Polly Want a Party!

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

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

 

 

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

 

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

 

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

Smoke & Mirrors – Sensational at 70

My remarkable friend, Marchita, recently celebrated becoming an official septuagenarian in high spirits and high style. I was asked to create the ambience for the 160-guest celebration. So even with flooding rains plaguing the city (hence the substandard photo quality despite my best editing efforts), my husband and I made every second count of the allotted 2-hour setup time to create a space that represented Marchita: simply, sweetly, sensationally elegant at 70.

This recent 4-minute appearance on KCTV-5’s “Better Kansas City” show summed up my thinking on how to approach the decor without using flowers.

 

My inspiration for the overall room plan was quite unexpectedly stirred by the venue’s house decorator. This luxurious ceiling treatment was going to already be in place for a wedding reception…so I just rolled with that and chose white silk, reflective silver, mirrors, candlelight, and bling for the tables to complement it.

 

 

 

This is the woman of the hour, the sensational Marchita Stanton, standing at the table I created especially for her. I started with a black full-length pinched pinwheel taffeta tablecloth, an upgrade from the venue’s lap-length poly cloths used for the guest tables. A silver 5-arm candelabra to which I added crystal bobeches for extra sparkle graced the center. (These same candelabra were used for “Blue & White Family Picnic” and “Hollywood Fright Night“.)

 

 

 

Satellite lighting included lots of votives and candle lamps created using silver Revere candlesticks topped with white silk shades. (I used a similar technique for the post “Should Have Put A Ring On It“.) I used the same bobeches on the lamps as on the candelabra.

 

I created signs like this for areas throughout the venue. The frames are laden with pearlescent gemstones and rhinestones. (I used these same frames for seating cards in the posts “Fete Noir et Gris“, “Purple & Pastel“, and “Bling Wedding“.)

 

I slipped the chairs at the guest of honor’s table into black Spandex chair covers and added a black sash to which a rhinestone cuff was affixed.

 

 

 

Centerpieces for the guest tables were more subdued than the head table with a single lamp and a few votives. While the lamps complemented the overhead decor and head table, they did not serve to compete. I opted to use the venue’s mirrors to double back the light.

 

 

Marchita requested a special table for the children next to her own table. I wanted it to be special and fun but still work with the rest of the decor. I ordered up a balloon bouquet in black, white and platinum (after all, platinum is the color for celebrating 70 years!) and omitted candles. Marchita put together fun gift/activity bags to be placed in each child’s chair.

 

A quick peek at other details I set up around the venue includes the table in the vestibule for guests to self-check their umbrellas. I admit it could have been nicer, but I didn’t think about it until a few hours before setup when I realized the rain was NOT going to back down. At any rate, it helped avoid confusion after the event as so many umbrellas look alike.

 

 

As guests stepped inside the party room they were greeted by a table reminding them to treat themselves! I dressed the table in a white pinched pinwheel linen and, like the head table, added a silver candelabra. A few scattered LED votives further illuminated the table.

 

I expected a significant amount of cards, so I opted for a silver punch bowl (also used in “Kentucky Derby Buffet” for Mint Julep Punch) to collect them on the gift table.

 

 

 

I forgot the silver trays for the ladies and mens room pampering stations!!! Ugh!!! Oh, well…several guests remarked how appreciative they were to have things like breath mints, floss sticks, and hair spray at their disposal. Notice how the men got FAR less!!! But those shoe mitts came in handy after coming in out of the driving rain.

A few other birthday celebration posts on this site include:
88 Years & 88 Keys
Pretty In Pink
Blue & White 30th Birthday
Celebrating 85 Years of Fabulous!
Purple & Pastel
Grazin’ In the Grass
Princess Pink Birthday Dinner
Happy Birthday, Barf!
Black, White & Red All Over

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tented Green

TENTED GREEN!
(a re-post from May 2009)

