(a re-post from September 2010)
(a re-post from September 2010)
This is a 2-minute compilation video of the birthday celebration.
See still photos below.
My Mom very recently celebrated her 88th birthday. Here’s the thing, though: In no way does this woman personify the “typical” 88-year-old. Although she retired from the Missouri Senate about 6 years ago to care for my ailing Dad, she never really retired. She still has a seat on several boards, is active in her church and community, shops like a demon, and continues to pick up various civic awards. In fact, I had to postpone her annual birthday luncheon by 5 days so that she could attend an awards luncheon on her actual birthday! The Starr Women’s Hall of Fame Induction & Award Luncheon had an impressive guest list of about 1,000 and featured keynote speaker actor/activist/author Ashley Judd (so nice, so pretty, and a powerful speaker). It was a different but fun way to celebrate.
How on earth could I possibly follow something as cool as that??!?!??!!? Answer: Don’t even try to compete! Just do what you do, or as the kids say, “Just do you.”
The invitations were the inspiration for the tablescape. My Mom has always loved piano music (she endured me tickling the ivories for years!), and so I came up with the idea to pair the 88 keys of the piano with the celebration of her 88 years. I bought 3-part invitations at Hobby Lobby, but decided to create the actual invitation insert myself on plain white cardstock. You’ll see what I did with the other part later.
We moved the keyboard upstairs from the basement level to the library for our featured pianist, 10-year-old music student Gabriella Howell, to regale the ladies as they arrived for cocktail hour. (This is Gabriella with her mother, my friend, Angelynn Howell.)
Each guest stopped in the foyer to greet Mom and have an individual photo taken with her. Guests included longtime friends and family. I asked guests to please wear black, white, or a combination of the two for the event so that Mom would stand out in her brilliant red outfit.
The dining table was, as almost always during inclement weather, set up in the living room. In keeping with our 88 Keys theme, I chose black & white striped stretch chair covers from LinenTablecloth.com. I’ve used these same chair covers in other diverse tablescapes including Hometown Pride: Kansas City Chiefs vs. Denver Broncos and Blurred Lines With Shades of Pink. The invitation and menu had beautiful black & white damask, so I represented that in the table runner, also from LinenTablecloth.com.
The tablecloth used on each of the two 6-ft. tables is simply a white washable 90″ x 132″ poly from LinenTablecloth.com. I loosely tie the ends to keep guests from tripping over the generously proportioned cloth.
Nothing pops on black and white quite like red does, so I put together five arrangements of deep red regular size and spray roses along with fluffy, fragrant carnations in cut crystal rose bowls. Simple, but elegant.
Each place setting began with a black charger in a contemporary cut topped with a simple square cut B. Smith plate. Black “San Remo” flatware is paired with a cut crystal-handled luncheon knife. “Longchamps” stemware completes the setting.
Here is where I used the intended invitation insert…for the menu! I couldn’t get them to go through my computer, so I MacGyver’ed it and printed the menu onto plain white cardstock which was then cut to size and clipped to the backdrop with a tiny black clothespin from Michaels. The red grosgrain ribbon and rhinestone buckle were included with the invitations, so I used them to add a dash of color to the menu. The menus were placed atop a plain black napkin set on the luncheon plates.
After-luncheon coffee and dessert service was set up on the breakfast bar. Our kitchen is mercifully decorated in black & white, so everything worked well together through the semi-open space.
I found painted white wood numbers in the clearance bin at Hobby Lobby.
The dollar store now has cool black & white striped paper napkins!!!
I made vanilla cupcakes with light buttercream frosting sprinkled with red & black sugar confetti. They are displayed on white Ralph Lauren “Pavillion” cake stands.
No one leaves our home after an event without some sort of favor in hand! I baked sugar cookies, some in musical note shapes and some stamped with musical notes using black gel dye. The black & white striped cardboard favor boxes from Michaels each got a splatter of notes, too. I stuffed them with black & white crinkled & shredded paper.
Happy 88th Birthday, Mom! You know I so enjoy being able to host you and your friends each year. Here’s wishing you many, many more!
If you’d like to see previous birthday celebrations for my Mom:
“Celebrating 85 Years of Fabulous”,
One more you might really like on this site:
“The Party She Deserves”
Happy April, everyone!
