Life Is A Cabaret – New Year’s Eve

This is my final post of 2012, hopefully just in time to provide a few ideas for your swingin’ New Year’s Eve celebration. I’m going to take a little time off over the next couple of weeks to enjoy my family and friends, get ready for tax season, prepare for my Spring tablescaping classes..and put away all the Christmas decor!!!

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

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IMG_0025WMMy goal was to create a room with the sophisticated glitz and glamour of New York cabarets and nightclubs of the 1920s, ’30s and ’40s. I wanted a room that, if you allowed yourself to focus, you could almost hear The Incomparable Hildegarde, see The Rat Pack commanding all eyes with their boyish antics, feel the pulsing of the floor as the band plays, and taste the champagne as it overflows.

This is a tablescape for guys and dolls who appreciate a good time! So gentlemen, don your penguin suit (or your best Babalu-sleeved shirt) and Brylcreem. Ladies, slip into you sultry evening gown, lacy push-up bra, silky thigh high stockings, satin evening gloves, blood-red lipstick…and let’s party!!!

Table lengthwise & mulitple place setting collage

Single place settingWMTo achieve the swanky look I wanted, I started with a starched white full-length table linen. The chargers are mirrored rounds that reflect a lot of light. The Easterling “Majestic” china with its platinum rims always reminds me of a stylish gray morning suit. (Think David Beckham’s cravat and trousers at the recent royal wedding. Mmmmmm….David Beckham………………………….Ahem! Sorry. Zoned out for a second there! :-))

Flatware-Rim Shot collageThe J.A. Henckels “Bellaserra” flatware, while sleek and contemporary in its styling, works well with the place settings.

Napkin & Menu collageI created the menus on our home computer using a shimmery dark gray card stock for the backing. A simple silver brad on top and bottom reminds me of the buttons on a tuxedo shirt or snappy cuff links. (Uh oh, here come those thoughts of David Beckham again!!! ;-)) The white cotton napkin is starched to within an inch of its life, gently rolled inward from each end, and tucked neatly in an unconventional spot between the plate and charger.

Stemware collageGodinger “Chelsea” crystal stemware gleams on the table.

IMG_9879WMA sleek silver dinner bell rests at the hostess’s place setting at the head of the table.

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Mirror ball collage

Feather boa & votive candle collageThe long, luxurious centerpiece was created using multi-level silver Revere candlesticks as pedestals. On top are large mirror balls resembling the Times Square ball dropped in New York City every New Year’s Eve. (With the mirror balls, this would also make a great “Dancing With the Stars” finale watch party tablescape!) Snaking its way through the mirror ball stands and mercury votive holders is a flirty white feather boa. (Elton John called. He wants his wardrobe back! :-)) Additional candlesticks guard each end of the centerpiece with 15″ white candles to lend height, drama, and more ambient light.

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Buffet feathers & candle collageThe buffet behind the dining table is all aglow with more silver mercury glass votives and tall candlesticks. I wanted the buffet to be just as cool as the table, but complement it rather than compete. I filled 8″H mirrored bud vases with stark white goose feathers and biots. For added zing, I cut the individual “branches” of bling ornament sprays (seen whole in our Christmas tree HERE) and tucked them among the feathers. These arrangements remind me of the ostrich feather centerpieces used in swanky New York nightclubs like the Copacabana. (Uh oh…the Barry Manilow song just crept into my head and it’s NEVER gonna leave!!!)

Champagne Cart Collage

Feathers in champagne glasses collageThis is just a fun little touch on our vintage tea cart. Along with a bucket of fabulous pink champagne, a plate of caviar on toast points (because that’s how we roll on New Year’s Eve!), and the requisite noisemakers, are oversized champagne flutes filled with marabou feathers. I wanted to illuminate the feathers throughout. Problem was the LEDs that weighed no more than a good luck black-eyed pea wouldn’t hold up because the feathers were…let’s say it all together now…light as a feather!!! The lights sank to the bottom every time…but I still like the glowing effect. These would look great on the bar for a ritzy cocktail party or as table centerpieces!!!

China cabinet collageThe final touch is on the china cabinet where this beautiful crystal apéritif/digestif set (given to me by my Mom) is on display. The theme is continued here with a few strategically-placed (like a sexy cabaret dancer! ;-)) white ostrich feathers.

