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.

 

 

 

Black, White & Red All Over Christmas Tablescape

I am all over the snowmen and glass cylinders this year! I pulled them out for “Winter Wonderland”  tablescaping class demonstrations and they never made it back into storage. Even after classes were over, they became a part of our Christmas 2012 decor.

Last week I posted “Checkered Christmas“, a table for four in the library in which I used a squatty clear glass cylinder to display a jaunty snowman for the centerpiece. This week, I am taking that concept a step further with another black, red & white tablescape that uses the same snowmen and lots of the different sized cylinders that are so versatile year round. Well, just take a look and see for yourself!
(Click on any photo to enhance/enlarge it.
Photos by Sheri L. Grant and Alycia Nichols)

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IMG_9837WMThis black, white & red table starts with two 6-ft. oblong tables kissed together vertically to create a luxuriously long Tuscan-style table for 12. Cheery red floor-length tablecloths from LinenTablecloth.com yield that instantaneous holiday vibe. Note how cool the place settings look all lined up like Christmas nutcrackers! Holiday tablescaping is about whimsy and fantasy, so think about incorporating artistic touches hat will convey the magic of the season.

IMG_9817WMLast week’s table in the library featured round white chargers with black dinner plates. This week’s version flips the script with square black chargers and white dinner plates. The black against the expanse of red makes for a pretty dramatic look.

Napkin collageThe next bit of drama is introduced via the napkin. A simple black napkin is folded twice lengthwise and a length of wide red satin ribbon placed on top. I then looped a small red ornament onto a length of thin satin ribbon and tied it around the napkin to give it a cinched waist look. Tuck the ends beneath the plate and add a sprig of snow-frosted pine greenery to finish the look. The simple and inexpensive step of adding the holiday ornamentation and cinching the napkin kept the table from taking on a decidedly Asian-inspired look.

Flatware & menu collageLast week I liked the checkered pattern brought to the table via the linen and the snowmen’s scarves. This week, however, I kept the pattern a bit more subtle by creating a menu on my home computer with a black & white checkered backing. Using a ribbon hole punch that creates two evenly spaced vertical holes for threading, I tied it all together with a piece of thin red ribbon to complement the napkin treatment. Menus are a cost-effective (approximately 20¢ per menu including cost of colored ink) and easy way to not only let guests know what’s for dinner, but to give them something to take home as a memento of the evening. They are also a way to bring additional color and/or pattern to the table.

Sleek and simple Hampton Silversmith “Patriot – Mirror” flatware is used because of the squared off handle that works well with the square of the charger and dinner plate.

IMG_9517WMAs with last week’s tablescape, simple clear glass stemware from Old Time Pottery is used. Stemware needn’t always be expensive to look good!

Centerpiece cylinder collageThe same squatty glass cylinder used on last week’s table appears here, and this time he’s brought his posse! 🙂 Two smaller, thinner cylinders and two tall, slender ones have snowmen inside on a cloud of snow. The amount of pine greenery in each depends on the cylinder size. The small ones have a mere sprig of greenery, while the squatty original still has a long branch curled around the base inside. The tall ones are outfitted with long, full branches in an upright position. All are brightened with a few size-appropriate red ornaments. Lots of votive holders in a shape similar to that of the cylinders dot the table.

Ornament and snowman collageNote the black & white checkered scarf that mimics the design of the menus. On each end of the table is yet another small, squatty cylinder filled simply with “snow” and a cluster of shiny red ornaments. These complement the snowman cylinders without matching them to the letter.

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Fireplace & mantel collageThis is how the mantel looked before I decked it all out with bling and greenery for our personal Christmas decor. More streamlined, simple. Oversized red Christmas balls are placed on each end atop short black wrought iron stands. Smaller ornaments on stands and on the mantel are placed in between with a few votives. On the hearth are two rustic Z Gallerie black hurricane lanterns filled with assorted sizes of red ornaments.

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Tree collageA stovepipe hat tree topper works perfectly with the snowmen on the table! This was just for my tablescaping class. I later added more ornaments and a few snowmen to the tree for our personal decor which will stay up until January.

