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!

Are You Ready For Some (2-Year-Old) Football?

Hello, howdy, hi there! While I’m still working hard on recuperation (from surgery exactly 8 weeks ago!), I can now at least sit in my office chair for 10-15 minutes at a time before pain swallows me whole. Meanwhile, the Lord works in mysterious ways, and I came across photos from a “Better Kansas City” show Super Bowl 50 segment from two years ago that I never posted! With Super Bowl 52 this coming weekend, it’s perfect timing! Thanks for stopping by, enjoy Super Bowl weekend, and I hope to “see” you sometime in March!

 

 

For this segment I wanted to represent both teams. I had no horse in this race, so no big deal! (Fellow Kansas City Chiefs fans, please forgive me this transgression.  :-))

 

I’m quite fond of these stretchy Spandex tablecloths from LinenTablecloth.com because they go on easy, clean up nicely, and don’t have to be folded. Really! Just scrunch ’em up and store them without wrinkle worries! (I don’t get paid to say nice things about the company. I just want you to know where to find stuff!)

 

The buffet “table runner” is actually composed of 3 gridiron placemats that I previously used for “Hometown Pride: Kansas City Chiefs vs. Denver Broncos” and “Kansas City Chiefs in the Red Zone“.

 

 

 

This horse head was first used to poke fun at the Broncos in my “Hometown Pride” post, but here it is merely fun team symbolism.

 

It is rare that I advocate disposable products, but if you want faster clean up, don’t trust the rowdy folks on your guest list to not throw ironstone dishes at the TV if their team is losing, or just want some variety, there’s lots of fun stuff out there.

 

I’m a big fan of choosing food and/or drinks in the team colors!

 

 

The Denver Broncos presence is felt all over the buffet table with the team colors of orange and blue. I found the cute little “official” bottle cozies (with working whistles!) and the pom poms (fun favor for guests to cheer on their chosen team!) at a local Party City.

 

This snazzy, jazzy guest table is all decked out in the Carolina Panthers’ team colors. Layering linens is a great way to bring color and interest to your table! The triple layer linens of Carolina blue, black and white are all from LinenTablecloth.com.

 

 

The place settings are simple but fun with matching placemats and napkins. I sometimes like to use both a fabric and paper napkin. Here, the team colors are well represented by tucking the patterned paper napkin inside the fabric one and allowing it to just peek over the top. (Fabric for your lap, paper for your hands & lips!)

 

Quick, inexpensive, and easy describes this centerpiece in celebration of 50 fifty years of Super Bowl. I bought plain numbers at Hobby Lobby and spray painted them gold, the traditional color for 50th anniversaries. Three footballs from Dollar Tree were also painted gold and set atop  tiered candle holders to lend more varied height to the tablescape.

 

So this was me two years ago (the picture of good health, loud & proud in my Kansas City Chiefs jersey!), one year out from the 3 surgeries (2 spine, 1 shoulder) I endured that year. I was feeling strong and energized after months of physical therapy. This look of healthy glee and accomplishment is my goal for later down the line in 2018, so I’m going to let slow and steady win this race. While I’m still nowhere near being able to create tablescapes at this point, I hope to get there soon!

Other sports themed tablescapes on this blog include:
Hometown Pride
Kansas City Chiefs in the Red Zone
Home of the Lions
Boys of Summer – Baseball Tablescape
The 19th Hole – Golf and Forever Love
Tartan on the Tee

I’m joining Susan at Between Naps on the Porch for her 488th Tablescape Thursday blog party and the 114th Celebrate Your Story with Chloe and Sandra. Lots to see over there from other very talented tablescapers, so check it out!

 

 

 

A New Year and A New Me!

Just a quick note to let you know spine surgery #3 went well. I am now the proud owner of 2 rods, 6 screws, a connector piece, and several cadaver bones. All of the previous hardware in my back (2 rods, 4 screws, and a metal plate) had to come out to make room for the new. NOT fun, I assure you! The first 2 weeks post-op were horrifyingly painful – akin to an episode of “The Twilight Zone” – but I made it through.