I want to say a great big THANK YOU to all of the people who have sent emails requesting specific ideas for upcoming events! While I’m not able to do pictorials on each and every one, I hope the emails and photos I’m able to send to you are of help. Keep ’em comin’! Right now is a great time since our personal social calendar has slowed a bit!
Meanwhile, I have created a very special idea table for a very special occasion. In honor of the blushing bride, her maid-of-honor requested ideas for a do-it-yourself table that could easily work with the existing dinnerware and other set-up items provided by the venue. To get an idea of what that could look like, I set up a tablescape depicting an easy DIY pink and white wedding shower/luncheon. A huge shout out to Cindy King at The Stanley Historic Event Space in downtown Lee’s Summit, Mo., for allowing us to come in and use her beautiful space for our demo table.
The maid-of-honor wants all 24 guests to sit at a single table, so we put two 6-ft. tables end-to-end and draped them with floor length white linens. This demonstration seats 12, so simply double it. I recommend the use of floor length linens whenever possible for “dressy” events. When entertaining at home, you can get away with lap length, although it’s nice to go all the way to the floor if you can. Affordable floor length linens in many colors and sizes can be purchased at online stores such as Linen Tablecloth.com. (Beware, though…the customer service at LinenTablecloth.com sucks!)
Like The Stanley, many venues have soaring ceilings. Unlike The Stanley, however, not all venues’ ceilings look the greatest. To “fill up the dead space” without overwhelming the table, try using a tall, airy centerpiece as demonstrated in these 20″H white glass vases. So as not to deliberately draw attention to the unattractive ceiling, though, do not exceed half the height to the ceiling for your centerpiece. The idea is to psychologically cut the eye’s interest off at the top of the arrangement. Using branches like fresh curly willow, which is both popular and easily obtained, keeps the look light and see-through. (Another example of this is seen here.) This is also a good place to add touches of the prevailing color. Again, a few branches with blooms dispersed amongst the curly willow will easily and inexpensively achieve that goal. You’ll also want to bring color closer to the table which can be achieved by using smaller vases of the same color with compact bouquets. In this instance, we used pink sweetheart roses.
If your venue has windows, carry the flavor of the table to those windows with additional bouquets. Depending on the look you want, use either short and compact bouquets as shown above to achieve this more demure look or, for a more dramatic feel, taller arrangements that have the same wispiness as the tall ones on the table. Displaying arrangements in the windows gives guests a little hint of what’s to come as they approach the building. Just be careful not to totally obscure the view. That’s part of the charm and attraction of a room with a view!
For a clean, classic look, it’s all about repetition. With this particular look, everything must be lined up perfectly so that photos present the table in its best light. See here about measuring.
Most venues provide as a part of their package either round or oblong dining tables with basic white, black or ivory linens. Not all venues provide floor length as a standard, but can provide them with an upcharge. White plates – usually round, but sometimes square in these modern times – are also a staple, as is plain flatware. To make the most of it, work with the colors provided by adding lots of a complementary color of your choice. Here, pink is the bride’s signature color. It is repeated in the florals, the napkins (for which a nominal upcharge of about $1.50 would likely be applied), and the menus for maximum punch. The napkin fold here is kept simple, across the plate and uniformly dropping over the side. Although this fold is simple, a ladies’ luncheon is the perfect time to experiment with fun or lavish styles.
Standard clear glass stemware is also a staple at most venues. Not to despair…as long as it has a classic shape, it will have plenty of appeal!
The oblong table used by most venues are only 30″ wide, so space is at a premium. To make the most of the available real estate, try combining your menu and place card as seen above and place it on the plate. DIYers can create something on your home computer or use pre-made note cards. The pink floral theme is continued on the front of this card in the shape of a heart.
To avoid monotony, add an unexpected but coordinating color in either tiny bits or in one big wallop. Here, a cake plate stacked high with bright green Granny Smith apples in the dead center of the table does the trick. Decorating with fruit is an easy and cost effective way to add color, texture and contrasting shapes to your tablescape.
I hope this helps! Pink and white wedding decor is my all-time favorite, so this was fun to do. Best wishes for a magnificent bridal shower! More tablescapes using curly willow on this site:
“Welcome Back, Joel”