Smoke & Mirrors – Sensational at 70

My remarkable friend, Marchita, recently celebrated becoming an official septuagenarian in high spirits and high style. I was asked to create the ambience for the 160-guest celebration. So even with flooding rains plaguing the city (hence the substandard photo quality despite my best editing efforts), my husband and I made every second count of the allotted 2-hour setup time to create a space that represented Marchita: simply, sweetly, sensationally elegant at 70.

This recent 4-minute appearance on KCTV-5’s “Better Kansas City” show summed up my thinking on how to approach the decor without using flowers.

 

My inspiration for the overall room plan was quite unexpectedly stirred by the venue’s house decorator. This luxurious ceiling treatment was going to already be in place for a wedding reception…so I just rolled with that and chose white silk, reflective silver, mirrors, candlelight, and bling for the tables to complement it.

 

 

 

This is the woman of the hour, the sensational Marchita Stanton, standing at the table I created especially for her. I started with a black full-length pinched pinwheel taffeta tablecloth, an upgrade from the venue’s lap-length poly cloths used for the guest tables. A silver 5-arm candelabra to which I added crystal bobeches for extra sparkle graced the center. (These same candelabra were used for “Blue & White Family Picnic” and “Hollywood Fright Night“.)

 

 

 

Satellite lighting included lots of votives and candle lamps created using silver Revere candlesticks topped with white silk shades. (I used a similar technique for the post “Should Have Put A Ring On It“.) I used the same bobeches on the lamps as on the candelabra.

 

I created signs like this for areas throughout the venue. The frames are laden with pearlescent gemstones and rhinestones. (I used these same frames for seating cards in the posts “Fete Noir et Gris“, “Purple & Pastel“, and “Bling Wedding“.)

 

I slipped the chairs at the guest of honor’s table into black Spandex chair covers and added a black sash to which a rhinestone cuff was affixed.

 

 

 

Centerpieces for the guest tables were more subdued than the head table with a single lamp and a few votives. While the lamps complemented the overhead decor and head table, they did not serve to compete. I opted to use the venue’s mirrors to double back the light.

 

 

Marchita requested a special table for the children next to her own table. I wanted it to be special and fun but still work with the rest of the decor. I ordered up a balloon bouquet in black, white and platinum (after all, platinum is the color for celebrating 70 years!) and omitted candles. Marchita put together fun gift/activity bags to be placed in each child’s chair.

 

A quick peek at other details I set up around the venue includes the table in the vestibule for guests to self-check their umbrellas. I admit it could have been nicer, but I didn’t think about it until a few hours before setup when I realized the rain was NOT going to back down. At any rate, it helped avoid confusion after the event as so many umbrellas look alike.

 

 

As guests stepped inside the party room they were greeted by a table reminding them to treat themselves! I dressed the table in a white pinched pinwheel linen and, like the head table, added a silver candelabra. A few scattered LED votives further illuminated the table.

 

I expected a significant amount of cards, so I opted for a silver punch bowl (also used in “Kentucky Derby Buffet” for Mint Julep Punch) to collect them on the gift table.

 

 

 

I forgot the silver trays for the ladies and mens room pampering stations!!! Ugh!!! Oh, well…several guests remarked how appreciative they were to have things like breath mints, floss sticks, and hair spray at their disposal. Notice how the men got FAR less!!! But those shoe mitts came in handy after coming in out of the driving rain.

A few other birthday celebration posts on this site include:
88 Years & 88 Keys
Pretty In Pink
Blue & White 30th Birthday
Celebrating 85 Years of Fabulous!
Purple & Pastel
Grazin’ In the Grass
Princess Pink Birthday Dinner
Happy Birthday, Barf!
Black, White & Red All Over

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dinner For the Ladies In Waiting

DINNER FOR THE LADIES IN WAITING
(a re-post from September 2010)

A cozy dinner for six to thank the bridesmaids for their friendship and support is a fancy affair. With so many flourishing young careers in motion, an intimate dinner was more convenient for all than a traditional bridal luncheon.
A white cotton linen is covered with a silver organza overlay for just the slightest bit of shimmer. Silver chargers are topped with Noritake “Whitebrook” dinner, salad and dessert plates with a bread plate to the left. Heirloom flatware and Mikasa “Jamestown Platinum” water and wine glasses round out the look. The silver-on-silver design organza napkins have a simple silver napkin ring. Silver candlesticks hold simple white tapers.
The Noritake china has a delicate, very “wedding-like” white-on-white design.
The flowers, arranged in a cut crystal rose bowl, add color, texture and just the slightest bit of fragrance. This bouquet is composed mainly of lilies, hydrangea, Queen Anne’s lace, and roses.
 Flutes filled with champagne are presented in a petal-filled silver gallery tray. The petals scattered are a repeat of flowers found in the table florals.
Cute individual luncheon-sized cakes are perfect for the occasion!

