Derby Day Dining

Last week I posted photos of the Kentucky Derby Buffet I created for my “Art of Tablescaping” students. This week I have the sit-down dinner version that uses a number of the same elements from that buffet table to demonstrate how various pieces can be used for either setting.
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The same table in the same room is all dressed up for a slightly more formal sit-down meal. I used the same black floor-length linen to let the gleam of the silver and brightness of the red roses show best. The white china tones down the dark linens and flower, thus saving the table from looking too morose.

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I swapped out the more plentiful Arcoroc “Seabreeze” glass buffet plates for my sister’s very formal Noritake “Whitebrook” china. Derby Day is the time to pull out your finest china and silver, and this china is definitely treasured in our family. The china rests atop highly polished silverplate chargers.

IMG_5107WMThese same lettered napkins were displayed in a silver champagne bucket in the buffet version. They are now simply folded, placed beneath the dinner plate and allowed to hang so as to prominently show the initial. The white of the napkin helps to break up the sea of black linen.

IMG_5121WMThe same heirloom silver flatware pattern – last week placed head-to-toe at the start of the buffet table – is used.

Noritake “Spectrum” iced beverage glasses await the traditional Southern sweet tea. The same julep cups that surrounded the huge silver punch bowl on the buffet last week are now placed at each individual setting.

Each place setting gets its own salt & pepper shakers.

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IMG_5159WMLast week these riding boots (actually a Z Gallerie umbrella stand!) were up to their straps in French baguettes. This week, sitting atop an heirloom silver tray (used last week to display veggies), they spill over with lush red roses. The silver candlesticks flanking the urns on the buffet last week are now on the table. Again I used metal case Paradise candles to keep the look pristine and avoid wax spills on my linen.

Over on the buffet behind the table where the punch bowl and julep cups were displayed last week is a more subdued coffee set up. The red rose balls on oil-rubbed bronze urns from last week remain in place.

On the wall sconces are miniature versions of the larger buffet urns with horseshoes added to further tie them in with the Derby.

With just a few tweaks here and there you can go from buffet to sit-down, casual to formal without sacrificing style. While the horse was omitted from this setting (I’m sure no one would want to spend the night staring up his rump!), the Kentucky Derby feel is definitely still there. It’s semi-formal, but made less stuffy with the addition of the whimsical centerpiece.

Another table on this site that I think would just look fantastic for a Kentucky Derby celebration, “Roses in October”, can be found HERE. Although it is set up using white roses, a simple switch to red roses would make it just perfect! If you’d like to see another tablescape using red rose balls and bouquets, click HERE for “Should Have Put A Ring On It” or HERE for “Kentucky Derby Buffet”.

I’ll be skipping on over to Tablescape Thursday at Susan’s Between Naps on the Porch on Thursday anytime after 9:00 a.m. CDT.

Kentucky Derby Buffet

If you missed out on the Tartan Parade that started on April 1 at Upstairs Downstairs, Hyacinths for the Soul, Vignette Design and The Polohouse, be sure to click on over to see some really fabulous representations of Scottish tradition. Since they were accepting simple plaid for us non-Scots to be able to participate, too, check out my entry “Pink Plaid & Posies” which is a charming celebration of Spring-y pastel plaid!

It’s already the first week in April, and with time flying this fast the 138th Kentucky Derby will be here before you know it! (That’s May 4th & 5th.)

For my first “Art of Tablescaping – Buffet Style” class last month, I put together a Kentucky Derby buffet for the students to consider for ideas and form. Next week I’ll feature the sit-down dinner version, so please be sure to stop back in to check that out, too!
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Yes, that’s me hiding behind the horse’s hindquarters! Perfect product placement, huh? 😉 This horse really gets around a lot lately. This week he’s prancing on a bed of red rose petals, while just last week he was featured out on the deck in my Spring/Summer brunch post “Carousel Colors“! (He can also be seen in the posts “Run for the Roses” and “Celebrating Longview Farm“.)

img_7646wm.jpgAlthough this table is facing one way, I need for you to imagine it going lengthwise this direction starting at the plates & forks. This is a heavy Mission style table, and there was no way I was going to try and move it!

