Better Late Than Never, Pt. 3 – Christmas 2016 in the Family Room

As we count down to Christmas 2017, here is the 3rd of 4 separate posts revealing my 2016 Christmas decor in the family room and basement level. Yes…that late. Poor, pitiful, pathetic, tired ol’ me is just getting around to it! (If you missed them, you can see installments 1 and 2 here and here.)

Say goodbye to this furniture because it’s the last time you’ll see it! We bought reclining leather seating this past summer that is kinder to my spine. Hooray!

 

 

 

 

 

Our fireplace is the focal point of the room despite my husband’s insistence on having a television the size of Montana in the family room. In 2016 I decorated it with lots of faux greenery with sprigs of fresh stuck in here and there, pine cones, red ornaments and berries. Black iron candlesticks with black candles flank the wreath on the mantel, while tall black lanterns rest on the hearth.

 

 

 

 

I embellished a lot of the existing decor with faux greenery and red berries. Deer sheds (antlers) placed in or around white ironstone bowls with berry embellishment gives the bookshelves a festive, outdoorsy look. A white ironstone platter from Home Goods is lightly adorned with Christmas greenery, pine cones and berries. Something as simple as plopping a sprig of bright berries and a bit of evergreen into a tiny vase changes the whole look of the shelf with the candlesticks. (That’s my hubby’s Air Force graduation photo. He was such a little cutie…looked like a 12-year-old!)

 

 

I like to give the family room a fun look that reflects our casual, relaxed lifestyle as a fun-loving couple. Another set of plush animals rests on a miniature park bench beside the hearth. (Other plush animals were beneath the tree in the library as seen here.) Check out how protective he is of her…like Ramon is with me! A lighthearted Mr. & Mrs. Claus lumbar pillow is tossed on the sofa.

 

 

Thought I’d better throw this in. We pushed aside the furniture and had dinner for 12 in here one night. I was not feeling well (still recovering from 2 back-to-back major surgeries) but had to do something quick and easy to install and dismantle. Plain black full-length tablecloths with my beloved 222 Fifth “Holiday Wishes” dishes covered in cardinals, pine cones and poinsettias, black napkins cinched with jingle bell napkin rings, gold flatware, and English crackers that we had a ball with after dinner. The centerpiece of gold vases topped with oversized red ornaments, miniature Christmas trees, and black wrought iron candlesticks to match those on the mantel was anchored by a length of flannel plaid ribbon.

 

Through the family room door and down the basement stairs is a table with a trio of decorated miniature trees that reflect back in the mirrors above. (I wish these photos were better. This was really just so pretty at night!!!) Standing among the trees is a pair of Father Christmas figurines and gold reindeer.

 

A red painted wood open shadow box from Home Goods holds a menagerie of Christmas-related items including miniature antlers, pine cones, a metal wreath, and jingle bells. (Sorry…the lighting absolutely sucks down here in this basement, and no amount of editing can fix it!)

 

We have this weird ledge that runs the length of the south wall beneath the basement windows that really serves no practical purpose. I decided to spruce it up by creating this scene with Santa in a golden sleigh with reindeer moored in a snowy thicket. In hindsight, I should have raised each reindeer on graduated clear acrylic risers to simulate flight. Oh well…next time!

The final chapter of our 2016 Christmas decor will roll out in a couple of days. After that, nothing but 2017…I promise!!!

If you’d like to find more inspiration on this site for your Christmas decorating, type in “Christmas” in the category drop-down box on the sidebar to the right.

I’ll be joining Susan and the rest of the gang for Tablescape Thursday again this week. Drop on by to get inspired by some very talented tablescapers and designers!!!

 

Better Late Than Never, Pt. II – Christmas 2016 in the Dining Room

This is Installment #2 of 4 from a very late reveal of Christmas decor around our home in 2016. The first installment peeped around the entry hall and library. This time we move into the dining room.

I like to use black in Christmas decorating because it’s a wonderful neutral that really showcases gemstone colors and brilliant metals. I draped this table with a 90″x132″ black diamond pintuck tablecloth from LinenTablecloth.com  that skims the floor.

 

 

The centerpiece is a flat woven basket from Tuesday Morning filled with mounds of red and gold glass ornaments in varying sizes to lend depth and dimension. Frolicking amidst the ornaments are two playful gold reindeer with beaded antlers from Pier 1. (The ones they’re selling this year are similar to these, but cooler with little red scarves!) A smattering of gold mercury glass chargers complete the centerpiece.

