Diamonds Are A Girl’s Best Friend – My 60th Birthday Ladies Luncheon

My 60th birthday has come and gone, and all that’s left are the fabulous memories of the ladies luncheon I threw for myself. Yes…I threw my own birthday party! Why? I’m a (retired) professional special event planner. Who else would I put through the torture it would take to make me happy?!! So…here are photos of the June 9 luncheon for 22 of my nearest and dearest in-town friends (all on the guest list were able to attend except one!) who I thank for helping me to celebrate in style!

 

Invitations were created using clearance stationery from Hobby Lobby. I invited the ladies to drape themselves in jewels to go with the theme! I printed the Marilyn Monroe drawing in the corner of each mailing envelope to complement the insert.

 

 

 

 

Me in my party dress, trying to emulate Marilyn Monroe’s look in the pic below!

The inspiration for my party dress!

 

When I go with a theme, I go ALL THE WAY! The backdrop for the opening and closing credits of “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes” gave me inspiration to create this elaborate “wall of diamonds” against a pink satin drape on the deck for photos. I simply used drapery clips to hang the fabric and crystal curtains from TableclothFactory.com on existing cup hooks. It was so unseasonably hot & humid, though, that few pics were actually taken out here. On the other side of the deck I hung 3 mirrored outdoor LED chandeliers from Old Time Pottery that looked so cool blowing in the breeze. I planted all pink flowers for the occasion, a departure from the reds and yellows I generally favor.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Upon entering, the ladies were greeted with 2 WAY oversized hot pink balloons that were originally intended for a display at the end of the driveway. It was so hot & humid, however, I opted to just put them inside so they wouldn’t wilt. The telephone table on the other side was decorated with a “diamond-dotted” rose ball atop a facted pillar. (I’ve done these before for “Should Have Put A Ring On It“.)  The foyer table was draped in a “diamond” sash with a pink ribbon accent. I created a Harry Winston/Tiffany’s-inspired window display on the table for dramatic effect. On the walls were pink and black crowns I bought on clearance at Hobby Lobby years ago but have never used. (Another jewel-inspired post worth checking out is “Diamonds Are A Material Girl’s Best Friend“)

 

 

 

 

 

 

We didn’t have a lot of time to get pics, but this is the dining room seating area. (Because ALL but one of the invited guests accepted, I had to create 2 separate-but-complementary dining environments.) This table is draped in a black crinkle taffeta tablecloth with a silver sequin runner, “diamond” sash, pink ribbon, and mirrored trays beneath the centerpiece of tall gooseneck vases visually joined by a garland of crystal and lots of flowers in faceted vases. (I created 19 total fresh flower arrangements!!!) The buffet behind the table is similarly dressed with another jewelry display. My sweet friend, Cindy, was so gracious as to lend me chiavari chairs for this room which I tied in with the other room by threading through a pink crinkle taffeta sash with a “diamond” cuff. I found the cute poodle art on the sconces on clearance at…you guessed it!…Hobby Lobby. Some may remember the poodle from “French Poodle“, the jewelry display pieces from “Breakfast at Tiffany’s“, the mirror treatment from “Ain’t Misbehavin’ – Celebrating Mom’s 89th Birthday Gatsby Style“, the Princess In Pink signage from “Princess Pink Birthday“, and the faceted & mirrored centerpiece trays from “Happy Birthday, Barf!“.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The family room dining table was constructed using two 6-ft. folding tables to create more of a square shape. I draped them in hot pink/fuschia crinkle taffeta tablecloths and ran black sequin runners and “diamond” sashes crosswise. Towering glass vases (I taped a hanging facet on the underside at the top!) filled with “loose diamonds” and connected by crystal garland loom over faceted vases filled with roses, mini carnations, tulips, astilbe, white calcynia, variegated pittosporum and hypericum berries. I left some of the faceted vessels empty so as not to overcrowd the table. The bulbous structures in the last photo are simply one vase atop another. Ballroom chairs with black slipcovers are dressed in the same sashes and “diamond” cuffs as in the dining room. The place settings are slightly different with a double stack of chargers – white rhinestone-studded acrylic and hot pink Bormioli Rocco glass – and black napkins instead of pink. (TIP: If you have a behemoth television in the room, make lemonade from that lemon by showcasing photos or playing a movie – on mute, of course! – that relates to the party theme. For my luncheon, “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes” was perfect!)

 

 

I created the menus using the same stationery as the invitations, strategically affixing tiny rhinestones for a bit more glitz. Each menu was outfitted with a sparkling “diamond” brooch.

 

 

 

 

The weather demanded that we move the bar in off the deck. My friend Rachael stepped in as bartender for the afternoon before joining the other guests at the table. Good ol’ Geoffrey beckoned guests to come grab a cocktail.

 

The mantel is simply dressed with more of the facted vessels, some topped with rhinestone studded hot pink rose balls.

