Stars & Stripes

IF

INSPIRATION: My Daddy. A man who gave much to his country through tireless service in his community and unparalleled love for his family.

I’d like to thank my regular readers for your kind indulgence and your incredibly compassionate phone calls, cards and emails over these last several weeks as I took time to care for and then ultimately say goodbye to my Daddy. (A SUPER BIG thanks to Liz at “Infuse With Liz” for fielding questions on my behalf!) These last few weeks have been some of the hardest of my life. I saw a person I have literally known all of my life slowly wither before my eyes. I lived with Daddy at the hospital and then at Hospice House for the final week of his life. When it became apparent the end was just minutes away (Ramon told me the signs to look for), I crawled into bed with him and held him as tightly as I could to keep his gaunt little body warm until the angels came to take him home to Jesus. I wanted this remarkable, scholarly, introspective, golf-playing, popcorn/apple pie/peanut butter on waffles-eating former farm boy of a man who lived his life with gusto and touched so many in such positive ways to know without question that he was loved and cherished on the day he died even more than the day he was born. My Daddy, James B. “Jim” Wilson, a.k.a. “The Kissing Bandit”, no longer walks this earth. He now lives in what I have chosen to call a “cozy upscale one-bedroom condo with fabulous marble door, incredible pastoral view, and very quiet neighbors”, a.k.a. a mausoleum at a nearby cemetery. (Daddy was a commercial realtor. I think he would be proud of my description!) I know I can go there to visit anytime I wish without calling ahead or dressing up or having anything of real interest to talk about, just like always. It will be just my Daddy and me..hangin’ out.

I am back to blogging for just a moment. There is still much to do in the way of “tying up loose ends” that must be addressed and preparation for the now rescheduled surgery previously planned for June 21st. I had this 4th of July tablescape all set, photographed, and ready to publish, though, so I’d like to share it with you.
(Click on any photo, then click again to enlarge it and see close-up details.)

Full deck - Stars & Stripes, Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One

Full table - Stars & Stripes, Tablescapes at Table Twenty-OneI set up this casual table for 12 on a clear, sunny day back in May. Two 6-ft. folding tables are nattily dressed in double layers: full-length 90″ x 132″ white topped with a 60″ x 102″ navy blue tablecloth from LinenTablecloth.com. The 4th of July is the time to dress a table in multiple hues that reflect the colors of our nation’s flag! (LinenTablecloth.com has some GREAT patriotic linens in stars and stripes, too! They’re on sale this week, so it’s not too late to get them for your 4th of July tablescape!!!)

Multiple place settings - Stars & Stripes, Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One

Patriotic place setting - Stars & Stripes, Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One

Napkins & flatware, rim shot, flag on plate collage

Stemware - Stars & Stripes, Tablescapes at Table Twenty-OneEach place setting starts with a woven rattan square charger from Tuesday Morning. Stark white square dinner plates from the B. Smith collection at Bed, Bath & Beyond are topped with square navy salad plates from Pier 1. A small American flag is a natural guest favor. I wanted the napkins (doubled because let’s face it…barbecue is messy and you’ll need at least two!) to really stand out against the deep navy tablecloth, so I draped a bright red one off the side of the table at each setting and then topped them with alternating stars or stripes in navy & white. The flatware is one of my favorites with such an appropriate name for Independence Day: Hampton Silversmith’s “Patriotic – Mirror”. The simple clear glassware is from Old Time Pottery.

White resin bistro chairs - Stars & Stripes, Tablescapes at Table Twenty-OneEven humble white bistro chairs look great when all lined up like soldiers!

Patriotic floral centerpiece - Stars & Stripes, Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One

Table flags & Pelligrino collageThe centerpiece that marches the entire length of the table is very simple but effective. Two large white glass vases are filled with lots of branches dotted with small white flowers. Look closely…the profusion of blossoms kind of reminds you of a fireworks display in the sky! Or perhaps sparklers?! Smaller white vases filled with bouquets of small American flags from Target are placed at intervals along with flag pairs on tabletop stands. Bottles of Pellegrino are placed on the table for guests, and they look right at home with their sassy red stars.

Buffet table - Stars & Stripes, Tablescapes at Table Twenty-OneThe small buffet table has decor befitting the occasion that complements the dining table.

American flag "bouquet" - Stars & Stripes, Tablescapes at Table Twenty-OneA large “bouquet” of American flags poked into a white ceramic vase flaps in the wind.

Pelligrino collage - Stars & Stripes, Tablescapes at Table Twenty-OneI love it when food packaging works into my decorating scheme!!!

Watermelon slice, stacked plates, forks, iron stars collageThese rustic cast iron stars usually hang out in a guest bedroom, but today they are part of this tablescape. A juicy watermelon wedge sits atop a stack of white appetizer plates from Crate & Barrel.

