Casual Fall Harvest Dinner Tablescape

Tonight is the final night of my “Fabulous Fall Tablescaping” classes. Starting tomorrow I will  leave autumn behind and start the task of building Christmas (yes, I said CHRISTMAS…already!!!) tablescapes throughout the house in anticipation of the next class series, “Tablescaping a Winter Wonderland“. I will have just two short weeks to convert the straw bales and pumpkins of fall into holiday wonderment. Yikes!!!

In last week’s class I demonstrated to my students how the same table linens from my September Harvest Breakfast Tablescape could take on a whole new look for a fall dinner with the simple addition of another layer and some accessory changes.
(Click on any photo to enhance/enlarge it. Photos by Sheri L. Grant.)

Last week’s harvest table used the same hunter green full-length linen topped with soft burlap. The addition of a third layer – an autumnal quilt created by my talented friend and neighbor, Barbara – creates a wonderful, rich sense of seasonal coziness as well as an American homespun feel. Layered linens are a great way to add color, pattern and texture to your tablescape.

A deep rust-colored metal charger (Tuesday Morning) is topped with a pumpkin dinner plate that I found at a Price Chopper grocery store at 103rd & State Line in Kansas City, MO. To break up the saturation of dark colors that would essentially make the places settings disappear into the quilt, an ivory salad plate (T.J. Maxx) with a raised pattern rim is used. The bowl, also from Price Chopper, is deep enough to hold the heartiest of soups on a chilly fall evening. Notice how the colors in the linens are mirrored in the place settings.

The two-tone cotton napkin (also seen here in “September Wine” and here in “Pears & Pinecones“) is folded to allow both colors to show and to mimic the triangular shapes in the quilt topper. Little details like this are not necessarily something your guests will notice, but it is a subconscious draw.

Smoky brown stemware (Old Time Pottery) picks up the deep brown in the quilt, and a simple flatware pattern, Hampton Silversmith “Patriot-Mirror”, complements the setting.

A pair of rustic pine cone-topped lanterns with pumpkin-colored candles are visually connected by a trail of pine cones and pears. Using seasonal fruit as a part of harvest table decor is a natural and inexpensive way to work with the theme. (Don’t forget to freeze those pine cones first to kill off any hidden critters!)

Try to imagine this table set up outside on a patio or deck. Can’t you just imagine this harvest vignette in a nearby corner or near the buffet table? Extending the theme of your dining table to an adjacent area really gets guests in the mood! Our weather conditions (wind mostly) here in the Kansas City, MO area last week wouldn’t allow me to set this demonstration table up outdoors, but I sure wish I could have!

This Children of the Corn-looking scarecrow freaked me out a little at first, but he seemed to just fit in somehow! 🙂 (Nonetheless, I keep him locked in a closet on the lower level! Look at that psychopathic/serial killer/eat-your-liver-with-a-side-of-fava-beans-and-a-nice-chianti look on his face!)

Click on these links for more autumn tablescapes on this site:
Autumn
September Wine
September Harvest Breakfast
Autumn Blues
Serape High Style
Wondrous Wheat
Pheasants & Peacocks
Pumpkins & Peacocks

I am pleased to join Cuisine Kathleen for “Let’s Dish!” starting Wednesday at 6:00 p.m. CDT and Susan for “Tablescape Thursday” starting at 9:00 a.m. CDT on Thursday. If you love looking at creative, inspiring tablescapes, you’ll love these blog parties! Join me, won’t you?

September Harvest Breakfast Tablescape

Since I began teaching my “Fabulous Fall Tablescaping” class last week, I am suddenly in the mood for everything fall. Never mind that the cooled temperatures and shift in barometric pressure have my arthritis jacked up to full throttle. The leaves are starting to turn, the nights are ripe for snuggling, and the mornings are just beautiful!

I created one of two harvest-inspired tables for the first night of class with hopes of getting my students fired up about the season, too. I’m joining Cuisine Kathleen’s “Let’s Dish!” Harvest Theme Tablescape Challenge this week, so if you want to really get inspired to store away those pool inflatables and flip-flops in exchange for soft sweaters and penny loafers (I’m an old Catholic school girl…loafers = fall to me!), be sure to pop over there anytime after 6:00 p.m. CDT on Wednesday.
(Click on any photo to enhance/enlarge it. Photos by Sheri L. Grant.)

Ideally this table would be set up outdoors, but for class purposes (and because the winds were gusting up around 25mph!) I set up inside with the morning sun streaming in through the windows. The table is dressed in a hunter green full-length linen (LinenTablecloth.com) and topped with supple wheat-colored burlap. Layering linens in fall and winter reminds me of how we dress ourselves in those seasons…it’s cozy and warm!

A little something different for a charger are these fun faux cast iron skillets from Old Time Pottery. Each skillet came with one of four harvest designs that I allowed to show through by using clear glass plates. I added a bow of twine to the gingham ribbon embellishment (more layering) that plays well off the burlap topper.

The simple lines of Hampton Silversmith “Patriot-Mirror” flatware work nicely next to the busy floral pattern of the Stein Mart cotton napkin.

I love to use different drinking vessels whenever possible, and the design of a Ball Mason jar – in purpose and motif – really embodies the harvest theme. If dining outdoors (as this table is designed for), the lid helps keep the proliferation of bees attendant to the month of September from honing in on your morning juice! The miniature milk bottle with an old-fashioned metal clasp (Hobby Lobby) is perfect for individual servings of plain or flavored milk…something kids in particular would really like! (Old kids like me would love it for its nostalgic value!)

For breakfast tables I like to keep the centerpiece a bit less fussy. Here an old-fashioned moonshine jug (yes, I said moonshine! :-)) embellished with jute twine and filled with a wave of blackbeard wheat creates height for the extended centerpiece. A profusion of pumpkins in various colors and sizes mixed with pine cones wind their way down the center of the table. A chalkboard cow posts the morning menu. The absence of flowers – using wheat and seasonal fruits instead – makes this a great budget idea!

I can’t help myself. You know this would not be an Alycia creation without one of our faithful valets! Here, “Cecil” (British pronunciation of SEH-cil, of course!) wades through a mound of fall leaves on his way back from picking a few pumpkins and root vegetables from the garden. In stark contrast to his very proper uniform, Cecil has donned a saucy straw gardening hat to protect his fair English skin from damaging sun rays. 🙂

On the breakfast bar, a melange of seasonal squashes & pumpkins are visually connected by a bittersweet vine. Seasonal fruits are displayed in various baskets and a tiered stand. Napkin-lined baskets of assorted baked goods to enjoy with a steaming hot cup of Joe suggest what the wheat might produce. Miniature straw bales provide varied height for the display. (P.S. For those of you with open concept kitchen/family room areas, a display like this is a sneaky practical & attractive way to partially block the mess in the kitchen as you scurry around preparing the meal!)

Other posts on this site that are great for harvest celebrations:
“September Wine”
“Wondrous Wheat”
…and be sure to check out other great seasonal tables on the “Autumn” page

In addition to the blog party at “Let’s Dish!”, I am joining Susan at Between Naps on the Porch for “Tablescape Thursday” again this week. Hope to see you there!

HAPPY FALL, EVERYONE!!!