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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

My Sister’s Wedding China

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com: My Sister’s Wedding China - Family photo

INSPIRATION: My sister’s wedding, 1973. Pictured here are my little brother, Jay; my Daddy, my sister, Berishia (I’ve referred to her by the nickname I gave her as a teen – Barf – in previous posts); my Mom, and; me – just 14 – with cotton candy hair! 🙂 (Dig those funky-fresh platform shoes and “Granny” glasses!)

My sister’s first marriage was in December of 1973 on the eve of one of Kansas City’s worst snow storms on record. Hint much? Anyhooooo….As you can tell from the photo, I was a little less than thrilled with all the pomp and circumstance of it all. (I was far more focused on packing up her stuff and assuming sole ownership of the bedroom we’d shared for 14 years!) The wedding Mass, with nearly every seat in the church occupied, was followed by a lovely celebration in the church reception hall. The next day it was time to open gifts, and THAT got my attention! The marriage eventually ended, and as luck would have it I got (temporary) custody of the wedding china! 😉
I’m showcasing my sister’s wedding china today and participating in Cuisine Kathleen’s “Wedding China Challenge” along with tablescape bloggers from all over the world.
(Click on any photo, then click again to enlarge/enhance it.)

 


Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com: My Sister’s Wedding China - Full dining roomI started this table with a 90″ x 132″ white tablecloth from LinenTablecloth.com. I first considered using one of their fabulous taffeta pintuck tablecloths, but decided to do something a little different. I placed a 13″ x 96″ French blue quilted runner from Z Gallerie on each side of the table, leaving the center a pristine white for the centerpiece.

 

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com: My Sister’s Wedding China - TableThis tablescape would work nicely for a wedding reception or any wedding-related event. It would also be perfect to celebrate a special birthday, promotion, or any special occasion.

 

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com: My Sister’s Wedding China - Multiple place settings

 

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com: My Sister’s Wedding China - single place settingThe runners are a wonderful backdrop to the shining silver metal chargers and my sister’s Noritake “Whitebrook” wedding china. The china pattern includes a thin platinum rim and clusters of tiny bouquets.

 

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com: My Sister’s Wedding China - stemware, flatware, & napkin collageI chose Cristal d’Arques “Longchamps” cut crystal to complement the diamond shape in the runners. The  silky French blue napkins from Z Gallerie are simply folded into a rectangle and finished with a single pink cymbidium orchid bloom. Why not white? Just look how that pink pops against that French blue!!!

 

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com: My Sister’s Wedding China - full centerpiece

 

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com: My Sister’s Wedding China - table level centerpiece elements

 

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com: My Sister’s Wedding China - short floral and floral bling collageThe bright pink florals used here for demonstration purposes are a mix of real and faux including peonies, cymbidium and dendrobium orchids, ranunculus, hydrangea, yarrow, and dusty miller. I hung strands of bling that included a diamond-shaped piece that would complement the design of the runners and stemware. The graceful gooseneck glass vases are perfect for creating an arrangement that appears to “rain” overhead, while the simple silver pilsners are great for a “pouf” of flowers. Using three levels of height adds to the visual interest. (NOTE: The wildly windy weather here kept me from setting up outdoors as originally planned. When creating your “real life” tablescape, the flowers should never make contact with the lighting fixture!)

 

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com: My Sister’s Wedding China - tea light

 

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com: My Sister’s Wedding China - white pillar candle on crystal Mikasa candlestickI have had these crystal “Diamond Fire” candlesticks by Mikasa for upwards of 20 years but have rarely used them. They seemed perfect here to give a lift to white pillar candles. Small glass votive holders add a second level of light to the tablescape.

 

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com: My Sister’s Wedding China - Chair collageStandard round top banquet chairs are prettied up with white stretch chair covers from LinenTablecloth.com. A coordinating stretch chair sash is gathered in the center to accommodate a bling strand like those used on the table florals.

 

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com: My Sister’s Wedding China - Buffet table

 

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com: My Sister’s Wedding China - champagne tray on buffetThe buffet behind the table holds a silver tray for serving the champagne. Using a tray is not only utilitarian in nature (it keeps condensation from marring the wood of the furniture, catches any spills when the champagne is being poured, and makes serving the champagne a snap), but it also helps pull the elements together for a pleasing look.