So…there you have it! A variation on a snowman theme! Many of the elements for a round and intimate table for 4 tweaked to create a long and lush table for 12. Kinda like Burger King, y’all…have it your way! 🙂

For more Christmas tablescapes on this site:
Checkered Christmas
Pink & Purple Chocolate Christmas
Sugar High Payback
Contemporary Christmas
Cranberry Christmas
Cranberry Christmas Squared
Get Me To the Church On Time
Christmas Progressive Dinner
White Hot
Winter Brunch
plus NINE other tables on one page under the WINTER tab including “Frosty the Snowman” which demonstrates another fun way to use these snowmen!!!

If you would like to see another way to make glass cylinders really come to life on a table, check out the “Wedding” page. Scroll down to the 3rd post called “Love & Orchids“, and you’ll see how a variety of sizes are used.

I am happily skipping along to Cuisine Kathleen’s “Let’s Dish!” on Wednesday (anytime after 6:00 p.m. CST on Wednesday) and Susan’s “Tablescape Thursday” (anytime after 9:00 a.m. CST on Thursday). Join me! My blog buddies can really rock some holiday tablescapes!!!

Christmas 2012 – Red, Black & Silver

I said I wasn’t going to do much decorating this year. I lied. So sue me. Actually, Ramon was a huge help since my shoulders are still torn up, so I was able to do more although not as much as in previous years. So  just kick back and take a gander at our Christmas 2012 living room and kitchen decor. Next week’s post will bring photos of the dining room, library and foyer. Enjoy!
(Click on any photo to enhance/enlarge it.
Photos by Sheri L. Grand and Alycia Nichols)

IMG_0427WMWelcome to our home! Ramon has lit up the outside just for you!

IMG_0419WMCome right on in. We’re glad you’ve stopped by!

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Mantel vignetteI wanted a sophisticated yet fun look in the living room, so I went with traditional red in a snowman theme much like last week’s “Checkered Christmas” post. (You’ll also see how it fits in with tomorrow’s regular tablescaping post!) Even though there is lots of Christmas bling throughout the room, the snowmen temper that just a bit.

Thanks to my good blog buddy, Liz at Infuse With Liz, I was finally able to create the type of mantel decor I have always wanted. Liz uses those Command Strips from 3M to attach a lighted length of garland and then builds out from there. Fearing the Command Strips would not be sturdy enough, I enlisted Ramon’s help to drill small holes into the top of the mantel into which he then screwed rubber-coated cup hooks. (Our mantel sits quite high. After Christmas when the decor is gone, we’ll remove the hooks and the only people able to see the holes will be really nosy folks who stand on the hearth looking for dirt or NBA players. 🙂 ) In the coming years all I’ll have to do is screw those hooks back into the existing holes, and I’ll be good to go! I started with a 6-foot lighted greenery garland that I secured with the hooks. I then strategically nestled in individual pine branches. I finished the look off with bright red ornaments, lots of bling, and fun “icicles.” Black wrought iron candlesticks topped with red ornaments balance out each end.

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Hearth urn collageTwo black urns are topped with oversized red ornaments sitting on a wreath that is dripping in acrylic icicles and bling. The “snowflakes” cosied into the top of the wreath are actually rhinestone brooches I bought at a closeout sale years ago! I actually have something similar in mind for a wedding tablescape centerpiece later this year. Stay tuned for that! (Something like this one pictured, of course, would be great for a Christmas wedding!)

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Tree collageOur tree is all decked in red and silver ornaments with lots of bling this year. I wanted to make it a little bit playful, so I finished it off with a stovepipe hat just like the snowmen sitting among the gifts beneath the tree. The “tree skirt” is actually a round black linen folded in half which is a pretty good substitute!

Goose collageThe wooden geese take on a whole new look with a necklace of pine branches. Red votive candle holders with LEDs are peppered throughout the book shelves for a little extra ambience.

Hot chocolate, Stocking, Chair gift collageWhat’s better this time of year than hot chocolate by a roaring fire? Mmmmmm!!! Our first “couples” Christmas stocking was a gift from a friend. I put it up every year no matter what color the decor is!

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TV Armoire collageThe television armoire is decorated to complement the fireplace and tree decor with lots of snow-covered branches and trios of red Christmas ornaments tucked here and there. Behind the lighted greenery are black wrought iron candlesticks kissed with teardrop crystals. I went with black candles to complement the rest of the black throughout the living room and nearby kitchen. I like the subtle sophistication they lend to the room.