We opted for a separate reception tent exclusively for the kids. Let’s face it: Children get bored stiff at weddings. They need planned activities in their own space, kid-friendly food like chicken fingers and fruit cups, and specialized decor. The two most important things to keep in mind for a children’s tablescape: simple pleasures and lots of bright colors. I chose a white lap-length tablecloth for this table. Floor-length + children often = disaster! I went with white to help make the colors on top really stand out.
 While we used lots of the couple’s colors of pale green and white in the lush balloon arrangements around the tent, the balloon figures on the table here are all white. (Balloon arrangements by Balloon Garden.) I created placemats in lots of primary colors using puff paint to personalize them for each child in attendance. I’m no artist, so believe me…this was no small feat!!! 🙂
You can’t go wrong with a goodie bag! Just fill it with simple items like crayons and coloring books, Play-Doh, miniature Etch-a-Sketch, wrapped candies, Matchbox cars for boys, and Barbie dolls for girls. Always be sure the contents are age appropriate and not on anyone’s recall list! (Goodie bags and leis from U.S. Toy Company.)
A caricature artist provided lots of fun for kids young and old!
Face painting…or is that the real Spiderman?!??! ‘-)
I have plans for an all-out kid fest at home sometime soon. I’m anxious to see the kids’ faces and to get your feedback!
Other kid-friendly tablescapes on this blog include:
“Fairy Princess Party”
“Confectionery Christmas”
“Cupcake Colors”
“Frosty the Snowman”
“Pink & Purple Chocolate Christmas”
“Popsicle Party”
“Sugar High”
“Life Is Just a Chair of Bowlies”

Tuscan Holiday

A neighbor asked me to help her with the design of a dinner tablescape for an Italian Christmas feast. She wanted to keep the look “very low key.” Further, she wanted the colors to be warm and not “overtly Italian.” My solution was to pair her white bowls with my mustard-color plates. We also used her existing flatware & stemware.

The long, lush centerpiece uses rustic wooden bowls as the foundation. (September Wine to see these wooden bowls & oversized hurricane sleeves used in a similar design on a long Tuscan-style table.) To this I added massive 24″H clear glass hurricane sleeves from Pottery Barn with an ivory pillar candle atop an oil-rubbed bronze candlestick. The outer edges of the bowl are filled with assorted seasonal fruits. To finish the look, fragrant evergreens cut fresh from the yard.
To finish each place setting, a bronzed charger and simple yellow apple serve as a subtle extension of the centerpiece. Rich chocolate linens convey the desired warmth and subtlety.
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
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

“Let It Snow!”

Christmas Eve 2009 brought a thick blanket of snow to the Kansas City area. What better way to celebrate it than to bring a few snowflakes inside to the dining room tablescape?

 

 

 

Because I wanted to keep a little bit of a “woodland” look, I kept the table bare of linens to expose its grainy wood.

 

 

A shiny silver charger anchors platinum rimmed white Noritake “Spectrum” dinner plates, followed by a shimmering acrylic snowflake, and finally a white snowflake-laden salad plate from Pier 1. Mikasa‘s Jamestown Platinum stemware and heirloom silver flatware complete the setting. The centerpiece is made up of a large silver cake plateau topped with “snow-dusted” faux evergreens and lots of pillar candles.

 

Sometimes one napkin is simply not enough! Layering napkins – here a sheer silver organza from Pier 1 over crisp white cotton – gives a richer look. The rhinestone flecked napkin rings continue the snowflake trend.

 

I love these mirrored candlesticks from Pier 1 (2009 collection) used to elongate the centerpiece! Silver jingle bells rest on a mound of faux snow in modern crystal mini vases, and a 3-D glittery star work to complete the centerpiece.

 

 

 

The buffet decor mimics that of the dining table with snowy faux greenery, pine cones, more jingle bells, and lots of sparkle. The glass Parisian decanter is filled with “snow” and greenery, and a length of brown satin ribbon literally “ties” the dining room in with decor in the foyer.

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
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
Tuscan Holiday

 

 

 

 

Grazin’ In The Grass – 80th Birthday Party

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

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

 

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

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

Bellini Birthday Brunch

BELLINI BIRTHDAY BRUNCH
(a re-post from August 2009)

 In 2009 we celebrated my stepdaughter’s birthday with an open house brunch. As a hint of what was to come, guests were greeted by our jolly old English butler, Geoffrey, offering coffee and a donut on the front porch.
  Upon entering the foyer, guests were offered peach Bellinis served in cut crystal Mikasa flutes displayed on a beautiful silver tray.
 The dining room was set for six with fun coffee motif placemats from Bed Bath & Beyond.
I like to use edible centerpieces on tablescapes whenever possible. This one includes lots of fresh fruit stacked on glass cake plateaus, accented by aromatic roasted coffee beans and simple bouquets of colorful alstroemeria.
 Set up on the buffet behind the table is a scrumptious coffee bar with variety sugars and liqueurs. The silver Victorian sugar scuttle and rock candy sticks are fun details that help it all special. The faux mother-of-pearl handled flatware from Target is set end-to-end for visual impact. I created the fun coffee bar sign using an inexpensive miniature chalkboard from Hobby Lobby. Displaying it on the gold easel makes it look a little bit fancier despite the unfinished wood frame.
 Fun touches like this chalkboard cow from J’Adore in Kansas City, MO, make the buffet service area a little more fun. The kitchen pigs presiding over the chafers and condiments are from Stein Mart.
 A juice bar was set up near the buffet, with each serving vessel accented with corresponding fresh fruit slices. Name tags are displayed on card holders resembling miniature coffee pots.