 

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com: My Sister’s Wedding China - vintage tea cart

 

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com: My Sister’s Wedding China - coffee service on vintage tea cart

 

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com: My Sister’s Wedding China - Noritake "Whitebrook" creamer & sugar

 

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com: My Sister’s Wedding China - individual cake on Noritake "Whitebrook" dessert plate, silver forks in silver mini champagne bucketThe vintage tea cart in the corner holds accoutrements for after-dinner coffee service with dessert including a miniature champagne bucket for dessert forks. (TIP: If serving a chilled dessert, add ice to the vessel holding your forks [or spoons]. It will chill the metal and help your dessert to stay cold a bit longer. Chilling the plates or bowls in which the dessert is to be served will also help, especially in summer!)

 

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com: My Sister’s Wedding China - candlestick with cut crystal peg votive

 

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com: My Sister’s Wedding China - Diamond design collageThe sconces on the wall hold silver Revere candlesticks with a cut crystal peg votive. As you can see in the final photo, the thread that tied this room together was the diamond shape as seen in the peg votive, the bling on the chairs and floral, the stemware, and the quilted runners. (TIP: Using a host of similar shapes, colors, or other design element helps to subtly create a seamless look in your overall table or room design.

Other posts with tablescapes suitable for wedding-related events on this site:
Love & Orchids
Peonies & Pearls
Purple & Pastel
The Party She Deserves
Something Blue Bridal Luncheon
Bling Wedding
All A’Bloom for Spring
Fairy Tale Wedding Shower
Autumn White Wedding
Roses in October
Candle in the Wind
White Hot
Peaceful Peonies
Fete Noir et Gris
Diamonds Are A Material Girl’s Best Friend
Celebrating 85 Years of Fabulous
Should Have Put a Ring On It
Platinum & Pink Valentine
Chocolate Traditional
Blushing Bridal Shower
Pink Plaid & Posies
Pretty In Pink
French Poodle
Peony Power
Springtime in Paris
Patisserie de Paris
One Shoe Can Change Your Life
Rhapsody In Blue
Dinner for the Ladies In Waiting

Peek & poke around here, and then be sure to join me over at Cuisine Kathleen’s for the “Let’s Dish! – Wedding China Tablescape Challenge” anytime after 6:00 p.m. CDT tonight. I’ll also be partying this week with Christine at Rustic & Refined with her new blog party “Table It!” which goes online every Monday at 7 a.m., and at Susan’s place, Between Naps on the Porch, for “Tablescape Thursday” after 9:00 a.m. CDT on Thursday. Finally, I’m linking up with How Sweet the Sound for “Pink Saturday”!

Have you checked out BeBetsy.com? I link up there, and it’s a great place to get inspired for everything from cooking to fashion and beyond!!!

Platinum & Pink Valentine Tablescape

Valentine’s Day is just about a week away now, and I’d like to share a simple but impactful centerpiece on a table I have created for one of my upcoming tablescaping classes. While this is a table for four, it could be easily adapted to a more intimate table for two by removing two place settings and moving the centerpiece to the far edge of the table so the couple can sit side by side.

IFThe dilemma always exists in how to make a table suitable for the tastes of a man paired with those of a woman. My solution is to use a color that appeals to both sexes, although probably for different reasons: platinum! Men think of it as the color of a sharp pinstripe suit, tuxedo or morning coat. Women, of course, tend to think of it in terms of “da bling” (with a diamond strapped on that band big enough to break all 5 fingers!!!) 🙂 Either way it goes, it’s a fabulous color that works really well with touches of pink infused for softness. I draped this 48″ round table with a crushed poly platinum linen big enough to gently puddle around it.

IF

Napkin collage

Flatware, Stemware, Favor collageThe china used here is classic Easterling “Majestic” with a deep gray band and platinum rim. The chargers are silver-leafed clay. The pearly pink & silver napkin rings from Old Time Pottery are doubled up to give them more depth. Taking its cue from the centerpiece, a snippet of bling adds a dash of sparkle to the napkin.

IF

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IFThe simple centerpiece was created with heart-shaped oasis floral foam. This one is laden with faux carnations for class purposes (to see more on how it was constructed, visit Table Tips, #38), but it could certainly be made with the real deal. Fluffy fresh carnations give you a lot of bang for the buck, and just imagine the sweet clove fragrance!!! I dotted the arrangement with rhinestone stick pins and gently curved stems cut from a bling spray (that regular readers may recognize from my Christmas 2012 tree and living room wreath arrangements) to give it more of a 3-D look. Tri-level silver Revere candlesticks with white candles lined up on both sides of the floral arrangement round out the centerpiece and add a sexy glow.

