Fun Stuff

There are 14 fun posts on this page alone!!!

For more Fun tablescapes on this site (click to go to post):
One Shoe Can Change Your Life
Give Peace A Chance
American Royal Tablescape
Diwali My Way
Mandarin Bling
Show Me State Dinner
Little Black Dress
Upscale Irish
Laissez Les Bon Temps Rouler
Mardi Gras Mojo
 

JUST US GIRLS

Getting together with “the girls” is always fun. I have such a good time with them just relaxing, rehashing old stories from days gone by, and dreaming about the future. No better way to do that than over a hot meal in a quiet, relaxed atmosphere. Music for tonight: Soundtracks from “First Wives Club” and “Something’s Gotta Give”, a little Billie Holliday, and Patsy Cline.

 

Soft pink and velvety rich chocolate brown on a white background is the color scheme. It is a little on the contemporary side. A large round mirror anchors each place setting. Next comes a silver beaded edge charger. Then my favorite…fabulous glossy chocolate brown and white dishes with a silver rim from Z Gallerie! How I longed for these dishes!!! I was finally able to buy them a few months ago. They are classically clean-looking without fussy adornment. I love them! The rim of the Mikasa “Jamestown Platinum” stemware is a perfect match. The menus – generated on my home computer – are a brown underlay and a soft pink vellum overlay with pink velvet ribbon.


A peek at the plate. A bit difficult to pick up on the actual color, but believe me…to die for!!!


Keeping with the contemporary look, I chose these unusually shaped silver napkin rings. They remind me of a gentleman’s cuff link. Very snazzy!

The curvy J.A. Henckels “Bellaserra” stainless mimics the lines of the napkin ring. I love the way the knife sits on its edge.

The centerpiece is kept simple and streamlined. Pairs of clear oyster votive cups punctuate the “lamps” made of clear glass pilsner vases topped with a squared off bell shade in chocolate brown (from Walmart!). Click here to see how the lamps were put together. While it is not completely evident from these photos, I must share with you a little secret: When using a clear lamp base such as this, try turning the LED votive used for illumination upside down. In doing so, you illuminate the shade and cast the light down into the glass which looks so cool!!! While I used white for this tablescape, it’s even cooler if you use a colored LED votive!  Try it and see what it does for the lamp and your adjacent florals! (For more candle lamps on this site, seeRaining Orchids“, “All A’Bloom In Pink for Spring“, “Should Have Put a Ring On It“, and “It’s All About Me!“.)

The contemporary look and feel is completed by a mass grouping of petal pink calla lilies in a simple clear glass vase. Nestled between the taller lamps, it brings a soft dash of color to the table.

  Remember to check out my other tablescaping pals at Between Naps on the Porch for more tabletop ideas!

 

AND THE WINNER IS…!

I set this vignette up with the seating at the Golden Globe Awards in mind. The guests all enjoy dinner at a beautifully set table and then remain seated there for the awards program. For an occasion such as watching The Grammys, I think it’s perfectly appropriate to set the table up near the television in the living room or family room. Guests can then remain seated at the table for the show or retreat to a nearby sofa.

I started with a black floor-length linen. A red table runner mimics the red carpet that celebrities walk prior to the broadcast. Heavy glass gold-leafed chargers anchor the place setting. Zatina’s whimsical black and white dinner plates are rimmed with piano keys, and the salad plates are dotted with various musical instruments tumbling across a meandering gold staff. Gold flatware shines against the black linen.

Gold painted Christmas ornaments in the shape of musical notes are used to further “jazz up” the place setting. They stand up easily in the recesses of the napkin fold.

I borrowed a couple of ideas from a table I created for an at-home event a few years back. One of those ideas was martini tasting during the appetizer and/or salad course(s). Cristal is often served at fancy awards dinners like the Grammys, but jet-setters might enjoy something a little different like this. Since each glass only holds about 2 ounces, guests are still lucid enough to enjoy the rest of the evening!

This is another idea I recreated from an at-home event we hosted a few years back. Each guest’s menu was placed in an envelope as if its contents held the name of the winner. Upon opening the envelope to retrieve the menu, the “surprise” was little musical note confetti. I made these menus on our home computer, affixing a red strip of paper across the top of each to again resemble the red carpet.

Finally, the centerpiece. I wanted to do something that was easy, inexpensive, and that created an ambience fit for a star. Nothing says “ambience” like candlelight, and by simply floating candles in glass cylinders at different heights and adding a few votives, I think the mission was accomplished.

This was a fun “idea” tablescape to do! Thanks again to my sister-in-law, Zatina, who presented me with the challenge. I’ll give you your dishes back. I promise! 😉

Click here for another black & red tablescape!

YEAR OF THE RABBIT
辛卯

One of the most exciting components of this luncheon table was the red and gold brocade table linen. Why? Because I made it!!! While nothing like the highly skilled sewing talents of many of my blogger friends, this was my very first attempt at sewing under the tutelage of my (exceedingly patient!) friend and neighbor, Barbara.  Like many women my age, I took sewing in “Home Ec” class back in high school. I got a big fat D in that class. It took an entire semester for me to make an apron that wasn’t fit for use. It was the only D grade I ever got, and I frankly did not care. The class was a nightmare, and I just wanted out. Recently, though, my sadistic niece who has an undergrad degree in Fashion Design & Product Development gave me a sewing machine. After me watching it and it watching me for about 2 months, I finally decided to give it a try. I’m glad I did!