I draped the table in a full-length black linen to make it just sort of disappear and allow the brilliant red and silver be the stars. The start of this casual buffet table allows guests to take a plate from the double stack and a fork from a line on either side. The forks are arranged in an interesting “head-to-toe” pattern partly for the sake of playful design and partly to help allow more forks to fit into the available space. (Try it! You really can fit in at least 2-4 more forks!)

IMG_5387WMInitialed napkins, a gift from my best friend, are displayed in a silver champagne bucket. The idea is to not only provide a basic service but to also “stair step” (forks at the lowest level, plates up a bit higher, napkins next highest) the start of the buffet for a dramatic effect.

IMG_5357WMA themed buffet is the place to really play with unusual serving pieces. For example, loaves of French bread are displayed in a pair of black riding boots that resemble those worn by the jockeys. The boots are actually an umbrella stand purchased at Z Gallerie! (I got it for half price because of a tiny chip at the top that no one will ever see!!!)

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Almost nothing says Kentucky Derby like a silver mint julep cup! Bread sticks are offered here, but you can serve just about any and everything out of these…including actual mint juleps!!! (Note: If you don’t have the budget for a lot of silver juleps, consider contacting your florist for faux silver cups like the one above. C’mon admit it…Would you have known if I hadn’t told you?)

Chafers look really great when lined up like tin soldiers in a clean, single line. These are smaller 2-qt. capacity chafers as opposed to the larger 5-qt. ones most often seen. It’s nice to have smaller ones on hand for serving smaller crowds or if you need to conserve table space. I bought these at Big Lots for $15 each about 10 years ago, and I have recently seen them in that store again. (Of course, like everything else, they cost a little more now!)

Derby time is the time to pull out all the silver – heirloom or nouveau – and put it into service in conventional and unconventional ways. For instance, when’s the last time you saw grape scissors like these? They were made popular in the super pompous Victorian era to snip small portions of grapes from a large bunch for eating. They come in just as handy in this post-dot.com era!

Instead of running for the roses, this horse is running with the roses…in his mouth! The traditional blanket of 554 red roses for the winning horse may not be his, but he’s got his own sense of style on the track! 🙂

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The area behind the buffet table is set up with a punch bowl (a loose replica of the famous punch bowl that graces the dining room sideboard of the governor’s mansion in Arkansas) full of the traditional bourbon, mint and simple syrup concoction known as a mint julep. Making juleps in large quantities in advance cuts down on time spent behind the bar. Guests can ladle their own into a silver julep cup with ease. Uncouth lushes like me may simply opt to stick a giant bendy straw in the bowl and have at it!!! 😉 The silverplated julep cups pictured here (yup…these are the real deal) are highly recommended to bring out the full experience of each frosty sip! (Unless you can afford the too-rich-for-my-blood sterling silver which is the ultimate!!!) When purchasing julep cups, make sure they are suitable for food consumption. Some contain a compound that allows them to be used for decorative display only.

IMG_5097WMRed roses throughout the room are a given…and a must! Here, festive yet sophisticated red rose balls are set atop heavy oil rubbed bronze urns on each end of the sideboard and flanked by a pair of silver candlesticks.

IMG_5406WMDon’t forget about your entryway! Here, a bouquet of red roses greets guests/students as they check in for class. Consider also a wreath of red roses on the front door in the shape of the traditional blanket or perhaps a horseshoe.

Don’t forget to check back in next week for more Kentucky Derby tablescape ideas. I’ll have a full sit-down dinner table prepared for you.

Other Kentucky Derby posts on this site:
Run for the Roses
Derby Day Dining
Should Have Put a Ring On It
“Roses In October”

I’m linking up this week with Kathleen for “Let’s Dish” starting at 6:00 p.m. (CDT) Wednesday, Centerpiece Wednesday with The Style Sisters, and Tablescape Thursday starting at 9:00 a.m. (CDT) Thursday. Join us, won’t you? And catch me over at BeBetsy.com, too!