This table, expanded to seat more guests, would be ideal for wedding-related events, an anniversary, or a special lady’s birthday. The floral centerpiece (used with different supporting elements) would work nicely for a baby shower.

More tables on this site suitable for a Valentine’s Day celebration:
“Should Have Put a Ring On It”
“Queen of Hearts Card Party”
“Be Still My Heart”
“Chocolate Traditional”
“Peonies & Pearls”
“Days of Wine & Roses”
“Love’s Arrow”
“Princess Pink Birthday Dinner”
“Roses in October”
“Pretty in Pink”

The blog parties this week are brimming with love! Join me, won’t you, for Cuisine Kathleen’s Let’s Dish! (anytime after 6:00 p.m., CST on Wednesday), The Style Sisters’ “Centerpiece Wednesday”, Susan’s Tablescape Thursday (anytime after 9:00 a.m. CST on Thursday), and for the very first time Beverly’s “Pink Saturday”. Don’t miss the Valentine blog hop at “Bargain Hunting With Laurie” starting Sunday, February 10th!

 Have a Happy and Loving Valentine’s Day! 

Should Have Put a Ring On It Valentine Tablescape

♥♥♥ All the single ladies! All the single ladies! ♥♥♥

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, but that doesn’t mean romance is in the air for everyone. There are those among us who are on an earnest quest to find Mr. Right but haven’t yet found out where he’s hiding. There are those who thought they had Mr. Right but had to kick him to the curb because he was oh, so wrong. There are those whose “boo” must be away for that special day (through no fault of his own). And then there are those who just don’t want to share the remote, compromise on what to have for dinner, or worry about falling into the toilet because the seat was left up. For all of you single ladies – whatever your reason – this is a blinged out Valentine tablescape that celebrates you as the carefree diva you are!
(Click on any photo to enlarge/enhance it.)

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IMG_9676WMValentine’s Day can be a day to raise your glass and just enjoy the platonic company of girlfriends. Like Cyndi Lauper said: “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun”!!! This would also be a great table for celebrating with other couples on Valentine’s Day (probably something just us old married folks do, but it can be fun!) or a Christmastime rehearsal dinner, engagement party, or wedding reception. With a few minor tweaks, it would also make a fabulous Kentucky Derby tablescape!!! (Change the white to cream, and it’s also perfect for a Delta Sigma Theta sorority gathering! My Mom made me say that! :-))

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IMG_9753WMRed is the color of strength, power, and determination as well as love. Start with a bold red full-length table linen (LinenTablecloth.com) to get the energy flowing in the room. Each glamorous place setting includes a rhinestone-studded charger topped with a second charger in sleek silver for added depth. The delicate design of Noritake “Whitebrook” china conveys sophisticated sweetness and light.

IMG_9645WMA menu card helps to answer the age-old question, “What’s for dinner?” and makes a really nice souvenir. The background of deep red roses works in concert with the centerpiece florals.

Flatware, Napkin, Rim Shot CollageI used these fun “diamond” napkin rings I found at Tuesday Morning because they go so well with the “Should Have Put a Ring On It” theme!

IMG_9640WMUse your most beautiful pieces to make everyone feel like royalty! Stemware here is Godinger “Chelsea” which isn’t my best, but it sure is one of my favorites!

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Clockwise: (1) Silver Revere candlestick; (2) candlestick topped with peg votive; (3) LED votive glows safely, and; (4) white silk lampshade made for fitting over peg votives

Clockwise from upper left corner: (1) Silver Revere candlestick; (2) candlestick topped with peg votive; (3) LED votive glows safely, and; (4) white silk lampshade made for fitting over peg votives

Lots of ambient light makes everyone look fabulous! These bistro lamps are powered by LEDs for safety. These same shades were used to create a completely different look on a silver epergne HERE(For more candle lamps on this site, see “All A’Bloom for Spring“, “Raining Orchids“, “It’s All About Me!“, and “Just Us Girls“.)

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IMG_9610WMFun and flirty “Ocean Diamond Dazzle” rhinestone ribbon creates a jazzy runner to visually connect all the centerpiece elements. The frosted white votive holders (Hobby Lobby) have a thin coordinating strip.