Rhapsody In Blue

RHAPSODY IN BLUE
(a re-post from September 2010)

I treated a couple to a post-nuptial luncheon in our home to celebrate their union. A smattering of “diamonds” brings glitz & sparkle to the wedding tablescape.

 Bursts of bright green play nicely off the bride’s chosen colors of French blue & white. Granny Smith apples and juicy green grapes are surrounded by green button mums, spider mums, pink waxflower, Queen Anne’s lace, viburnum, and fragrant Stargazer lilies all spilling from a silver pedestal bowl. The main piece is flanked with green grapes atop simple silver pedestals.

 Each lady’s place setting is marked with an oversized “diamond” napkin ring. The gentlemen have simple “wedding bands” of silver. Two chargers – one rhinestone-rimmed and the other a plain silver – mimic the differences in the men’s and ladies’ place settings. The scrolled-edge cream-colored plates are from TJ Maxx, and the quilted table runner and napkins are from Z Gallerie.

  Although a simple fare is served (pecan-chicken salad on croissant, honey-dipped fruit on a skewer, assorted cheese slices and kettle chips with strawberry shortcake for dessert), the tablescape still has a decidedly regal feel about it.

Old-Fashioned Red & Green Christmas

I’m working feverishly to get photos of our home as it is currently decorated for the Christmas holidays. Meanwhile, I’ll leave you with this fast and festive tablescape in classic holiday colors.

Alycia Nichols, Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, “Old-Fashioned Red & Green Christmas”:  Full dining room in traditional red & greenThe only real inspiration for this tablescape was that I have a hunter green tablecloth from LinenTablecloth.com that fell on my head as I was trying to hang another linen. I figured that had to be a sign! From that little mishap comes this casual, quick and easy traditional Christmas tablescape that would be nice for a relaxed evening in this holiday season.
(Click on any photo, then click again to enhance/enlarge it.)

Alycia Nichols, Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, “Old-Fashioned Red & Green Christmas”:  Tablescape in traditional red & green

Alycia Nichols, Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, “Old-Fashioned Red & Green Christmas”:  Traditional place setting in red & green

Alycia Nichols, Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, “Old-Fashioned Red & Green Christmas”:  Napkin fold, napkin ring, flatware collage

Alycia Nichols, Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, “Old-Fashioned Red & Green Christmas”:  StemwareEach of the place settings is anchored by a bright red charger topped with a gold charger from Target. The dishes are a classic holly design. Each napkin is cinched with a pretty beaded ring and tucked beneath the dinner plate. I chose a mix of amber gold and cherry red stemware, both from Pier 1.

Alycia Nichols, Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, “Old-Fashioned Red & Green Christmas”:  Centerpiece

Alycia Nichols, Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, “Old-Fashioned Red & Green Christmas”:  Centerpiece collageThe centerpiece was really easy to put together. I used an amber gold glass cake plateau to elevate an oversized red ornament surrounded by snippets of pine, holly leaves, and clusters of bright red berries. The main part of the centerpiece is flanked by miniature Christmas trees and red votive holders.

Alycia Nichols, Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, “Old-Fashioned Red & Green Christmas”:  Banquet chair with red decor

Alycia Nichols, Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, “Old-Fashioned Red & Green Christmas”:  Chair cover sash embellishmentI draped the dining room chairs in dramatic red satiny chair covers (also from LinenTablecloth.com) and, like last week’s tablescape, festooned the backs of each with a cluster of beribboned ornaments. In retrospect, I probably should have added a few smaller gold balls to the mix, but I was crushing on the monochromatic color.

Alycia Nichols, Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, “Old-Fashioned Red & Green Christmas”:  Buffet decor

Alycia Nichols, Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, “Old-Fashioned Red & Green Christmas”:  Buffet decorThe buffet and china cabinet decor work well with that of the table with lighted & decorated greenery, red votive holders, and a scattering of red hurricane lanterns from Old Time Pottery.

 I’ll be back later this week with a tour of our home’s 2014 Christmas decor. I invite you to drop back by to take a look!

