Polly Want a Party!

Every summer I feel the need to do one real doozy of a tablescape, and earlier this summer THIS was IT.  My inspiration: the pool parties and other hot cha cha patio gatherings my parents hosted WAY back in the day (1960s), and it just kind of took off from there.
(P.S. – In response to requests to please do so, I have turned the Comments section back on. PLEASE do not feel obligated in any way to comment. I’m totally OK with “glance-and-go” or “peek-and-pin” without remarks. The Comments section is merely there for your convenience.)

C’mon up the back steps and join the Beach Blanket Bingo fun! (Those 55+ will totally understand that reference!)

 

When we got new energy-efficient windows, I couldn’t bear to part with all of the original ones that came with the house. I use them in decorative ways in various places inside and out like here at the top of the deck steps.

 

The barrage of bright-colored paper lanterns hung with hot pink ribbon starts here at the top of the stairs.

 

 

This old wrought iron bakers rack on the deck comes in handy for food and beverage service from time to time. Here I have stacked up bamboo trays, plates and flatware bundles for those who prefer to eat away from the main table. Just pick up your tray cafeteria style, go through the buffet line, then pick your seat! Notice the throwback paper honeycomb pineapples! (To see this baker’s rack completely decked out for food service, check out “Patisserie de Paris“.

 

 

 

 

The “lounge” area of the deck includes the coffee table where an abundance of fresh tropical fruit serves as a centerpiece. I spread out a trio of monstera leaf placemats over the glass for visual interest.

 

 

 

A mini bar is set up on a round side table. Today’s specialties: your choice of mind-blowing margaritas or fresh and frothy piña coladas! (Seriously, y’all…drink a couple of my margaritas and you’ll find yourself in a hotel room with a tramp stamp, eyebrow piercing and French braided hair, staring at a license signed by “Not-the-Real-Elvis” that makes it official between you and some gnarly barely-of-age surfer dude named Bodhi!)

 

 

I used weathered crates (reminds me of driftwood) as side tables in a couple of areas. Yep…there sits one of those life-altering margaritas! The bamboo tray is loaded up and can easily balance on your lap. To see another way I’ve used these bamboo trays purchased at Old Time Pottery, see “Orange You Glad You Came to Dinner?” And speaking of dinner, I guess I should show you the actual table!

 

A sweeping 108-in. fuchsia tablecloth from LinenTablecloth.com sets the scene for this table for 5.

 

 

I like to layer up! In this instance, TWO placemats: natural round “Water Hyacinth” from Pier 1 topped with a fun and floppy off-center monstera leaf from Z Gallerie. (I also used the monstera leaf placemats for “Caribbean Queen“.) The brightly colored ruffled chargers in hot pink, lime, and turquoise are from Crate & Barrel, and can also be seen on posts like “Popsicle Party“, “Pleasant Under Glass“, and “Tropicana“.

 

Faux bamboo flatware is a staple around here! I use it a LOT!!!

 

Paper napkins striped with bright colors are tucked into these fun parrot napkin rings from Z Gallerie.

 

Mixing stemware is a definite YES!!! Just find something that ties them together like shape, color, or style. (The aqua blue stemware is from Pier 1, and the clear hurricane glasses from Old Time Pottery.)

 

 

Just like on the bar (filled with lemons and limes), these jaunty floral Hawaiian shorts are a fun addition! Here the shorts are filled with sago palms for an easy-to-assemble tropical centerpiece.

 

 

 

Yes, my paper lantern addiction continues!! (Don’t they look extra pretty in that 2nd pic with the lights glowing?) This time they have a bright pink grass skirt backdrop. I dropped in a few more swingin’ parrots, too.

 

Off to the side is a bowl of leis for guests to get in the spirit of the evening. Flip flops for everyone!!!

 

Cheers, everyone, from my buddy, Barbara (who is probably still laid out trying to make the room stop spinning from this drink!!!).

Other tropical-inspired posts on this blog include:
Flashy Flamingos – Navy, White & Pink Tablescape
Summer Breeze
Hot Tropical
Hot Fun In the Summertime
Flamingos In Paradise
Old Navy Seafood Cruise
Oranges & Blossoms
Caribbean Queen
Tropicana

Other posts using paper lanterns include:
Fairy Princess Party for Little Girls
Chinese Takeout
Cupcake Colors
Butterfly Kaleidoscope
Blue & White 30th Birthday
Easter Brunch
Under A Paper Moon

I’m joining Susan and the gang for “Tablescape Thursday” this week. If you want to see some really cool tablescapes by a variety of talented artists, head on over!