Barbershop Quartet Boater - Stars & Stripes, Tablescapes at Table Twenty-OneI’ve had these fun turn-of-the-century boaters for a long time. The red, white & blue trim takes me back to the days of Teddy Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson or Harry S. Truman when barbershop quartets were cool and politics might have actually been fun! 🙂

Cake plateaus, whole watermelon, Absolut collageI’m a big fan of “grown up dessert” made of a whole watermelon injected with vodka. Delicious, light, juicy, and FUN!!! The red, white & blue ceramic cake stands are from Hobby Lobby.

Other tablescapes with a patriotic theme on this site:
All-American Seafood Boil
“Stars & Stripes”

“4th of July Coastal Style”
Lauren in the Library
American Royal Tablescape
Show Me State Dinner
Red, White & Blueberries
Peacefully Patriotic

I’ll be rejoining a couple of fun blog parties this week: Cuisine Kathleen’s “Let’s Dish!” on Wednesday after 6:00 p.m. (CDT) and Susan’s “Tablescape Thursday” on Thursday after 9:00 a.m. I hope you’ll come along with me to these parties to see what all the other talented tablescapers out there are doing for the 4th of July holiday! Check me out at BeBetsy.com, too!

In support of our military and their families, please join me for The Coconut Head Survival Guide’s “Memorial Day Patriot’s Palooza Party”!!!

Lauren in the Library

If Memorial Day weekend tends to be more about quiet reflection than barbecues and poolside play for you, this red, white & blue tablescape may be right up your alley. My inspiration this week comes not so much from something you can see, but the feeling in the pit of my stomach when I turned on the television this past week to see that we had lost yet another soldier from the Greater Kansas City area. Sgt. 1st Class Trenton L. Rhea, 33, was a member of the 200th Military Police Company in Belton, Mo., a suburb of Kansas City where I lived years ago. He drowned as he attempted to cross a body of water during combat operations in Kandahar, Afghanistan. My heart goes out to the family and friends of Sgt. Rhea and to all of those left behind to mourn the loss and cherish the memory of loved ones killed while in service to our country.
(Click on any photo to enhance/enlarge it to see details up close.)

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One - Lauren in the Library, full room

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One – Lauren in the Library: overhead photo

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One – Lauren in the Library: Full table, close-upThis formal patriotic table for five began with a full-length white tablecloth topped with a navy blue square one from LinenTablecloth.com. Doubling (or even tripling!) the table linens renders a more lush look and plays up a multi-color theme.

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One – Lauren in the Library: Place settingEach place setting begins with a gold-leafed glass charger. A pristine white dinner plate with a prim gold rim comes next, and then finally a Ralph Lauren “Knockhill” navy blue-rimmed salad plate. While Knockhill is actually the name of a Scottish race car circuit, the red, white and blue coloring of the plate and the very regal crest seemed to work for this patriotic setting.

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One – Lauren in the Library: Flatware, rim shot, Lauren emblem collage

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One – Lauren in the Library: Red & blue ribbon on white linenThe simple addition of red and navy blue ribbon adds instant patriotic flair to the white napkins. Notice how the ends of the ribbon are dovetailed to mimic those of the Ralph Lauren banner on the salad plate. Gold flatware complements the charger and dinner plate rim.

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One – Lauren in the Library: StemwareCrystal stemware rimmed in gold.

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One – Lauren in the Library: Red rose ball centerpiece, front view

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One – Lauren in the Library: Red rose ball centerpiece - overhead view

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One – Lauren in the Library: White ceramic urn

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One – Lauren in the Library: Urn collage

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One – Lauren in the Library: Candlestick collageWhat flower conveys messages of both love and tradition as clearly as red roses? Here, four smaller red rose balls surround a larger centered one, all in white ceramic urns. Stately gold candlesticks with formal white candles stand tall on each side of the centerpiece. (Faux flowers were used for demonstrative purposes here, but I encourage you to use fresh for “real” formal tablescapes.)

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One – Lauren in the Library: gold mercury glass votive holdersThe centerpiece is finished off with two pairs of gold mercury glass votive holders for ambient light.

This tablescape would work well for any U.S. patriotic holiday (Memorial Day, Independence Day, Flag Day, Armed Forces Day, Labor Day, Veterans Day), but might perhaps also be appropriate for political dinner events.

Other patriotic tablescapes on this site:
“American Royal Tablescape”
“4th of July Coastal Style”
“Stars and Stripes”

“All-American Seafood Boil”
“Red, White & Blueberries”
“Missouri Show Me State Dinner”

Other posts with red rose balls on this site:
“Derby Day Dining”
“Kentucky Derby Buffet”
“Should Have Put a Ring On It”

I am pleased and proud to join Cuisine Kathleen for “Let’s Dish!” this week. She’s hosting a patriotic tablescape challenge, so you can see what lots of talented bloggers from around the globe are doing in celebration of the upcoming Memorial Day weekend. I’ll also be joining Susan for “Tablescape Thursday”. And in support of our military and their families, please join me for The Coconut Head Survival Guide’s “Memorial Day Patriot’s Palooza Party”!!!