My original thought was to use a beautiful fabric set given to me by dear friends from Shanghai. After much consideration, however, I decided that set is best suited for a summer gathering with its more muted tones. This Chinese New Year celebration called for lots of red and gold which respectively symbolizes happiness and wealth. Black seemed the perfect neutral to best show off those two bold and brilliant colors.


I bought these cool red favor boxes for each place setting at Pier 1 at the end of the 2010 Christmas season. They worked perfectly with this theme! Guests opened the box to find red & gold foil-covered chocolate coins.

This 24″H black ceramic ginger jar from Home Goods – adorned with a shimmery gold tassel – makes a simple but stately centerpiece.

The buffet is topped with a Pier 1 red, fuchsia and gold bamboo runner to tie all of the separate elements together. A gold tray, also from Pier 1, holds a World Market teapot and a bowl of fortune cookies. Tradition has it that parents gift their children with brightly colored envelopes with money. For my guests, however, the envelopes contained a gift certificate to World Market.

Firecrackers are a big part of the Chinese New Year celebration. Lee’s Summit city ordinance prohibits the use of firecrackers within city limits (AND it was WAY too cold out!), so these English crackers were a fine indoor substitute! I bought them at the end of the Christmas season at…where else?…Pier 1. The red & gold colors made them perfect for this event!

Fresh fiery red grevillea, embellished with a faux gem-encrusted butterfly, shoots from a black urn. (Hint: You can purchase colored grevillea from your florist, but be careful! The color easily transfers to clothing, skin, and anything else in its path! My kitchen sink still has the slightest pink tinge going on! 😦 )

I found this graceful young lady at TJ Maxx. Behind her to add depth and height to the vignette are a pair of oversized decorative chopsticks and a simple gold platter on a black stand.


My Mother brought these silk Chinese lanterns back from China when she visited in 2000. They symbolize the Chinese New Year Festival of Lanterns that is traditionally held on the 15th day of the first month of the Lunar Year.

Other Asian-inspired tablescapes on this site:
Mandarin Bling
Peaceful Peonies
Copper Zen
“Blue & White 30th Birthday”
“Zen Garden/Mum’s the Word”

Mikasa Giveaway

SHAKE, RATTLE & ROLL ‘EM!

Last week, new subscriber Novetta Washington wrote in asking me to put together a dinner party table for her Bunco group. After a little research on what exactly Bunco is (no…I didn’t know!), I came up with this understated, relatively inexpensive table using black & white (to mimic the colors of dice) with a silver accent. Who says you can’t go a teensy bit glam with dinner before getting to the down and dirty of the game? 🙂

It was a little bit strange to set a table knowing that no one would actually be sitting down to eat at it, but it was fun just the same! With the weather as icky as it is right now though (7 more inches of snow predicted to fall over the next 24 hours!), I’ve not planned any dinner parties of my own to set up. So this was perfect timing, Novetta!

For those of you who don’t know what Bunco is, it’s a fun parlor game played with dice. It’s quite popular (I apparently live a very sheltered life!), and requires no particular skill as it is purely a game of luck. I wanted to give Novetta and her friends a chic, decidedly contemporary table to start off their evening with colors that would get them excited about the upcoming games. I started with a plain black tablecloth. The place settings began with two square chargers – one in silver with rounded corners (kinda like dice!) and one in black. A white rounded-edge B. Smith With Style dinner plate (again…shaped like dice!) was topped with a round black salad plate (resembling the dice dots!). I used simple clear glass water and wine goblets to break up  the black & white landscape just a bit. (Black & white polka-dotted plates and/or flatware would be another fun – albeit more casual – option for this tablescape. Likewise, a pop of color like deep red or purple or orange would be cool, too!)

Each place setting gets a menu with a pair of dice on it, the only overt reference to the theme. (Certainly a few dice tossed down the center of the table would be fun, too!) Even though the table has a sophisticated air to it, that doesn’t mean you can’t get playful with the menu. Notice what I would suggest for dessert!

I like to play with the flatware arrangement when I can, and this is an opportune setting to do just that! Simply banded stainless flatware is laid out with the forks atop a plain white cotton napkin in a perpendicular fashion for a little visual interest.

The lowly “baby’s breath” has gotten a bad rep from its extended misuse as a sparse filler for roses by the dozen. Used en masse like this, however, baby’s breath/gypsophila is a knockout! I used million star gypsophila which boasts very dense clusters. Placing the gypsophila in plain black powder-coated glass urns shows it off museum-style and keeps with the black & white theme. I suggest keeping the look of the gypsophila kind of wild and untamed as shown here. For a wedding or more formal tablescape, you might want to temper it a bit more. (FYI, gypsophila is so well-priced…you can buy it for next to nothing!)

Click here to see”Princess Pink Birthday Party” or here to see”Fete Noir Et Gris” for more ideas on floral arrangements using baby’s breath.

I set these milky white votives down the length of the table in the style of dice dots.

A simple $3 door mirror from Old Time Pottery makes a sleek, sophisticated table runner that doubles back the striking images of the candlelight and florals. I used a mirror with black trim that melded nicely with the table linen and allowed just the shiny surface to take center stage.

