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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s All About Me!

You’re not seeing double, folks. My darling “helpful” husband mistakenly sent this unfinished post out last year as I was recovering from shoulder surgery, but then quickly deleted it when the error was discovered. Sigh! It’s all done now and ready to roll out!

As we prepare to whisper farewell to the last vestiges of Spring and start the Summer fun, this “All About Me!” pink, brown & white tablescape is one that would be fun for Mother’s Day, a birthday party, a bridal shower, a bridesmaids luncheon,  a singles Valentine get-together, or to celebrate the strength of a breast cancer survivor.
(Click on any photo, then click again to enhance/enlarge it.)

DSCN4131WM

INSPIRATION: Fun note pads found in the clearance bin at Michael’s Arts & Crafts Store

In recent times I’ve had only a little money to spend here and there on fun new things. I spend a lot of time sifting through clearance bins, and sometimes I’m really surprised at the neat stuff I’m able to find! These note pads, with their pink polka dot on brown frames and slinky striped tops, gave me instant inspiration.

It's All About Me - Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One: Full dining room

It’s All About Me! – Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One: Dining tableThis table for 6 started off with a full-length brown linen. I used two pink satin runners from LinenTablecloth.com on each side of the table to add color and give it a striped effect.

It’s All About Me! – Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One: Double place setting in pink, brown & white

It’s All About Me! – Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One: Single place setting in pink, brown & whiteI used a deep pink Bormioli Rocco “Inca” glass charger from Burlington to perk up the setting and complement the paler pink runner beneath it. Plain white Corelle dinner plates get a facelift with chocolaty brown napkins laid across and tucked beneath, keeping with the striped effect.

It’s All About Me! – Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One: Flatware, Rim Shot, Favor BagI used a contemporary flatware pattern, J.A. Henckels “Bellaserra”, with a mirrored finish. The paper favor bag on the plate complements the notepad.

It’s All About Me! – Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One: Stemware, rim shot close up collageA smoky brown stemmed glass from Dollar Tree and stemless martini glasses from Pier 1 complement each place setting. TIP: Stemless martini glasses also make great punch cups!

It’s All About Me! – Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One: Full centerpiece in pink, brown & white

It’s All About Me! – Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One: Table floral collage with pink hyacinthThe centerpiece of the table starts with this wonderful pink, brown and white polka-dotted cloth box from Michael’s brimming with pink hyacinth. For demonstration purposes here the flowers are faux, but when setting the table for guests I splurge for the real deal!

It’s All About Me! – Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One: Table "lamp" made with candlestick and lamp shade

It’s All About Me! – Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One: Lamp collageI created the “lamps” flanking the floral arrangement with white turned wood candlesticks from Z Gallerie and a brown bell lamp shade from JC Penney. An LED candle of your desired size/intensity is all that’s needed to lend flickering ambient light. (To see other candle lamps on this site see “Raining Orchids“, “Should Have Put a Ring On It“, “All A’Bloom for Spring“, and “Just Us Girls“.)

It’s All About Me! – Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One: Pink & white M&MsBowls of hot pink, pale pink and white M&Ms in white poppy bowls from Pier 1.

It’s All About Me! – Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One: Brown & white striped pillowsA fun little accent in the chairs: pillows striped in shades of brown and white to complement the stripes on the table.

It’s All About Me! – Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One: Buffet

It’s All About Me! – Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One: Cake, plates, server, marshmallows collage

Candles, cupcakes collageAs always, the buffet behind the dining table gets a little special treatment. Cupcakes are served up on a creamy white American Atelier “Empress” ironstone tray. A brown-tinted glass urn from Burlington holds miniature marshmallows, and lacy white porcelain “doily” plates from Pier 1 stand ready to serve cake. The white pitchers are from Home Goods. Candlesticks like the ones on the dining table hold chunky pink candles from Tuesday Morning.

It’s All About Me! – Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One: White hyacinth in pink vases on tea cartInspiration is everywhere! Don’t forget to check those clearance aisles…you never know what you might find there! 🙂

Other pink & brown posts on this site:
“Chocolate Traditional”
“Breast Cancer Awareness Month”
“Au Revoir”

I am joining Christine this evening at Rustic & Refined for her brand spankin’ new link party, “Table It!”. Tomorrow I’ll be at Susan’s at Between Naps on the Porch for “Tablescape Thursday” (anytime after 9:00 a.m. CDT). Come on and join me! You’ll meet some of the most talented tablescapers the world has to offer!

Happy Mother’s Day, ladies!!!

One Shoe Can Change Your Life!

