Autumn In Cactus Country

My good friend (since 6th grade!), Monica, was recently swept away from the Kansas City area to Arizona. Arizona??!?!??!? We’re Midwestern girls! We don’t know anything about ARIZONA!!! We’re used to perceptible changes of seasons, with autumn (next to Christmas, of course) being at the top of our decorating list! We know that spring means pastels, summer means ice cream colors, winter means Chiefs red, and fall means russet, burgundy, deep greens and orange. Lots and lots of orange! What in heaven’s name is a Missouri transplant to do for fall in Arizona??!???!

Asked and answered on a recent “Better Kansas City” segment! This 2-1/2 minute clip includes four different autumn tablescaping palettes I think you’ll enjoy!

One way to bring the season to your table in climes where warm colors can overpower and autumn leaves simply don’t exist is to use white and pastel pumpkins along with lots of succulents.

 

 

 

 

 

 

While the palette is predominantly white, it’s the accompanying elements that lend to the fall feeling. Notice the use of translucent stemware and votive holders that keep the table light. The Home Essentials Antique White dishes, faux mother of pearl flatware, napkins…all in the white family but not the exact tone to add subtle variety.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tucked among the varied sizes of white pumpkins are chicks & hens, jelly bean plants, echeveria, agave and seeded eucalyptus. The greens and burgundy in the succulents are a deliberate nod to the season and keep the tablescape from becoming too austere.

 

While standard votives would look perfectly fine with this vignette, I chose these cylindrical ones from Pier 1 to add just a teensy bit of height. It’s already hot in Arizona, so just a few for ambience!

 

The dining table is loaded with decor, so I elected to keep the buffet behind it sparse. The clay pots I chose for these flowing succulents remind me of a weathered adobe home with its pinkish tones.

The elements used in this tablescape could be applied all around the house for light, airy, fresh fall decorating in southwestern U.S. states like Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada and Oklahoma, and in parts of California, Utah, Texas, and Colorado as well as in Mexico.

Without question this was one of the most fun challenges ever! Monica, I hope this helps! Michael, I still don’t forgive you for taking Monica away! 😉

Other tablescapes on this site from this
“Better Kansas City” show clip:

Autumn Chinoiserie
(others soon to come!)

Other tablescapes on this site
using white pumpkins for fall:

Thanksgiving 2010
Autumn White Wedding
Finally Fall
Over the River and Through the Woods

Another tablescape suitable for fall
using succulents (and sunflowers!):

Cinco de Mayo Simply Done

I’m linking up this week for the first time to “Dishing It & Digging It” and the “Share Your Style” blog party where you can see all kinds of talent in the blog world!

Butterfly Bleu – The Grand Resurgence of Melamine

In a recent segment of “Better Kansas City” (my first appearance back on the show after a 7-month absence for my stupid spine surgery) I talked about the joys of the new melamine dishware that has flooded the market in recent years. One thing for certain: this ain’t your mama’s melamine!

Our back deck sets the scene for this sweet little table for four decked in a 108-inch round ivory tablecloth and surrounded by banquet chairs with ivory Spandex covers from LinenTablecloth.com.

 

 

Each place setting starts with a double layer of chargers that picks up key colors in the salad plate including a sapphire blue metal from Pier 1 (first used in the post “Simply Peacock Garden” in 2014) topped with a chocolate brown Baroque-style (also used in “Pheasants & Pumpkins” back in 2014) from Hobby Lobby. I’ve discussed in prior posts how using more than one charger can add interest to the place setting via design, texture, shape and color. The dinner plate is Home Essentials Antique White, a popular staple around the tablescaping blog world.

 

 

I found the blue compotes at Old Time Pottery way back in 2010 and have only used them a couple of times. Shame on me! The salad plate – my inspiration for this tablescape – is a sweet melamine by TarHong with impressive blue butterflies and an additional carte postale design. A far cry from the drab melamine of the 1960s! The faux mother of pearl flatware is from Target.

 

 

 

I recently picked up this beautiful Aurora Blue stemware by Qualia at Home Goods. It perfectly complements the clear glass stemware I purchased at a moving sale some years ago (also seen in “Something Blue Bridal Luncheon“). Ivory cloth napkins are cinched with a blue acrylic napkin ring, tucked into the stemware, and embellished with a blue butterfly to further complement the salad plates.