 

 

 

 

Gold glass chargers sit beneath Ciroa gold-rimmed black & white buffalo check bone china dinner plates. Austere white cotton napkins are cinched with ornamental red berry picks from Hobby Lobby twisted to create a napkin ring. (I used this same technique for “Christmas Progressive Dinner” on a much different table.) The pattern of the Longchamps crystal complements that of the dinner plates. A red and gold English cracker is set alongside each place setting for fun after dinner. (Our family has TOO MUCH fun with them!)

 

 

 

On the buffet behind the dining table is another flat basket loaded with spirits for guests to help themselves at will. A creamy white ironstone pitcher filled with red berry picks from Hobby Lobby (the same as used for the napkin rings) dresses it up a bit. On each side are painted gold manzanita “trees” from LinenTablecloth.com that I ordered on a whim. (“On a whim” means when I was taking medication that had me doing weird things that I don’t even remember doing!!! Still…not a bad purchase!) In front of those sit shiny red mercury glass lidded canisters clad in black & white gingham ribbon bows. The gilded bay leaf wreath on the mirror is uplit at night.

 

 

The tea/bar cart is ready to serve after dinner coffee and/or libations by way of a Grace’s Teaware white lattice coffee set accented with Ciroa plates on a silver tiered stand. A metal champagne bucket from Home Goods brims with gold glass ornaments.

 

The wood & metal sconces hold more of the Ciroa plates with a shiny red ornament hoisted in front to draw the eye up.

 

The china cabinet in the opposite corner of the room is topped with more metal wine/champagne cooling vessels. The center one is filled to capacity with bright red glass ornaments to complement the table centerpiece.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Finally, the skinny tree in the window with a fun stovepipe hat topper! (See another tree topped with a stovepipe hat at  Christmas 2012 – Red, Black & Silver.) A load of ornaments on the tree include more stovepipe hats (Dollar Tree), red lanterns (Walmart), red berry picks (Hobby Lobby), frosted pine cones and acrylic snowflakes, grinning snowmen and twists of black & white check ribbon. (Other tablescapes using these snowmen are Black, White & Red All Over Christmas Tablescape, Checkered Christmas, and Frosty the Snowman.) Beneath the tree are piles of snowflakes, snowballs, and baskets of pine cones with black lanterns lit up for the season.

That about does it for the 2016 dining room. I’ll be back in a couple of days with pics from the family room that I hope you’ll enjoy. Meanwhile, there is LOTS of other Christmas inspiration on this site. Just type in the word Christmas under Categories on the right-hand sidebar to hit the jackpot!

I’ll be joining Susan later this week for Tablescape Thursday as well as Sandra & Chloe for Celebrate Your Story and Linda for her Dishing It & Digging It Link Party! Come on along and get inspired!!!

Popsicle Party!

We’re just about midway through the summer swelter, and every day calls for something cooling and refreshing to beat the heat. Here’s an idea for a popsicle party where after dinner it’s all about popsicles for the over-21 set! (There are numerous recipes on Pinterest for “adult” popsicles that will put a little pep in your step!)

When the temperatures are soaring but you still want to get outside to entertain, make it something special with treats that will visually AND literally cool your guests.

 

Bright colors abound across this table for four. The tablescape begins with a pure white tablecloth to show off the brilliant hues on top.

 

Each place setting starts with a fabulous natural round “Water Hyacinth” placemat from Pier 1. These are so incredibly versatile! I’ve used them in various tablescapes including “Barton’s Easter Brunch“.  Next up are woven round placemats in a glorious “Peacock Blue” from Bed Bath & Beyond also seen on “Summer Fruits & Penny-farthings” and “Give Peace A Chance” on this site. White melamine dinner plates from Target are topped with dazzling orange-rimmed pink melamines from Burlington that I first introduced in the post “Oranges & Blossoms” back in September of 2010 and then reintroduced in “Hot Tropical“!

 

Cheerful Gerbera daisies in juicy orange gourd-shaped ceramic vases decorate each place setting.

 

When I break out the melamine plates, it’s time to scrounge up color coordinated flatware from TJ Maxx like this  in snowy white that really stands out against the deeper color of the top placemat.

