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.

 

 

 

Candy Colored Autumn and A Nell Hill’s Experience

Gotta lead with this because it was SO exciting for me:
THIS IS ME WITH
NELL HILL’S OWNER, MARY CAROL GARRITY!!!
Talk about over the moon!!! Many of you may know Nell Hill’s from Mary Carol’s books like Rooms We Love, Entertaining In Style, O’ Christmas Tree and Feather Your Nest, or from the extraordinary shopping experience that is worth the travel time to get there. I shop at Nell Hill’s, about 40 minutes from our home, every time I go for an appointment with my surgeon, but I’d never actually run into Mary Carol. I wasn’t brave, but my son told her how much I admire her and asked if she’d mind taking a photo with me. She cheerfully obliged, and…here it is!!! We’re both “vertically challenged”, have the same hairdo, and like wearing scarves…practically twins!!! 🙂

This season I’ve presented both traditional and contemporary takes on fall tablescapes, and today I’m doing a mashup of customary and novel colors that work together to create a different, yet somehow familiar, tablescape.

 

We’re back in our dining room today with this casual table for 6 with colors extracted from the same runner I used in “Autumn Chinoiserie – Classic Blue & White” a couple of weeks ago. (This runner is now a part of the permanent autumn decor in the dining room for this season as seen in “Autumn Flourishes 2017” in last week’s post.) I am getting a lot of mileage out of this versatile plaid runner! The colors remind me of Skittles candy!

 

 

 

 

 

So…drawing from the colors of the runner (see how it picks up on the colors of the artwork on the wall?), I started with a shiny metal charger (Pier 1) in an electric blue. Not a typical color associated with autumn, but when offset by the goldenrod Pier 1 dinner plate and creamy ivory soup bowl, you start to see how well it works. To add softness and a bit of texture, a deep berry-colored (complementing those in the centerpiece) brushed cotton napkin (Pier 1) is slipped beneath the bowl (Kirklands). Faux bamboo flatware (JC Penney) and substantially weighted amber glassware (Marshalls) finishes the place setting.

 

 

 

 

 

The straightforward and relatively inexpensive centerpiece is made up of traditional elements including various gourds and pumpkins ranging in shades from the deepest orange to the purest white, deep nutmeg-toned berries, plump white snowberries, acorns, and a twist of wild vine to visually consolidate it.

 

 

 

On the buffet behind the dining table is a simple vignette that mimics the elements on the table. A heavy aluminum bowl filled with white mini pumpkins shares center stage with a white pheasant. On each side are oval Pier 1 platters that match the dinner plates and a charger as a simple backdrop to a single white pumpkin.

A few other fall tablescapes on this site you might enjoy:
Warm Fall Colors
Dinner With Friends – Gumbo Dinner Party
September Wine
Pumpkins & Peacocks
Autumn Blues
Pears & Pine Cones
September Harvest Breakfast
Simply Bittersweet
Ap-pear-ently Autumn
Casual Fall Harvest Dinner
Italian Honeysuckle
Quick & Casual Fall Dinner
Autumn In Cactus Country
Sunflower Simple
Most Egg-cellent Fall Breakfast
Copper Zen
Serape High Style
Pheasants & Pumpkins

I’m joining Susan’s Tablescape Thursday bunch again this week. Check out other fall ideas from a lot of talented tablescapers from all over!!!

 

Autumn Chinoiserie – Classic Blue & White

I recently did a “Better Kansas City” show segment on using unexpected colors and patterns for fall decorating. I’ll publish that clip next week. Meanwhile, here’s a taste of that decorating style that I have come to embrace with great enthusiasm: incorporating autumn touches into existing chinoiserie decor.

 

 

 

Ralph Lauren “Mandarin” dinner and salad plates rest upon a stark white ceramic charger from Old Time Pottery.

 

 

I found these lovely cream soup bowls at Nell Hill’s in Parkville, Mo., about 40 minutes away from our home and only 5 minutes from my orthopedic surgeon’s office. (Best place to regroup after bad news!)  I LOVE that place!!! I never spend less than an hour when I visit. A crisp white cotton napkin is fashioned into a variation on the classic crown fold. A sprig of autumn berries brings color and additional texture to the place setting.

 

 

Faux bamboo flatware is perfect for this setting.

 

I bought scads of this sturdy cobalt blue stemware at Pier 1 some years ago, and it has served me well.

 

A very autumn-y pattern of plaid in the table runner with shades of russet, orange, amber, burgundy, cobalt and white is a perfect contrast to dishes. The riot of color contributes to and enhances the overall  boldness of the tablescape. The runner is from TJ Maxx.

 

 

 

 

Ginger jars from Nell Hill’s and temple jars from Home Goods make up the main part of the centerpiece.