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LR window vignetteThe half console table in the south window hosts a black urn like the two on the hearth. The urn is filled with shiny red ornaments and topped with a green wreath spattered in bling. I used pieces of an old chandelier to create the small droplets hanging from the wreath and candlesticks. I used those pieces to make stylin’ little necklaces for the snowmen, too!

Stereo vignetteSitting atop the stereo case is a silver footed bowl filled with red & silver ornaments and frosted pine cones. Let’s head over to the kitchen area.

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Breakfast bar vignette collage

Kitchen decor collageI wanted the kitchen decor to be a bit lighter than in the living room, but I still needed to somehow connect the two. On the breakfast bar that separates the two rooms is a length of lighted garland embellished with additional pine branches much like the mantel and television armoire. A few random silver ornaments are tucked in along with icy snowflakes for more of a 3-D look. The rear of the garland displays a parade of silver Revere candlesticks with chunky black pillar LED candles. I stayed with black to match those in the living room and to complement the black appliances and furniture in our kitchen.

A sparse “Charlie Brown” tree was my choice for the kitchen this year with just a small strand of red lights and a few red ornaments. The wreath in the breakfast nook is lit with red & white lights and flecked with more snowflakes. A single snowflake peeks out each window. Over the kitchen sink is a pair of lighted wreaths that look fantastic from the street and a beautiful poinsettia from my neighbor, Jane!

IMG_0327WMThat’s it! Next week, the front rooms of the house just might surprise you! Meanwhile, happy shopping and Merry Christmas from the Nichols family!!! 🙂

To see last year’s Christmas decor, check out “Really Red Christmas“!!!

This week I’m joining host Kathe With An E for a mantels & tablescapes “It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas” blog hop and The Tablescaper for “Seasonal Sunday.” LOTS of talent shared there, so check it out!!!

Contemporary Christmas Tablescape – Fire & Ice

It’s the holiday season! Already!!! And now it’s time to get serious about planning a variety of tablescapes for parties you will host throughout the season. Let’s kick it off with one whose elements of warm, glowing fire and crisp, cold ice are perfect all winter through (sans the tree, perfect for New Year’s Eve or any January tablescape)…for not a lot of money!

This quick 90-second video shows how this scrumptious winter table for eight looks with the lights down low to take full advantage of the ambient light. (We got ahead of ourselves and completely forgot to take still photos of the room with the warmth of the candlelight all aglow!) NOTE: There is Christmas music playing in the video background, so mute your system if you’re at work or the kids/hubby are napping! 🙂
(Click on any photo to enlarge/enhance. Photos and video by Sheri L. Grant)

This room was transformed to a warm but wintry haven for my “Tablescaping a Winter Wonderland” class taught through MCC-Longview. While this table is a “square” made from two 6-ft. oblong tables kissed together horizontally, the same effect could be easily achieved on a 72-in. round table using a round mirror. This table can seat up to 12 depending on whether or not a charger is used and how much stemware and flatware is at each place setting. Rather than traditional snowy white linens which would work just as well (as would pewter or silver with a few tweaks), I opted for creamy ivory from LinenTablecloth.com.

Each place setting is anchored with a 13″ mirrored charger from Hobby Lobby. (Buy these when they’re 50% off!) Bone white 10 Strawberry Street dinner plates are from Tuesday Morning, and the J.A. Henckels very contemporary “Bellaserra” flatware can be found at Macy’s. An ivory napkin with a sleek silver napkin ring rounds out the place setting.

Clear glass stemware is from Old Time Pottery. It goes on sale for 99¢ per stem fairly often, and I keep it around by the case for entertaining large groups. The style is so versatile and works for both casual and formal tables.

This is no doubt my favorite part of the entire room! An old frameless mirror from the bathroom wall in our former home is just the perfect size for the table centerpiece. Without a frame, the mirror lays flat like a slick sheet of ice. I use these clear glass cylinders a lot, and having a number of them in various sizes in your decorating arsenal is a good thing. They can be so easily transformed into whatever you need for them to be! Here they are filled with “icy” branches anchored with lots of acrylic “ice.” (Faux snow would be another viable option that would render the same frosty effect.) The shorter cylinders are filled with silver ornaments and more “ice.” The silver pieces and crystal faux ice are both highly reflective in the mirror below. (To see another tablescape using the frameless mirror, click HERE.)