The suggested menu included Chicken with Olives (olives…black dots!) and concluded with a fun dessert of chocolate fondue with marshmallow “dice” for dipping. Simply dip a Q-tip in black food coloring and dot onto marshmallows! Or, if you want a more 3-D look, use black icing. If you have coffee service after dinner, dotting sugar cubes in the same way is a cute way to make it special.

Well, Novetta and friends, I hope this will give you some inspiration for your next Bunco gathering. Cocktails, a nice sit-down dinner, then on to the gaming tables! Have fun, and please send pictures of your next party to me at table21tablescapes@gmail.com!

 I’m joining Susan & the other tablescapers at Between Naps on the Porch. Come on along!

 If you would like to leave a comment, scroll all the way down to the bottom of this page. I’d love to hear from you!

PROUD AS A PEACOCK

Depicting a winter wedding table in these brilliantly bold hues was a bit of a challenge, but I certainly enjoyed it! When the creative director for EA Bride Magazine approached me for this Winter 2011 edition’s “Design Challenge” tablescape along with four other designers, it was a thrill to be considered.

Borrowed from Celebration Party Rental in Lee’s Summit, Mo., were the table, cool clear-seated silver-back chiavari chairs, ruby-red diamond pintuck table linen and matching napkin. From my personal collection I chose a square silver wooden charger from World Market, a fabulously intricate teal and silver charger from Home Goods, to-die-for rhinestone-studded silk napkins from Z Gallerie, and exquisite rhinestone-flecked snowflake napkin rings from Pier 1. I borrowed the snowflake from the creative director’s stash at the last-minute just before the shoot began. My Mikasa “Jamestown Platinum” stemware, International Silver “Royal Danish” sterling flatware, and intricately carved aperitif goblet. (Note: Yes, I know the champagne flute is on the “wrong” side, but aesthetically…it just looked so much better! To those of you who are purists on this matter, I humbly apologize! :-))

The 25″H mercury glass vase purchased from my friend Dana Nigro’s Village Gardens in Blue Springs, Mo., offered the perfect combination of vintage and modern. By slipping on a few borrowed crystal ornaments, the vessel was subtly transformed for our winter wedding. Arranging the 52″H peacock feathers from my own collection at staggered heights in the vase rendered a centerpiece that stood a total of 58″ tall!!! Perfect for rooms with tall ceilings!

Each of the 3 small arrangements surrounding the main centerpiece were created by Anne Kelly Acock of the Monarch Flower Company in Lee’s Summit, Mo. The diamond head centers remind us of both the occasion and the iciness of winter, while the peacock feathers bring the colors and texture of the peacock feathers towering overhead down to eye level.

After the photo shoot, we all paused for a few moments of relaxation and goofing around before going about the business of tearing down our very temporary creations. From left to right: Ashley Hotka of Good Earth Floral Design Studio, Heather Medley of Notting Hill Design Studio, Anne Kelly Acock of Monarch Flower Company, and li’l ol’ me. (Not pictured: Meghan Perlow of Poppy Floral.)

This was a really fun and educational experience for me. But seriously….I am out of the wedding business. I am retired! Seriously. 😉

Many, many, many special thanks to

EA Bride Magazine, Phoenix Photography, and Lone Summit Ranch

AUTUMN ORCHIDS

I recently created a few buffet and centerpiece floral arrangements for my friend, Angelynn, who is a caterer here in the Kansas City area. She wanted something with autumnal colors but appropriate for a business occasion at the KCPL Building in Kansas City’s Power & Light District.

All arrangements were created in clear glass cylinders of varying sizes. On the guest sign-in table, this asymmetrical arrangement of fresh mums, leucadendron, and a few curly willow tips was just right. Votive candles and smooth black river rock help to extend the circumference of the arrangement.

There were several areas of soft seating around the room. This is the arrangement as guests entered the reception space using a 39″H clear glass cylinder. Six-foot fresh curly willow is paired with tall stalks of leucadendron and dendrobium orchid stems anchored by greyish-white smooth river rock. The river rock is further extended onto the table, peppered with votives and orchid blossoms.

Another soft seating area on the other side of the room got a variation on the theme of the entry piece. This cylinder is created by submerging stalks of leucadendron and orchid stems, once again anchored with river rock and surrounded by votives. Tip: Both orchids and leucadendron can survive without water for several hours, so if you don’t want the burden of drying out tall floral vessels, feel free to skip the wet stuff!

High boy tables along the window areas have a simple fall mum in a clear glass globe with a few river rocks for added interest and texture. These definitely must have a bit of water to survive!

The buffet arrangements are comprised of tall glass cylinders with lots of 6-ft. fresh curly willow, a few stalks of leucadendron, and two 6-ft. faux orchid stems anchored with river rock for counterbalance and visual interest.

On the guest tables, two different but complementary centerpieces using the clear floral vessels, orchids, mums, leucadendron and river rock with a couple of votives. I did add a couple of quarts of water to these arrangements after getting everything else on the table to reflect the votives dancing nearby.

Anna’s Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Angelynn Barge Howell, Proprietor

 

HOME OF THE LIONS

My sweet friend, Rene, worked to put together this incredible tablescape to get Ramon and me into the Lions spirit for the Sunday game!

The team colors of Honolulu blue, silver, black and white were all incorporated into the imaginative place settings with the placemats, team napkins and helmets, and chargers.

The cute miniature cars pay homage to both the Ford Motor Company which is headquartered in Dearborn, a suburb of Detroit, Michigan, AND to my sweet hubby who is a plant doctor at the Ford Assembly Plant in Missouri.