Just a reminder…
If you have not already entered, you still have until 7:00 a.m. CDT tomorrow (October 18, 2011) to let me know you’d like to have your name dropped in the bowl for the silver pedestal bowl drawing. If you missed that post, click here for details! Good luck!!!
The winner will be announced tomorrow afternoon!

UPDATE 10/19/11: Click here to see the winner!!!

I love to hear from readers asking for tips!!! This week I set a table based on a reader request for a “shop-’til-you-drop” table. I’ll fess up and say that I pulled one idea from a real-life table I created several years ago for a few friends to enjoy a light supper after an all-day shopping excursion. The sign (bought at Stein Mart) says it all!

This one goes out to my husband who has always let me shop ’til I drop!

IMG_2177WMI like to double or even triple linens for a fuller skirt and to add lots of dimension and color to the table. Here I used just a black full-length with an ivory cotton overlay, but a bit of red peeking out between them would have been nice, too.

Once the linens are set, the rest is cake! Not a lot of time for fussing over the table when you’re just back from a day on your feet in the shopping trenches. Easy but elegant is the way to go!

Jet black dishes reflect in the mirrored shine of a sleek silver charger. Basic white dishes are a must for easy decorating options, and I feel the same about black. Black is a neutral that never disappoints and that presents light-colored food beautifully.

A fun little menu at each place setting is always appreciated by guests. The fare on this menu (a replica of the one I created for my little get-together a couple of years back) is mostly food that can be made ahead of time. I brought in a little red fabric with these black-edged red silk napkins from my friend, Monica.

One shoe can change your life, and that includes these fun little pewter shoe place card holders! Sorry..I have NO idea where I bought these little gems, but I’m sure something similar can be found on the Internet.

Sexy and sleek Mikasa “Elegance – Black” iced tea stems brazenly pilfered borrowed from my Mom are the perfect match for the place settings! Their shape, style and color are reminiscent of the sultry “little black dress” we all have in our closets.

IMG_2180WMHampton Smith “San Remo” stainless flatware finishes out the look. The Baroque detailing on them keeps the mostly black place setting from going flatline.

IMG_2182WMThe unusual hatbox centerpiece is the star of the table! It’s easy to assemble and reminds me of merchandising elements used on the shelves of chic boutiques.

What says “shopping” better than shoes, shoes, and more shoes? Uh….nothing! Duh!!! I bought these cool square shoe/hat boxes (usually displayed on the shoe shelves in my dressing room) at Gordman’s a few years ago. I think they have that Doris Day/Holly Golightly/Marilyn Monroe (or Tony Curtis!)-in-“Some Like It Hot”-look from the 1950s. (Still not sure what I’m talking about? Click here to see Susan’s take on this iconic look from her 9/14/11 post on Doris Day Movie Fashion Style.)

Filled with sumptuous red roses, hypericum berries, and trailing seeded eucalyptus, the shoe/hat boxes are a fun alternative to a ho-hum vase. (The florals are actually in water-filled vases hidden in the boxes. You can give the little vases of flowers to each guest afterwards as a take-home favor!)

IMG_2168WMA trio of multi-level candle lamps are created with A-line black shades over silver candlesticks. A small LED candle buried inside provides subtle, sexy light as the shadows fall.

Actor James Brolin (now married to Barbra Streisand) once quipped, “Any girl that’s got a $500,000 table and $5 shoes, I’m in love with.” Uh, Mr. Brolin…do you not understand that we’ve gotta have both?!?!!? 🙂

So…..the table….easy enough? I hope so! This look would also be well-suited to a ladies luncheon (sans the candlestick lamps) or even a fun bridal shower, especially if the bride is gifting her attendants with shoes for the ceremony!

Don’t forget to join me at Susan’s Tablescape Thursday to see what the other tablescapers out there in blog land are up to this week!

Just Us Girls

This week’s post is of a quiet, simple dinner for “Just Us Girls” when we want to relax, unwind, jibber-jabber, and have a good time in an elegant setting with minimal fuss. I hope you enjoy its simplicity.

Getting together with “the girls” is always fun. I have such a good time with them just relaxing, rehashing old stories from days gone by, and dreaming about the future. No better way to do that than over a hot meal in a quiet, relaxed atmosphere. Music for tonight: Soundtracks from “First Wives Club” and “Something’s Gotta Give”, a little Billie Holliday, and Patsy Cline.

 

Soft pink and velvety rich chocolate brown on a white background is the color scheme. It is a little on the contemporary side. A large round mirror anchors each place setting. Next comes a silver beaded edge charger. Then my favorite…fabulous glossy chocolate brown and white “Delfina” dishes with a silver rim from Z Gallerie! How I longed for these dishes!!! I was finally able to buy them a few months ago. They are classically clean-looking without fussy adornment. I love them! The rim of the Mikasa “Jamestown Platinum” stemware is a perfect match. The menus – generated on my home computer – are a brown underlay and a soft pink vellum overlay with pink velvet ribbon.


