Warm Colors of Fall

Fall is my favorite time of year, and I’ve had fun this year exploring some non-traditional colors and settings. I’d like to settle in here for a moment with a more traditional, “dressy casual” setting for a fall table that incorporates a lot of the time-honored, warmer colors of red, green, gold and chocolate brown.

 

This is the recreation of a tablescape I created for a recent presentation to a local women’s group. Here, and for that presentation, I started with a chocolate brown crinkle tablecloth. For a more casual look, however, no tablecloth necessary. I love a bare wood table! The place settings are lined up on the sides only to allow the runner pattern – an integral part of the table design – to fully show.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The elements on this table are a wonderful mix of colors that represent the fall season: Gold square chargers from World Market are topped with a deep green Home Essentials & Beyond “Montclair Collection” square plate with a snazzy floral design from Home Goods and a chocolate brown oak leaf soup bowl from Pier 1 (also seen here).  (Detail Note: I used these plates – also seen here –  because the whimsical scroll mimicked the flair on the ends of the table runner.) Casually lounging in the bowl is a multi-hued cotton napkin from Pier 1 cinched with a Pier 1 amber and umber crystal napkin ring that adds just a touch of glitz. The stemware is an easy mix of an inexpensive green stem from Dollar Tree and fabulous amber goblet from Z Gallerie.

 

 

 

 

The tablescape was built around the colors of this fall runner I found a couple of years ago at TJ Maxx. To go with oak leaves and cattails for the centerpiece somehow seemed a bit prosaic, so instead the etched gold ceramic vases hold bunches of fiery red (faux) boxwood branches. To pick up on the other colors in the runner pattern, I added candle ring wreaths of gold, green and red to the base of the round outer vases. The taller, squared center vase includes flowing foliage and a couple of short curly willow branches for additional height.

 

 

A streamlined glitter gold tray on the buffet holds champagne glasses and a single gold mercury glass votive. When the table centerpiece is very busy, often best to keep the surroundings simple…unless you’re going for a really over-the-top look, of course!

Other traditional fall tablescapes for casual entertaining on this site include:
Dinner With Friends – Gumbo Dinner Party
September Wine
Pumpkins & Peacocks
Autumn Blues
Pears & Pine Cones
September Harvest Breakfast
Simply Bittersweet
Ap-pear-ently Autumn
Casual Fall Harvest Dinner
Italian Honeysuckle
Quick & Casual Fall Dinner
Autumn In Cactus Country
Sunflower Simple
Most Egg-cellent Fall Breakfast
Copper Zen
Serape High Style
Pheasants & Pumpkins

I’m joining Susan’s Tablescape Thursday bunch again this week. Slide on over there to see lots more ideas from a lot of talented tablescapers from all over the planet!

Dinner With Friends (a re-post from September 2010)

I love getting together at home with friends! If time and money would allow me to do it twice a week, I would. There’s just something about the relaxed atmosphere before, during and after that generates warm, happy feelings.
My friend Andre Harper, owner of Harper’s Catering which specializes in Cajun cuisine, slaved over a hot stove to create a massive sized pot of some of the best gumbo I’ve ever tasted. Puttering around in the kitchen in a dual effort to make garlic-cheese drop biscuits, sipping cocktails, and doing a little pre-dinner munching on the wonderful seafood dip Andre made is a great way to spend a Friday evening. (The biscuits were a huge hit with all the guests and a tasty and unexpected departure from traditionally-served French bread.)
 When we finally sat down to the dinner table, spirits were high and appetites were mighty as we all dug in.
Even for casual get-togethers like this one, I still like to let friends know I care enough about them to set a pretty table. A thoughtful mix of relaxed and formal elements draws the eye to the tablescape’s place settings. Here I start with a “Natural Flower” water hyacinth round placemat from Pier 1. The rough hewn texture of these placemats is just as important as the style in creating the desired look. Next comes American Atelier’s creamy off-white “Empress” chargers and soup bowls topped with chocolate brown oak leaf-shaped salad bowls from Pier 1. Classic Cristal D’Arques Longchamps glassware and Hampton Silversmiths “Patriot” flatware add a bit of glam, and a sunny yellow napkin from Bed, Bath & Beyond add a much needed punch of unexpected color.
The buffet behind the dining table is enlivened with the shocking orange of a wooden platter from Z Gallerie. A small floral using similar flowers to those on the table softens the look. The end of the dining table is used for service with the gumbo in a sleek pale yellow tureen from Pottery Barn.
The centerpiece is a trail of dark iron candlesticks and brightly colored sunflowers, spider mums and carnations (pink, just to mix things up a bit!) from Costco in Longchamps mini vases. (TIP: Buy a single bunch of flowers and divide them up into small vases for a plentiful look on the cheap!) The total look: upscale with a casual kick.
Andre and I have collaborated on other events, most notably in the Spring of 2012. Visit Purple and Pastel a dinner party in honor of his parents’ birthdays and 60th wedding anniversary!!!

