Christmas 2020 – Bedrooms and Dressing Room

Well, it’s crunch time! So here are the last photos of our home for the Christmas 2020 season! Our bedroom suite and one of the bedrooms are good to go! And for a little something-something extra, there are pics at the end of the outside décor which netted us 2nd place in our neighborhood Christmas decorating contest!

Also, folks, I still have absolutely NO idea what I’m doing with this new version of WordPress, so please bear with me. I keep losing content, thinking I’ve posted one thing but it turns out to be something totally different. It’s so aggravating!!! I’ll try my best to get better for upcoming posts.

INSPIRATION:

My inspiration was a little different this year. With in-person shopping and other activities severely curtailed, I’ve found myself spending a lot more time upstairs in my bedroom and office over the last 9 months.

Top of the stairs with a peek into one of our guest bedrooms. I decided to keep the décor more traditional in the hallway and guest room as a smooth segue from the entry hall down below.

The vintage tray belonged to my Mom. She bought it from a swanky store called The House of Modern back in the late 50s/early 60s.

My final Pier 1 purchase before they closed the doors on the brick & mortar stores: battery operated candles with VERY realistic flames. The sign on top was a gift from my Mom.

This guest bedroom is my favorite in that I have had many treasured guests bunk in here. While there can be no guests in this year of COVID, I still wanted to treat the space to a few decorative goodies. I really like the double wreaths at the foot of the bed!

Our bedroom décor is fairly simple this year. I was starting to run out of steam! I love this little “Charlie Brown” Scandinavian-style tree. Something about it always makes me smile. The ornaments are always kept to a minimum on it. A decorated swag is perched atop the armoire and gracefully hangs down one side. I used 2 sizes of lights to give it depth. Layered shades of white all over the bed make it so inviting!

Finally, my dressing room/closet! I’ve wanted to decorate it in pink for a long time, and this year I just went for it! I already had the French poodle (longtime readers may remember her from my “French Poodle” tablescape back in 2013 and my 60th birthday celebration “Diamonds Are A Girl’s Best Friend” in 2018), the pink feather boa I used as a tree skirt, the Paris sign I used as part of the topper, and the hat box. They were the inspiration for this space. I found the fun poodle and Eiffel Tower ornaments at Walmart this year, so that sealed the deal! A long strand of pink lights along the top shelving illuminates the room and makes me feel ultra-feminine!

And that concludes the inside Christmas décor for 2020!!! If you’d like to see bedroom décor from a previous holiday, check out “Waking Up To Christmas“. Keep scrolling down if you would like to see pics of the outside that garnered us 2nd place in the subdivision contest. The photos really don’t do it justice at all, but what the heck!

MERRY CHRISTMAS FROM OUR HOME TO YOURS!!!!!!!!!

Christmas in the Library 2020

Again…not a lot of words. (I am STILL trying to understand this newest version of WordPress, and I’m not doing very well! I keep losing content!😳)

INSPIRATION:

Newly installed hardwoods on the main floor of our home that REALLY open up the space! (And yes…those stairs are next!)

I love this year’s tree in the library! The traditional red and gold are so pretty, and the bold ornaments on the tree really stand out as something special! I used bright red drums and burnished gold stars on the tree and stairwell décor, and this year’s library tree is topped with a vintage topper that has a very nostalgic feel to it. Instead of ribbon, I went with generously sized metal “ribbon” banners all over the tree that say “Merry Christmas”.

So now THIS is the view from the entryway with a clean segue from the hall to each room. I’m in the market for a striking area rug for this space, but so far nothing has wooed me enough to take that plunge. The gallery wall in here has been replaced with a single oversized mirror, and the vitrine on the south wall – now relegated to the dining room – is gone. In its place, a behemoth 9’H x 8’W structure filled with my favorite blue and white dishes!!! I’m going to have a BLAST in the coming years redefining this piece over and over again. I have an uplight trained on it for the interim this holiday season but will be adding permanent lighting inside over the winter months. The lumbar pillow is from a terrific place in Kansas City’s West Bottoms called The Painted Sofa. If you want to do some serious shopping for home décor, THAT’S the place to go!!!