Rene thought of absolutely everything when putting this tablescape together, including this hilarious depiction of the Lions crushing the New York Jets!!! She and her imaginative friend, Karen, conspired to create the ultimate centerpiece with this bronze-come-silver lion. They actually came up with the brilliant idea to dust the bronze lion with silver cake dust to sync with the Lions’ official colors!!! Is that not the greatest??!?!?!!

The menu included a feast fit for a King of the Jungle! (I actually turned down dessert at one of the city’s toniest restaurants to get back home to Rene’s pear upside-down cake!)

Rene thought of everything! The Beef Wellington even had a puff pastry “L” for Lions on it! (This was her first attempt at Beef Wellington, but had I not seen her prepare it with my own eyes, I would have sworn it was catered! Magnificent!!!) For the record, I officially gained 4 pounds from Rene’s wonderful cooking over the three days we were there!

Our lovely and very thoughtful hostess surveys her handiwork.

Ramon and I are still staunch Kansas City Chiefs fans (forever!!!), but thanks to our gracious hosts we have a special place in our hearts for the Motor City and home of the Lions!

 

COMING UP ROSES

If I could dress every tea time table in pink and white, I would! There is nothing so feminine as the soft color of pink!!!

I had not used these wonderful Maxcera “Victorian Toile Rose” dishes since my Mom’s birthday party in early spring. With October being Breast Cancer Awareness Month, it still seemed appropriate to introduce lots of pink into the tablescape. (Click here to see a slightly more over-the-top table for Breast Cancer Awareness Month. You can also click here to see “Princess Pink Birthday Party” and “Pretty in Pink” whose color scheme and elements are also appropriate.)

I just love little touches like this!

This “Danish Princess” silverplate design is among my favorites and such a great match for the very feminine dishware.

Each delicate cotton luncheon napkin was rolled and “tied” with a garland of euonymus from the yard.

The gorgeous pink roses were sent earlier in the week from former clients commemorating their six-year anniversary. (It’s so nice to be remembered. I was truly touched by the gesture!) I’m very glad to have had the opportunity to share their beauty and wonderful fragrance with friends. The roses are displayed in a Godinger crystal rose bowl with the classic “Olympia” design.

To see another pretty pastel pink tea table, keep scrolling on down to “Tea Roses”,
or click here to see hot pink “Hello, Dahlia!”.

 

AU REVOIR!

I am a pink freak, so it’s always exciting to do a table for someone else who shares that passion.


I always knew this “Eiffel Tower” would come in handy for something! As my globetrotting friends set out on yet another wonderful cross-Atlantic adventure, we said goodbye with a dinner featuring tidbits of decor and cuisine they will likely encounter in “gay Paree!”

We have said au revoir to summer here in the Midwest, but the outdoor temperatures belie that fact with daytime highs in the 70s and 80s. So to bring in a bit of autumn and tone down the pink a bit, I used chocolate as the base color for this tablescape.

Atop the creamy chocolate table linen are gleaming silver chargers & flatware to keep the brown from washing out and looking so flat. A plain, creamy earthenware with a decorative rim was used to show off the food.

I created the fun little menus on my computer using cardstock and fleur de lis brads from Hobby Lobby. The pink toile scenes reminded me of the French countryside in a time when men and women actually strived to be described as “genteel.” The fun font I used reminded me of the font used on the posters promoting the 1958 movie “Gigi”, set in turn-of-the-20th century Paris.

I recently bought another book on napkin folding. (Shh! Don’t tell my husband!) This cute little fold looks like a “petit pain.” (Translation: bun.) It was a lot easier to create than I thought it would be and looked really sweet at the top of each plate. (Check out the “Books That Make You Go “Ooh!” tab at the top of the page for more information “Napkins With a Twist” by David Stark.) For a complete tutorial on how to create this napkin fold, click HERE and scroll to Tip #33. To see other posts on this site using the rosebud napkin fold, see “Cupcake Colors”, “Springtime in Paris Mother’s Day Buffet” and “Mother’s Day Luncheon in Pink”.


This night was a little warm, and that just brought the sweet smell of these pretty posies to the fore. Wonderful! I chose roses and carnations because they are so pretty together, and the variation in the depth of pink in the roses was interesting. Both were clipped within an inch of their little lives to create the mounding effect at the bottom of the tower and to float in the clear oyster votive cups. Stray rose petals helped to fill out the look.


To add just a bit of height and visual interest on the outside of the tower, I arranged the roses and carnations in clear vessels with a just a teensy bit of greenery.

What’s an evening celebration without a barrage of candles, especially when the honorees’ destination is the city most commonly referred to as La Ville-Lumiere (City of Light). The background music included a little Celine Dion, Eartha Kitt, and the soundtrack from “Something’s Gotta Give” (one of my all-time favorite movies!)

For other Parisian-themed posts, click HERE for “Springtime in Paris” and HERE for “Patisserie de Paris” and HERE for “French Poodle”.

TEA ROSES

Ultra-feminine pink & white is always a favorite for high tea, afternoon tea, and ladies’ luncheons, no matter the time of year. For the month of October, Breast Cancer Awareness Month, it seemed perfect! Today’s table is draped in floor length soft pink cotton and topped with a white mock quilted/damask linen.

This pretty, contemporary place setting is by Silvestri. I like the kidney bean shape of the plates with the indentation to hold the cup firmly in place. The soft colors and profusion of roses balances out the decidedly heavy construction of the plates.