 

My wonderfully talented friend Patrick created the glitzy almond-vanilla cake that I further decorated with a couple of the same brooches as used on the menus. (We also served my famous carrot/”karat” cake for the occasion!)

 

Dessert course was served with these cute black paper napkins fashioned to look like a black party dress. I saw the idea on Pinterest and couldn’t resist! That’s two hours out of my life I’ll never get back, but totally worth it for the fun factor! And speaking of fun factor…

 

Pink and black paper fans for cooling down or just looking ultra fem!…

 

…rhinestone studded fortune cookies created by my sister…

 


…a fun game called “Who Knows Alycia  Best?” where Rachael won for having the most and Dixie won for having the fewest correct answers, and this was Dixie’s hilarious reaction!…

…pink raspberry lemonade “diamond” ice cubes served directly to the table…

 

 

…and the take home favors of assorted popcorn flavors from Popcorn Heaven tucked into black velvet bags and prominently displayed in a large silver compote! (Variations of the compote are at “Finally Fall“, “Cranberry Christmas – Square“, “Cranberry Christmas – Long Table“, and “Roses In October“.)

I know this post was super photo heavy, but I always include lots and lots of details in every event I create. If you’d like to see other fun photos from the party, keep on scrolling!

Thanks for stopping in to celebrate the big 6-0 with me and my fabulous pink posse!!!

Such a class act!

 

Jeff and Meghan were wonderful servers for the day!!!

 

With my sister, Berishia, who looked so nice in her breezy outfit, and her daughter/my niece, Yvonne, who always rises to the occasion when bling is involved!

 

My oh-so-elegant neighbor, Leslie, and her equally chic Mom, Dixie (as Ramon photo bombs the pic trying to escape all the estrogen in the house!)

My friend and hair stylist/magician of 25 years, Dorothy

 

Good friends Ebony (another decorator/event planner!), Audrey, and Ty (organizers after my own heart!)

High school mates/lifelong friends Joan and Audrey

 

Friend/neighbor/drinkin’ buddy, Kerry who I simply adore!

Neighbors/Friends Lori and Vicky who are so skinny I just HATED taking a picture with them!!! 🙂

My dear, sweet, supremely elegant friend Marchita who means the world to me!

The stylish matriarchs – Senator Mom and Aunt “Bean Bean Dancing Machine”

I cannot tell you how much I love this woman! Ladies and gentlemen…the fabulous Carla!!!

Ever-fashionable Mom and daughter duo, Barbara and Rachael!

Melanie in her Holly Golightly “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” outfit!!!

Jane took it to the hilt looking positively radiant with her Marilyn Monroe look, while my gorgeous Mary Ellen played it sleek & understated. I LOVE all the different ways my friends interpreted the theme!!!

Best friend, Sheri, and me in PJs, enjoying a well-deserved and much needed glass of wine after the party. Cheers!

This week I’m joining Susan at Between Naps on the Porch for “Tablescape Thursday“, Beverly at How Sweet the Sound for “Pink Saturday“, the ladies at “Celebrate Your Story“, and Linda at Life & Linda for “Dishing It & Digging It“!

Summer Blues… and Greens!

SUMMER BLUES…AND GREENS!
(a re-post from August 2010)

There is really nothing quite like the cooling, soothing look of cobalt blue in a summer tablescape! Mixed here with grassy greens and cloud-like white, it takes on a casually sophisticated look that is one with nature.

For each place setting, I started with a crisp, white cotton linen. The beautiful blue & white placemats are a vinyl reversible from Bed, Bath & Beyond that caught my eye. The stark white square dinner plates, also from BB&B, are from the B. Smith With Style collection. The deep blue salad plates and graceful finger bowls are from Pier 1 Imports. I like these bowls because they can be used in so many ways! I’m sure you’ll be seeing a lot of them in subsequent tablescapes. Simple Pfaltzgraff “Legacy” flatware and cobalt blue glass tumblers from Old Time Pottery finish the look.

I picked up this gorgeous green & blue glass compote several years ago, and I am always thrilled to get a chance to use it in a tablescape! Filled here with an abundance of juicy Granny Smith apples, succulent limes, and cymbidium orchids, it really stands out. Orchids are so pricey that I often can only afford a single stem or two. Plucking the blooms and floating them in water (or tucking the stem into a water tube as in the centerpiece) is a wonderful option with a lot of impact. The flames of white candles in the cobalt hurricanes dance when the sun goes down. The potted grass is just another way to pull in the color green and to add texture and interest to the overall centerpiece.

Another way to punctuate the tablescape’s look with a bit more green was to place individual bottles of refreshing Perrier at each guest’s setting.

Want to see a couple of other tablescapes using blue and green?:
Under A Paper Moon
Butterfly Kaleidoscope

          

 

Orange You Glad You Came To Dinner?