Chocolate Traditional

I couldn’t let this season of romance get away without posting a tablescape using chocolate brown & pink!!! It works not only for Valentine’s Day if you’re hosting other couples, but for a bridal shower, ultra feminine birthday celebration, or – with a few key tweaks – a celebration honoring a breast cancer survivor.
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“Chocolate Traditional” Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com

Spurred on by last week’s pinning episode with all the little rosettes, I decided to wake this plain chocolate brown linen up with a strip of pink & brown edging. Again, not willing to try my hand at whip stitching, I simply used exposed pearl head pins to affix the edging to the hem. It all tied in nicely.

“Chocolate Traditional” Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com

 

“Chocolate Traditional” Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com

 

“Chocolate Traditional” Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.comA silverplate charger and my sister’s Noritake “Whitebrook” china are topped with a simply folded pastel pink napkin from Bed Bath & Beyond. A small silver bell rests next to the hostess’s place setting. While it would normally be used to summon staff during dinner (as if I actually have staff! 🙂 ), this bell is to signal that it’s time for all the couples assembled at the table to steal a kiss!

 

“Chocolate Traditional” Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com I have a lot of stemware, but one of my favorites is Godinger’s “Chelsea” collection.

Another favorite collection is the International Silver “Danish Princess” flatware my Mom gave me. Here the dinner knife rests on a silverplate knife rest.

Silver hearts hold a place card by Artifacts.

No Valentine’s Day party is complete without a little chocolate something-something!

I bought these silver epergnes quite a few years ago. They are the companion piece to the 4-lite epergne shown as a buffet piece HERE. I really like the detailing. The white silk shades simply slip over the custom-made metal case candle (outfitted with a peg votive holder) and rest on the affixed bobeche. I can also swap out the custom candle/shade option for real tapers or remove the center bowl and use the piece as a 3-lite candelabra! Quite versatile!

I think I bought this silver covered casserole at Tuesday Morning about a billion years ago. I have used it both for food presentation and florals.

What’s a Valentine party without a ton of sweets on a dessert buffet? The aroma of all the chocolate is intoxicating! (I’m one of those odd women who does not care for the taste of chocolate, but I LOVE the smell!!!)

Coffee service is set up using the Elegance Silver coffee urn I purchased years ago. A pretty silver Victorian sugar scuttle with its tiny scoop is perfect for sweetening coffee (when a dip of your sweetheart’s finger won’t do the trick. 😉 )

On the opposite end of the buffet are Godinger silver petit four stands filled with all kinds of goodies. The silver pastry tongs have beautiful Baroque detailing.

I am so excited about this new acquisition!!! My goofy/loving cousin, Dee ;- ), got this silver Lazy Susan from our sweet friend, Doris, whose exceptionally good taste shows like a Derby prize winner. You should see this chick’s house! Anyhooooooo….Dee used it to display sweets at her recent 30th wedding anniversary party and then sent it home with me! I feel like passing out cigars to celebrate my new baby!!! Thank you, Dee Bug! Thank you, Doris!

Über feminine lacy paper dessert napkins are weighted down with my Lladró “Angel Lying Down” figurine, a gift from a client a few years back.

The corner tea cart, bought by my Mom in the 1950s from the swanky House of Modern and given to me a few years ago, is a handy-dandy extension of the buffet. A fun pink moscato is iced down in a silver champagne bucket, also given to me by my Mom. The salad course will be served with forks iced to perfection in this silver mini champagne bucket that is also perfect for a split of champagne if you’re dining alone! (Icing the fork tines is a great way to keep your salad greens crisp just a little bit longer, especially in summer! Just watch the look on your guests’ faces when the fork is presented like this! If you’re not lucky enough to have “staff”, the hostess should personally present the bucket for each guest to take a fork.) See another cool way to ice forks down by clicking HERE and scrolling down to Tip #3! This is also a fabulously fun & fancy way to present dessert forks or spoons!!!

