Diamonds Are A Material Girl’s Best Friend

A portion of this post was featured along with an interview on trends in entertaining at home in the January 2015 issue of “Kansas City At Home” magazine!

INSPIRATION: My "no boys allowed!" dressing room

INSPIRATION: My “no boys allowed!” dressing room

The decor in our house is pretty unisex…except for my dressing room! This is the one place that has a definite feminine touch with all the girly-girl trappings one might expect: chandelier, lavish antique dressing table, fainting couch near a window (yes, ladies…we all have our drama queen moments!), a tricked out nail station, bulging jewelry closet, stereo system, television (hoping for a flat screen to replace the outdated one in there now…anybody want to help me “accidentally” drop & break it? 😉 ), flowers, vintage hat boxes, innumerable handbags, and SHOES. Lots and lots and lots of shoes!!! And did I mention HATS? My cup runneth over with chapeaus of all make and occasion. It’s the place to feel all Marilyn Monroe and vogue to my heart’s content!
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Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One – Diamonds Are a Material Girl’s Best Friend: Full dining room in black & red

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One – Diamonds Are a Material Girl’s Best Friend: Full tableI started this Marilyn-Monroe-in-“The-Seven-Year-Itch”-meets-Madonna’s-“Blonde-Ambition-World-Tour” tablescape with a sleek, sexy black full-length tablecloth from LinenTablecloth.com. It’s like the little black dress of the room! Consider the fine jewelry store. The salesperson lays out your selections on a black velvet fabric. Why? To enhance the shine of the jewels! Everything on your table, therefore, is highlighted to the nth power when set atop a black linen.

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One – Diamonds Are a Material Girl’s Best Friend: Multiple place settings

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One – Diamonds Are a Material Girl’s Best Friend: single place settingWhat does every Material Girl have plenty of everywhere? Why, mirrors, of course! So I started this place setting with a 13″ round mirrored charger topped with sleek black plates. TIP: This charger is a slick little way to discreetly check your lipstick or make sure there’s no spinach stuck in your teeth during dinner! 😉

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One – Diamonds Are a Material Girl’s Best Friend: Flatware, Napkin, Stemware collageImagination is key when setting a fun fantasy tablescape for any occasion. (This one would work well for a birthday, wedding shower, bridesmaids luncheon or girls night out dinner.) For this über-feminine, straight-from-the-dressing room tablescape, an ivory LinenTablecloth.com “clutch bag” napkin fold is set atop each plate with an oversized “diamond” clasp. The flatware is International Silver’s “Royal Danish” pattern. The stemware is Cristal d’Arques.

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One – Diamonds Are a Material Girl’s Best Friend: Place card collageI found these fun Marilyn Monroe note cards at Michaels Craft Store and thought they’d make really fun place cards. Just imprint the name of your guest along the bottom of the card perpendicular to Marilyn’s! The acrylic “diamond” place card holders are from Hobby Lobby.

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One – Diamonds Are a Material Girl’s Best Friend: Votive and bling runner collageA true Material Girl is bound to flaunt lots of bling, so I used the same rhinestone ribbon runners used HERE to trail the length of both sides of the table. Matching votive holders are used all over the setting. TIP: You can buy the votive holders already blinged out, or simply make them yourself with remnant pieces of bling ribbon.

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One – Diamonds Are a Material Girl’s Best Friend: Red Roses in novelty hat boxes for centerpiece

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One – Diamonds Are a Material Girl’s Best Friend: Roses in hat box centerpiece

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One – Diamonds Are a Material Girl’s Best Friend: Red rose, hat box and bling centerpiece collageI took a few hat boxes from my dressing room to create the centerpiece. If using fresh flowers, line the hat box with plastic in case of accidental spills. Place the roses in small vases and arrange them to fill & slightly over-spill from the box. Here I put roses in the center box but kept the lids on the two flanking boxes. To dress them up a little more, I added ruby red magnetic bling often used for enhancing chandeliers and other light fixtures. TIP: You can buy the bling in the lamp department at Hobby Lobby. These particular hat boxes had metal corner guards, so they were easy to apply. TIP: If you want to do something like this but don’t have metal on your hat box, experiment with taping magnets in strategic places inside the box for the bling to adhere from the outside.

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One – Diamonds Are a Material Girl’s Best Friend: Buffet decor using red roses, hat boxes, and lots of blingI always like to create a little coordinating vignette on the buffet behind our dining table if it isn’t being used for food display.

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One – Diamonds Are a Material Girl’s Best Friend: Hat box, cake plateau, bling collageRarely do I have a round cake with a large base (thanks to my step-daughter and nieces who are dragging their feet about getting married!), so my collection of silver cake plateaus is often called into service for other decorating. Here, I used a silver beaded-edge “hoop skirt” stand to add a little shine and raise more hat boxes in the center of the display.