ORANGE YOU GLAD YOU CAME TO DINNER?
(a re-post from August of 2010)

Folks, I’m revamping my blog a bit and getting rid of “pages” that featured multiple posts in an effort to make it easier to find things. I don’t want to lose the posts altogether, though, so I’m re-posting them. Makes no sense, huh? Believe me, if there was an easier way…!!! So, if you’ve never seen this one before it’s all new to you. If you have seen it, I apologize for the rerun but hope you can enjoy it all over again! There will be additional reruns coming into your box every couple of days until I’ve emptied these pages from the early days of blogging. Who knows…maybe what’s old can be new again with ideas. Let’s hope!

 Sigh! As the kids reluctantly prepare to head back to class, we try to squeeze in just a few more outdoor family dinners.

 I’ve been itching to use these creamsicle colored dishes all summer! Orange is “the new red” when it comes to stimulating the appetite and lifting spirits. For my tablescapes indoors and out, I am totally on board!

 

Rather than my usual (and beloved!) long, narrow table, I kissed two 6-ft. tables horizontally to create more of a square shape. Doing so allows for a more generous centerpiece as well as plenty of elbow room for each guest. (With the trays, this seats 8; without trays, however, this table configuration comfortably seats 10.)

 

 

Each of this tablescape’s place settings consists of a bamboo tray (looked good, and sure made clean up a lot easier!) from Old Time Pottery. The orange & white melamine dishes are from Target. The square shape lends a contemporary feel, while the floral design gives them a timeless look without being stuffy. (See these same dishes used for another summer tablescape HERE.) I fell in love with the icy orange flatware from Burlington and the flower & butterfly napkin rings from Hobby Lobby. Even the Costco stemware is plastic, but the design gives it an “authentic” look. The cool cube place card holders from Crate & Barrel finish the place setting. Off to the side, a small table holds snacks in complementary colors.

 
I mulled over centerpiece options for this tablescape for several days. Sure, the weatherman is predicting a drastic cool down from the upper 90s to the mid 80s, but how can I be sure? Fresh flowers will wilt as soon as I walk them out the door if he’s wrong. So…I went against everything I know and bowed to decorating with FAUX flowers!!! Somehow, though, with the cool orange color and the unrealistically large heads, it looks kind of 1960s mod instead of flat out weird. I may need to find more uses for faux flowers! Stay tuned!!!
 
This is my Dad, Jim. I love him very much!!!
(postscript: Daddy died in May of 2013.
I’m so glad we had this quality time together.)
Other tablescapes with lots of orange (other than autumn and Halloween):
Mandarin Bling
Summer Orange
Oranges & Blossoms
Hot Tropical

     

Hot Fun In the Summertime!

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, Hot Fun in the Summertime! -

INSPIRATION: Paper parasols in sizzling hot tropical colors and a new way for me to hang them outdoors!

The 4th of July has come and gone, but there are many more parties to come in the hot summer months. Hot days match up with abundant hot tropical colors like hot pink, outrageous orange, and yummy yellow. So pull out all the stops…but don’t break the bank! Shop end-of-season clearance sales like I do to stock up for next summer!
(Click on any photo, then click again to enlarge/enhance it.)

 

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, Hot Fun in the Summertime! - Full deckI am just head over heels with these stretch tablecloths from LinenTablecloth.com. They don’t pay me to say that…I just love these tablecloths! Who wants to mess around with a lot of unnecessary ironing in the hot summer? Not me! That’s why these have become my tablecloth of choice. Just stretch them on, and all the wrinkles go bye-bye. (Oh, how I wish it worked that way with my face and neck!!! 😉 ) They come in 7 different colors and 2 sizes. For me, these are a summer (and anytime!) must-have! (Students and freshman tablescapers: I used white to ground the setting and to play up all the color on the table. Students, you’ll remember we talked about wanting to avoid color saturation.)

 

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, Hot Fun in the Summertime! - full table (2 6-ft kissed horizontally)Two 6-ft. folding tables are kissed together horizontally create a “square.” Depending on what all you have on the table, this arrangement can comfortably seat up to 10 guests.

 

 

 

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, Hot Fun in the Summertime! - Place setting

 

 

 

 

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, Hot Fun in the Summertime! - Mesh food covering collage

 

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, Hot Fun in the Summertime! - Napkin

 

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, Hot Fun in the Summertime! - hot pink acrylic tumbler

 

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, Hot Fun in the Summertime! - orange acrylic flatwareI used the trio of hot pink, orange and yellow placemats from Bed, Bath & Beyond to give each place setting a distinctive look. Each guest can pick his or her favorite! Orange-rimmed hot pink melamine plates from Burlington sit atop plain white Corelle dishes at each place setting. A bright yellow napkin folded into a simple triangle is a constant around the table, as are the brilliant orange acrylic flatware and hot pink acrylic tumblers, also from Burlington. (Students, you can successfully mix one or two elements, but be sure to have plenty of “constants” that visually tie the tablescape together.) The fun mesh food covers to keep the pests away are from Z Gallerie. I bought them several years ago but have just this summer had occasion to use them.

