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!

 

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!

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! 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Black & White Barnyard Breakfast

One day into official summer, and already I’m melting…melting. While I’m poised to sit on top of the cooling vents in the house for the next 3 months, there are still those of you brave enough to venture outdoors to entertain. Hats off to you!!! This short 4-minute “Better Kansas City” segment I did in recent months features tips on outdoor entertaining. The clip is followed by an actual breakfast/brunch tablescape out on the deck that I hope you enjoy.

 

Got that? Don’t try to burn the house down like me! Now…on to breakfast!

 

The guest table at this bucolic breakfast setting for four is dominated by the ultimate foundation piece: a full-length black & white checkered tablecloth! If all you have is an ugly folding table like I do, a full-length linen works magic!

 

 

 

I found the most beautiful kitchen dishes this past Christmas season at Home Goods! Our kitchen motif is a mix of black & white checks and toile, so these Ciroa “Buffalo Check” dishes are my new favorite.  They made an easy transition out to the deck! The napkins, purchased at Tuesday Morning, are actually kitchen towels that I like to use as napkins. The barnyard motif of a steer, lamb, pig, and rooster make them perfect for this country-/farm-inspired tablescape.

 

 

 

DSCN4698I love these miniature milk bottles with the embossed word “dairy” and a cow (most visible in the photo of the empty bottle) for serving milk! I picked these up at Hobby Lobby a few years ago, and they’ve served me (and guests!) well.

 

If your breakfast guests are a little bit special – like a bridal or baby shower – consider a small favor like this little green woven box simply tied up in a black and white checkered ribbon. The contrasting color of the box makes it really stand out!

 

 

 

 

It’s important that food is beautifully presented and that guest tables are enjoyable.  A mix of everyday and “fancy” pieces round out this table. While the croissants are served in a silver bowl, a loosely gathered mix of flowers and greenery in a whitewashed aluminum pitcher serves as the off-center centerpiece. A bovine menu chalkboard adds a little more of the theme to the table’s centerpiece.

 

 

Off to the side is a miniature buffet table has a plain white tablecloth as its foundation.

 

A generously-proportioned white vase from Home Goods holds a mix of yellow tulips and bright, feathery greenery. A simple off-center centerpiece like this adds something to the buffet table without getting in the way of food service. Notice how the yellow tulips, a significant and pretty contrast to the black & white, complement the yellow flowers on the guest table.

 

 

One of my fun kitchen pigs is another piece of the barnyard buffet theme. I helped him to blend into the works with a bowtie fashioned from black & white checkered ribbon.

 

The black and white buffalo check dishes make another appearance on the buffet table . Hungry yet?

Crazy for buffalo check and/or gingham? “Check” out additional posts on this site using them!:
Black, White, and Red All Over Christmas
Life Is Just a Chair of Bowlies
Checkered Christmas

Looking for more brunch/breakfast ideas? Take a peek at these:
Building a Better Brunch Buffet
Midsummer Shabby Chic Apple Tablescape
Breakfast at Tiffany’s
Most Egg-cellent Fall Breakfast
September Harvest Breakfast Tablescape
Peachy Keen Breakfast Tablescape
Christmas Coffee
Winter Brunch
Easter Brunch
Barton’s Easter Brunch
Purple for Spring 
Carousel Colors
The Bluebird Special
Bellini Birthday Brunch
Mother’s Day Brunch

 

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

 

 

 

 

I’m a Little Bit Country: Garth Brooks & Paper Plates

“Blame it all on my roots, I showed up in boots, and ruined your black tie affair.” So goes the start of the anthem made famous by country music legend Garth Brooks. My sister made an early birthday present of a ticket to see him once again here in Kansas City this past Sunday night. My sister, niece, cousin and I donned our country western gear and “yeehawed” the night away. Just as magical as the first time I saw Garth in concert 10 years ago. His music inspired me, in part, to create a fun country/western themed tablescape using disposable paper goods for a September 2016 segment of the “Better Kansas City” show. The 4-minute video clip is followed by still photos of the tablescape from the set. Stick around for a few pics from concert night at the very end of the post!

 

For the demonstration I used one of my trusty stretchy Spandex fitted tablecloths in white from LinenTablecloth.com as the base to serve as better contrast to the black plates and cups. The table runner is a piece of burlap folded to size.

 

 

 

The theme of the segment was all about using disposable goods (something I don’t necessarily advocate in my quest to help save Mother Earth, but sometimes I suppose it’s just more practical!), so I stopped by a dollar store to pick up plates and cups. The country/western-themed paper napkins are from Tuesday Morning, the raffia-tied flatware from Costco, and the iron spurs that made their debut on my post Pretty In Pink, Wicked In Spurs are from the men’s decor area at Hobby Lobby.

 

The rustic miniature tree bark fencing was also first introduced back in 2014 on that Pretty in Pink, Wicked In Spurs Breast Cancer Awareness Month tablescape. I used them then as a sort of charger beneath each place setting. This time around I simply balanced them like fences down the center of the table. Got these from the clearance bin at Hobby Lobby a long time ago, but you could probably find something similar at a craft store or make your own!