 More Christmas tablescapes on this site:
Cardinal Christmas
Christmas in the Woods

Tartan on the Tee
Confectionery Christmas
Christmas Progressive Dinner

Black, White & Red All Over
Frosty the Snowman
Checkered Christmas
March of the Penguins
Woodland Men’s Tablescape
Contemporary Christmas – Fire & Ice

Pink & Purple Chocolate Christmas
Black Friday Luncheon Tablescape
Winter Dinner
Christmas Through the Red Door
Sugar High
Celebrating the Season
Roman Holiday
Winter Cardinal
Merry & Bright
Kaleidoscope Christmas
Cranberry Christmas
Cranberry Christmas – Squared
Get Me to The Church On Time
Noel Progressive Dinner
Christmas Fiesta
Warm Metal Christmas
Christmas Coffee
Winter Brunch
White Hot
‘Twas the Night Before Christmas Progressive Dinner
Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow!
Tuscan Holiday

I’m joining Christine at Rustic & Refined for “Table It!” and Susan at Between Naps on the Porch for “Tablescape Thursday”

Tartan on the Tee – A Creekmoor Christmas

Alycia Nichols, Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, Tartan On the Tee – A Creekmoor Christmas: Last week I brought you Confectionery Christmas, one of the three “fantasy” tablescapes I set up for “Garlands & Gatherings”, a fundraising brunch benefiting Hope Haven of Cass County, MO. This second table runs in a completely different direction with strong, more traditional colors and the pattern that is very often associated with both the Christmas season AND golf: tartan!
(Click on any photo, then click again to enhance/enlarge it.)

 

Alycia Nichols, Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, Tartan On the Tee – A Creekmoor Christmas: golf-themed tablescape for Christmas that goes back to golf's Scottish rootsYou may or may not know that the game of golf has Scottish origins, and that was the inspiration for this golf-themed Christmas tablescape. Tartan is most particularly associated with Scotland (Rod Stewart anyone? 😉 ) and was therefore a sure bet for bringing color and pattern to this traditional table for four. If you have avid golfers in your family or social circle, a tablescape like this could be right up their alley!
(NOTE: The 48″ table used for this demonstration is considerably smaller than most households’ dining room tables. Your finished creation would be better spaced out.)

 

Alycia Nichols, Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, Tartan On the Tee – A Creekmoor Christmas: place setting with tartan runner, red & gold chinaEach place setting is grounded by crisscrossed tartan table runners from Tuesday Morning in red, black, green, and white with touches of gold thread. Goldleafed glass chargers separate the runner from the red, gold & white Royal Scotland china. (You can see this same china used for Missouri Show Me State Dinner and Christmas Through the Red Door.)

 

Alycia Nichols, Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, Tartan On the Tee – A Creekmoor Christmas: Floral design in miniature resin golf bag from Hobby Lobby

 

Alycia Nichols, Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, Tartan On the Tee – A Creekmoor Christmas: Golf bag floral collageThis was one of my favorite parts of the tablescape: a resin replica of a golf bag from the men’s section in Hobby Lobby used as a vase for a nosegay of red spray roses, green hypericum berries, green Pittosporum, and a tiny branch of privet berries. The bouquet is centered in a miniature grapevine wreath that adds texture to the setting.

 

Alycia Nichols, Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, Tartan On the Tee – A Creekmoor Christmas: Stemware, flatware, plate detail collageGold-rimmed stemware is a nice complement to the setting, as is gold-toned flatware.

 

Alycia Nichols, Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, Tartan On the Tee – A Creekmoor Christmas: Menu

 

Alycia Nichols, Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, Tartan On the Tee – A Creekmoor Christmas: Menu detailingI created menus using our home desktop computer. Black cardstock frames white cardstock embellished with printed tartan ribbon. A 3-D effect is achieved by hot gluing a miniature wreath to the center of the top ribbon.

Alycia Nichols, Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, Tartan On the Tee – A Creekmoor Christmas: golf club tripod centerpiece with floral "golf ball"I wanted so much to recreate a version of the “golf club tripod” centerpiece I did for the dedication of my Dad’s memorial garden reception buffet table, but I was afraid it might not be able to withstand the day’s activities. So…

 

Alycia Nichols, Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, Tartan On the Tee – A Creekmoor Christmas: Centerpiece

 

Alycia Nichols, Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, Tartan On the Tee – A Creekmoor Christmas: Centerpiece tartan ribbon and greenery collage…I finally threw in the towel and switched from a wobbly trio of 9 irons to a sturdy 3-legged iron stand centered in a snow-kissed faux pine wreath with a smattering of gold mercury glass votives around the perimeter. Same effect with a much-reduced chance of catastrophe. (Safety first!) I topped the iron piece with an oversized red ornament ball and then embellished the body with two greenery/ribbon swags. I made the bows using tartan wire-edged ribbon that complements the table runners, red/gold/green wired ribbon for contrast, and black organza ribbon. The result was a very lush and dramatic centerpiece.