I thank you for spending a little time with me each week in 2012, and I wish you a safe and prosperous New Year. May 2013 bring you much love, joy and blessings!

Other tablescapes on this site suitable for New Year’s Eve:
Ringing in the New Year
White Hot
Winter Dinner
Little Black Dress
Peacock Pizzazz
Fete Noir et Gris

I will be joining The Tablescaper this Sunday for “Seasonal Sundays” where you can find all sorts of wonderful ideas for pepping up the season. Next week, as always, I’ll join Cuisine Kathleen for “Let’s Dish!” (anytime Wednesday after 6:00 p.m. CST) and Susan for “Tablescape Thursday” (anytime after 9:00 a.m., CST). I’m sure there will be lots and lots of fabulous New Year’s Eve tablescapes presented by my tablescaping colleagues around the world. You can also catch me over at BeBetsy.com.

HAPPY NEW YEAR, EVERYONE!!!

GET OUT AND PARTY LIKE IT’S 1999…
OR THE END OF THE MAYAN CALENDAR!!! 🙂

Contemporary Christmas Tablescape – Fire & Ice

It’s the holiday season! Already!!! And now it’s time to get serious about planning a variety of tablescapes for parties you will host throughout the season. Let’s kick it off with one whose elements of warm, glowing fire and crisp, cold ice are perfect all winter through (sans the tree, perfect for New Year’s Eve or any January tablescape)…for not a lot of money!

This quick 90-second video shows how this scrumptious winter table for eight looks with the lights down low to take full advantage of the ambient light. (We got ahead of ourselves and completely forgot to take still photos of the room with the warmth of the candlelight all aglow!) NOTE: There is Christmas music playing in the video background, so mute your system if you’re at work or the kids/hubby are napping! 🙂
(Click on any photo to enlarge/enhance. Photos and video by Sheri L. Grant)

This room was transformed to a warm but wintry haven for my “Tablescaping a Winter Wonderland” class taught through MCC-Longview. While this table is a “square” made from two 6-ft. oblong tables kissed together horizontally, the same effect could be easily achieved on a 72-in. round table using a round mirror. This table can seat up to 12 depending on whether or not a charger is used and how much stemware and flatware is at each place setting. Rather than traditional snowy white linens which would work just as well (as would pewter or silver with a few tweaks), I opted for creamy ivory from LinenTablecloth.com.

Each place setting is anchored with a 13″ mirrored charger from Hobby Lobby. (Buy these when they’re 50% off!) Bone white 10 Strawberry Street dinner plates are from Tuesday Morning, and the J.A. Henckels very contemporary “Bellaserra” flatware can be found at Macy’s. An ivory napkin with a sleek silver napkin ring rounds out the place setting.

Clear glass stemware is from Old Time Pottery. It goes on sale for 99¢ per stem fairly often, and I keep it around by the case for entertaining large groups. The style is so versatile and works for both casual and formal tables.

This is no doubt my favorite part of the entire room! An old frameless mirror from the bathroom wall in our former home is just the perfect size for the table centerpiece. Without a frame, the mirror lays flat like a slick sheet of ice. I use these clear glass cylinders a lot, and having a number of them in various sizes in your decorating arsenal is a good thing. They can be so easily transformed into whatever you need for them to be! Here they are filled with “icy” branches anchored with lots of acrylic “ice.” (Faux snow would be another viable option that would render the same frosty effect.) The shorter cylinders are filled with silver ornaments and more “ice.” The silver pieces and crystal faux ice are both highly reflective in the mirror below. (To see another tablescape using the frameless mirror, click HERE.)

To break up the expanse of glass across the mirror, I anchored the four corners with these silver urns. If silver urns aren’t in your budget, try spray painting clay pots. The evergreens bring in another wintertime element, are a splash of nature, and are the only real “color” on the table. Buy evergreens that can be planted in your yard at a later date to get more bang for your buck.

Now this is where the drama is taken to a whole other level: the votive candles!!! Line them up like a fiery fortress around the perimeter of the mirror. This is a relatively inexpensive way to add ambiance, glow and sass to your tablescape. Notice the shape of the votive holders is the same as the taller glass cylinders for a uniform look. Don’t skimp here. The more the merrier!