Back view of spine showing staples

 

Side view of spine

While still following the BLT Rule (no Bending, Lifting, Twisting), I’m making great strides with each passing day. For instance, I am now able to use the stairs (very slowly, one at a time, with supervision only), get in and out of bed -albeit slowly- without assistance, and sit without fatigue or pain for almost 20 minutes.

Me sitting up in a chair less than 24 hours post-op!

I’ve also ditched the walker in favor of my cane until I’m steady on my feet again. The staples…all 24 of them…came out Thursday. My surgeon doesn’t want me to start PT until 3 months out to ensure the fusion takes hold. (The first fusion apparently didn’t take, PLUS one of the 4 screws had broken in two!) Meanwhile, it’s all about walking, walking, walking and doing squats against the wall to rebuild strength in my legs and maybe drop the 25 lbs. gained pre-op due to inactivity.

Thanks from the bottom of my heart for all the well wishes and prayers. I couldn’t have done it without you and all the family, friends and neighbors who kept a vigilant watch over me and made sure Ramon didn’t have to do too much cooking! I want this 3rd time to be a total success, so I’ll be following doctor’s orders to the letter and won’t be posting again until late Spring. I wish you and yours the very best in this New Year, and once again thank you for hanging in there with me. See you in 2018!!!

With hard work, determination, and your prayers, it’s going to be alright! See you in 2018!!!

Better Late Than Never, Pt. 4/The Final Chapter – Christmas 2016 in the Kitchen

At long last! The end of my 2016 Christmas decor!!! Took long enough, huh? But I saved the best for last: the kitchen!

Before we hop into the pictures, I want to share with you that I will be having yet another doggone spine surgery on Wednesday of this week. As some longtime readers may remember, I had 2 such surgeries (in addition to a shoulder surgery!) in 2015 that kept me down and out for quite a long time, then 2 more in 2016. This one, too, will be very difficult (laminectomy, hardware replacement and fusion), but I’m hoping to have a clear enough head to bring you my 2017 Christmas decor along with…drumroll, please…a “Better Kansas City” segment taped right here in our home last Friday!!! I’ve been preparing for it since October (walking with the assistance of a cane and walker slows me down considerably!) and wanted it to be extra special knowing I will not be posting again for quite some time. I do hope you’ll look for that post (if the post-op pains and/or drugs aren’t too overwhelming!) coming sometime before Christmas. My husband will deliver a quick post on how I’m progressing along with a “proof of life” photo. 🙂 The surgery itself is expected to take only 3-4 hours (half the time of that 2nd one in 2015 that was 8 hours long!), and my hospital stay will be 3-4 days. Then it’s home to start getting better for 2018!!!

Enough of that! Let’s look at some pretty pictures!!!

 

 

 

 

I spend so much time in the kitchen year round, but especially during the holiday season. I like for it to be as cheery as the rest of the house so that I’m never feel deprived. I played on the existing black & white buffalo checks, adding touches of red in the form of faux berries, candy canes, and the 222 Fifth “Wexford Plaid”. Bits of Christmas greenery and a flurry of acrylic snowflakes add seasonal whimsy. (Check it out…even my reading glasses are black & white checked!!! 🙂 )

 

 

 

 

One of the most fun changes in the kitchen is the aluminum tiered stand on the kitchen table. It generally takes days to figure out all the different elements to add to it each season. ..and I love it!!! Christmas 2016 found the tiered server with a fun Chef Santa on top. Stacked 222 Fifth “Northwood Cottage” bowls, sweet red vases embellished with the word “Noel”, candy canes in a silver julep cup, pine cones, acorns, snowflakes, wooden Christmas ornaments, and red berries mixed in with the everyday essentials.

 

 

 

 

The side table in the window is festively decked with a thick lighted garland draped behind ironstone and ceramicware. Snowflakes in the windows mirror snowflakes hung outside around the deck perimeter. Truly magical even without snow!

 

I had lots of different Santas around the kitchen including this one standing inside a large lantern on the breakfast bar. I put a cluster of string lights beneath a handful of faux snow to set it aglow. The top of the lantern is made festive with a black & white gingham bow, greenery and red berries.