 

 

 

 

Caribbean Queen – One Table, Three Looks

The good people at LinenTablecloth.com were so kind as to send me some great linens – including a fabulous summertime color called Caribbean – to create a tablescape. I have been an avid LinenTablecloth.com shopper since discovering them two years ago. They have a vast selection of colors and sizes that are priced just right. (Why rent when you can buy outright for about the same price or less, right?) Thanks to their generosity, here’s one table going from budget-friendly ($) to mid-priced ($$) to extravagant ($$$) using the same linens & place setting. All of these tablescapes would be great for an Asian-inspired or tropical-themed wedding reception, rehearsal dinner, birthday, bon voyage party, or any summer soirée.
(Click on any photo, then click again to enhance/enlarge it and see details.)

Three Table collage

Upper right: The Extravagant ($$$)
Lower right: The Budget-Friendly ($)
Left: Meeting in the Middle ($$)

The brilliant Caribbean blue tablecloth was my inspiration for this table that can boast great decor ranging from a relative little to a lot of $$$.

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One - Budget-friendly tropical theme tablescapeLet’s start with the most modestly-priced of our three tablescapes.

Linen & placemat collageEach of the three tablescapes begin with a 48″ table (seats up to 6 depending on the chair and charger size you select), covered in a full-length white (108″) round tablecloth that is topped with an 85″ square Caribbean blue linen and fuchsia satin table runner (14″ x 108″), all from LinenTablecloth.com. I like to use white with brilliant tropical colors to offer a little balance. The deep green of the monstera leaf placemat from Z Gallerie is a neat contrast to the brighter colors, and it adds visual depth and texture. The placemat could be eliminated if you’re looking to cut your budget a little bit deeper. (TIP: Another linen look to consider is to eliminate the runner, add a 90″ round fuchsia linen on top of the white, and keep the 85″ square Caribbean top. This look is a little more pricey, but is a lush layered look as seen HERE.)

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One - Place setting for tropical-themed tablescapeThe place setting is the same for each of our three tables. It starts with a white faux crocodile charger from Bed Bath & Beyond, topped with a bright orange dinner plate from the Dollar Tree (a.k.a. Deal$ is some areas) and a beautiful tropical print melamine salad plate from Pier 1.

Flatware & rim shot collageFaux bamboo flatware from JC Penney Outlet lends more tropical flair. In these photos you can really see the texture of the flatware and the faux crocodile charger. Bamboo trees and crocodiles are found throughout the tropics, so I thought these to be good choices for this theme. Of course, a smooth white charger and unembellished flatware would work as well. (Have you seen that reusable bamboo cutlery sold at places like Target, World Market, and on Amazon.com? Perfect for this setting!) TIP: Having trouble finding white chargers? Spray paint inexpensive acrylic chargers from places like Hobby Lobby or Michaels.

Napkin collageVivid fuchsia napkins from LinenTablecloth.com pick up colors in the salad plate and complement the table runner. The fun parrot napkin rings from Z Gallerie are a bright white which, again, adds contrast.

Mini martini glassesNever think for one moment that you have to always use the “correct” glass for casual table settings. Go for glassware that looks great and complements the overall table design. Here, a juicy orange squatty martini glass from Old Time Pottery sits alongside a mini with a clear bowl and Caribbean blue base from Pier 1.

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One:Budget-friendly tropical centerpiece using white coral, dyed blue starfish with bright pink plumeria

Coral & starfish collageThe budget-friendly centerpiece is comprised of large white sea coral from Pottery Barn dotted with large and small blue-dyed starfish from Hobby Lobby. Small Caribbean blue glass vases from Hobby Lobby hold clusters of fuchsia-colored plumeria. This easy-to-make, inexpensive centerpiece offers lots of color and texture, and it sits low for easy dinner conversation among guests. (You can find large seashells of all kinds at craft stores like Hobby Lobby and Michaels. TIP: If the color isn’t to your liking, follow instructions from my blog buddy, Babs, at Upstairs-Downstairs for painting great-looking seashells.

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One: Medium budget tropical-themed tablescapeMoving on to our mid-priced tablescape where the linens and place settings remain the same.

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One: Mid-priced tropical-themed centerpiece with white parrots from Z Gallerie, white coral, blue starfish and fuchsia plumeria

Fuchsia plumeria blossoms in Caribbean blue glass vase

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One: Tropical-themed tablescape with white Z Gallerie parrots as part of the centerpieceThe primary difference in our mid-priced tablescape is the centerpiece. The large white sea coral, starfish, and plumeria blossoms all remain, but a lofty pair of white parrots from Z Gallerie are added to the mix. The parrots (previously used HERE) bring more white into the centerpiece as well as adding height and an exquisite textural element.