 

Alycia Nichols, Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, Tartan On the Tee – A Creekmoor Christmas: Banquet chair with red stretch chair cover & black stretch sash from LinenTablecloth.comChairs for this table are dressed in bright red stretch chair covers from LinenTablecloth.com. Notice how I chose to lower the black stretch sash to look more like a “belt” than a “bra” on the chair. Here is also where you can plainly see the contrasting red, black, and white linens used to create a layered look for the table that looks great with the tartan runners.

 

Alycia Nichols, Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, Tartan On the Tee – A Creekmoor Christmas: Golf club with Christmas embellishment

 

Alycia Nichols, Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, Tartan On the Tee – A Creekmoor Christmas: tartan ribbon and greenery on golf club for ChristmasFinally, a golf club embellished with the same tartan ribbon and greenery used in the centerpiece. A pair of these propped up at the entry of your event or tied into a wreath would look great!

Another golf-themed tablescape on this site:
The 19th Hole

Other tablescapes incorporating black in the Christmas theme:
Black, White & Red All Over
Frosty the Snowman
Checkered Christmas
March of the Penguins
Woodland Men’s Tablescape

Later this week, I’ll post a final fall tablescape, and then next week bring you the final installation from the “Garlands & Gatherings” event. Meanwhile, you can click on any of the photos to the right for additional Christmas-themed tablescapes!

Blog parties I’m linking up with this week include:
Between Naps on the Porch – Tablescape Thursday
Rustic & Refined – Table It!

Merry & Bright – Multi-Color Christmas

Over the next few days I will present 3 creations that use many of the same elements but have a different feel and target audience. We often worry about buying “too much stuff” (although that concept is TOTALLY foreign to the likes of me! 😉 ) and where to store it all. These next 3 posts will demonstrate how you can easily milk multiple tablescapes out of a few key pieces. This is, after all, a teaching blog…and I hope you’re able to glean some good ideas from this ongoing demonstration.
(Click on any photo once& then again to see details up close.)

INSPIRATION: A big bunch of multi-colored shiny metal doo-hickeys purchased at Pier 1 six or seven years ago.

INSPIRATION: A big bunch of multi-colored shiny metal doo-hickeys purchased at Pier 1 six or seven years ago.

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, Merry & Bright Multi-Color Christmas: Full dining roomThe use of multiple bright colors was a huge thing “back in the day.” The look kind of fell out of vogue 20+ years or so ago when white on white became the new craze. As usual, I’m bucking the system in favor of nostalgia with this tablescape that incorporates every color in the rainbow/Pantone color wheel! 🙂

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, Merry & Bright Multi-Color Christmas: Full table lengthwise

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, Merry & Bright Multi-Color Christmas: Full table lengthwiseThe foundation of this table that was used as a teaching tool in my most recent “Art of Tablescaping” class is a bright red 90″ x 132″ tablecloth from LinenTablecloth.com. Nothing says Christmas like the color red, and I love this as an anchor color for the overall look.

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, Merry & Bright Multi-Color Christmas: Place setting

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, Merry & Bright Multi-Color Christmas: china rim shot, flatware, napkin treatment

Oh, how I love to use gold at Christmastime! The use of a gold acrylic charger (Old Time Pottery), gold-tone flatware, and beautiful American Atelier “Florentine Gold Scroll” china knocks a little wind out of brightly-colored whimsy’s sails. It dresses the table up a bit, gives it a little refinement while still letting the use of color take center stage. The napkin treatment is simply a 20″ x 20″ purple napkin from LinenTablecloth.com dressed with a contrasting red satin ribbon. See how the color invades the gold’s space but they still play nicely together?

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, Merry & Bright Multi-Color Christmas: Stemware trio

Someone once asked me, “Why all the stemware on the table?” Well, I’ll give you the two-fold short answer on that one: I like to serve water (palate cleanser), some sort of tea or lemonade, and often a nice wine or champagne (because cocktail hour is never quite long enough) AND they just look so darn good!!! 🙂 The more sparkle, the better as captured here with deep gemstone colors juxtaposed against milky white with shiny gold detailing. The colored stems are from Pier 1 (9-10 years ago) and my Mom gave me the gorgeous white goblets that she had since the 1970s.

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, Merry & Bright Multi-Color Christmas: Gold metal place card holderI bought these neat gold metal Christmas tree place card holders a number of years ago at a wholesale clearance sale. See how the multi-colored sparklies look like lights? I knew one day these would fit right in with a table’s decor!