 

 

 

 

The length of the centerpiece is punctuated with deep orange mini pumpkins, real and faux acorns, and a meandering garland of berries. Latticed white ceramic planters hold mounded arborvitae.

 

 

The buffet behind the dining table holds its fair share of chinoiserie pieces including a pitcher, an octagonal bowl filled with oversized acorns, and Victorian foot baths mixed with silver candlesticks. The white foo dogs are a nod to the chinoiserie style and add a little unexpected touch.

The bar cart in the corner extends the touches of chinoiserie including the bowls filled with acorns.

Other tablescapes integrating chinoiserie on this blog include:
Mandarin Bling
Mother’s Day Brunch
Blue & White Family Picnic
Blue & White 30th Birthday

Peony Power

I’m joining Susan at Between Naps on the Porch for her 471st Tablescape Thursday! I’m seeing lots of fall and Halloween tablescapes over there today, so drop on in to get inspired!

 

 

 

 

 

Polly Want a Party!

Every summer I feel the need to do one real doozy of a tablescape, and earlier this summer THIS was IT.  My inspiration: the pool parties and other hot cha cha patio gatherings my parents hosted WAY back in the day (1960s), and it just kind of took off from there.
(P.S. – In response to requests to please do so, I have turned the Comments section back on. PLEASE do not feel obligated in any way to comment. I’m totally OK with “glance-and-go” or “peek-and-pin” without remarks. The Comments section is merely there for your convenience.)

C’mon up the back steps and join the Beach Blanket Bingo fun! (Those 55+ will totally understand that reference!)

 

When we got new energy-efficient windows, I couldn’t bear to part with all of the original ones that came with the house. I use them in decorative ways in various places inside and out like here at the top of the deck steps.

 

The barrage of bright-colored paper lanterns hung with hot pink ribbon starts here at the top of the stairs.

 

 

This old wrought iron bakers rack on the deck comes in handy for food and beverage service from time to time. Here I have stacked up bamboo trays, plates and flatware bundles for those who prefer to eat away from the main table. Just pick up your tray cafeteria style, go through the buffet line, then pick your seat! Notice the throwback paper honeycomb pineapples! (To see this baker’s rack completely decked out for food service, check out “Patisserie de Paris“.

 

 

 

 

The “lounge” area of the deck includes the coffee table where an abundance of fresh tropical fruit serves as a centerpiece. I spread out a trio of monstera leaf placemats over the glass for visual interest.

 

 

 

A mini bar is set up on a round side table. Today’s specialties: your choice of mind-blowing margaritas or fresh and frothy piña coladas! (Seriously, y’all…drink a couple of my margaritas and you’ll find yourself in a hotel room with a tramp stamp, eyebrow piercing and French braided hair, staring at a license signed by “Not-the-Real-Elvis” that makes it official between you and some gnarly barely-of-age surfer dude named Bodhi!)

 

 

I used weathered crates (reminds me of driftwood) as side tables in a couple of areas. Yep…there sits one of those life-altering margaritas! The bamboo tray is loaded up and can easily balance on your lap. To see another way I’ve used these bamboo trays purchased at Old Time Pottery, see “Orange You Glad You Came to Dinner?” And speaking of dinner, I guess I should show you the actual table!

 

A sweeping 108-in. fuchsia tablecloth from LinenTablecloth.com sets the scene for this table for 5.

 

 

I like to layer up! In this instance, TWO placemats: natural round “Water Hyacinth” from Pier 1 topped with a fun and floppy off-center monstera leaf from Z Gallerie. (I also used the monstera leaf placemats for “Caribbean Queen“.) The brightly colored ruffled chargers in hot pink, lime, and turquoise are from Crate & Barrel, and can also be seen on posts like “Popsicle Party“, “Pleasant Under Glass“, and “Tropicana“.

 

Faux bamboo flatware is a staple around here! I use it a LOT!!!

 

Paper napkins striped with bright colors are tucked into these fun parrot napkin rings from Z Gallerie.

 

Mixing stemware is a definite YES!!! Just find something that ties them together like shape, color, or style. (The aqua blue stemware is from Pier 1, and the clear hurricane glasses from Old Time Pottery.)

 

 

Just like on the bar (filled with lemons and limes), these jaunty floral Hawaiian shorts are a fun addition! Here the shorts are filled with sago palms for an easy-to-assemble tropical centerpiece.

 

 

 

Yes, my paper lantern addiction continues!! (Don’t they look extra pretty in that 2nd pic with the lights glowing?) This time they have a bright pink grass skirt backdrop. I dropped in a few more swingin’ parrots, too.

 

Off to the side is a bowl of leis for guests to get in the spirit of the evening. Flip flops for everyone!!!