I always like to dress the fireplace mantel with decor that reflects what’s going on on my table. Here it is decorated with more glass cylinders, some of which are filled with icy garland and others with the same “ice” used on the table. A smattering of clear acrylic Moravian stars – some stacked on top of each other just for fun! – bring shape and more shine to the vignette. (I had no idea these were called Moravian stars until my sweet blog buddy, Jewel of Carolina Jewel’s Table told me!) Notice how the silver urns with evergreens are repeated here. Votive candles finish the look and add warmth.

Both the fireplace mantel and this tree underwent several changes over the three weeks of my winter tablescaping series! This is the first night’s look for the tree, and it’s a little more sparse due to the contemporary nature of the tablescape. The silver and crystal ornaments work well with the table and mantel decor. Rather than spending money I don’t have on a silver tree skirt, I used this round crushed silk tablecloth folded in half and carefully arranged around the bottom. (This is the same tree that started out as a Charlie Brown Christmas look-alike last year. See it HERE for its sad little “before” and glorious red & gold “after.” Ironically, I am wearing the exact same outfit in the 2011 photos. Santa, Mama needs a new wardrobe!!! :-))

So this is the first of many Christmas tablescapes created as a teaching tool for my students. Stay tuned for more in the coming weeks!

For more Christmas tablescapes on this site:
“Winter Cardinal”
Really Red Christmas
Pink & Purple Chocolate Christmas
Winter Dinner
Cranberry Christmas
Cranberry Christmas Squared
Sugar High Payback
After the Hunt – Gentlemen’s Winter Retreat

Get Me To the Church On Time!
Christmas Progressive Dinner
White Hot
Winter Brunch

For more tablescapes on this site using glass cylinders:
And the Winner Is…
Welcome Back, Joel
Flamingos In Paradise
Oopsy Daisy
Raining Orchids
Winter Dinner
Get Me to the Church On Time
Mardi Gras Mojo
Apple Green Luncheon
Pretty In Pink
Love & Orchids
Autumn Orchids
March of the Penguins

Other tablescapes on this site using a mirror centerpiece include:
Roses In October
Happy Birthday, Barf!
Hooray For Vodka!
Breakfast at Tiffany’s
Shake, Rattle & Roll ‘Em!
Princess Pink Birthday Dinner

I’m so excited to join my fellow tablescapers on a couple of the really fun blog parties again this week including Cuisine Kathleen’s “Let’s Dish!” (anytime after 6:00 p.m. CST on Wednesday) and Susan’s “Tablescape Thursday” (anytime after 9:00 a.m. CST on Thursday).

After the Hunt Tablescape – Gentlemen’s Winter Retreat

Deer hunting season officially began in the great State of Missouri on November 1. While it’s not my thing (I’d much rather spend time hunting dishes!), I know there are a lot of people – men in particular – who really enjoy hunting for sport. Seems kind of silly to me with Costco just a few miles away. Anyhooooooooo……. 😉

For one of my “Winter Wonderland” tablescaping classes this semester, I created a gentlemen’s tablescape for after the hunt. Whether it’s a hunt for deer, a hunt for that little white ball you hit with a very expensive stick for 18 holes, or a hunt for that perfect Christmas gift from Tiffany’s (hint, hint!), this is a table I think many gentlemen would enjoy to unwind with a hearty meal…in a civilized manner! (This might also work well for a man’s birthday in the winter months!)
(Click on any photo to enhance/enlarge it. Photos by Sheri L. Grant.)

Set up in our little library, this 48-inch round table is dressed in a full-length black linen that is topped with a piece of wonderfully soft and washable black, brown & white plaid fleece from Hobby Lobby. The fleece tablecloth conveys warmth, while the plaid pattern reminds me of the flannel shirts guys often wear under their camouflage jackets.

Each place setting starts with a wood slice charger. These wood slices are sold in the woodworking section at places like Hobby Lobby and Michael’s for about $10 apiece (but use those valuable 40% and 50% off coupons to save $$$!), and they really work well with outdoor themes or rustic tablescapes. Every slice is a little different, and that’s what makes it really cool! The oblong shape allows more of the beautiful wood to show under a round or square plate. I used black ceramic plates – a combo of Dollar Tree and Target – to complement the masculine black under linen.

 A brown leaf-shaped bowl from Pier 1 is perfect for a little venison stew or rib-stickin’ chili. Hampton Silversmith’s “Patriot” flatware has a substantial shape and weight for the masculine hand.