 

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, Hot Fun in the Summertime! - full centerpiece

 

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, Hot Fun in the Summertime! - Centerpiece collage with lanterns, votives, and placemat runnerThis centerpiece relies solely upon color and candlelight. The “runner” is an overlapping repeat of the colorful placemats used at each place setting. Metal lanterns in the theme colors are from Hobby Lobby. (Students, notice the odd number – 5 – used, and recall our discussion about “the Rule of 3” and how odd numbers are easy on the eye.) The rest of the table is sporadically dotted with votives, again using all three colors.

 

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, Hot Fun in the Summertime! - colorful paper parasolsOver the years I have collected a number of paper parasols. These from Hobby Lobby are just plain fun to add color and motion to the space. Notice they are not completely extended as they might otherwise be for other uses. Also notice how they extend the color from the dining table to the perimeter of the dining environment. (I recently spent 2 hours carefully measuring and drilling holes to insert a number of small rubber-coated cup hooks in the overhangs on our back deck. They can stay up year round for displaying whatever I wish out there on a whim! The hooks are the same color as the house, so they just “disappear”!)

 

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, Hot Fun in the Summertime! - Buffet tableI always like the buffet table to complement the dining table in some way. Here, a 90″ x 132″ white tablecloth drops full-length (to stash catering stuff underneath!) and is topped with an 85-in. square fuchsia and a 70-in. square yellow, both from LinenTablecloth.com. (Sorry, folks…the yellow has been recently discontinued. They do, however, have a great new color called “cantaloupe” that would be fabulous in this setting!)

 

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, Hot Fun in the Summertime! - tropical "palm tree" floral pieceTo add to the tropical feel of the space, I created a “palm tree” on the buffet table using a white lacquered bamboo vase purchased at Z Gallerie a few years back. (I weighted it down with pea gravel to keep it from tipping over.) Palm fronds from Michael’s are artfully arranged to create the “tree.” The centerpiece is placed off-center.

 

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, Hot Fun in the Summertime! - Ice bucket, fruits collageWhen I put a tablescape together, I look through my computerized catalog (read about it HERE) and just type in keywords to find things in various categories in the color(s) I need. Without that catalog, I might have forgotten about this fun orange metal ice bucket. The yellow metal shabby chic bowl adds a little visual texture with its wavy lines. A white melamine chip ‘n dip tray takes on new life to display various tropical fruits on ice.

 

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, Hot Fun in the Summertime! - beverage center

 

 

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, Hot Fun in the Summertime! - Martini glasses with parasols, fruit tray collage

 

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, Hot Fun in the Summertime! - plastic pitchers

 

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, Hot Fun in the Summertime! - Beverage center collageThe beverage center is set up on one end of the buffet table. This display is proof positive that you don’t have to spend a lot of money to create a fun look. The orange and pink plastic tubs from Old Time Pottery were about $3 each. Just fill with ice and insert beverages! The plastic pitchers were about $3 each, too, and are a great way to serve large quantities of your signature cocktail. Put drink garnishments like cherries and lemon slices on a cute melamine tray like this one from my friend, Monica, who recently gifted me with a bunch of these babies. 🙂 Finally, cocktail parasols in a colorful martini glass could make even your daily Metamucil go down easy! (Yes, I speak from experience!) The cocktail parasols mimic those used in the decor as well as dress up the drinks.

So there you have it…a tropical, fun-in-the-sun, casual, easy, budget-friendly dining environment in hot colors that will keep your guests in the partying mood long after the lightning bugs have said goodnight! This tablescape would be perfect for a summertime birthday, rehearsal dinner, bridal shower, bon voyage party, beach party, or just any occasion that calls for f-u-n!

Other tablescapes on this site using paper parasols:
Oopsy Daisy!
Daisy Crazy
Flamingos in Paradise
Tropicana
Under a Paper Moon

Other tablescapes on this site with a tropical theme:
Hot Tropical
Caribbean Queen
Ocean Blue Tablescape
Raining Orchids

Two of my favorite blog parties for you to check out this week: Christine’s “Table It!” over at Rustic & Refined, and Susan’s “Tablescape Thursday” at Between Naps on the Porch.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Spring Green

Join me starting at 6:00 CDT tonight for
Cuisine Kathleen‘s Birds/Eggs/Nests Tablescape Challenge!!!

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com: Celebrating 85 Years of Fabulous - Full Centerpiece view from side of table

INSPIRATION: Flowers left over from my Mom’s 85th birthday luncheon (Click on photo to go to this post.)