 

Cheers, everyone, from my buddy, Barbara (who is probably still laid out trying to make the room stop spinning from this drink!!!).

Other tropical-inspired posts on this blog include:
Flashy Flamingos – Navy, White & Pink Tablescape
Summer Breeze
Hot Tropical
Hot Fun In the Summertime
Flamingos In Paradise
Old Navy Seafood Cruise
Oranges & Blossoms
Caribbean Queen
Tropicana

Other posts using paper lanterns include:
Fairy Princess Party for Little Girls
Chinese Takeout
Cupcake Colors
Butterfly Kaleidoscope
Blue & White 30th Birthday
Easter Brunch
Under A Paper Moon

I’m joining Susan and the gang for “Tablescape Thursday” this week. If you want to see some really cool tablescapes by a variety of talented artists, head on over!

 

 

 

 

Flashy Flamingos – Navy, White & Pink Tablescape

As evidenced by my 2012 post, “Flamingos in Paradise“, I was a big fan of flamingos before they became all the rage this summer. Something about those big, pink birds…maybe just because they’re my favorite color!

 

 

II love my country, but I’m about plumb tuckered out on the red, white and blue for a minute.  This refreshing respite of pink, white and navy blue is just what the tablescaping doctor ordered. The round table for 4 is layered with those very colors from LinenTablecloth.com.

 

 

My objective was to set off the bright pink and white against the deep blue. The Crate & Barrel charger for each setting has a bright pink ruffled edge. Plain white dinner plates are offset by navy blue square salad plates from Pier 1. The cotton napkins are from Bed Bath & Beyond, and the faux bamboo flatware is from JC Penney.

 

I just love these peppy pink flamingo-spattered glasses from Home Goods! They’re perfect for serving iced tea, lemonade, water, or – my personal favorite – a tropical cocktail! I paired them with clear water  glasses.

 

The inspiration for this tablescape came from this fun navy & white striped bucket peppered with flamingos from Home Goods. (I think its original intent is to be used as a flatware caddy, but what the heck…I march to the beat of my own twisted drum sometimes!) I filled it with sago palms and tucked in a metal flamingo for a quick, easy tablescape with tropical flair.

 

The other side of the deck is included in the party decor with a continuance of the color scheme.

 

 

Sips and snacks are set up on a bamboo tray in the seating area. A sweet blog friend gave me these ceramic flamingo appetizer plates a few years ago, and I love them as much today as when I first got them. Thank you, Mona!

 

 

Pink lemonade is the perfect summer drink in these glasses. The plastic pitcher is from Target and the fun flamingo stir sticks from Tuesday Morning.

 

 

On the other end of the coffee table are a white ceramic vase overflowing with pink and white tulips and a stack of alternating pink & white cocktail napkins literally anchored to keep them from blowing away in the summer breeze.

 

 

The seating area’s side table is set up with a pot of summer flowers as the backdrop to a blue & white striped sailboat (to mirror the look of the centerpiece on the dining table) and guest favors in flamingo-flecked boxes.

 

 

 

You know how I love my paper lanterns, and for this setting I really loaded ’em up! Varying shades of pink mixed with white lanterns are embellished with navy blue ribbon streamers for additional color and movement.

Thanks so much for stopping in to check out the flashy flamingos!

Other tablescapes using paper lanterns on this site:
Cupcake Colors
Easter Brunch
Butterfly Kaleidoscope – Indoors & Outdoors
Blue & White 30th Birthday
Under A Paper Moon
Chinese Takeout

Other tablescapes with tropical settings on this site:
Hot Tropical
Caribbean Queen

Ocean Blue
Tropicana

Summer Breeze

 

 

 

Summer Breeze

SUMMER BREEZE
Folks, I’m revamping my blog a bit and getting rid of “pages” from my early days of blogging that featured multiple posts. I don’t want to lose the posts altogether, though, so I’m re-posting them. Makes no sense, huh? Believe me, if there was an easier way
!!! So, if you’ve never seen this one before it’s all new to you. If you have seen it, I apologize for the rerun but hope you can enjoy it all over again! There will be additional reruns coming into your box every couple of days until I’ve emptied these pages from the early days. Who knows
maybe what’s old can be new again with ideas. Let’s hope! Meanwhile, all new posts are on the way, too!!!
I have put off doing a tropical tablescape all summer long, but this last dinner party before Labor Day seemed like the right day to do it. I’m glad I did. Summer is good to the last drop! (The aftermath of this dinner party was a near tragedy. Click HERE to see what happens when you don’t take care with candles!)
 
