Warm Colors of Fall

Fall is my favorite time of year, and I’ve had fun this year exploring some non-traditional colors and settings. I’d like to settle in here for a moment with a more traditional, “dressy casual” setting for a fall table that incorporates a lot of the time-honored, warmer colors of red, green, gold and chocolate brown.

 

This is the recreation of a tablescape I created for a recent presentation to a local women’s group. Here, and for that presentation, I started with a chocolate brown crinkle tablecloth. For a more casual look, however, no tablecloth necessary. I love a bare wood table! The place settings are lined up on the sides only to allow the runner pattern – an integral part of the table design – to fully show.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The elements on this table are a wonderful mix of colors that represent the fall season: Gold square chargers from World Market are topped with a deep green Home Essentials & Beyond “Montclair Collection” square plate with a snazzy floral design from Home Goods and a chocolate brown oak leaf soup bowl from Pier 1 (also seen here).  (Detail Note: I used these plates – also seen here –  because the whimsical scroll mimicked the flair on the ends of the table runner.) Casually lounging in the bowl is a multi-hued cotton napkin from Pier 1 cinched with a Pier 1 amber and umber crystal napkin ring that adds just a touch of glitz. The stemware is an easy mix of an inexpensive green stem from Dollar Tree and fabulous amber goblet from Z Gallerie.

 

 

 

 

The tablescape was built around the colors of this fall runner I found a couple of years ago at TJ Maxx. To go with oak leaves and cattails for the centerpiece somehow seemed a bit prosaic, so instead the etched gold ceramic vases hold bunches of fiery red (faux) boxwood branches. To pick up on the other colors in the runner pattern, I added candle ring wreaths of gold, green and red to the base of the round outer vases. The taller, squared center vase includes flowing foliage and a couple of short curly willow branches for additional height.

 

 

A streamlined glitter gold tray on the buffet holds champagne glasses and a single gold mercury glass votive. When the table centerpiece is very busy, often best to keep the surroundings simple…unless you’re going for a really over-the-top look, of course!

Other traditional fall tablescapes for casual entertaining on this site include:
Dinner With Friends – Gumbo Dinner Party
September Wine
Pumpkins & Peacocks
Autumn Blues
Pears & Pine Cones
September Harvest Breakfast
Simply Bittersweet
Ap-pear-ently Autumn
Casual Fall Harvest Dinner
Italian Honeysuckle
Quick & Casual Fall Dinner
Autumn In Cactus Country
Sunflower Simple
Most Egg-cellent Fall Breakfast
Copper Zen
Serape High Style
Pheasants & Pumpkins

I’m joining Susan’s Tablescape Thursday bunch again this week. Slide on over there to see lots more ideas from a lot of talented tablescapers from all over the planet!

Autumn In Cactus Country

My good friend (since 6th grade!), Monica, was recently swept away from the Kansas City area to Arizona. Arizona??!?!??!? We’re Midwestern girls! We don’t know anything about ARIZONA!!! We’re used to perceptible changes of seasons, with autumn (next to Christmas, of course) being at the top of our decorating list! We know that spring means pastels, summer means ice cream colors, winter means Chiefs red, and fall means russet, burgundy, deep greens and orange. Lots and lots of orange! What in heaven’s name is a Missouri transplant to do for fall in Arizona??!???!

Asked and answered on a recent “Better Kansas City” segment! This 2-1/2 minute clip includes four different autumn tablescaping palettes I think you’ll enjoy!

One way to bring the season to your table in climes where warm colors can overpower and autumn leaves simply don’t exist is to use white and pastel pumpkins along with lots of succulents.

 

 

 

 

 

 

While the palette is predominantly white, it’s the accompanying elements that lend to the fall feeling. Notice the use of translucent stemware and votive holders that keep the table light. The Home Essentials Antique White dishes, faux mother of pearl flatware, napkins…all in the white family but not the exact tone to add subtle variety.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tucked among the varied sizes of white pumpkins are chicks & hens, jelly bean plants, echeveria, agave and seeded eucalyptus. The greens and burgundy in the succulents are a deliberate nod to the season and keep the tablescape from becoming too austere.