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One – Diamonds Are a Material Girl’s Best Friend: Hand jewelry holder, bling, rose bouquet collageWhen I was a little girl, I enjoyed looking at the elegant displays in jewelry stores. The hand displays were particularly intriguing to me. Here I used a pair of display hands to hold petite red rose bouquets, flash oversized “diamond rings” from a store called Stuff in the historic Brookside neighborhood in Kansas City, Mo., and to string long, dramatic strands of bling garland through the fingers across the length of the buffet.

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One – Diamonds Are a Material Girl’s Best Friend: Sleek black vase topped with rose ball, bling collageOn each end of the buffet is a tall, sleek, 36-24-36 hourglass figure black glass vase from Tuesday Morning. The vases are topped with red rose balls and swagged with more of the bling garland.

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One – Diamonds Are a Material Girl’s Best Friend: Pillow & glove collageThe chairs on each end of the table got a little special treatment: fun French-inspired pillows from my dressing room depicting those fabulous black gloves like every socialite of the 30s, 40s, 50s and 60s used to wear. I added a pair of my own rhinestone-studded evening gloves for good measure.

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One – Diamonds Are a Material Girl’s Best Friend: Tea cartTea carts aren’t just for tea!!!

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One – Diamonds Are a Material Girl’s Best Friend: Top of tea cart

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One – Diamonds Are a Material Girl’s Best Friend: Martinis, bling collageIn a scene from “The Seven Year Itch”, Marilyn Monroe’s character is introduced to the martini:

Richard Sherman: There’s gin and vermouth. That’s a martini.

Marilyn Monroe’s character: Oh, that sounds cool! I think I’ll have a glass of that. A big tall one!
Quote Source: IMDB.com

I’m with Marilyn…I’ll have a big tall one, too! The vintage tea cart is set up with all the makings of a fabulous martini including vermouth, vodka, olives and plenty of shakers to quickly whip them up.

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One – Diamonds Are a Material Girl’s Best Friend: China cabinetThe china cabinet in the dining room often gets a little something-something to top it off, too.

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One – Diamonds Are a Material Girl’s Best Friend: China cabinet collage

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One – Diamonds Are a Material Girl’s Best Friend: Shoe collageOne of the black velvet jewelry busts from my dressing room was brought in to this display weighted down with strand after strand of bling. Another hat box is filled with red roses and carnations and adorned with a pretty bling brooch from my Mom’s collection. A couple of other red rose balls complete the florals. This terrific black stiletto heel figurine was destined for my neighbor’s thrift store pile. She and her daughter thankfully thought of me before shipping it off, and it makes a nice addition! To give it a little extra kick, I tied a length of red ribbon ballerina-style down the heel. Sexy little number, huh? 😉

I wanted to kick 2014 off with a bang-up post since 2013 was such a royal bust. Since I felt like kickin’, I figured doing it with attitude in black stilettos was the way to go! 😉

Other posts on this site with lots of bling:
“Should Have Put a Ring On It”
“Princess Pink Birthday Dinner”
“Fairy Tale Wedding Shower – The Princess & the Frog”
“Bling Wedding”

“Mandarin Bling”
“Platinum & Pink Valentine”
“French Poodle”
“Rhapsody in Blue”

Other posts on this site with red roses or floral balls:
“Breast Cancer Awareness Luncheon”
“Days of Wine and Roses”
“Love’s Arrow”
“Kentucky Derby Buffet”
“Derby Day Dining”
“Run for the Roses”
“Lauren in the Library”
“Float Like a Butterfly”
“Diwali My Way”
“Show Me State Dinner”
“Roses in October”
“One Shoe Can Change Your Life”

I am delighted to join these blog parties this week:
Susan’s “Tablescape Thursday”

You can also catch me over at BeBetsy.com!

Lauren in the Library

If Memorial Day weekend tends to be more about quiet reflection than barbecues and poolside play for you, this red, white & blue tablescape may be right up your alley. My inspiration this week comes not so much from something you can see, but the feeling in the pit of my stomach when I turned on the television this past week to see that we had lost yet another soldier from the Greater Kansas City area. Sgt. 1st Class Trenton L. Rhea, 33, was a member of the 200th Military Police Company in Belton, Mo., a suburb of Kansas City where I lived years ago. He drowned as he attempted to cross a body of water during combat operations in Kandahar, Afghanistan. My heart goes out to the family and friends of Sgt. Rhea and to all of those left behind to mourn the loss and cherish the memory of loved ones killed while in service to our country.
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Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One - Lauren in the Library, full room

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One – Lauren in the Library: overhead photo

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One – Lauren in the Library: Full table, close-upThis formal patriotic table for five began with a full-length white tablecloth topped with a navy blue square one from LinenTablecloth.com. Doubling (or even tripling!) the table linens renders a more lush look and plays up a multi-color theme.