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, Merry & Bright Multi-Color Christmas: Centerpiece elements

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, Merry & Bright Multi-Color Christmas: Pitcher designI have about 40 of these sparkly, jingly, wobbly metal sprigs of pure joy. For an upscale look, I simply bunched them together in the pitcher that matches the goblets. This is a good example of how using things en masse can add style. (Think how baby’s breath looks all limp and sad when there are only a couple of stems, but how it comes alive when used in a burst of snowy, showy goodness! Click HERE, HEREor HERE to see examples on this site of what I mean.) To bring the same show of color down closer to the table surface, I filled bowls with multi-colored Christmas balls. Simple, inexpensive.

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, Merry & Bright Multi-Color Christmas: Gold mercury glass votive holdersTo bring a little more shimmer to the table, gold mercury glass votive holders from The Village Gardens in Blue Springs, MO.

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, Merry & Bright Multi-Color Christmas: Buffet decor

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, Merry & Bright Multi-Color Christmas: Coffee service tray

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, Merry & Bright Multi-Color Christmas: Gold metal Christmas treesI always like to dress the buffet in decor that works with the table. I cannot for the life of me remember where I bought these contemporary gold metal trees, but I love ’em! Again, see how the sparkly adornments resemble lights on the tree. I chose these not only because of the color, but also because of the modern form. They are the perfect counterpart to the inspiration pieces!!! The American Atelier “Florentine Scroll” coffee service is set up on a lacquered gold tray from Pier 1.

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, Merry & Bright Multi-Color Christmas: Colored mercury glass votive holdersThe votive holders on the buffet boast beautiful, rich colors with a mercury glass lining and are from World Market 2 years ago. These photos don’t do adequate justice. The light reflected from these is spectacular!

I’ll be back in a few days with the 2nd in this series!

If you’d like to see additional Christmas tablescape ideas on this site:
Christmas Through the Red Door
Pink & Purple Chocolate Christmas
Black Friday Luncheon Tablescape
Winter Dinner
Contemporary Christmas: Fire & Ice
Celebrating the Season
Sugar High Payback
Cranberry Christmas
Cranberry Christmas Squared
Checkered Christmas – A Snowman Theme
Get Me To the Church On Time
Christmas Progressive Dinner 2011
Black, White & Red All Over Christmas
Frosty the Snowman
Warm Metal Christmas
Winter Brunch
After the Hunt – Gentlemen’s Winter Retreat
plus NINE additional posts on a single page under the “WINTER” tab!!!

Don’t forget to visit Cuisine Kathleen’s weekly blog party “Let’s Dish!” and Susan’s “Tablescape Thursday” to get ideas from lots of other very talented bloggers from all around the globe!

Christmas Through the Red Door

Welcome back! I’m so glad to be back to doing what I love, now with substantially less pain than ever! In the coming weeks, I am excited to be able to post 6 different Christmas tables  that will feature ideas for kids, adults, and even one very “guy-specific.” Today’s table, my first post since bouncing out of here in July for shoulder surgery (which was a grand success…thanks for all your wonderful well wishes!), takes you through our newly-painted front door all ready for the holidays. I have always wanted a white Colonial-style house with classic black shutters and an iconic, welcoming, shiny apple-red door (think Elizabeth Arden or Talbot’s!), and just in time for the holidays I invite you to come on in!
(To see photo detailing close up, click & then click again.)

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One: Christmas Through the Red Door - adorned gift box

INSPIRATION: Red & gold decorated metal Christmas box from Pier 1

Tablescapes at Table Twenty- One: Front door wreath & library Christmas table in red & goldThis table in our library was created for a one-night only tablescaping class I conducted in October through MCC-Longview. (Setting up for that class completely wiped me out since I wasn’t quite healed. It took a month to get my wind back!)

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One:L Christmas Through the Red Door - full table

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One: Christmas Through the Red Door - Tabletop in red & goldThis 48″ round table for 4 could be easily recreated with a larger table – round, oblong or square – to accommodate more guests.

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One: Christmas Through the Red Door - Red & gold place settingI wanted the place settings for this table to represent the ultimate in elegance for the holiday. Gold-leafed glass chargers are the foundation for the red & gold Royal Scotland china. The white centers of the china helps to break up the concentration of color on the table.

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One: Christmas Through the Red Door - adorned gift boxWhat nicer way to present a favor or holiday gift to guests than to personalize it and have it at their place setting? These particular boxes represent the level of flourish to consider to make the outside of each gift as special as what’s inside. Notice how the red diamond shape of the “wrapping paper” mimics the pattern in the tablecloth and cut crystal. (These permanent demonstration boxes were purchased around 2009 from Pier 1.)