I had a ton of flowers left over from the ladies’ luncheon I hosted for my Mom’s birthday a couple of weeks ago, so I put together a quickie tablescape to demonstrate how some of these same flowers could be used in a less formal but nonetheless pretty luncheon or brunch setting for Spring or Summer. This setting would also be ideal for a baby shower (especially if the gender is unknown!), special adult birthday, bridal shower or luncheon, engagement party, Mother’s Day gathering, rehearsal dinner, or even a garden club get-together.
(Click on any photo, then click again to enhance/enlarge it.)

 

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, Spring Green: Full table from end

 

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, Spring Green: Full table from side viewAs with the luncheon, full-length 90″ x 132″ white tablecloths from LinenTablecloth.com were used. The table this time, however, is configured to seat 8 instead of 12, with the two 6-ft. tables kissed together lengthwise to create an “almost square.” (Consider this table arrangement in rooms where multiple tables will be set up, too. A mix of rounds, “squares” and oblongs is very pleasing to the eye, helps settle the problem of too few or too many place settings at a table, and can offer varied centerpiece opportunities!)

 

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, Spring Green: Multiple place settings

 

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, Spring Green: Single place settingThe place settings here are quite pared down compared to my Mom’s luncheon! A square rattan charger from Tuesday Morning anchors the setting. A very feminine and pretty white scrolled plate from Home Goods is set out for lunch.

 

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, Spring Green: Napkin fold, Stemware, Flatware, Rim Shot collageA cotton napkin in spring green and white from Stein Mart is simply tented and placed atop each plate. The flatware – also used in last week’s “All A’Bloom in Pink for Spring” tablescape – is Hampton Forge’s “Bamboo Mirror” stainless steel pattern. The glassware is from Dollar Tree.

 

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, Spring Green: Full centerpiece

 

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, Spring Green: Centerpiece pitcher, moss pot and plater collage

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, Spring Green: Floral collageAll of the flowers needed to be re-cut anyway to keep them fresh longer, so that was the perfect opportunity to rearrange them into different vessels. Lined moss-covered flower pots make beautiful small arrangements to complement the centralized large whitewashed metal pitcher. Whitewashed metal planters flank each end of the table-length centerpiece, with all of it anchored by a sheet of moss. (Flowers and greenery: white spider mums, peachy pink roses, peachy pink spray roses, fragrant stock, greenish white carnations, seeded eucalyptus, goldenrod, leatherleaf and variegated pittosporum)

 

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, Spring Green: Cluster of porcelain birds

 

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, Spring Green: Porcelain birdDecorative white birds from Michael’s and bird salt & pepper shakers from Pier 1 dot the centerpiece. Small birds from Michael’s also rest at the tip of the forks.

 

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, Spring Green: Chairs with LinenTablecloth.com stretch coversFinally, the same white stretch chair covers from LinenTablecloth.com are used, this time without the white rosette chair cap or satin sash. Reducing the layers of fabric on the chairs serves to further reduce the complexity of the overall tablescape.

So, there you have it. From over-the-top fab one week to sweet, lovely and a whole lot easier to accomplish while maintaining quality results the next!

Other posts on this site featuring Spring tablescapes:
“Spring Has Sprung”
“The Bluebird Special”
“Daffodilyicious”
“Purple for Spring”

“Zen Garden”
“Mum’s the Word”
“Rolling Fields of Green”
“Taste of Wine Buffet”
“Goin’ Green for Spring”
“Springtime in Paris Mother’s Day Buffet”
“Peony Power”
“Moss & Manzanitas”
“Daisy Crazy”
“French Poodle”
“All A’Bloom in Pink for Spring”

“Celebrating 85 Years of Fabulous”
and the “Spring” tab above for a couple of fun Springtime tablescapes

In addition to Cuisine Kathleen‘s Spring Challenge (challenging us to present tables using birds, eggs and/or nests), I’ll be joining Susan again this week for “Tablescape Thursday”. I hope you’ll come visit these fine parties for a lot of inspiration and a whole lot of tablescaping fun!

 

 

Contemporary Christmas Tablescape – Fire & Ice

It’s the holiday season! Already!!! And now it’s time to get serious about planning a variety of tablescapes for parties you will host throughout the season. Let’s kick it off with one whose elements of warm, glowing fire and crisp, cold ice are perfect all winter through (sans the tree, perfect for New Year’s Eve or any January tablescape)…for not a lot of money!

This quick 90-second video shows how this scrumptious winter table for eight looks with the lights down low to take full advantage of the ambient light. (We got ahead of ourselves and completely forgot to take still photos of the room with the warmth of the candlelight all aglow!) NOTE: There is Christmas music playing in the video background, so mute your system if you’re at work or the kids/hubby are napping! 🙂
(Click on any photo to enlarge/enhance. Photos and video by Sheri L. Grant)

This room was transformed to a warm but wintry haven for my “Tablescaping a Winter Wonderland” class taught through MCC-Longview. While this table is a “square” made from two 6-ft. oblong tables kissed together horizontally, the same effect could be easily achieved on a 72-in. round table using a round mirror. This table can seat up to 12 depending on whether or not a charger is used and how much stemware and flatware is at each place setting. Rather than traditional snowy white linens which would work just as well (as would pewter or silver with a few tweaks), I opted for creamy ivory from LinenTablecloth.com.

