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

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

 

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

 

 

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

 

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

Informally Formal: Marrying modern and classic in your table setting

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

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

 

 

 

 

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

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Building a Better Brunch Buffet

Dropping back in to share with you this morning’s “Better Kansas City” show segment on Building a Better Brunch Buffet! (Try saying that 3 times fast!!!) This quickie 3:45 piece focuses more on structure and execution than the actual dishes, but it’s kinda fun!

And here are a few still photos!

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Join me for brunch!

 

Chatting on the set with “Better Kansas City” co-host Gina Bullard.

 

Linen-lined baskets are always a great way to display breads!

 

Be sure to go both high and low on your food display.

 

Lots of color comes to the table via the foods you choose. Have fun with it!

 

Place plates in two stacks on the end of a double-sided buffet table. Pictured here: gorgeous cobalt blue, yellow and white “Mirandela” plates from Pier 1 Imports.

 

 

Here I used a single large centerpiece – a mass of Spring daffodils in a large white base – that adds another dimension of height, texture, and color without interfering with food service.

Thank you so much for stopping in, and Happy Spring!

To see other Springtime brunch tablescapes on this site, click HERE (Springtime in Paris Buffet), HERE, (Easter Brunch), and HERE (Taste of Wine Buffet).

To see another tablescape using the Pier 1 “Mirandela” plates, click HERE.

Bringing the Zing to Chinese Takeout 

Once again earlier this year I was a guest on the “Better Kansas City” show. Getting up, dressed, and out the door that early is a real challenge for me, but I really enjoy it every time. This day was particularly fun with tips on creating a tablescape that presents Chinese takeout like a boss! CLICK on the video below to watch the 2-1/2-minute clip from the show, and after that are a few still photos I was able to snap with my iPad. (Time is very short on the set prior to going live, so I’m lucky to squeeze in a few pics!)

 


When I set up these demonstration tables on the set, remember…they are probably more narrow than your typical dining room table by about 12″ or so. The demo table is 6-ft. in length, but only 30″ wide compared to our 42″ wide dining table at home. That being said, you’d have more center space for food, additional decor, or just blank real estate than what’s shown here.

 


Each place setting has a black acrylic square charger (Walmart) topped with an Asian-themed 222 Fifth square plate (“Mia Blossom”) and small rice bowl from Pier 1 Imports. Pier 1 is a terrific place to buy globally themed dishes and decor! If you don’t have one near you, their website is pretty easy to navigate. (Too tall for this television demo, but a vase or two with a simple arrangement of cherry blossoms would be perfect for this tablescape!!)

 


Not everyone is adept at using chopsticks, so as a courtesy to your guests you may want to add flatware such as this faux bamboo stainless. Use the wooden chopsticks typically provided by the restaurant, or consider investing in a pair of permanent ones like these stainless steel beauties resting on a black onyx holder from a local specialty store. The white miso spoons here are from Pier 1. The “Capri” porcelain spice cellars by Gallery Tabletops are from T.J. Maxx and are great for spices or sauces at individual place settings.

 


Each place setting has a little something extra in the way the bamboo fan favors and black napkins, folded to resemble a Chinese sash, are presented in a red silk takeout box from Pier 1.

 


Teapot and cups from World Market.

 


White sake set from World Market. I picked up the Chinese robe wine bottle cover at Tuesday Morning a couple of years ago.


As I pointed out on the show, sometimes food is just so beautiful you might consider using it as a centerpiece. While this sushi is just a pretty good fake for demonstration purposes, it represents the real thing which always abounds in color, form, and texture…perfect elements for a gorgeous centerpiece!

If you’d like to see more tablescapes with an Asian flair for Chinese New Year or anytime Chinese food presentation just needs a little gussying up, check out these posts:
Peaceful Peonies
Year of the Rabbit
Chinese Takeout
Mum’s the Word/Zen Garden
Mikasa Daylight (Design #2)
Float Like A Butterfly
Mandarin Bling
Blue & White 30th Birthday
Copper Zen

Ready For My Close-Up, Mr. DeMille!

L to R: Friend/Neighbor/Fabulous Helper Barbara, Host Kelly Jones, me.

L to R: Friend/Neighbor/Fabulous Helper Barbara, Host Kelly Jones, me
I feel like Uncle Festus standing next to these skinny women! 🙂

I wanted to share the video with you from my second appearance this morning on “Better Kansas City“. This is a local morning show that covers a wide spectrum of topics including home decor and entertaining. I was so honored to be invited back after my first appearance in November! Today I discussed buffet tablescapes…really fun!