 

I found this terrific plastic stemware at Old Time Pottery a few years back. I wish I could use it more often. It’s the safest way to go for summer outdoor entertaining! I used the same style in a creamy yellow back in 2014 for a post called “Cupcake Colors“.

 

The inspiration for this tablescape came not only from the heat and my affinity for adult popsicles, but from these super cute Dollar Tree dish towels! I like to use them as napkins for their super powers of absorbency as well as the colorful themes! I’ve used dish towels as napkins for several warm weather posts including “Grill It Up!“, “Most Egg-cellent Fall Breakfast“, “Italian Honeysuckle“, “Picnic Ants“, and “Black & White Barnyard Breakfast“.

 

Well, don’t say you didn’t see THIS coming!!! Popsicle-shaped menus created on my desktop computer!!!

 

The centerpiece is a simple one: curvy plastic bowls in vibrant turquoise and pink placed together so both colors show. Fill with fragrant summer fruits like the oranges, mangoes, lemons, peaches and limes shown here, and voila!

 

I get a LOT of mileage out of the hooks I installed beneath the overhang on the deck! On this day a few vividly colored metal lanterns from Hobby Lobby swing in the gentle breeze and add ambience when the shadows fall. (I first used these lanterns as a part of the centerpiece for “Hot Fun In the Summertime” back in 2014.)

I hope you’re finding a way to stay cool this summer! Thanks so much for stopping by!

Other warm weather posts using lots of dramatically juicy colors on this site:
Carousel Colors
Tulips In the IHOP Hour
Caribbean Queen
Hot Tropical
Flamingos in Paradise
Casablanca Cool
Hot Fun In the Summertime
Brilliant Italian
Tropicana
Daisy Crazy
Cupcake Colors
Summer Fruits & Penny-Farthings
Give Peace A Chance

 

 

 

 

 

I’m a Little Bit Country: Garth Brooks & Paper Plates

“Blame it all on my roots, I showed up in boots, and ruined your black tie affair.” So goes the start of the anthem made famous by country music legend Garth Brooks. My sister made an early birthday present of a ticket to see him once again here in Kansas City this past Sunday night. My sister, niece, cousin and I donned our country western gear and “yeehawed” the night away. Just as magical as the first time I saw Garth in concert 10 years ago. His music inspired me, in part, to create a fun country/western themed tablescape using disposable paper goods for a September 2016 segment of the “Better Kansas City” show. The 4-minute video clip is followed by still photos of the tablescape from the set. Stick around for a few pics from concert night at the very end of the post!

 

For the demonstration I used one of my trusty stretchy Spandex fitted tablecloths in white from LinenTablecloth.com as the base to serve as better contrast to the black plates and cups. The table runner is a piece of burlap folded to size.

 

 

 

The theme of the segment was all about using disposable goods (something I don’t necessarily advocate in my quest to help save Mother Earth, but sometimes I suppose it’s just more practical!), so I stopped by a dollar store to pick up plates and cups. The country/western-themed paper napkins are from Tuesday Morning, the raffia-tied flatware from Costco, and the iron spurs that made their debut on my post Pretty In Pink, Wicked In Spurs are from the men’s decor area at Hobby Lobby.

 

The rustic miniature tree bark fencing was also first introduced back in 2014 on that Pretty in Pink, Wicked In Spurs Breast Cancer Awareness Month tablescape. I used them then as a sort of charger beneath each place setting. This time around I simply balanced them like fences down the center of the table. Got these from the clearance bin at Hobby Lobby a long time ago, but you could probably find something similar at a craft store or make your own!

 

I was excited to find these cute brown metal lanterns at Hobby Lobby, too. The quintessential accent for a cowboy (or cowgirl!) tablescape! I’ve never put oil in them, though. I opt for a safer LED candle.

 

 

The floral arrangements here are a mix of faux wild flowers and daisies, but could be easily replicated in fresh. As a vase I used a cute resin cowboy “belt” from Hobby Lobby. I’m not sure if they carry them anymore as they weren’t on their website, but you can check your local store.

 

Here I am with former Better Kansas City co-host Lisa Teachman, one of the nicest people on earth. Thanks for making it all so easy, Lisa!

For other rustic/western/country-themed tablescapes on this blog:
Pretty In Pink, Wicked In Spurs
American Royal Tablescape

And now, a few pics from the concert. If you’ve never seen Garth Brooks in concert, you’re really missing out on a treat for the senses!!!