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IMG_9680WMLots and lots of red rose kissing balls bring color and texture at two levels. Each rose ball is finished off with rhinestone stick pins for added flair. Faux flowers are used here for demonstration purposes, but by all means go fresh if your budget allows! Fresh flowers bring a dimension to your decorating that nothing else can!!!

Indeed, “if [he] liked it, then [he] should have put a ring on it”. If he didn’t, though, consider a glamour-filled evening for friends who share your single status!

If you’ve never seen the SNL parody of “Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It)” with Justin Timberlake, Andy Samberg, Bobby Moynihan and Miss Thang Herself, Beyoncé Knowles, click HERE and get ready to laugh until you cry!!!

Other Valentine’s Day tables on this site include:
“Queen of Hearts Card Party”
“Be Still My Heart”
Days of Wine and Roses
Peonies & Pearls
Love’s Arrow
Chocolate Traditional

Other posts with kissing balls/rose balls on this site:
Princess Pink Birthday Dinner
Days of Wine and Roses
Kentucky Derby Buffet
Derby Day Dining
Diwali My Way
Mandarin Bling

I’m joining Cuisine Kathleen’s “Let’s Dish!” (anytime after 6:00 p.m. CST on Wednesday) and Susan’s “Tablescape Thursday” (anytime after 9:00 a.m. CST on Thursday). I’m sure a lot of love will be in the air, so join me, won’t you?

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”.

Life Is A Cabaret – New Year’s Eve

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

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

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

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

Table lengthwise & mulitple place setting collage

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

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

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

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

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

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Mirror ball collage

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

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

Champagne Cart Collage

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

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

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

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

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

HAPPY NEW YEAR, EVERYONE!!!

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

Christmas 2012 – Red, Black & Silver

I said I wasn’t going to do much decorating this year. I lied. So sue me. Actually, Ramon was a huge help since my shoulders are still torn up, so I was able to do more although not as much as in previous years. So  just kick back and take a gander at our Christmas 2012 living room and kitchen decor. Next week’s post will bring photos of the dining room, library and foyer. Enjoy!
(Click on any photo to enhance/enlarge it.
Photos by Sheri L. Grand and Alycia Nichols)

IMG_0427WMWelcome to our home! Ramon has lit up the outside just for you!

IMG_0419WMCome right on in. We’re glad you’ve stopped by!

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Mantel vignetteI wanted a sophisticated yet fun look in the living room, so I went with traditional red in a snowman theme much like last week’s “Checkered Christmas” post. (You’ll also see how it fits in with tomorrow’s regular tablescaping post!) Even though there is lots of Christmas bling throughout the room, the snowmen temper that just a bit.

Thanks to my good blog buddy, Liz at Infuse With Liz, I was finally able to create the type of mantel decor I have always wanted. Liz uses those Command Strips from 3M to attach a lighted length of garland and then builds out from there. Fearing the Command Strips would not be sturdy enough, I enlisted Ramon’s help to drill small holes into the top of the mantel into which he then screwed rubber-coated cup hooks. (Our mantel sits quite high. After Christmas when the decor is gone, we’ll remove the hooks and the only people able to see the holes will be really nosy folks who stand on the hearth looking for dirt or NBA players. 🙂 ) In the coming years all I’ll have to do is screw those hooks back into the existing holes, and I’ll be good to go! I started with a 6-foot lighted greenery garland that I secured with the hooks. I then strategically nestled in individual pine branches. I finished the look off with bright red ornaments, lots of bling, and fun “icicles.” Black wrought iron candlesticks topped with red ornaments balance out each end.

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Hearth urn collageTwo black urns are topped with oversized red ornaments sitting on a wreath that is dripping in acrylic icicles and bling. The “snowflakes” cosied into the top of the wreath are actually rhinestone brooches I bought at a closeout sale years ago! I actually have something similar in mind for a wedding tablescape centerpiece later this year. Stay tuned for that! (Something like this one pictured, of course, would be great for a Christmas wedding!)

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Tree collageOur tree is all decked in red and silver ornaments with lots of bling this year. I wanted to make it a little bit playful, so I finished it off with a stovepipe hat just like the snowmen sitting among the gifts beneath the tree. The “tree skirt” is actually a round black linen folded in half which is a pretty good substitute!

Goose collageThe wooden geese take on a whole new look with a necklace of pine branches. Red votive candle holders with LEDs are peppered throughout the book shelves for a little extra ambience.

Hot chocolate, Stocking, Chair gift collageWhat’s better this time of year than hot chocolate by a roaring fire? Mmmmmm!!! Our first “couples” Christmas stocking was a gift from a friend. I put it up every year no matter what color the decor is!

