Black, White, & Red All Over

BLACK, WHITE, & RED ALL OVER
(a re-post from April 2010)

Happy Birthday dinner party on the deck is ready to get underway.

 

 

A casual birthday dinner to celebrate my son and sister-in-law’s birthdays brought out the black & white Royal Stafford “Herdsman” dinner plates. I set black chargers and linen napkins against a crisp white cotton tablecloth, and keeping with the tablescape’s natural theme, I used plain rattan napkin rings. A traditional flatware pattern, Hampton Smith’s “Patriot”, complemented the ensemble. Individual wine tags were put on each person’s glass for mingling after the meal.

 

A shot of color was added to the tablescape with bright red geraniums in simple terra cotta pots. By substituting the geraniums for something more spring-like such as potted tulips or hyacinth, a table like this would also work quite well for a Mother’s Day brunch or luncheon, or any Spring tablescape.

 

To add height, texture and interest to the tablescape, simple potted topiaries shared the center of the table with the geraniums.

 

Wonderful made-from-scratch food and fabulous drink including my introduction to Menage a Trois. The WINE! Get your mind out of the gutter!!!

 

The Birthday Queen and King blow out their candles!

Other black, white, and red tablescapes on this site include:
Black, White, & Red All Over Christmas
Checkered Christmas – A Snowman Theme
Derby Day Dining
Grill It Up!

 

 

 

 

 

Run For the Roses

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

 

Bringing the Zing to Chinese Takeout 

Once again earlier this year I was a guest on the “Better Kansas City” show. Getting up, dressed, and out the door that early is a real challenge for me, but I really enjoy it every time. This day was particularly fun with tips on creating a tablescape that presents Chinese takeout like a boss! CLICK on the video below to watch the 2-1/2-minute clip from the show, and after that are a few still photos I was able to snap with my iPad. (Time is very short on the set prior to going live, so I’m lucky to squeeze in a few pics!)

 


When I set up these demonstration tables on the set, remember…they are probably more narrow than your typical dining room table by about 12″ or so. The demo table is 6-ft. in length, but only 30″ wide compared to our 42″ wide dining table at home. That being said, you’d have more center space for food, additional decor, or just blank real estate than what’s shown here.

 


Each place setting has a black acrylic square charger (Walmart) topped with an Asian-themed 222 Fifth square plate (“Mia Blossom”) and small rice bowl from Pier 1 Imports. Pier 1 is a terrific place to buy globally themed dishes and decor! If you don’t have one near you, their website is pretty easy to navigate. (Too tall for this television demo, but a vase or two with a simple arrangement of cherry blossoms would be perfect for this tablescape!!)

 


Not everyone is adept at using chopsticks, so as a courtesy to your guests you may want to add flatware such as this faux bamboo stainless. Use the wooden chopsticks typically provided by the restaurant, or consider investing in a pair of permanent ones like these stainless steel beauties resting on a black onyx holder from a local specialty store. The white miso spoons here are from Pier 1. The “Capri” porcelain spice cellars by Gallery Tabletops are from T.J. Maxx and are great for spices or sauces at individual place settings.

 


Each place setting has a little something extra in the way the bamboo fan favors and black napkins, folded to resemble a Chinese sash, are presented in a red silk takeout box from Pier 1.

 


Teapot and cups from World Market.

 


White sake set from World Market. I picked up the Chinese robe wine bottle cover at Tuesday Morning a couple of years ago.


As I pointed out on the show, sometimes food is just so beautiful you might consider using it as a centerpiece. While this sushi is just a pretty good fake for demonstration purposes, it represents the real thing which always abounds in color, form, and texture…perfect elements for a gorgeous centerpiece!

If you’d like to see more tablescapes with an Asian flair for Chinese New Year or anytime Chinese food presentation just needs a little gussying up, check out these posts:
Peaceful Peonies
Year of the Rabbit
Chinese Takeout
Mum’s the Word/Zen Garden
Mikasa Daylight (Design #2)
Float Like A Butterfly
Mandarin Bling
Blue & White 30th Birthday
Copper Zen

Midsummer Shabby Chic Apple Tablescape

INSPIRATION: The red & white damask side of a reversible quilted throw from Tuesday Morning.

INSPIRATION: The red & white damask side of a reversible quilted throw.