A peek at the plate. A bit difficult to pick up on the actual color, but believe me…to die for!!!


Keeping with the contemporary look, I chose these unusually shaped silver napkin rings. They remind me of a gentleman’s cuff link. Very snazzy!

The curvy J.A. Henckels “Bellaserra” stainless mimics the lines of the napkin ring. I love the way the knife sits on its edge.

The centerpiece is kept simple and streamlined. Pairs of clear oyster votive cups punctuate the “lamps” made of clear glass pilsner vases topped with a squared off bell shade in chocolate brown (from Walmart!). Click here and scroll down to Tip #21 see how the lamps were put together. While it is not completely evident from these photos, I must share with you a little secret: When using a clear lamp base such as this, try turning the LED votive used for illumination upside down. In doing so, you illuminate the shade and cast the light down into the glass which looks so cool!!! While I used white for this tablescape, it’s even cooler if you use a colored LED votive!  Try it and see what it does for the lamp and your adjacent florals! (For more candle lamps on this site, seeRaining Orchids“, “All A’Bloom In Pink for Spring“, “Should Have Put a Ring On It“, and “It’s All About Me!“.)

The contemporary look and feel is completed by a mass grouping of petal pink calla lilies in a simple clear glass vase. Nestled between the taller lamps, it brings a soft dash of color to the table.

 

Other pink & brown tablescapes on this site include:
Chocolate Traditional
Au Revoir!
Breast Cancer Awareness Luncheon

 

Be sure to check out the newest Table Twenty-One Table Tip, too! Coincidentally, it’s #21 on the tip page! Click here to find it or on the “Table Tips” tab above. Once on the page, just scroll down to Tip #21!

  Remember to check out my other tablescaping pals at Between Naps on the Porch for more tabletop ideas!

I am joining Susan and the bunch at Between Naps on the Porch for Tablescape Thursday.

Fete Noir et Gris

 

I was so taken with the black and white components of last week’s table! So when I volunteered to host an intimate dinner for friends who are running off to New Orleans to get married, I thought I’d use those colors again, this time infused with silvery gray. (Seriously, though…do you really “run off to get married” in your 50s? I’m in my 50s, and it would be more like “leisurely strolling off”…or “limping off.” I actually added the silvery gray to complement our hair color!) 😉  This time the colors are paired with more upscale china, stemware, flatware and other decorative accoutrement. I hope you like it!

 

 

There’s just something about decorating with black and white that renders such a profound sense of elegance! Adding touches of gray or pewter or slate seem to make it that much more so.

 

 

My sister’s classic Noritake “Whitebrook” china is always a lovely start to conveying formality and tradition. The china is set atop a double layer of chargers – one beaded silver and the other a rhinestone-studded white. Against the black of the table linen, the dishes really stand out. My favorite International Silver “Royal Danish” sterling flatware always looks great on a formal dining table.

 

When setting a formal dining table, I tend to forego fancy napkin folds and just go with something fairly staid. Adding a sheer silver organza beneath the black adds a bit of flair. The clustered dragon tear napkin rings add a bit more shine without going too far overboard.

 

These “Bella” wine stems from Z Gallerie are fast becoming a new favorite! The top color reminds me of the color of mercury in the old maximum thermometers. Very sultry!

 

Each person’s place is marked with a faux mother-of-pearl and rhinestone frame.

 

 

 

Million star gypsophila (a.k.a. “baby’s breath”) makes an airy, elegant statement in this ornately carved silver floral vessel. Baby’s breath floral arrangements are really quite striking and very easy to assemble using floral foam to keep them well-hydrated. (See this silver piece used again at “Rhapsody In Blue.)

 

I found this fabulous “Josephine” table runner in velvety soft pewter at Z Gallerie. I love the gentle scrolling.

 

 

The table’s look is finished off with a couple of “lamps” which are actually tall silver candlesticks with ornately beaded shades from….drumroll!…Old Time Pottery!!!  The shade design elements complement the place card frames. The lamps are illuminated using LED votive candles on a follower. (Tip #20)

Other tablescapes on this site using baby’s breath:
Shake, Rattle & Roll ‘Em!
Princess Pink Birthday Dinner
Ideas For Throwing A Winter Dessert Party

This would also make a great New Year’s Eve tablescape!!!

I’m teaming up again with Susan and the other tablescapers at Between Naps on the Porch for Tablescape Thursdays. After perusing my photos, you’re invited to join us there!