The matchstick placemats drape lengthwise rather than horizontally for a bit of added interest.
I loved these “Exotic Floral” dishes the moment I saw them at Pier 1! It wasn’t so much the pattern as the color combination with that dash of bright red-orange. The red-orange finger bowl was filled with a bit of lemon water for each guest to cleanse their fingers between bites of sticky Tequila-Lime Chicken. The green embossed stemware is also from Pier 1, and I’m sure you’ll see a lot of it in future posts!
 I picked these napkins up from BB&B for next to nothing on the clearance table! They have many of the same design elements as the dishes, so they were just perfect! The seashell napkin rings (surprisingly similar to some custom-created ones I saw in Preston Bailey’s “Inspirations“) are Pier 1.
I really enjoyed creating the centerpiece items for this summer tablescape! The larger ones are simple raised “fishbowls.” Although I bought these as shown wholesale some years ago, they could be easily reproduced by gluing a fishbowl atop a large glass votive cup or short-stemmed/stemless martini glass. Large pillar candles are surrounded by colorful, interesting seashells and finished off with a snippet of alstroemeria which looked very similar to the red-orange flower on the dishes. To complete the centerpiece, I twisted a piece of feathery sword fern and topped it with a shell. (For other fun tables using seashells, visit “Tropicana“, “Ocean Blue – Starfish & Seashells“, “All-American Seafood Boil“, and “Flamingos In Paradise“.)
 The smaller centerpiece arrangements are these really cool reversible bowls with a little indentation for a votive candle. (This bowl could be flipped the other direction and have a tiny flower in the indentation with perhaps a floating candle in the larger part.) I tucked sword fern and alstroemeria underneath. By keeping all of the centerpiece items the same shape, it created a unifying effect.
 When we sat down to dinner, the sun was just beginning to set. By the time we finished, we were able to enjoy the warm glow of the candles. (I can’t stress this enough
be careful when using candles, especially when it’s breezy out or THIS – or something far worse – could happen to you!)
 On the dessert/drink table, I piled Pier 1 dessert plates high on a beautiful bamboo tray alongside the homemade 3-layer chocolate fudge cake. The faux bamboo flatware is from JC Penney. The acrylic palm tree pitcher is from BB&B.
Raising a glass with our honored guests.

Other tropics-inspired tablescapes on this site:
Hot Fun In the Summertime
Caribbean Queen

Informally Formal: Marrying modern and classic in your table setting

My 4-minute segment on yesterday’s “Better Kansas City” show on KCTV-5 was all about “informally formal” entertaining at home!

As mentioned in the video clip, our Easter dinner tablescape was, I think, a good example of informally formal design. We simultaneously celebrated my son’s 39th birthday, and I wanted both my son and the rest of the family to feel special – because they are! But this was a day I wanted to be able to relax a little, too, so instead of formal china and crystal, I pulled out some terrific Pier 1 plates to fill the bill. This tablescape, minus the obvious nods to Easter, would be perfect for any Springtime event including birthdays, Mother’s Day, ladies luncheons, bridal or baby showers, or even engagement parties.

 

 

 

 

I’ve not used these beautiful Pier 1 plates since 4 years ago when I posted a piece called “The Bluebird Special“. While certainly far from what might be construed as traditionally formal, they have a simultaneously staid/laid back look. The woven square chargers and faux bamboo flatware lend texture and an organic feel to the place setting.  The yellow undertones of the flatware complement the bird on the plate as well as the floral centerpieces. The lavender napkin is fashioned in a traditional pyramid fold, and the green goblets are from Dollar Tree.

 

I enjoy creating specialized menus on my computer for at-home events. This colorful one in shades of yellow, purple and white with a bright pink clip leans to the side of informality. The colors complement the florals.

 

 

 

 

 

I might have gone a little wild with all the florals this year, but they were all so pretty! Our generous across-the-street neighbors allowed me to snip from their lavishly blooming lilac bush to complete the springtime floral designs of pink & yellow tulips, Mardi gras Solidago, and alstroemeria in white vases. The florals extended down the length of a fresh moss runner dotted with moss bird nests from Home Finishings. (HINT: If the smell of moss wrinkles your nose, open it up and air it out for a couple of days before use.) For additional height, texture, a burst of color, and the pure drama of it all, I filled a white glass vase with forsythia branches and placed it at the very end of the table. Note that the full-length white tablecloth from LinenTablecloth.com is knotted at the end for safety as well as a cool contemporary look.

 

The alternating pink and lavender satin chair sashes almost didn’t make the cut. My husband thought the plain white stretch chair covers were sufficient. I, however, begged to differ. When he saw the chairs with the sashes, high fives and mea culpas were in order. (We agreed they made the chairs resemble Easter eggs!) Depending on the type of event you are hosting, chair sashes may or may not be appropriate. It’s up to you!

