Better Late Than Never, Pt. 4/The Final Chapter – Christmas 2016 in the Kitchen

At long last! The end of my 2016 Christmas decor!!! Took long enough, huh? But I saved the best for last: the kitchen!

Before we hop into the pictures, I want to share with you that I will be having yet another doggone spine surgery on Wednesday of this week. As some longtime readers may remember, I had 2 such surgeries (in addition to a shoulder surgery!) in 2015 that kept me down and out for quite a long time, then 2 more in 2016. This one, too, will be very difficult (laminectomy, hardware replacement and fusion), but I’m hoping to have a clear enough head to bring you my 2017 Christmas decor along with…drumroll, please…a “Better Kansas City” segment taped right here in our home last Friday!!! I’ve been preparing for it since October (walking with the assistance of a cane and walker slows me down considerably!) and wanted it to be extra special knowing I will not be posting again for quite some time. I do hope you’ll look for that post (if the post-op pains and/or drugs aren’t too overwhelming!) coming sometime before Christmas. My husband will deliver a quick post on how I’m progressing along with a “proof of life” photo. 🙂 The surgery itself is expected to take only 3-4 hours (half the time of that 2nd one in 2015 that was 8 hours long!), and my hospital stay will be 3-4 days. Then it’s home to start getting better for 2018!!!

Enough of that! Let’s look at some pretty pictures!!!

 

 

 

 

I spend so much time in the kitchen year round, but especially during the holiday season. I like for it to be as cheery as the rest of the house so that I’m never feel deprived. I played on the existing black & white buffalo checks, adding touches of red in the form of faux berries, candy canes, and the 222 Fifth “Wexford Plaid”. Bits of Christmas greenery and a flurry of acrylic snowflakes add seasonal whimsy. (Check it out…even my reading glasses are black & white checked!!! 🙂 )

 

 

 

 

One of the most fun changes in the kitchen is the aluminum tiered stand on the kitchen table. It generally takes days to figure out all the different elements to add to it each season. ..and I love it!!! Christmas 2016 found the tiered server with a fun Chef Santa on top. Stacked 222 Fifth “Northwood Cottage” bowls, sweet red vases embellished with the word “Noel”, candy canes in a silver julep cup, pine cones, acorns, snowflakes, wooden Christmas ornaments, and red berries mixed in with the everyday essentials.

 

 

 

 

The side table in the window is festively decked with a thick lighted garland draped behind ironstone and ceramicware. Snowflakes in the windows mirror snowflakes hung outside around the deck perimeter. Truly magical even without snow!

 

I had lots of different Santas around the kitchen including this one standing inside a large lantern on the breakfast bar. I put a cluster of string lights beneath a handful of faux snow to set it aglow. The top of the lantern is made festive with a black & white gingham bow, greenery and red berries.

 

 

 

 

I gave up on this utterly useless desk space a long time ago. No need for it since I have a home office upstairs. Now I just use it for dishes, displays, and an extra bar. Here I added a layer of soft “snow” uplit from beneath with string lights, another Santa figurine on a vintage sled and a reticulated ceramic jardiniere brimming with hypericum berries to the existing decor. Up above the decor stayed the same as usual excepting the addition of cascading red berries, a sprig of frosted greenery, and a tiny gingham bow at the base of the coffee cup.

 

 

Even the cookbook stand on the portable island and the sink area got a little somethin’-somethin’! Again…I tend to spend A LOT of time in this kitchen!

So…that’s it, y’all!!! Thank you so much for your friendship and readership over this past year since I’ve been back. It literally and figuratively pains me to leave again, but I hope to return sooner than later in 2018 with a new & improved spine, a positive outlook, and a whole new lineup of tablescape and home decor ideas for your enjoyment!
Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, and may God bless you and yours this season and always!

To see “Better Late Than Never – Christmas 2016” parts 1, 2 and 3…
Better Late Than Never, Pt. 1 – Foyer and Library
Better Late Than Never, Pt. 2 – Dining Room
Better Late Than Never, Pt. 3 – Family Room

I’m joining the weekly link parties, Dishing It & Digging It” at with Linda and “Celebrate Your Story” hosted by Sandra and Chloe.