I am joining Susan’s Tablescape Thursday again this week, and I also hope you will stop by the Valentine Blog Party hosted by Bargain Hunting & Chatting With Laurie on Friday, February 10. Pop in to get tons of decorating ideas for your Valentine’s Day party from tablescaping bloggers with romance on their minds all around the world!

♥♥♥Happy Valentine’s Day from me to you!!!♥♥♥

Other Valentine’s Day posts on this site you might enjoy:
Love’s Arrow
Peonies & Pearls
Days of Wine & Roses
“Diamonds Are a Material Girl’s Best Friend”
Should Have Put a Ring On It
“Queen of Hearts Card Party”
“Be Still My Heart”

Other posts in chocolate brown & pink:
Au Revoir
Just Us Girls

White Hot

Planning a table for an low-key, intimate New Year’s Eve dinner party can be a little tough. We had a super sparkly table last year, and I am considering a similarly blinged out table for this year’s celebration. (Click HERE to see last year’s post, “Ringing in the New Year.”)

For those preferring something a bit more subdued before the noisemakers come out, here’s an idea table that just might fit the bill.

I am and always will be a sucker for a full-length white linen for most semi-formal and formal settings, unless you have a table with a pristine finish or interesting design.

I used some of my favorite TJ Maxx creamy white dishes with scrolled rims atop the polished silverplate chargers, but just about any nice white dishes will do.

International Silver “Royal Danish” sterling flatware adds to the formality of the place settings.

Godinger‘s “Chelsea” collection crystal stemware.

White linen napkins pulled through heavy crystal napkin rings from Z Gallerie‘s 2010 collection.

Simple silver spheres to hold place cards.

Reflective silver 14-inch, 5-branch candelabra dripping with crystal bobeches grace the center of the table. If you have concerns about fire safety like my husband does after THIS fiery fiasco last summer, reduce the risk by using metal case candles (also referred to as mechanical candles) such as these from Paradise Candles. Not only do they up the fire safety ante, but they save your nice linens from wax drips.

If Christmas broke the bank for you, alstroemeria is a good economical flower choice. Here, a single bunch from the florist is divided and arranged in classic silver julep cups.

The clean, polished look is finished off with scattered cut crystal votives.

This look is also appropriate for a bridal shower, rehearsal dinner, adult birthday or a little something special on Christmas Eve.

I’ll post this year’s actual New Year’s Eve dinner party tablescape next week…if I can decide exactly what I want to do with it! 🙂

HAPPY NEW YEAR TO YOU AND YOURS!!!

Wondrous Wheat!

I hope your Thanksgiving was one filled with love and laughter and lots of fabulous food! Ours certainly was, and I was thrilled to be surrounded by family and friends whose love I treasure.

With 28 tummies to fill, we had to set up in various locations around the house with a different theme in each area. The lower level had seating for the football enthusiasts, while the main level had a table for 10 in the living room and one for 6 in the dining room.  It is my understanding that wheat symbolizes prosperity and blessing. The dining room – with all the homemade breads and desserts on the buffet – seemed the perfect place to celebrate the fall harvest.

IMG_3130WMWhile black and creamy white may not be a traditional Thanksgiving decor combination, I decided to buck the system and go for it!

IMG_3171WMInspiration for this black and white tablescape came from my Royal Stafford “Herdsman” dinner plates. The rim is peppered with stems of wheat among the bounty of fruits and flowers. The braided rope rim of the charger imitates the design on the inner circle of the plate.

The black napkins are folded twice lengthwise then doubled over inside the silver napkin ring. I fanned out the bottom for a fuller look of this simple napkin fold.

IMG_3167WMKeeping with the very traditional look of the table – color scheme notwithstanding – I chose Mikasa’s “Jamestown Platinum” stemware. The name “Jamestown” just evokes thoughts of colonial Virginia! (Fun fact: Jamestown celebrated their first Thanksgiving 401 years ago in 1610.)

IMG_3132WMOf course, Hampton Silversmith “Patriot” flatware seemed absolutely right for this traditional Thanksgiving tablescape! (Hampton…yet another Virginia city!)

