Blue & White Family Picnic

What better to do on a warm August evening than gather with friends and family for an old-fashioned, fun picnic…with an elegant twist?  

Grandpa Ramon entertains the little ones while Grandma Alycia rushes to finalize details.

 

When the weather is warm, cool colors for the outdoor tablescape are definitely in order! A classic blue & white checkered tablecloth anchors the setting and renders a true “picnic” feel.

 After a few family photos are taken…
…the food is set out, the champagne expertly poured, and it’s time for everyone to sit down, relax, and enjoy!
 Reflective silver chargers, icy clear dishes & stemware (Bed Bath & Beyond), and faux mother of pearl flatware (Target) were perfect for the occasion. White pillar candles, which bring one of three levels of candlelight, are protected from the breeze with standard clear glass hurricanes.
 Silver candelabra brimming with luscious grapes are outfitted with white candles to be lit after the sun leaves the sky. (Table linen and chairs from All Seasons Tent & Party Rental.)
 Silver julep cups are filled with pure white and citrus green carnations along with hosta leaves from the garden. (They were later transferred to faux silver juleps for the guests to take home.) Notice the votive candles in addition to the pillars under the hurricane shades and candelabra. I like the look offered by multiple levels and sources of candlelight that make any tablescape dance!
 Sweet bing cherries and plump, ripe blueberries are set out in beautiful white ceramic vessels from Hobby Lobby for guests to munch on before and after dinner. I love this white jardiniere…wish I had more!
 The dessert table is dressed up with a larger version of the carnation & hosta arrangements on the dining table.
 I like to think of new ways to present old favorites. On this day fresh strawberry lemonade was served from a clear glass apothecary jar (available at Target or Function Junction). A custom engraved silver tag strung with ribbon identifies the contents. (I had several of these tags made up for various beverage and candy displays.)
 
 Guests all dressed in blue & white raise a glass! To family!!!

Ocean Blue – Starfish & Seashells

INSPIRATION: Brilliantly blue glass starfish plates by AKCAM

INSPIRATION: Brilliantly blue glass starfish plates by AKCAM in all the colors of the ocean

I hope you’re enjoying your summer! It has been weirdly rainy here in the Kansas City, Mo. area, and I’m just about sick of it. It’s great for the grass and trees and flowers, but it SUCKS for tablescaping!!! So…I’ve dredged up a beach-inspired tablescape that I created and photographed two years ago but felt unworthy to publish because it didn’t meet my potential. I had very quickly thrown it together for an impromptu birthday dinner party (for myself!) using just what I had within reach. (Note to God: Thank you for Ramon and Costco’s prepared meals!!!) I’ve since had a change of heart that says simplicity can be a good thing, and that’s why I’m publishing it today. Well…that and I have no ability to get out on the deck to do anything else but get wet for now!
(Click on any photo, then click again to enhance/enlarge it.)

 

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, Ocean Blue – Starfish & Seashells:  As with many of the outdoor dining environments I create, this one started with full-length (90″ x 132″) white tablecloths from LinenTablecloth.com on the two 6-ft. folding tables kissed end-to-end. They give the table a crisp, clean, “white linen suit” look that can still be considered casual.

 

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, Ocean Blue – Starfish & Seashells:  white resin chairs lined upWhite resin patio chairs add to the casual feel. Inexpensive as they are, they always look great neatly lined up in a row!

 

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, Ocean Blue – Starfish & Seashells:  Multiple place settings

 

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, Ocean Blue – Starfish & Seashells:  Single place setting with glass starfish plates, Rocco Bormioli glass chargersWhen I named this post Ocean Blue, there was a definite reason for it! Look how brilliantly blue!!! Thirteen-inch silver metal chargers are topped with a beautiful 12″ turquoise blue Bormioli Rocco Inca glass charger. The dinner plate is a cobalt blue glass plate from Pier 1. The AKCAM starfish salad and bread plates were purchased at Home Goods a couple of years ago. (To see these plates used in another tablescape with a slightly more formal feel, click HERE for “Surf & Turf Dinner Party”.)