 

 

 

Better Late Than Never, Pt. II – Christmas 2016 in the Dining Room

This is Installment #2 of 4 from a very late reveal of Christmas decor around our home in 2016. The first installment peeped around the entry hall and library. This time we move into the dining room.

I like to use black in Christmas decorating because it’s a wonderful neutral that really showcases gemstone colors and brilliant metals. I draped this table with a 90″x132″ black diamond pintuck tablecloth from LinenTablecloth.com  that skims the floor.

 

 

The centerpiece is a flat woven basket from Tuesday Morning filled with mounds of red and gold glass ornaments in varying sizes to lend depth and dimension. Frolicking amidst the ornaments are two playful gold reindeer with beaded antlers from Pier 1. (The ones they’re selling this year are similar to these, but cooler with little red scarves!) A smattering of gold mercury glass chargers complete the centerpiece.

 

 

 

 

Gold glass chargers sit beneath Ciroa gold-rimmed black & white buffalo check bone china dinner plates. Austere white cotton napkins are cinched with ornamental red berry picks from Hobby Lobby twisted to create a napkin ring. (I used this same technique for “Christmas Progressive Dinner” on a much different table.) The pattern of the Longchamps crystal complements that of the dinner plates. A red and gold English cracker is set alongside each place setting for fun after dinner. (Our family has TOO MUCH fun with them!)

 

 

 

On the buffet behind the dining table is another flat basket loaded with spirits for guests to help themselves at will. A creamy white ironstone pitcher filled with red berry picks from Hobby Lobby (the same as used for the napkin rings) dresses it up a bit. On each side are painted gold manzanita “trees” from LinenTablecloth.com that I ordered on a whim. (“On a whim” means when I was taking medication that had me doing weird things that I don’t even remember doing!!! Still…not a bad purchase!) In front of those sit shiny red mercury glass lidded canisters clad in black & white gingham ribbon bows. The gilded bay leaf wreath on the mirror is uplit at night.

 

 

The tea/bar cart is ready to serve after dinner coffee and/or libations by way of a Grace’s Teaware white lattice coffee set accented with Ciroa plates on a silver tiered stand. A metal champagne bucket from Home Goods brims with gold glass ornaments.

 

The wood & metal sconces hold more of the Ciroa plates with a shiny red ornament hoisted in front to draw the eye up.

 

The china cabinet in the opposite corner of the room is topped with more metal wine/champagne cooling vessels. The center one is filled to capacity with bright red glass ornaments to complement the table centerpiece.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Finally, the skinny tree in the window with a fun stovepipe hat topper! (See another tree topped with a stovepipe hat at  Christmas 2012 – Red, Black & Silver.) A load of ornaments on the tree include more stovepipe hats (Dollar Tree), red lanterns (Walmart), red berry picks (Hobby Lobby), frosted pine cones and acrylic snowflakes, grinning snowmen and twists of black & white check ribbon. (Other tablescapes using these snowmen are Black, White & Red All Over Christmas Tablescape, Checkered Christmas, and Frosty the Snowman.) Beneath the tree are piles of snowflakes, snowballs, and baskets of pine cones with black lanterns lit up for the season.

That about does it for the 2016 dining room. I’ll be back in a couple of days with pics from the family room that I hope you’ll enjoy. Meanwhile, there is LOTS of other Christmas inspiration on this site. Just type in the word Christmas under Categories on the right-hand sidebar to hit the jackpot!

I’ll be joining Susan later this week for Tablescape Thursday as well as Sandra & Chloe for Celebrate Your Story and Linda for her Dishing It & Digging It Link Party! Come on along and get inspired!!!

Better Late Than Never, Part I – Christmas 2016 In the Foyer & Library

Yep, that’s right. I completely blew off posting Christmas photos from around the house last year (2016). Don’t remember why or how. Just didn’t do it. So over the next few days I’ll post a couple of areas at a time so that I can actually post Christmas 2017 photos before the season slips away!