IMG_3127WMAn image of wheat on the menu furthers the theme. (Find recipes for the Drunken Peach Cobbler, Sweet Potato Pie, and Apple-Walnut Cake here or by clicking on “Recipes” tab above.)

IMG_3144WMThe centerpiece was kept simple with a few silver candlesticks and blackbeard wheat in square vases. The very center of the table was reserved for a silver bread basket filled with cornbread muffins and my sister’s fabulous yeast rolls.

IMG_3152WMThe buffet piece is a blackbeard wheatsheaf adorned with a simple black bow. No one was more surprised than I that it turned out as nice as it did…and didn’t fall over! 🙂

Thanksgiving 2011…out!

 

 

Happy Birthday, Barf!

You know how kids pick at each other and give each other a lot of grief, but then grow out of it in later years? All that applies to my sister and me…except the growing out of it part. I lovingly bestowed the nickname “Barf” on my big sister about 40 years ago, and it just kinda stuck. Barf this, Barf that, Barf the other….regardless of the name on her birth certificate, to me she is simply “Barf.”

Barf and her sweet friend, DeEtta, visited Kansas City a little over a week ago on their way to Columbia, Mo. Barf is an October baby and was on her way to an annual October babies celebration with other family & friends.  Because she was turning 100 or 150 or something like that on this birthday, she was pooped out from all the driving. So we held a jazzed up little “come-as-you-are” birthday dinner party at our house.

Everyone was dressed comfortably and casually, but I wanted to do something kind of swanky for the table. Barf and DeEtta had already traveled quite a distance from Minnesota and still had another two hours to drive after dinner to get to Columbia. I wanted the table to be something she would enjoy but that would also be easy to put together since I was feeling particularly lazy. So I went with spiffed up basic black.

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Silver metal chargers and Noritake “Spectrum” china are my “go to” pieces that take a lot of guesswork out of the whole thing.

IMG_2718WMBlack napkins folded into a neat little square with an orchid bloom for a shot of color.

The menu card has a photo of Barf at 6 months old. Wasn’t she a cutie patootie? (Speaking of patooties, I tried to cover hers a little here with my watermark! :-)) Creating these menus was my favorite part of the whole set-up!

I went with J.A. Henckels “Bellaserra” flatware…just because. 🙂

IMG_2732WMAnother great “go to” is my Mikasa “Jamestown Platinum” stemware. I love it for its timeless beauty, its incredible versatility, and the way it feels in my hand. It’s perfect!

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I bought these cool triple-decker bling mirrors a while back at Hobby Lobby. Yes…Hobby Lobby! They’re very sturdy and reflect a lot of light. While they are meant to be hung on a wall, I decided they would make much better centerpiece trays. The neatly lined votive candles and 25″ metal case candles (much safer taper if you don’t want candlewax everywhere!!!) double back in the mirrors. My Dad was quite intrigued with the design.

Mirrored cylinders hold a mix of bright green cymbidium orchids, dusty miller (rescued from the back yard before the frost got to it!), and raw coffee bean clusters.

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I wanted something lush for a buffet piece that leaned toward fall without screaming it out loud. “Peacock White” flowering kale had both just the right color and texture I wanted mixed with the dusty miller, cymbidium orchids, and raw coffee beans. This heavy 4-light silver epergne (also seen here filled with mounds of baby’s breath at the “Princess Pink Birthday Party“) is a great buffet or centerpiece item, and it has a removable bowl for easy arranging and cleaning.

Candles and a small floral on the china cabinet.

L to R: Mom, Me, Daddy, DeEtta, and the Birthday Girl…Barf!!!

I’ve done a lot of teasing here (as always, because what are sisters for? ;-)), but I really do love my sister. She’s a very warm, kind, giving person with a heart as big as all outdoors.  Yes, she’s weird and goofy…but she’s mine.
Happy Birthday, Barf! 🙂

Note: This would make a great New Year’s Eve tablescape, too!!!

Other tablescapes on this site using a mirror centerpiece include:
Shake, Rattle, & Roll ‘Em!
Happy Birthday, Barf!
Hooray For Vodka!

