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”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Dorothy By Any Other Name: Purple and Cream 80th Birthday

There have been many remarkable Dorothys to walk this earth. Among them the brainy Dorothy Johnson-Vaughn (NASA mathematician recently depicted in the movie “Hidden Figures”), the brazen Dorothy Height (women’s and civil rights activist), the brilliant Dorothy Hamill (ice skater), the beguiling Dorothy Dandridge (actress), the bubbly Dorothy who captured our hearts along the Yellow Brick Road, the beleaguered Dorothy Tucker-Roberts (my poor hairstylist of 20+ years for whom one must feel sympathy having to put up with me!), and finally the blissful, beautiful and beloved Mrs. Dorothy J. Knight, the honoree for this lovely celebration. When my high school friend, Audrey, asked me to craft a head table with the colors and flowers her Mother adored to celebrate her 80 birthday, I was most humbled.

 

Mrs. Knight’s birthday celebration was held in the auditorium at the Bruce R. Watkins Cultural Heritage in Kansas City, Missouri.

 

 

 

 

 

I created a dramatic centerpiece using a silver faux manzanita tree branch adorned with various hanging crystals and cream spray roses. I placed it on a round mirror to reflect back the sparkle, shine and movement of the crystals. A cluster of four standard size julep cups filled with cream roses, spider mums, baby’s breath, and miniature chrysanthemums. Satellite miniature juleps each held a single rose surrounded by baby’s breath and a few mini chrysanthemums.

 

 

Each place setting at the table included a mirrored charger, creamy dishes, lovely heirloom flatware, and a cream colored napkin emerging from a silver pew cone, also known as a cherub cone. (Other posts on this blog incorporating silver pew cones as napkin holders include “Purple & Pastel” and “Pretty in Pink”.) I placed a personal set of salt & pepper shakers at the top of each place setting.

 

 

 

The creamy ivory rosette table runner contrasts with the royal purple full-length tablecloth and complements the chair caps that are placed over ivory stretch chair covers and all tied up with a lavender satin sash.

Family members worked hard to plan and create the remaining atmosphere. They put a lot of love into it! To play on Shakespeare’s words in Romeo & Juliet, a Dorothy by any other name would not be as sweet as Mrs. Dorothy J. Knight.

For more birthday celebrations on this blog:
“88 Years & 88 Keys”
“Celebrating 85 Years of Fabulous”
“The Party She Deserves”
“Purple and Pastel”
“Blue & White 30th Birthday”
“Purple + Green = Happy Birthday!”
“Happy Birthday, Barf!”
and see FIVE additional birthday celebrations on the “Birthdays” tab!

 

Luscious Layers of Lavender

INSPIRATION: A beautifully-crafted and much-cherished quilt in shades of purple received from wedding clients way back at the start of my wedding design career.

INSPIRATION: A beautifully crafted and much cherished quilt in shades of purple received from clients way back at the start of my wedding design career.

 

Thank you for stopping by! This is a short and sweet post this week. (I know many of you are cheering and doing the happy dance! ) I’m getting ready for CHIEFS football tonight and a very busy week ahead!
(Click on any photo, then click again to enlarge/enhance it.)

 

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, Luscious Layers of Lavender: Full tableThis casual table for 4 began with a LinenTablecloth.com 108″ round white tablecloth on a 48″ table for full-length coverage. The table was then topped with the pretty quilt in varying shades of purple on a white background. This tablescape would be perfect for an evening in with the girls to celebrate a birthday or any relaxed occasion.

 

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, Luscious Layers of Lavender: Place setting

 

 

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, Luscious Layers of Lavender: petal pink "Bread & Butter - Lola" bowlThe place setting begins with a grape-colored Bormioli Rocco glass charger. The dinner and salad plates are simple white Corelle. The crowning touch is a petal pink “Bread and Butter – Lola” bowl with softly curved and generously beaded edges found at Home Goods.

 

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, Luscious Layers of Lavender: Flatware, flatware detailing, napkin collageThis Oneida flatware – my everyday service chosen way back in the 70s when I married my 1st husband – has floral detailing that mimics that of the tiny florets in some patches of the quilt. The napkin, like the bowl, is a soft petal pink and coordinates with the pink patches in the quilt.

 

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, Luscious Layers of Lavender: Purple stemwareThe stemware is 2 different designs and in 2 slightly different hues, but they work well together. The taller stem is from Stein Mart and the shorter wine glass is a recent purchase from Home Goods. I was bummed they only had 6. I could have easily used 12-20 of these! (“Art of Tablescaping” students: Remember what we discussed about considering using pieces that complement rather than match.)

 

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, Luscious Layers of Lavender: Centerpiece

 

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, Luscious Layers of Lavender: Centerpiece from overheadI like to occasionally do something a little dramatic in the center of the table. (Seriously? Who do I think I’m kidding??!?!  For me, a day without drama on the table is like a day without sunshine! 🙂 ) In this case, it’s a large, curvy white glass vase filled with flowering branches. Note that the floret shape complements the flowers in the quilt and on the flatware. (Note: This part of the centerpiece is great for showcasing the table as guests arrive, but can be easily transferred to a side table once the meal is about to start.)