When planning your next Springtime event, keep in mind who your guests are, what feeling you’d like the space to evoke and, as always, just what level of formality is within your comfort zone! As alluded to in the video clip, formality may be circling the bowl, but it ain’t dead yet! 😉

For more photos of tablescapes seen in the video clip:
“Blurred Lines With Shades of Pink”
“Celebrating 85 Years of Fabulous”
“My Sister’s Wedding China”

A few other Spring tablescapes on this blog you may enjoy include:
“Springtime In Paris”
“Patisserie de Paris”
“Easter Brunch”
“Pinky Peter Cottontail”
“Barton’s Easter Brunch”
“All A’Bloom For Spring”
“Spring Has Sprung”
“Welcome Back, Joel”
“Peony Power”
“Tulips in the IHOP Hour”
“Float Like A Butterfly”
“Purple & Pastel”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Picnic Ants

INSPIRATION: A tea towel/napkin with all the fun & whimsical elements of a summer picnic.

INSPIRATION: A tea towel/napkin with all the fun & whimsical elements of a summer picnic.

Today was the hottest day of the year so far with the mercury toeing the 100° line. The humidity was so stifling that, combined with the scorching heat, you could boil an egg  just by tossing it in the air. But that’s summer in Kansas City for you, and we intend to suck it up and party on!
(Click on any photo and then click again to enlarge/enhance it.)

 

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, Picnic Ants - picnic table from the distance

 

 

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, Picnic Ants - Full table

 

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, Picnic Ants - Full tabletopSome readers may recall a tablescape (Ants In My Pants Picnic) I did on this same picnic table along the walking trail in our subdivision awhile back. (HUGE thanks to neighbors Lynn & Barbara for their help on this one!!!) Some of those same elements are used here, but in a different way. For starters, rather than covering the table with the red & white checkered fabric, it is folded and serves as a runner. (Note to my Art of Tablescaping Students…this is a great example of what we discussed about saving money by changing up the look without changing all the pieces.)

 

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, Picnic Ants - Centerpiece picnic ants collageThe main attraction is the Pied Piper-esque single-form line of metal ants down the center of the table. I bought the giant ones several summers ago at Hobby Lobby. The smaller ones were purchased at a wholesale place I frequent here in the Kansas City, Mo., area. As you will soon see, the parade of ants theme will carry out in other elements on the table. The checkered runner is topped with 3 watermelon slice placemats found in a clearance bin years ago.

 

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, Picnic Ants - Offset centerpiece picnic basket, fruits, flowers & Coleman lantern

 

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, Picnic Ants - Picnic basket & poppies collage

 

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, Picnic Ants - Picnic fruits collage

 

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, Picnic Ants - Coleman lantern, cookies, condiment collagePart of the centerpiece is off-center on one end of the table which adds interest to the overall look. Centerpieces can be utilitarian like this one which includes the picnic basket (found in pristine condition at a local thrift store for just $7) filled with a tangle of red poppies, various vessels brimming with luscious summer fruits, a mound of peanut butter cookies on fun dessert plates, colorful condiment bottles, and a vintage Coleman lantern to light the area as afternoon fun rolls into evening. Notice another giant ant surveying the bowl of fruit. This detail visually connects the off-center part of the centerpiece to the elements in the center of the table, and this fun factor could possibly be the catalyst for kids choosing the healthier fruit option over the cookies. (Students…please recall our conversation about the importance of visual connectors.)

 

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, Picnic Ants - Place setting

 

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, Picnic Ants - black faux bamboo flatwareThe place settings here are simple: a black dinner plate from Dollar Tree, a practically indestructible white Corelle salad plate, and a fun Pier 1 red & white checkered plate covered with ants to throw those rib bones on once they’re picked clean! (Kansas City is KNOWN for its fabulous barbeque, and no picnic is complete without a slab of meaty ribs!) Faux black bamboo flatware adds a touch of class to the setting, but fits right in with the natural vibe.

 

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, Picnic Ants - Mason jar of iced tead

 

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, Picnic Ants - Mason jar collageMy Southern sisters will attest to the glory of sweet tea, and one of the easiest ways to sip it on a hot summer day is from an old-time Mason jar. Here the jars are dressed up a bit with a bit of earthy green raffia tied to place cards fashioned to complement the dessert plates, napkins and runner. Looks like my blog buddy Jamala from VivaLaVintage for Your Home has a seat at the table! If you’ve not visited Jamala’s blog, you really should check it out. She’s all about decorating with vintage & collectible items, and she has an uncanny knack for scouting unimaginably great bargains! Jamala waves her wand (very often that wand looks like a can of spray paint!) and turns the most practical items into fabulous!

Peeking out from behind the computer-generated place cards in a purely decorative capacity is a wooden watermelon slice napkin ring found at Bed, Bath & Beyond several years ago. (Students…remember our chat about unexpected elements…don’t be afraid to use things in unusual ways!)