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One: Christmas Through the Red Door - gold decorative birdI added an extra dimension to the top of the boxes in the form of this pretty clip-on gold beaded bird. Something similar to this makes the presentation a bit more special, ties into the centerpiece, and doubles as a nice take-home favor for guests.

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One: Christmas Through the Red Door - flatware/rim shotGold-colored flatware borrowed from my Mom is complemented with a gorgeous crystal-handled steak knife from Fifth Avenue Crystal.

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One: Christmas Through the Red Door - stemwareCristal d’Arques “Longchamps” stemware adds lots of reflective quality to the table and complements the design of the tablecloth.

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One: Christmas Through the Red Door - napkin drop, gold pintuck tableclothThe scarlet red organza napkins (Pier 1) strike a brilliant pose against the muted gold pintuck tablecloth from Your Chair Covers.com. I like to use linens with a little extra something-something going on during the holidays! (If you prefer a layered look, a solid satin or solid poly full-length tablecloth can be topped with a pintuck overlay or runner. It’s a really cost-effective way of glitzing up a table! You can find a great selection of pintuck runners and overlays as well as basic linens and chair covers at great low prices at my favorite “go-to” place, LinenTablecloth.com! Order now for quick, carefree delivery in time for all your holiday decorating!!!)

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One: Christmas Through the Red Door - Crystal centerpiece

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One: Christmas Through the Red Door - Centerpiece collage detail, I

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One: Christmas Through the Red Door- Centerpiece collage detail, IIIf you’ve ever visited this blog in the past, you know I heartily subscribe to the “go-big-or-go-home” theory when it comes to decorating. We tested this crystal epergne out for visibility across the table before I decided on it. The cut of the crystal mimics the design of the tablecloth and the cut of the stemware. A melange of shiny, muted and glittered red balls bring color to the top of the table. A single gold bird perched on the side carries the theme up from the place settings. The crystal, of course, just makes a huge statement during the holidays!

I am so, so happy to be back at the computer to share with you! For more Christmas & holiday tables on this site:
Cranberry Christmas
Cranberry Christmas Squared
Checkered Christmas
Get Me to the Church On Time
Black, White & Red All Over Christmas
Warm Metal Christmas
Winter Brunch
Christmas Progressive Dinner 2011
After the Hunt – Gentlemen’s Winter Retreat

Black Friday Luncheon
Sugar High Payback
Winter Dinner
Winter Cardinal
Fire & Ice – Contemporary Christmas
Pink & Purple Chocolate Christmas
or check out our “WINTER” page for NINE more all on one page!!!

I’m so pleased to re-join Cuisine Kathleen for her weekly party “Let’s Dish!” and Susan for Tablescape Thursday this week! Please hop on over to these ladies’ blogs to check out the many talents of tablescapers from around the world!

Christmas 2012 – Red, Black & Silver

I said I wasn’t going to do much decorating this year. I lied. So sue me. Actually, Ramon was a huge help since my shoulders are still torn up, so I was able to do more although not as much as in previous years. So  just kick back and take a gander at our Christmas 2012 living room and kitchen decor. Next week’s post will bring photos of the dining room, library and foyer. Enjoy!
(Click on any photo to enhance/enlarge it.
Photos by Sheri L. Grand and Alycia Nichols)

IMG_0427WMWelcome to our home! Ramon has lit up the outside just for you!

IMG_0419WMCome right on in. We’re glad you’ve stopped by!

IMG_0172WM

Mantel vignetteI wanted a sophisticated yet fun look in the living room, so I went with traditional red in a snowman theme much like last week’s “Checkered Christmas” post. (You’ll also see how it fits in with tomorrow’s regular tablescaping post!) Even though there is lots of Christmas bling throughout the room, the snowmen temper that just a bit.

Thanks to my good blog buddy, Liz at Infuse With Liz, I was finally able to create the type of mantel decor I have always wanted. Liz uses those Command Strips from 3M to attach a lighted length of garland and then builds out from there. Fearing the Command Strips would not be sturdy enough, I enlisted Ramon’s help to drill small holes into the top of the mantel into which he then screwed rubber-coated cup hooks. (Our mantel sits quite high. After Christmas when the decor is gone, we’ll remove the hooks and the only people able to see the holes will be really nosy folks who stand on the hearth looking for dirt or NBA players. 🙂 ) In the coming years all I’ll have to do is screw those hooks back into the existing holes, and I’ll be good to go! I started with a 6-foot lighted greenery garland that I secured with the hooks. I then strategically nestled in individual pine branches. I finished the look off with bright red ornaments, lots of bling, and fun “icicles.” Black wrought iron candlesticks topped with red ornaments balance out each end.