Me at home before gettin’ on my horse hoppin’ in my ultra-suburban SUV to the concert. Hmmmm…wearing the same dress and hat as I did for the “Better Kansas City” segment. Coincidence? 😉

We pooled our culinary resources at my cousin’s house to put on a feast fit for a cowgirl before the concert!

 

 

 

Ready to head out to the concert of the year! L to R: My sister, Berishia in her new patriotic cowboy hat; my niece, Yvonne, fanning away the late Spring heat; me, and; my fancy cousin, Dee

Ready to boot scoot boogie!!! Whoa, wait…that’s Brooks and Dunn, isn’t it?!!

In our side view seats that were actually pretty good. L to R: Berishia, Yvonne, Dee, me

My niece, Yvonne, and me. We were SO ready to have a good time!!!

THE MAN!!!!!!!!!!! Garth sang his heart (and , eventually, his voice!) OUT!!! I took quite a few pics, but  I don’t want to spoil it for you if you’re going sometime soon!

 

A billion and one thanks to my sister and fellow Garth enthusiast, Berishia, for the early birthday present!!!

 

 

 

Summer Fruits & Penny-farthings

INSPIRATION: Fun summertime melamine dishes found at Tuesday Morning.

INSPIRATION: Fun summertime melamine dishes found at Tuesday Morning.

I am all about the bright colors and melamine this summer! What a great selection there is out there, and the prices are so reasonable! For any casual summertime tablescape, melamine is a fun and inexpensive way to go, and if you go bright that just kicks it up a notch!
(Click on any photo, then click again to enhance/enlarge it.)

 

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, Summer Fruits & Penny-farthings -  Dining & lounge areas

 

 

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, Summer Fruits & Penny-farthings - Lounge area & baker's rack

 

 

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, Summer Fruits & Penny-farthings - Full table

 

 

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, Summer Fruits & Penny-farthings - Tabletop

 Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, Summer Fruits & Penny-farthings - Place setting This table begins with a brilliant “Caribbean” blue 108″ round poly tablecloth from LinenTablecloth.com.

 

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, Summer Fruits & Penny-farthings - Placemat, napkin, watermelon napkin ring collage There are so many juicy, bright colors in the plates & bowls (grounded with bits of black & white), and I wanted to pick up on as many of them as possible. A trio of round woven placemats in orange, aqua blue and yellow from Bed, Bath & Beyond anchor the place setting. The square melamine dishes have lots of fun stripes topped with images of watermelon, oranges, limes & lemons. That motif is repeated in the napkins gathered with a wooden watermelon slice napkin ring (both purchased eons ago at BB&B).

 

 

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, Summer Fruits & Penny-farthings - flatware in bowl Orange acrylic flatware from Burlington is casually placed inside the salad bowl.

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, Summer Fruits & Penny-farthings - Aqua tumbler, Perrier bottle, lemon finger dish collage Aqua blue plastic tumblers from Old Time Pottery are easy care and the perfect match for the dishes. The lemon slice finger bowl blends with the theme.

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, Summer Fruits & Penny-farthings - penny-farthing & fruit centerpiece

  Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, Summer Fruits & Penny-farthings - Centerpiece collage

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, Summer Fruits & Penny-farthings - penny-farthing with green plant The centerpiece is simple and fun, made up of a bowl of citrus fruits, playful watermelon wedge salt & pepper shakers and an iron tricycle found in the floral department at our local grocer’s. According to Wikipedia, the penny-farthing – also known as a high wheeler and a spinoff of the French “boneshaker”  in the 1800s – was the first machine to be dubbed a “bicycle” and was a symbol of the late Victorian era.

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, Summer Fruits & Penny-farthings - lounge area

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, Summer Fruits & Penny-farthings - Side table collage I created a lounge area in one corner of the deck which is nice for enjoying pre-dinner cocktails or dessert. The side table is dressed in a 90″ round LinenTablecloth “Caribbean” blue tablecloth to complement the covering on the dining table. A distressed neon green finial piece from the clearance aisle at Hobby Lobby is joined by another iron penny-farthing and potted geraniums.