Dinner For the Ladies In Waiting

DINNER FOR THE LADIES IN WAITING
(a re-post from September 2010)

A cozy dinner for six to thank the bridesmaids for their friendship and support is a fancy affair. With so many flourishing young careers in motion, an intimate dinner was more convenient for all than a traditional bridal luncheon.
A white cotton linen is covered with a silver organza overlay for just the slightest bit of shimmer. Silver chargers are topped with Noritake “Whitebrook” dinner, salad and dessert plates with a bread plate to the left. Heirloom flatware and Mikasa “Jamestown Platinum” water and wine glasses round out the look. The silver-on-silver design organza napkins have a simple silver napkin ring. Silver candlesticks hold simple white tapers.
The Noritake china has a delicate, very “wedding-like” white-on-white design.
The flowers, arranged in a cut crystal rose bowl, add color, texture and just the slightest bit of fragrance. This bouquet is composed mainly of lilies, hydrangea, Queen Anne’s lace, and roses.
 Flutes filled with champagne are presented in a petal-filled silver gallery tray. The petals scattered are a repeat of flowers found in the table florals.
Cute individual luncheon-sized cakes are perfect for the occasion!

Rhapsody In Blue

RHAPSODY IN BLUE
(a re-post from September 2010)

I treated a couple to a post-nuptial luncheon in our home to celebrate their union. A smattering of “diamonds” brings glitz & sparkle to the wedding tablescape.

 Bursts of bright green play nicely off the bride’s chosen colors of French blue & white. Granny Smith apples and juicy green grapes are surrounded by green button mums, spider mums, pink waxflower, Queen Anne’s lace, viburnum, and fragrant Stargazer lilies all spilling from a silver pedestal bowl. The main piece is flanked with green grapes atop simple silver pedestals.

 Each lady’s place setting is marked with an oversized “diamond” napkin ring. The gentlemen have simple “wedding bands” of silver. Two chargers – one rhinestone-rimmed and the other a plain silver – mimic the differences in the men’s and ladies’ place settings. The scrolled-edge cream-colored plates are from TJ Maxx, and the quilted table runner and napkins are from Z Gallerie.

  Although a simple fare is served (pecan-chicken salad on croissant, honey-dipped fruit on a skewer, assorted cheese slices and kettle chips with strawberry shortcake for dessert), the tablescape still has a decidedly regal feel about it.

Black, White, & Red All Over

BLACK, WHITE, & RED ALL OVER
(a re-post from April 2010)

Happy Birthday dinner party on the deck is ready to get underway.

 

 

A casual birthday dinner to celebrate my son and sister-in-law’s birthdays brought out the black & white Royal Stafford “Herdsman” dinner plates. I set black chargers and linen napkins against a crisp white cotton tablecloth, and keeping with the tablescape’s natural theme, I used plain rattan napkin rings. A traditional flatware pattern, Hampton Smith’s “Patriot”, complemented the ensemble. Individual wine tags were put on each person’s glass for mingling after the meal.

 

A shot of color was added to the tablescape with bright red geraniums in simple terra cotta pots. By substituting the geraniums for something more spring-like such as potted tulips or hyacinth, a table like this would also work quite well for a Mother’s Day brunch or luncheon, or any Spring tablescape.

 

To add height, texture and interest to the tablescape, simple potted topiaries shared the center of the table with the geraniums.

 

Wonderful made-from-scratch food and fabulous drink including my introduction to Menage a Trois. The WINE! Get your mind out of the gutter!!!

 

The Birthday Queen and King blow out their candles!

Other black, white, and red tablescapes on this site include:
Black, White, & Red All Over Christmas
Checkered Christmas – A Snowman Theme
Derby Day Dining
Grill It Up!