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One – Lauren in the Library: Place settingEach place setting begins with a gold-leafed glass charger. A pristine white dinner plate with a prim gold rim comes next, and then finally a Ralph Lauren “Knockhill” navy blue-rimmed salad plate. While Knockhill is actually the name of a Scottish race car circuit, the red, white and blue coloring of the plate and the very regal crest seemed to work for this patriotic setting.

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One – Lauren in the Library: Flatware, rim shot, Lauren emblem collage

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One – Lauren in the Library: Red & blue ribbon on white linenThe simple addition of red and navy blue ribbon adds instant patriotic flair to the white napkins. Notice how the ends of the ribbon are dovetailed to mimic those of the Ralph Lauren banner on the salad plate. Gold flatware complements the charger and dinner plate rim.

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One – Lauren in the Library: StemwareCrystal stemware rimmed in gold.

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One – Lauren in the Library: Red rose ball centerpiece, front view

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One – Lauren in the Library: Red rose ball centerpiece - overhead view

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One – Lauren in the Library: White ceramic urn

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One – Lauren in the Library: Urn collage

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One – Lauren in the Library: Candlestick collageWhat flower conveys messages of both love and tradition as clearly as red roses? Here, four smaller red rose balls surround a larger centered one, all in white ceramic urns. Stately gold candlesticks with formal white candles stand tall on each side of the centerpiece. (Faux flowers were used for demonstrative purposes here, but I encourage you to use fresh for “real” formal tablescapes.)

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One – Lauren in the Library: gold mercury glass votive holdersThe centerpiece is finished off with two pairs of gold mercury glass votive holders for ambient light.

This tablescape would work well for any U.S. patriotic holiday (Memorial Day, Independence Day, Flag Day, Armed Forces Day, Labor Day, Veterans Day), but might perhaps also be appropriate for political dinner events.

Other patriotic tablescapes on this site:
“American Royal Tablescape”
“4th of July Coastal Style”
“Stars and Stripes”

“All-American Seafood Boil”
“Red, White & Blueberries”
“Missouri Show Me State Dinner”

Other posts with red rose balls on this site:
“Derby Day Dining”
“Kentucky Derby Buffet”
“Should Have Put a Ring On It”

I am pleased and proud to join Cuisine Kathleen for “Let’s Dish!” this week. She’s hosting a patriotic tablescape challenge, so you can see what lots of talented bloggers from around the globe are doing in celebration of the upcoming Memorial Day weekend. I’ll also be joining Susan for “Tablescape Thursday”. And in support of our military and their families, please join me for The Coconut Head Survival Guide’s “Memorial Day Patriot’s Palooza Party”!!!

May God bless the American soldier and his/her family, all of whom sacrifice so much.

Mothers Day Luncheon in Pink

Good grief, Charlie Brown! Mothers Day is less than 3 weeks away now!!! I’m still grappling with what to do for my Mom’s celebration dinner. Too bad I can’t just add a few candles and recreate this table because I really like it! This is more or less an extension of the Springtime In Paris Mothers Day Buffet table I posted last week. It uses some of the same decorative elements and is designed to either work with the buffet (just take away the luncheon plates & put them on the buffet) or stand alone as a sit-down luncheon.
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IMG_5937WMA full-length white linen from LinenTablecloth.com covers a 6-ft. oblong table set up in our living room to take advantage of the bright southern exposure.

 

 

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Each place setting starts with a white ceramic charger from Old Time Pottery topped with a light green napkin folded lengthwise twice and tucked underneath. Following are a white Corelle luncheon plate and ceramic rose-rimmed plate I picked up at Tuesday Morning a number of years ago when I was feeling particularly girlie.

Here’s one of those decorative elements from last week: petal pink fabric napkins folded to resemble a rosebud. This time, rather than being tucked tightly and displayed en masse, the napkin is allowed to expand a bit to fill individual cups at each place setting. (Tutorial for this Rosebud Napkin Fold can be found HERE at Table Twenty-One Table Tips. Just scroll down to Tip #33.) I like to use two napkins at each place setting whenever sandwiches are involved!

The handles of the sterling flatware are embellished with a tiny flower to complement the design of the salad plates and cups. A rose-topped sugar cube created by Shawnee, Kansas cake artist Rebekah Foster daintily rests atop each iced tea spoon.

img_5908wm.jpgThese green stems from Dollar Tree are one of the best tabletop investments I’ve ever made. So much bang for the buck! I bought enough to have one for water and one for iced tea at each place setting. If you’re not hip to Dollar Tree yet, you need to check it out. They have some pretty decent tabletop items in there from time to time….all for just $1!!!! There are currently more than 4,000 stores across the 48 contiguous states (every U.S. state except Hawaii and Alaska) and Canada, so chances are there’s one near you! If not, you might try its sister company, Deal$.