 

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, Ocean Blue – Starfish & Seashells: J.A. Henckels "Bellaserra" stainless flatware

 

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, Ocean Blue – Starfish & Seashells:  Brilliant glass starfish plates in shades of blue or white from Home GoodsThese photos lend even more clarity to the beauty and depth of color on the table. Each place setting is a bit different with either a cobalt, turquoise or white mix-matched salad and bread plate. The flatware is J.A. Henckels “Bellaserra” stainless.

 

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, Ocean Blue – Starfish & Seashells:  Cobalt blue stemware from Dollar TreeThis cobalt blue stemware from Dollar Tree never looked so good on one of my tables! It was the perfect complement to the dishes used!

 

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, Ocean Blue – Starfish & Seashells:  White cotton napkin with initialSoft white cotton hemstitched napkins with our initial are simply folded.

 

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, Ocean Blue – Starfish & Seashells:  seashells in multiple tall glass cylindersI get a lot of mileage out of these tall clear glass cylinders. Every year I find a new use for them, so I really feel I’m getting my hard-earned money’s worth. Ahem…make that Ramon’s hard-earned money! 😉 Here they are simply filled with every seashell I could put my hands on from around the house. The four cylinders are evenly spaced down the length of the table. (DESIGN NOTE: If you think you might want to extend a bit of the brilliant blue color into the cylinders, consider mixing in a scant few blue sea glass chips, dragon tears, or slivers of agate. You can purchase these items at craft stores like Hobby Lobby or Michael’s.)

 

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, Ocean Blue – Starfish & Seashells:  turquoise, cobalt blue  & silver mercury glass votive holdersThese beautiful turquoise, cobalt and silver mercury glass votive holders are among my favorites! They were purchased at Village Gardens in Blue Springs, MO a few years ago. The color they turn with the candle flickering inside is amazing!!!

 

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, Ocean Blue – Starfish & Seashells:  white pillar candle with Z Gallerie seashell candle ringI bought a bunch of these fun seashell candle rings from Z Gallerie a few years ago. I don’t use them often, but they’re great for quick, easy decorating.

This tablescape would work nicely for a summertime birthday dinner party, lunch or brunch (minus the candles), rehearsal dinner, or even a casual, laid back wedding reception…especially if the happy couple’s honeymoon is somewhere balmy with sandy shores!

Other tablescapes on this site with a seashell/beach/nautical theme:
All-American Seafood Boil
Tropicana
Caribbean Queen
Flamingos in Paradise
Surf & Turf Dinner Party
Summer Breeze
Old Navy Seafood Cruise

I’ll be back next week with another surf- & sand-inspired tablescape for Cuisine Kathleen’s “Let’s Dish! – Summer Whimsy Tablescape Challenge”. If you’re looking for ideas for casual and fun summer tablescapes, be sure to join me! Meanwhile, this week I’m linking up with Christine from Rustic & Refined. Her new blog party is called “Table It!” I’ll also be linking up again with Susan from Between Naps on the Porch for “Tablescape Thursday”.

 

Blue & White 30th Birthday

No, silly…not my 30th birthday! We just hosted our 3rd and final child’s 30th birthday party this past Sunday. I’m putting this photo first because seeing 3 of them through to 30 deserves a celebratory drink…or two…or three! 🙂
(All photos by Sheri L. Grant. Click any image to enhance/enlarge it.)

The guest of honor requested Chinese food for her party, so cool….Asian cuisine and decor it is! As guests arrived they were invited to enjoy a virgin Mai Tai (with “fuel” provided on the side for those of us who like it leaded!!! ;-)) A mix of pineapple & orange juices splashed with cherry limeade made up the Mai Tais, and I threaded orange slices and maraschino cherries onto fun bamboo skewers from World Market to dress them up and add flavor. These beautiful cobalt blue champagne flutes from Dollar Tree were a perfect companion to our blue & white theme throughout. (Shopping at Dollar Tree and Deal$ – owned by the same parent company – is a smart way to really stretch your tablescaping dollars!) Ralph Lauren “Mandarin” plates are a decorative addition to the foyer table along with mums floating in Pier 1 white ceramic bowls.