 

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, Picnic Ants - Watermelon & ants picnic napkinMy inspiration piece – a fun tea towel/napkin with vintage appeal from Tuesday Morning – really rounds out the place settings. The checkered design and trail of ants spelling out the word “Picnic” is an extension of the centerpiece runner and dessert plates. The slice of watermelon is a repeat of the runner, the Mason jar embellishment and summer’s signature fruit available in abundance for dessert.

 

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, Picnic Ants - Cooler, Pellegrino, grill collageStaying hydrated is an essential part of hot, hazy summer days in Kansas City. Make mine something a little special like ice-cold Pellegrino with a twist of lime!

Other posts on this site featuring off-center centerpieces:
Lemonade From Bill
Summer Luncheon for Two
Midsummer Shabby Chic Apple Tablescape
Planning In Purple
Hot Fun in the Summertime!
Black & White Barnyard Breakfast

Other posts on this site featuring a picnic setting:
Grill It Up!
Blue & White Family Picnic
Oopsy Daisy!
Ants in My Pants Picnic

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

Other posts on this site featuring checkered elements:
Life Is Just a Chair of Bowlies
Checkered Christmas – A Snowman Theme
Black, White & Red All Over Christmas
Apple Green Luncheon
Blue & White Family Picnic
Grill It Up!
Ants in My Pants Picnic

If you want to see another REALLY cool picnic idea, pop over to my blog buddy Jenna’s site, The Painted Apron, to check out her “Portable Picnic for 2” post. I guarantee you’ll really like it! SO creative!

I am joining Christine over at Rustic & Refined again this week for “Table It” (live now) and Susan at Between Naps on the Porch for “Tablescape Thursday” (goes live at 9:00 a.m., CDT on Thursday). Join me, and I guarantee you’ll be able to find lots of summertime tablescaping inspiration!

 

Butterfly Kaleidoscope

This week I’d like to share a casual summer tablescape with you that, with just a bit of tweaking, could work well both indoors or out.

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One - Butterfly Kaleidoscope: Inspiration piece

INSPIRATION: Melamine dinner plate from Target’s 2010 collection in turquoise, citrus green, brown and white. See how it looks like a butterfly…and a kaleidoscope?

I couldn’t decided whether this reminded me more of a butterfly or an image you might see when looking into one of those old-fashioned kaleidoscopes. I also couldn’t decide whether I wanted to show this inside in the dining room or outside on the deck. So I’m going to show you both in a sort of side-by-side comparison! This might be helpful information as you come up with a Plan A for good weather and a “hope we don’t need it, but just in case we doPlan B to bring it all inside in case of inclement weather conditions.
(Click on any photo to enhance/enlarge it to see details up close.)

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One - Butterfly Kaleidoscope: Full room in and out collageBoth inside and out, I started with a full-length brown linen. Yes…ye olde brown linen is back in play! Seriously…brown is a great summer neutral. It all depends on how you pair it up!

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One - Butterfly Kaleidoscope: Full table in and out collage

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One - Butterfly Kaleidoscope: Multiple place setting in and out collageTop photo – indoors, bottom photo – outdoors. Just look at all that color!!!

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One - Butterfly Kaleidoscope: Single place setting in and out collageThe elements on the table are a balanced mix of all the colors found in the dinner plate. The charger is a white ceramic from Old Time Pottery. TIP: White chargers may be a little tough to come by, so you might consider buying inexpensive acrylic ones and spray painting them. Great look, great value!

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One - Butterfly Kaleidoscope: Flatware, rim shot, napkin in and out collageBoth inside and out, a double dose of napkins cascade off the side of the table at each place setting. It’s nice to have two napkins for guests if you’re eating something extra messy like fried chicken or barbecue. One for the lap, one for mouth & fingers. They’ll love you for it! The flatware is a faux bamboo from Home Goods. Notice on the outdoor setting how a butterfly has innocently landed on each salad fork.

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One - Butterfly Kaleidoscope: Turquoise stemware from Pier 1I LOVE this super chunky turquoise stemware from Pier 1!!! It feels really substantial and holds a lot of whatever beverage is being served.

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One - Butterfly Kaleidoscope: Full centerpiece in and out collageThe centerpiece indoors is a mix of turned white wood candlesticks from Z Gallerie topped with fun turquoise, green and white striped candles from Pier 1, a trio of florals, and pots of rye grass standing as sentry at each end. The outdoor table loses the rye grass and adds votives to the mix.

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One - Butterfly Kaleidoscope: Candle collageI get a lot of mileage out of these Z Gallerie candlesticks. Each end of the centerpiece holds a pair in two sizes. Notice the bling on the candle wick. If your dinner party starts early in the evening when the sun is still out, keep the bling on as an added point of interest. When it’s time to light the candles, just snip the wick to about 1/2 inch, pocket the bling, and put it aside for use on something else later.