IFOur third and final tablescape is a lot more dramatic. Drama, of course, often = $$$

IF

Floral collageThe nearly 5-ft. tall floral centerpiece is in a slender white bamboo vase from Z Gallerie. The vase is slender enough for guests to still carry on unencumbered conversation. The girth is dispatched to the top of the arrangement using large monstera leaves, sword fern, philodendron, spikes, orange medinilla, and fuchsia-colored plumeria.

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One: Tropical tablescapeThe up side to tall, top-heavy centerpieces is that they look fantastic and add more drama than an episode of “Scandal”. 😉 The down side, however, is that they can be very sensitive to motion. Wind and inadvertent bumps against the table are a tall centerpiece’s nastiest foes. Opt for a lower or more bottom-heavy centerpiece if your event is to be held outdoors where wind is always a possibility. TIP: ALWAYS weight down your vase with sand, stones, or some other medium that will help to steady it since you can’t have a cute Wind Watcher at every table like I did for this photo shoot! 🙂 (See that breeze whipping those linens around??!)

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One: Three Tropical-themed Centerpieces collageSo there you have it! One table, same linens and place settings, different centerpieces ranging from $ – $$$. If the centerpiece or place setting elements used in these tablescapes is still beyond your budget parameters, consider other wallet-friendly or DIY project alternatives.

NOTE TO BRIDES: This is a good example of how you might do 3 different designs in your reception room that all complement one another. Consider doing 1/3 high, 1/3 mid-size, and 1/3 modest. That way, your room has drama up high but doesn’t look like a forest!

Other tropical-themed tablescapes on this site:
Tropicana
Flamingos in Paradise
Hot Tropical
Summer Breeze
Surf & Turf Dinner
Love & Orchids
“Old Navy Seafood Cruise”

I am so happy to once again join The Style Sisters for “Centerpiece Wednesday”, Cuisine Kathleen for “Let’s Dish!”, Susan at Between Naps on the Porch for “Tablescape Thursday”, and The Home Girl for Festive Friday Fiesta. Check them out!

Blue & White 30th Birthday

No, silly…not my 30th birthday! We just hosted our 3rd and final child’s 30th birthday party this past Sunday. I’m putting this photo first because seeing 3 of them through to 30 deserves a celebratory drink…or two…or three! 🙂
(All photos by Sheri L. Grant. Click any image to enhance/enlarge it.)

The guest of honor requested Chinese food for her party, so cool….Asian cuisine and decor it is! As guests arrived they were invited to enjoy a virgin Mai Tai (with “fuel” provided on the side for those of us who like it leaded!!! ;-)) A mix of pineapple & orange juices splashed with cherry limeade made up the Mai Tais, and I threaded orange slices and maraschino cherries onto fun bamboo skewers from World Market to dress them up and add flavor. These beautiful cobalt blue champagne flutes from Dollar Tree were a perfect companion to our blue & white theme throughout. (Shopping at Dollar Tree and Deal$ – owned by the same parent company – is a smart way to really stretch your tablescaping dollars!) Ralph Lauren “Mandarin” plates are a decorative addition to the foyer table along with mums floating in Pier 1 white ceramic bowls.

One by one, the guests began to arrive. (My stepdaughter/the guest of honor, Robyn, is the one wearing the white sleeveless blouse.)

Because we have such a tiny dining room, we turned the family room into a casual chic Chinese restaurant in blue and white for the evening. I used white outdoor bistro chairs here, but if you can splurge on a bamboo Chiavari or Chippendale chair or even a wicker or seagrass chair…that would be beyond fabulous!!! Let your budget dictate what you use. Bamboo chairs are SO on my wish list!!!

After draping two 6-ft. oblong tables with white full-length linens to create a sumptuously long 12-foot Tuscan-style table, I created place settings using square rattan chargers from Tuesday Morning. I had my sister running all over Minnesota (the closest state to Missouri where there were more of them!) looking for enough of these for 12. Thanks, Barf! Fun monstera leaf placemats from Z Gallerie added depth and color. White square plates from the B. Smith collection (Bed Bath & Beyond) and beautiful rice bowls with a cutout for chopsticks from Old Time Pottery finish off the place setting. We kept the rice bowls on the plates as decor until just before guests were seated for dinner, at which time we moved them to the center of the table and placed the chopsticks alongside the flatware.