Let’s start with the porch, entry hallway and library!

 

 

 

 

We live in a very traditional Colonial-style home that I just love at Christmastime. It reminds me of the house in every silly Christmas-themed romantic comedy I’ve ever seen Christmas in New England. In 2016 we adorned the place with candles in every window, a couple of wreaths, and gold metal reindeer with lighted wreath collars. (These same hefty reindeer were used as part of a table centerpiece for Christmas Progressive Dinner 2011 and beside the Christmas tree for ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas Progressive Dinner!) A lantern is festooned with ribbon & greenery.

 

 

 

 

Our entry hall is rather small, but I always make the most of it during the Christmas holidays by adding lots of lighted features. The stairwell is decorated with lighted greenery swag that is embellished with gold ornaments, pine cones, snowflakes and black & white buffalo check bows. I almost never use stocking holders on the family room mantel, but I liked them here on the stairs. Reindeer on the hallway side, sleds on the library side. Each holds a delicate dangling snowflake.

 

 

 

Just inside the front door on what used to be a telephone stand (oh, how I tend to romanticize the waning traditional landline!) is a stone bunny rabbit dressed up for Christmas with a black & white checkered bow tie. He’s carrying a bundle of birch logs decorated with Christmas greens, red winterberries, pine cones and a single snowflake to tie in with the decor on the stairwell.

 

The deer head positioned over our extended family photo (gotta get one of all of us in Santa hats!) has tied on a woolen scarf to keep warm!

 

 

The foyer table is dressed up a little with an old-fashioned wooden sled filled with assorted gold orbs ornaments and a stack of vintage books tied with a black & white checked ribbon to tie in with the bows on the stairwell. The birch logs tied into the wreath overhead mimics those carried by the Christmas bunny across the way.

 

 

 

 

In the library where I like to sit and spy on the neighbors while guzzling a pitcher of martinis play on Pinterest, a few subtle touches give the room a festive look. I the miniature wooden bench the plush mice are sitting on at Hobby Lobby on clearance for $7 each.  A bargain in my book! The white wooden sign was a thoughtful gift from my friend/neighbor, Barbara, a couple of years ago when I was bedridden.

 

The next post will take us on the other side of the hallway to the dining room. This little sneak peak from the library’s edge gives you an idea of what’s in store!

I am joining Sandra at Sweet Sensations for “Celebrate Your Story” this week. I will also be joining Susan again later this week for “Tablescape Thursday” where I’m sure there will be oodles of inspiration for Christmas decor!

Other Christmas tablescapes on this site that offer Christmas decorating ideas:
Cardinal Christmas
Christmas in the Woods
Tartan on the Tee
Confectionery Christmas
Christmas Progressive Dinner

Black, White & Red All Over
Frosty the Snowman
Checkered Christmas
March of the Penguins
Woodland Men’s Tablescape
Contemporary Christmas – Fire & Ice
Pink & Purple Chocolate Christmas
Black Friday Luncheon Tablescape
Winter Dinner
Christmas Through the Red Door
Sugar High
Celebrate the Season
Roman Holiday
Winter Cardinal
Merry & Bright
Kaleidoscope Christmas
Cranberry Christmas
Cranberry Christmas – Squared
Get Me to The Church On Time
Noel Progressive Dinner
Christmas Fiesta
Warm Metal Christmas
Christmas Coffee
Winter Brunch
White Hot
‘Twas the Night Before Christmas Progressive Dinner
Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow!
Tuscan Holiday
Over the River & Through the Woods

 

Autumn Flourishes 2017

Welcome to the Nichols’ home for a quick room by room peek at a few little flourishes for fall 2017!