To break up the expanse of glass across the mirror, I anchored the four corners with these silver urns. If silver urns aren’t in your budget, try spray painting clay pots. The evergreens bring in another wintertime element, are a splash of nature, and are the only real “color” on the table. Buy evergreens that can be planted in your yard at a later date to get more bang for your buck.

Now this is where the drama is taken to a whole other level: the votive candles!!! Line them up like a fiery fortress around the perimeter of the mirror. This is a relatively inexpensive way to add ambiance, glow and sass to your tablescape. Notice the shape of the votive holders is the same as the taller glass cylinders for a uniform look. Don’t skimp here. The more the merrier!

I always like to dress the fireplace mantel with decor that reflects what’s going on on my table. Here it is decorated with more glass cylinders, some of which are filled with icy garland and others with the same “ice” used on the table. A smattering of clear acrylic Moravian stars – some stacked on top of each other just for fun! – bring shape and more shine to the vignette. (I had no idea these were called Moravian stars until my sweet blog buddy, Jewel of Carolina Jewel’s Table told me!) Notice how the silver urns with evergreens are repeated here. Votive candles finish the look and add warmth.

Both the fireplace mantel and this tree underwent several changes over the three weeks of my winter tablescaping series! This is the first night’s look for the tree, and it’s a little more sparse due to the contemporary nature of the tablescape. The silver and crystal ornaments work well with the table and mantel decor. Rather than spending money I don’t have on a silver tree skirt, I used this round crushed silk tablecloth folded in half and carefully arranged around the bottom. (This is the same tree that started out as a Charlie Brown Christmas look-alike last year. See it HERE for its sad little “before” and glorious red & gold “after.” Ironically, I am wearing the exact same outfit in the 2011 photos. Santa, Mama needs a new wardrobe!!! :-))

So this is the first of many Christmas tablescapes created as a teaching tool for my students. Stay tuned for more in the coming weeks!

For more Christmas tablescapes on this site:
“Winter Cardinal”
Really Red Christmas
Pink & Purple Chocolate Christmas
Winter Dinner
Cranberry Christmas
Cranberry Christmas Squared
Sugar High Payback
After the Hunt – Gentlemen’s Winter Retreat

Get Me To the Church On Time!
Christmas Progressive Dinner
White Hot
Winter Brunch

For more tablescapes on this site using glass cylinders:
And the Winner Is…
Welcome Back, Joel
Flamingos In Paradise
Oopsy Daisy
Raining Orchids
Winter Dinner
Get Me to the Church On Time
Mardi Gras Mojo
Apple Green Luncheon
Pretty In Pink
Love & Orchids
Autumn Orchids
March of the Penguins

Other tablescapes on this site using a mirror centerpiece include:
Roses In October
Happy Birthday, Barf!
Hooray For Vodka!
Breakfast at Tiffany’s
Shake, Rattle & Roll ‘Em!
Princess Pink Birthday Dinner

I’m so excited to join my fellow tablescapers on a couple of the really fun blog parties again this week including Cuisine Kathleen’s “Let’s Dish!” (anytime after 6:00 p.m. CST on Wednesday) and Susan’s “Tablescape Thursday” (anytime after 9:00 a.m. CST on Thursday).

Christmas Progressive Dinner

Each Christmas season Ramon and I team up with our cul-de-sac buddies for a much-anticipated Progressive Dinner. If you’re unfamiliar with the term, it’s when several households progress from one home to the next for several dinner courses. This year the Alsups did the fabulous cocktails and hors d’ouevres which included bacon-wrapped water chestnuts, homemade cheese straws, crab-stuffed mushroom caps, and a very sneaky cranberry/vodka/sparkling wine drink. (Click on photos to enlarge.)

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IMG_3735WMIt was one of those drinks that will creep up and whack you over the head if you’re not careful! Delicious!!! Next, to the Jenisons for a tasty but healthy salad with heavenly home-baked wheat bread.

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Salad course at the Jenisons’. Ramon is taking the picture.

We then moved on to our home for the entrée before hopping across the street to the Rutherfords’ for a variety of sinful desserts, coffee and after-dinner drinks. I went to the doctor the day after for a routine check-up. I had gained 2 pounds from the previous week, and my blood pressure was up. Uh….duh!!!

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IMG_3568WMI wanted to do a really dramatic, special, over-the-top tablescape to thank my neighbors for their kindness, generosity and goodness of heart throughout the year. Two 6-ft. tables placed together horizontally are covered with full-length white linens in our family room.