 

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, Luscious Layers of Lavender: Small floralsA trio of smaller white ceramic vases can be left on the table during the meal should you opt to remove the larger piece. This continues the look without compromising it and allows guests to freely converse across and around the table.

 

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, Luscious Layers of Lavender: purple glass votiveI found these beautiful purple glass disc votive holders at Hobby Lobby. At 50% off, they were just $1 each. Quite a bargain with a lot of impact when strategically scattered at the base of the centerpiece.

 

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, Luscious Layers of Lavender: squatting ceramic white frog

 

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, Luscious Layers of Lavender: slithering white ceramic frogWhy frogs you ask? Because I saw one out in the yard, had these white ceramic ones in my stash, and figured, “Why not?”. That’s the long and the short of it! Nothing too deep! 🙂 (“Art of Tablescaping” students: you may recall our discussion about bringing something unexpected to the table for whimsy.)

That’s all folks! I hope you have a wonderful week ahead, and I so appreciate your visit!

 

Other tablescapes on this site featuring quilt toppers or runners:
“Summer Luncheon for Two”
“Midsummer Shabby Chic Apple Tablescape”
“My Sister’s Wedding China”
“Kaleidoscope Christmas”
“Casual Fall Harvest Tablescape”
“Love’s Arrow”

Other tablescapes on this site with purple:
“Purple & Pastel”
“Pink & Purple Chocolate Christmas”
“Purple for Spring”
“Easter Floral”
“Purple+Green=Happy Birthday!”
“Planning in Purple”

This week I’ll be joining Christine at Rustic & Refined for “Table It!” (goes live on Sunday evening) and Susan at Between Naps on the Porch for “Tablescape Thursday” (goes live on Thursday morning).

 

 

 

 

Purple + Green = Happy Birthday!

“Best friends are those who, when you show up at their door with a dead body, say nothing, grab a shovel, and follow you.” –author unknown

I have been very fortunate to have the same best friend for nearly 50 years. Yes, yes, I know…I only look 25 (HA! :-)), but it’s true: Sheri and I have been friends since the 1st grade!!! We have seen each other through all of what life has flung at us, and we’ve had a rollicking good “Thelma & Louise” kind of time through it all. No two people could be more different, have more diverse interests, be as “day and night” as we are, but that has never seemed to matter. We’ve always remained the Yin to the other’s Yang. Like Felix and Oscar…with ovaries! 🙂

Sheri has a birthday coming up on Friday. While she prefers to keep things low-key these days, I can still at least imagine the party I would throw in her honor! This is a setting that would also work well for a bridal shower or, with grapes and pears added to the mix, a lovely summer vineyard wedding reception.
(Click on any image to enhance/enlarge it.)

Varying shades of purple with bright lime green tempered with white would be a welcome sight for the birthday girl and her guests. The setting is simple with relatively clean lines, but it has lots of energetic color. The setting is anchored with a floor-length white table linen that, not unlike an artist’s canvas, shows off that color at its best.

Each place setting begins with an acrylic lavender charger from Michael’s, followed by a lime green dinner plate from Dollar Tree (a great place to really stretch a buck…everything in the place is just $1!!!) and a white Corelle salad plate. You don’t always have to use top of the line dishes and accessories to create a beautiful, tasteful, memorable tablescape!

White cotton hemstitch napkins are simply cinched with a length of lavender organza ribbon.

The flatware is also kept simple. The only embellishment on it echoes the ridges on the rim of the dinner plate.

Sheri and I both love to eat good food. She sometimes phones me to ask, “What do I feel like eating? I know I’m hungry, but I can’t figure out what I want to eat.” I ceremoniously smack my lips and wrack my brain for something tasty that I think will satisfy her taste buds. It actually works about 90% of the time! The menu for her birthday would include food that I know she loves. I created these menus on my home computer using specialty papers from Michael’s and Hobby Lobby.

I have waited what seems like a lifetime to use this stemware!!! I love the sultry plum color! The goblets are from Stein Mart, and the fun pilsners are from T.J. Maxx.

Sheri has always loved flowers, and there would be no shortage of multi-bloom bouquets at her dinner party to perk up the room! Here, an assemblage of hydrangea, roses, Dutch tulips, acid-green viburnum, and Dutch lilac in simply-styled lime green ceramic vases mixes with a scattering of plums and green apples.

The buffet behind the dining table boasts the same colors for the florals and accessories but includes a bit more white.  The purple & green floral pots are actually lightweight and convenient-to-store Styrofoam™! I bought them at a wholesale place headquartered in a town just about 35 minutes away from our home. These will come in very handy for future Spring and Easter tablescapes!

Chunky pillar candles embellished with the same organza ribbon used to tie the napkins are set atop curvy white turned wood Z Gallerie candlesticks.