Over the lips, and past the tongue. Look out, stomach! Here it comes!
There’s nothing like a little whiskey on the rocks for sipping before dinner. These miniature bottles of Jack Daniel’s fine Tennessee whiskey are great for individual servings at the table or as a take-home “favor” for the guys. (Believe me, if you gave these as wedding favors, they would NOT be left sitting on the table!!!) While meat-and-potatoes guys aren’t usually given to fancy fixings, the substantial weight and cut of Godinger’s “Dublin” crystal will have them feeling like kings of the hunt or Titans of the boardroom or Gordon Gekko…whatever floats their boat. 🙂

Men tend not to favor a lot of fussiness, so I used a miniature evergreen tree and simply adorned it with this stuff I found that looks kind of like twiggy barbed wire…if that makes any sense at all.  It was just enough on the tree to lend a rugged, wintry feel without making it look too Christmas-y. The base of the tree is finished off with (naturally shed) antlers and a smattering of pine cones. No votives or candlesticks here. Guys don’t care that the amber flame is flattering to their skin tone, and they sure aren’t lookin’ for romance around this table!

The vitrine in the library is a perfect place to set up bar for refills. The deck of the vitrine is very humbly decorated with pine boughs. The urns on either side of the vitrine are topped with huge moss balls for a decidedly pared down masculine look.

On top of the secretary on the wall opposite the vitrine is this great find from a few years back. There is no way an actual deer head was coming into this house!!! This grapevine deer head wreath, however, is perfect for the occasion and lends a sort of lodge look to the room.

“Next it will be brandies in the smoking room. Now they retreat into a cloud of smoke and congratulate each other on being masters of the universe.” (Quote from “Titanic” – Rose to Jack after dinner in the first-class dining room.)

To see 9 more winter tablescapes on this site, visit the “Winter” page.
For additional winter posts on this site, check out:

Sugar High – Payback!
Cranberry Christmas – Squared
Cranberry Christmas
Winter Brunch
Christmas Progressive Dinner 2011
Get Me to the Church On Time
Winter Cardinal

Many, many, many thanks to fellow blogger/super sweetheart Cuisine Kathleen for the wonderful T.J. Maxx/Home Goods gift certificate I won on her site a couple of weeks ago! I am hoarding it for later use at after-Christmas sales. I’ll let you know what I buy!

Join me as I visit Cuisine Kathleen for “Let’s Dish!” on Wednesday anytime after 6:00 p.m. CST, the Style Sisters for “Centerpiece Wednesday“, and Susan for “Tablescape Thursday” anytime after 9:00 a.m. CST on Thursday!

Winter Cardinal

Christmas is over and the new year is well underway, but I’m still diggin’ the spirit-lifting spurts of bright red around the house. Even though snow has mercifully dodged us thus far, it is January so the trees are bare and the feel of winter definitely abounds.

I was sick (yes, again!) last week and spent a lot of time staring out the window planning my escape. I saw the most beautiful cardinal perched on a low-hanging branch for what seemed like an eternity and a fleeting moment all in one. She was a striking creature in her shockingly red coat and heavy-handed eyeliner. She brightened an otherwise dreary winter’s day with her brilliant color and gave me inspiration for a winter tablescape.
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IMG_4055WMI bought these 222 Fifth “Winter Cardinal” dinner plates on clearance at TJ Maxx awhile back. The same thought that struck me while looking out the window is what attracted me to these plates. The tiny speck of red, while miniscule by comparison, is the star of the flat white plate with its silvery, sinewy, naked trees. (Click HERE to see another red, white & silver winter tablescape.) To add a little drama, I went with a double dose of contemporary square chargers in silver and red from World Market. Turning the top charger at a slight angle allows the red on bottom to just barely peek out…kind of like the cardinal in the tree. (Click HERE or HERE & scroll down to “Year of the Rabbit” to see other tablescapes using doubled square chargers.)

IMG_4040WMThe contemporary lines of J.A. Henckels “Bellaserra” stainless works well with the setting.

IMG_3983WMThe slender tube-like fold of a red cotton napkin is secured with a silver napkin ring.

Each place setting is punctuated with a square glass votive filled with waterlogged cranberries and topped with a fragrant white carnation. (For more tablescape ideas using cranberries, click HERE or HERE.)