 

 

The hefty centerpiece, heightened by a rosewood Chinese pot stand, is made up of a tangle of greenery mixed with blue hydrangea, ivory roses, alstroemeria and hypericum berries finished off with eryngium blue thistle.

I’m not around as much these days as I’m taking LOTS of time out of each day getting healthy: walking 5-7 miles a day, spinning on my recumbent bike, working out with small weights, preparing fresh meals from scratch…all the things that will help my spine get (and hopefully stay!) strong and lose the “surgery weight.” I’m peeking in on you, and I’m so glad you peeked in on me today. Have a great week ahead!

Other posts on this site with butterflies include:
Float Like A Butterfly
Grazin’ In the Grass
Spring Into Easter
Patisserie de Paris
Butterfly Kaleidoscope
Spring Has Sprung
Mother’s Day Brunch
Purple For Spring
Showered In Pink
Going Green For Spring

If you’d like to see other posts on this site using double chargers, check these out:
Proud As A Peacock!
Fete Noir et Gris
Princess Pink Birthday Dinner
Year of the Rabbit
Copper Zen
Cranberry Christmas
Christmas Progressive Dinner
Get Me To the Church on Time
Let It Snow!
Winter Cardinal
Pumpkins & Peacocks
Mardi Gras Lite
French Poodle
Hooray For Vodka!
Clematis & Hyacinth
Rhapsody In Blue

Bellini Birthday Brunch

BELLINI BIRTHDAY BRUNCH
(a re-post from August 2009)

 In 2009 we celebrated my stepdaughter’s birthday with an open house brunch. As a hint of what was to come, guests were greeted by our jolly old English butler, Geoffrey, offering coffee and a donut on the front porch.
  Upon entering the foyer, guests were offered peach Bellinis served in cut crystal Mikasa flutes displayed on a beautiful silver tray.
 The dining room was set for six with fun coffee motif placemats from Bed Bath & Beyond.
I like to use edible centerpieces on tablescapes whenever possible. This one includes lots of fresh fruit stacked on glass cake plateaus, accented by aromatic roasted coffee beans and simple bouquets of colorful alstroemeria.
 Set up on the buffet behind the table is a scrumptious coffee bar with variety sugars and liqueurs. The silver Victorian sugar scuttle and rock candy sticks are fun details that help it all special. The faux mother-of-pearl handled flatware from Target is set end-to-end for visual impact. I created the fun coffee bar sign using an inexpensive miniature chalkboard from Hobby Lobby. Displaying it on the gold easel makes it look a little bit fancier despite the unfinished wood frame.
 Fun touches like this chalkboard cow from J’Adore in Kansas City, MO, make the buffet service area a little more fun. The kitchen pigs presiding over the chafers and condiments are from Stein Mart.
 A juice bar was set up near the buffet, with each serving vessel accented with corresponding fresh fruit slices. Name tags are displayed on card holders resembling miniature coffee pots.

Blue & White Family Picnic

What better to do on a warm August evening than gather with friends and family for an old-fashioned, fun picnic…with an elegant twist?  

Grandpa Ramon entertains the little ones while Grandma Alycia rushes to finalize details.

 

When the weather is warm, cool colors for the outdoor tablescape are definitely in order! A classic blue & white checkered tablecloth anchors the setting and renders a true “picnic” feel.

 After a few family photos are taken…
…the food is set out, the champagne expertly poured, and it’s time for everyone to sit down, relax, and enjoy!
 Reflective silver chargers, icy clear dishes & stemware (Bed Bath & Beyond), and faux mother of pearl flatware (Target) were perfect for the occasion. White pillar candles, which bring one of three levels of candlelight, are protected from the breeze with standard clear glass hurricanes.
 Silver candelabra brimming with luscious grapes are outfitted with white candles to be lit after the sun leaves the sky. (Table linen and chairs from All Seasons Tent & Party Rental.)
 Silver julep cups are filled with pure white and citrus green carnations along with hosta leaves from the garden. (They were later transferred to faux silver juleps for the guests to take home.) Notice the votive candles in addition to the pillars under the hurricane shades and candelabra. I like the look offered by multiple levels and sources of candlelight that make any tablescape dance!
 Sweet bing cherries and plump, ripe blueberries are set out in beautiful white ceramic vessels from Hobby Lobby for guests to munch on before and after dinner. I love this white jardiniere…wish I had more!
 The dessert table is dressed up with a larger version of the carnation & hosta arrangements on the dining table.
 I like to think of new ways to present old favorites. On this day fresh strawberry lemonade was served from a clear glass apothecary jar (available at Target or Function Junction). A custom engraved silver tag strung with ribbon identifies the contents. (I had several of these tags made up for various beverage and candy displays.)
 