 

While standard votives would look perfectly fine with this vignette, I chose these cylindrical ones from Pier 1 to add just a teensy bit of height. It’s already hot in Arizona, so just a few for ambience!

 

The dining table is loaded with decor, so I elected to keep the buffet behind it sparse. The clay pots I chose for these flowing succulents remind me of a weathered adobe home with its pinkish tones.

The elements used in this tablescape could be applied all around the house for light, airy, fresh fall decorating in southwestern U.S. states like Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada and Oklahoma, and in parts of California, Utah, Texas, and Colorado as well as in Mexico.

Without question this was one of the most fun challenges ever! Monica, I hope this helps! Michael, I still don’t forgive you for taking Monica away! 😉

Other tablescapes on this site from this
“Better Kansas City” show clip:

Autumn Chinoiserie
(others soon to come!)

Other tablescapes on this site
using white pumpkins for fall:

Thanksgiving 2010
Autumn White Wedding
Finally Fall
Over the River and Through the Woods

Another tablescape suitable for fall
using succulents (and sunflowers!):

Cinco de Mayo Simply Done

I’m linking up this week for the first time to “Dishing It & Digging It” and the “Share Your Style” blog party where you can see all kinds of talent in the blog world!

Autumn Chinoiserie – Classic Blue & White

I recently did a “Better Kansas City” show segment on using unexpected colors and patterns for fall decorating. I’ll publish that clip next week. Meanwhile, here’s a taste of that decorating style that I have come to embrace with great enthusiasm: incorporating autumn touches into existing chinoiserie decor.

 

 

 

Ralph Lauren “Mandarin” dinner and salad plates rest upon a stark white ceramic charger from Old Time Pottery.

 

 

I found these lovely cream soup bowls at Nell Hill’s in Parkville, Mo., about 40 minutes away from our home and only 5 minutes from my orthopedic surgeon’s office. (Best place to regroup after bad news!)  I LOVE that place!!! I never spend less than an hour when I visit. A crisp white cotton napkin is fashioned into a variation on the classic crown fold. A sprig of autumn berries brings color and additional texture to the place setting.

 

 

Faux bamboo flatware is perfect for this setting.

 

I bought scads of this sturdy cobalt blue stemware at Pier 1 some years ago, and it has served me well.

 

A very autumn-y pattern of plaid in the table runner with shades of russet, orange, amber, burgundy, cobalt and white is a perfect contrast to dishes. The riot of color contributes to and enhances the overall  boldness of the tablescape. The runner is from TJ Maxx.

 

 

 

 

Ginger jars from Nell Hill’s and temple jars from Home Goods make up the main part of the centerpiece.

 

 

 

 

The length of the centerpiece is punctuated with deep orange mini pumpkins, real and faux acorns, and a meandering garland of berries. Latticed white ceramic planters hold mounded arborvitae.

 

 

The buffet behind the dining table holds its fair share of chinoiserie pieces including a pitcher, an octagonal bowl filled with oversized acorns, and Victorian foot baths mixed with silver candlesticks. The white foo dogs are a nod to the chinoiserie style and add a little unexpected touch.

The bar cart in the corner extends the touches of chinoiserie including the bowls filled with acorns.

Other tablescapes integrating chinoiserie on this blog include:
Mandarin Bling
Mother’s Day Brunch
Blue & White Family Picnic
Blue & White 30th Birthday

Peony Power

I’m joining Susan at Between Naps on the Porch for her 471st Tablescape Thursday! I’m seeing lots of fall and Halloween tablescapes over there today, so drop on in to get inspired!

 

 

 

 

 

An Offer You Can’t Refuse

The weather is beginning to cool, which means nights snuggled up with a good movie. I’m back with another fun segment from “Better Kansas City”, and if you don’t watch any other clip, YOU MUST SEE THIS ONE!!! My hope is that by including these short demonstration clips from the show (this one is just 3-1/2 minutes), you can get a better grasp of the tablescape construction and the thinking behind each.