May God bless the American soldier and his/her family, all of whom sacrifice so much.

All-American Seafood Boil

As hot as it is here in the Kansas City, MO (USA) area I could probably just sit a pot of cold water on the deck and drop the lobsters in to boil after about 5 minutes. It is CRAZY hot here with no relief in sight!!! For those readers like Suzy Q of At the Farmhouse and Carolyn of Desire Empire in Australia who are going into winter right now…please come get me!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I had a serious lapse in good judgment yesterday morning and got out on the deck to set up this 4th of July tablescape that will NOT come back for “real life” next week if this heat keeps up. I’ll spend the 4th eating red, white & blue popsicles while sitting on the AC vent! (It’s getting lonely in the Costco cooler! :-))
(Click on any image to enhance/enlarge it.)

A full-length white cotton tablecloth from LinenTablecloth.com masks the ordinary folding table. We don’t subscribe to the newspaper, so instead of the usual seafood boil newspaper, the tablecloth is topped with a piece of red & white striped vinyl. The vinyl started out with a million folds in it, but 6 minutes in the dryer on the delicate cycle and a little smoothing knocked ’em right out. Using a decorative topper instead of newspaper makes it a little more upscale, and the stripes remind me of those that grace the U.S. flag. It cost just $5 at Home Goods, so I won’t be too upset if it gets damaged. The LinenTablecloth.com linens launder very easily, so no worries there.

Medium-tone rattan chargers from Tuesday Morning bring a natural element to the table. Simple white Corelle dinner plates are topped with fun M Studios salad plates with a bright red lobster motif from TJ Maxx. Nothing says “seaside” like lobster dishes! 🙂

For an Independence Day table, what other flatware are ya gonna use besides a design called “Patriot”? 😉 The dinner & salad forks are accompanied by a lobster pick from World Market to extract every last succulent morsel.

The cotton napkins – which are actually bandannas from Hobby Lobby – are folded in the same manner as a U.S. flag and placed on the diagonal edge of the square charger. My husband who is former Air Force showed me how to make the napkin fold. I got a huge lump in my throat thinking of how many times a flag has been folded in this manner to bestow upon a family whose loved one has perished at war.

Deep blue glass tumblers and clear water goblets from Old Time Pottery find their place at the table.

What’s a seafood boil without the requisite bucket? These red ones from Hobby Lobby are just the right size for individual servings, and a convenient handle makes it easy to carry from the buffet without getting burned.

Individual butter warmers like these from TJ Maxx are great not only for seafood meals but for warming sauces or apple butter for Sunday morning biscuits.

I like to get multiple uses out of things I buy, especially if they cost a lot of money. I used these Z Gallerie white lacquered lanterns for elevated pillar candles HERE. For this display, however, I simply unscrewed the piece that elevates the candle to make room for seashells and flags. Completely different look! Cheery white Gerbera daisies in white ceramic vases from Michael’s visually connect the lanterns.

Fun red, white and blue ceramic star bowls from Pier 1 are perfect for chowder. Cherry bomb red lobster crackers from World Market and crab mallets from Amazon.com will help unleash the delicious meat from the claws.

World Market did a wonderful job this year of providing lots of accessories for seafood dinners including these fun lobster bibs. The Hobby Lobby star-struck ceramic pitchers are ready to take on guests’ thirst.

I bought several of these cool wooden boats from Hobby Lobby several years ago, and they have been a part of many different decorating ventures. Brimming with mollusk shells, they are a really fun addition to the buffet table!

Ahoy, matey! Call guests to dinner with this very cool (and very loud!) Captain’s bell. I bought this one at Home Goods, and I can see it being used for a lot in the future! The string of wooden fish is one of the most fun props in my inventory. I bought it at a place called Premiere Gallery in Kansas City, MO that is now defunct. Boy, oh boy, did they ever have some wild stuff there! I really miss that place!

This tablescape would also be perfect for celebrating Labor Day, Veterans Day, or the homecoming of one of our brave veterans!

I hope it’s cool enough on the 4th to celebrate outside where you are! Whatever you do, please be careful, and have a great time!

Other tablescapes with a patriotic and/or nautical theme on this site:
All-American Seafood Boil
Stars & Stripes 
Lauren in the Library
Show Me State Dinner
Red, White & Blueberries

4th of July Coastal Style
American Royal Tablescape

Join me again this week for Susan’s “Tablescape Thursday” anytime after 9:00 a.m. CDT. I’m sure my fellow bloggers will have lots of creative decorating ideas for your Independence Day celebration!

You can now find me at BeBetsy.com, too!! And please visit The Coconut Head Survival Guide’s “Memorial Day Patriot’s Palooza Party” in support of our military!