Run For the Roses

RUN FOR THE ROSES
(a re-post from May of 2010)

Nearly every fine home in Louisville hosts a party to celebrate the Kentucky Derby. It’s a time to bring out the heirloom china and serve wonderful food amidst fresh red roses galore. Who says a gal with a Midwestern accent and a slightly less generous budget can’t join the fun?

 

This wooden showhorse makes the perfect backdrop in the dining room. (Visit Kentucky Derby Buffet  and Celebrating Longview Farm to see him on a Derby Buffet table as a centerpiece and Carousel Colors to see him used for a Springtime decorating accessory!

 

 

Each place setting consists of a beaded silver charger with platinum-rimmed Noritake “Spectrum” china, a monogrammed linen napkin, heirloom flatware (with rose detailing), Longchamps crystal, an authentic silver julep cup, and…for a bit of whimsy in an otherwise staid & traditional setting…a real horseshoe! If you use horseshoes atop fabric, be sure to wash them thoroughly in hot, soapy water then dry with a soft cloth. Allow to air dry for at least 2 hours to assure all moisture has evaporated so as not to rust and stain. These horseshoes were surprisingly affordable at just $2.39 lb. That’s quite a bargain!

 

 

 

Menus created using white vellum over red cardstock have a craft store red rose affixed to the top. At the bottom of each menu is fun Derby trivia for guests to share during dinner. And no respectable Southerner’s derby dinner table is complete without sweet tea, cheese grits, hot biscuits, and mint juleps served in a traditional cup! (Get the recipe for deliciously rich, traditional, Southern homemade pound cake HERE.)

 

Rich, red roses are the focus of the centerpiece, buffet and foyer florals. Click HERE and scroll down to Tip #39 for a tutorial on fluffing fresh roses to get them looking nice and full.

 

A pair of beautiful show horse figurines from Hobby Lobby flank the center trophy of roses. I created the traditional “garland of roses” using red satin ribbon and rosettes like those used on the menus. (The real garland for the winning horse, of course, has more than 400 red roses!

 

Hat collage
  My Mom in her pink Derby chapeau, and me in blue!
More tablescapes on this site using roses that would be great for Kentucky Derby:
Derby Day Dining
Kentucky Derby Buffet
Roses in October
Show Me State Dinner
Should Have Put A Ring On It
88 Years & 88 Keys
Tablescapes using roses in adaptable colors include:
Celebrating 85 Years of Fabulous
Roses In October

 

American Royal Tablescape

I had a tough decision to make for September 18: start teaching my fall tablescaping classes or participate in the Kansas City American Royal’s Tablescapes Preview Party organized by the BOTARs (Belles of the American Royal). The tablescape event is a relatively new addition to the many activities associated with the annual 8-week American Royal, a Kansas City staple since 1899 that revolves around livestock, agriculture, and Kansas City world-famous barbecue. (Don’t let that description fool you…there’s a WHOLE LOTTA ritzy stuff goin’ on over those 8 weeks, including an Arabian Horse Show, the UPHA National Championship, a Wine Competition/Tasting/Auction, and a very swanky fundraising ball.) The preview party precedes the luncheon held the following day.

Anyhooooooooo, teaching won…sort of. I opted to create a country western/cowboy-themed tablescape right here in honor of the 113-year American Royal tradition as a part of the teaching experience. (Click on any photo to enhance/enlarge it. Photos by Sheri L. Grant)

I wanted to include as many natural and rustic elements as possible, so I chose to leave part of the wood table exposed beneath the layered denim and red bandanna table linens. Because the events of the American Royal are both “shabby” and “chic”, the bandanna fabric is allowed to stylishly puddle to the floor.

Each place setting starts with a natural grapevine wreath as a charger. A plain white round Corelle plate is the anchor piece of the dishes, followed by a Pier 1 navy blue square salad plate set on the diagonal, and topped off with a home-on-the-range-type brick red casserole from Home Goods. The Hampton Silversmith “Patriot – Mirror” flatware is given a rustic look with a simple bit of twine tied around it. The menus, printed on “Wanted poster paper” from Hobby Lobby, were created on my home computer.

Plain ol’ Mason jars serve as drinking glasses for the sarsaparilla on the menu. The place cards are created from menu paper remnants. I punched holes in each side, slipped a length of twine through the paper and then through holes in the horseshoes (TSC), tying them off in the back.

I had a lot of fun creating the centerpiece! Miniature hay bales act as risers. Super cool resin boots from Hobby Lobby serve as vases for roses dotted with blackbeard wheat. That’s where shabby meets chic once again. The boots are embellished with authentic spurs from Tractor Supply Company (TSC). Other centerpiece elements include rustic cast iron stars, a miniature “lasso”, and a few six-shooters.

“Well, where were the napkins?” you ask. Right there on the chairs tied around the straw cowboy hat favors!

The buffet behind the dining table is all ready for lots of western-style grub like Kansas City’s famous barbecue slathered in sauce. (I’m partial to smoky sweet taste Fiorella’s Jack Stack sauce, but debating that with folks around here will get you nowhere! :-)) Elements of hay bales, horse shoes, and twine are carried over to the buffet area. Food markers are created using more scraps of the “Wanted poster paper” used for the menus and place cards. A larger set of resin boots from Hobby Lobby filled with blackbeard wheat are placed on each end. Last, but never least, is “Cecil” who is one of our four personal butlers. 🙂 Cecil wanted to get in on the fun, so he added a bolo tie and black cowboy hat to his usually prim & proper uniform.

Extra cowboy hats are displayed on the sconce shelves.

My famous wooden horse has another chance to join the party! I am so grateful to my young friend, Chelsea Hudson from Pittsburg, KS, who so graciously lent her childhood saddle, a horse bit, a lasso (and other items that my citified self can’t identify! :-)) to me. These accessories successfully turned my horse (that I have used for Derby, carousel, R.A. Long Historical Society, and “looking a gift horse in the mouth” tablescaping) into a real rough and rowdy character!

My husband came home with a surprise for me: Texas longhorn cattle horns all polished up and wrapped in leather! Wow! These were on display in his late father’s home for a long time, and Ramon remembered they had been stored away. To soften the very masculine look of these massive horns, I added a raised bale of straw flanked by (faux) roses in tree bark-covered vases.

Those of you who have visited in the past are probably familiar with Geoffrey, our majordomo. Geoffrey never, ever misses a chance to play dress up, so he donned his dopey cowpoke hat and bandanna.

Some people call Kansas City a “cow town” like that’s a bad thing. Whatever! Have you seen the price of beef, leather and dairy products? Sounds like a gold mine to me! And that’s what the American Royal is all about: all the good things that constitute farming, agriculture, livestock, cowboy (and cowgirl!) fun, world-famous barbecue, posh events (why else would I wear a screamin’ red gown like this one?!!?) and, of course, the beef industry right here in good ol’ Kansas City, Mo.!

Maybe next year I can postpone classes until after the tablescape event at the American Royal! 🙂

Other posts on this site with a horse theme:
Carousel Colors
Kentucky Derby Buffet
Derby Day Dining
Run for the Roses” (scroll down the page to the end)

I am joining Cuisine Kathleen for “Let’s Dish!“, The Style Sisters for “Centerpiece Wednesday“, and Susan for “Tablescape Thursday” again this week. I’m sure there are tons of fabulous tables you would just love to see out there!!!