The secretary remains on the north wall, now semi-permanently decorated with more from my blue & white collection. The big foot tub is filled with Jeffrey pine cones with a trailing evergreen garland and a sprig of red berries. The tea/bar cart from the dining room has found new digs in the library to display a few more blue & white pieces that look so pretty with the greenery and red accents at Christmastime!

I haven’t been able to put this oversized photo of my Mom into storage just yet, so here it sits. I created a little tree with cardinals to commemorate my parents that includes a very thoughtful ornament my sister sent. Next year when I’m a little less raw I’ll create a fully decorated tree to honor both my parents and Ramon’s.

Santa is on his way around the world!

The foyer table leading into the family room is heavily decorated (again!) this year. Colossal red temple jars a from Nell Hills flank a traditionally-styled clock given to my Dad some years back. Lighted greenery garland, a small bowl filled with pine cones, and peppermint trees fill out the space. A jovial Merry Christmas banner found its way to the lower front side of the table.

I chose a voluptuous blue & white vase from my stash for the high boy in the foyer. A tall spray of red berries and an evergreen skirt make it extra special, and the convex mirror behind the arrangement doubles back the striking image.

A traditionally styled chair that once sat in my Mom’s senate office now graces the entryway of our home. It is festooned with evergreen garland and a fun Christmas sign, another easy and inexpensive way to add little touches around the house.

If you would like to see images of library and foyer décor from Christmas in the recent past, check out “Better Late Than Never, Part II“.

Thanks for stopping by!

Christmas in the Kitchen 2020

I’m especially pleased with the kitchen this year! I spend so much time in there (always!), and I wanted it to be as festive as possible. And for those of you keeping score…yes, the woodwork has been painted white, the walls pale grey. And the floors have been refinished. BIG, MESSY, expensive job, but necessary.

INSPIRATION:

I’ve been churning out SO MANY desserts this Christmas. Baking has been Job 1…which has made exercising Job 2!

A compilation of leftover decorative items made special with the addition of lighted “snowballs” and bright berries.

We have a light-filled eat-in kitchen area that is so nice to spend time enjoying the view as well as the food. The bunny, Barton, is a perennial staple, changing his “uniform” on a whim for Easter, Christmas, summer, fall….you name it! To see other holiday décor where Barton the bunny makes his mark, check out “Better Late Than Never – Christmas 2016, Part 1“, “Spring & Easter Around the House“, “Easter Bloom“, “Easter Brunch“, and “Barton’s Easter Brunch“.

The combination of a Spiced Gingerbread candle from Bath & Body Works, gingerbread houses, and the gingerbread bakery pot for the little jingle bell-filled tree left me no choice but to ACTUALLY BAKE gingerbread! I hadn’t made any since…what, maybe high school???

The towel hanging on the side of the table says “Sorry for What I Said During the Football Game”. It’s a gift from my super cool friend, Liz, at Home & Gardening With Liz. She knows my rabid (and perhaps a teensy bit unhealthy!) affection for my hometown Kansas City Chiefs all too well!

This little area is always fun to decorate, but especially at Christmas when I can go completely overboard! A simple string of 50 white lights adds a glow beyond that of the the Hot Cocoa & Cream candle from Bath & Body Works. (This candle REALLY smells like cocoa!!!) The peppermint trees add color and are continued across the room in the kitchen windows.

This 4-ft. tree is laden with ornaments that represent my time spent in the kitchen at Christmas. I found the little rolling pins in the woodworks department at Hobby Lobby. The checkered “Merry Christmas” ornaments are actually just gift tags. The crystal platter behind the snowman chef in the window is from my late Mom’s Mikasa collection.

Other touches around the kitchen include small trees and boxwood wreaths EVERYWHERE!!! I added red jingle bells, like the ones on the breakfast bar tree, to each teapot already situated on the window shelves. The boxwood wreaths and peppermint candy trees add more color and texture to the space. The top of the refrigerator gets a simple greenery arrangement that can continue to enhance the space throughout the winter months.

