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”
“Show Me State Dinner”
“Little Black Dress”
“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 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, see“Raining Orchids“, “All A’Bloom In Pink for Spring“, “Should Have Put a Ring On It“, and “It’s All About Me!“.)
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.
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! 😉
YEAR OF THE RABBIT
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.
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!)
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 firstname.lastname@example.org!
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
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!
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
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??!?!?!!
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!
COMING UP ROSES
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.)
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!”.
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!)
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.
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.
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.
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!!!
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.
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???)
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.
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.
DINNER WITH FRIENDS
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?