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Another shot of red revs up the stark white linen via the TJ Maxx table runner. I double-folded the center part back to lend more of a 3-D look with just the decorated ends exposed. The barren silver trees on the runner are a nice companion to those on the plates, and it could just as easily find its way into a Christmas tablescape.

I love the look of pavéd carnations! This simple arrangement of easy-on-the-budget white carnations is anchored by acrylic “ice” chips for a wintry look and topped with cranberries for color. My husband said the square shape makes it look like a layer cake with whipped cream, which would make it perfect for a birthday party, shower, or anniversary! He’s right, but I think he just wanted cake! 🙂 (Click HERE to see another post using acrylic “ice.”)

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IMG_4045WMThe buffet behind the dining table gets an austere, yet somewhat theatrical treatment. A square glass floral container filled with more acrylic “ice” chips holds dramatically arched branches coated in silver paint. Peering from within is a lone cardinal. Another glass container is filled with fresh cranberries for the requisite shot of color. Votive candles dance the length of the buffet.

Champagne anyone?

I am thrilled to join my fellow tablescapers as we start this new year together at Susan’s Tablescape Thursday. Come along this Thursday, won’t you?

White Hot

Planning a table for an low-key, intimate New Year’s Eve dinner party can be a little tough. We had a super sparkly table last year, and I am considering a similarly blinged out table for this year’s celebration. (Click HERE to see last year’s post, “Ringing in the New Year.”)

For those preferring something a bit more subdued before the noisemakers come out, here’s an idea table that just might fit the bill.

I am and always will be a sucker for a full-length white linen for most semi-formal and formal settings, unless you have a table with a pristine finish or interesting design.

I used some of my favorite TJ Maxx creamy white dishes with scrolled rims atop the polished silverplate chargers, but just about any nice white dishes will do.

International Silver “Royal Danish” sterling flatware adds to the formality of the place settings.

Godinger‘s “Chelsea” collection crystal stemware.

White linen napkins pulled through heavy crystal napkin rings from Z Gallerie‘s 2010 collection.

Simple silver spheres to hold place cards.

Reflective silver 14-inch, 5-branch candelabra dripping with crystal bobeches grace the center of the table. If you have concerns about fire safety like my husband does after THIS fiery fiasco last summer, reduce the risk by using metal case candles (also referred to as mechanical candles) such as these from Paradise Candles. Not only do they up the fire safety ante, but they save your nice linens from wax drips.

If Christmas broke the bank for you, alstroemeria is a good economical flower choice. Here, a single bunch from the florist is divided and arranged in classic silver julep cups.

The clean, polished look is finished off with scattered cut crystal votives.

This look is also appropriate for a bridal shower, rehearsal dinner, adult birthday or a little something special on Christmas Eve.

I’ll post this year’s actual New Year’s Eve dinner party tablescape next week…if I can decide exactly what I want to do with it! 🙂

HAPPY NEW YEAR TO YOU AND YOURS!!!

Winter Brunch

Christmas Day dinner at my son and his girlfriend’s house was so much fun!

Perhaps a little too much fun! (I’m getting too old for all this frivolity!) 🙂

On the day after Christmas, my husband and I shared a leisurely winter brunch with our overnight guests. This was a great way to kick off the day before making rounds to connect with other visiting relatives.

A casual mid-morning brunch in the breakfast nook was easy to put together. This would work really well for a New Year’s Day brunch, too, with Bloody Marys or some other such “hair of the dog.”

I have had these Eddie Bauer Home pine cone dishes for about 7 years but have only used them a couple of times. What is wrong with me??!?!?! They are perfect for any time during the winter season. I really like the deep green rimmed with gold.

A white cotton napkin simply folded and drawn through the handle of the coffee mug works well for this unassuming brunch table.

Gold-rimmed crystal flutes serve up a cranberry & champagne breakfast cocktail.

Man, oh man…this goldtone flatware has really gotten a workout this Christmas season! Natural pine cone place card holders were my first and only choice!

I considered a small floral for the centerpiece, but this faux snow-dusted pine cone, berry and greenery arrangement borrowed from the living room worked out just fine.

Just as we finished brunch, the sun was overtaken by rain clouds that opened up for a brief period to cleanse the air. I think it was to wash all that reindeer smell out of the air from Christmas Eve! (Although all we got was coal. And not just a lump of coal….a whole truckload! What does that tell you?) 😉

Hope you had a very Merry Christmas filled with joy and happiness. Here’s wishing you a safe and happy New Year!!!