The cups – used on this day for both soup and tea – are surrounded by doves.

These white cotton luncheon napkins are among my favorites. The corner design is so subtle. A simple length of pink ribbon adds color and again pays homage breast cancer awareness.

The tea set is so much fun! A combination of roses, doves and girlie ribbons make the set a favorite.

Indeed there was plenty to drink today! A champagne toast to start (and finish!) in honor of the breast cancer survivor present, iced tea with a slice of Granny Smith apple for color and flavor, and wonderful hot tea with apple & cinnamon to sip as the afternoon wore on.

As high tea calls for a heavier fare, these hearty tea-sized turkey & herbed cheese sandwiches on croissant with homemade broccoli-cheese soup fill the bill.

Crunchy, sweet butter cookies shaped like pretzels taste wonderful with the cinnamon-apple tea!

Fragrant pink roses in simple silver julep cups adorn the table. Each guest received a nosegay with a ballerina-tied pink ribbon as a parting gift, a reminder to stop and smell the roses AND to do that necessary breast self-exam each month.

TEE MIT HANS DRESDEN
(Tea with Hans Dresden)

It isn’t often I get to share afternoon tea with friends, but when I do it is held near and dear to my heart. For this particular occasion, it was to celebrate recent accomplishments by each attendee. (An engagement, a retirement, and a new career. Hence the champagne & Godiva chocolates for all!!!)

My mother was gifted with this lovely Hans Dresden set back in the 1940s. My father’s nephew, who served in the U.S. Armed Forces, picked it up for her during his tour in Germany just before the city of Dresden was severely damaged by British & U.S. bombing. Little did anyone know of what great sentimental value this set would be some 65 years later.

I purchased these lovely embroidered cotton luncheon napkins years ago while on my honeymoon in New Orleans.


Let me explain/confess something. (Uh-oh…this takes me back about 45 years!) My mother had the entire set with coffee & tea pots, cups, saucers, dessert plates, and ashtrays! (Don’t give me that look! Smoking was perfectly acceptable…even encouraged…by some of Hollywood’s biggest stars “back in the day.”) As a child, much like now, I loved to play house. Despite many admonitions, I decided one day to play with Mom’s Dresden set. The result: the clumsy hands of a 6-year-old were no match for the delicate china. I irreparably broke several pieces of the set, and other pieces – like the pot above – were chipped. When my Mom gave me this fractured but nonetheless loved set a couple of years ago for my own collection, we had a good laugh…quite contrary to her reaction when I ruined it 46 years ago!!!

I did not prepare the sweets for this get-together, but I am grateful for the local pastilerias that did!

The centerpiece was composed of simple alstroemeria arranged in a tall, milky glass trumpet vase flanked by two smaller arrangements.

This was a wonderful afternoon spent with wonderful women – my mother included – who by all accounts forgive my past transgression of putting Hans in harm’s way.

Footnote: I saw this very set – in mint condition – on WorthPoint the other day. I was too afraid to look at how much it would be worth today had I not so tragically trashed it!

 

LET THEM EAT CAKE!

Every once in a while I get to do a really fun wedding tablescape that is reminiscent of my career days. The opportunity to set a table in the receiving area of the renowned Cake Studio/Iced Art located at 11111 Johnson Drive in Shawnee, KS was just that: REALLY FUN!!! Not only did I get to hang with a couple of wonderful former colleagues, I got to create a tablescape with a totally different feel.

Photo by Sheri L. Grant

Owners Rebekah Foster (The Cake Studio) and Michelle Rice (Iced Art) have a really fun, eclectic style that translates into stunning, picture-perfect cakes. With their fabulous confections and the bright coral walls of the shop as a backdrop, I dropped in a wedding tablescape depicting a formal dinner look made contemporary by the combination of black and hot pink.

This tablescape’s place settings have sentimental meaning. The gold leafed glass chargers were a gift from my sister. The intricately designed octagonal “Jacobean” by F. Winkle & Co. salad plates were a gift from my mother (see them used in another very different tablescape HERE), and the highly embellished flatware is “on loan.” (Seriously…does Mom really think I’m giving this back???)

Photo by Sheri L. Grant

The BB&B black polycotton napkins are folded to accomodate a place card or menu and banded with simple hot pink ribbon.

I could drink out of these glasses every day!!! Delicate pink crystal bears an etched design of meandering vines. I picked these up at Marshall’s and would really like to find more of them! (See this stemware used again for an Easter tablescape HERE.)

This magnificent centerpiece, created by Dana Nigro at Village Gardens in Blue Springs, MO is a remnant from my days as an event designer. The sturdy manzanita branch is dotted with pretty hot pink flowers and dazzling crystals. This truly was the center of the tablescape, with everything else being built around its simple beauty.

Photo by Sheri L. Grant

Iron candlesticks and treasure chests bursting with hot pink peonies rounded out the decorative centerpiece to complete the tablescape. I went with white rather than hot pink candles to maintain a bit of formality and so as not to overwhelm the look with too much of a good thing.