Here in the Midwest it’s hotter than a firecracker already! We’re enduring scorching sun rays and humidity that’s sure to make your hair droop. The winds have been on the high side, too, which makes it very difficult to tablescape outdoors. My solution: create a tablescape using a heavier quilted topper that won’t so easily blow across the prairie. 🙂
(Click on any photo and then click again to enhance/enlarge it.)

 

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, Midsummer Shabby Chic Apple Tablescape: Full tableThis table for 4 on a 48″ round table starts with a 108″ round white tablecloth from LinenTablecloth.com. It is topped with a pretty red & white damask quilted throw from Tuesday Morning. The reversible topper is red & white striped on the other side which makes it a great choice for 4th of July and other patriotic tablescapes.

 

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, Midsummer Shabby Chic Apple Tablescape: Place settingThis part table could come into service as a breakfast, brunch, or luncheon setting. The casual nature of the quilted throw and centerpiece items is easily coupled with the more formal china and silver at each place setting. The simplicity of Noritake “Spectrum” china makes it a good choice to work well with the bold design and strong colors of the topper.

 

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, Midsummer Shabby Chic Apple Tablescape: white cotton hemstitched napkin with red & silver napkin ringEach place setting has a simply folded white cotton hemstitched napkin cinched with a silver-rimmed red metal napkin ring from Bed, Bath & Beyond.

 

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, Midsummer Shabby Chic Apple Tablescape: red martini glass from Pier 1 used for fruit compoteFor the fruit compote before the meal or dessert after, this graceful red martini glass from Pier 1 fits the bill. This style was chosen because the ball at the top of the stem mimics that in the water glass and the glass orb in the centerpiece. (Quick story about Pier 1…Ramon & I were in the store closest to our home last week buying a few clearance sale items. The young woman who checked us out asked, “Are you the Alycia Nichols who has the tablescape blog?” You can only imagine that my mouth hit the floor with that, but then she said to Ramon, “And are you Dr. Nichols?” You could have blown us over with a feather! It was nice to be recognized, especially by an employee of a store from which I buy a lot of items to use in my tablescapes! She told us that her Mom turned her onto my blog and that she’s also a Pinterest follower. So a shout out to Nikki at Pier 1 in Lee’s Summit, MO, and her Mom, Jan!)

 

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, Midsummer Shabby Chic Apple Tablescape: water glassA simple clear drinking glass complements the setting. Notice the ball in the stem that works so well with the one in the martini glass.

 

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, Midsummer Shabby Chic Apple Tablescape: flatwareI used flatware with a design that complements that of the topper.

 

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, Midsummer Shabby Chic Apple Tablescape: coffee cup & saucerTo add to the casual air of the table, the coffee cup, saucer and spoon are pre-set with a little cookie.

 

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, Midsummer Shabby Chic Apple Tablescape: full centerpiece

 

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, Midsummer Shabby Chic Apple Tablescape: Centerpiece collageNotice how the centerpiece is pushed off to one side of the table. This allows for greater ease in conversation across the smallish table. The galvanized oversized pitcher is whitewashed for a kind of country appeal and filled with apple tree branches. (I used faux here, but by all means if you have the real thing…go for it!!!) A simple white wicker basket is filled with a bounty of apples. (Add a few flags to the table and serve all-American apple pie for dessert, and this instantaneously becomes an overtly patriotic brunch tablescape for the 4th of July, Memorial Day, Labor Day, or Flag Day!) The clear glass orb atop a white wooden pedestal works because of the coloring, the size and the shape.

 

Compared to last week’s post, this was a super mini!!! I hope you enjoyed it and that you were perhaps able to collect an idea or two for your next summer tablescape!

 

Other tablescapes on this site with an off-center centerpiece on this site:
Lemonade From Bill
Planning in Purple

 

Other tablescapes on this site using a quilted topper or runner:
Tall & Toile, Y’all!
My Sister’s Wedding China
Casual Fall Harvest Dinner
Kaleidoscope Christmas
Love’s Arrow
Rhapsody in Blue

 

Other tablescapes on this site with a patriotic theme:
All-American Seafood Boil
4th of July Coastal Style
Stars & Stripes 
Lauren in the Library
Show Me State Dinner
Red, White & Blueberries
American Royal Tablescape
Peacefully Patriotic

I’ll be joining Christine at Rustic & Refined again on Monday for “Table It!“. I’ll also join Susan at Between Naps on the Porch for another edition of “Tablescape Thursday”. If you come along for the parties, you’re sure to find plenty of inspiration and help with planning your next tablescape!