Ask guests to wrap gifts in colors that will complement the decor. Here, woven strips of lavender organza and lime green satin ribbon dress up a plain white gift box. The box is gussied up even further with a few blooms that match the decor.

A plain pitcher is made to look special by the deep, rich apple juice/plum juice/peach nectar beverage created just for this occasion. Slices of fruit always give a little more “oomph!” to beverage displays. The lime green acrylic appetizer plates are from Target.

I always like to add little touches throughout the room that complement the table decor. The china cabinet in the corner is treated to the same flower pots as the buffet but filled with chartreuse roses and raffia filler.

So what cocktail hour music would I choose? Songs about friends, of course, with Queen’s “You’re My Best Friend”, Sweet Baby James Taylor’s “You’ve Got a Friend”, and Kenny Rogers’ “You Were a Good Friend” topping the list.  And as we’re both fast approaching our AARP years, what kind of friend and hostess would I be if I didn’t include the theme from “The Golden Girls”? 😉

Through thick and thin, good hairstyles and bad, for better or worse, from here to eternity…Sheri Lynn Grant will always be my best friend. She has to be…the girl knows way too much! 🙂
Happy Birthday, Sheri!

Other posts on this site using purple:
Purple & Pastel
Planning in Purple

I will be joining Cuisine Kathleen for “Let’s Dish!” this week along with Susan at Between Naps on the Porch for “Tablescape Thursday“. C’mon by and take a peek at what all the tablescapers from around the globe are up to!

Laissez Les Bon Temps Rouler!

Bienvenue! Laissez les bon temps rouler!!!
(Welcome! Let the good times roll!!!)

We will be shakin’ our bon-bon and having a grand ol’ time in celebration of Fat Tuesday tonight! Our trusty butler, Geoffrey, even plans to get in on the fun which is so against his staid British upbringing! 🙂

I’ve been busy all morning preparing a slightly more formal table than the way we celebrated over the weekend. The same amount of debauchery, however, is expected as for any Mardi Gras celebration!


I elected to allow the natural wood of the dining table anchor the setting. Over the bare wood I crisscrossed lengths of shimmering purple, green & gold netting.


Each place setting  started with a deep purple cobbled charger from Burlington. The china was purchased several years ago at Pier 1. Add gold toned flatware and my trusty Godinger “Chelsea” collection stemware.


Purple gemstone napkin rings from Z Gallerie hug the sheer organza Pier 1 napkins. Here you are better able to see the cobbled texture of the chargers.


The centerpiece is made up of several pieces. First, in a Godinger “Dublin” hurricane, is a mass of free-flowing fresh greenery. I wanted a kind of “messy” look to play off of the more formally arranged carnations beneath it.


Clusters of beautifully fragrant royal purple carnations rest in diminiutive crystal vases.


At each end of the dining table are Godinger “Dublin” cut crystal candle holders.


Graceful purple birds with soft green bellies and long, sweeping tails perch high above each gold candlestick. The birds were purchased wholesale many years ago, but this is the first time I’ve had an opportunity to use them.

One of my favorite parts of decorating is the chance to create something new by combining various elements. The very boxy gold-toned candlesticks are softened by the addition of these bobeches dripping in crystals.


The buffet area is the perfect place to extend the festivities from the dining table. Purple, green & gold mirror balls stretch the length of the buffet with a strand of the same colored beaded garland. On one end of the buffet, a Harlequin doll stands guard over the assorted candies in cut crystal containers.


On the opposite end, a mini bar of soul-satisfying bourbon, scotch and brandy in cut crystal vessels awaits thirsty guests along with fun feathered masks.


I don’t much care for store-bought King’s cake, so I am substituting these lucious homebaked cinnamon rolls. The smell of cinnamon wafting through the house is wonderful!!!


This Beverly Clark cake server with the regal crown on the end is the perfect utensil for cutting and serving the King’s cake!

I didn’t create menu cards for our buffet this evening, but we will dine on a traditional gumbo starter followed by fried catfish, red beans & rice, candied sweet potatoes, collard greens and cornbread. After all, that’s what Fat Tuesday is all about! I wish you and yours a joyous and festive one!

Other Mardi Gras/Fat Tuesday tablescapes on this site:
Mardi Gras Lite
Mardi Gras Mojo
“Mardi Gras Madness”
“Celebrate Mardi Gras!”
“The Peacock Effect”

 In the browsing mood? I hope you will take the time to visit Susan and the other tablescapers at Between Naps on the Porch for Tablescape Thursday!

Planning in Purple

Click here to see all the photos for Planning in Purple, or click the “Weddings” tab above!

Baby, it’s cold outside!!! But that doesn’t stop the wedding work that has to be done! (Leave me alone…I know I said I’ve retired! I’m just trying to help out! :-))

Stuck inside with a half-foot of snow on the ground, I was happy to have the company of the Moms who braved the snow-packed roads today for a planning meeting/ladies luncheon.

Click here to see all the photos for Planning in Purple, or click the “Weddings” tab above!

Don’t forget to join Susan and the other tablescapers this week at Between Naps on the Porch for Tablescape Thursday!!!