Our little half bath off the kitchen even gets a little something-something for Christmas! The little ornament on the tree is from my good friend (from way back in high school!), Joan Payne Walter, who said she saw it and thought it looked just like me. It IS dressed like me, too. Wild!

That’s it for the kitchen. Next post we head upstairs to the primary bedroom suite and guest bedroom. I just HAD TO spread a little cheer up there, too! Don’t worry…after Christmas the posts will be much fewer and farther apart!

If you’d like to check out other fun Christmas kitchen posts on this blog, try “Better Late Than Never – Part 4“, “Christmas Coffee“, and “Timberland Christmas“. If black & white buffalo check is your jam, peek in on “Better Late Than Never – Part 2“, “Checkered Christmas – A Snowman Theme“, and “Black & White Barnyard Breakfast“.

12 Days of Christmas Dining Room for the Christmas That Wasn’t

So…my first real post after a 2+ year absence. Hmmmm…I think I’m just going to let the photos do most of the talking. I’m still feeling this whole new WordPress thing out, but I decorated inside and out like it was 1999! No matter that parties and teas and luncheons will not take place here in these times of COVID-19. This is for US…for you! I’ll start with the Twelve Days of Christmas dining room and then move through the rest of the house in follow-up posts.

DESIGN INSPIRATION:

“12 Days of Christmas” dinnerware from the Better Homes & Gardens Christmas collection purchased 2 years ago but first used this season.

The pink dresses worn by the “9 ladies dancing” on the dinnerware drove the color scheme this year. I did my best to incorporate other elements from the song on the table including the “swans a-swimming” (the white porcelain swan centerpiece and the Limoges salt & pepper cellars), the “geese a-laying” (salt & pepper shakers my Mom brought back from her Bucket List trip to Dubai in early 2019), the gold (numbered napkin) rings, the partridge, and pears. The candelabra are from my days as a fine rental shop owner. As I’m still trying (without much luck) to select new dining room chairs, ballroom chairs with metallic gold covers fill the void.

I have never bought flocked trees because of the mess, but this year I couldn’t resist. Pencil trees are my jam now as a space saving measure, and these fit nicely in the dining room. Ornaments pick up the bright, festive colors from the dinnerware and include the “ladies dancing” (with a nod to Misty Copeland) and various wind instruments representing the “pipers piping.” The large gold metal reindeer have been used in other Christmas settings past including on the porch for “Better Late Than Never, Part 1”, flanking the single large tree for “Twas the Night Before Christmas Progressive Dinner“, and actually ON THE DINING TABLE for our “Christmas Progressive Dinner” back in 2011. A smaller version of the big boy reindeer makes an appearance here atop a storage chest on a silver tray filled with festive fruit, lights, and greenery.

The vitrine that was in our library for 15 years has now taken up residence in the dining room. Makes serving before and after dinner drinks (the norm if you’re a guest here for dinner!) much more convenient.

The smaller china cabinet on the east wall gets the full lighted greenery treatment that snakes through the collection of aluminum vessels, some filled with faux pears for the season. Inside, a simple pair of small evergreens (with more geese a-laying!) add a touch of Christmas. A trio of rustic evergreens tucked on the side of the cabinet add even more light to that corner.

That’s it for the dining room! It’s getting pretty close to Christmas, so I guess I’ll have to hustle it up getting the other rooms posted. See you soon!

If you’d like to see more Christmas settings from years past, just scroll down to “Christmas” under Categories toward the top of the sidebar to the right. You’ll pull up 30+ holiday entries from which to choose including a couple of my all-time favorites, “Black, White & Red All Over” and “Tartan on the Tee“. If you’re specifically looking for more pink-infused Christmas celebrations, pop over to my 2012 dining room, “Pink & Purple Chocolate Christmas” or a little something-something from 2014 called “Confectionery Christmas” both of which are very kid-friendly.

Thanks for seeing me through my return to blogging!
I hope to see you again and again in the coming months!

Baby, I’m Back!

