Lemonade From Bill

I NEED TO THROW A REAL DINNER PARTY!!! It has been so long! Even if all I serve is beans and weanies…I’m going through serious withdrawals here!!! I know it’s weird, but I can’t just dream up these tables without a target guest or group in mind. I was stumped a couple of weeks ago until I remembered something my friend Bill from Affordable Accoutrements said to me a few weeks ago. If you are not familiar with Bill’s blog, I encourage…no, I INSIST that you pop over there to bathe in his immeasurable talent. Anyway, I was all down in the mouth and Bill tossed out that old adage about turning lemons into lemonade. When he said it, I swore I could hear the theme music from “The Twilight Zone” in the background because I was drinking lemonade at that very moment! Coincidence? I don’t think so. Serendipity? Perhaps. Was Bill spying on me despite the fact he lives hundreds of miles away? I got up and pulled the shades just in case. 😉

So, Bill, I took your sage advice as I set out to create a casual, lemony summer tablescape!

IMG_1290WMAnother example of making lemonade out of lemons: These crazy standard outdoor tables are only 30″ wide. (I need to have a serious talk with the manufacturers!) The narrow dimensions would not allow for the placemats to set properly, so I zig-zagged the seating. I have done this before, and it actually works quite well in practice. You’d be surprised how much your guests appreciate the extra elbow room (think gnawing on ribs or cracking shellfish!) and are still able to chat comfortably with one another. This layout adds a little more visual interest, too!

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IMG_1312WMThe weather finally cooled enough to get out on the deck. Such a shame when we think the mid-90’s is “cooler.” Thankful for the opportunity, though, I took immediate advantage!

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I am so fond of the look a full-length table linen provides. It adds a touch of subtle formality to the most casual table. The base white table linens here are enlivened with lots of sunny, bright yellow. A dark woven placemat from Pier 1 is topped with lemon-laden “Lemon Orchard” dinner plates also from Pier 1. Simple yellow cotton napkins from Bed Bath & Beyond hang in a simple vertical fold off the plate.

Contemporary J.A. Henckels “Bellaserra” flatware complements the square plate.

IMG_1303WMAmber stemware with a yellow undertone is set European style at the head of the setting. The champagne flutes are from World Market, and the bubble glass water stems are from TJ Maxx.

Simple clear water carafes are dressed up a bit with a lemon slice.

Tiny bouquets of pale yellow sweetheart roses are placed between place settings.

Yet another reason to close my shades is that Bill’s post last week featured an end centerpiece, too! I think we’re telepathically sucking each other’s brain! Either great minds think alike, or crazy loves company! 🙂

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I echo Bill’s sentiment that an end centerpiece is a great way to balance things out when you have more table than place settings on an oblong table. By placing the smaller arrangements down the center as I did with the sweetheart roses, the theme is repeated but in not such a dramatic fashion. Another advantage of an end centerpiece: Sometimes you have a tall centerpiece arrangement that would go great with your dishes but is better suited for a round table. No problem…put that bad boy on the end! Also great for centerpieces that would otherwise obstruct your guests’ view during dinner conversation.

IMG_1340WMI borrowed the tall yellow ceramic vase from our master suite. I had a massive matching bowl that was broken…check that…obliterated in the recent move. 😦

I bought the creamy yellow tureen from Pottery Barn a couple of years ago. It was marked all the way down to $12. I cradled it like the winning touchdown football at the Super Bowl until I was able to make my way to the check out counter to confirm the unbelievable price! The mix of yellow and cream-colored roses are displayed here in two clear ginger vases as well as clustered in bunches atop stacked cake stands. This is such a lush look and easy to achieve when you haven’t the time/energy/skill/inclination to fuss with an arrangement.

Lemonade out of lemons! Thanks, Bill! I made it through another week!

Both Bill and I will be joining Susan and all the other fabulous tablescapers at Between Naps on the Porch this Thursday for Tablescape Thursday. I hope you’ll join us. There is an awful lot of talent out there! You can also find me at BeBetsy.com!

Thank you for stopping in!

Apple Green Luncheon

Thank you to all the new subscribers who have come on board in the last couple of weeks! I welcome you!!! And for those who have been around for a while, you know I thank you and appreciate your continued subscription!

I wanted to post what will be our Easter brunch table, but it’s too early for me to get started on it. I won’t start building it until Friday. I’ll post it next week, for sure! Click here if you missed the Easter brunch tablescape requested by a reader last week.

Meanwhile, I am so happy to be able to post a fun and colorful apple green luncheon tablescape. I apologize that I don’t have a person’s name to identify with this post request. The request came in about 2 months ago, and I am just getting around to sharing these ideas. I’m sorry it is coming so late, and I hope it is still useful!

If you’d like to see another tablescape using green, click here!

I have had lots of requests for pink & green tablescapes, but this is the first for an apple green & white tablescape. What better way to interpret that than with actual green apples!??!?!