And now a few still pics from the set…

 

 

I found the black, red & white melamine plates at Hobby Lobby 4 or 5 years ago but never had a chance to use them until now. Disposable (gasp!) Italian-themed napkins are from Tuesday Morning.

 

Long wicker bread baskets are used for a loaf of crusty Italian bread and a fun tomato and artichoke display that adds color and texture to the buffet table.

 

 

 

 

 

I liked the idea of using olives as part of the decor as “The Godfather – Part II” explores “the old country” and the Genco Pura Olive Oil Company (a front company for the Don’s real operations) in America. If you live in an area where olive branches are readily available, by all means…go for it!!! Here in the Kansas City area, however, artificial branches had to suffice. They make the perfect substitution for flowers casually plopped into a Methuselah wine bottle. (This bottle was also used for the wine tasting dinner “September Wine” and “Taste of Wine Buffet“.)

 

A night in front of the television screen sometimes calls for a good old-fashioned TV tray! Dress it up a little to complement the theme of the movie. Here a black & white checkered placemat is topped with a white dinner plate and the melamine salad plate from the buffet table.

 

Have a little fun and do something campy or totally unexpected to get guests in the spirit of the theme. Extract some idea from the movie that is easy to replicate. Here, I took a cue from the gruesome yet iconic scene in sleazy film mogul Jack Woltz’s palatial bedroom. My wooden horse’s head is swathed in “bloody” Halloween gauze from Dollar Tree. Fun little thing to put at the doorway as guests come in!

This was fun! Enjoy your next movie night at home!

Other posts on this blog using the horse (all of him!):
Carousel Colors

Run for the Roses
Celebrating Longview Farm
Kentucky Derby Buffet

Other posts on this blog using black, white & red:
Black, White & Red All Over
Black, White & Red All Over Christmas
Grill It Up!
Life Is Just A Chair of Bowlies

Checkered Christmas
Derby Day Dining

Another movie night post:
March of the Penguins

I’m joining Susan’s Tablescape Thursday this week! There are some very creative fall tablescapes you’ll not want to miss!!!

Finally Fall

I didn’t get a chance to share last year’s fall decor, so while I’m still tinkering with the decor for 2017, I thought I’d drop a few detail pics from fall 2016 – frequently punctuated with bittersweet, pumpkins and acorns – on you. First, a little 3-minute video clip from a recent stint on KCTV-5’s “Better Kansas City” show to remind you of some of the free and easy things you can incorporate into your fall decorating!

 

The modestly proportioned entry hall…

I bought this branch and twig frame plain at Home Finishings here in Lee’s Summit and wired in a bit of fall foliage. (Lots of goodies from Home Finishings are used in my 2017 decor. I’m so excited!!!)

 

I created this tilted pumpkin look using just a dot of hot glue on each one. I wasn’t sure it would work out, but it did!

 

 

 

The vintage “telephone table” just inside the doorway had a huge lantern with a cherub inside. I added a little bittersweet garland to tie in with the wreath on the bigger foyer table, a couple of mini pumpkins and a candle. (See the cherub used in a Spring setting, “Showered In Pink“.

 

The library…

 

I wanted something with a “gathered” look, so I started with a bed of reindeer moss and a plump white pumpkin then just started adding fall-like elements. I elevated the silver compote with a stack of old cigar boxes.

 

Dining room…

This huge pumpkin is just plopped down into a large silver compote with a wreath of grapevine, leaves, pine cones, berries and gourds. The woven tray beneath breaks up the riot of color between the arrangement and the runner, and it adds a bit of extra texture. (See the large silver compote used in different ways at “Cranberry Christmas“, “Cranberry Christmas – Squared“, “Roses In October“,  and “Happy Mother’s Day, Senator Mom“.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

The kitchen…

 

 

 

I have enjoyed changing out the seasonal decor on this 3-tier galvanized tray (from Costco…just $19.99!!!) over the last year or so. (See the Spring setup at “Spring & Easter Around the House“, the Winter styling on Pinterest, and the Summer arrangement on Pinterest.)