 

I was excited to find these cute brown metal lanterns at Hobby Lobby, too. The quintessential accent for a cowboy (or cowgirl!) tablescape! I’ve never put oil in them, though. I opt for a safer LED candle.

 

 

The floral arrangements here are a mix of faux wild flowers and daisies, but could be easily replicated in fresh. As a vase I used a cute resin cowboy “belt” from Hobby Lobby. I’m not sure if they carry them anymore as they weren’t on their website, but you can check your local store.

 

Here I am with former Better Kansas City co-host Lisa Teachman, one of the nicest people on earth. Thanks for making it all so easy, Lisa!

For other rustic/western/country-themed tablescapes on this blog:
Pretty In Pink, Wicked In Spurs
American Royal Tablescape

And now, a few pics from the concert. If you’ve never seen Garth Brooks in concert, you’re really missing out on a treat for the senses!!!

Me at home before gettin’ on my horse hoppin’ in my ultra-suburban SUV to the concert. Hmmmm…wearing the same dress and hat as I did for the “Better Kansas City” segment. Coincidence? 😉

We pooled our culinary resources at my cousin’s house to put on a feast fit for a cowgirl before the concert!

 

 

 

Ready to head out to the concert of the year! L to R: My sister, Berishia in her new patriotic cowboy hat; my niece, Yvonne, fanning away the late Spring heat; me, and; my fancy cousin, Dee

Ready to boot scoot boogie!!! Whoa, wait…that’s Brooks and Dunn, isn’t it?!!

In our side view seats that were actually pretty good. L to R: Berishia, Yvonne, Dee, me

My niece, Yvonne, and me. We were SO ready to have a good time!!!

THE MAN!!!!!!!!!!! Garth sang his heart (and , eventually, his voice!) OUT!!! I took quite a few pics, but  I don’t want to spoil it for you if you’re going sometime soon!

 

A billion and one thanks to my sister and fellow Garth enthusiast, Berishia, for the early birthday present!!!

 

 

 

Informally Formal: Marrying modern and classic in your table setting

My 4-minute segment on yesterday’s “Better Kansas City” show on KCTV-5 was all about “informally formal” entertaining at home!

As mentioned in the video clip, our Easter dinner tablescape was, I think, a good example of informally formal design. We simultaneously celebrated my son’s 39th birthday, and I wanted both my son and the rest of the family to feel special – because they are! But this was a day I wanted to be able to relax a little, too, so instead of formal china and crystal, I pulled out some terrific Pier 1 plates to fill the bill. This tablescape, minus the obvious nods to Easter, would be perfect for any Springtime event including birthdays, Mother’s Day, ladies luncheons, bridal or baby showers, or even engagement parties.

 

 

 

 

I’ve not used these beautiful Pier 1 plates since 4 years ago when I posted a piece called “The Bluebird Special“. While certainly far from what might be construed as traditionally formal, they have a simultaneously staid/laid back look. The woven square chargers and faux bamboo flatware lend texture and an organic feel to the place setting.  The yellow undertones of the flatware complement the bird on the plate as well as the floral centerpieces. The lavender napkin is fashioned in a traditional pyramid fold, and the green goblets are from Dollar Tree.

 

I enjoy creating specialized menus on my computer for at-home events. This colorful one in shades of yellow, purple and white with a bright pink clip leans to the side of informality. The colors complement the florals.

 

 

 

 

 

I might have gone a little wild with all the florals this year, but they were all so pretty! Our generous across-the-street neighbors allowed me to snip from their lavishly blooming lilac bush to complete the springtime floral designs of pink & yellow tulips, Mardi gras Solidago, and alstroemeria in white vases. The florals extended down the length of a fresh moss runner dotted with moss bird nests from Home Finishings. (HINT: If the smell of moss wrinkles your nose, open it up and air it out for a couple of days before use.) For additional height, texture, a burst of color, and the pure drama of it all, I filled a white glass vase with forsythia branches and placed it at the very end of the table. Note that the full-length white tablecloth from LinenTablecloth.com is knotted at the end for safety as well as a cool contemporary look.

 

The alternating pink and lavender satin chair sashes almost didn’t make the cut. My husband thought the plain white stretch chair covers were sufficient. I, however, begged to differ. When he saw the chairs with the sashes, high fives and mea culpas were in order. (We agreed they made the chairs resemble Easter eggs!) Depending on the type of event you are hosting, chair sashes may or may not be appropriate. It’s up to you!

When planning your next Springtime event, keep in mind who your guests are, what feeling you’d like the space to evoke and, as always, just what level of formality is within your comfort zone! As alluded to in the video clip, formality may be circling the bowl, but it ain’t dead yet! 😉

For more photos of tablescapes seen in the video clip:
“Blurred Lines With Shades of Pink”
“Celebrating 85 Years of Fabulous”
“My Sister’s Wedding China”

A few other Spring tablescapes on this blog you may enjoy include:
“Springtime In Paris”
“Patisserie de Paris”
“Easter Brunch”
“Pinky Peter Cottontail”
“Barton’s Easter Brunch”
“All A’Bloom For Spring”
“Spring Has Sprung”
“Welcome Back, Joel”
“Peony Power”
“Tulips in the IHOP Hour”
“Float Like A Butterfly”
“Purple & Pastel”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

88 Years and 88 Keys

This is a 2-minute compilation video of the birthday celebration.
See still photos below.