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One - Butterfly Kaleidoscope: Floral trio collage

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One - Butterfly Kaleidoscope: Butterfly collageThe fun floral element comes in a trio of white ceramic canisters filled with acid green roses and rye grass. Fun little turquoise hand-painted butterflies from Beau-coup.com flit about, landing here and there at will.

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One - Butterfly Kaleidoscope: Deep turquoise square glass votive holder

The outdoor table has an added twist of intermittent votives in deep turquoise blue glass holders.

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One - Butterfly Kaleidoscope: Buffet table indoors collageThe buffet behind the dining table indoors is smothered with turquoise and citrus green paper lanterns. It’s a simple but effective backdrop to the busy design on the table.

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One - Butterfly Kaleidoscope: Buffet table outdoors

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One - Butterfly Kaleidoscope: Outdoor buffet table element collageThe outdoor buffet table is covered from head to toe in a smart fitted white tablecloth from LinenTablecloth.com. The pots of rye grass used on the dining table and around the room indoors have moved to the buffet table to add color there.

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One - Butterfly Kaleidoscope: Turquoise and citrus green paper lanternsThe sides of the buffet table are festooned with paper lantern “towers” tied to the deck posts. Just loop ribbon through the lanterns to create this fun and colorful look!

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One - Butterfly Kaleidoscope: Paper lanternsMore paper lantern singles are tied to individual posts around the deck to surround guests in color and movement. If you add lights to the lanterns, just think how pretty that would be at night!!!

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One - Butterfly Kaleidoscope: Tea cart collageBack inside, a vintage tea cart holds pitchers of ice cold water and lemonade on the bottom and a Ralph Lauren pedestal filled with Granny Smith apples on top.

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One - Butterfly Kaleidoscope: China cabinet and sconce collageFinally indoors the china cabinet has a complementary treatment of paper lanterns, rye grass and roses. The sconces that flank the buffet are outfitted with pots of rye grass visited by butterflies.

Are ya dizzy now? Sorry ’bout that! My point is that you can use the same elements either indoors or out and achieve a great look that is appropriate to the space. Plan A or Plan B…you decide! 🙂

Other posts on this site using turquoise or blue, green & white:
“Under a Paper Moon”
“Summer Blues & Greens”

Another post on this site using paper lanterns:
“Blue & White 30th Birthday”
“Cupcake Colors”
“Under a Paper Moon”
“Easter Brunch”

I’m joining lots of other talented tablescapers again this week at Cuisine Kathleen’s blog party, “Let’s Dish!” (anytime after 6:00 p.m. CDT Wednesday) and Susan’s party, “Tablescape Thursday” (anytime after 9:00 a.m. CDT Thursday).

Caribbean Queen – One Table, Three Looks

The good people at LinenTablecloth.com were so kind as to send me some great linens – including a fabulous summertime color called Caribbean – to create a tablescape. I have been an avid LinenTablecloth.com shopper since discovering them two years ago. They have a vast selection of colors and sizes that are priced just right. (Why rent when you can buy outright for about the same price or less, right?) Thanks to their generosity, here’s one table going from budget-friendly ($) to mid-priced ($$) to extravagant ($$$) using the same linens & place setting. All of these tablescapes would be great for an Asian-inspired or tropical-themed wedding reception, rehearsal dinner, birthday, bon voyage party, or any summer soirĂ©e.
(Click on any photo, then click again to enhance/enlarge it and see details.)

Three Table collage

Upper right: The Extravagant ($$$)
Lower right: The Budget-Friendly ($)
Left: Meeting in the Middle ($$)

The brilliant Caribbean blue tablecloth was my inspiration for this table that can boast great decor ranging from a relative little to a lot of $$$.

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One - Budget-friendly tropical theme tablescapeLet’s start with the most modestly-priced of our three tablescapes.

Linen & placemat collageEach of the three tablescapes begin with a 48″ table (seats up to 6 depending on the chair and charger size you select), covered in a full-length white (108″) round tablecloth that is topped with an 85″ square Caribbean blue linen and fuchsia satin table runner (14″ x 108″), all from LinenTablecloth.com. I like to use white with brilliant tropical colors to offer a little balance. The deep green of the monstera leaf placemat from Z Gallerie is a neat contrast to the brighter colors, and it adds visual depth and texture. The placemat could be eliminated if you’re looking to cut your budget a little bit deeper. (TIP: Another linen look to consider is to eliminate the runner, add a 90″ round fuchsia linen on top of the white, and keep the 85″ square Caribbean top. This look is a little more pricey, but is a lush layered look as seen HERE.)