Don’t forget about Susan’s Tablescape Thursday this week. I’m sure you’ll find lots of beautiful Christmas-themed photos that will make you smile!

Get Me to the Church On Time!

All I can say is, “Thank you, Lord, for allowing me to squeeze this in during this busy, crazy holiday season!” (Click HERE if you would like to see all of our indoor Christmas decor for this year.)

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IMG_3445WMA Christmas bridal shower and wedding presents an opportunity to include the flavor of the holiday season without overdosing on it. With this shower, held in the evening, I made a valiant pass at it using some tried-and-true techniques and design elements.

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IMG_3429WMA flowing white cotton full-length linen is the start of an elegant table. The red chargers I have relied upon this season were a great start to a stylish place setting. The red charger (Target) is topped with a decorative gold one from Old Time Pottery. (Click HERE or HERE to see this same technique used with different dishes and silver chargers.) No-name dishes I bought in the early 90s at a discount department store are still a treasure to me today with their traditional holly design.

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IMG_3507WMI just love it when things work out. I went with our linen napkins bearing the first initial of our last name that coincidentally (again, thank you, Lord!) is the initial of the last name the bride will take as her own this weekend. The colorful beaded napkin rings were a steal last year at Old Time Pottery for just 99¢ each!

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IMG_3498WMA mix of gold-rimmed clear (Tuesday Morning) and cherry red stemware (Pier 1) is illuminated by the glow of abundant candlelight.

IMG_3482WMMy old standby goldtone flatware worked well to round out the place setting.

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IMG_3450WMStock Christmas cards create a menu with the theme of the evening, “Get Me to the Church On Time!” I used this same technique last year HERE for our Christmas season kickoff dinner.

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IMG_3500WMOne more “thank you, Lord!” in that I was able to reuse the cranberries used HERE. I created a similar version of this centerpiece made up of various sizes of cylinders parading down the table with vibrant orchids for a beautiful summer engagement party. Click HERE and scroll down to “Love and Orchids” to see that table. Floating cranberries and candles in the cylinders provides multi-level color and ambient light. Full-blown roses with sprigs of bright red berries and holly finish the look.

That’s it! I’m sure the wedding will go off without a hitch, and this will be a Christmas to remember!

Please take a little break from all the hustle & bustle of the season to join the party at Susan’s Tablescape Thursday again this week. There’s so much incredible tablescaping talent out there!

MERRY CHRISTMAS TO YOU AND YOURS
FROM ME AND MINE!!!

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Photographer/Best Friend Sheri & me!

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My supportive, loving parents & me!

Christmas Progressive Dinner

Each Christmas season Ramon and I team up with our cul-de-sac buddies for a much-anticipated Progressive Dinner. If you’re unfamiliar with the term, it’s when several households progress from one home to the next for several dinner courses. This year the Alsups did the fabulous cocktails and hors d’ouevres which included bacon-wrapped water chestnuts, homemade cheese straws, crab-stuffed mushroom caps, and a very sneaky cranberry/vodka/sparkling wine drink. (Click on photos to enlarge.)

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IMG_3735WMIt was one of those drinks that will creep up and whack you over the head if you’re not careful! Delicious!!! Next, to the Jenisons for a tasty but healthy salad with heavenly home-baked wheat bread.

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Salad course at the Jenisons’. Ramon is taking the picture.

We then moved on to our home for the entrée before hopping across the street to the Rutherfords’ for a variety of sinful desserts, coffee and after-dinner drinks. I went to the doctor the day after for a routine check-up. I had gained 2 pounds from the previous week, and my blood pressure was up. Uh….duh!!!

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IMG_3568WMI wanted to do a really dramatic, special, over-the-top tablescape to thank my neighbors for their kindness, generosity and goodness of heart throughout the year. Two 6-ft. tables placed together horizontally are covered with full-length white linens in our family room.

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IMG_3589WMI love the double charger treatment, so a sparkly red 13″ charger (Target 2008) is topped with a goldtone 12″ (Hobby Lobby). The dishes are Pfaltzgraff’s  wonderfully traditional “Winterberry” which is one of my favorite Christmas designs.

IMG_3577WMI like to use our initialed linen dinner napkins whenever possible. For this night I dressed them up with a red berry napkin ring. I just used a standard berry stem from Hobby Lobby that I twisted to encircle the easy, classic napkin fold. LOTS of color and dimension, and it adds a little more height to the place setting!!!