 Guests all dressed in blue & white raise a glass! To family!!!

Spring Into Easter

For the first time in two years my health is such that I could actually create an Easter tablescape to share with family and friends. This is a “souped up” version of what it will be using lots of greenery, wreaths and other accessories I bought at one of my favorite home accessories boutiques, Home Finishings, in Lee’s Summit, MO, where we live. (My buddy, Mary Beth, owns Home Finishings, and if you want to get lots of fabulous ideas for free, Like the Home Finishings Facebook page.) I was inspired this year by the remarkable vignettes Mary Beth created in her most recent Spring home tour (you can see those photos on her Facebook page or soon to come on the Home Finishings website) where each room was dressed to the nines!

www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, Spring Into Easter

 

www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, "Spring Into Easter" tablescape

 

www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, “Spring Into Easter” tablescape

There is no scarcity of design elements on this table, that’s for sure! I appreciate the abundance that allows a little something for everyone. Remember, though, this is an “enhanced” or fantasy version of what is actually workable for guests to dine. You can edit, edit, edit at will!

 

www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, “Spring Into Easter” tablescape

 

www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, “Spring Into Easter” tablescape

 

www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, “Spring Into Easter” tablescape

 

www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, “Spring Into Easter” tablescape

Place settings such as these are obviously a part of the “fantasy” of the table; but if you want to impress your guests upon their arrival, leave it as is and then remove the wreaths with nests just before guests sit down to the first course. The lacy white doily-like metal chargers are from Michael’s and can be used throughout most of the year. (I’ve seen this same charger in a pastel pink at Michael’s this season!) They are topped with a small grapevine wreath filled with Spanish moss, enhanced with sprigs of forsythia, and crowned with a tiny moss nest from Home Finishings. I added the eggs and a couple of feathers for further effect.

 

www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, “Spring Into Easter” tablescape

 

Bird Song by Park Designs dish towel design

“Bird Song” by Park Designs fabric swatch

A plain white cotton napkin complements the white charger. The flatware is from Target. Notice the bit of fabric at the edge of the centerpiece beyond the place setting? That’s a “Bird Song” cotton dish towel by Park Designs that I received as a bonus with purchase after the last Home Finishings in-store event. The birds and twigs on it complement those on the table and around the room. So…there’s an idea for what to do with those pretty towels that don’t soak up much water in the kitchen: make ’em a part of your table design!

 

www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, “Spring Into Easter” tablescape

I chose melon green glassware with a raised pattern from Pier One to work with all the greenery on the table. White egg cups from World Market hold speckled eggs.

 

www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, “Spring Into Easter” tablescape

At each place setting is a tiny yellow ceramic chick.

 

www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, “Spring Into Easter” tablescape

 

www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, “Spring Into Easter” tablescape

 

www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, “Spring Into Easter” tablescape

 

www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, “Spring Into Easter” tablescape

 

www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, “Spring Into Easter” tablescape

The lush centerpiece is largely centered on a wicker basket for easy removal. The birdcage is filled with candles and a small gazing ball. It is wrapped in a generous length of bendable “twig” that cascades from the top and disappears into the greenery. The stone bunny holds a basket of flowers adorned with butterflies. The entire arrangement is surrounded with greenery bunches – most purchased at Home Finishings – that spill out over the basket onto the table.

 

www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, “Spring Into Easter” tablescape

A length of moss runner anchors the entire centerpiece. On each end I placed an evergreen topiary flanked by gazing balls that add something reflective to the vignette. The addition of the topiaries was part of the inspiration gleaned from Mary Beth’s luxurious creation in her own dining room.

 

www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, “Spring Into Easter” tablescape

I carried the yellow of the forsythia and baby chicks from the table over to the buffet.