 

Simple but dramatic, a mass of berry-laden branches create a nice side decor piece.

 

 

 

 

Top floor hallway…

 

And finally, the family room…

Those are giant (faux) acorns with the mini pumpkins on a bed for green Spanish moss!

 

 

 

 

More giant acorns!

 

I really liked this simple yet effective display of a white pumpkin, leaves, and a berry garland on a bed of green Spanish moss with a deer shed at the base of the putty-colored Z Gallerie “St. Helena” bowl.

 

 

That’s it for now. I hope to introduce my Fall 2017 decor in the next week or so. At least it won’t be a whole year late like this one! 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

Honey Bee Tea

Switching gears from last week’s casual and blindingly colorful post

 

The deck is set for a ladies tea in lavender and white, starting with a full length round lavender tablecloth from LinenTablecloth.com.

 

 

The inspiration for this tablescape came from these cool Mary Lake-Thompson flour sack towels I found at Home Finishings in Lee’s Summit, MO. I’ve often used towels as napkins, and these were perfect!

 

White lacy chargers from Michaels, lavender embossed lace dinner plates by Matceramica, and Pier 1 “Doily” salad plate are joined by “Royal Danish” sterling silver.

 

Each guest has a lovely take home favor of tea in a lavender organza bag with a an Austrian crystal-tipped silver spoon attached.

 

 

Austere white teacups and saucers are from Old Time Pottery. A decorated sugar cube and a splash of color from a lemon slice dress it up a bit.

 

 

 

 

A silver beaded edge 4-tier server filled with a variety of sweets and savories is the primary part of the centerpiece.

 

Plump, luscious blueberries in a lacy white jardiniere from Hobby Lobby. (Seems I like to use this jardiniere for blueberries. You can also see it used this way in “Blue & White Family Picnic“!)

 

 

To mimic the design of the napkins, a small pot of lavender sits atop a delicate lacy white doily. Honestly…when else are you going to use a doily???

 

 

The tea/bar cart from our dining room made its way out onto the deck. A cherry wood tea caddy from Bombay Company holds a variety of teabags on the lower shelf.

 

 

I stacked silver cake plateaus to display more sweets on the tea cart. Brownies on bottom, petit fours on top with another tiny pot of lavender.

 

 

 

Almost on cue, a tiny butterfly took a rest on top of the white teapot! Rock sugar stirrers are presented in a cream soup cup from Nell Hills. The bee skep honey pot is from Home Goods.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The conversation area is set up to encourage mingling while nibbling and sipping. The coffee table is topped with a vintage white cotton lace-edged runner. Another silver 4-tier dessert tower serves up desserts. It’s not often that I use paper napkins, but for this occasion I wrapped white doily-like paper cocktails napkins around lavender ones for a peekaboo effect.

 

 

 

The shabby chic side table between the settee and arm chairs is set up with crystal sherry service and a few more sweets served up on a silver pedestal.

Other teatime tablescapes on this site include:
Tea Roses
Coming Up Roses
Hello, Dahlia!
Tee Mit Hans Dresden

Other posts on this site using towels as napkins include:
Popsicle Party
Black & White Barnyard Breakfast

Most Egg-cellent Fall Breakfast
Grill It Up!
Italian Honeysuckle
Picnic Ants

Other lavender posts on this site include:
Clematis & Hyacinth – A Purple & Grey Tablescape
Purple & Pastel
Pink & Purple Chocolate Christmas
Luscious Layers of Lavender

Want to see some great tablescapes by talent from all around the world? Join me for Susan’s Tablescape Thursday!

 

 

 

 

 

Polly Want a Party!

Every summer I feel the need to do one real doozy of a tablescape, and earlier this summer THIS was IT.  My inspiration: the pool parties and other hot cha cha patio gatherings my parents hosted WAY back in the day (1960s), and it just kind of took off from there.
(P.S. – In response to requests to please do so, I have turned the Comments section back on. PLEASE do not feel obligated in any way to comment. I’m totally OK with “glance-and-go” or “peek-and-pin” without remarks. The Comments section is merely there for your convenience.)