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, Summer Fruits & Penny-farthings - coffee table

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, Summer Fruits & Penny-farthings - drink tray on outdoor coffee table

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, Summer Fruits & Penny-farthings - Coffee table collage   Our Martha Stewart Living coffee table was purchased in pristine condition from our local Goodwill thrift store. A can of spray paint morphed it from black to white in just a couple of hours time. The rest of the deck furniture was spruced up, too, and then treated to seat cushions from Lowe’s and brightly colored toss pillows from Pier 1. A lime green metal tray from Target holds frosted glasses with a lemon & lime slice motif. The orange and lemon slice dessert plates were purchased at Hobby Lobby years ago. (See these plates used in another tablescape HERE.)

 

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, Summer Fruits & Penny-farthings - red metal lanternAlong with lots of potted plants, a couple of cheery red metal lanterns from Pier 1 add a little extra punch to the surrounding decor and are great for lighting the way after the sun sets.

 

 

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, Summer Fruits & Penny-farthings - baker's rack

 

 

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, Summer Fruits & Penny-farthings - Baker's rack collageThe old rusted wrought iron baker’s rack gets in on the act with a tricycle and more penny-farthings. I love the 3-D wood slab with the penny-farthing and names of fun summertime vacation destinations. I picked it up along with the planter tricycles at the grocery store floral department. Notice how nature yielded a shot of a kamikaze bumblebee zooming in toward the gazing ball! (Students, notice the 2nd green finial piece used here and recall our conversation about representing “like elements” throughout the space. The same goes for the use of the penny-farthings & tricycles in each key area of the entertainment space.)

There are lots more summertime tablescapes on this site. Here are links to a few of them:
Oopsy Daisy!
Ants in My Pants Picnic
Daisy Crazy

Picnic Ants
Lemonade From Bill
Hot Fun in the Summertime

Tropicana
Summer Orange Tablescape
All-American Seafood Boil
4th of July, Coastal Style
Flamingos in Paradise
Grill It Up!
Caribbean Queen
Life Is Just a Chair of Bowlies
Ocean Blue Tablescape
Hot Tropical
Old Navy Seafood Cruise
Casablanca Cool
and don’t forget the Summer page with TEN posts on it!

I’ll be partying again this week with Christine at Rustic & Refined for “Table It!” and Susan at Between Naps on the Porch for Tablescape Thursday. Swing on by both of these fun blog parties for lots of summertime entertaining ideas!

Hot Fun In the Summertime!

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, Hot Fun in the Summertime! -

INSPIRATION: Paper parasols in sizzling hot tropical colors and a new way for me to hang them outdoors!

The 4th of July has come and gone, but there are many more parties to come in the hot summer months. Hot days match up with abundant hot tropical colors like hot pink, outrageous orange, and yummy yellow. So pull out all the stops…but don’t break the bank! Shop end-of-season clearance sales like I do to stock up for next summer!
(Click on any photo, then click again to enlarge/enhance it.)

 

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, Hot Fun in the Summertime! - Full deckI am just head over heels with these stretch tablecloths from LinenTablecloth.com. They don’t pay me to say that…I just love these tablecloths! Who wants to mess around with a lot of unnecessary ironing in the hot summer? Not me! That’s why these have become my tablecloth of choice. Just stretch them on, and all the wrinkles go bye-bye. (Oh, how I wish it worked that way with my face and neck!!! 😉 ) They come in 7 different colors and 2 sizes. For me, these are a summer (and anytime!) must-have! (Students and freshman tablescapers: I used white to ground the setting and to play up all the color on the table. Students, you’ll remember we talked about wanting to avoid color saturation.)

 

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, Hot Fun in the Summertime! - full table (2 6-ft kissed horizontally)Two 6-ft. folding tables are kissed together horizontally create a “square.” Depending on what all you have on the table, this arrangement can comfortably seat up to 10 guests.

 

 

 

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, Hot Fun in the Summertime! - Place setting

 

 

 

 

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, Hot Fun in the Summertime! - Mesh food covering collage

 

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, Hot Fun in the Summertime! - Napkin

 

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, Hot Fun in the Summertime! - hot pink acrylic tumbler

 

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, Hot Fun in the Summertime! - orange acrylic flatwareI used the trio of hot pink, orange and yellow placemats from Bed, Bath & Beyond to give each place setting a distinctive look. Each guest can pick his or her favorite! Orange-rimmed hot pink melamine plates from Burlington sit atop plain white Corelle dishes at each place setting. A bright yellow napkin folded into a simple triangle is a constant around the table, as are the brilliant orange acrylic flatware and hot pink acrylic tumblers, also from Burlington. (Students, you can successfully mix one or two elements, but be sure to have plenty of “constants” that visually tie the tablescape together.) The fun mesh food covers to keep the pests away are from Z Gallerie. I bought them several years ago but have just this summer had occasion to use them.