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IMG_3589WMI love the double charger treatment, so a sparkly red 13″ charger (Target 2008) is topped with a goldtone 12″ (Hobby Lobby). The dishes are Pfaltzgraff’s  wonderfully traditional “Winterberry” which is one of my favorite Christmas designs.

IMG_3577WMI like to use our initialed linen dinner napkins whenever possible. For this night I dressed them up with a red berry napkin ring. I just used a standard berry stem from Hobby Lobby that I twisted to encircle the easy, classic napkin fold. LOTS of color and dimension, and it adds a little more height to the place setting!!!

IMG_3582WMI am SO happy to have finally jumped on the Dollar Tree train! This soft green stemware that I picked up there is coming in handy for so many table settings! (Click here to see it used in a very contemporary table setting.)

IMG_3579WMI bought these rockin’ gold metal reindeer wholesale many years ago when I owned my fine rentals business. They measure 36″H without the antlers, so they’re perfect for the “go big or go home” look I love so much. I covered the center of the table with a couple of clear plastic trash bags to keep the linens underneath clean. I dressed each for the evening with a collar of berries with a red velvet bow. (To see last year’s cul-de-sac progressive dinner – dressed up with different reindeer decor – click HERE and scroll down to “Noel Progressive Dinner“.

IMG_3575WMI painstakingly placed each branch of this flocked pine cone greenery to create a sort of wreath to cover the reindeer stands. Red berry picks and shiny red Christmas ornaments finish off the fun yet sophisticated reindeer centerpiece.

IMG_3704WMWe were dining in the family room, so I dressed the top of the television armoire to complement the table with this small reindeer and lots of lighted greenery punctuated with red berries, ribbon, and ornaments.

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The grapevine wreath in the window is covered with a profusion of red berries and finished off with a few flocked faux branches, pinecones, oversized Christmas balls and red velvet ribbon. I kept the mantel simple with two smaller grapevine & berry wreaths.

Oh, and in case you’re wondering about the menu…Cornish hens basted in a garlic butter sauce, wild rice and green beans. Our neighbors, Carla and Jim, were unable to attend this year’s dinner but sent over homemade cinnamon sugar-dusted Parker rolls.

So another year, another wonderful Progressive Dinner with fine friends who we love and cherish. God is good! From our homes to yours, have a very Merry Christmas!!!

Please join me again this week for Tablescape Thursday over at Susan’s Between Naps on the Porch!

Cranberry Christmas – Long Table

My cousin (no, not the weird one…the other one!) recently asked for formal Christmas tablescape ideas using cranberries as a part of the decor. Ask, and you shall receive! This table is shown in the Tuscan-style (long) form. Click HERE to see how the look of the same basic decor changes with a square table. (The 2nd look would also work quite well with a round table!)

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IMG_3361WMHere, two 6′ x 30″ oblong tables are set end-to-end to create a 12-ft. table. With the large amount of decorative detail, generously proportioned 13″ chargers, and increased amount of china and flatware, however, it only seats 8. Using the more common 12″ charger, smaller decorative elements, and eliminating the bread plate would free up space for up to 12 guests.

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The Christmas holidays are a time for over-the-top tablescapes that have a lush, luxurious feel to them. Using an additional charger can help achieve that look and feel. I like to remove the first one after the salad course and the second after the entrée. (Formal etiquette calls for removing all chargers before the entrée is served, but many guests enjoy the additional razamatazz. Depending on who I’m entertaining, it might stay or go!) For this place setting, a 13″ sparkly red charger (Target) is topped with a 12″ silverplate charger. Any plates with a formal holiday vibe will work. I used my trusty Noritake “Spectrum” dinner and salad plates with the simple, sleek platinum band.

A crisp white cotton napkin with a monogram or initial is always perfect for a formal setting. An icy crystal napkin ring from Z Gallerie helps to set this one off against the silver and white plates.

J.A. Henckels’ “Bellaserra” flatware has a beautiful mirrored finish that works well with the silver & white tablescape. A black-handled steak knife is added for use with the entrée.

IMG_3379WMCristal d’Arques “Longchamps” crystal stemware is always a nice choice. The diamond-shaped cut of this crystal mimics the cut of the Z Gallerie napkin ring.