Here’s another of those elements from last week that really works well on this table to bring color, texture, and height in a slightly different way: clear 12″ glass gooseneck tower vases filled with reaching faux floral branches that create the illusion of a tiny forest down the table’s center.

I like the idea of creating a buffet table with a dining table in mind and vice versa. It really opens up a lot of entertaining opportunities!

For more pink & green tablescapes on this site:
“Blushing Bridal Shower”
“Showered in Pink”

For more tables in pink suitable for Mothers Day:
Peonies and Pearls
Pink Plaid & Posies

For other posts using the “rosebud napkin fold” on this site:
“Cupcake Colors”
“Springtime in Paris Mother’s Day Buffet”
“Au Revoir”

I’m joining the bunch at Susan’s place for Tablescape Thursday again. C’mon…you know you’re curious about what all the other tablescapers are up to this week! 🙂

Springtime In Paris Mother’s Day Buffet

Mother’s Day is inching ever closer, and I want to start now with ideas for a fresh and very flowery buffet table. This is yet another buffet tablescape I created for my Spring 2012 “Art of Tablescaping” class students. I wanted to demonstrate – among other things – how placing a “centerpiece” at the end could be just as effective as centering it and how extending the look across the back side of the table makes it all work.
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Wow…that’s a lot of stuff!!!!!! But it’s all very effective in illustrating the intended look of Springtime on the Champ de Mars in Paris where the Eiffel Tower shares ground with hundreds of fabulous blossoming cherry trees. This is one of those tables that is a loose interpretation of something rather than getting absolutely literal. (Ramon was NOT letting me bring actual cherry trees in this house!!!) In addition to Mother’s Day, this buffet setting would work well for a post-nuptial brunch or luncheon if the couple is honeymooning in Paris.  As with many tables, I started with a full-length white linen.

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IMG_5632WMI love to present flatware and napkins in fun, different ways. Here a gallery tray holds a silver julep cup filled with forks. Surrounding the cup are soft pink napkins rolled tightly to resemble rosebuds…or cinnamon rolls…or however your imagination wants to interpret them! (Click HERE  and scroll down to Tip #33 for a tutorial on how to create these cute little gems!) You may prefer to place the flatware and napkins at the end of the buffet rather than the start.

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One -Why just sit the plates on the table if you can elevate them to new heights with something like this silver beaded edge plateau? Crank your brain and use your full imagination to come up with plateau ideas from around your home like candle stands, hat boxes, teacups, books…whatever! Just be sure the plates cannot be easily knocked over!!! Porcelain “doily” plates here from Pier 1.

IMG_5606WMA tiered stand is ideal for displaying cookies or other two-bite treats. Don’t have a ready-made tiered stand? Create one using plates and glasses or candlesticks or teacups. Again, just be sure the structure is secure. Cling® or a similar non-permanent floral adhesive is a good choice to make sure everything stays in place. Be sure to hide your mechanics with a few flowers or by piling the food high. You don’t want that ugly stuff showing through!!!

Here I used 2 sizes of silver cake plateaus to display cheeses and dessert. The breads are brought to the table in an old-fashioned but still quite pretty and very functional silver wire bread basket. A small branch laden with ripe plums is casually placed across the top for color and interest.

It’s all the rage…and even if it wasn’t, it’s still a great way to serve tiny portions of your favorite foods. Everything from cold soups to granola to mixed fruit looks great when served up in tiny vessels with their own tiny spoons. Don’t bother spending a ton of money on the sets found at places like Pier 1 unless you can find a good sale or clearance price. (Sorry, Pier 1. You know I love you, but what you’re asking for those things is criminal!) Consider using things already in your inventory like clean votive holders, shot glasses, demitasse cups, or miniature ramekins or martini glasses. I found the little spoons at Bed Bath & Beyond for 79 cents each, but you may be able to score some less pricey.