One by one, the guests began to arrive. (My stepdaughter/the guest of honor, Robyn, is the one wearing the white sleeveless blouse.)

Because we have such a tiny dining room, we turned the family room into a casual chic Chinese restaurant in blue and white for the evening. I used white outdoor bistro chairs here, but if you can splurge on a bamboo Chiavari or Chippendale chair or even a wicker or seagrass chair…that would be beyond fabulous!!! Let your budget dictate what you use. Bamboo chairs are SO on my wish list!!!

After draping two 6-ft. oblong tables with white full-length linens to create a sumptuously long 12-foot Tuscan-style table, I created place settings using square rattan chargers from Tuesday Morning. I had my sister running all over Minnesota (the closest state to Missouri where there were more of them!) looking for enough of these for 12. Thanks, Barf! Fun monstera leaf placemats from Z Gallerie added depth and color. White square plates from the B. Smith collection (Bed Bath & Beyond) and beautiful rice bowls with a cutout for chopsticks from Old Time Pottery finish off the place setting. We kept the rice bowls on the plates as decor until just before guests were seated for dinner, at which time we moved them to the center of the table and placed the chopsticks alongside the flatware.

I never know who prefers what, so I included both Cambridge dark faux bamboo flatware (Home Goods and One King’s Lane) and stainless steel chopsticks I picked up from an Asian market in Overland Park, KS. The blue & white ceramic chopstick rests came from that same market for a very reasonable price. I bought the beautiful mother of pearl mosaic napkin rings at Old Time Pottery, but I have also seen them at Z Gallerie.

Cobalt blue goblets from Dollar Tree used for orange spice tea match the champagne flutes used for Mai Tais upon the guests’ arrival.

This large blue & white ceramic ginger jar from Home Goods served as the anchor for the extended centerpiece which also included two smaller ginger jars. All were set atop lacquered rosewood stands from Old Time Pottery to give them more prominence on the table.

To lend height, color, texture, and drama to the table, I used clear gooseneck fluted vases to hold oversized monstera leaves from Hobby Lobby that mimicked the placemats. By all means, if you have access to real monstera leaves, go for it with gusto!!! Fan palms or banana leaves would also look really cool!

I wanted the table to have an exotic Far East feel about it, so I added these cool white parrots from Z Gallerie to the mix. (To see another post with these parrots, click HERE for “Caribbean Queen”.) They looked right at home perched in the “shade” of the monstera leaves and pinkish mums.

My original idea was to hang white paper lanterns throughout the room, but the persistent pain of not one but two torn rotator cuffs put the brakes on that in a hurry. All that overhead work would have done me in for sure! So I opted to hang a few in the window (with hubby’s help!) and display more on top of the big, bulky television armoire. If you can’t move it out, decorate it!

It hit 95 degrees this day, so no one opted for hot tea after dinner. A good hostess is always prepared, though! The teapot is from Pier 1, and the little teacups are from World Market. I bought the trio of graduated size bamboo trays from a wholesaler years ago. They were stacked like this in storage, and I thought they would look cool (as well as add height) if I kept them that way.

Robyn’s favorite is chicken fried rice, so that had to be front and center on the buffet table set up in the dining room.

Appetizers included spring rolls, crab rangoon and lettuce wraps.

Another appetizer was skewered chunks of fresh pineapple and strawberries from Costco set on white miso spoons from Pier 1 and drizzled with honey. The spoons are displayed on bamboo trays purchased at Old Time Pottery.