Breakfast at Tiffany’s
Contemporary Christmas – Fire & Ice
Roses In October
Princess Pink Birthday Dinner

As is always my distinct pleasure, I am joining Susan and the other talented tablescapers from around the world for Tablescape Thursday this week. Won’t you come along?

Upscale Irish

I have a confession to make: I’m not Irish. What….this surprises you?!??!!! OK, every year I share a little corn beef & cabbage with friends of Irish descent, try with absolutely no luck to learn an Irish jig, and sometimes even put on a “Kiss Me, I’m Irish” t-shirt (mostly just for the smooches from my husband!). But that’s all part of the fun. Like they say, “On St. Patrick’s Day, everybody’s Irish!” Well, this year I have been challenged to dig a little deeper. A lady who prefers to remain nameless here wrote to me via Facebook asking if I could help her with ideas for “an elegant, upscale St. Patrick’s Day dinner party.” Hmmmmm….elegant and St. Patrick’s Day. Not two terms you usually hear in the same sentence. Here’s the trick to it: Ms. Anonymous is of Irish descent and entertaining her non-Irish future in-laws at her home for the very first time. The in-laws, as I understand it, are a bit…shall we say…reserved. The mere mention of green beer would send them into a tailspin! So, the challenge was to come up with a table that could demonstrate pride in her heritage (after all, the futures did insist that the 17th was the only day they could meet for dinner while in town!) but still embrace the formality the occasion will demand. After nearly 10 days of wracking my little pea brain for ideas, my friend Jim Mooney – owner of Midwest Embroidery (who, by the way, is the most fabulous fabric guy in the world!) – randomly sent me an email with gorgeous images of the Emerald Isle. The photos took my breath away. Further, they inspired me – along with the hauntingly beautiful strains of Garth Brooks’s “Ireland” playing over and over – to create the tablescape that I hope will help Ms. Anonymous win points with her future in-laws. Thanks, Jim! And here we go!

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The mood is set for a lovely evening with festive traditional touches including the color that best represents the so-called Emerald Isle: emerald green, of course!

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When I think of Ireland and St. Patrick’s Day, I think of a lot of gold alongside the green. On a crisp, white linen I stacked a gold leafed glass charger and an American Atelier “Florentine Gold Scroll” dinner and salad plate. To top it off, emerald green-stemmed dessert bowls from Old Time Pottery.

IMG_0422WMThese Pier 1 wine glasses with clear stems supporting an emerald green bowl seemed a perfect representation of the occasion’s prevailing color. The gold design around the rim is similar to that around the china. I bought these stems at the same time I bought these that I used for one of my Mardi Gras tables this year.

img_0424wm.jpgStarched white cotton napkins are closely hugged by these gold and green “Rock Spray” napkin rings from Pier 1.

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The center of the table is adorned with tall gold candlesticks alternated with simple free-flowing bouquets of Bells of Ireland and orchids. I considered pots of shamrock, but decided on this airy floral combination instead because of the height and tinge of sophistication it lends. Ms. Anonymous, you may want to go with slightly fuller arrangements since you are seating for 8 and have a larger table.

IMG_0437WMMy husband actually suggested that I use these emerald green votives in place of the gold mercury glass ones I had selected. Good goin’, Ramon! It really does work better! Your eye for this stuff is kinda starting to scare me, dude! 😉 I picked these votives up at Old Time Pottery last year.

After dinner, I suggest a digestif of Bailey’s Irish Cream. It can be served in tiny glasses such as these, or in rocks glasses (Irish crystal, of course!) over ice. Single-serve bottles of Bailey’s adorned with a green ribbon make a great favor for each guest!

OK….so this is my version of “Upscale Irish” for a St. Patrick’s Day dinner party. Ms. Anonymous, I hope you will be able to glean something useful from it, and I wish you much success with your dinner party! Thanks for the challenge…it was a doozy!