 

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, Hot Fun in the Summertime! - full centerpiece

 

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, Hot Fun in the Summertime! - Centerpiece collage with lanterns, votives, and placemat runnerThis centerpiece relies solely upon color and candlelight. The “runner” is an overlapping repeat of the colorful placemats used at each place setting. Metal lanterns in the theme colors are from Hobby Lobby. (Students, notice the odd number – 5 – used, and recall our discussion about “the Rule of 3” and how odd numbers are easy on the eye.) The rest of the table is sporadically dotted with votives, again using all three colors.

 

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, Hot Fun in the Summertime! - colorful paper parasolsOver the years I have collected a number of paper parasols. These from Hobby Lobby are just plain fun to add color and motion to the space. Notice they are not completely extended as they might otherwise be for other uses. Also notice how they extend the color from the dining table to the perimeter of the dining environment. (I recently spent 2 hours carefully measuring and drilling holes to insert a number of small rubber-coated cup hooks in the overhangs on our back deck. They can stay up year round for displaying whatever I wish out there on a whim! The hooks are the same color as the house, so they just “disappear”!)

 

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, Hot Fun in the Summertime! - Buffet tableI always like the buffet table to complement the dining table in some way. Here, a 90″ x 132″ white tablecloth drops full-length (to stash catering stuff underneath!) and is topped with an 85-in. square fuchsia and a 70-in. square yellow, both from LinenTablecloth.com. (Sorry, folks…the yellow has been recently discontinued. They do, however, have a great new color called “cantaloupe” that would be fabulous in this setting!)

 

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, Hot Fun in the Summertime! - tropical "palm tree" floral pieceTo add to the tropical feel of the space, I created a “palm tree” on the buffet table using a white lacquered bamboo vase purchased at Z Gallerie a few years back. (I weighted it down with pea gravel to keep it from tipping over.) Palm fronds from Michael’s are artfully arranged to create the “tree.” The centerpiece is placed off-center.

 

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, Hot Fun in the Summertime! - Ice bucket, fruits collageWhen I put a tablescape together, I look through my computerized catalog (read about it HERE) and just type in keywords to find things in various categories in the color(s) I need. Without that catalog, I might have forgotten about this fun orange metal ice bucket. The yellow metal shabby chic bowl adds a little visual texture with its wavy lines. A white melamine chip ‘n dip tray takes on new life to display various tropical fruits on ice.

 

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, Hot Fun in the Summertime! - beverage center

 

 

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, Hot Fun in the Summertime! - Martini glasses with parasols, fruit tray collage

 

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, Hot Fun in the Summertime! - plastic pitchers

 

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, Hot Fun in the Summertime! - Beverage center collageThe beverage center is set up on one end of the buffet table. This display is proof positive that you don’t have to spend a lot of money to create a fun look. The orange and pink plastic tubs from Old Time Pottery were about $3 each. Just fill with ice and insert beverages! The plastic pitchers were about $3 each, too, and are a great way to serve large quantities of your signature cocktail. Put drink garnishments like cherries and lemon slices on a cute melamine tray like this one from my friend, Monica, who recently gifted me with a bunch of these babies. 🙂 Finally, cocktail parasols in a colorful martini glass could make even your daily Metamucil go down easy! (Yes, I speak from experience!) The cocktail parasols mimic those used in the decor as well as dress up the drinks.

So there you have it…a tropical, fun-in-the-sun, casual, easy, budget-friendly dining environment in hot colors that will keep your guests in the partying mood long after the lightning bugs have said goodnight! This tablescape would be perfect for a summertime birthday, rehearsal dinner, bridal shower, bon voyage party, beach party, or just any occasion that calls for f-u-n!

Other tablescapes on this site using paper parasols:
Oopsy Daisy!
Daisy Crazy
Flamingos in Paradise
Tropicana
Under a Paper Moon

Other tablescapes on this site with a tropical theme:
Hot Tropical
Caribbean Queen
Ocean Blue Tablescape
Raining Orchids

Two of my favorite blog parties for you to check out this week: Christine’s “Table It!” over at Rustic & Refined, and Susan’s “Tablescape Thursday” at Between Naps on the Porch.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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?

