Run For the Roses

(a re-post from May of 2010)

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


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



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




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


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


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


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


Sun & Sky

The blazing, unforgiving heat of August in Kansas City just wilts me! Aside from blasting the A/C and sipping cool drinks, the best thing I can do to lift my spirits (next to shopping, of course!) is to surround myself with lots of bright color. I hosted a luncheon with a brightly colored tablescape and did just that!
I am a huge fan of classic cobalt blue which reminds me of the sea and sky, especially when paired with sunny yellow. A dose of white makes the brilliant colors in this tablescape really pop. This casual luncheon tablescape contains elements from Pier 1 Imports (“Mirandela” chargers, stemware, yellow crockery), Tuesday Morning (napkins, napkin rings, placemats), Macy’s (flatware), and one of my favorite haunts, Z Gallerie (centerpiece finials). Fun, wispy yellow spider & acid green button mums from Costco rounded out the look. (Click HERE to see the dishes in the same design as these chargers in another tablescape.)
A cup of rich, creamy broccoli cheese soup makes the perfect appetizer, followed by a (relatively) healthy chicken Caesar salad with freshly shaved parmesan for the main course.
The 3″ square yellow crockery was used to bake individual apple-walnut cakes that topped with cinnamon ice cream. These were the perfect luncheon size, and the presentation in the tiny crock made them a little more fun!
With my tummy full and my mind swimming with the feeling brought on by all the bright color…I think I’m back on track! Crisis averted!

Italian Honeysuckle

INSPIRATION: Our neighbors' fabulous honeysuckle arbor!

INSPIRATION: Our neighbors’ fabulous honeysuckle arbor!

Hello, and welcome to my neighbors’ backyard! This past summer when the honeysuckle on their arbor was in full bloom, they phoned to say get over there and get a tablescape done. You don’t have to tell me twice! The beautiful color in the blooms, though, reminded me more of a fall day. So I created this tablescape (way back in late June!) to bring to you this autumn season. That’s REALLY thinking ahead, huh? 😉
(Click on any photo, and then click again to enhance/enlarge it.)

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One,, Italian Honeysuckle: Table set up in yardThis is the view from our deck. They’ve got so many beautiful trees! I did another fall tablescape in their yard a couple of years ago, September Wine, that is still one of my all-time favorites.

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One,, Italian Honeysuckle: Full table in front of honeysuckle arborI wanted the table to convey a bit of elegance, so I started with a flowing, full-length ivory tablecloth from

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One,, Italian Honeysuckle: Multiple place settings

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One,, Italian Honeysuckle: Single place settingI loved how the sun cast long shadows and danced around the table! The time of day this was photographed caught just the effect I wanted! Each place setting started with a mustard gold dinner plate from Pier 1 Imports that I bought at the clearance store years ago. The olive green bowl (for the mostaccioli!) is also a long ago purchase from Pier 1 and is a part of our everyday collection at home.

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One,, Italian Honeysuckle: Flatware, oil dip bowl, napkin overhang collageThe tea towel napkins were purchased at Dollar Tree. They really have a pretty decent selection, and I like to use these for napkins when messy food is served. I hung the napkin off the side of the table to add a little color at that level. You will notice how the olive branch motif mimics the centerpiece. The bright red-orange bowls are for my copycat version of Zio’s Italian Restaurant dipping oil. You can find how to make it on my recipe page HERE. This will become a staple in your pantry!

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One,, Italian Honeysuckle: Stemware and personal wine carafeThe glassware is standard from Old Time Pottery. The personal wine carafe at each place setting is something I like to do sometimes instead of sitting the actual bottles on the table. Each person can refill their own wine glass at their discretion.

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One,, Italian Honeysuckle: Green ceramic water pitcher and condiments collageCrushed red pepper and grated parmigiano-reggiano are in bowls that match the dinner plates. The green ceramic water pitcher was a Home Goods purchase from a couple of years back.

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One,, Italian Honeysuckle: Wicker chair with toss pillowRamon brought a couple of wicker chairs from our master suite for the ends of the table. I plopped in a comfy toss pillow from Home Goods. (This same pillow was used in a recent Asian-inspired tablescape, Chinese Takeout.) The colors work so nicely in this setting!

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One,, Italian Honeysuckle: Olive branch centerpiece

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One,, Italian Honeysuckle: Olive branchesI arranged a mass of faux olive branches in a towering stoneware vase from Pier 1 that usually sits in Ramon’s dressing area in our master suite.

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One,, Italian Honeysuckle: Honeysuckle arbor

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One,, Italian Honeysuckle: Honeysuckle collage

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One,, Italian Honeysuckle: View of sky through branchesThanks to my neighbors for letting me invade their backyard space once again. It really is beautiful with all the trees (just look at that view through the branches!) and flowers and that gorgeous arbor!

More autumn tables on this site:
Autumn” page (10 fabulous fall posts on this page!)
Casual Fall Harvest Dinner
September Harvest Breakfast
“Quick & Casual Plaid & Paisley Fall Dinner”

Pumpkins & Peacocks
Wondrous Wheat
Pheasants & Peacocks
Best Laid Plans
Serape High Style
Sunflower Simple
Raining Orchids
September Wine
Autumn Blues
“Autumn White Wedding”
“Copper Zen”

Other posts on this site using towels as napkins include:
Popsicle Party
Black & White Barnyard Breakfast

Most Egg-cellent Fall Breakfast
Grill It Up!
Italian Honeysuckle
Picnic Ants


Blog parties I’m linking up with this week:
Christine at Rustic & Refined for “Table It!”
Susan at Between Naps on the Porch “Tablescape Thursday”