 

 

 

 

 

Flourishes in the library include a crown of bittersweet on a bust of Diana that sits on a stack of vintage cigar boxes, a feathered owl on the vitrine, and a floral piece adorning a vintage (almost antique!!!) violin on the secretary. On pedestals flanking the vitrine are grapevine balls encased in the same (but smaller) open wrought iron garden orbs as those on the front porch.

 

 

 

 

Our modestly sized foyer has a few touches of fall including a fragrant candle encircled by a bittersweet wreath, an ample cluster of fall foliage in a heavy  ivory pot, a pair of mirrored, open-sided hurricanes from Home Finishings flanking the front door, and another feathered owl balanced on a stack of vintage books on the foyer table.

 

 

 

 

 

The dining room has changed several times as I created different tablescapes for publication this season, but this is the final look for the remainder of fall. Blue & white chinoiserie pieces, orange and white mini pumpkins and fall foliage are seen throughout the room including a flat basket of pumpkins on the dining table topped with a berried branch. The china cabinet holds my collection of aluminum ware from Home Goods. Bright orange mini pumpkins, a bit of foliage, and a white pheasant figurine add a fall feel. (To see this room completely decorated with the table set with chinoiserie for fall, visit Autumn Chinoiserie.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

My husband spends most of his time at home in the family room, so everything has to be comfy, cozy, and “out of harm’s way” in here! It’s such a dark room with oak shelving and wainscoting, so I used a combination of deep fall colors with white. Bookshelves get lots of white pumpkins partly shrouded in a trio of wreaths that lend color and texture. A mix of familiar and new pillows make seating on our new caramel leather reclining loveseats more comfortable and add a mix of patterns. (The room is small, so a pair of roomy loveseats made more sense than a sofa that overwhelms the space. I have chronic spine troubles, so recliners are a way of life now! 😦 ) A tall basket holds an assortment of quilts, throws and blankets to help ward off the autumn chill.

 

And finally, the kitchen…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I can’t help myself. I go a little crazy in the kitchen with decor. It is, after all, the place where I spend a great deal of my day preparing 3 square meals for hubby. Gotta make it as relaxing as possible! The huge stone bunny rabbit is a great decorating opportunity, and I really enjoy decorating the 3-tier galvanized stand on the kitchen table. This year’s autumn decor includes a small wreath made of faux hops, bundles of birch branches, bowls of fragrant whole spices, and brightly colored berries. Front and center is a homemade sign that reminds us daily to “Always Stay Humble & Kind“. Thanks for that Tim McGraw. This world needs a little nudge.

Another post on this site with general fall decorating:
Finally Fall!

If you’d like to see more fall tablescapes and home decor, head on over to Susan’s “Between Naps on the Porch” for Tablescape Thursday #472!

Black & White Barnyard Breakfast

One day into official summer, and already I’m melting…melting. While I’m poised to sit on top of the cooling vents in the house for the next 3 months, there are still those of you brave enough to venture outdoors to entertain. Hats off to you!!! This short 4-minute “Better Kansas City” segment I did in recent months features tips on outdoor entertaining. The clip is followed by an actual breakfast/brunch tablescape out on the deck that I hope you enjoy.

 

Got that? Don’t try to burn the house down like me! Now…on to breakfast!

 

The guest table at this bucolic breakfast setting for four is dominated by the ultimate foundation piece: a full-length black & white checkered tablecloth! If all you have is an ugly folding table like I do, a full-length linen works magic!

 

 

 

I found the most beautiful kitchen dishes this past Christmas season at Home Goods! Our kitchen motif is a mix of black & white checks and toile, so these Ciroa “Buffalo Check” dishes are my new favorite.  They made an easy transition out to the deck! The napkins, purchased at Tuesday Morning, are actually kitchen towels that I like to use as napkins. The barnyard motif of a steer, lamb, pig, and rooster make them perfect for this country-/farm-inspired tablescape.

 

 

 

DSCN4698I love these miniature milk bottles with the embossed word “dairy” and a cow (most visible in the photo of the empty bottle) for serving milk! I picked these up at Hobby Lobby a few years ago, and they’ve served me (and guests!) well.