 

www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, “Spring Into Easter” tablescape

 

www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, “Spring Into Easter” tablescape - Tea Cart Collage

The tea/bar cart in the dining room corner is dressed up a bit for Spring and Easter with adorable wood bunnies from Hobby Lobby. For a bit more Springtime effect I added wreaths with speckled eggs in nests to the tiered server.

 

Additional  Easter tablescapes or
tablescapes adaptable to Easter on this blog:

Easter In Pink & Grey
Easter Floral – Purple, Pink & White
Easter Bloom
Barton’s Easter Brunch
Building a Better Brunch Buffet
All A’Bloom in Pink for Spring
The Bluebird Special
The Party She Deserves
Spring Green
Purple for Spring
Going Green for Spring
Spring Has Sprung

Note: With this new design, I no longer have a Comments section. If you have questions, please feel free to drop me an email. The address is on the sidebar.

Happy Spring, and best wishes for a safe and blessed Easter!

Pheasants & Pumpkins

INSPIRATION: A pretty resin pheasant purchased for $3 at an estate sale.

INSPIRATION: A pretty resin pheasant purchased for $3 at an estate sale.

Thanksgiving is a week away! Here’s one quick final fall post of a laid back setting that might help fire you up if you’ve not yet decided on a tablescape for the big day.
(Click on any photo, then click again to enhance/enlarge it.)

 

Alycia Nichols, Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, Pheasants & Pumpkins: Full dining room

 

Alycia Nichols, Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, Pheasants & Pumpkins: Full tableI’m going with a “woodsy” look throughout the house for both Thanksgiving and Christmas this year. This casual table for 6 has no tablecloth so the wood of the table can be an integral part of the overall look. A tightly woven jute table runner (Pier 1) lightens up the table, anchors the elements of the centerpiece, and brings in the colors of the place settings.

 

Alycia Nichols, Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, Pheasants & Pumpkins: Place setting

 

Alycia Nichols, Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, Pheasants & Pumpkins: Stemware, flatware, napkin, pheasant salad plate collageEach place setting starts with a glossy chocolate brown charger (Hobby Lobby) that is topped with a pumpkin-colored dinner plate (just $1 each at our local grocery store). The salad plates from Z Gallerie feature the image of a lone pheasant. Striped napkins from Pier 1 pick up on the color scheme and work well with the runner. Simple, inexpensive glassware from Old Time Pottery and faux mother of pearl flatware from Target round out the setting.

 

Alycia Nichols, Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, Pheasants & Pumpkins: Centerpiece

 

Alycia Nichols, Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, Pheasants & Pumpkins: Centerpiece

 

Alycia Nichols, Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, Pheasants & Pumpkins: Resin pheasant

 

Alycia Nichols, Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, Pheasants & Pumpkins: Pheasant feathers, berries, bittersweet in wooden centerpiece box collageThe centerpiece was created using a weathered wooden box that I’ve had for years. I filled it with faux pumpkins, berries, fall leaves and a bittersweet garland. A few real pheasant feathers were added on one end only for an asymmetrical look. My inspirational pheasant was borrowed from the family room arrangement to pose in front of the box. (This, of course, is a demonstration tablescape. For your actual table, consider using real mini pumpkins, leaves, bittersweet, and perhaps whole bunches of grapes to achieve this organic look.)

 

Alycia Nichols, Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, Pheasants & Pumpkins: pumpkin orange wood finials

 

Alycia Nichols, Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, Pheasants & Pumpkins: artichoke votive holdersDistressed pumpkin orange wood finials and a pair of faux artichoke votive holders round out the centerpiece.

 

Alycia Nichols, Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, Pheasants & Pumpkins: Bar/Tea cart

 

Alycia Nichols, Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, Pheasants & Pumpkins: Pheasant feathers, berries, white pheasant on bar cart collageThe bar cart in the corner is prettied up with a small arrangement using some of the same elements as the table centerpiece and a bark-wrapped vase of pheasant feathers. The painted white pheasant (with tiny specks of clear glitter) was purchased at the same estate sale as the more colorful one.

 

Alycia Nichols, Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, Pheasants & Pumpkins: bittersweet & pheasant feather arrangement on china cabinetAcross the room on the china cabinet, a vertical spread of bittersweet is punctuated by a trio of pheasant feathers at the feet of a pumpkin-colored serving platter.