C’mon up the back steps and join the Beach Blanket Bingo fun! (Those 55+ will totally understand that reference!)

 

When we got new energy-efficient windows, I couldn’t bear to part with all of the original ones that came with the house. I use them in decorative ways in various places inside and out like here at the top of the deck steps.

 

The barrage of bright-colored paper lanterns hung with hot pink ribbon starts here at the top of the stairs.

 

 

This old wrought iron bakers rack on the deck comes in handy for food and beverage service from time to time. Here I have stacked up bamboo trays, plates and flatware bundles for those who prefer to eat away from the main table. Just pick up your tray cafeteria style, go through the buffet line, then pick your seat! Notice the throwback paper honeycomb pineapples! (To see this baker’s rack completely decked out for food service, check out “Patisserie de Paris“.

 

 

 

 

The “lounge” area of the deck includes the coffee table where an abundance of fresh tropical fruit serves as a centerpiece. I spread out a trio of monstera leaf placemats over the glass for visual interest.

 

 

 

A mini bar is set up on a round side table. Today’s specialties: your choice of mind-blowing margaritas or fresh and frothy piña coladas! (Seriously, y’all…drink a couple of my margaritas and you’ll find yourself in a hotel room with a tramp stamp, eyebrow piercing and French braided hair, staring at a license signed by “Not-the-Real-Elvis” that makes it official between you and some gnarly barely-of-age surfer dude named Bodhi!)

 

 

I used weathered crates (reminds me of driftwood) as side tables in a couple of areas. Yep…there sits one of those life-altering margaritas! The bamboo tray is loaded up and can easily balance on your lap. To see another way I’ve used these bamboo trays purchased at Old Time Pottery, see “Orange You Glad You Came to Dinner?” And speaking of dinner, I guess I should show you the actual table!

 

A sweeping 108-in. fuchsia tablecloth from LinenTablecloth.com sets the scene for this table for 5.

 

 

I like to layer up! In this instance, TWO placemats: natural round “Water Hyacinth” from Pier 1 topped with a fun and floppy off-center monstera leaf from Z Gallerie. (I also used the monstera leaf placemats for “Caribbean Queen“.) The brightly colored ruffled chargers in hot pink, lime, and turquoise are from Crate & Barrel, and can also be seen on posts like “Popsicle Party“, “Pleasant Under Glass“, and “Tropicana“.

 

Faux bamboo flatware is a staple around here! I use it a LOT!!!

 

Paper napkins striped with bright colors are tucked into these fun parrot napkin rings from Z Gallerie.

 

Mixing stemware is a definite YES!!! Just find something that ties them together like shape, color, or style. (The aqua blue stemware is from Pier 1, and the clear hurricane glasses from Old Time Pottery.)

 

 

Just like on the bar (filled with lemons and limes), these jaunty floral Hawaiian shorts are a fun addition! Here the shorts are filled with sago palms for an easy-to-assemble tropical centerpiece.

 

 

 

Yes, my paper lantern addiction continues!! (Don’t they look extra pretty in that 2nd pic with the lights glowing?) This time they have a bright pink grass skirt backdrop. I dropped in a few more swingin’ parrots, too.

 

Off to the side is a bowl of leis for guests to get in the spirit of the evening. Flip flops for everyone!!!

 

Cheers, everyone, from my buddy, Barbara (who is probably still laid out trying to make the room stop spinning from this drink!!!).

Other tropical-inspired posts on this blog include:
Flashy Flamingos – Navy, White & Pink Tablescape
Summer Breeze
Hot Tropical
Hot Fun In the Summertime
Flamingos In Paradise
Old Navy Seafood Cruise
Oranges & Blossoms
Caribbean Queen
Tropicana

Other posts using paper lanterns include:
Fairy Princess Party for Little Girls
Chinese Takeout
Cupcake Colors
Butterfly Kaleidoscope
Blue & White 30th Birthday
Easter Brunch
Under A Paper Moon

I’m joining Susan and the gang for “Tablescape Thursday” this week. If you want to see some really cool tablescapes by a variety of talented artists, head on over!