Cranberries are wonderful for Christmastime decorating! They are relatively inexpensive (you can pick them up for as little as 99¢ a bag at Aldi’s or similar discount grocery stores), and they can be used in SO many ways. To dress them up, I am floating them in silver pedestal bowls with candles. (I used this pedestal bowl filled with rose petals for a wedding tablescape HERE.)

IMG_3366WMPlaced at strategic intervals down the table are three 27″ silverplate candlesticks with pillar candles. The candlesticks lend height to the table as well as ambient light at a higher level. The rose-filled silver julep cups placed at each person’s place setting work well as tabletop decor during the meal and as a nice take-home gift after dinner.

Ambient light at the lowest level is provided by silver mercury glass votive holders.

The red berry theme is extended with a berry-covered grapevine wreath over the mantel. The greenery on the wreath is the same used in the small julep arrangements on the table. Additional silver mercury glass votives flank the wreath.

So…if you have space for a 12-ft.+ table, this style works very well. (Two 8-ft. tables would require additional decorative pieces, but would be extra FABulous!!!) Of course, it requires a bit more decor because of its length, but it’s the same as doing two rounds. To see the squared version of this table which can also be done with a round, click HERE.

More tablescape designs on this site using long tables:
Oopsy Daisy!”
Raining Orchids
September Wine
Autumn White Wedding
Get Me to the Church On Time
Daisy Crazy
Blue & White Family Picnic
Thanksgiving 2010
Hollywood Fright Night
Celebrate the Season
Black, White & Red All Over
Pretty In Pink
Love & Orchids”
Tented Green

A few other Christmas tablescapes on this site include:
Celebrate the Season
Christmas in the Woods
“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
Woodland Men’s Tablescape
Cranberry Christmas Squared
Get Me To the Church On Time
Christmas Progressive Dinner
White Hot
Winter Brunch
Really Red Christmas
Roman Holiday
Cardinal Christmas
Frosty the Snowman
March of the Penguins
Winter Cardinal
Ideas for Throwing a Winter Dessert Party
Christmas Fiesta
Over the River and Through the Woods
Black Friday Luncheon
Noel Progressive Dinner
Old-Fashioned Red & Green Christmas
Timberland Christmas
Christmas Coffee
Warm Metal Christmas
Let It Snow
Tuscan Holiday

Fa-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la! I am joining Susan and the other tablescapers from around our glorious world for Tablescape Thursday again this week. You’re invited to come along for the ride!

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!

Noel Progressive Dinner 2010

For the third consecutive year, four households on our cul-de-sac participated in a holiday progressive dinner. It’s a time for us to all get together before the hustle and bustle of the season gets us too wrapped up to wish one another good cheer. Ramon and I look forward to it each year.

This year another couple from the neighborhood joined our group to make it all the merrier. We began the evening at 5:30 for cocktails and hors d’oeuvres, then on for salad, followed by the entree, and last – but never least! – dessert! We ended the evening with a few rousing games on the neighbor’s Wii. Much needed exercise after all that delicious food!!!

This post is also about opportunities to reuse decor items and ideas. Elements from two recent posts are freshened and incorporated for a whole new look on one table. Given the number of dinner parties we host, it sometimes makes sense to not try and reinvent the wheel…but to simply give it a facelift! I hope you are able to take away some ideas for your own use!

We started with tasty hors d’oeuvres and cocktails at Lynn & Barbara’s. Barbara always creates wonderful and imaginative treats, and this time was no exception!

After popping delicious hors d’oeuvres for an hour or so, we all trudged next door to our house for salad (graciously and lovingly prepared by neighbor Mary Ellen!), assorted soups (gumbo, chicken noodle and vegetable beef made by yours truly), and melt-in-your-mouth, buttery good rolls brought by our round-the-corner friends Carla and Jim.

Some of you may recognize some of the decor used for this table. With back-to-back dinner parties hosting different guests, it seemed prudent to recycle some of the decor with a twist to make it special. This meal, served in the living room, is set up on two 6-ft. tables pushed together horizontally to create a square that can comfortably seat up to ten guests.

 

The “Noel” theme was carried from the fireplace mantel onto the table with the addition of this velvety red ribbon tucked around each charger. (I recently employed this same technique using plain red satin ribbon around silver chargers. See “Celebrating the Season“.) Clear glass plates allow guests to see the ribbon before salad is served.

My much-loved, stiffly starched linen napkins were neatly folded and tucked into each place setting’s wine glass.