After the Hunt Tablescape – Gentlemen’s Winter Retreat

Deer hunting season officially began in the great State of Missouri on November 1. While it’s not my thing (I’d much rather spend time hunting dishes!), I know there are a lot of people – men in particular – who really enjoy hunting for sport. Seems kind of silly to me with Costco just a few miles away. Anyhooooooooo……. 😉

For one of my “Winter Wonderland” tablescaping classes this semester, I created a gentlemen’s tablescape for after the hunt. Whether it’s a hunt for deer, a hunt for that little white ball you hit with a very expensive stick for 18 holes, or a hunt for that perfect Christmas gift from Tiffany’s (hint, hint!), this is a table I think many gentlemen would enjoy to unwind with a hearty meal…in a civilized manner! (This might also work well for a man’s birthday in the winter months!)
(Click on any photo to enhance/enlarge it. Photos by Sheri L. Grant.)

Set up in our little library, this 48-inch round table is dressed in a full-length black linen that is topped with a piece of wonderfully soft and washable black, brown & white plaid fleece from Hobby Lobby. The fleece tablecloth conveys warmth, while the plaid pattern reminds me of the flannel shirts guys often wear under their camouflage jackets.

Each place setting starts with a wood slice charger. These wood slices are sold in the woodworking section at places like Hobby Lobby and Michael’s for about $10 apiece (but use those valuable 40% and 50% off coupons to save $$$!), and they really work well with outdoor themes or rustic tablescapes. Every slice is a little different, and that’s what makes it really cool! The oblong shape allows more of the beautiful wood to show under a round or square plate. I used black ceramic plates – a combo of Dollar Tree and Target – to complement the masculine black under linen.

 A brown leaf-shaped bowl from Pier 1 is perfect for a little venison stew or rib-stickin’ chili. Hampton Silversmith’s “Patriot” flatware has a substantial shape and weight for the masculine hand.

Over the lips, and past the tongue. Look out, stomach! Here it comes!
There’s nothing like a little whiskey on the rocks for sipping before dinner. These miniature bottles of Jack Daniel’s fine Tennessee whiskey are great for individual servings at the table or as a take-home “favor” for the guys. (Believe me, if you gave these as wedding favors, they would NOT be left sitting on the table!!!) While meat-and-potatoes guys aren’t usually given to fancy fixings, the substantial weight and cut of Godinger’s “Dublin” crystal will have them feeling like kings of the hunt or Titans of the boardroom or Gordon Gekko…whatever floats their boat. 🙂

Men tend not to favor a lot of fussiness, so I used a miniature evergreen tree and simply adorned it with this stuff I found that looks kind of like twiggy barbed wire…if that makes any sense at all.  It was just enough on the tree to lend a rugged, wintry feel without making it look too Christmas-y. The base of the tree is finished off with (naturally shed) antlers and a smattering of pine cones. No votives or candlesticks here. Guys don’t care that the amber flame is flattering to their skin tone, and they sure aren’t lookin’ for romance around this table!

The vitrine in the library is a perfect place to set up bar for refills. The deck of the vitrine is very humbly decorated with pine boughs. The urns on either side of the vitrine are topped with huge moss balls for a decidedly pared down masculine look.

On top of the secretary on the wall opposite the vitrine is this great find from a few years back. There is no way an actual deer head was coming into this house!!! This grapevine deer head wreath, however, is perfect for the occasion and lends a sort of lodge look to the room.

“Next it will be brandies in the smoking room. Now they retreat into a cloud of smoke and congratulate each other on being masters of the universe.” (Quote from “Titanic” – Rose to Jack after dinner in the first-class dining room.)

To see 9 more winter tablescapes on this site, visit the “Winter” page.
For additional winter posts on this site, check out:

Sugar High – Payback!
Cranberry Christmas – Squared
Cranberry Christmas
Winter Brunch
Christmas Progressive Dinner 2011
Get Me to the Church On Time
Winter Cardinal

Many, many, many thanks to fellow blogger/super sweetheart Cuisine Kathleen for the wonderful T.J. Maxx/Home Goods gift certificate I won on her site a couple of weeks ago! I am hoarding it for later use at after-Christmas sales. I’ll let you know what I buy!

Join me as I visit Cuisine Kathleen for “Let’s Dish!” on Wednesday anytime after 6:00 p.m. CST, the Style Sisters for “Centerpiece Wednesday“, and Susan for “Tablescape Thursday” anytime after 9:00 a.m. CST on Thursday!