When I arrived home later this morning, I hopped out of my car to greet a neighbor and slipped on a patch of black ice in the driveway. I can’t show you the photos of my backside (think rug burn at its worst on top of cottage cheese a.k.a. cellulite! :-)), but my hands got roughed up pretty good. My head may very well have left a dent in the concrete, too. It hit so hard that I literally saw stars!!! The worst part, though? I really scuffed up my beautiful black leather boot!!!!! 😦

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I’ll work on getting the post from today’s show ready and try not to completely off myself with clumsiness in the process. Meanwhile, I hope you’ll pop over to the KCTV-5 “Better Kansas City” site and check out the segment! It’ll be up all week, although the page it’s on will change. Many thanks to everyone at Better Kansas City (co-hosts Kelly Jones and Lisa Holbrook, producer Erin Cansler, tech guy/gracious gentleman Mike who, when putting on my mic, didn’t say a word about all the Spanx goin’ on under there, always good-lookin’ cameraman Chris, and sweet, pretty Lauren) my neighbor Barbara, and my friend Sheri who took lots of great pictures!
Happy Monday, everyone!

Here are the photos from the show that tell the story from start to finish!

(Click on any photo to enlarge/enhance it. Photos by Sheri L. Grant)

Set collageThe set of “Better Kansas City”

Placing linen, manzanitas & moss collageWe arrived at the studio at 7:45 a.m., unloaded in about 15 minutes. With just 45 minutes to set up the entire tablescape, there’s no time to waste! (But I still always take time to measure for proper placement!)

Placing bowls, spoons, forks collageDepicting a “nearly Spring” buffet, I used a variety of vessels including chafers, flat trays, stacked cake stands, and glass ramekins.

IMG_0567Lots of bling hung among the manzanita branches and placed on the table with the reindeer moss to add a little glitz. This is a table that would work well for a Springtime bridal shower, bridal luncheon, or 60th wedding anniversary.

IFAs Barbara adds the finishing touches, I consult with the producer’s assistant on the minutiae of the script.

IF

Finished table close ups collageWith just about 5 minutes to spare, the table is completely set and ready!

Getting dressed collageThe table is dressed, now it’s my turn!

IFThe sound guy is ready to get me mic’d up. Don’t I look lovely in my gym socks and sneakers? Maybe I should have kept them on to avoid the slip & fall described earlier! 🙂

Final impressions collageOh, so picky and NEVER satisfied, Barbara and I discuss possible adjustments in the remaining moments before the show goes live.

IFWe swoop in to make a couple of quick tweaks (like adding “ice” to the forks assembled in the little crystal bucket), then finally declare…

IF…SUCCESS!!!

To see how this same concept translated into a sit-down dinner for 8, click HERE to see “Moss & Manzanitas”.

Winter Dinner Tablescape

I had a good time this morning doing a live segment on holiday tablescaping at our local CBS station, KCTV-5, on the “Better Kansas City” show. Host Kelly Jones made me feel very comfortable and welcome. It was weird to be on the “other side” of a show like that. I hosted a half-hour news program called “District Directions” way back in the 1980s. (Yes, young people…television had been invented back then!) Don’t know if it’s because I’ve aged mellowed or what, but it seemed less frenetic than back when I was doing the interviewing with someone else in the hot seat some 25 years and 40 lbs. ago!

Behind the anchor desk of “District Directions”, November 1987.
That was then…

…and this is now, 25 years later.
On the set of “Better Kansas City” with my friend, Barbara, and host Kelly Jones.

I wanted so much to hate the tall, svelte, gorgeous, gracious host of the show because she is tall, svelte, gorgeous and gracious, but I just couldn’t. She was aces! 😉 My friend, Barbara, is skinny, too, and she did a fantabulous job of helping me to set up. Because she is skinny, though, I have officially decided I don’t like her, either! 😉

So…the table. My segment was first up, so Barbara and I kicked into high gear with just about 45 minutes to get everything ready. I had set up at home first to make sure I had all the necessary elements. Our dining table is 6 ft. x 42″, but the table on set was only 30″ wide. I made some adjustments for width by putting 3 place settings on each side. Then, per the director, I moved some of the centerpiece items around to create an unencumbered sight line for the camera.

A quick change out of my very ladylike Keds and chambray work shirt into high heels and jacket, then ready, and…we’re live!

Click the image above to see the live segment. (For those of you hearing my voice for the first time…I’m sorry! I kinda laugh like a hyena in heat! ;-))

Here’s the winter tablescape as it was set up at home…

Having a 42″ vs. 30″ wide table makes a huge difference! I like the way both turned out, though. It’s really a very simple tablescape to create that doesn’t burn through your bank account. Lots of candlelight adds warmth to the wintry look while the glass cylinders, mirrored chargers, and silver Christmas ornaments add that icy shine. The pine cones bring a rustic element to the tablescape. Changing out the ornaments for  gilded mini pumpkins would turn this into a slick contemporary Thanksgiving look, while deep-sixing the pine cones for miniature disco balls (mirror balls) would transform it into a terrific New Year’s Eve tablescape.

So that’s my day in the bright lights! Many, many thanks to host Kelly Jones, producer Erin Cansler, and all the terrific folks at KCTV-5 and “Better Kansas City” (including that very handsome camera operator!). A special thanks to Ty Edwards of All Things In Place who recommended me for the show and to Barbara Alsup for getting up at the butt crack of dawn to help me set up.

For more Winter tablescape ideas, please visit the Winter page!

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

I am linking up with Cuisine Kathleen this week for “Let’s Dish!” and Susan for “Tablescape Thursday” so please join us!

Have a Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!