Should Have Put a Ring On It Valentine Tablescape

♥♥♥ All the single ladies! All the single ladies! ♥♥♥

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, but that doesn’t mean romance is in the air for everyone. There are those among us who are on an earnest quest to find Mr. Right but haven’t yet found out where he’s hiding. There are those who thought they had Mr. Right but had to kick him to the curb because he was oh, so wrong. There are those whose “boo” must be away for that special day (through no fault of his own). And then there are those who just don’t want to share the remote, compromise on what to have for dinner, or worry about falling into the toilet because the seat was left up. For all of you single ladies – whatever your reason – this is a blinged out Valentine tablescape that celebrates you as the carefree diva you are!
(Click on any photo to enlarge/enhance it.)

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IMG_9676WMValentine’s Day can be a day to raise your glass and just enjoy the platonic company of girlfriends. Like Cyndi Lauper said: “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun”!!! This would also be a great table for celebrating with other couples on Valentine’s Day (probably something just us old married folks do, but it can be fun!) or a Christmastime rehearsal dinner, engagement party, or wedding reception. With a few minor tweaks, it would also make a fabulous Kentucky Derby tablescape!!! (Change the white to cream, and it’s also perfect for a Delta Sigma Theta sorority gathering! My Mom made me say that! :-))

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IMG_9753WMRed is the color of strength, power, and determination as well as love. Start with a bold red full-length table linen (LinenTablecloth.com) to get the energy flowing in the room. Each glamorous place setting includes a rhinestone-studded charger topped with a second charger in sleek silver for added depth. The delicate design of Noritake “Whitebrook” china conveys sophisticated sweetness and light.

IMG_9645WMA menu card helps to answer the age-old question, “What’s for dinner?” and makes a really nice souvenir. The background of deep red roses works in concert with the centerpiece florals.

Flatware, Napkin, Rim Shot CollageI used these fun “diamond” napkin rings I found at Tuesday Morning because they go so well with the “Should Have Put a Ring On It” theme!

IMG_9640WMUse your most beautiful pieces to make everyone feel like royalty! Stemware here is Godinger “Chelsea” which isn’t my best, but it sure is one of my favorites!

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Clockwise: (1) Silver Revere candlestick; (2) candlestick topped with peg votive; (3) LED votive glows safely, and; (4) white silk lampshade made for fitting over peg votives

Clockwise from upper left corner: (1) Silver Revere candlestick; (2) candlestick topped with peg votive; (3) LED votive glows safely, and; (4) white silk lampshade made for fitting over peg votives

Lots of ambient light makes everyone look fabulous! These bistro lamps are powered by LEDs for safety. These same shades were used to create a completely different look on a silver epergne HERE(For more candle lamps on this site, see “All A’Bloom for Spring“, “Raining Orchids“, “It’s All About Me!“, and “Just Us Girls“.)

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IMG_9610WMFun and flirty “Ocean Diamond Dazzle” rhinestone ribbon creates a jazzy runner to visually connect all the centerpiece elements. The frosted white votive holders (Hobby Lobby) have a thin coordinating strip.

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IMG_9680WMLots and lots of red rose kissing balls bring color and texture at two levels. Each rose ball is finished off with rhinestone stick pins for added flair. Faux flowers are used here for demonstration purposes, but by all means go fresh if your budget allows! Fresh flowers bring a dimension to your decorating that nothing else can!!!

Indeed, “if [he] liked it, then [he] should have put a ring on it”. If he didn’t, though, consider a glamour-filled evening for friends who share your single status!

If you’ve never seen the SNL parody of “Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It)” with Justin Timberlake, Andy Samberg, Bobby Moynihan and Miss Thang Herself, Beyoncé Knowles, click HERE and get ready to laugh until you cry!!!

Other Valentine’s Day tables on this site include:
“Queen of Hearts Card Party”
“Be Still My Heart”
Days of Wine and Roses
Peonies & Pearls
Love’s Arrow
Chocolate Traditional

Other posts with kissing balls/rose balls on this site:
Princess Pink Birthday Dinner
Days of Wine and Roses
Kentucky Derby Buffet
Derby Day Dining
Diwali My Way
Mandarin Bling

I’m joining Cuisine Kathleen’s “Let’s Dish!” (anytime after 6:00 p.m. CST on Wednesday) and Susan’s “Tablescape Thursday” (anytime after 9:00 a.m. CST on Thursday). I’m sure a lot of love will be in the air, so join me, won’t you?