 

 

 

 

I gave up on this utterly useless desk space a long time ago. No need for it since I have a home office upstairs. Now I just use it for dishes, displays, and an extra bar. Here I added a layer of soft “snow” uplit from beneath with string lights, another Santa figurine on a vintage sled and a reticulated ceramic jardiniere brimming with hypericum berries to the existing decor. Up above the decor stayed the same as usual excepting the addition of cascading red berries, a sprig of frosted greenery, and a tiny gingham bow at the base of the coffee cup.

 

 

Even the cookbook stand on the portable island and the sink area got a little somethin’-somethin’! Again…I tend to spend A LOT of time in this kitchen!

So…that’s it, y’all!!! Thank you so much for your friendship and readership over this past year since I’ve been back. It literally and figuratively pains me to leave again, but I hope to return sooner than later in 2018 with a new & improved spine, a positive outlook, and a whole new lineup of tablescape and home decor ideas for your enjoyment!
Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, and may God bless you and yours this season and always!

To see “Better Late Than Never – Christmas 2016” parts 1, 2 and 3…
Better Late Than Never, Pt. 1 – Foyer and Library
Better Late Than Never, Pt. 2 – Dining Room
Better Late Than Never, Pt. 3 – Family Room

I’m joining the weekly link parties, Dishing It & Digging It” at with Linda and “Celebrate Your Story” hosted by Sandra and Chloe.

 

 

 

Better Late Than Never, Pt. 3 – Christmas 2016 in the Family Room

As we count down to Christmas 2017, here is the 3rd of 4 separate posts revealing my 2016 Christmas decor in the family room and basement level. Yes…that late. Poor, pitiful, pathetic, tired ol’ me is just getting around to it! (If you missed them, you can see installments 1 and 2 here and here.)

Say goodbye to this furniture because it’s the last time you’ll see it! We bought reclining leather seating this past summer that is kinder to my spine. Hooray!

 

 

 

 

 

Our fireplace is the focal point of the room despite my husband’s insistence on having a television the size of Montana in the family room. In 2016 I decorated it with lots of faux greenery with sprigs of fresh stuck in here and there, pine cones, red ornaments and berries. Black iron candlesticks with black candles flank the wreath on the mantel, while tall black lanterns rest on the hearth.

 

 

 

 

I embellished a lot of the existing decor with faux greenery and red berries. Deer sheds (antlers) placed in or around white ironstone bowls with berry embellishment gives the bookshelves a festive, outdoorsy look. A white ironstone platter from Home Goods is lightly adorned with Christmas greenery, pine cones and berries. Something as simple as plopping a sprig of bright berries and a bit of evergreen into a tiny vase changes the whole look of the shelf with the candlesticks. (That’s my hubby’s Air Force graduation photo. He was such a little cutie…looked like a 12-year-old!)

 

 

I like to give the family room a fun look that reflects our casual, relaxed lifestyle as a fun-loving couple. Another set of plush animals rests on a miniature park bench beside the hearth. (Other plush animals were beneath the tree in the library as seen here.) Check out how protective he is of her…like Ramon is with me! A lighthearted Mr. & Mrs. Claus lumbar pillow is tossed on the sofa.

 

 

Thought I’d better throw this in. We pushed aside the furniture and had dinner for 12 in here one night. I was not feeling well (still recovering from 2 back-to-back major surgeries) but had to do something quick and easy to install and dismantle. Plain black full-length tablecloths with my beloved 222 Fifth “Holiday Wishes” dishes covered in cardinals, pine cones and poinsettias, black napkins cinched with jingle bell napkin rings, gold flatware, and English crackers that we had a ball with after dinner. The centerpiece of gold vases topped with oversized red ornaments, miniature Christmas trees, and black wrought iron candlesticks to match those on the mantel was anchored by a length of flannel plaid ribbon.

 

Through the family room door and down the basement stairs is a table with a trio of decorated miniature trees that reflect back in the mirrors above. (I wish these photos were better. This was really just so pretty at night!!!) Standing among the trees is a pair of Father Christmas figurines and gold reindeer.