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Hearth urn collageTwo black urns are topped with oversized red ornaments sitting on a wreath that is dripping in acrylic icicles and bling. The “snowflakes” cosied into the top of the wreath are actually rhinestone brooches I bought at a closeout sale years ago! I actually have something similar in mind for a wedding tablescape centerpiece later this year. Stay tuned for that! (Something like this one pictured, of course, would be great for a Christmas wedding!)

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Tree collageOur tree is all decked in red and silver ornaments with lots of bling this year. I wanted to make it a little bit playful, so I finished it off with a stovepipe hat just like the snowmen sitting among the gifts beneath the tree. The “tree skirt” is actually a round black linen folded in half which is a pretty good substitute!

Goose collageThe wooden geese take on a whole new look with a necklace of pine branches. Red votive candle holders with LEDs are peppered throughout the book shelves for a little extra ambience.

Hot chocolate, Stocking, Chair gift collageWhat’s better this time of year than hot chocolate by a roaring fire? Mmmmmm!!! Our first “couples” Christmas stocking was a gift from a friend. I put it up every year no matter what color the decor is!

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TV Armoire collageThe television armoire is decorated to complement the fireplace and tree decor with lots of snow-covered branches and trios of red Christmas ornaments tucked here and there. Behind the lighted greenery are black wrought iron candlesticks kissed with teardrop crystals. I went with black candles to complement the rest of the black throughout the living room and nearby kitchen. I like the subtle sophistication they lend to the room.

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LR window vignetteThe half console table in the south window hosts a black urn like the two on the hearth. The urn is filled with shiny red ornaments and topped with a green wreath spattered in bling. I used pieces of an old chandelier to create the small droplets hanging from the wreath and candlesticks. I used those pieces to make stylin’ little necklaces for the snowmen, too!

Stereo vignetteSitting atop the stereo case is a silver footed bowl filled with red & silver ornaments and frosted pine cones. Let’s head over to the kitchen area.

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Breakfast bar vignette collage

Kitchen decor collageI wanted the kitchen decor to be a bit lighter than in the living room, but I still needed to somehow connect the two. On the breakfast bar that separates the two rooms is a length of lighted garland embellished with additional pine branches much like the mantel and television armoire. A few random silver ornaments are tucked in along with icy snowflakes for more of a 3-D look. The rear of the garland displays a parade of silver Revere candlesticks with chunky black pillar LED candles. I stayed with black to match those in the living room and to complement the black appliances and furniture in our kitchen.

A sparse “Charlie Brown” tree was my choice for the kitchen this year with just a small strand of red lights and a few red ornaments. The wreath in the breakfast nook is lit with red & white lights and flecked with more snowflakes. A single snowflake peeks out each window. Over the kitchen sink is a pair of lighted wreaths that look fantastic from the street and a beautiful poinsettia from my neighbor, Jane!

IMG_0327WMThat’s it! Next week, the front rooms of the house just might surprise you! Meanwhile, happy shopping and Merry Christmas from the Nichols family!!! 🙂

To see last year’s Christmas decor, check out “Really Red Christmas“!!!

This week I’m joining host Kathe With An E for a mantels & tablescapes “It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas” blog hop and The Tablescaper for “Seasonal Sunday.” LOTS of talent shared there, so check it out!!!

Purple & Pastel Tablescape

My friend and caterer-to-die-for, Andre Harper, and his family recently hosted a multi-occasion party in honor of his parents. All within the span of about 10 days came Mother’s Day, both parents’ birthdays, AND Mr. & Mrs. Harper’s 60th wedding anniversary!!! THAT called for one heck of a celebration that took a whole team to execute. Everyone played a part in the area they know best, so I gladly took on the table decor. 🙂
(Click on any image to enhance/enlarge it.)

Andre’s thoughtful brother-in-law Dwayne, who is usually more comfortable in the company of a fishing pole than a bouquet of posies, bought roses for each of the ladies in attendance. What a sweet gesture! I wrapped each stem in lavender tissue and tied it with a length of silky ribbon. An attendant hired for the day presented a rose to each female guest as she emerged from the limousine that brought them to the party.

IMG_6491WMI sat down with the family to discuss the look they wanted. We kicked around a lot of ideas that at first involved a lavender overlay and tall florals. In the end, however, Andre’s description of his Mother’s affinity for “dainty” things kept gnawing at me.