Love’s Arrow

I’m not sure why, but I’m not a big fan of Valentine’s Day. Don’t get me wrong…I’m all for romance, and smoochin’, and huggin’, and all that stuff. I just don’t get very excited about the day set aside to celebrate it. Maybe because every day is Valentine’s Day around our house! 🙂 That being said, I still think it’s important to gussy up a table for your loved one if you plan to celebrate Valentine’s Day at home, so here’s a “cute, cozy, easy to put together, budget-friendly table for two” as requested by blog reader Estella.
(Click on any photo to enhance/enlarge it.)

IMG_2983WMThe color that always gets hearts beating is red♥♥♥! I started this table off with a full-length red linen topped by a quilted damask square.

Setting up by the fireplace seems to be both romantic and practical. On the romantic side, it symbolizes the love you have burning in your hearts for one another. Plus, everybody looks better in the glow of amber light! On the practical side, February is still chilly in many areas, so your tootsies will stay nice and warm. Furthermore, if your sweetheart gifts you with a toaster, or a lamp, or something equally disturbing that may as well have “Just Kick Me In the Crotch and Leave Me Down By the River to Die” written on it, you don’t have to get up to get rid of it…just toss it right into the fire! 😉 If he gives you something really crazy like a coupon to a weight loss center or Botox clinic, feel free to toss him in, too! Swish! Three points!

This place setting starts with a shiny silver charger topped with an Easterling “Majestic” dinner plate. A silver heart salad plate finishes off the stack, accompanied by Mikasa’s “Jamestown Platinum” stemware and International Silver “Royal Danish” flatware.

A white napkin is folded accordian-style and slipped into a silver napkin ring. I tucked old-fashioned pearl- and rhinestone-studded stick pins on either side of the napkin ring for a little added bling. The fully-blown red rose also has a little bling to make it stand out more. (Remember our discussion about the stupid gifts? Stick pins….I’m just sayin’! ;-))

More full-blown red roses are tucked into a bath of sparkly acrylic “ice” and water for the simple centerpiece that takes less than 10 minutes to assemble. The “ice” can be purchased at just about any arts & crafts store like Hobby Lobby or Michaels. (Click HERE to see another floral arrangement using acrylic “ice.”) A more budget-friendly flower choice (especially during February when the price of roses is sky-high!) that provides comparable impact would be fluffy red carnations.

A smattering of mercury glass votive holders add ambient light and give the “ice” in the centerpiece a little extra shimmer. If the fireplace is hot enough for you without the votives, consider using submersible lights in the “ice” instead. Submersible lights can be also purchased at an arts & crafts store or through your florist.

All kidding aside, I hope this helps in your planning, Estella. I’ll be back next week with another Valentine’s Day tablescape that has a few more bells & whistles. Meanwhile, I hope you will join me again this Thursday at Susan’s Tablescape Thursday. I’m sure there will be lots of Valentine tables on display from talented bloggers around the world!
♥♥♥

Other tablescapes on this site that would work well for Valentine’s Day:
Should Have Put a Ring On It

Chocolate Traditional
White Hot
Showered In Pink
Little Black Dress
Peonies & Pearls
Days of Wine & Roses

Coming Up Roses” 
Au Revoir
Platinum & Pink

Cranberry Christmas – Squared

If you like decorating with cranberries at Christmastime, this is a look you might enjoy. This is the version of it on a square table (also suitable for a round). To see the Tuscan-style (long) table version, click HERE.

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IMG_3402WMInstead of placing the 6-ft. oblong  tables end-to-end, they are placed side-by-side to create more of a square.

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IMG_3409WMBecause of the formal nature of this table (bread plate, additional flatware) and the oversized charger, it will seat just 8 guests. Using the more traditionally sized 12″ charger and eliminating the bread plate buys about 8 extra inches on each side and will let you seat 10.

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IMG_3412WMThis large silver bowl is filled with water topped with fresh cranberries (3 bags here) and floating candles. Cranberries naturally rise (you’ve seen the Ocean Spray Cranberry Juice commercials!), so the look is achieved without any extra work! (Note: Carefully place the candles in the arrangement so as not to get the wick wet.)

IMG_3415WMThe same small floral arrangements placed at each person’s place setting on a long table HERE are used to surround the massive silver centerpiece bowl on this table for a completely different look.