The past 2 years have been difficult at best with a challenging recovery from my 3rd spine surgery, my crazy gym accident that could have had a MUCH more dire outcome, and most notably the excruciating final months of my Mom’s life which came to an end on October 14, 2019 at 7:03 a.m. at the age of 90. Ramon and I were blessed to have been able to move in and care for her from May 17 until her death. The year+ since then has been a harsh one (I still feel I’m in a state of flux!), but I believe she and Daddy are at peace now that I have executed the bulk of her final wishes. It is now my duty to carry on in my Mom’s memory and engage in those activities that will ultimately cement my own legacy. While not the very important work that she did as an educator, a city leader, and a legislator, I hope to pick up where I left off and impart joy through my creativity, sense of style, and love of house and home.

It is going to take a while to navigate all the changes to WordPress, so please bear with me in the coming weeks. (A LOT has changed, and I have less than zero patience for new technology!) Meanwhile, I hope you will follow me on Instagram which is another whole new-to-me situation.

All I Want For Christmas…

Merry, merry, merry wishes of joy and happiness to you and yours this Christmas season! I hope you’re feeling the spirit of the holidays and getting that decorating finished up!

All I wanted for Christmas this year was to be healthy. After months of grueling PT with “Deadly” David to fully recover from the 3rd spine surgery last December, I finally did it!!! Since August I’ve been working out with a fabulous, fun (and cute!) personal trainer I like to call “Killer” Kyle. I’m getting leaner, meaner, and stronger with actual muscles forming to support my spine. Muscles. Me! At 60 years old!!! But then on the last day of November I took a 10-lb kettle bell to the head/face from overhead that rendered me unconscious and earned me an ambulance ride. Concussion, retinal edema, multiple contusions, cuts, and bruises…just a hot mess! Surgery the following week. I’ve posted a few pics at the very end past the comments section. If you’re squeamish, easily grossed out or prone to nightmares, don’t go there.🤢 It’s pretty bad. I morphed from this picture of health at 9:30 a.m….

Me with the Miracle Worker, Mr. Abs of Steel himself, “Killer” Kyle, celebrating my post-spine surgery 30 lb. (so far!) weight loss!

…to what you’ll see at the end of this post. From regular ol’ me…to Rocky Balboa in the 15th round calling for Adrian!!!/ Worf/Quasimodo…to Sloth (The Goonies)…to Gollum…and finally to Uncle Festus within a 7-day period. Ugh!😑

Anyhooooo…Long before all this mayhem went down,  a crew from KCTV-5 graciously came out to our home to tape my segment of “Better Kansas City” so I wouldn’t have to haul everything to the studio. I never got a chance to post the details of our shoot that day or any of our Christmas decor. I hope you find these tablescape ideas handy for this year and beyond, and starting soon I’ll post ideas for around the rest of the house. First the short 5-minute video segment from the show…

And now…pretty pictures with very few words!

Lights, camera…action!

Oops, wait…I wasn’t ready yet!

I chose 222 Fifth “Holiday Wishes” dinnerware for the shoot because of its lavish design. (See this same dinnerware at “Cardinal Christmas” from 2016.) The napkins are tied with red ribbon to mimic the design in the dishes.

Glossy green-stemmed compotes for dessert service. (Also used in “Upscale Irish“.)

The luxurious white faux fur table runner is topped with a very traditional plaid runner and a length of satin ribbon.

Faux snow generously sprinkled over the centerpiece of manzanita and faux Christmas greenery.

This cheerful metal banner from Home Finishings in Lee’s Summit, MO, can be displayed just about anywhere and is one of my new favorites! (I bought several!)

The red ginger jar, carved column cap, and lavishly realistic faux greenery on the end of the buffet are all from Nell Hills.

The semi-permanent display on the china cabinet is enhanced with the addition of a well-lit faux greenery garland almost casually tossed across.

That’s a wrap!

Next post we move into the entry hall and library. Hope you’ll come back by to check it out!

OK,  now…I’m serious…this is bad.😱🤢🤕
The blood was already all cleaned up (probably left a 1/2 pint on the turf!), but still…bad. Just quickly scroll past it if you want to leave a comment but fear losing your lunch!🤮

🚨🚨🚨LAST WARNING!!!🚨🚨🚨

3…

2…

1…

In the ER approximately 2 hours after the kettle bell hit me – see the mash up of Rocky, Worf and Quasimodo with that massive contusion to the forehead and that eye?!!