That’s it for the tablescape! I hope you were able to gather a few ideas from it. Below, in case you’re at all interested, are a few quickie snapshots offering a glimpse into what fall looked like in a few areas of the house this year. I’ve already begun the arduous transformation to Christmas and hope to bring you those photos in a couple of weeks.

Foyer table with large basket of pine cones underneath, pheasant plates on sconce shelves

Foyer table with large basket of pine cones underneath, pheasant plates on sconce shelves

 

Alycia Nichols, Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, Pheasants & Pumpkins: Fall lantern, pheasant with binoculars collage

Pheasant on stack of decorating books embellished with a flourish of autumn leaves. Binoculars for bird watching or pheasant hunting. The large lantern in the window is filled with a pumpkin stack, gourds, berries and fall leaves. The handle is embellished with a Rapunzel-like cascade of raffia and fall leaves.

 

Alycia Nichols, Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, Pheasants & Pumpkins: Fall mantel

The fireplace mantel is covered in a swath of fall leaves and bittersweet with raffia-tied, pumpkin-colored chunky candles on each end. The huge initial on the hearth is from Hobby Lobby.

 

 

Alycia Nichols, Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, Pheasants & Pumpkins: Fall arrangement in violin case in library collage

The secretary in the library is crowned with a large leaf- and pumpkin-laden birdcage. The antique violin in its original case is decorated with a squash, leaf and pheasant feather spray. Those letters in the violin case are from the 1930s from my Dad to his Mother.

 

Alycia Nichols, Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, Pheasants & Pumpkins: Fall decor on breakfast bar, in master bedroom collage

The breakfast bar is really more of a wine bar around here in the fall! The other pics are of a corner table in our bedroom.

 

More fall tablescapes on this site:
September Harvest Breakfast Table
Most Egg-cellent Breakfast
Casual Fall Harvest Dinner
Italian Honeysuckle
Quick & Casual Fall Dinner
It’s the Great Pumpkin
Serape High Style
Raining Orchids
September Wine
Pumpkins & Peacocks
Autumn Blues
Pears & Pinecones
American Royal Tablescape
Shake Your Tail Feather
Autumn White Wedding
Simply Bittersweet
Ap-pear-ently Autumn
Copper Zen
Autumn by the Embers
Celebrating Longview Farm
Morocco for Two
Thanksgiving 2012 – A Contemporary Tablescape
Best Laid Plans
Wondrous Wheat
Thanksgiving 2010

I’ll be linking this tablescape up with Susan’s “Tablescape Thursday” on Between Naps on the Porch. Tablescape Thursday goes live at 9:00 a.m. CST on Thursday.

 

 

 

Float Like a Butterfly

The color brown has its ups and downs when summer rolls around. We don’t want brown grass or leaves hanging around, but we do want that famed Coppertone® brown skin. (As a doctor’s wife, I’ll fuss at you sun worshipers about the dangers of that at another time! 🙂 ) I don’t think brown is a color we generally associate with summer when it comes to decorating, but I hope to dispel that notion.
(Click on any photo, then click again to enlarge/enhance for fine details.)

INSPIRATION PHOTO - EA BRIDE

INSPIRATION: Photo by Angie Weston of Design and Capture Studio

My work was featured in a local bridal magazine, EA Bride, a couple of years ago. I continue to marvel at the work of other designers whose work appears in the magazine with each passing issue. The photo of this grapevine ball in the Summer 2012 issue of the magazine really caught my attention, and I decided I wanted to create something similar someday. That someday finally came to pass a couple of weeks ago.

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One: Float Like a Butterfly

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One: Float Like a ButterflyBrown. Yes, that’s what I said…brown. A brown full-length linen is the foundation of this summer tablescape. Like black, brown is a neutral that has the capacity to make other colors snap, crackle & pop.

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One: Float Like a Butterfly

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One: Float Like a Butterfly

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One: Float Like a Butterfly - Flatware, Rim Shot collageAn April Cornell table runner and napkins marry brown with vibrant, yet muted shades of seafoam blue. Two square acrylic chargers – one in an icy blue, one in a coppery brown – play off of the linens. Soft seafoam blue dinner plates from TJ Maxx round out the stack. The faux mother of pearl-handled flatware is from Target.