 On to the centerpiece! You can probably find Eiffel Tower replicas at stores like Hobby Lobby, Michaels, and Gordmans which is where I bought mine several years ago. My guess is that you can probably find one at the CHRISTMAS TREE SHOP, too, because apparently – if  Cuisine Kathleen and The Tablescaper’s blogs are any indication – you can find just about EVERYTHING great there!!! (I just had to get that dig in to a couple of my blogger buddies because I’m so jealous they have CTS and we don’t! ;-))

Anyhoooooooo……I wanted to capture the feeling of all the lush florals on the Champ de Mars, so I grouped clear glass vases with petite rose bouquets beneath the tower and sort of let them “spill” over as roses naturally do. The fragile look of soft pink roses timidly peeking out from behind the austere lattice of “The Iron Lady” (La dame de fer) as the tower is nicknamed, is such a striking juxtaposition. (If your Mother, like mine, has a very strong personality, she might actually appreciate the irony of this symbol!) Pots of green grass represent the fertile grounds of the Champ de Mars, and a random flurry of butterflies across the table brings in another element of Spring. The “cherry blossoms” used here are flowered branches from Hobby Lobby, but if you have the real thing, by all means…go for it!!!

IMG_5686WMNot that any other sane human soul looking at the table would necessarily make this observation, but there was a specific reason I chose these gooseneck tower vases for the “cherry trees.” Notice how they resemble the trunk of a tree? And look there at the very bottom…doesn’t the foot of the vase look like the bumpy roots as they meet the ground? Do I need to cut back on the two martini lunches or what?!?!?!! 🙂

Before my head completely explodes, let’s consider the beverage center set up near the buffet table. When you’re working within a small space, just about any surface will do. Here, a cut glass beverage decanter with the word “Paris” across the front sits on a simple silver tray. Lined up on either side are stemmed glasses decked out with fruit and ready for some fun, Springtime refreshment like the ultimate French elixir – champagne – infused with a spritz of strawberry schnapps.

Next week, a great companion table to this Mothers Day buffet, “Mothers Day Luncheon in Pink“. Meanwhile, other tablescapes on this site that would work well for a Mother’s Day celebration include:
Peonies and Pearls
Pink Plaid & Posies
Daisy Crazy
Mother’s Day Brunch

Another post on this site using a Parisian theme with the Eiffel Tower as a centerpiece AND using this rosebud napkin fold:
Au Revoir!

Other tablescapes on this site with a “rosebud napkin fold”:
“Cupcake Colors”
“Au Revoir”
“Mother’s Day Luncheon In Pink”

Please join me again this week for Tablescape Thursday at Susan’s Between Naps on the Porch and on BeBetsy.com! And if you get a chance, please stop by Beaux R’eves where my buddy, Cindy, posted the coolest “Under the Sea” tablescape for a local charity.

Derby Day Dining

Last week I posted photos of the Kentucky Derby Buffet I created for my “Art of Tablescaping” students. This week I have the sit-down dinner version that uses a number of the same elements from that buffet table to demonstrate how various pieces can be used for either setting.
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The same table in the same room is all dressed up for a slightly more formal sit-down meal. I used the same black floor-length linen to let the gleam of the silver and brightness of the red roses show best. The white china tones down the dark linens and flower, thus saving the table from looking too morose.

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I swapped out the more plentiful Arcoroc “Seabreeze” glass buffet plates for my sister’s very formal Noritake “Whitebrook” china. Derby Day is the time to pull out your finest china and silver, and this china is definitely treasured in our family. The china rests atop highly polished silverplate chargers.

IMG_5107WMThese same lettered napkins were displayed in a silver champagne bucket in the buffet version. They are now simply folded, placed beneath the dinner plate and allowed to hang so as to prominently show the initial. The white of the napkin helps to break up the sea of black linen.

IMG_5121WMThe same heirloom silver flatware pattern – last week placed head-to-toe at the start of the buffet table – is used.

Noritake “Spectrum” iced beverage glasses await the traditional Southern sweet tea. The same julep cups that surrounded the huge silver punch bowl on the buffet last week are now placed at each individual setting.

Each place setting gets its own salt & pepper shakers.

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IMG_5159WMLast week these riding boots (actually a Z Gallerie umbrella stand!) were up to their straps in French baguettes. This week, sitting atop an heirloom silver tray (used last week to display veggies), they spill over with lush red roses. The silver candlesticks flanking the urns on the buffet last week are now on the table. Again I used metal case Paradise candles to keep the look pristine and avoid wax spills on my linen.

Over on the buffet behind the table where the punch bowl and julep cups were displayed last week is a more subdued coffee set up. The red rose balls on oil-rubbed bronze urns from last week remain in place.

On the wall sconces are miniature versions of the larger buffet urns with horseshoes added to further tie them in with the Derby.

With just a few tweaks here and there you can go from buffet to sit-down, casual to formal without sacrificing style. While the horse was omitted from this setting (I’m sure no one would want to spend the night staring up his rump!), the Kentucky Derby feel is definitely still there. It’s semi-formal, but made less stuffy with the addition of the whimsical centerpiece.

Another table on this site that I think would just look fantastic for a Kentucky Derby celebration, “Roses in October”, can be found HERE. Although it is set up using white roses, a simple switch to red roses would make it just perfect! If you’d like to see another tablescape using red rose balls and bouquets, click HERE for “Should Have Put A Ring On It” or HERE for “Kentucky Derby Buffet”.