Surely you do not think for a New York minute that I actually cooked all of this food? Ha! I leave Chinese food to the die-hard professionals who know their way around a wok! Oriental Express in Kansas City, MO, has some of the best Chinese food around, and the service always comes with a great smile from beautiful Jie (I hope I spelled that right!). Cooked to perfection every time for a very reasonable price, it’s worth the 25-minute drive from our house! Many, many thanks to everyone there for providing such a wonderful meal!!! (Full disclosure: The spring rolls and lettuce wraps were a last-minute addition from Costco.)

Oriental Express on Urbanspoon

The back buffet was simply decorated with another ginger jar on a rosewood stand flanked by two (faux) bonsai trees (TJ Maxx) and bowls (Hobby Lobby) of fresh floating mums.

After dinner, Ramon presented Robyn with her beautiful (and delicious!!!) cake from Patrick Snuffer Cakes (816-452-7590). He free-handed a cherry blossom branch in icing to go along with our Asian theme. (Do you see how Ramon is holding that cake…making it sag in the middle??? I’m going to have to give the little Mr. a good talkin’ to! :-))

After dinner and dessert, we played a fun (and slightly naughty!) fortune cookie game called “In Bed.” One of my silly former colleagues introduced me to this game about 20 years ago. Each person opens their cookie and reads their fortune aloud ending it with the words “in bed.” Try it sometime….as you can see from the expression on the guests’ faces, it’s hilarious!!!!!!!! 🙂 (Poor Mike was sweatin’ bullets reading that in front of my husband and me!)

The birthday girl and her beau, Mike, looking like the cats that ate the canary. They have a LOT of teeth, don’t they? The teeth just go on for miles, and miles, and miles, and miles….!!! 🙂
Happy 30th Birthday, Robyn!!!

More Asian-inspired tablescapes on this blog:
Mandarin Bling
Year of the Rabbit
Peaceful Peonies
Copper Zen
Mikasa ‘Daylight’ Giveaway
Mum’s the Word
Zen Garden

More posts using paper lanterns:
Under a Paper Moon
Easter Brunch

More posts on this site using cobalt blue:
Daffodillyicious
Peony Power
Surf & Turf Dinner
Brilliant Italian
Summer Blues & Greens

I am joining Susan over at Between Naps on the Porch for “Tablescape Thursday” anytime after 9:00 a.m. CDT. Join me, won’t you?

Peony Power!

Do you remember those 1970s Chiffon Margarine commercials with “It’s not nice to fool Mother Nature!” as the slogan? Apparently someone didn’t get the memo, because this has been one of the weirdest weather years in recent history. We experienced one of the mildest, driest winters, and Spring has rapidly turned to Summer without so much as a “How do you do?”.  To quote yet another, more contemporary TV commercial, “Wasuuuuuuuuuuuppppppppp??!?!?!”

Peonies generally wait to pop their big moppy heads out sometime in mid-May, but it’s only May 1 and most blooms are nothing but a memory around here. Pitiful. But that won’t stop me from sharing this with those of you who still have a few weeks of peony power on your side! This would make a great Mothers Day celebration table, or work great for a birthday, rehearsal dinner, engagement party, or bridal shower.
(Click on any photo to enhance/enlarge it.)

This Tuscan-style table for 12 on the deck starts out with a full-length white linen topped with a beautiful piece of blue & white fabric I found at Jo-Ann Fabric & Craft Store.

A basic white ceramic charger from Old Time Pottery is topped with a cobalt blue glass dinner plate from Pier 1.

Each place setting has a white hemstitch napkin gathered with a fun napkin ring from Bed Bath & Beyond. I just love napkin rings that look like jewelry!

The very subtle pattern of Godinger’s “Chelsea” collection works well with the busy topper.

I favored this flatware because the design on the handle looks a lot like the pattern of the fabric. I always look for similarities in shapes, patterns and angles to make details mesh.

A mix of small and large peony arrangements in cobalt blue glass vases line the center of the table. These peonies are not real for this demonstration table (alas and alack, those bad boys have long since met their Maker!), but when you use real ones, be sure to check for those pesky little ants that like to hang out in the blooms. (There are 2 schools of thought on whether or not ants actually promote the opening of the multi-layered blooms. I’m willing to give them the benefit of the doubt and spare them a date with a can of Raid. ;-))

After the sun retires for the evening, these reticulated canisters – set at intervals between the florals – are great for disguising a chunky LED candle that will make light dance across the table.