 

Home from the ER. Starting to look more like Sloth. The extent of the broken nose is more evident.

 

Day 7 – I’ve surpassed Rocky, Worf, Quasimodo and Sloth. A cross between Gollum & Uncle Festus has overtaken my face!!!

 

Day 8 – Ready to head back to hospital for surgery

 

Trying to keep my puny veins warm so the IV will go in a bit easier. In good spirits!

 

The whole staying warm thing didn’t work and my good spirits have expired. The IV hurt…a LOT!!!

Back home in my own comfy jammies with nose repositioned and splinted. The headache is excruciating!!!

Six-week recovery ahead. Hoping to get cleared to go back to working out in the gym mid-January! Meanwhile, nothing gets in the way of daily exercise!!! (Even if it is just walking and the recumbent bike.)

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“!

Tablescapes – My 10 Favorite Blog Posts

Later this year I will celebrate 9 years of blogging. My dear friend of 53 years, Arthur Brady, came over one night to (with the patience of a billion angels) help me set up for my new venture before retreating to the kitchen where he, Ramon and I made homemade pizzas. Arthur lost his hard-fought battle with cancer last week, and my heart has broken a million times over since. As perfect timing would have it, Susan from Between Naps on the Porch is hosting her 500th Tablescape Thursday this week and has invited participants to include 10 favorite tablescapes. For me that’s like picking my favorite 10 of 265 children. Without Arthur’s help, I wouldn’t have even one to share. So here’s to Arthur – friend, classmate, neighbor, computer nerd, and lover of all things Star Trek – who got me started, and to YOU who have kept me going.

In no particular order, my 10 favorite creations are:

Honey Bee Tea

 

All A’Bloom for Spring

 

Celebrating 85 Years of Fabulous

 

Casablanca Cool

 

September Wine

 

The Party She Deserves

 

All-American Seafood Boil

 

Ain’t Misbehavin’

 

Picnic Ants

 

Polly Wants a Party

Won’t you please join me along with many other bloggers who have participated in Susan’s Tablescape Thursday over the years to help her celebrate her 500th? You’ll get to see some of the best of the best from each blogger, and maybe you’ll pick up some ideas for your next soirée.

I’ll be back in a couple of weeks with an all new post for a Spring into Summer gathering that I think you’ll enjoy!

53 years of friendship. R.I.P. Arthur!

Ain’t Misbehavin’ – Celebrating Mom’s 89th Birthday Gatsby Style

While recuperating from my most recent spine surgery, I planned a 1920s/Gatsby-style ladies luncheon to celebrate my Mom’s 89th birthday. (Doesn’t she look beautiful??? Don’t tell me this chick “Ain’t Misbehavin'”!!!) A grand luncheon in her honor has become sort of a tradition (when I’m healthy!) since her 2011 retirement from the Missouri Senate, and it’s always a delightful challenge to come up with a theme that both she and her guests will enjoy. (Check out 88 Years & 88 Keys, Celebrating 85 Years of Fabulous, Pretty In Pink, Grazin’ in the Grass.) This year’s inspiration came from a flapper bar towel my friend/neighbor, Barbara, gifted me while I was convalescing. Mom was born in the March preceding the start of the Great Depression in 1929, and I thought it would be a fun idea to travel back in time to explore the good things about that (infamous) year!
(This post is super photo heavy, but I pay close attention to the “cat’s particulars” aka details and want to share each and every nuance with you!)

 

Setting the mood from the very start was an important part of the planning. The invitations I created on my desktop had the familiar art deco design representative of the 1920s. Along with the invitations was an insert suggesting accessories to help the ladies get “all dolled up” for the occasion. Notice the flapper lady I put in the return address corner and the Lena Horne stamps!!!

 

A pair of “V.I.P. Entrance” signs in 1920s black and gold art deco style flanked the doorway, greeting guests as they approached the porch. Music from the decadent era rang out as it would outside a bustling nightclub, courtesy of a Google Mini.