I’ll be skipping on over to Tablescape Thursday at Susan’s Between Naps on the Porch on Thursday anytime after 9:00 a.m. CDT.

Kentucky Derby Buffet

If you missed out on the Tartan Parade that started on April 1 at Upstairs Downstairs, Hyacinths for the Soul, Vignette Design and The Polohouse, be sure to click on over to see some really fabulous representations of Scottish tradition. Since they were accepting simple plaid for us non-Scots to be able to participate, too, check out my entry “Pink Plaid & Posies” which is a charming celebration of Spring-y pastel plaid!

It’s already the first week in April, and with time flying this fast the 138th Kentucky Derby will be here before you know it! (That’s May 4th & 5th.)

For my first “Art of Tablescaping – Buffet Style” class last month, I put together a Kentucky Derby buffet for the students to consider for ideas and form. Next week I’ll feature the sit-down dinner version, so please be sure to stop back in to check that out, too!
Click on any photo to enlarge!

Yes, that’s me hiding behind the horse’s hindquarters! Perfect product placement, huh? 😉 This horse really gets around a lot lately. This week he’s prancing on a bed of red rose petals, while just last week he was featured out on the deck in my Spring/Summer brunch post “Carousel Colors“! (He can also be seen in the posts “Run for the Roses” and “Celebrating Longview Farm“.)

img_7646wm.jpgAlthough this table is facing one way, I need for you to imagine it going lengthwise this direction starting at the plates & forks. This is a heavy Mission style table, and there was no way I was going to try and move it!

I draped the table in a full-length black linen to make it just sort of disappear and allow the brilliant red and silver be the stars. The start of this casual buffet table allows guests to take a plate from the double stack and a fork from a line on either side. The forks are arranged in an interesting “head-to-toe” pattern partly for the sake of playful design and partly to help allow more forks to fit into the available space. (Try it! You really can fit in at least 2-4 more forks!)

IMG_5387WMInitialed napkins, a gift from my best friend, are displayed in a silver champagne bucket. The idea is to not only provide a basic service but to also “stair step” (forks at the lowest level, plates up a bit higher, napkins next highest) the start of the buffet for a dramatic effect.

IMG_5357WMA themed buffet is the place to really play with unusual serving pieces. For example, loaves of French bread are displayed in a pair of black riding boots that resemble those worn by the jockeys. The boots are actually an umbrella stand purchased at Z Gallerie! (I got it for half price because of a tiny chip at the top that no one will ever see!!!)

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Almost nothing says Kentucky Derby like a silver mint julep cup! Bread sticks are offered here, but you can serve just about any and everything out of these…including actual mint juleps!!! (Note: If you don’t have the budget for a lot of silver juleps, consider contacting your florist for faux silver cups like the one above. C’mon admit it…Would you have known if I hadn’t told you?)

Chafers look really great when lined up like tin soldiers in a clean, single line. These are smaller 2-qt. capacity chafers as opposed to the larger 5-qt. ones most often seen. It’s nice to have smaller ones on hand for serving smaller crowds or if you need to conserve table space. I bought these at Big Lots for $15 each about 10 years ago, and I have recently seen them in that store again. (Of course, like everything else, they cost a little more now!)

Derby time is the time to pull out all the silver – heirloom or nouveau – and put it into service in conventional and unconventional ways. For instance, when’s the last time you saw grape scissors like these? They were made popular in the super pompous Victorian era to snip small portions of grapes from a large bunch for eating. They come in just as handy in this post-dot.com era!

Instead of running for the roses, this horse is running with the roses…in his mouth! The traditional blanket of 554 red roses for the winning horse may not be his, but he’s got his own sense of style on the track! 🙂

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The area behind the buffet table is set up with a punch bowl (a loose replica of the famous punch bowl that graces the dining room sideboard of the governor’s mansion in Arkansas) full of the traditional bourbon, mint and simple syrup concoction known as a mint julep. Making juleps in large quantities in advance cuts down on time spent behind the bar. Guests can ladle their own into a silver julep cup with ease. Uncouth lushes like me may simply opt to stick a giant bendy straw in the bowl and have at it!!! 😉 The silverplated julep cups pictured here (yup…these are the real deal) are highly recommended to bring out the full experience of each frosty sip! (Unless you can afford the too-rich-for-my-blood sterling silver which is the ultimate!!!) When purchasing julep cups, make sure they are suitable for food consumption. Some contain a compound that allows them to be used for decorative display only.

IMG_5097WMRed roses throughout the room are a given…and a must! Here, festive yet sophisticated red rose balls are set atop heavy oil rubbed bronze urns on each end of the sideboard and flanked by a pair of silver candlesticks.