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TV Armoire collageThe television armoire is decorated to complement the fireplace and tree decor with lots of snow-covered branches and trios of red Christmas ornaments tucked here and there. Behind the lighted greenery are black wrought iron candlesticks kissed with teardrop crystals. I went with black candles to complement the rest of the black throughout the living room and nearby kitchen. I like the subtle sophistication they lend to the room.

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LR window vignetteThe half console table in the south window hosts a black urn like the two on the hearth. The urn is filled with shiny red ornaments and topped with a green wreath spattered in bling. I used pieces of an old chandelier to create the small droplets hanging from the wreath and candlesticks. I used those pieces to make stylin’ little necklaces for the snowmen, too!

Stereo vignetteSitting atop the stereo case is a silver footed bowl filled with red & silver ornaments and frosted pine cones. Let’s head over to the kitchen area.

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Breakfast bar vignette collage

Kitchen decor collageI wanted the kitchen decor to be a bit lighter than in the living room, but I still needed to somehow connect the two. On the breakfast bar that separates the two rooms is a length of lighted garland embellished with additional pine branches much like the mantel and television armoire. A few random silver ornaments are tucked in along with icy snowflakes for more of a 3-D look. The rear of the garland displays a parade of silver Revere candlesticks with chunky black pillar LED candles. I stayed with black to match those in the living room and to complement the black appliances and furniture in our kitchen.

A sparse “Charlie Brown” tree was my choice for the kitchen this year with just a small strand of red lights and a few red ornaments. The wreath in the breakfast nook is lit with red & white lights and flecked with more snowflakes. A single snowflake peeks out each window. Over the kitchen sink is a pair of lighted wreaths that look fantastic from the street and a beautiful poinsettia from my neighbor, Jane!

IMG_0327WMThat’s it! Next week, the front rooms of the house just might surprise you! Meanwhile, happy shopping and Merry Christmas from the Nichols family!!! 🙂

To see last year’s Christmas decor, check out “Really Red Christmas“!!!

This week I’m joining host Kathe With An E for a mantels & tablescapes “It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas” blog hop and The Tablescaper for “Seasonal Sunday.” LOTS of talent shared there, so check it out!!!

Fairy Tale Wedding Shower – Princess & the Frog

Full disclosure: My granddaughter has zero interest in anything “girly” in nature, so I am left to cater to other people’s fantasies. Oh, well…c’est la vie.

I recently found three pink painted metal dress forms on the clearance shelf at Michael’s marked down 80% from $17.99 to a much more palatable $3.59 each. I had no idea what I was going to do with them, but before I could say “plies and pirouettes”, I found myself making miniature tutus. Me! The grandmother of a child who, after seeing pictures of herself decked out in a feathered number for dance class that made her look like Big Bird, spent a considerable amount of time bulking up and went dressed as The Hulk for Halloween!!!


After several grueling days of cutting and tying tulle and hot gluing my fingers together more than once, I had miraculously created 3 very girly tutus. After adding a healthy dose of rosettes and bling, I decided this could easily pass for a ballet tablescape, brides, bridesmaids, or princess tablescape. Fabulous! So if you’re looking to throw a “Princess & the Frog” or “Frog Prince” or “Black Swan” kind of bridal shower or birthday party, this over-the-top tablescape might be right up your alley! (Seriously, though, if you’re going to throw your best friend a “Black Swan” bridal shower, maybe you should reevaluate your relationship! :-))
(Click on any image to enlarge/enhance.)

I promise the candles aren’t crooked. They just oddly photographed that way!

The tulle used for the tutus is ivory, so I used an ivory full-length linen and napkins. TIP: for real weddings and tablescapes: If the bride is wearing an ivory gown, best to go with ivory linens in the reception space so as to not make the bride’s attire appear dingy. Years of professional wedding plan taught me that little gem!

I’m not a super fan of shiny runners at all, but they just seemed to work here. The blinding pink runners and creamy ivory linens are all from LinenTablecloth.com.


I used 13″ round mirrors purchased a couple of years ago at Hobby Lobby as chargers and “10 Strawberry Street” ivory stoneware from TJ Maxx. Ivory dishes are a nice little addition to your collection as they come in handy when using ivory linens.