 

The computer-generated, sequin-backed sign on the front door welcomes guests to the fictional “Gold Sequin” speakeasy.

 

My friend/neighbor, Jane, was such a sexy, gracious (and convincing!) “cigarette girl” hawking bubble gum cigars and candy cigarettes I ordered from the Blair Candy Co.

 

Our modest entry hall sets the tone for thumbing our noses to Prohibition with the oversized champagne flutes! They’re filled with tiny crystals. (Crystals…Cristál…the champagne…get it?) On the walls are cute Rosanna cocktail plates I bought a few years ago for cocktail parties that were first used for “Hooray for Vodka!” back in 2013! (Smaller plates of this same design were used to serve the birthday cake!)

 

The primary bar with specialty drinks (potent Mary Pickfords and chocolate martinis that were really a couple of “quilts”!) was set up in the library, although guests were invited to get whatever they may want from any of the other 3 bars on the main floor.  (Tip: Make up pitchers of these drinks and then just have the bartender shake small portions with ice to serve!) The bar was covered with a gold crinkle taffeta tablecloth and black sequin table runner from YourChairCovers.com. The towel that inspired this theme reads “You can’t regret what you don’t remember” and jokingly refers to the temporary amnesia caused by one of the meds I was taking, prominently hangs in the front. We borrowed cocktail artwork from the basement decor to further lend to the bar atmosphere. The ostrich feather trimmed lamp (’cause that’s how I roll!) is borrowed from my dressing room, and the glass of brandy and “burning” cigarette (both fake) further lent to the speakeasy theme. The two booze hounds  in the above pics…just pitiful!!! 🙂

 

We transformed the family room into a 1920s era fine dining establishment complete with a 1920s music playlist in the background. It didn’t take long for me to know what linens I’d use from my stash. The palette of the Gatsby era was gold, black & white. I layered floor-length (90″x132″ for 6’x30″ folding tables) black linens from LinenTablecloth.com with gold sequin runners from YourChairCovers.com. The chairs clean up nicely with gold stretch leather-look covers (no longer available where I bought them, but I’ve seen them at TableclothsFactory.com) with black spandex sashes and sparkly gold slips (YourChairCovers.com).

 

I ordered 100 white ostrich feathers to create these lush (and surprisingly easy!) centerpieces. The glass tower vases are filled with odd-sized bulk “pearls” from Hobby Lobby and topped with a beautiful dangling bobeche affixed with a bit of Cling® Floral Adhesive to avoid catastrophe. The extended centerpiece is filled in with gold mercury glass votives with LED tealights, black  ceramic pieces (again, borrowed from my dressing room), and cabaret lamps created with crystal candlesticks, bobeches, and white silk shades.

 

The place setting decision was remarkably simple. As a restaurant might use, I opted for all white from the ceramic charger to the B. Smith luncheon plate to the Pier 1 “White Poppy” salad bowl. The “Graham” matte gold flatware is from Target, and the Longchamps stemware is accompanied by individual bottles of non-alcoholic Martinelli’s sparkling cider for the toast. Faux pearl napkin rings cinch simply folded black napkins. The menus layered in white, black, and gold sequin-covered cardstock from Hobby Lobby were created on my desktop using Microsoft® Word. (That sequin cardstock is no joke to cut!!!) The pearl embellishment on the menus came from a pair of summer sandals I broke! The meal served included the Louisville, Kentucky Hot Brown Sandwich, a late night/early morning diner staple back in the 1920s to soak up the liquor enjoy after a night out of unabandoned carousing. Water and lemonade bottles were placed on both sides of the dining table.

 

Other special touches around this room included another ostrich feather lamp I created using a crystal candlestick, an abundance of paper rosettes (Michaels) mixed with oversized champagne glasses of crystals and pearls, and an extra tall martini glass (Hobby Lobby) that I placed in a large flat glass bowl to give it girth. Final touch: notice a muted television in the background playing “The Great Gatsby” movie!!!