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One: Float Like a Butterfly - StemwareWhen I found this fabulous ocean blue color of stemware at Stein Mart a few years ago, I was absolutely smitten. Still am!

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One: Float Like a Butterfly - Grapevine balls wrapped with Oasis MEGA Beaded Wire in "Ice Blue"

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One: Float Like a Butterfly - Grapevine ball wrapped in Oasis MEGA Beaded wire in "Ice Blue", dotted with hydrangea blooms and butterflies

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One: Float Like a Butterfly - Butterfly, Beading, Urn collageI found the large cream-colored urns at Michaels. A grapevine ball is wrapped in Smither’s Oasis MEGA beaded wire in “Ice Blue”. (This beaded wire comes in 11 amazing colors!!!) I used a dab of hot glue to semi-permanently affix softly-tinted blue & green faux hydrangea blossoms. Pretty hand painted aqua blue silk butterflies generously given to me by the good people at Beau-coup.com “float” about. (These graceful beauties also come in green, lavender and pink!) I love the way they transform the centerpiece and add to the 3-D look!

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One: Float Like a ButterflyBetween the two urns sits a trio of smaller grapevine balls trimmed in butterflies and beading much like its big sisters. I didn’t even bother to cut the beaded wire…it’s just one continuous string wrapped around the three orbs. (Students…remember our golden Rule of Three? Look at this picture!!!:-)) These would be so easy and economical to make for wedding reception decor!!!

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One: Float Like a Butterfly - Buddha, Votive, napkin pattern collageTaibei Buddha figurines in seafoam blue from Burlington add to the peaceful aura of the tablescape. Mercury glass votive holders in a blue ombre design are scattered all throughout and around the base of the centerpiece to provide ambient light.

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One: Float Like a Butterfly - buffet with bonsai trees

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One: Float Like a Butterfly - Pillar candles with rhinestones from Z Gallerie

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One: Float Like a Butterfly - Buffet candles collage

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One: Float Like a Butterfly - Bonsai treeThe buffet is lightly adorned to complement the peaceful nature of the dining table decor. Bonsai trees anchor each end. The center decor is made up of two brilliantly-colored Z Gallerie pillar candles flecked with similarly colored rhinestones. The pillar candles sit atop broad iron candlesticks from Hobby Lobby. A trio of votives, like those on the table, act as a visual connect between the bonsais.

It was much too cold and windy the days I worked on this blue & brown summer tablescape, but imagine it outside at dusk. Thanks to the chocolaty brown tablecloth, everything on top of the table would just kind of float in an ethereal fashion. Like sea foam gently rolling over sand. Cool, huh?

Still don’t think brown is a summer color? 😉

Other blue & brown posts on this site:
“Autumn Blues”
“Zen Garden”
“Mum’s the Word”

Other tablescapes with an Asian-inspired theme on this site:
“Peaceful Peonies”
“Mikasa Daylight”
“Mandarin Bling”
“Copper Zen”
“Morocco for Two”
“Year of the Rabbit”

I’m joining these fun link parties this week, and I hope you’ll come along!:
Jessica’s “A New Creation”
Cuisine Kathleen’s “Let’s Dish!”

Susan’s “Tablescape Thursday”

Also check me out at BeBetsy.com!

Mum’s the Word/Zen Garden

I’m taking a break from the buffet tables I have shared the last couple of weeks to bring you something a little different. I have a goofy rule about not buying anything unless I can think of at least 5 ways to use it in under 30 seconds. Sometimes that’s a real challenge. Other times, however, the ideas just flow.

I recently conducted an exercise in my “Art of Tablescaping” class that engaged the students in looking at a centerpiece item and brainstorming about all the different ways it could be used. The genesis of these two tablescapes is that exercise, along with napkins & matching placemats I bought year-before-last at Burlington. The white flowers remind me of Fuji mums, and the gentle nature of the design makes me think of a quiet Japanese garden. I figured I could bring out a little or a lot of that Asian feel depending on the additional elements used, but that both looks would work well for a Spring tablescape.