Visit other posts on this site oozing with peony power:
Peonies & Pearls
Peaceful Peonies

Other posts on this site using cobalt blue:
Daffodillyicious
Blue & White 30th Birthday
Surf & Turf Dinner
Brilliant Italian
Summer Blues & Greens

I’m joining Cuisine Kathleen’s “Let’s Dish!” and Susan’s “Tablescape Thursday” again this week. Pop on over to see what a bunch of other ladies and gents are up to this week with their tablescaping!

Tall & Toile, Y’all!

The packing process is in full swing now. This will be my last post for a while. I’m taking a short hiatus to get moved to Savannah, GA with my husband. Before packing the last of the dishes and other “stuff”, though, I had to host one final (albeit small) dinner party a few weeks ago on the deck. This was an evening filled with both laughter and tears as I said, “So long!” to a couple of very dear friends. We all had horrible “racoon eyes” from crying and didn’t want to be photographed for this post. Suffice it to say, we had a wonderful time and I will treasure this final dinner party at our Lee’s Summit home.

I’m feeling sort of blue because we’re leaving the Kansas City area, so I decided to use that color for my last table.

I bought this wonderful toile table topper several years ago for a display table in my shop. I absolutely adore toile, and it was an even bigger hit with me combined with these dangling “jewels.”

Each place setting consists of silver-leafed terra cotta chargers topped with my favorite Noritake “Spectrum” china. Heirloom silver, Longchamps crystal and white cotton monogrammed dinner napkins rounds out the setting.

Creamy agapanthus in three silver julep cups was just enough for this tiny table.

I like the look of very tall candles! One of my 5-lite silver Revere candelabra held these svelte 25″ metal case candles that kept up with the cool spring winds accompanying our outdoor meal.

I will miss everything about you, Kansas City. You have been my only home for nearly 53 years. I will miss my awesome neighbors – the Alsups, the Rutherfords, the Jenisons, the Breshears – who have all been so sweet and generous and kind. I don’t know that I will ever be able to replace the feeling of “home” that they have provided on our little cul-de-sac over the years. I will miss Kansas City barbeque, the Sprint Center with its incredible acoustics for some of the coolest concerts ever, Chiefs games at “The K”, and the Kansas City symphony. I will miss the many parks, fountains and boulevards that make Kansas City so special. I will miss the Country Club Plaza, Z Gallerie (the closest one to Savannah is 5 hours away!!!), and Town Center Plaza where I have spent countless hours (and $$$). I will miss my former colleagues in the wedding industry, many of whom I still pop in on from time to time. I will certainly miss my friends – Sheri, my best friend of more than 45 years who has made life such a joy; Monica, Audrey, Rene, Michelle, my Kauffman Foundation crew – all of whom have been there for the best and worst of times. Most of all, I will miss my family: my sister and her children who make frequent trips into Kansas City; my very crazy cousins (yes, Dee…I’m singling you out!); my fun-loving aunt and uncle; my grandchildren; my stepchildren and their lively friends, and; my baby boy, Jimmo, who is the beat of my very heart. And, of course, I will sorely miss my parents. My parents who have loved and supported me in everything I do. My parents who I love so much it almost hurts. My parents who provided me with an upbringing that has made me strong enough to withstand the hardest things in life…even this move. For them I will hold my head up. That doesn’t mean I won’t cry. I’m crying right now, in fact. It does mean, however, that I will do them proud and not turn Savannah on its ear…too much! 😉

My dear blogger friends, please check back with me in a month or so. Once we are settled in to our new home in Savannah, I will be so happy to rejoin you in Blog Land.
Take care…y’all! 🙂

I am delighted to join Susan and the host of talented tablescapers who join in each week for Tablescape Thursday at Between Naps on the Porch.