IMG_5406WMDon’t forget about your entryway! Here, a bouquet of red roses greets guests/students as they check in for class. Consider also a wreath of red roses on the front door in the shape of the traditional blanket or perhaps a horseshoe.

Don’t forget to check back in next week for more Kentucky Derby tablescape ideas. I’ll have a full sit-down dinner table prepared for you.

Other Kentucky Derby posts on this site:
Run for the Roses
Derby Day Dining
Should Have Put a Ring On It
“Roses In October”

I’m linking up this week with Kathleen for “Let’s Dish” starting at 6:00 p.m. (CDT) Wednesday, Centerpiece Wednesday with The Style Sisters, and Tablescape Thursday starting at 9:00 a.m. (CDT) Thursday. Join us, won’t you? And catch me over at BeBetsy.com, too!

Days of Wine & Roses

Wine and roses. I like them both.
The former perhaps a bit more than the latter…but I digress.

Valentines Day is the perfect time to break out the wine, the roses, the chocolates…and the pink!!! Yes, it’s another pink Valentine’s Day table, but this time it is mixed with a deep, delicious burgundy.
(Click on any photo to enhance/enlarge it.)

IMG_4239WMThis simple but sweet mix of modern and traditional could be easily transformed from a Valentine’s Day tablescape to one for a wedding, bridal shower, birthday, or to honor a breast cancer survivor.

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Each place setting has a pretty floral placemat adorned with vintage roses. The placemat from Pier 1 is reversible. (Click HERE and scroll down to “Pretty In Pink” to see how they were used with the reverse side.) The white charger is from Old Time Pottery, topped with a modern B. Smith square dinner plate. Mercury-colored heart-shaped salad plates purchased years ago from Big Lots complete the stack. A soft pink napkin works to separate the white-on-white of the dishes.

IMG_4260WMFor each guest, a favor they are sure to enjoy…a box of chocolates simply wrapped in shiny white paper and tied with a gossamer pink ribbon.

IMG_4257WMAnother bit of modernity is interjected with the J.A. Henckels “Bellasera” flatware.

IMG_4254WMI was thrilled to find this Pier 1 stemware finally hit the clearance shelf at 70% off! It’s traditional shape is kissed at the bottom with mercury-colored glass that lends a sultry modern look.

Fluffy heart-shaped biscuits are served up on a little paper lace. The Crate & Barrel appetizer plates are the perfect size for it.

The table decor is an extension of the silver, burgundy and pink elements at each place setting. Tri-level silver candlesticks hold pink tapers, and a trio of white ceramic bud vases from Michael’s merge – courtesy of a length of Ombre ribbon – to form a pedestal for a pink & burgundy rose ball.

I used these white swan gravy boats from Pier 1 as candy dishes at each end of the table. Swans are a symbol of love & fidelity which makes them a perfect choice! (Plus, I had no time or money to go out searching for actual candy dishes!) They are flanked by a nosegay of roses & hydrangea in the same vases used for the centerpiece.

I love the look of a stark white full-length linen, but this time I wanted it to better reflect what was going on up top. I remembered a bunch of tiny silk rosettes purchased years ago from Hobby Lobby. (They are now harder to find and much more expensive than the 9¢ apiece they were ten years ago!) Because I’m not a wizard seamstress like my next-door-neighbor, Barbara, who would have whip stitched these on in seconds flat, I took the time to pin each rosette. (Whatever, Barbara! Move on! Get over it! :-)) I made sure to gracefully position the 4 corners of the tablecloth to showcase the rosettes there. Kind of reminds me of the train of a wedding gown…which is why this would make a great table for a bridal shower or wedding, too!

The buffet repeats the colors and theme used on the table. Multiple bottles of wine are gathered on a silver platter with a pink pillar candle to illuminate the glass. A variety of white ceramic dishes holds candies, homemade sugar cookies decorated with silver dragees, cupcakes in rose-patterned paper holders, and a white layer cake with raspberry filling. (There is no close-up of that cake because that bad boy started to slide in the warmth of the room!) Miniature versions of the burgundy & pink rose ball used for the centerpiece bring a little more color and texture to the buffet.

For a person who isn’t all that into Valentine’s Day, I think I’ve gone the extra mile this year! More tablescapes suitable for a Valentine’s Day celebration include:
Peonies & Pearls
“Be Still My Heart”
“Diamonds Are a Material Girl’s Best Friend”
“Queen of Hearts Card Party”
Love’s Arrow
Roses In October
Chocolate Traditional
Should Have Put a Ring On It

I want to give a big shout out and thank Courtney over at “Courtney Out Loud” for featuring a little piece about my favorite spot in the house to relax with a cup of “tea.” (Uh huh, yeah…seriously…Jack Daniels makes tea now! Ooohh…my nose is growing! ;-))

I will be joining Susan and the other lovestruck tablescapers from around the world for Tablescape Thursday this week. Be sure to tune in to see what they’re up to!