Also used in a previous post (“Roman Holiday“) was this chunky candle on a gold scrolled riser. Last week it was presented with just the candle. For this occasion, however, I tucked in the same greenery and berries found in the floral arrangements and on the mantel. This is a great way to create an instant centerpiece without having to use a ton of flowers!!!

Instead of the creamy white & gold Christmas tree toppers used in the “Roman Holiday” post, I subbed in elegant red & gold with scrolls that mimic the design on the floral containers.

I found this fun wine bottle decor at Pottery Barn a couple of weeks ago. Isn’t that typical? The lady is all dressed up in her finest diamonds and fur while the guy just kinda shows up in a casual holiday hat & scarf! 🙂

After stuffing ourselves at our house, we all miraculously still had room for dessert. So on to Bob & Jane’s for a fancy sweet treat to end the evening! What a fun night!!!

A few other Christmas tablescapes on this site include:
Celebrate the Season
Christmas in the Woods
“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
Woodland Men’s Tablescape
Cranberry Christmas
Cranberry Christmas Squared
Get Me To the Church On Time
Christmas Progressive Dinner
White Hot
Winter Brunch
Really Red Christmas
Roman Holiday
Cardinal Christmas
Frosty the Snowman
March of the Penguins
Winter Cardinal
Ideas for Throwing a Winter Dessert Party
Christmas Fiesta
Over the River and Through the Woods
Black Friday Luncheon
Old-Fashioned Red & Green Christmas
Timberland Christmas
Christmas Coffee
Warm Metal Christmas
Let It Snow
Tuscan Holiday

I am delighted to join Susan at Between Naps on the Porch for Tablescape Thursday. After peeking in on my photos, please feel free to wander on over to Susan’s place to see what other tablescapers around the world are up to!

Between Naps On The Porch

Celebrate the Season

I don’t know about you, but I’m glad to see the (politically correct here) Christmas/Chanukah/Kwanzaa/etc. season finally arrive. I have had my fill of pumpkins for this year, and I’m ready for shiny and bright! Thankfully, we have a number of Christmas parties planned here at home for which I can pull out all the decorating stops…or show restraint. (Yeah, right! That’ll happen! 🙂 ) The master plan is to make each one unique in style, content, and color scheme. We’ll see how that works out since I am so partial to red during the holiday season!

This first party of the 2010 Christmas season came right on the heels of Thanksgiving which didn’t allow for a lot of prep time. I had to think fast on my feet! Mercifully, the long tables were already in the living room, Ramon hustled to finish the outdoor lighting (all red, of course!), and the house was already clean. To further maintain my sanity, I opted to share cooking duties with a favorite caterer. Our garage has morphed into a floral cooler (!!!), so lots of fresh greenery there to grab and arrange at a moment’s notice. (I don’t even want to discuss the bad “haircut” our porch evergreens got in the name of floral design for the small arrangements! 😦 ) At any rate, this dinner party kicked the season off with a bang!

Try as I may to avoid it, red makes its way into almost every holiday setting I create. Icy silver and white play host here to fiery red on a table set for 12.

Muted silver square chargers (Old Time Pottery) with rounded edges anchor the place setting. A rounded-edge square B. Smith with Style plate in frosty white is then topped with a crisp white dinner napkin encircled with a red & silver ring to keep the napkin from disappearing into the plate. Godinger crystal stemware from the “Chelsea” collection and Hampton Silversmiths “Patriot” flatware round out the setting.

 A simple length of satiny red ribbon is tucked around the charger to give the illusion of a “gift” and to add a little color.

This photo was taken a bit later in the evening, but I think it shows how beautifully the crisp white shows up to the darkness. It, like the tablecloth, reminds me of snow!

I wanted to add a bit more red and introduce something a little fun to the table. I settled on these beautiful Christmas cards from Pier 1.

Inside each card was the evening’s menu embellished with a similar design! I’ll probably use this tactic a lot this season. It’s a great way to use the cards that I’ll most likely never get around to sending out! 🙂

I have 3 of these lovely silver epergnes, and liked the way they looked like pretty soldiers lining the center of the table! I just find seeded eucalyptus to be one of the easiest greens in the world to work with at Christmas time, so you’ll see a lot of it in my arrangements throughout the season. It drapes so beautifully and is so graceful. The greenish-grey color is wonderful, too, and it stands up nicely against the darker evergreens. My favorite filler, leucadendron, makes another appearance here along with bright red berries.