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One - Place setting for tropical-themed tablescapeThe place setting is the same for each of our three tables. It starts with a white faux crocodile charger from Bed Bath & Beyond, topped with a bright orange dinner plate from the Dollar Tree (a.k.a. Deal$ is some areas) and a beautiful tropical print melamine salad plate from Pier 1.

Flatware & rim shot collageFaux bamboo flatware from JC Penney Outlet lends more tropical flair. In these photos you can really see the texture of the flatware and the faux crocodile charger. Bamboo trees and crocodiles are found throughout the tropics, so I thought these to be good choices for this theme. Of course, a smooth white charger and unembellished flatware would work as well. (Have you seen that reusable bamboo cutlery sold at places like Target, World Market, and on Amazon.com? Perfect for this setting!) TIP: Having trouble finding white chargers? Spray paint inexpensive acrylic chargers from places like Hobby Lobby or Michaels.

Napkin collageVivid fuchsia napkins from LinenTablecloth.com pick up colors in the salad plate and complement the table runner. The fun parrot napkin rings from Z Gallerie are a bright white which, again, adds contrast.

Mini martini glassesNever think for one moment that you have to always use the “correct” glass for casual table settings. Go for glassware that looks great and complements the overall table design. Here, a juicy orange squatty martini glass from Old Time Pottery sits alongside a mini with a clear bowl and Caribbean blue base from Pier 1.

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One:Budget-friendly tropical centerpiece using white coral, dyed blue starfish with bright pink plumeria

Coral & starfish collageThe budget-friendly centerpiece is comprised of large white sea coral from Pottery Barn dotted with large and small blue-dyed starfish from Hobby Lobby. Small Caribbean blue glass vases from Hobby Lobby hold clusters of fuchsia-colored plumeria. This easy-to-make, inexpensive centerpiece offers lots of color and texture, and it sits low for easy dinner conversation among guests. (You can find large seashells of all kinds at craft stores like Hobby Lobby and Michaels. TIP: If the color isn’t to your liking, follow instructions from my blog buddy, Babs, at Upstairs-Downstairs for painting great-looking seashells.

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One: Medium budget tropical-themed tablescapeMoving on to our mid-priced tablescape where the linens and place settings remain the same.

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One: Mid-priced tropical-themed centerpiece with white parrots from Z Gallerie, white coral, blue starfish and fuchsia plumeria

Fuchsia plumeria blossoms in Caribbean blue glass vase

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One: Tropical-themed tablescape with white Z Gallerie parrots as part of the centerpieceThe primary difference in our mid-priced tablescape is the centerpiece. The large white sea coral, starfish, and plumeria blossoms all remain, but a lofty pair of white parrots from Z Gallerie are added to the mix. The parrots (previously used HERE) bring more white into the centerpiece as well as adding height and an exquisite textural element.

IFOur third and final tablescape is a lot more dramatic. Drama, of course, often = $$$

IF

Floral collageThe nearly 5-ft. tall floral centerpiece is in a slender white bamboo vase from Z Gallerie. The vase is slender enough for guests to still carry on unencumbered conversation. The girth is dispatched to the top of the arrangement using large monstera leaves, sword fern, philodendron, spikes, orange medinilla, and fuchsia-colored plumeria.

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One: Tropical tablescapeThe up side to tall, top-heavy centerpieces is that they look fantastic and add more drama than an episode of “Scandal”. 😉 The down side, however, is that they can be very sensitive to motion. Wind and inadvertent bumps against the table are a tall centerpiece’s nastiest foes. Opt for a lower or more bottom-heavy centerpiece if your event is to be held outdoors where wind is always a possibility. TIP: ALWAYS weight down your vase with sand, stones, or some other medium that will help to steady it since you can’t have a cute Wind Watcher at every table like I did for this photo shoot! 🙂 (See that breeze whipping those linens around??!)

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One: Three Tropical-themed Centerpieces collageSo there you have it! One table, same linens and place settings, different centerpieces ranging from $ – $$$. If the centerpiece or place setting elements used in these tablescapes is still beyond your budget parameters, consider other wallet-friendly or DIY project alternatives.

NOTE TO BRIDES: This is a good example of how you might do 3 different designs in your reception room that all complement one another. Consider doing 1/3 high, 1/3 mid-size, and 1/3 modest. That way, your room has drama up high but doesn’t look like a forest!

Other tropical-themed tablescapes on this site:
Tropicana
Flamingos in Paradise
Hot Tropical
Summer Breeze
Surf & Turf Dinner
Love & Orchids
“Old Navy Seafood Cruise”

I am so happy to once again join The Style Sisters for “Centerpiece Wednesday”, Cuisine Kathleen for “Let’s Dish!”, Susan at Between Naps on the Porch for “Tablescape Thursday”, and The Home Girl for Festive Friday Fiesta. Check them out!