 

If your breakfast guests are a little bit special – like a bridal or baby shower – consider a small favor like this little green woven box simply tied up in a black and white checkered ribbon. The contrasting color of the box makes it really stand out!

 

 

 

 

It’s important that food is beautifully presented and that guest tables are enjoyable.  A mix of everyday and “fancy” pieces round out this table. While the croissants are served in a silver bowl, a loosely gathered mix of flowers and greenery in a whitewashed aluminum pitcher serves as the off-center centerpiece. A bovine menu chalkboard adds a little more of the theme to the table’s centerpiece.

 

 

Off to the side is a miniature buffet table has a plain white tablecloth as its foundation.

 

A generously-proportioned white vase from Home Goods holds a mix of yellow tulips and bright, feathery greenery. A simple off-center centerpiece like this adds something to the buffet table without getting in the way of food service. Notice how the yellow tulips, a significant and pretty contrast to the black & white, complement the yellow flowers on the guest table.

 

 

One of my fun kitchen pigs is another piece of the barnyard buffet theme. I helped him to blend into the works with a bowtie fashioned from black & white checkered ribbon.

 

The black and white buffalo check dishes make another appearance on the buffet table . Hungry yet?

Crazy for buffalo check and/or gingham? “Check” out additional posts on this site using them!:
Black, White, and Red All Over Christmas
Life Is Just a Chair of Bowlies
Checkered Christmas

Looking for more brunch/breakfast ideas? Take a peek at these:
Building a Better Brunch Buffet
Midsummer Shabby Chic Apple Tablescape
Breakfast at Tiffany’s
Most Egg-cellent Fall Breakfast
September Harvest Breakfast Tablescape
Peachy Keen Breakfast Tablescape
Christmas Coffee
Winter Brunch
Easter Brunch
Barton’s Easter Brunch
Purple for Spring 
Carousel Colors
The Bluebird Special
Bellini Birthday Brunch
Mother’s Day Brunch

 

Other posts on this site using towels as napkins include:
Popsicle Party
Black & White Barnyard Breakfast

Most Egg-cellent Fall Breakfast
Grill It Up!
Italian Honeysuckle
Picnic Ants

 

 

 

 

Spring & Easter Around the House

Just sharing a few pics of Spring and Easter decor on the main floor of our home. I didn’t do a lot this year as I saved most of my energy to create the dining room tablescape. There’s just enough to let us know Winter is over and Spring is here for to stay awhile.

 

Easter bunny in wood lantern lavished with greenery & flowers

 

Foyer bunny collage

In the foyer by the front door is a wood stand upon which this weathered green hurricane lantern currently resides. I dressed the lantern with a variety of greenery, flowers, and bendable twig. Standing in the thicket is a scholarly-looking bunny once used in a tablescape 3 years ago called Easter in Pink & Grey.

 

Spring vignette on ivory wrought iron tiered stand. www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com

 

Bluebird in nest on tiered stand. www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com

Just around the corner in the dining room window is an ivory wrought iron 2-tiered stand with a bird permanently perched on top. (I used it for a Springtime buffet tablescape, “Taste of Wine Buffet“, when teaching a class back in 2012. I moved a vigorously-growing pothos from another room onto the top tier. The bottom tier has a Pottery Barn weathered wood chunky candlestick with a bluebird from Home Finishings that honors my brother’s memory resting in a nest. I put him somewhere each Spring to commemorate his passing in 1999. (His trucking handle was Bluebird. See that tablescape from 2013, “The Bluebird Special“.)

 

Foyer table for Spring/Easter. www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com

 

Weathered books and birch logs under glass cloche; wooden Easter bunny

Our foyer is narrow, so a small table there holds just a few things including a lamp and a clock. For the season I added a faux boxwood wreath on a stand (Home Finishings), a cute wooden bunny from Hobby Lobby, and a collection of weathered books and birch logs (Home Finishings) under a glass cloche.