All-American Seafood Boil

As hot as it is here in the Kansas City, MO (USA) area I could probably just sit a pot of cold water on the deck and drop the lobsters in to boil after about 5 minutes. It is CRAZY hot here with no relief in sight!!! For those readers like Suzy Q of At the Farmhouse and Carolyn of Desire Empire in Australia who are going into winter right now…please come get me!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I had a serious lapse in good judgment yesterday morning and got out on the deck to set up this 4th of July tablescape that will NOT come back for “real life” next week if this heat keeps up. I’ll spend the 4th eating red, white & blue popsicles while sitting on the AC vent! (It’s getting lonely in the Costco cooler! :-))
(Click on any image to enhance/enlarge it.)

A full-length white cotton tablecloth from LinenTablecloth.com masks the ordinary folding table. We don’t subscribe to the newspaper, so instead of the usual seafood boil newspaper, the tablecloth is topped with a piece of red & white striped vinyl. The vinyl started out with a million folds in it, but 6 minutes in the dryer on the delicate cycle and a little smoothing knocked ’em right out. Using a decorative topper instead of newspaper makes it a little more upscale, and the stripes remind me of those that grace the U.S. flag. It cost just $5 at Home Goods, so I won’t be too upset if it gets damaged. The LinenTablecloth.com linens launder very easily, so no worries there.

Medium-tone rattan chargers from Tuesday Morning bring a natural element to the table. Simple white Corelle dinner plates are topped with fun M Studios salad plates with a bright red lobster motif from TJ Maxx. Nothing says “seaside” like lobster dishes! 🙂

For an Independence Day table, what other flatware are ya gonna use besides a design called “Patriot”? 😉 The dinner & salad forks are accompanied by a lobster pick from World Market to extract every last succulent morsel.

The cotton napkins – which are actually bandannas from Hobby Lobby – are folded in the same manner as a U.S. flag and placed on the diagonal edge of the square charger. My husband who is former Air Force showed me how to make the napkin fold. I got a huge lump in my throat thinking of how many times a flag has been folded in this manner to bestow upon a family whose loved one has perished at war.

Deep blue glass tumblers and clear water goblets from Old Time Pottery find their place at the table.

What’s a seafood boil without the requisite bucket? These red ones from Hobby Lobby are just the right size for individual servings, and a convenient handle makes it easy to carry from the buffet without getting burned.

Individual butter warmers like these from TJ Maxx are great not only for seafood meals but for warming sauces or apple butter for Sunday morning biscuits.

I like to get multiple uses out of things I buy, especially if they cost a lot of money. I used these Z Gallerie white lacquered lanterns for elevated pillar candles HERE. For this display, however, I simply unscrewed the piece that elevates the candle to make room for seashells and flags. Completely different look! Cheery white Gerbera daisies in white ceramic vases from Michael’s visually connect the lanterns.

Fun red, white and blue ceramic star bowls from Pier 1 are perfect for chowder. Cherry bomb red lobster crackers from World Market and crab mallets from Amazon.com will help unleash the delicious meat from the claws.

World Market did a wonderful job this year of providing lots of accessories for seafood dinners including these fun lobster bibs. The Hobby Lobby star-struck ceramic pitchers are ready to take on guests’ thirst.

I bought several of these cool wooden boats from Hobby Lobby several years ago, and they have been a part of many different decorating ventures. Brimming with mollusk shells, they are a really fun addition to the buffet table!

Ahoy, matey! Call guests to dinner with this very cool (and very loud!) Captain’s bell. I bought this one at Home Goods, and I can see it being used for a lot in the future! The string of wooden fish is one of the most fun props in my inventory. I bought it at a place called Premiere Gallery in Kansas City, MO that is now defunct. Boy, oh boy, did they ever have some wild stuff there! I really miss that place!

This tablescape would also be perfect for celebrating Labor Day, Veterans Day, or the homecoming of one of our brave veterans!

I hope it’s cool enough on the 4th to celebrate outside where you are! Whatever you do, please be careful, and have a great time!

Other tablescapes with a patriotic and/or nautical theme on this site:
All-American Seafood Boil
Stars & Stripes 
Lauren in the Library
Show Me State Dinner
Red, White & Blueberries

4th of July Coastal Style
American Royal Tablescape

Join me again this week for Susan’s “Tablescape Thursday” anytime after 9:00 a.m. CDT. I’m sure my fellow bloggers will have lots of creative decorating ideas for your Independence Day celebration!