You can buy cute lily pads like this from places like Michael’s or Hobby Lobby. Since “diamonds” are a major part of this overall theme (after all, they are a girl’s best friend whether she’s a bride, a princess or a ballerina!), I sprinkled on a handful. I guess they could also pass for water droplets if you want to go that route! The tiny ceramic frogs are from 2011 stock at Hobby Lobby. A demure pink spray rose brings color and yet another layer of texture to the setting.

The flatware is none other than my beloved “Royal Danish” sterling. The napkins are bundled up with a pretty “diamond” napkin ring. I bought these wholesale, but I have seen similar ones at places like Tuesday Morning and Z Gallerie. (Aaahhhh…Z Gallerie! The happiest place on earth!)

The diamond cut in the Cristal d’Arques “Longchamps” stemware is a perfect fit!

The centerpiece is a compilation of pink princesses, silver Revere candlesticks with ivory candles (you need to carry the ivory all the way through!), scads of “diamonds”, and pretty pink roses.

Someday I may do a tutorial of my own on how to create a no-sew tutu, but in the meantime you can click HERE for Julie Figueroa’s very easy step-by-step instruction. It’s basically just tying strips of tulle onto a length of ribbon. Too easy…even for clueless, craft-challenged me! I hot glued silk rosettes to the waistline and sporadically across the skirt itself. Little rhinestones were a pain (literally AND figuratively!) to put on, but the results were worth the half tube of silvadene cream. 🙂 To lend a little height and put these princesses on a pedestal (again, both literally AND figuratively!), I added 6″ silver cake plateaus/stands. (So sorry….I bought the cake stands wholesale several years ago and have no idea where to direct you to buy some this size.) A generous smattering of more “diamonds” runs the length of the centerpiece.

Medium-sized pink roses are nestled into a sea of more of the acrylic “diamonds” that fill a Cristal d’Arques “Longchamps” mini vase.

The final component of the centerpiece is a parade of 11″ silver Revere candlesticks. I used my trusty (ivory) 15″ Paradise metal case candles to avoid any messy drips and reduce the threat of fire that always exists…especially when using something so flammable as tulle! Metal case candles found at stores like Hobby Lobby are usually white, but you can ask your florist to get other colors and sizes for you.

The exalted Frog Prince eyes the bevy of beautiful princesses from his perch on the buffet behind the table. A 12″ silver cake stand in the same pattern as those used to elevate the princesses gives him a little height. A larger lily pad is topped with a lacy ivory ring bearer’s pillow from the Beverly Clark collection. A trail of much heftier diamonds runs the length of the buffet along with clusters of soft pink roses. Notice that the silver candlesticks on the buffet are quite similar in shape (by design) to those used on the dining table to lend continuity. Ivory pillar candles are used to double back ambient light in the mirror.

Maybe someday my granddaughter will decide she wants to be a fairy princess instead of a weird, angry, steroid-enhanced green dude. A grandmother can only hope!

See more pretty pink posts on this site:
Days of Wine & Roses
Peonies & Pearls
Chocolate Traditional
Princess Pink Birthday Dinner
Pink Plaid & Posies
Showered in Pink
Springtime in Paris Mother’s Day Buffet
Mother’s Day Luncheon
Tea Roses
Coming Up Roses
Au Revoir
Blushing Bridal Shower
Peony Power!
Pleasant Under Glass

Come on over and join the party at Cuisine Kathleen’s “Let’s Dish!” anytime after 7:00 p.m. CDT on Wednesday! I’m also joining for the first time “Tutorials, Tips & Tidbits” over at Yvonne’s “Stone Gable” blog. Then be sure to join Susan and a whole bunch of my cool blogger buddies for “Tablescape Thursday” anytime after 9:00 a.m. CDT on Thursday. You’ll be glad you did!

Bling Wedding – Lauren & Darren

Some may recall the horrendous Thanksgiving table construction disaster of 2011. I will never forget it. Ever. You’d think I had learned my lesson, but no-oooooo!!! My husband and I got up at the (pardon my French, ladies & gents) butt crack of dawn to create this table outdoors before the 100+° heat chased us back in. Ah! Great plan! Until…..I was so horrified this time that I couldn’t even take pictures of it. A sudden gust of wind swelled from out of nowhere, and…I think you can easily guess the rest! The sound was so deafening that…well…let’s just say I had to trash the shorts I was wearing! 😉

You’ve heard variations of the quote “God looks out for fools, drunks and old people”? As I would be defined as the trifecta where that’s concerned, I apparently received special dispensation on all 3 counts because, despite the 20-car pile-up look-alike on the table, nothing actually broke. Luckily, I had gotten quite a few shots off before the wind sneezed. I wasn’t going to take any further chances, though, and we promptly whisked everything back indoors. I reset the table and took the final shots in there. So if it looks like these photos were taken in 2 different places, it’s because they were!