 

Wooden bunny in nest of Spanish moss under glass cloche. www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com

 

Wooden bunny under glass cloche with Spanish moss nest. www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com

Just a little touch in the library on a side table: another glass cloche with a wooden bunny tending a Spanish moss nest with a singular speckled egg.

 

Living room bookshelves. www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com

 

White pierced ginger jar on stack of books with airy wreath at the base. www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com

The family room is slowly transitioning from Winter to Spring with white accessories and a few touches of greenery including these light and airy wreaths from Home Finishings. This is a great way to lighten, brighten, and freshen up existing accessories. (Ginger jar from Burlington, pierced jardiniere from Hobby Lobby, artichoke from Z Gallerie.)

 

Desk area in kitchen dressed up for Spring. www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com

 

Desk area shelf dressed for Spring. www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com

 

White bunnies with black & white gingham check neck bows in front of black & white transferware. www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com

The desk area in our kitchen went largely unused for the first 10 years or so after moving in. I have an office, so I never used this as a desk. I have since artfully arranged dishes in the glass front cupboards overhead and added decorative dishes to the shelf and desktop. For the Easter season, white bunnies get black & white gingham check neckties. (The black and white transferware is from TJ Maxx some years back and was featured in my posts “Black, White & Red All Over” in 2010 and “Wondrous Wheat!” in 2011). The black & white buffalo check dishes were purchased this past Christmas season at Home Goods, and I LOVE them!!! The small decorative wreath is from Michael’s this season.)

 

Breakfast nook. www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com

 

Breakfast nook dressed for Easter. www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com

 

3-tier galvanized stand outfitted for Easter with nests, bunnies, faux artichokes, grass & hyacinth. www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com

 

3-tier galvanized stand outfitted for Easter (back view) with faux hyacinth, cabbages and carrots, bunnies and birdhouse. www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com

 

Tiered stand on kitchen table collage. www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com

Our breakfast nook has a lot going on! I always enjoy decorating the 3-tiered galvanized stand that I bought a couple of years ago at Sam’s Club for just $19.99. (I have seen them again this year at that price, but only in colors.) At any rate, I enjoyed bring Spring to the breakfast nook by adding a few bunnies, those popular white bird salt & pepper shakers from Pier 1 perched atop a homemade nest, some faux greenery and veggies, a small wood bird nest, and a bowl of speckled eggs with feathers.

 

Side table dressed for Easter in breakfast nook. www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com

 

Bunny with nest collage. www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com

The side table in the breakfast nook holds a collection of white pitchers on the bottom shelf. For Easter I brought out a white bunny rabbit I found on clearance at TJ Maxx. A black & white gingham check bow tie and a basket filled with moss and eggs makes him look a bit fancier. Another bit of greenery from Home Finishings is tucked in behind him to add texture and separate the sea of white on the table. The whitewashed galvanized pitcher (used also as part of the centerpiece for my piece, “Spring Green” back in April of 2014) overflows with purple hyacinth. The faux cabbage in the clay pot is from Michael’s, and the oversized white tray in the backdrop (as are most of the pitchers on the lower shelf) is from Home Goods.

 

Stone bunny with glass cloche.

The big stone bunny finds his way all around the house throughout the year. He’s sort of a mascot! For the Easter season I have him on the breakfast bar holding a glass cloche over a nest of twigs and moss with a butterfly. He, too, has a snappy black & white checked bow tie as well as a cascading strand of wispy greenery from Home Finishings. My friends Liz (from over at Sit With Me In My Garden), Johanne (from French Gardener Dishes), and Athena (from Minerva’s Garden) will be relieved to see I’ve not (yet!) killed the orchid a sweet young friend and mentee, MacKenzie, at Pinpoint Event Planning gave me a few months ago.

I no longer have a comment section, but if you have questions about where to buy featured items or how I put something together, please email me at table21tablescapes@gmail.com.

I hope you enjoyed the Easter Home tour! If you’ve not yet seen it, please pop over to see the Easter tablescape in the dining room. Meanwhile, I wish you and your family a very blessed Easter week.