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!!!

Cranberry Christmas – Long Table

My cousin (no, not the weird one…the other one!) recently asked for formal Christmas tablescape ideas using cranberries as a part of the decor. Ask, and you shall receive! This table is shown in the Tuscan-style (long) form. Click HERE to see how the look of the same basic decor changes with a square table. (The 2nd look would also work quite well with a round table!)

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IMG_3361WMHere, two 6′ x 30″ oblong tables are set end-to-end to create a 12-ft. table. With the large amount of decorative detail, generously proportioned 13″ chargers, and increased amount of china and flatware, however, it only seats 8. Using the more common 12″ charger, smaller decorative elements, and eliminating the bread plate would free up space for up to 12 guests.

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The Christmas holidays are a time for over-the-top tablescapes that have a lush, luxurious feel to them. Using an additional charger can help achieve that look and feel. I like to remove the first one after the salad course and the second after the entrée. (Formal etiquette calls for removing all chargers before the entrée is served, but many guests enjoy the additional razamatazz. Depending on who I’m entertaining, it might stay or go!) For this place setting, a 13″ sparkly red charger (Target) is topped with a 12″ silverplate charger. Any plates with a formal holiday vibe will work. I used my trusty Noritake “Spectrum” dinner and salad plates with the simple, sleek platinum band.

A crisp white cotton napkin with a monogram or initial is always perfect for a formal setting. An icy crystal napkin ring from Z Gallerie helps to set this one off against the silver and white plates.

J.A. Henckels’ “Bellaserra” flatware has a beautiful mirrored finish that works well with the silver & white tablescape. A black-handled steak knife is added for use with the entrée.

IMG_3379WMCristal d’Arques “Longchamps” crystal stemware is always a nice choice. The diamond-shaped cut of this crystal mimics the cut of the Z Gallerie napkin ring.

Cranberries are wonderful for Christmastime decorating! They are relatively inexpensive (you can pick them up for as little as 99¢ a bag at Aldi’s or similar discount grocery stores), and they can be used in SO many ways. To dress them up, I am floating them in silver pedestal bowls with candles. (I used this pedestal bowl filled with rose petals for a wedding tablescape HERE.)

IMG_3366WMPlaced at strategic intervals down the table are three 27″ silverplate candlesticks with pillar candles. The candlesticks lend height to the table as well as ambient light at a higher level. The rose-filled silver julep cups placed at each person’s place setting work well as tabletop decor during the meal and as a nice take-home gift after dinner.

Ambient light at the lowest level is provided by silver mercury glass votive holders.

The red berry theme is extended with a berry-covered grapevine wreath over the mantel. The greenery on the wreath is the same used in the small julep arrangements on the table. Additional silver mercury glass votives flank the wreath.

So…if you have space for a 12-ft.+ table, this style works very well. (Two 8-ft. tables would require additional decorative pieces, but would be extra FABulous!!!) Of course, it requires a bit more decor because of its length, but it’s the same as doing two rounds. To see the squared version of this table which can also be done with a round, click HERE.

More tablescape designs on this site using long tables:
Oopsy Daisy!”
Raining Orchids
September Wine
Autumn White Wedding
Get Me to the Church On Time
Daisy Crazy
Blue & White Family Picnic
Thanksgiving 2010
Hollywood Fright Night
Celebrate the Season
Black, White & Red All Over
Pretty In Pink
Love & Orchids”
Tented Green

A few other Christmas tablescapes on this site include:
Celebrate the Season
Christmas in the Woods
“Kaleidoscope Christmas”
“Merry & Bright – Multi-Color Christmas”
“Christmas Through the Red Door”
“Life Is A Cabaret – New Year’s Eve”
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
Woodland Men’s Tablescape
Cranberry Christmas Squared
Get Me To the Church On Time
Christmas Progressive Dinner
White Hot
Winter Brunch
Really Red Christmas
Roman Holiday
Cardinal Christmas
Frosty the Snowman
March of the Penguins
Winter Cardinal
Ideas for Throwing a Winter Dessert Party
Christmas Fiesta
Over the River and Through the Woods
Black Friday Luncheon
Noel Progressive Dinner
Old-Fashioned Red & Green Christmas
Timberland Christmas
Christmas Coffee
Warm Metal Christmas
Let It Snow
Tuscan Holiday

Fa-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la! I am joining Susan and the other tablescapers from around our glorious world for Tablescape Thursday again this week. You’re invited to come along for the ride!