The three amigas: Michelle Rice (Iced Art – Cakes By Design), Rebekah Foster (The Cake Studio), and little ol’ me! (Photos by Sheri L. Grant)

DINNER WITH FRIENDS

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 playful woven 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!) in Longchamps mini vases. The total look: upscale with a casual kick.
Andre and I collaborated on another event in the Spring of 2012. Click HERE to see “Purple & Pastel”, a dinner party in honor of his parents’ birthdays and 60th wedding anniversary!!!
Harper’s Catering, Kansas City, MO

 RUN FOR THE ROSES

Nearly every fine home in Louisville hosts a party to celebrate the Kentucky Derby. It’s a time to bring out the heirloom china and serve wonderful food amidst fresh red roses galore. Who says a gal with a Midwestern accent and a slightly less generous budget can’t join the fun?

This wooden showhorse makes the perfect backdrop in the dining room. (Click HERE to see him on a Derby Buffet table as a centerpiece and HERE to see him used for a Springtime decorating accessory!)
Each place setting consists of a beaded silver charger with platinum-rimmed Noritake “Spectrum” china, a monogrammed linen napkin, heirloom flatware (with rose detailing), Longchamps crystal, an authentic silver julep cup, and…for a bit of whimsy in an otherwise staid & traditional setting…a real horseshoe! If you use horseshoes atop fabric, be sure to wash them thoroughly in hot, soapy water then dry with a soft cloth. Allow to air dry for at least 2 hours to assure all moisture has evaporated so as not to rust and stain. These horseshoes were surprisingly affordable at just $2.39 lb. That’s quite a bargain!
Food collage
Menus created using white vellum over red cardstock have a craft store red rose affixed to the top. At the bottom of each menu is fun Derby trivia for guests to share during dinner. And no Derby party is complete without mint juleps served in a traditional cup!
Roses collage
Horse collage
Rich, red roses are the focus of the centerpiece, buffet and foyer florals. Click HERE and scroll down to tip #39 for a tutorial on fluffing fresh roses to get them looking nice and full. A pair of beautiful show horse figurines from Hobby Lobby flank the center trophy of roses. I created the traditional “garland of roses” using red satin ribbon and rosettes like those used on the menus. (The real garland for the winning horse, of course, has more than 400 red roses!)
Hat collage
  My Mom in her pink Derby chapeau, and me in my blue!
More tablescapes on this site using roses that would be great for Kentucky Derby:
Derby Day Dining
Kentucky Derby Buffet
Roses in October
Show Me State Dinner

119 thoughts on “Fun Stuff

  1. I luvvvvv how fabulous you made our Studio table look!!!! That was so much fun! I really, really luv the new blog too! Can’t wait to continue catchin’ up on all your fabulous table settings!!

    xoxo,
    Rebekah

    • Thanks, Rebekah! I really hope we can do it again sometime! I can just envision all sorts of cool stuff in there!!! Your shop is SO cakealicious!!!! Thanks to you both, and have a wonderful weekend!!!

  2. I loved Au Revoir! You know I don’t like to fold anything, not even clothes, but the napkins were precious. The table was gorgeous and I think I would actually take the time to learn the napkin fold. I have always loved your vision and creativity, but I always seem to be “Awed” with each new creative flow… I Loved It! I actually wanted to be there to partake, so you always seem to bring out something new in me with your fresh and beautiful visions.

    Love ya,
    Sheri

  3. Oh my gosh…why are you not on TV!! I am going to be your newest subscriber…I am astounded with the refinement and extra finishing touches that bump all of your tablescapes up ten knotches to supersonic levels! Thanks for visiting my blog. Have a wonderful week. Sharon

  4. I loved EVERYTHING! Amazing tablescapes! Just brings me back to exactly why you made our wedding PERFECT! Because we are TOO much alike!

  5. This au revoir table is gorgous!! I love all of the pink with the brown (I love pink too). Your sterling is just beautiful…one of my favorite patterns.

    Your vast experience really shows!!!!

    Tess

  6. Girl, I love the dishes from, Coming up Roses and Au Revior and those snack plates from Tea Roses. Gotta have those snack trays, where did you get that set???????

  7. Hi, Berishia! I got those years ago at Tuesday Morning. I’m thinking it was somewhere around 2002 or so. I have (quite surprisingly!) kept them intact all this time. I don’t use them very often, so I guess that’s why. The maker is Silvestri. I have looked on Replacements Ltd. but have not seen them there. 😦

  8. Alycia, I love to just come over here and pick a subject and look at your tables. This “Run for the Roses” party looks so pretty, but it also looks like such fun! Love the wooden horse on the buffet. It’s so funny that you used the horse shoes. I had some I was going to use on my cowboy table this week, but was worried about getting them cleaned up. I’ll take your advice and clean and let them dry before I do another cowboy table, so that I can use them. I enjoyed seeing this wonderful party. laurie

  9. Laurie, thanks! Your table was so cool with all the great cowboy stuff…no horseshoes needed to finish it off! I directed my sister – who LOVES all things cowboy and even got a tattoo of a buffalo and cowboy hat before she started stalking….uh, I mean following in a non-threatening way…Garth Brooks all around the country – to your site to take a peek. She loved it!!!

  10. Too much fun stuff! Where to start, ok I will focus on the Lions! Very cute table she set for you and the menu was adorable. I agree that beef wellington looks amazing. I need to try that one some day!

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  12. Alycia!!!!! You are truly amazing!! I love everything about the table especially the beautiful chargers! I can’t even imagine what’s going on in that head of yours when you start to create, but what I need to know is how you came up with the idea of the “peacock”, was that the ribbon she handed you?