IMG_4760WMI remember sitting in the aisle with the napkin on my head (the inspiration seems to come quicker for me that way!) with possibilities shooting out from every which way. (And yes, I often sit there for long periods of time making purchase decisions that have more to do with “How much trouble will I be in for spending this money?” as opposed to “How many ways can I use it?” Don’t judge me! ;-))

What you’ll see here are side-by-side comparisons of how switching just a couple of elements can change the whole look and feel of a tablescape. See if you can spot the subtle differences. “Mum’s the Word” on the left would be great for any “business casual” get-together, and “Zen Garden” on the right would work well when serving something fun like sushi or takeout Chinese food.
(Click to enlarge any photo.)

Besides the robin’s egg blue placemats and napkins, both place settings utilize Z Gallerie’s “Delfina” china with its glossy white center, chocolate brown rim, and sophisticated silver edging.

Making the napkin look a little different is as easy as changing the napkin ring. The napkin on the left has a silver-rimmed faux mother of pearl ring (I bought them at Old Time Pottery, but Z Gallerie has them, too), while the ring on the right is a natural rattan (Pier 1).

The setting on the left uses clear glass everyday glassware from Old Time Pottery. The setting on the left replaces the all-American stemware with a simple white sake cup from World Market.

The flatware on the left with faux mother of pearl handles is distinctively different from the stainless bamboo on the right which evokes a more deliberate Asian feel. (Both from Target.)

The elements of the unusual centerpiece remain the same for both tablescapes. A stripped natural manzanita branch from TJ Maxx (yeah, that’s right, TJ Maxx…who’d have thought?!??!) mimics both the color and curves of the branch on the placemat. Soothing white Fuji mums in clear glass Hobby Lobby cylinders stand alongside silver Revere candlesticks with chocolate brown candles. (Note: Fuji mums will last for a couple of weeks if you cut the stem on the diagonal, change the water every couple of days, and maintain a comfortable room temperature.)

The overall look of the buffet is altered by the simple addition of extra elements that steer away from the more austere look of simple candles and florals as pictured on the left.

The simple white World Market sake set and teapot (T.J. Maxx) definitely lend Asian influence.

The melodic sounds from soothing Japanese chimes can be used to gently alert your guests that a feast awaits.

Subtle differences can make a world of difference!

Other posts on this site with an Asian feel:
Mandarin Bling
Copper Zen
Year of the Rabbit
Peaceful Peonies
Mikasa Daylight” (Design #2)

I am joining Susan and many other talented tablescapers from out there in the world for Tablescape Thursday again this week. Also hooking up with The Style Sisters for Centerpiece Wednesday. Hope to see you there!

Pheasants & Peacocks

After Sunday’s very unexpected and very unnerving decorating fiasco (click here if you missed out on the horror of it all), I have finally regrouped. I figure I haven’t time to wallow in it with all the cooking and cleaning left to do before guests start arriving on Wednesday night. (I have forgiven myself for being such a nitwit, but I will never forget!!! :-))

I spent minimal time on this new centerpiece, but I think it will suffice. Ramon helped me rearrange the tables into a square shape rather than the original 12-ft. long oblong. It seats 2 fewer guests, but we’re also seating in the dining room (click here for those photos) and on the lower level for football fanatics.

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A couple of full-length ivory linens drape the 6-ft. tables kissed lengthwise to create an “almost square” which will seat 10 of our 24 guests.

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A deep chocolate charger is foundation to the exquisitely detailed peacock china I bought a couple of years ago at a boutique called Home Finishings here in Lee’s Summit. I have an unnatual attachment to this china. It’s just so….cool! 🙂 I used it last year at my friend Jean’s house, too, in a post called Shake Your Tail Feather!

img_3092wm.jpgI chose complementary faux mother of pearl napkin rings (Old Time Pottery) and flatware (Target). The ivory Bed Bath & Beyond napkins are simply folded twice lengthwise, secured with the ring and draped vertically across the plates.

IMG_3091WMI like the height of Godinger’s “Chelsea” collection stemware.

Everyone should be pretty well fed!

The new centerpiece made up of various sizes of LEDs, faux cabbages, pumpkins, pinecones and a few pheasant feathers is set atop a 28″ silver beaded-edge cake plateau. The mantel decor complements the centerpiece with several of the same elements.