IMG_6472WMAfter a lot of thought and a couple of sleepless nights, the original plan evolved into pure ivory linens all around to allow details to really shine. A color like lavender, although relatively demure, still commands a lot of attention and is therefore best presented in staccato doses when the goal is “dainty.”

IMG_6498WMWe stuck with the original plan of white wood chairs with comfortable padded seats.

IMG_6474WMI wanted to capture the Mom’s affection for lavender – a beautiful color for a Mother’s Day celebration –  and also lend a few details that would make the tablescape suitable for an anniversary and birthday party. (This table would also work well for a wedding reception or rehearsal dinner.) I chose lavender chargers from Michaels, topped with clear dinner and dessert plates from Bed Bath & Beyond. Using clear plates allowed the pleasing color of the charger against the ivory linens to show.

IMG_6478WMThe detail of a napkin tucked inside a silver pew cone lent elegance and shine to the center of each plate. I used this same technique for my Mom’s birthday a couple of years ago with equally pretty results. (Click HERE and scroll down to the 3rd post, “Pretty In Pink”, if you’d like to see that.) Demure lavender tulips (inserted into a water pick to keep them fresh) were then slipped in to bring another touch of color to the place setting.

I used my silver heirloom flatware to add a bit of design to the tabletop.

Simple, unadorned stemware from Old Time Pottery looks extra showy when assembled in groups. (Note: I always, always, always hand-dry my glassware to make certain it is devoid of unsightly water spots. If you have a dishwasher that will assure the same results, by all means go for it! If you’re not sure, though, give your stemware a once over with a damp towel followed by a quick swipe with a dry one to remove any lingering water spots.)

The family wanted the parents’ place settings to stand out while leaving open seating for the other guests. I created place cards on the computer and placed them in pretty silver frames adorned with faux pearls and rhinestones. I also created two pretty nosegays tied and affixed to the parents’ chairs with organza ribbon.

With all the other pretty details on the table, I still wanted the florals to be the star. Lots and lots of florals!!! I used a mix of white and lavender cremons, lavender tulips, purple hydrangea, green Queen Anne’s lace, mums and filler flowers to create six unique but complementary bouquets. Scattered between the taller arrangements were floating lavender cremons. The family liked the idea of using faux silver floral vessels so that the ladies could all take a bouquet home with them. No muss, no fuss, and totally undetectable until you touch them! (Yes…those are acrylic vases and bowls!!!) They may sell acrylic floral vessels in stores like Michaels or Hobby Lobby. If not, check with your florist. I have used them for years when the occasion calls for take-home bouquets!!!

For a great idea on how to figure out proper spacing for your decorative elements, click HERE and scroll down to Tip #34!

Photos courtesy of the Harper family

Photos courtesy of the Harper family

Andre laid out quite a spread that besides tasty meats and vegetables included a seafood pasta salad that would send you into an immediate Happy Dance! 🙂 The beautifully decorated cake, emblazoned with yesteryear photos of the parents, brought lots of “Oohs!” and “Ahs!” from friends and family.

 It takes a village to raise a child and a team to put on a party!!! Tired but happy to have pulled it off is Team Harper. Front row center: (attendant) Tatum Shelby. Back row: (daughter) Granee Harper Parker, me, (son-in-law/chivalrous guy) Dwayne Parker, (son/caterer extraordinaire who put on a spread that would make a grown man cry) Andre Harper, and Andre’s sweet girlfriend, Trina Collins.

Photo courtesy of the Harper Family

Congratulations and best wishes, Mr. and Mrs. Harper!!! You must be very proud of the loving and thoughtful children you have raised!

Andre and I have collaborated before to create a special dinner for our STL pal, Lauren. Click HERE or on the Fun Stuff tab above and scroll down to the 13th post, “Dinner With Friends“. His gumbo will put you in a trance!!!!!!! 🙂
Harper’s Catering, Kansas City, MO, 816-761-0959
harperscatering2000@kc.rr.com

For more wedding-related posts on this site, click on the “Wedding” tab above
or on these individual posts:
Planning in Purple
Peonies & Pearls
Blushing Bridal Shower
Showered In Pink
Flirty Peach Skirt
Roses in October
Get Me To the Church On Time

I am joining Cuisine Kathleen’s “Let’s Dish!” and Susan’s “Tablescape Thursday” again this week. I’m also on BeBetsy.com. You are invited to peek in on some of the world’s most talented tablescapers with me!

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.
(Click on any photo to enhance/enlarge!)

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.