I never know who prefers what, so I included both Cambridge dark faux bamboo flatware (Home Goods and One King’s Lane) and stainless steel chopsticks I picked up from an Asian market in Overland Park, KS. The blue & white ceramic chopstick rests came from that same market for a very reasonable price. I bought the beautiful mother of pearl mosaic napkin rings at Old Time Pottery, but I have also seen them at Z Gallerie.

Cobalt blue goblets from Dollar Tree used for orange spice tea match the champagne flutes used for Mai Tais upon the guests’ arrival.

This large blue & white ceramic ginger jar from Home Goods served as the anchor for the extended centerpiece which also included two smaller ginger jars. All were set atop lacquered rosewood stands from Old Time Pottery to give them more prominence on the table.

To lend height, color, texture, and drama to the table, I used clear gooseneck fluted vases to hold oversized monstera leaves from Hobby Lobby that mimicked the placemats. By all means, if you have access to real monstera leaves, go for it with gusto!!! Fan palms or banana leaves would also look really cool!

I wanted the table to have an exotic Far East feel about it, so I added these cool white parrots from Z Gallerie to the mix. (To see another post with these parrots, click HERE for “Caribbean Queen”.) They looked right at home perched in the “shade” of the monstera leaves and pinkish mums.

My original idea was to hang white paper lanterns throughout the room, but the persistent pain of not one but two torn rotator cuffs put the brakes on that in a hurry. All that overhead work would have done me in for sure! So I opted to hang a few in the window (with hubby’s help!) and display more on top of the big, bulky television armoire. If you can’t move it out, decorate it!

It hit 95 degrees this day, so no one opted for hot tea after dinner. A good hostess is always prepared, though! The teapot is from Pier 1, and the little teacups are from World Market. I bought the trio of graduated size bamboo trays from a wholesaler years ago. They were stacked like this in storage, and I thought they would look cool (as well as add height) if I kept them that way.

Robyn’s favorite is chicken fried rice, so that had to be front and center on the buffet table set up in the dining room.

Appetizers included spring rolls, crab rangoon and lettuce wraps.

Another appetizer was skewered chunks of fresh pineapple and strawberries from Costco set on white miso spoons from Pier 1 and drizzled with honey. The spoons are displayed on bamboo trays purchased at Old Time Pottery.

Surely you do not think for a New York minute that I actually cooked all of this food? Ha! I leave Chinese food to the die-hard professionals who know their way around a wok! Oriental Express in Kansas City, MO, has some of the best Chinese food around, and the service always comes with a great smile from beautiful Jie (I hope I spelled that right!). Cooked to perfection every time for a very reasonable price, it’s worth the 25-minute drive from our house! Many, many thanks to everyone there for providing such a wonderful meal!!! (Full disclosure: The spring rolls and lettuce wraps were a last-minute addition from Costco.)

Oriental Express on Urbanspoon

The back buffet was simply decorated with another ginger jar on a rosewood stand flanked by two (faux) bonsai trees (TJ Maxx) and bowls (Hobby Lobby) of fresh floating mums.

After dinner, Ramon presented Robyn with her beautiful (and delicious!!!) cake from Patrick Snuffer Cakes (816-452-7590). He free-handed a cherry blossom branch in icing to go along with our Asian theme. (Do you see how Ramon is holding that cake…making it sag in the middle??? I’m going to have to give the little Mr. a good talkin’ to! :-))

After dinner and dessert, we played a fun (and slightly naughty!) fortune cookie game called “In Bed.” One of my silly former colleagues introduced me to this game about 20 years ago. Each person opens their cookie and reads their fortune aloud ending it with the words “in bed.” Try it sometime….as you can see from the expression on the guests’ faces, it’s hilarious!!!!!!!! 🙂 (Poor Mike was sweatin’ bullets reading that in front of my husband and me!)

The birthday girl and her beau, Mike, looking like the cats that ate the canary. They have a LOT of teeth, don’t they? The teeth just go on for miles, and miles, and miles, and miles….!!! 🙂
Happy 30th Birthday, Robyn!!!

More Asian-inspired tablescapes on this blog:
Mandarin Bling
Year of the Rabbit
Peaceful Peonies
Copper Zen
Mikasa ‘Daylight’ Giveaway
Mum’s the Word
Zen Garden

More posts using paper lanterns:
Under a Paper Moon
Easter Brunch

More posts on this site using cobalt blue:
Daffodillyicious
Peony Power
Surf & Turf Dinner
Brilliant Italian
Summer Blues & Greens

I am joining Susan over at Between Naps on the Porch for “Tablescape Thursday” anytime after 9:00 a.m. CDT. Join me, won’t you?