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! 😉
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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.
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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.

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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.

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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 entrÊe. 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