 

A red painted wood open shadow box from Home Goods holds a menagerie of Christmas-related items including miniature antlers, pine cones, a metal wreath, and jingle bells. (Sorry…the lighting absolutely sucks down here in this basement, and no amount of editing can fix it!)

 

We have this weird ledge that runs the length of the south wall beneath the basement windows that really serves no practical purpose. I decided to spruce it up by creating this scene with Santa in a golden sleigh with reindeer moored in a snowy thicket. In hindsight, I should have raised each reindeer on graduated clear acrylic risers to simulate flight. Oh well…next time!

The final chapter of our 2016 Christmas decor will roll out in a couple of days. After that, nothing but 2017…I promise!!!

If you’d like to find more inspiration on this site for your Christmas decorating, type in “Christmas” in the category drop-down box on the sidebar to the right.

I’ll be joining Susan and the rest of the gang for Tablescape Thursday again this week. Drop on by to get inspired by some very talented tablescapers and designers!!!

 

Shop ‘Til You Drop – Prepping for Black Friday

Alycia and “Better Kansas City” host Alexis del Cid, playing with dishes

Every tablescape blogger and those who read the blogs have at least one thing in common: WE LOVE TO SHOP!!! We chase after bargains, bright ideas, and innovative styling tips. Shopping can make a person awfully hungry and thirsty, and with Black Friday just over the horizon now, this super high-spirited 4-minute segment from the “Better Kansas City” show has tips on creating a fun and fanciful after-the-hunt tablescape. A few still photos of the tablescapes created on set follow, and at the end stick around for a super silly 60-second bonus clip from the show I think you’ll enjoy!

 

I created two separate tables for this segment: a colorful dining table for guests and a fun buffet table.

 

 

Bright pink/fuchsia 17″ poly napkins from LinenTablecloth.com are neatly stacked at the end of the buffet table. The fun metal figurine in the background depicts a carefree young woman out on a shopping spree and is one of 3 purchased at Hobby Lobby a couple of years ago. The cake…well, you’ll learn more about that cake in the video clip at the end of the post!

 

When I saw this stainless steel stiletto heel cake server at Burlington a few years ago, I just couldn’t resist! This would be great for showers and wedding events, too. Such a fun, feminine way to serve up dessert!

 

Here’s another of those metal shopping figurines from Hobby Lobby. This chick is ready to shop ’til she drops come rain or shine! Next to her is a fabulous glittering stiletto heel vase overflowing with an array of colorful flowers and greenery.

 

 

 

This was one of my favorite parts of the whole buffet tablescape! The drink station is set up on a wooden Lazy Susan for easy access. The wine glasses with purses all over them are from the Dollar Tree and complement the shoe wine glasses on the dining table. The stiletto heel bottle stoppers were an impulse buy from a Michaels clearance bin a couple of years back that really add style and a little shimmer. We were really pressed for time, and I asked my genius friend, Barbara, to figure out something to do with the shot glasses on the table. She stacked them pyramid style for a look that is a real winner! A+!!!!! (She’s a retired teacher!)

 

 

When setting up a buffet table, I like to have various sizes, shapes, textures and anything else available to give the table “motion.” Setting the spoons on the diagonal seem to do just that. The bowls by Rosanna feature a stiletto heel motif. They were purchased at Tuesday Morning some time back.

 

A feminine dining tablescape for ladies who have had their fill of shopping for the day. (Wait…what does that actually feel like??!?!) I chose to go with very colorful place settings to complement the buffet table. Each place setting is grounded with a hot pink Bormioli Rocca “Inca” glass charger topped with a solid white plate. The pretty salad/dessert plates by Rosanna each have a fun shopping reference along with the stiletto heel motif. The flatware is J.A. Henckels Bellaserra.

 

The polyester LinenTablecloth.com napkins in “Caribbean” blue are folded lengthwise and placed with one end beneath the charger. Each napkin is cinched with a colorful beaded napkin ring rescued from the clearance bin at Bed Bath & Beyond 5+ years ago.