 

My sister makes fun fortune cookies for all occasions, these with art deco-style fabric. While the take-home fortune cookies were a demure little thank you to the guests, I asked her to create some funny, slightly suggestive ones for us to play the fortune cookie game “In Bed”. Ever heard of it? Each guest opens their cookie and reads the fortune aloud followed by the words “in bed.” As the pictures show, this game got lots of laughs!!!

 

Check out this cake created by my longtime friend, Patrick Snuffer. I provided him with an almost childlike sketch using various elements I’d seen around the Internet, and voilà! A delicious art deco cake with a black ostrich feather! To the left of the cake are the mini martini glasses in which ice cream (choice of 4!!!) was served. The miniature gold spoons are from Michaels.

 

The candy bar in the dining room was one of my favorite elements to create! I researched candies and gums that were popular in the 1920s and then went on the hunt. The result: a favor bar laden with 22 flavor treats served up in various size martini and pilsner glasses!!! Guests scooped up what they wanted into favor bags with black, gold and/or white twist ties displayed in my Limoges swan salt & pepper cellars. The table is covered in another gold crinkle taffeta cloth with a black sequin runner. The gold painted manzanita “trees” just seemed to work with the decor, especially dressed in large hanging crystals. My generous neighbor provided the sequined dress for the dress form, and I finished it off with a few ostrich feathers, a feather boa, and all the remaining pearl necklaces from my jewelry collection!

 

The dining room was “fun central” with the candy bar AND a “photo booth” where guests could take selfies or have their photo taken. We simply took the existing artwork off the wall and replaced it with oversized gold and black paper rosettes (Michaels). I hung a huge paper rosette over the mirror and draped it with crystal garland. The photo prop table beneath was laden with vintage accessories (thanks, Dee!) and fake cocktails. (Notice I was a good girl and stayed in little black flats instead of the gorgeous T-strap heels I really wanted to wear!) Fun/Silly pics of guests at the photo booth and around the house are at the very end of the post. Such fun!!!

 

Without question this was one of the most fun birthday parties I’ve ever put together in my Mom’s honor!!! My sister, Berishia, and I both love our Mom so much, and we are blessed to have had her in our lives for all these years.

 

MOST DEFINITELY MISBEHAVIN’!!!

 

Special, HUGE thanks to: my friend/neighbor, Jane, for being the best cigarette girl a flapper could ask for; my friend/neighbor, Barbara, for mixing up those insanely potent drinks, whipping up a mean Mornay sauce for the Kentucky Hot Browns, and helping out so much in the kitchen; Barbara’s helpful husband, Lynn, for graciously taking time away from college basketball to take our group photo; my dear friend, Patrick, for creating such an extraordinary cake; my cousin, Dee, for all the props she contributed for the photo booth and for doing such a fabulous job on Mom’s makeup; my sister, Berishia, for the fortune cookies; my best friend of nearly 55 years, Sheri, for her precision serving skills and so many great photos despite the overcast skies, and; my husband, Ramon, for all the photos he took, his bartending prowess, being such an all-round good sport, and PAYING FOR THIS!!! 😉

Now…on to the fun guest pics with captions chock full of 1920s Flapper/ Gangster Slang. (The Flapper Slang Guide, Slang of the 1920s, Molls & Dolls Slang Dictionary) Enjoy!

My cousin, Dee, and I always take pictures of us rough housing. Here we are trying to put each other in a “deep sleep.” A whole new meaning to “clutching your pearls”!!! Somebody call the “coppers”!

Wow! Here’s a real “sheba”! Barbara was the ultimate flapper girl, ready to have a great time in her sparkly black dress!

Mom and her forever baby sister, Vivienne, who I call Aunt Bean Bean Dancing Machine!

Here’s a couple of “swell dames”: Mom and friend/LINK sister, Shirley Thaw.

Mom and friend/LIncoln High School classmate from the Class of 1946/”canary”, Geneva Price

Mom and friend/Delta sorority sister, Dr. Susan Wilson. Check out those “gams”!

Mom and friend, Amy Heithoff-Dominguez, lookin’ like “the cat’s meow”!

Mom and friend/Delta sorority sister/education colleague, Dr. Marjorie Williams. That’s some “dish”!

Mom and friend/LINK sister, Barbara Graham, in her “glad rags” looking “air tight.”