Each place setting is anchored with a 13″ mirrored charger from Hobby Lobby. (Buy these when they’re 50% off!) Bone white 10 Strawberry Street dinner plates are from Tuesday Morning, and the J.A. Henckels very contemporary “Bellaserra” flatware can be found at Macy’s. An ivory napkin with a sleek silver napkin ring rounds out the place setting.

Clear glass stemware is from Old Time Pottery. It goes on sale for 99¢ per stem fairly often, and I keep it around by the case for entertaining large groups. The style is so versatile and works for both casual and formal tables.

This is no doubt my favorite part of the entire room! An old frameless mirror from the bathroom wall in our former home is just the perfect size for the table centerpiece. Without a frame, the mirror lays flat like a slick sheet of ice. I use these clear glass cylinders a lot, and having a number of them in various sizes in your decorating arsenal is a good thing. They can be so easily transformed into whatever you need for them to be! Here they are filled with “icy” branches anchored with lots of acrylic “ice.” (Faux snow would be another viable option that would render the same frosty effect.) The shorter cylinders are filled with silver ornaments and more “ice.” The silver pieces and crystal faux ice are both highly reflective in the mirror below. (To see another tablescape using the frameless mirror, click HERE.)

To break up the expanse of glass across the mirror, I anchored the four corners with these silver urns. If silver urns aren’t in your budget, try spray painting clay pots. The evergreens bring in another wintertime element, are a splash of nature, and are the only real “color” on the table. Buy evergreens that can be planted in your yard at a later date to get more bang for your buck.

Now this is where the drama is taken to a whole other level: the votive candles!!! Line them up like a fiery fortress around the perimeter of the mirror. This is a relatively inexpensive way to add ambiance, glow and sass to your tablescape. Notice the shape of the votive holders is the same as the taller glass cylinders for a uniform look. Don’t skimp here. The more the merrier!

I always like to dress the fireplace mantel with decor that reflects what’s going on on my table. Here it is decorated with more glass cylinders, some of which are filled with icy garland and others with the same “ice” used on the table. A smattering of clear acrylic Moravian stars – some stacked on top of each other just for fun! – bring shape and more shine to the vignette. (I had no idea these were called Moravian stars until my sweet blog buddy, Jewel of Carolina Jewel’s Table told me!) Notice how the silver urns with evergreens are repeated here. Votive candles finish the look and add warmth.

Both the fireplace mantel and this tree underwent several changes over the three weeks of my winter tablescaping series! This is the first night’s look for the tree, and it’s a little more sparse due to the contemporary nature of the tablescape. The silver and crystal ornaments work well with the table and mantel decor. Rather than spending money I don’t have on a silver tree skirt, I used this round crushed silk tablecloth folded in half and carefully arranged around the bottom. (This is the same tree that started out as a Charlie Brown Christmas look-alike last year. See it HERE for its sad little “before” and glorious red & gold “after.” Ironically, I am wearing the exact same outfit in the 2011 photos. Santa, Mama needs a new wardrobe!!! :-))

So this is the first of many Christmas tablescapes created as a teaching tool for my students. Stay tuned for more in the coming weeks!

For more Christmas tablescapes on this site:
“Winter Cardinal”
Really Red Christmas
Pink & Purple Chocolate Christmas
Winter Dinner
Cranberry Christmas
Cranberry Christmas Squared
Sugar High Payback
After the Hunt – Gentlemen’s Winter Retreat

Get Me To the Church On Time!
Christmas Progressive Dinner
White Hot
Winter Brunch

For more tablescapes on this site using glass cylinders:
And the Winner Is…
Welcome Back, Joel
Flamingos In Paradise
Oopsy Daisy
Raining Orchids
Winter Dinner
Get Me to the Church On Time
Mardi Gras Mojo
Apple Green Luncheon
Pretty In Pink
Love & Orchids
Autumn Orchids
March of the Penguins

Other tablescapes on this site using a mirror centerpiece include:
Roses In October
Happy Birthday, Barf!
Hooray For Vodka!
Breakfast at Tiffany’s
Shake, Rattle & Roll ‘Em!
Princess Pink Birthday Dinner

I’m so excited to join my fellow tablescapers on a couple of the really fun blog parties again this week including 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).

Flamingos in Paradise

If the thermometer on my car is right, it is currently 96 degrees outside. I’d say summer is h-e-r-e!!!