 

My Mom very recently celebrated her 88th birthday. Here’s the thing, though: In no way does this woman personify the “typical” 88-year-old. Although she retired from the Missouri Senate about 6 years ago to care for my ailing Dad, she never really retired. She still has a seat on several boards, is active in her church and community, shops like a demon, and continues to pick up various civic awards. In fact, I had to postpone her annual birthday luncheon by 5 days so that she could attend an awards luncheon on her actual birthday! The Starr Women’s Hall of Fame Induction & Award Luncheon had an impressive guest list of about 1,000 and featured keynote speaker actor/activist/author Ashley Judd (so nice, so pretty, and a powerful speaker). It was a different but fun way to celebrate.

Sen. Yvonne S. Wilson (Ret.)

Mom entering the stage as she is introduced.

 

Sen. Yvonne S. Wilson (ret.)

Mom with her medal

 

Sen. Yvonne S. Wilson (ret.)

Proud moment for my husband and me to be there with my Mom!

 

L to R: my cousin Dee, me, my Mom, Ashley Judd, my Aunt Vivienne, my niece Yvonne, and my sister Berishia

 

How on earth could I possibly follow something as cool as that??!?!??!!? Answer: Don’t even try to compete! Just do what you do, or as the kids say, “Just do you.”

The invitations were the inspiration for the tablescape. My Mom has always loved piano music (she endured me tickling the ivories for years!), and so I came up with the idea to pair the 88 keys of the piano with the celebration of her 88 years. I bought 3-part invitations at Hobby Lobby, but decided to create the actual invitation insert myself on plain white cardstock. You’ll see what I did with the other part later.

 

We moved the keyboard upstairs from the basement level to the library for our featured pianist, 10-year-old music student Gabriella Howell, to regale the ladies as they arrived for cocktail hour. (This is Gabriella with her mother, my friend, Angelynn Howell.)

 

 

 

Each guest stopped in the foyer to greet Mom and have an individual photo taken with her. Guests included longtime friends and family. I asked guests to please wear black, white, or a combination of the two for the event so that Mom would stand out in her brilliant red outfit.

 

The dining table was, as almost always during inclement weather, set up in the living room. In keeping with our 88 Keys theme, I chose black & white striped stretch chair covers from LinenTablecloth.com. I’ve used these same chair covers in other diverse tablescapes including Hometown Pride: Kansas City Chiefs vs. Denver Broncos and Blurred Lines With Shades of Pink. The invitation and menu had beautiful black & white damask, so I represented that in the table runner, also from LinenTablecloth.com.

 

The tablecloth used on each of the two 6-ft. tables is simply a white washable 90″ x 132″ poly from LinenTablecloth.com. I loosely tie the ends to keep guests from tripping over the generously proportioned cloth.

 

Nothing pops on black and white quite like red does, so I put together five arrangements of deep red regular size and spray roses along with fluffy, fragrant carnations in cut crystal rose bowls. Simple, but elegant.

 

Each place setting began with a black charger in a contemporary cut topped with a simple square cut B. Smith plate. Black “San Remo” flatware is paired with a cut crystal-handled luncheon knife. “Longchamps” stemware completes the setting.

 

Here is where I used the intended invitation insert…for the menu! I couldn’t get them to go through my computer, so I MacGyver’ed it and printed the menu onto plain white cardstock which was then cut to size and clipped to the backdrop with a tiny black clothespin from Michaels. The red grosgrain ribbon and rhinestone buckle were included with the invitations, so I used them to add a dash of color to the menu. The menus were placed atop a plain black napkin set on the luncheon plates.

 

After-luncheon coffee and dessert service was set up on the breakfast bar. Our kitchen is mercifully decorated in black & white, so everything worked well together through the semi-open space.

 

I found painted white wood numbers in the clearance bin at Hobby Lobby.

 

The dollar store now has cool black & white striped paper napkins!!!

 

I made vanilla cupcakes with light buttercream frosting sprinkled with red & black sugar confetti. They are displayed on white Ralph Lauren “Pavillion” cake stands.

 

No one leaves our home after an event without some sort of favor in hand! I baked sugar cookies, some in musical note shapes and some stamped with musical notes using black gel dye. The black & white striped cardboard favor boxes from Michaels each got a splatter of notes, too. I stuffed them with black & white crinkled & shredded paper.

 

Happy 88th Birthday, Mom! You know I so enjoy being able to host you and your friends each year. Here’s wishing you many, many more!

If you’d like to see previous birthday celebrations for my Mom:
“Celebrating 85 Years of Fabulous”,
or the “Birthdays” tab above for more celebrations!
One more you might really like on this site:
“The Party She Deserves”

Happy April, everyone!