Other posts on this site with tables suitable for St. Patrick’s Day:

Apple Green Luncheon
Moss & Manzanitas
Ready for My Close-Up, Mr. DeMille
“Rolling Fields of Green”

I am joining Cuisine Kathleen’s St. Patrick’s Day Blog Crawl on March 15th. Just click the banner below to check out what some other very talented tablescapers are doing to celebrate the wearin’ o’ the green!

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“Ireland”
lyrics by Stephanie Davis, Jenny Yates, Garth Brooks

They say mother earth is breathing
With each wave that finds the shore
Her soul rises in the evening
For to open twilight’s door
Her eyes are the stars in heaven
Watching o’er us all the while
And her heart it is in Ireland
Deep within the Emerald Isle.

We are forty against hundreds
In someone else’s bloody war
We know not why we’re fighting
Or what we’re dying for
They will storm us in the morning
When the sunlight turns to sky
Death is waiting for its dance now
Fate has sentenced us to die.

(chorus)
Ireland I am coming home
I can see your rolling fields of green
And fences made of stone.
I am reaching out won’t you take my hand
I’m coming home Ireland.

Oh the captain he lay bleeding
I can hear him calling me
“These men are yours now for the leading
Show them to their destiny ”
And as I look up all around me
I see the ragged tired and torn
I tell them to make ready
‘Cause we’re not waiting for the morn.

Ireland I am coming home
I can see your rolling fields of green
And fences made of stone.
I am reaching out won’t you take my hand
I’m coming home Ireland.

Now the fog is deep and heavy
As we forge the dark and fear
We can hear their horses breathing
As in silence we draw near
There are no words to be spoken
Just a look to say good-bye
I draw a breath and night is broken
As I scream our battle cry.

Ireland I am coming home
I can see your rolling fields of green
And fences made of stone.
I am reaching out won’t you take my hand
I’m coming home Ireland.

Yes I am home Ireland

We Were Forty Against Hundreds…..

Ringing in the New Year

The year 2010 had its ups and downs. As we close the book on the previous 12 months and look to the year ahead, I continue to be thankful for everything and everyone in this wonderful life God has given me.

 

I am SO glad to see 2010 behind us! It was with great pleasure that I set this last table to help ring in the new year.

I’m showing the table with lights on and candlelight only to demonstrate the effect of the mirror ball. (For some reason that effect is not visible in the photos with the lights turned down.) It was so cool to watch the shimmer on the table all evening when all the candles were lit!!! Kind of made me want to put on some Bee Gees and strut my stuff! 🙂

  Once again here I’m showing the photos in both “lights on” and “dimmed light” mode so you get the idea of the effect. On a white cotton table linen, a shiny silver charger topped with Noritake’s “Spectrum” platinum-rimmed china dinner plate. The flatware is “Bellaserra” stainless by J.A. Henckels, and the stemware is Mikasa’s Jamestown Platinum.

Simple white cotton napkins are made special with the addition of these fabulous jeweled napkin rings in hues of silver, platinum, pewter and slate.

To the right of each place setting, a menu adorned with a tiny rhinestone for a more glamorous effect.

To the left, a fun little noisemaker for the midnight revelry. (I intentionally chose these horns in silver and gold. I like to introduce a touch of surprise color into each tablescape when possible. Kicks it up a notch and keeps the tablescape from appearing boring! 🙂 )

This had to be one of the most simple but stunning floral centerpieces I’ve ever used! This is plain ol’ everyday tree fern sprayed with silver paint and doused with a bit of shimmer. I picked it up from my local florist. Amazingly easy, inexpensive, and fun…a contemporary twist to a traditional celebration! (Please note that the tapers used were metal case Paradise candles that do not burn down. I suggest using these whenever placing candlesticks near a floral arrangement or other flammable objects to avoid near tragedies/disasters like this.)

The floral piece sat atop a 13″ round mirror to double back the sparkle and shine of the tree fern and the mercury glass votives. I’m not always a fan of mirrors unless they’re oversized like these or an unusual shape or design.