While living in the great Midwest doesn’t afford much of a true beach experience, we can always dream! This poppin’ pink tropical tablescape for 10 is great for a gathering of friends celebrating any casual summer occasion. I know my good friend/cake stylist, Patrick “the-Flamingo-Lover” Snuffer, would never leave!
(Click on any image to enhance/enlarge it.)

I used two 6-ft. oblong tables pushed together horizontally to create an “almost square.” This shape provides more decorating space in the center with room left over if necessary for bread baskets, wine carafes, condiments and such.

A canvas of crisp white linen allows all the brilliant tropical colors to shine. Hot pink Bormioli Rocca “Inca” glass chargers recently purchased for a song at Gordman’s anchor the place settings. I blogged about it (here), and the pricing on these chargers was so hot that my friend Cherry Kay from Entertaining Women could barely finish her dinner before scooting out the door to snatch some up. I imagined us in that “Run, Forrest! Run!!!!” scene with me cheering her on! 🙂

The melamine dinner plate is a fun and inexpensive 2012 purchase from Old Time Pottery costing just $2.49 apiece. The napkins are actually bandanas purchased at Hobby Lobby. At just $.99 each, you don’t freak out so much about teriyaki sauce stains!

I used faux bamboo flatware from JC Penny Outlet to keep the tropical theme going.

This gorgeous and substantially-weighted turquoise blue stemware from Pier 1 is a perfect match to the cool blues in the dinner plate.

Clear glass cylinders are the workhorse of my centerpiece inventory. You can find them at places like Old Time Pottery, Michael’s, Hobby Lobby and Home Goods. Here a mix of high, medium and low cylinders displays some of the hundreds of seashells gathered or received as gifts over the years. Chalky white starfish from Z Gallerie sit atop the cylinders to add a little more height and form.

The cylinders are flanked by jaunty pink flamingos from Hobby Lobby wading in a sea of still more shells that run the length of the table. I used to confuse flamingos and storks…and then baby made three, and it became crystal clear which was which! 🙂

Snippets of hot pink and cream-colored plumeria are tucked here and there among the shells along with clear cylindrical votives. Even more color and texture is introduced by way of deep green hostas and tropical-looking ferns pillaged from our yard.

These brightly colored paper parasols from Hobby Lobby get a real workout at our house! I like to casually plunk them down around the perimeter of the deck to add color and a little bit of a “Wow!” factor. They’re cheaper and less back-breaking than bringing in a bunch of potted palms. Here they’re kind of like umbrellas in the sand at the beach!

A small oblong drink and hors d’oeuvres table is set up at one end of the deck, flanked by still more of the pretty paper parasols. Another, resting atop another glass cylinder, shades the food & drink from the unforgiving glare of the early evening sun. Tiny parasols garnish each glass.

These oh-so-fun-and-fabulous ceramic flamingo appetizer/salad/dessert plates are making their debut here serving up delicious crab cakes, but look for them again soon taking center stage in another tropical-themed post. My dear blog friend, Mona, sent them to me last summer when I was feeling very blue. Their arrival on my doorstep gave me a surge of energy to the nth power!!! Thank you, sweet Mona!!!♥♥♥

And this, dear friends, is what goes into the creation of a fun, colorful, casual beach/tropical-themed tablescape!

Other posts with a tropical theme on this site:
“Hot Tropical”
“Tropicana”
“Oranges & Blossoms”
“Old Navy Seafood Cruise”

Other posts using paper parasols on this site:
“Daisy Crazy”
 “Oopsy Daisy!”

I will join Cuisine Kathleen for her 14th “Let’s Dish!” this week. Be sure to tune in anytime after 6:00 p.m. CDT on Wednesday. This week is her “At the Beach” tablescape challenge, so it will be lots of fun! C’mon and go surfin’ safari with us! Looking for great centerpiece ideas? Join me at the Style Sisters’ blog for “Centerpiece Wednesday“. I’ll also join Susan at Between Naps on the Porch for “Tablescape Thursday“, available anytime after 9:00 a.m. CDT on Thursday. Come on over! And check me out on BeBetsy.com!

Christmas Progressive Dinner

Each Christmas season Ramon and I team up with our cul-de-sac buddies for a much-anticipated Progressive Dinner. If you’re unfamiliar with the term, it’s when several households progress from one home to the next for several dinner courses. This year the Alsups did the fabulous cocktails and hors d’ouevres which included bacon-wrapped water chestnuts, homemade cheese straws, crab-stuffed mushroom caps, and a very sneaky cranberry/vodka/sparkling wine drink. (Click on photos to enlarge.)

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IMG_3735WMIt was one of those drinks that will creep up and whack you over the head if you’re not careful! Delicious!!! Next, to the Jenisons for a tasty but healthy salad with heavenly home-baked wheat bread.

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Salad course at the Jenisons’. Ramon is taking the picture.