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Grazin’ In The Grass – 80th Birthday Party

GRAZIN’ IN THE GRASS
(a re-post from April 2009)

My husband and I hosted a much less formal birthday bash for my Mom in 2009 to celebrate #80. We started off with a wine and cheese bar for family & friends.

 

My Mom’s official birth date is March 22, so what better way to ring in the season than with a spring tablescape rich with the colors and elements we miss over the long, cold winter? Mom really got a kick out of my sudden “green thumb” with rye grass grown just for the occasion in clear glass containers. (She then tried to play it off…like, “Whatever, dude. No big deal. I could’ve done that with my eyes closed.” Look at that look on her face…and the one on mine!!! 🙂 🙂 🙂 )  Rye grass only takes a couple of weeks to look like this! See Tip #15 under the “Table Tips” tab above. Fresh Gerbera daisies add a playful and colorful element to the centerpiece set atop a length of moss.

 The casual dining room setting included a double layer of placemats. The cabbage leaf placemats were perfect for ushering in Spring! Mikasa stoneware in various Spring colors gave the table a little kick in the pants, while plain yellow linen napkins layered with gauzy floral ones danced above.
 
Just about everybody loves a cupcake! Makes you feel like a kid again, doesn’t it? For this celebration, vanilla cupcakes frosted in spring pastels and decorated with “fluttering” butterflies were the talk of the party! You can’t go wrong when decorating with butterflies…they enchant both young and “not-as-young”!
 The official octogenarian and moi! I’m not scared of aging…I’ve got good genes! 🙂
Other birthday posts on this site include:
The Party She Deserves
Celebrating 85 Years of Fabulous!
88 Years & 88 Keys
Princess Pink Birthday Dinner

Dinner With Friends (a re-post from September 2010)

I love getting together at home with friends! If time and money would allow me to do it twice a week, I would. There’s just something about the relaxed atmosphere before, during and after that generates warm, happy feelings.
My friend Andre Harper, owner of Harper’s Catering which specializes in Cajun cuisine, slaved over a hot stove to create a massive sized pot of some of the best gumbo I’ve ever tasted. Puttering around in the kitchen in a dual effort to make garlic-cheese drop biscuits, sipping cocktails, and doing a little pre-dinner munching on the wonderful seafood dip Andre made is a great way to spend a Friday evening. (The biscuits were a huge hit with all the guests and a tasty and unexpected departure from traditionally-served French bread.)
 When we finally sat down to the dinner table, spirits were high and appetites were mighty as we all dug in.
Even for casual get-togethers like this one, I still like to let friends know I care enough about them to set a pretty table. A thoughtful mix of relaxed and formal elements draws the eye to the tablescape’s place settings. Here I start with a “Natural Flower” water hyacinth round placemat from Pier 1. The rough hewn texture of these placemats is just as important as the style in creating the desired look. Next comes American Atelier’s creamy off-white “Empress” chargers and soup bowls topped with chocolate brown oak leaf-shaped salad bowls from Pier 1. Classic Cristal D’Arques Longchamps glassware and Hampton Silversmiths “Patriot” flatware add a bit of glam, and a sunny yellow napkin from Bed, Bath & Beyond add a much needed punch of unexpected color.
The buffet behind the dining table is enlivened with the shocking orange of a wooden platter from Z Gallerie. A small floral using similar flowers to those on the table softens the look. The end of the dining table is used for service with the gumbo in a sleek pale yellow tureen from Pottery Barn.
The centerpiece is a trail of dark iron candlesticks and brightly colored sunflowers, spider mums and carnations (pink, just to mix things up a bit!) from Costco in Longchamps mini vases. (TIP: Buy a single bunch of flowers and divide them up into small vases for a plentiful look on the cheap!) The total look: upscale with a casual kick.
Andre and I have collaborated on other events, most notably in the Spring of 2012. Visit Purple and Pastel a dinner party in honor of his parents’ birthdays and 60th wedding anniversary!!!