IMG_3582WMI am SO happy to have finally jumped on the Dollar Tree train! This soft green stemware that I picked up there is coming in handy for so many table settings! (Click here to see it used in a very contemporary table setting.)

IMG_3579WMI bought these rockin’ gold metal reindeer wholesale many years ago when I owned my fine rentals business. They measure 36″H without the antlers, so they’re perfect for the “go big or go home” look I love so much. I covered the center of the table with a couple of clear plastic trash bags to keep the linens underneath clean. I dressed each for the evening with a collar of berries with a red velvet bow. (To see last year’s cul-de-sac progressive dinner – dressed up with different reindeer decor – click HERE and scroll down to “Noel Progressive Dinner“.

IMG_3575WMI painstakingly placed each branch of this flocked pine cone greenery to create a sort of wreath to cover the reindeer stands. Red berry picks and shiny red Christmas ornaments finish off the fun yet sophisticated reindeer centerpiece.

IMG_3704WMWe were dining in the family room, so I dressed the top of the television armoire to complement the table with this small reindeer and lots of lighted greenery punctuated with red berries, ribbon, and ornaments.

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The grapevine wreath in the window is covered with a profusion of red berries and finished off with a few flocked faux branches, pinecones, oversized Christmas balls and red velvet ribbon. I kept the mantel simple with two smaller grapevine & berry wreaths.

Oh, and in case you’re wondering about the menu…Cornish hens basted in a garlic butter sauce, wild rice and green beans. Our neighbors, Carla and Jim, were unable to attend this year’s dinner but sent over homemade cinnamon sugar-dusted Parker rolls.

So another year, another wonderful Progressive Dinner with fine friends who we love and cherish. God is good! From our homes to yours, have a very Merry Christmas!!!

Please join me again this week for Tablescape Thursday over at Susan’s Between Naps on the Porch!

Cranberry Christmas – Squared

If you like decorating with cranberries at Christmastime, this is a look you might enjoy. This is the version of it on a square table (also suitable for a round). To see the Tuscan-style (long) table version, click HERE.

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IMG_3402WMInstead of placing the 6-ft. oblong  tables end-to-end, they are placed side-by-side to create more of a square.

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IMG_3409WMBecause of the formal nature of this table (bread plate, additional flatware) and the oversized charger, it will seat just 8 guests. Using the more traditionally sized 12″ charger and eliminating the bread plate buys about 8 extra inches on each side and will let you seat 10.

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IMG_3412WMThis large silver bowl is filled with water topped with fresh cranberries (3 bags here) and floating candles. Cranberries naturally rise (you’ve seen the Ocean Spray Cranberry Juice commercials!), so the look is achieved without any extra work! (Note: Carefully place the candles in the arrangement so as not to get the wick wet.)

IMG_3415WMThe same small floral arrangements placed at each person’s place setting on a long table HERE are used to surround the massive silver centerpiece bowl on this table for a completely different look.

Creamy white full-blown and spray roses, red berries, and bits of winter greenery in silver julep cups are the perfect accent. Depending on how they are arranged, fewer small arrangements are required for the square table.

IMG_3414WMThe same 27″ silverplated candlesticks used on the Tuscan-style table are used here, but a fourth one has been added to completely surround the center bowl. The same silver mercury glass votives are used here again, but in a different pattern.

So that’s one table with two distinctive looks. The silver pedestal bowls used here are 17½”H and 19″W which is pretty doggone hefty. In this case, size doesn’t matter….you can get the same pretty look using a smaller bowl with shorter candlesticks.

More tables on this site using a square table:
Christmas Progressive Dinner
Pheasants & Peacocks
Serpents & Skullduggery
Sunflower Simple
“Flamingos in Paradise”

Roses in October
Noel Progressive Dinner 2010
It’s the Great Pumpkin

Don’t forget to check out Susan’s Tablescape Thursday!!!

Cranberry Christmas – Long Table

My cousin (no, not the weird one…the other one!) recently asked for formal Christmas tablescape ideas using cranberries as a part of the decor. Ask, and you shall receive! This table is shown in the Tuscan-style (long) form. Click HERE to see how the look of the same basic decor changes with a square table. (The 2nd look would also work quite well with a round table!)