Creamy white full-blown and spray roses, red berries, and bits of winter greenery in silver julep cups are the perfect accent. Depending on how they are arranged, fewer small arrangements are required for the square table.

IMG_3414WMThe same 27″ silverplated candlesticks used on the Tuscan-style table are used here, but a fourth one has been added to completely surround the center bowl. The same silver mercury glass votives are used here again, but in a different pattern.

So that’s one table with two distinctive looks. The silver pedestal bowls used here are 17½”H and 19″W which is pretty doggone hefty. In this case, size doesn’t matter….you can get the same pretty look using a smaller bowl with shorter candlesticks.

More tables on this site using a square table:
Christmas Progressive Dinner
Pheasants & Peacocks
Serpents & Skullduggery
Sunflower Simple
“Flamingos in Paradise”

Roses in October
Noel Progressive Dinner 2010
It’s the Great Pumpkin

Don’t forget to check out Susan’s Tablescape Thursday!!!

Proud As a Peacock!

Those of you who have visited this blog in the recent past know that I was recently selected as one of five designers to create a tablescape for the winter 2011 issue of EA Bride Magazine. All I had at the time the magazine hit the newsstands in December were some photocopied images straight from the magazine that I shared with you here. The kind folks at Phoenix Photography have since graciously provided me with scenes from the photo shoot which offer a much clearer view. (Or you can click HERE to go straight to the EA Bride magazine website to see the pages.)

 

Depicting a winter wedding table in these brilliantly bold hues was a bit of a challenge, but I certainly enjoyed it! When the creative director for EA Bride Magazine approached me for this Winter 2011 edition’s “Design Challenge” tablescape along with four other designers, it was a thrill to be considered.

Borrowed from Celebration Party Rental in Lee’s Summit, Mo., were the table, cool clear-seated silver-back chiavari chairs, ruby-red diamond pintuck table linen and matching napkin. From my personal collection I chose a square silver wooden charger from World Market, a fabulously intricate teal and silver charger from Home Goods, to-die-for rhinestone-studded silk napkins from Z Gallerie, and exquisite rhinestone-flecked snowflake napkin rings from Pier 1. I borrowed the snowflake from the creative director’s stash at the last-minute just before the shoot began. My Mikasa “Jamestown Platinum” stemware, International Silver “Royal Danish” sterling flatware, and intricately carved aperitif goblet. (Note: Yes, I know the champagne flute is on the “wrong” side, but aesthetically…it just looked so much better! To those of you who are purists on this matter, I humbly apologize! :-))

The 25″H mercury glass vase purchased from my friend Dana Nigro’s Village Gardens in Blue Springs, Mo., offered the perfect combination of vintage and modern. By slipping on a few borrowed crystal ornaments, the vessel was subtly transformed for our winter wedding. Arranging the 52″H peacock feathers from my own collection at staggered heights in the vase rendered a centerpiece that stood a total of 58″ tall!!! Perfect for rooms with tall ceilings!

Each of the 3 small arrangements surrounding the main centerpiece were created by Anne Kelly Acock of the Monarch Flower Company in Lee’s Summit, Mo. The diamond head centers remind us of both the occasion and the iciness of winter, while the peacock feathers bring the colors and texture of the peacock feathers towering overhead down to eye level.

After the photo shoot, we all paused for a few moments of relaxation and goofing around before going about the business of tearing down our very temporary creations. From left to right: Ashley Hotka of Good Earth Floral Design Studio, Heather Medley of Notting Hill Design Studio, Anne Kelly Acock of Monarch Flower Company, and li’l ol’ me. (Not pictured: Meghan Perlow of Poppy Floral.)

This was a really fun and educational experience for me. But seriously….I am out of the wedding business. I am retired! Seriously. 😉

Many, many, many special thanks to

EA Bride Magazine, Phoenix Photography, and Lone Summit Ranch

Magazine cover shot by Blixt Photography, Kansas City, MO

Photo by Phoenix Photography

The Winter 2011 issue of EA Bride is on sale now through March 15 at Barnes & Noble, Price Chopper, Hy-Vee, Hen House, Wal-Mart and several local hospital gift shops.

 Other tablescapes on this site with a peacock theme include:
The Peacock Effect
Simply Peacock Garden
Pumpkins & Peacocks
Peacock Pizzazz
Pheasants & Peacocks

I hope you enjoy! Don’t forget to also take a look at tablescapes from all over the world on Susan’s Tablescape Thursdays!!!