You can now find me at BeBetsy.com, too!! And please visit The Coconut Head Survival Guide’s “Memorial Day Patriot’s Palooza Party” in support of our military!

Frosty the Snowman

ME: “Hi. I’m Alycia”

GROUP: “Hi, Alycia!”

ME: “I’m a tablescaper for adults.” (Group collectively gasps in horror. OctoMom and Kate Gosselin both reach for their cells to dial 911.)

There you have it! The truth is finally out. When it comes to tablescaping with children in mind, I’m like a man in Victoria’s Secret at closing time on Valentine’s Day: I haven’t got a clue and I’m desperate at best! Yes, I have a child for whom I threw parties of all kinds when he was growing up, but I never felt quite comfortable with the whole process. Kids are fickle. What’s “fly” today is “whack” tomorrow. (Even those terms are probably “whack” by now!) Who knows what will make me the cool grandma?

This week I am challenged…and I do mean CHALLENGED…with creating a tablescape for a group of “tweeners.” (For those of you like me who would have to look that up, that means kids at that age somewhere between little kids and teenagers. Middle schoolers, I suppose.) These kids don’t want to be babied, but they’re not ready for a glass of wine with dinner, either. They don’t believe in Santa Claus, but they still have a bedtime curfew and have to be reminded to wash behind their ears. You get who I’m talking about. So…..

Here’s the result for a tweeners’ Christmas luncheon to be held here on Thursday! Pity these children, for I assure you…I know not what I do! 🙂

Frosty sits in his sleigh at the front door to welcome our young guests!

 

Cheery red, snow-white and chimney black are the predominant colors used for this “tweeners” Christmas luncheon.

 Each place setting consists of a black acrylic charger topped with a white plate, a frosted snowflake, and a cheerful red & white Hallmark salad plate in one of four designs. A happy little snowman with a sprig of seasonal greenery tops it all off.  White cotton napkins, everyday stemware, and simple white flatware complete the setting.

I used these same red buckets over the summer for a picnic. For these photos each is filled with faux snow, but we’re expecting frosty weather to move in so each will be filled with the real thing to keep the Coca-Cola icy and refreshing. Using foods or containers with coordinating hues (like the red, white & black of the Coca-Cola bottle) is a great way to add color to the table.

Shiny black buckets with tasty candy canes are decorated with faux snow and shimmering snowflakes that are smaller versions of the snowflakes at each place setting. The buckets are placed on opposite ends of the table.

The tablescape is filled with 2 sizes of decorated miniature trees, bright red lanterns from Pier 1 , and more snowmen all on a carpet of cottony “snow.”

Snowmen in the lanterns, clad in jaunty black & white gingham scarves, are surrounded by mounds of snow and other seasonal elements.

On the outside of each lantern are additional snowflakes that resemble falling snow. Styrofoam “snowballs” are scattered about the blanket of glistening snow.

I bought a dozen or so of these tabletop trees in 2 sizes a few years back. A couple of years ago I handwired in all of the red & gold ornaments which took several hours and a couple of tubes of arthritis cream! 🙂

The luncheon table is fun for the young people with all the red & white. The miniature trees decked in red & gold coordinate perfectly with the red & gold-laden lighted greenery on the buffet behind the table. After the luncheon, we adults can enjoy the buffet decor on into the evening with the help of warm multi-level candlelight.

A few other winter tablescapes on this site include:
“Kaleidoscope Christmas”
“Merry & Bright – Multi-Color Christmas”
“Christmas Through the Red Door”
“Life Is A Cabaret – New Year’s Eve”
Waking Up to Christmas – Bedroom Decor
Black, White & Red All Over Christmas
Christmas 2012 – Red, Black & Silver
Checkered Christmas
Pink & Purple Chocolate Christmas
Sugar High Payback
Contemporary Christmas
Gentlemen’s Winter Retreat
Cranberry Christmas
Cranberry Christmas Squared
Get Me To the Church On Time
Christmas Progressive Dinner
White Hot
Winter Brunch
Really Red Christmas

I am once again this week pleased and proud to join Susan and tablescapers from all over the world for Tablescape Thursday. After you check out my photos, feel free to slide on over to get more great tablescaping ideas!