Mom and my good friend & neighbor, Barbara Alsup. Quite the “billboard” that Barbara!

Mom and her friend/neighbor/fellow church member, Virginia Jones, who looks like a real “floorflusher”!

Mom and her niece/my arch nemesis cousin, Dee Evans, who’s had a little too much “giggle water.”

“Jeepers Creepers”! It’s Mom and her longtime family friend from the neighborhood (Leeds) where they grew up, Kimberly Randolph!

Mom and her son-in-law/my husband, the very dapper Dr. Ramon Nichols. Hubba hubba…what a “sheik”!!!

Well, look who stopped by to say hello and have her picture taken with the birthday girl! It’s little Ava Rutherford with her own flapper boa!!!

Ramon and me. Gosh, he looked so handsome in that outfit!!!!!!!!!!!! A real “brooksy” in those snazzy “dog kennels”!!! Me…post-op flat shoes! 😦

These “dolls” came ready to party! Barbara Graham (in a coat I really wanted to steal!) and Amy Heithoff-Dominguez (with a handbag to die for!)

Our resident bootlegger, Bob Rutherford, had to come check on his moll, Jane, and have a cigar!

Mom looked like the queen she is!

 

What a “babe”! Mom wears a 1920s-inspired gown designed and created by her granddaughter/my niece, Yvonne Chamberlain, for her to wear to the Governor’s Ball about 10 years ago. She still looks fabulous in it!!!

Even a “croaker” has to get his nutrition!

A couple of snappy “sips”: My “tomato” cousin, Dee Evans, and the flapper with the sexy “stilts”, Susan Wilson.

This is the look of PURE JOY!!! I absolutely adore this picture!!!

This outfit is absolutely the “duck’s quack”!!!

I’m so proud of my Mom!!!

A trio of real “lookers”: Barbara Alsup, me, and Sheri Grant

Check out these “kittens”: Barbara Graham, Shirley Thaw, Susan Wilson, and Dee Evans

Ripe and ready “hoppers”: Shirley Thaw, Susan Wilson, Dee Evans

I’m joining Susan at Between Naps on the Porch for Tablescape Thursday this week. Check her out for a wealth of Spring and Easter ideas!

My friend, Debbie, at Debbee’s Buzz has another wonderful theme party you might like. Check out this fabulous Alice In Wonderland invitation!!!

Mardi Gras, Baby!

I…AM…STIR CRAZY!!! Nine – count ‘em – NINE weeks since this most recent spine surgery and I am STILL on lockdown for what seems like perpetuity! I’ve been growling and pacing, and I’m just about ready to bite!!! But I am making progress, albeit at a snail’s pace.

Thank goodness for a very welcome email from a freelancer on behalf of TasteOfHome.com who reached out to me for permission to use a photo from my 2013 post, Mardi Gras Madness.  My chance to blog without having to do any real work!!! I hope you will pop over to take a look at “10 Centerpiece Ideas for Your Mardi Gras Party” which went live yesterday. I’m #5 on the countdown.

Have a joyful and raucous (but don’t come to me for bail money!😉) Fat Tuesday, and a loving and memorable Valentine’s Day! I”ll see ya when I’m a bit more limber and mobile!

Other Mardi Gras-themed posts on this blog include:
Celebrate Mardi Gras
Laissez Les Bon Temps Rouler!
Mardi Gras Lite
Mardi Gras Mojo
The Peacock Effect
Peacock Pizzazz!

Valentine’s Day is less than a week away so here are a few posts you might consider for planning a celebration of love for your Valentine or Galentines!
Queen of Hearts Card Party
Platinum & Pink
Be Still My Heart
Should Have Put a Ring On It
Days of Wine & Roses
Chocolate Traditional
Love’s Arrow
Peonies and Pearls
French Poodle
Pretty In Pink
Fairy Tale Wedding Shower
Showered In Pink
Princess Pink Birthday Party

I’m happy to once again join all the ladies and gents over at Susan’s place for the 489th Tablescape Thursday. Pop on over to get lots of Valentine’s Day AND Mardi Gras ideas!