    Zatina

  13. Everything is so gorgeous, Alycia. I love the peacock plates and you know I love peacocks. But all the other tablescapes are gorgeous too, hard to pick a favorite. I have the hardest time finding you. I am glad I found you again….Christine

  14. We used to play Bunco in our neighborhood! What a fun table. I love what you did with the flatware. I think it is fun to be unexpected. Love black and white anytime and this would make any Bunco players thrilled to be part of the party!

  15. You never fail to amaze me. I love the bunco table, and I have heard of it, but know no one who plays. I guess it is not popular here. I love Baby’s breath, and use it the way you did. I grow it, pink and white. Love to mix it in with my hydrangeas.
    A, you are outstanding!

    • Kathleen, you GROW it??!?!! WOW!!! I wish!!! I don’t know if it could survive the harsh Kansas City winters or not. I’ll have to ask “the guy.” Whenever in doubt, I ask “the guy.” It’s always a different guy, but he’s still “the guy”!!! Have a great week and stay cozy! Thanks for stopping in!

  16. Alycia I love it!! You make simple look amazing! And who woud have thought chocolate dots on marshmallow’s? Thank you for helping me open up my mind and to think outside the box!

    Zatina

  17. I love creative minds!! Yours was working overtime with this one. l loved every way that you thought to bring the BUNCO theme into this table. All the sturdy black and white and the dice motif was just wonderful.

    And I DID like your dessert suggestion.

    Just wonderful and so fun!

  18. Alycia, I love your Bunco table! I play every now and then with a group, and it’s such a fun game. Love the fact that you used a black and white scheme and also that you used baby’s breath. I’m starting to see more and more of that in arrangements, it seems, so I’m glad to see it making a comeback on a pro’s table!

    Loved seeing ALL of these tablescapes, and I’m crazy about that horseshoe on the plate you used for your Derby party. Great idea! All of your ideas are clever, and I enjoy visiting you. I always see something new and fun here! I enjoyed the peacock theme just as much the second go around.

    Happy Tablescape Thursday and warm hugs…

    XO,

    Sheila 🙂

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  20. You do such beautiful and elegant tablescapes! I enjoyed seeing all these! The Bunco party in black and white is gorgeous! Love the marshmallow dice, so clever!

    Katherine

  21. Yes, I am sucking up! I am your BF and you HAVE… to do this for me 🙂 You know I have that thing coming up and it will be for six people and I’m thinking that I want it to be a mixture of Red, Orange & Yellow. Remember, it is in the evening, so I want it to be cozy and warm. I will discuss the menu with you later, I just wanted to make sure that everyone knows I want a tablescape and you can not tell me NO! It is public!!!!!!!! I have the backing of hundreds of people, so be nice 🙂

    Love ya! 🙂

  22. Dice for dessert. Perfect! I have always been a fan of black and white tablesettings. And I never get tired of baby’s breath, even though it’s “out.” Glad to see it might bake a come-back. Great Bunco menu, too.

    • Au contraire, mon ami! Baby’s breath is very much “in.” It’s HOW it has been used that is out! Don’t you just hate it when it’s stuck into floral arrangements so sparsely? It’s makes such a grand presentation when used en masse!!! I think every florist should put tons of baby’s breath in with every dozen of roses! You and I will keep baby’s breath alive no matter what since we both love it! Have a wonderful weekend!!!

  23. Hi, Alycia –
    Don’t feel dumb…..I didn’t know what Bunco was either, although I have heard the term. But, look what a fast learner you are! How cute was this table? And the menu was even better. Those dice marshmellows made me laugh out loud. Actually, many of your posts have! How sweetly we entertain each other.
    Linda @ A Toile Tale

  24. Alycia,
    What an adorable contempary Bunco table! I’ve only played it once and won twice. .. beginners luck! I would play again, when asked!
    I appreciate the use of baby’s breath. It adds such a light airy feeling in keeping with your theme. Black and white.. . .a classic. . .and so versatile. I’ll be doing another in the future where I use a POP of lime green as accents!
    We didn’t get the snow, instead we had ICE! Most is gone today, but SNOW predicted for the upcoming weekend. Thanks for visiting On Crooked Creek this week. Stop by again, soon!
    Fondly,
    Pat

  25. Alycia, I’m late making the TT rounds but finally got time! I’ve never really known what Bunco is either though I’ve heard of it. I love your “dice” theme and how you thought out the different black/white elements with that in mind. Great idea for the marshmallows to look like dice. The vases of baby’s breath are perfect and I love the use of the mirror (as you know, did the same with my TT table this week! – thanks for visiting – hope the weather cooperates and you make it to your dinner party!)

    DD

  26. The most glam Bunco dinner party I’ve seen! What fun fork placement. LOVE your marshmallow dice, so clever & they made me smile… I feel for you with all your snow, stay warm 🙂

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  33. Alycia,

    I love the tablecloth for the Chinese New Year!!!! It looks great! Just think of all the fun things you are going to be able to sew.

    Barbara

  34. Alycia I love the red and gold, especially the gold chargers! Bravo on the beautiful table linen I look forward to seeing your future sewing creations!

  35. I love your Chinese New Year table! The English crackers are a fun subsitution of for snapping & exploding fireworks. What lucky guests to dine at your lovely table & leave with those adorable favor boxes AND World Market gift cards!