These 20mm ornaments were the perfect simulation of and substitute for the traditional mirror ball drop! I simply plopped them atop 5″H Revere candlesticks. (I considered hanging them from the ceiling, but they’re a bit heavy and the thought of them dropping onto the table and shattering glass everywhere – like in THIS Thanksgiving disaster – during dinner terrified me!) To see these mirror balls used in another New Year’s Eve tablescape, click HERE.

I hope you and yours enjoyed a wildly exuberant and joyous (yet safe!) New Year!!!

HAPPY 2011, y’all!!! 🙂

Other New Year’s Eve tablescapes on this blog you might enjoy include:
Hooray For Vodka!
Platinum New Year’s Eve Wedding
White Hot
Fete Noir et Gris

To kick off the new year, I am pleased to once again join Susan and my fellow tablescapers for Tablescape Thursday. After viewing my photos on the “Winter” tab, you might want to mosey on over to Susan’s place for a look-see at their creative designs! Happy New Year, one and all!

Shake Your Tail Feather

I am head over heels delighted to have designed an autumn tablescape in the very tastefully appointed home of Bob & Jean Sloan! Jean, owner of Invitations by Jean, has long been a colleague and friend. I have looked to her for fine stationery – invitations, menus, escort cards and more – for numerous fine weddings over the years.  I fell absolutely in love the first time I laid eyes on her traditionally furnished dining room. Jean’s remarkably refined taste is already apparent in the space, and my job was just to put the cherry on top with this lush table for 6.

The formal nature of my friend Jean Sloan’s dining room dictated a decidedly staid autumn tablescape with a few not-so-serious twists.

 

The crystal teardrops of Jean’s dazzling chandelier are repeated across the table set for 6 with the centerpiece, stemware and candle holders.

 

Plump red grapes, dotted with stray alstroemeria blooms, cascade over the side of the crystal epergne. (My husband will be eating leftover grapes for weeks to come!)

 

Clusters of richly colored alstroemeria are arranged in cut crystal Godinger “Olympia” rose bowls. The reddish-brown color adds the “oomph” needed to rescue the tablescape from looking too monochromatic.

 

Pheasant feathers plopped into cut crystal bud vases create a stir at each end of the table. They not only complement the colors and theme of the dishware, but add texture to the tablescape.

 

Gorgeous cut crystal votive holders add shimmer close to the table surface.

 

The rich dark wood of Jean’s dining table was the perfect backdrop to the burnished gold chargers topped with brown transferware dinner and salad plates. The oak leaf-shaped soup bowl is from Pier 1. The flatware is Royal Danish sterling silver, a treasured gift from my Mom’s collection.

 

I found the beautiful dishware with this exquisite peacock motif at a boutique called Home Finishings here in Lee’s Summit. The price tag caused a little agony, but I finally caved and bought enough for 12. SO worth it!!! This close-up shows the intricate pastoral pattern that depicts the proud creature displaying his lush plumage as his less fortunate feathered friends look on. (See these beautiful dishes used again HERE.)

 

Another fun twist to an otherwise traditionally set table are these jumbo carved wood acorns atop each napkin. I picked these up at Pier 1 a couple of years ago.

 

I love the intricate diamond-shaped cutwork in the Cristal d’Arques Longchamps stemware. The stemware design mimics that of the centerpiece epergne and crystal bowls. Notice here, too, the pretty crystal knife rests. People don’t use those a lot anymore, but I find them both pretty and practical.

 

Many thanks to Jean Sloan for letting me fulfill a fantasy autumn tablescape!

A few other autumn tablescapes on this site include:
Italian Honeysuckle
Most Egg-cellent Breakfast
Copper Zen
Celebrating Longview Farm
Casual Fall Harvest Dinner
September Harvest Breakfast
Pumpkins & Peacocks
Wondrous Wheat
Pheasants & Peacocks
Best Laid Plans
Serape High Style
Sunflower Simple
Raining Orchids
September Wine
Autumn Blues

This is my very first time participating in Tablescape Thursdays on the Between Naps on the Porch blog site. If you would like to see lots of other tablescapers’ creations, just click on the Between Naps on the Porch link to your right.