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IMG_3361WMHere, two 6′ x 30″ oblong tables are set end-to-end to create a 12-ft. table. With the large amount of decorative detail, generously proportioned 13″ chargers, and increased amount of china and flatware, however, it only seats 8. Using the more common 12″ charger, smaller decorative elements, and eliminating the bread plate would free up space for up to 12 guests.

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The Christmas holidays are a time for over-the-top tablescapes that have a lush, luxurious feel to them. Using an additional charger can help achieve that look and feel. I like to remove the first one after the salad course and the second after the entrée. (Formal etiquette calls for removing all chargers before the entrée is served, but many guests enjoy the additional razamatazz. Depending on who I’m entertaining, it might stay or go!) For this place setting, a 13″ sparkly red charger (Target) is topped with a 12″ silverplate charger. Any plates with a formal holiday vibe will work. I used my trusty Noritake “Spectrum” dinner and salad plates with the simple, sleek platinum band.

A crisp white cotton napkin with a monogram or initial is always perfect for a formal setting. An icy crystal napkin ring from Z Gallerie helps to set this one off against the silver and white plates.

J.A. Henckels’ “Bellaserra” flatware has a beautiful mirrored finish that works well with the silver & white tablescape. A black-handled steak knife is added for use with the entrée.

IMG_3379WMCristal d’Arques “Longchamps” crystal stemware is always a nice choice. The diamond-shaped cut of this crystal mimics the cut of the Z Gallerie napkin ring.

Cranberries are wonderful for Christmastime decorating! They are relatively inexpensive (you can pick them up for as little as 99¢ a bag at Aldi’s or similar discount grocery stores), and they can be used in SO many ways. To dress them up, I am floating them in silver pedestal bowls with candles. (I used this pedestal bowl filled with rose petals for a wedding tablescape HERE.)

IMG_3366WMPlaced at strategic intervals down the table are three 27″ silverplate candlesticks with pillar candles. The candlesticks lend height to the table as well as ambient light at a higher level. The rose-filled silver julep cups placed at each person’s place setting work well as tabletop decor during the meal and as a nice take-home gift after dinner.

Ambient light at the lowest level is provided by silver mercury glass votive holders.

The red berry theme is extended with a berry-covered grapevine wreath over the mantel. The greenery on the wreath is the same used in the small julep arrangements on the table. Additional silver mercury glass votives flank the wreath.

So…if you have space for a 12-ft.+ table, this style works very well. (Two 8-ft. tables would require additional decorative pieces, but would be extra FABulous!!!) Of course, it requires a bit more decor because of its length, but it’s the same as doing two rounds. To see the squared version of this table which can also be done with a round, click HERE.

More tablescape designs on this site using long tables:
Oopsy Daisy!”
Raining Orchids
September Wine
Autumn White Wedding
Get Me to the Church On Time
Daisy Crazy
Blue & White Family Picnic
Thanksgiving 2010
Hollywood Fright Night
Celebrate the Season
Black, White & Red All Over
Pretty In Pink
Love & Orchids”
Tented Green

A few other Christmas tablescapes on this site include:
Celebrate the Season
Christmas in the Woods
“Kaleidoscope Christmas”
“Merry & Bright – Multi-Color Christmas”
“Christmas Through the Red Door”
“Life Is A Cabaret – New Year’s Eve”
Waking Up to Christmas – Bedroom Decor
Black, White & Red All Over Christmas
Christmas 2012 – Red, Black & Silver
Checkered Christmas
Pink & Purple Chocolate Christmas
Sugar High Payback
Contemporary Christmas
Gentlemen’s Winter Retreat
Woodland Men’s Tablescape
Cranberry Christmas Squared
Get Me To the Church On Time
Christmas Progressive Dinner
White Hot
Winter Brunch
Really Red Christmas
Roman Holiday
Cardinal Christmas
Frosty the Snowman
March of the Penguins
Winter Cardinal
Ideas for Throwing a Winter Dessert Party
Christmas Fiesta
Over the River and Through the Woods
Black Friday Luncheon
Noel Progressive Dinner
Old-Fashioned Red & Green Christmas
Timberland Christmas
Christmas Coffee
Warm Metal Christmas
Let It Snow
Tuscan Holiday

Fa-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la! I am joining Susan and the other tablescapers from around our glorious world for Tablescape Thursday again this week. You’re invited to come along for the ride!