I certainly hope that you and yours enjoy a safe and loving Thanksgiving! After stuffing yourself with turkey and pie on Thursday, throw on your elastic waist pants and pop on over to join tablescapers from all over the globe for Susan’s Tablescape Thursday!

Autumn Blues

This week – September 22 to be exact – I celebrate one year of sharing my craft with all the other tabletop enthusiasts who look forward to Susan’s Tablescape Thursdays at Between Naps on the Porch. I have made some incredible connections through my association with this group, and it has been a wonderful journey down a road paved with the exchange of neat ideas. Beyond that, it has been an experience that has created truly supportive and caring friendships with people I have never had the pleasure (yet, anyway!) to hug in person. I am further beholden to all of you fabulous folks who have so graciously become a follower. You guys rock, and I thank you!

A happy and very unexpected extra this week: I discovered this morning that I am the winner of Yvonne’s StoneGable Giveaway!!! The prize is English Transferware from Nancy’s Daily Dish!!! Thank you to Yvonne for hosting the giveaway and to Nancy for her incredible generosity!!! I feel like Melissa McCarthy at this year’s Emmy Awards!!! 😉

I have posted some fairly over-the-top tablescapes the last several weeks. This week I am toning it down just a bit for a more laid back summer-into-fall transitional tablescape that is easy to replicate and that I hope you will enjoy.

This tablescape is one that would work well for an intimate evening with close friends or sharing a meal with another couple. It deliberately strays from the trappings of a traditional autumn table so that it can simultaneously represent the official close of summer.

The full-length table linen transitions from summer white to a deep ivory. A pretty April Cornell table runner from TJ Maxx brings color as well as the only floral element needed to the table. The runner’s brown background captures the essence of autumn while the varying shades of blue keep a foothold on the last bastion of summer.

A deep brown charger is topped with creamy ivory dishes with a scalloped edge from Pier 1. (These were purchased 6 or 7 years ago.)

The menus were created on my desktop computer using a soft blue lightweight cardstock backed by a deep brown heavier weight. The pages are secured using simple silver brads purchased at Hobby Lobby.

Beneath the menus are April Cornell napkins folded in the easy “Double Ring” style as illustrated on page 17 of Denise Vivaldo’s book “Perfect Table Settings“. This easy napkin fold allows the menu to enjoy a cushioned pedestal rather than lying flat. This particular fold just happened to yield a really interesting design!

The flatware is a faux mother of pearl from Target.

While using the same pattern of stemware for a setting is lovely, it’s often just as pretty (and sometimes prudent!) to mix the colors and patterns. Here a single deep blue stem from TJ Maxx dutifully breaks the monotony of the clear glass at its sides and mirrors the blue in the runner, napkins and menus. The trick when mixing is to identify some fundamental element of the stemware that either matches or complements.

Individual salt & pepper shakers are always a nice touch.

Sometimes simple is better, and in this case that certainly rings true. The centerpiece is composed of a clear glass globe set atop a very traditional lacquered wood stand from Old Time Pottery.
(To see another tablescape using glass globes, click here.)

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Fresh curly willow nestled in the bowl resembles the meandering vines found in the runner and napkins. To achieve this simple, inexpensive (and totally reusable!) look, wind fresh curly willow tips tight enough to slip past the mouth of the bowl. That’s it! The willow will stay green for several days and darken gracefully with time. It’s beautiful either way. I store several bowls with the willow still inside it so that I don’t have to buy fresh every time!

One of my dearest friends, Monica Goodwin, gave me these fabulous (and very heavy!) carved candlesticks for Christmas one year. I like the height they provide without taking up a lot of space. Here’s another fun little trick: If you prefer chunky pillar candles as seen here instead of slim tapers, simply use a bit of Cling or other floral adhesive to temporarily adhere the candle to the top of the candlestick to steady it. On particularly breezy evenings I suggest taking the safety measure of using LED pillar candles as seen here.

Well, that’s another one for the books! Thank you again to Susan, my blogging colleagues, and all of you who stop in each week to let me know how I’m doing.
Happy Almost Fall! 🙂

More tablescapes on this site using curly willow:
Copper Zen
Welcome Back, Joel
Blushing Bridal

Won’t you please join Yvonne, Nancy and the rest of us for Tablescape Thursday again this week? You’re always a welcome guest!