We then moved on to our home for the entrée before hopping across the street to the Rutherfords’ for a variety of sinful desserts, coffee and after-dinner drinks. I went to the doctor the day after for a routine check-up. I had gained 2 pounds from the previous week, and my blood pressure was up. Uh….duh!!!

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IMG_3568WMI wanted to do a really dramatic, special, over-the-top tablescape to thank my neighbors for their kindness, generosity and goodness of heart throughout the year. Two 6-ft. tables placed together horizontally are covered with full-length white linens in our family room.

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IMG_3589WMI love the double charger treatment, so a sparkly red 13″ charger (Target 2008) is topped with a goldtone 12″ (Hobby Lobby). The dishes are Pfaltzgraff’s  wonderfully traditional “Winterberry” which is one of my favorite Christmas designs.

IMG_3577WMI like to use our initialed linen dinner napkins whenever possible. For this night I dressed them up with a red berry napkin ring. I just used a standard berry stem from Hobby Lobby that I twisted to encircle the easy, classic napkin fold. LOTS of color and dimension, and it adds a little more height to the place setting!!!

IMG_3582WMI am SO happy to have finally jumped on the Dollar Tree train! This soft green stemware that I picked up there is coming in handy for so many table settings! (Click here to see it used in a very contemporary table setting.)

IMG_3579WMI bought these rockin’ gold metal reindeer wholesale many years ago when I owned my fine rentals business. They measure 36″H without the antlers, so they’re perfect for the “go big or go home” look I love so much. I covered the center of the table with a couple of clear plastic trash bags to keep the linens underneath clean. I dressed each for the evening with a collar of berries with a red velvet bow. (To see last year’s cul-de-sac progressive dinner – dressed up with different reindeer decor – click HERE and scroll down to “Noel Progressive Dinner“.

IMG_3575WMI painstakingly placed each branch of this flocked pine cone greenery to create a sort of wreath to cover the reindeer stands. Red berry picks and shiny red Christmas ornaments finish off the fun yet sophisticated reindeer centerpiece.

IMG_3704WMWe were dining in the family room, so I dressed the top of the television armoire to complement the table with this small reindeer and lots of lighted greenery punctuated with red berries, ribbon, and ornaments.

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The grapevine wreath in the window is covered with a profusion of red berries and finished off with a few flocked faux branches, pinecones, oversized Christmas balls and red velvet ribbon. I kept the mantel simple with two smaller grapevine & berry wreaths.

Oh, and in case you’re wondering about the menu…Cornish hens basted in a garlic butter sauce, wild rice and green beans. Our neighbors, Carla and Jim, were unable to attend this year’s dinner but sent over homemade cinnamon sugar-dusted Parker rolls.

So another year, another wonderful Progressive Dinner with fine friends who we love and cherish. God is good! From our homes to yours, have a very Merry Christmas!!!

Please join me again this week for Tablescape Thursday over at Susan’s Between Naps on the Porch!

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!!!

Pheasants & Peacocks

After Sunday’s very unexpected and very unnerving decorating fiasco (click here if you missed out on the horror of it all), I have finally regrouped. I figure I haven’t time to wallow in it with all the cooking and cleaning left to do before guests start arriving on Wednesday night. (I have forgiven myself for being such a nitwit, but I will never forget!!! :-))

I spent minimal time on this new centerpiece, but I think it will suffice. Ramon helped me rearrange the tables into a square shape rather than the original 12-ft. long oblong. It seats 2 fewer guests, but we’re also seating in the dining room (click here for those photos) and on the lower level for football fanatics.

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A couple of full-length ivory linens drape the 6-ft. tables kissed lengthwise to create an “almost square” which will seat 10 of our 24 guests.

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A deep chocolate charger is foundation to the exquisitely detailed peacock china I bought a couple of years ago at a boutique called Home Finishings here in Lee’s Summit. I have an unnatual attachment to this china. It’s just so….cool! 🙂 I used it last year at my friend Jean’s house, too, in a post called Shake Your Tail Feather!

img_3092wm.jpgI chose complementary faux mother of pearl napkin rings (Old Time Pottery) and flatware (Target). The ivory Bed Bath & Beyond napkins are simply folded twice lengthwise, secured with the ring and draped vertically across the plates.

IMG_3091WMI like the height of Godinger’s “Chelsea” collection stemware.

Everyone should be pretty well fed!

The new centerpiece made up of various sizes of LEDs, faux cabbages, pumpkins, pinecones and a few pheasant feathers is set atop a 28″ silver beaded-edge cake plateau. The mantel decor complements the centerpiece with several of the same elements.

I certainly hope that you and yours enjoy a safe and loving Thanksgiving! After stuffing yourself with turkey and pie on Thursday, throw on your elastic waist pants and pop on over to join tablescapers from all over the globe for Susan’s Tablescape Thursday!