Spring luncheon tables are always so much fun to create! This one is great for a spring or summer luncheon, indoors or out. (It could also work well in celebration of St. Patrick’s Day with a little tweaking!) I started with a crisp white cotton linen. Next comes a gorgeous Pier 1 apple green and white cotton placemat with a fabulous houndstooth pattern. Just for fun and a little added dimension, a clear acrylic square is set atop the placemat. Next comes a simple white ceramic charger, a clear luncheon plate, and finally a plain white salad plate from Corelle. An apple green cotton napkin from Bed, Bath & Beyond adds color to the dish arrangement. The stack is topped off with a Granny Smith apple under a miniature clear cloche bell jar from Hobby Lobby. Clear everyday stems for water and limeade along with contemporary J.A. Henckels “Bellaserra” stainless complete the look.

The centerpiece consists of three separate elements. First, for height, is a pair of clear square floral cylinders filled with Granny Smith apples and fresh Bells of Ireland, topped with a puffy green-tinged hydrangea head. I have used faux hydrangea and apples here for demonstration purposes, but the real thing looks absolutely incredible! If you go all fresh (and I sure hope you do!), fill the container with water to totally submerge the apples and Bells of Ireland stem. Submerged fruit and floral arrangements are so cool!!!

The second and third components of the centerpiece are small clear square votive holders with clumps of cheery green viburnum and a densely packed white kalanchoe plant from the flower nursery.

On the buffet behind the table is the beverage and dessert. Limeade served from a fancy glass decanter such as this makes it look a little more special. I bought this one wholesale some years ago, but check out places like Pottery Barn, Costco or even K-Mart. Float lime slices, Granny Smith apple slices, or a combination of both.

If your luncheon includes gifts for an honored guest, ask your other guests to wrap them in colors that correspond with the luncheon colors. Add a few random florals throughout the gifts for more color and texture so they look to be a part of the overall look and tie in with the table florals.

If you can spring for white chairs to gather ’round the table (ladder back cane chairs or garden chairs), consider weaving a length or two of apple green ribbon through the back of each just for fun.

Well, there you have it. Again, I am so sorry not to be able to say who exactly requested this tablescape. Please step forward and remind this old head, will you? 🙂 It was my distinct pleasure to work this up for you, and I truly hope it lends some inspiration for your summer luncheon. Let me know how it goes!

I am gleefully joining my fellow tablescapers at Susan’s Between Naps on the Porch for Tablescape Thursday. Won’t you please join us anytime after 9:00 p.m. this evening?

Have a Happy Easter, everyone!

Blushing Bridal Shower

I want to say a great big THANK YOU to all of the people who have sent emails requesting specific ideas for upcoming events! While I’m not able to do pictorials on each and every one, I hope the emails and photos I’m able to send to you are of help. Keep ’em comin’! Right now is a great time since our personal social calendar has slowed a bit!

Meanwhile, I have created a very special idea table for a very special occasion. In honor of the blushing bride, her maid-of-honor requested ideas for a do-it-yourself table that could easily work with the existing dinnerware and other set-up items provided by the venue. To get an idea of what that could look like, I set up a tablescape depicting an easy DIY pink and white wedding shower/luncheon. A huge shout out to Cindy King at The Stanley Historic Event Space in downtown Lee’s Summit, Mo., for allowing us to come in and use her beautiful space for our demo table.

Photo by Sheri L. Grant

Photo by Sheri L. Grant

The maid-of-honor wants all 24 guests to sit at a single table, so we put two 6-ft. tables end-to-end and draped them with floor length white linens. This demonstration seats 12, so simply double it. I recommend the use of floor length linens whenever possible for “dressy” events. When entertaining at home, you can get away with lap length, although it’s nice to go all the way to the floor if you can. Affordable floor length linens in many colors and sizes can be purchased at online stores such as Linen Tablecloth.com. (Beware, though…the customer service at LinenTablecloth.com sucks!)

Like The Stanley, many venues have soaring ceilings. Unlike The Stanley, however, not all venues’ ceilings look the greatest. To “fill up the dead space” without overwhelming the table, try using a tall, airy centerpiece as demonstrated in these 20″H white glass vases. So as not to deliberately draw attention to the unattractive ceiling, though, do not exceed half the height to the ceiling for your centerpiece. The idea is to psychologically cut the eye’s interest off at the top of the arrangement. Using branches like fresh curly willow, which is both popular and easily obtained, keeps the look light and see-through. (Another example of this is seen here.) This is also a good place to add touches of the prevailing color. Again, a few branches with blooms dispersed amongst the curly willow will easily and inexpensively achieve that goal.  You’ll also want to bring color closer to the table which can be achieved by using smaller vases of the same color with compact bouquets. In this instance, we used pink sweetheart roses.

Photo by Sheri L. Grant

If your venue has windows, carry the flavor of the table to those windows with additional bouquets. Depending on the look you want, use either short and compact bouquets as shown above to achieve this more demure look or, for a more dramatic feel, taller arrangements that have the same wispiness as the tall ones on the table. Displaying arrangements in the windows gives guests a little hint of what’s to come as they approach the building. Just be careful not to totally obscure the view. That’s part of the charm and attraction of a room with a view!