Without further whining, here’s an all-white table that could be duplicated for a wedding reception or anniversary party. I dedicate it to my friend, Lauren, and her husband, Darren, who just celebrated their 26th wedding anniversary. So please sign the guest book, come on in, and have a seat at…where else?…Table 21!!!
(Click on any image to enhance/enlarge it!)

I love the look of an all-white wedding reception! It’s so clean and crisp and, well, wedding-y! 🙂 Lauren & Darren’s actual wedding colors 26 years ago were pink (or was that called “mauve” in the 80s?) and white, but this is what I would envision for their anniversary celebration if I could be there in ol’ St. Louis to do this for them.

White full-length linens are reminiscent of Lauren’s sweeping white gown in 1986. Silverplate chargers are the foundation for place settings created using my sister’s Noritake “Whitebrook” china.

I created menus that incorporate more “bling” via the wedding ring clip art and a teardrop-shaped faux gemstone brad at the top.

Estate silver from my personal collection accompanies Godinger “Chelsea” stemware with its diamond design (implied bling!) and starched white hemstitch napkins in a simple square fold atop each bread plate.

At the bride’s place setting, a trio of full-blown creamy white roses are nestled into a Baroque silver bouquet holder.

These teardrop pearl and rhinestone-studded frames hold place cards for each guest.

Lots and lots of flowers in shades of creamy white grace the center of the table. Besides the very prominent towers of cascading dendrobium orchids are six small rose and cymbidium orchid arrangements in 6″ glass goose neck vases and four all-rose arrangements in silver Revere bowls. Each rose has a rhinestone pin stuck in the center for a little extra bling. At two intervals, suites of 4 silver Revere candlesticks with 25″H white candles surround the smallest floral arrangements. Introducing the tall silver candlesticks breaks up the sea of glass at that level on the table created by the taller vases. Having 4 heights of floral arrangements creates drama at many different eye levels. (It’s 4 heights because the tower vases are a single 31″ in the center flanked by two 24″.)

These tall & graceful goose neck tower vases have enjoyed a long 30+ year run in the decorating world. It’s all about making the overall arrangement a little bit different to breathe new life into them. Here I used lots of green-tinged white dendrobium orchid stems. For this demonstration, the orchids are faux (just $1 each on sale at Hobby Lobby!!!), but a profusion of the real deal on a wedding table…heavenly!!! I used curly-Q ornament hangers to get the arrangement dripping with bling. Not satisfied to stop there, I visually (and literally!) strung together the tower vases using 6-ft. bling garland. Just hook the ends to the lip of each vase with the hangers! I bought all my bling at a wholesale place, but you can find something similar at places like Hobby Lobby or through your florist. Actually, the single teardrop bling for chandeliers can be purchased at places like Home Depot or Lowe’s in the lighting & fan department! If you’re really ambitious, string together your own unique combination of bling! (Hint based on my wind-blown experience: If you are planning an outdoor event, make sure that tall, top-heavy arrangements are either heavily weighted or have sufficient protection from wind gusts. Don’t try to fight Mother Nature…she always wins!)

So…did you follow the sort of theme going on here with the teardrop shape? In the menu card brads, the place card frames, the floral bling. It’s important to do that to instill continuity at the subconscious level of the brain where people kinda think, “I love it! It all just flows!” Well, yeah, it flows! It flows because you’re subtly repeating a theme. The same applies to the repeated elements down the center of the Tuscan-style table. It just…say it with me, everyone…flows!

Congratulations to Lauren & Darren! I wish you many more years of wedded bliss!

Other posts suited for weddings on this site:
“Purple & Pastel”
“Roses in October”
“Autumn White Wedding”
“Something Blue Bridal Luncheon”
“Peonies & Pearls”
“White Hot”
“Get Me to the Church On Time”
“Showered in Pink”
“Blushing Bridal Shower”
Rhapsody In Blue

I’m joining Cuisine Kathleen for “Let’s Dish!“, The Style Sisters for Centerpiece Wednesday, and Susan for her 200th edition of “Tablescape Thursday” this week! You can also find me at BeBetsy.com!