Cinco de Mayo 2013 – Livin’ la Vida Loca

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INSPIRATION: Gorgeous “Serape” dishes in so many brilliant colors from Tuesday Morning

I can’t believe Cinco de Mayo is less than a week away!!! Where did January – April go??!?!?! If you’re planning a Cinco de Mayo party and want to create a table that has a lot of color, here’s your inspiration! This is one that would look great indoors or out!
(Click on any photo, then click again to enhance it and see all the little details!)

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Table, linen pleat collageWhenever I want brilliant color to really stand out, black is a good choice. It’s very much like when you visit the jeweler. He or she presents to you jewelry on a black velvet cloth or tray. Why? Black is the best color to show off the true color, depth and shine. The same applies to brightly colored tables. A black linen, like this full-length one from LinenTablecloth.com, showcases the brilliant melange of color at its best. Look at the photo on the right…how the linen so gracefully drapes like the train of an evening gown. THIS, ladies and gentlemen, is the way color is shown!

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IFI bought these multi-colored “Serape” dishes at Tuesday Morning many years ago. They have traveled with me from house to house and (knock on wood!) have all survived. The rims are all the same and trimmed in black, but the faces boast different colors borrowed from the rim design. The ruffly acrylic chargers from Crate & Barrel are seen here in fun fuchsia pink, brilliant turquoise, and a delicious margarita lime greenTIP: When working with lots of bright color, don’t be afraid to showcase them all through other table elements!

Flatware, rim shot collageWhen it comes to flatware, I’m more of a metal girl. For a fun table like this, though, I really like this fun hot pink flatware from Burlington. It really stands out against that fabulous black background and looks great alongside all three charger colors!

Napkin, stemware, lime collageJuicy orange is the mouth-watering napkin color. I specifically chose this color to not only pick up on the orange in the dishes, but to provide a color bond between the dining table and the florals on the buffet behind it. Clear glass stemware from Old Time Pottery holds its own against all the color on the table. TIP: Always place a water glass on the table, even if you’re serving another beverage like margaritas. Many guests – especially when eating spicy food – appreciate the opportunity to take a sip between spicy bites!

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Succulents collageThe centerpiece here is relatively simple and includes a variety of dessert succulents in various colored pots and vases that complement the colors in the dishes. Sticking with the good ol’ Rule of 3, I placed one high and 2 low to form a trinity of non-prickly cacti.

Center table tray collageWhen all else fails, food makes a glorious centerpiece! A colorful bowl of key limes flanked by 2 black bowls for salsa on a coordinating “Serape” serving tray are the nucleus of this centerpiece. The tray adds color AND corrals the 3 separate pieces to bring a sense of cohesiveness to the centerpiece.

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IFA couple of huge stems of shocking orange (faux) medinilla is all it takes to make a grand statement in this fabulous oversized aquamarine vase from Z Gallerie. If you live in a climate where this gorgeous bloom is a natural and plentiful grower, go for the real stuff, baby!!!

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Tea cart collageSome folks like to do tequila shots. Why not set up a “shot bar” on a tray that looks as pretty as it is fun! The tiny shot glasses in turquoise, hot pink, and yellow are from Old Time Pottery. (They were VERY reasonably priced at just 15¢ apiece.) The flowers on the cart are an array of colorful ranunculus mixed with a few stemmed succulents. TIP: Rim the shot glasses in a bit of lime juice and margarita salt as you set them up. Saves all that unsavory hand licking stuff!

Flowers on china cabinet collageAcross the room on top of the china cabinet is a lone “Serape” pitcher filled with the same floral design as that of the shot bar. A couple of years ago I wrapped a length of twine around this pitcher for my post “Serape High Style”, and I liked the look so much I decided to keep it that way!

Other posts on this site great for/adaptable to a Cinco de Mayo celebration:
“Serape High Style”
“Sunflower Simple”
“Brilliant Italian” (SUMMER page w/9 other posts – scroll down ’til you see it)
“Summer Breeze” (SUMMER page w/9 other posts – scroll down ’til you see it)
Cinco de Mayo Simply Done


Many thanks to all who visited my blog last week via The Home Girl’s “Festive Friday Fiesta” upon which I was once again a featured blogger for my “French Poodle” post. It’s always so nice to feel that sense of recognition!

I’m joining The Home Girl again this week as she and many other bloggers will no doubt have lots of tips and photos for the celebration of Cinco de Mayo. On Wednesday I’ll be joining Cuisine Kathleen for “Let’s Dish!”, and on Thursday I’ll link up with Susan’s “Tablescape Thursday”. I hope you’ll join me at these fun blog parties! Check me out over at BeBetsy.com, too!

Que tengas un buen celebracion de Cinco de Mayo!

Serape High Style

I’ve been sick as a dog with cold/flu/upper respiratory infection – again! – for the past week. I’m not sure how this happened since I try so hard to avoid it. I may as well send the grocery cart through the car wash for the thorough wiping down I give it before touching it. Same with doors, gasoline pumps…anything I think could be infected. I apparently need to buy myself a bubble to live in November through April! Or maybe this is payback for my post about my sister, Barf, last week. Who knows?

Anyhooooo….my good buddy and neighbor, Barbara, and I pooled our resources a few weeks ago for a fun south-of-the-border girls’ night in. Barbara whipped up wonderful Mexican food – our favorite – so I created a table with a little upscale autumn flair. This would make a great tablescape for Cinco de Mayo, too!

Our Mission-style wood dining table is partially covered with a blanket Ramon & I picked up on a day trip to Tijuana about 20 years ago when we were first “courting.” Those were the good ol’ days when I would risk breaking every bone in my body under the weight of all the bottles of tequila, brandy, crema de cacao, and potent vanilla extract I lugged back across the border. (I was skinny then, and actually had visible bones! ;-))

I picked these dishes up at Tuesday Morning several years ago. They are among my favorite patterns, but because they are so theme specific I rarely get to use them. They remind me of a colorful serape.  The bowls were perfect for generous helpings of Barbara’s flavorful tortilla soup. (Click here or on “Recipes” tab above for the recipe!)

I used store-bought corn husks as place cards.

Bright yellow napkins from Bed, Bath & Beyond are cinched with fun wooden bead rings from Pier 1.

This “San Remo” flatware worked out much better than I thought it would! It really lent to the “upscale” Mexican feel.

Cobalt blue beverage glasses from Pier 1 paired with margarita glasses from Old Time Pottery.

The centerpiece is a profusion of “Peacock White” flowering kale with fronds that remind me of a cactus, “Medusa” ornamental pepper plants, and succulents nestled in a hammered aluminum ice bucket. The nearly all-vegetable centerpiece is extended with various peppers, squashes and pumpkins. The mercury glass-lined raised tealights in gemstone colors are a World Market find.

I was so happy to find matching accessory pieces for the dishes including trays, serving bowls and pitchers. I gave this pitcher of margaritas a more rustic look with the addition of twine wrapped around the neck. The traditional molcajete is another Tijuana treasure that sees a lot of action around here.

To dress up the buffet, I used one more bit of Tijuana memorabilia – a Mayan calendar – which is backed up by a huge orange platter to add depth, height, and vivid color.

I fear I’m going to cough up a lung if I don’t rest now. Hope you enjoyed it!

Other tablescapes exclusively created for or suitable for celebrating Cinco de Mayo on this site include:
Cinco de Mayo 2013 – Living La Vida Loca
Cinco de Mayo Simply Done
Sunflower Simple
Christmas Fiesta

Be sure to join me (if I’m still tickin’ by then!) for Susan’s Tablescape Thursday!!!

R.I.P. Andy Rooney