  36. Wow, that fabric you chose is spectacular — just perfect for this table! Congratulations on joining the wonderful world of sewing, too! I really admire bloggers who routinely sew runners, napkins, etc. and have yet to try it myself, even though I’ve sewn a lot in the past. But it certainly extends one’s options for tablescaping! Thanks for visiting my table this week!

  37. The Chinese New Year setting is soooooo beautiful. You know how much I love the Oriental theme, what with my Master Bedroom and Master Bath furniture and deco. I’m amazed that you were able to hang on to those decorations I brought back from my visit to China. You have a knack for knowing just what and when to use pieces for your tablescapes. You are also getting good at stitching up table linens. LOOK OUT WORLD OF TABLESCAPING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • I know the value of cool stuff, Mom!!! This summer I will want to do something with some of the pieces you brought back from Africa. I only have one thing you brought from Russia, and I can’t think of anything from any of the other countries. What are you hiding from me? 😉

      • I’ve lot’s of things from Cairo, Egypt that you might be interested in, They are stored away in a “treated” storage case that I’ll share with you on your next visit. I won’t give away the location for fear you’ll make a visit while I am away.

  38. You have so many wonderful ideas and the same is true of all you have to work with. Good job on the tablecloth. The sewing doesn’t have to be perfect….it’s the effect that counts.

    • Thank you! I’m actually getting a little better. I’ve made six now! I may try my hand at creating full-length linens next which will require putting 2 pieces together. That will REALLY call for patience on my part! Have a good weekend, and Happy Valentine’s Day!!!

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  40. Yay!!! OMG!!! Thank you for creating your magic with my dishes I love everything. I can’t wait to try the floating candle idea and the gold chargers really make the dishes stand out. You have truly made my day and I’m smiling ear to ear right now!

    Love you
    Zatina

  41. As always… drooling and I just wish I could sit with you and enjoying every moment and I breath and melt in, in all those gorgeous treasure gathered.

    Love every piece.

    X0x0,
    /chie

  42. Alicia, what a great idea for a table! Those wonderful piano and music plates are just perfect, and they look wonderful on the “red carpet.” I love the invitations, too. And congrats on snagging the #1 spot for Tablescape Thursday!

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  44. How meticulous Can you get????(Knife on it’s edge!!!!!) You are really good. I really love the color scheme. Chocolate and pink are great color schemes and the touch of white sets it off perfectly.

  45. Alycia, thank you so much for the special tablescape you did for when I am hostess for my BUNCO group. The table you designed for me is absolutely beautiful. Since there are twelve of us, we only have to be a hostess once a year. I am going to spend some time trying to purchase the right tableware so that my table can look as nice as the one you did for me. You should have seen the look my husband had on his face when I showed him the e-mail. He was so excited to know that someone would take the time to do that just for me.

    We love everything about the table. I know that when my time comes to be a hostess that my friends will realize… and I quote, ” I care enough about them to set a pretty table.”

    • Thank you so much, Novetta! You have bestowed upon me the greatest compliment! And to know that even your husband was pleased…that’s just icing on the cake!!! I would be honored to see photos of what you ultimately create. If you can, email them to me at table21tablescapes@gmail.com. It’s always fun to see what people do with the inspiration they get. Have a great weekend, and thanks for allowing me the privilege of doing this table for you!

  46. Love your Chocolate Brown plates! They are so versatile & I’m a fan of brown & blue, wouldn’t they be great with paired with blue linens too! Your flatware is so handsome~ I love how the knife rests! Beautiful table for and evening with the girls!

  47. Oh, Alicia, what a gorgeous table! You are SO clever with those “lamps”! What a great look! I really love the brown rimmed china with the Mikasa stemware — elegant and contemporary. I know your friends felt very special — the pretty menus added a lovely touch!

  48. First time I found your site. What have I been missing. You make every occassion so fun. Your tablescapes are wonderful. Thank you for sharing ideas with us.

    • Hello, Barbara, and thank you so much for visiting my blog! I really appreciate it, and I’m glad you like it! I do hope you will visit often. I post once a week, usually on Wednesdays. I’m always glad to answer questions or address any tabletop dilemmas you may be facing, so please feel free to shoot me an email if you think I can be of help. Have a great weekend, and thanks again so much for stopping by!

  49. Oh Alycia!! I think I’m in love, you are killing me with the chocolate brown dishes and the beautiful calla lilies!! Chocolate brown is one of my favorite colors. Great Job!

  50. ALL, BUT ALL your tables girls are absolutely stunning!!! I love the Asian, Year of the Rabbit. Hope you visit me and see my Asian Table…I don’t know if you visit or what, but you’re welcome. Thank you for sharing your wonders, I truly enjoyed it and got great ideas.

    Regards.
    FABBY

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    • Hi, Delia! Ooooohhhh….I’m so thrilled that you stopped by to peek in! Hooray! That warms my heart!!! Stop on in every week! I usually post on Tuesday afternoons. I AM retired from the professional wedding business, but I am still working with these tablescapes for creative release and pleasure. Ramon and I used to entertain at least once a week, so I had reason to set a table often. Our entertaining budget has been severely decreased, but I keep churning out the tables for fun! Stop back by again soon, and thank you again!!!

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  75. Hi. I just started my event planning business Mpossible Events For You!! I happened upon your website and I must say I’m most impressed with what you do. You have truly inspired me to think beyond the outside box I’m in and for that I say Thank you! I now have a place to come when I need a little help with an event or table setting. YOU ROCK!!!

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