Tiny crystal vases hold snippets of seeded eucalyptus, evergreens, and cheerful red berries.

The fireplace mantel is all decked in a variety of greenery dotted with red berries. (Fresh seeded eucalyptus and other greens will last the entire evening without water OR you can insert the ends into water tubes.) Reflective silver candlesticks topped with pillar candles and mercury balls dance through the foliage. The whole image is doubled back in the mirror which makes it look even more lush.

‘Tis the season!

A few other Christmas tablescapes on this site include:
Christmas in the Woods
“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
Woodland Men’s Tablescape
Cranberry Christmas
Cranberry Christmas Squared
Get Me To the Church On Time
Christmas Progressive Dinner
White Hot
Winter Brunch
Really Red Christmas
Roman Holiday
Cardinal Christmas
Frosty the Snowman
March of the Penguins
Winter Cardinal
Ideas for Throwing a Winter Dessert Party
Christmas Fiesta
Over the River and Through the Woods
Black Friday Luncheon
Noel Progressive Dinner
Old-Fashioned Red & Green Christmas
Timberland Christmas
Christmas Coffee
Warm Metal Christmas

I’m thrilled to join Susan for Tablescape Thursdays. After clicking on the “Winter” tab above to view my photos, feel free to head on over and visit the other talented men and women there!

Thanksgiving 2010

This time last year was difficult at best as my son struggled to recover from yet another major surgery precipitated by yet another bout with Crohn’s Disease. He was temporarily sprung from the hospital to enjoy the day with us, but he was unable to partake of the meal. Instead he received nourishment from the portable I.V. strapped on like a backpack. He took it like a champ. This year, although still not quite 100%, he is able to eat, eat, eat!!! I have prepared his favorite pecan pie just for him!

 

The “grownups” table for 12 set up in our living room has a little glitz and glam going for it. A seasonal rich chocolate brown table linen anchors the setting.
To offset the deep brown and add sparkle, I used lots of cut crystal that was sure to reflect the tiniest bit of light. Two crystal epergnes with gold trim are the crown jewels of the table. (Scroll further down this page to “Shake Your Tail Feather” to see this epergne used in a different tablescape, or click HERE to see it in a Christmas tablescape.)
The flowers in each of epergne include scads of seeded eucalyptus mixed with orange carnations and deep burgundy leucadendron. I opted for ivory metal case candles to avoid drips on the linens.
The smaller arrangements on this table are in cut crystal rose bowls with a pattern similar to that of the epergnes. Added to these arrangements are sprigs of russet-colored alstroemeria.
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A patterned gold charger and ivory dinner plate are topped with rich chocolate napkins in a traditional fold. I gilded a handful of leaves (Lord knows there are plenty around to pick up!) and added an ivory mini pumpkin to plop on top. The leaves and pumpkins are repeated at intervals down the length of the table.
Longchamps crystal stemware again mimics the pattern of the floral vessels. Faux mother-of-pearl handled flatware completes the place setting.
I scaled back a bit on the amount of food this year, but I don’t think the menu disappoints. There’s a little something for everyone! The quote on each menu is from a book my husband received as a gift called “Gratitude”.
 
 
 The fireplace mantel receives a lightweight treatment of Longchamps crystal mini vases filled with the same flowers as I used on the table. An array of shiny gold-colored candlesticks with ivory candles (watching them like a hawk!!!) fills out the arrangement.
The children’s table is not so fancy. It’s mostly about utility here, with a shot of “ooh wee!” tossed in by way of the centerpiece. A simple ivory linen is topped with a fun runner.
Each child’s place setting consists of a pumpkin-colored melamine dinner plate topped with a colorful floral paper napkin. Everyday stemware and flatware round it out. (I want the kids to learn to use stemware as opposed to regular glasses. I don’t worry so much about breakage when I use these relatively inexpensive everyday stems.)
 
 
The centerpiece has all the same flowers as on the adults’ dining table presented in a wooden & metal planter. The floral arrangement is flanked by two metal treasure chests spilling over with apples and grapes. The framed menu is for the benefit of the lucky adult who draws the short straw and gets babysitting duty! 🙂

I wish for each of you a safe, happy, loving and warm Thanksgiving holiday!