 

The fun stiletto heel glassware from Dollar Tree rounds out the place setting.

 

Each place setting had its own separate nosegay displayed in a bright pink fluted glass vase from Michaels. I like to do this for ladies luncheons and such. It’s such a personal gesture that guests really appreciate both during and after the event. All flowers for this segment were purchased at Aldi’s!

 

One of my favorite tricks for bringing color and depth to the table is to layer linens. Here I used a white 85″ square (to let the colors of the accessories on top really pop) over a hot pink/fuchsia 108″ round, both from LinenTablecloth.com.  (To see a couple of other examples of linen layering on this site check out Caribbean Queen: One Table, Three Looks, Queen of Hearts Card Partyand Breast Cancer Awareness Luncheon. And if you’d like to see another post-Black Friday tablescape, check out Black Friday Luncheon from back in 2012. )

 

OK…post over, but here are a few bonus pics and a video you will get a kick out of from later in the show. The pic above is of co-host Rob in the kitchen with famed chef/author/restaurateur Lidia Bastianich who was also on the show that day. Yes…THAT Lidia!!!  I was too starstruck to ask for a selfie with her!

Then it just got loopy around there!

 

Rob and Alexis just had TOO much fun with that fake food!!!

 

Group hug! Me with co-hosts Hallie, Rob and Alexis with my buddy Barbara on the other end. Another show down!!

I will once again join Susan and the gang over at Between Naps on the Porch for Tablescape Thursday. I’m also joining Sandra at Sweet Sensations for Celebrate Your Story. You can still catch cool ideas for your Thanksgiving tablescaping as well as the upcoming Christmas holidays!

Thanksgiving 2017 In Gold & White

Thanksgiving is just 3 weeks away?!??!??!!? Let’s dive right into this quick clip from an appearance on the “Better Kansas City” show to discuss casual vs. formal Thanksgiving tablescapes.

With all that in mind, here’s an example of a more formal Thanksgiving tablescape that I created for a recent community presentation. It has all the trappings of a traditional formal setting with crystal and china and linen napkins, yet it’s pared down to better reflect modern times.

 

 

This tablescape begins with a luxurious shimmering gold crinkle taffeta tablecloth, a terrific reflective backdrop to the crystal and china.

 

 

 

 

I kept the place settings a stark white for the most part, starting with a snow white charger. The absence of color in the setting is briefly interrupted by the thin gold band on the rim of the dinner plate and subtle design on the Royal Scotland soup bowl. A capricious beaded wreath encircles a pristine white pumpkin just for show. I tucked a simple white napkin just underneath the charger to hang over the table’s edge and disrupt the expanse of gold in the tablecloth. Unadorned gold flatware and Cristal d’Arques “Longchamps” stemware complete each place setting.

 

 

 

 

The formality of the table is primarily conveyed by the pair of hefty gold-trimmed crystal epergnes in the centerpiece. (These epergnes were also used in “Thanksgiving 2010” and “Shake Your Tail Feather“.) I briefly agonized over what to place in the epergne bowls and ultimately decided to repeat the look at each place setting with the addition of a bit of feathery greenery and reindeer moss. The moss recurs in a trio of etched gold ceramic cylinders. The “gold leafed” wishbones are from Hobby Lobby.

 

 

 

 

 

The buffet behind the dining table is decked out in white pumpkins of varying size accented with creamy hydrangea, sprigs of white snowberry, deer sheds and bundled birch logs. The crystal votive holders amp up the setting and continue the formality of the table. Over on the bar cart, a bowl of acorns is surrounded by a snowberry wreath. A lone orange mini pumpkin adds a splash of color.

Other Thanksgiving tablescapes on this site include:
Celebrate Me Home – Thanksgiving 2012
Thanksgiving 2010
Wondrous Wheat
Pheasants & Peacocks
Shake Your Tail Feather
Over the River and Through the Woods

I’m joining Susan at “Between Naps on the Porch” again this week for her 475th Tablescape Thursday! I’m also joining the party at “Celebrate Your Story” for the first time. You won’t want to miss the fabulous tablescapes there!