Photo by Sheri L. Grant

 For a clean, classic look, it’s all about repetition. With this particular look, everything must be lined up perfectly so that photos present the table in its best light. See here about measuring.

Photo by Sheri L. Grant

Most venues provide as a part of their package either round or oblong dining tables with basic white, black or ivory linens. Not all venues provide floor length as a standard, but can provide them with an upcharge. White plates – usually round, but sometimes square in these modern times – are also a staple, as is plain flatware. To make the most of it, work with the colors provided by adding lots of a complementary color of your choice. Here, pink is the bride’s signature color. It is repeated in the florals, the napkins (for which a nominal upcharge of about $1.50 would likely be applied), and the menus for maximum punch. The napkin fold here is kept simple, across the plate and uniformly dropping over the side. Although this fold is simple, a ladies’ luncheon is the perfect time to experiment with fun or lavish styles.

Photo by Sheri L. Grant

Standard clear glass stemware is also a staple at most venues. Not to despair…as long as it has a classic shape, it will have plenty of appeal!

Photo by Sheri L. Grant

Photo by Sheri L. Grant

The oblong table used by most venues are only 30″ wide, so space is at a premium. To make the most of the available real estate, try combining your menu and place card as seen above and place it on the plate. DIYers can create something on your home computer or use pre-made note cards. The pink floral theme is continued on the front of this card in the shape of a heart.

Photo by Sheri L. Grant

To avoid monotony, add an unexpected but coordinating color in either tiny bits or in one big wallop. Here, a cake plate stacked high with bright green Granny Smith apples in the dead center of the table does the trick. Decorating with fruit is an easy and cost effective way to add color, texture and contrasting shapes to your tablescape.

I hope this helps! Pink and white wedding decor is my all-time favorite, so this was fun to do. Best wishes for a magnificent bridal shower! More tablescapes using curly willow on this site:
Copper Zen
Welcome Back, Joel
Autumn Blues

Shake Your Tail Feather

I am head over heels delighted to have designed an autumn tablescape in the very tastefully appointed home of Bob & Jean Sloan! Jean, owner of Invitations by Jean, has long been a colleague and friend. I have looked to her for fine stationery – invitations, menus, escort cards and more – for numerous fine weddings over the years.  I fell absolutely in love the first time I laid eyes on her traditionally furnished dining room. Jean’s remarkably refined taste is already apparent in the space, and my job was just to put the cherry on top with this lush table for 6.

The formal nature of my friend Jean Sloan’s dining room dictated a decidedly staid autumn tablescape with a few not-so-serious twists.

 

The crystal teardrops of Jean’s dazzling chandelier are repeated across the table set for 6 with the centerpiece, stemware and candle holders.

 

Plump red grapes, dotted with stray alstroemeria blooms, cascade over the side of the crystal epergne. (My husband will be eating leftover grapes for weeks to come!)

 

Clusters of richly colored alstroemeria are arranged in cut crystal Godinger “Olympia” rose bowls. The reddish-brown color adds the “oomph” needed to rescue the tablescape from looking too monochromatic.

 

Pheasant feathers plopped into cut crystal bud vases create a stir at each end of the table. They not only complement the colors and theme of the dishware, but add texture to the tablescape.

 

Gorgeous cut crystal votive holders add shimmer close to the table surface.

 

The rich dark wood of Jean’s dining table was the perfect backdrop to the burnished gold chargers topped with brown transferware dinner and salad plates. The oak leaf-shaped soup bowl is from Pier 1. The flatware is Royal Danish sterling silver, a treasured gift from my Mom’s collection.

 

I found the beautiful dishware with this exquisite peacock motif at a boutique called Home Finishings here in Lee’s Summit. The price tag caused a little agony, but I finally caved and bought enough for 12. SO worth it!!! This close-up shows the intricate pastoral pattern that depicts the proud creature displaying his lush plumage as his less fortunate feathered friends look on. (See these beautiful dishes used again HERE.)

 

Another fun twist to an otherwise traditionally set table are these jumbo carved wood acorns atop each napkin. I picked these up at Pier 1 a couple of years ago.

 

I love the intricate diamond-shaped cutwork in the Cristal d’Arques Longchamps stemware. The stemware design mimics that of the centerpiece epergne and crystal bowls. Notice here, too, the pretty crystal knife rests. People don’t use those a lot anymore, but I find them both pretty and practical.

 

Many thanks to Jean Sloan for letting me fulfill a fantasy autumn tablescape!

A few other autumn tablescapes on this site include:
Italian Honeysuckle
Most Egg-cellent Breakfast
Copper Zen
Celebrating Longview Farm
Casual Fall Harvest Dinner
September Harvest Breakfast
Pumpkins & Peacocks
Wondrous Wheat
Pheasants & Peacocks
Best Laid Plans
Serape High Style
Sunflower Simple
Raining Orchids
September Wine
Autumn Blues

This is my very first time participating in Tablescape Thursdays on the Between Naps on the Porch blog site. If you would like to see lots of other tablescapers’ creations, just click on the Between Naps on the Porch link to your right.