)

 

My husband was not fond of the place cards/menus I created at the last minute (he’s a critic now!), and on second glance I think I could have done better. Desperate times called for desperate measures! The evening’s fare was printed on the back of each place card.

 

The centerpiece was a complete, total, and shameless rip off of the cartoon with the massively proportioned pumpkin surrounded by sumptuous mounds of fall leaves! I perched the pumpkin atop a small stand to lend a bit more height and drama.

 

I’m not sure if it’s a good thing or not, but it’s getting dark much earlier now so I’m able to actually light candles before guests come out for dinner at 7:30.

 

Two sides of the centerpiece were flanked by various seasonal gourds. Putting the gourds on two sides only elongated the centerpiece and kept it from looking too rounded.

 

It’s hard to tell in my amateur photos, but the entire centerpiece was subtly illuminated from underneath using these miniature LED votives. Hiding them throughout the leaves provided a soft glow to the entire piece.

 

Further illumination was provided by multi-hued pillar candles from Pier 1 placed on the 2 sides of the pumpkin not decorated with gourds. The tri-level orange wooden pieces were purchased a few years ago at Hobby Lobby and added to the tablescape just to add narrow vertical interest.

 

I really like these candles that boast four different but complementary hues.

I count myself lucky to be joining the ladies and gentlemen for The Style Sisters’ Centerpiece Wednesday and Susan’s Tablescape Thursday!

Centerpiece Wednesdays ButtonTablescape Inspiration, Click to View