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! :-))
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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!

Flamingos in Paradise

If the thermometer on my car is right, it is currently 96 degrees outside. I’d say summer is h-e-r-e!!!

While living in the great Midwest doesn’t afford much of a true beach experience, we can always dream! This poppin’ pink tropical tablescape for 10 is great for a gathering of friends celebrating any casual summer occasion. I know my good friend/cake stylist, Patrick “the-Flamingo-Lover” Snuffer, would never leave!
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I used two 6-ft. oblong tables pushed together horizontally to create an “almost square.” This shape provides more decorating space in the center with room left over if necessary for bread baskets, wine carafes, condiments and such.

A canvas of crisp white linen allows all the brilliant tropical colors to shine. Hot pink Bormioli Rocca “Inca” glass chargers recently purchased for a song at Gordman’s anchor the place settings. I blogged about it (here), and the pricing on these chargers was so hot that my friend Cherry Kay from Entertaining Women could barely finish her dinner before scooting out the door to snatch some up. I imagined us in that “Run, Forrest! Run!!!!” scene with me cheering her on! 🙂

The melamine dinner plate is a fun and inexpensive 2012 purchase from Old Time Pottery costing just $2.49 apiece. The napkins are actually bandanas purchased at Hobby Lobby. At just $.99 each, you don’t freak out so much about teriyaki sauce stains!

I used faux bamboo flatware from JC Penny Outlet to keep the tropical theme going.

This gorgeous and substantially-weighted turquoise blue stemware from Pier 1 is a perfect match to the cool blues in the dinner plate.

Clear glass cylinders are the workhorse of my centerpiece inventory. You can find them at places like Old Time Pottery, Michael’s, Hobby Lobby and Home Goods. Here a mix of high, medium and low cylinders displays some of the hundreds of seashells gathered or received as gifts over the years. Chalky white starfish from Z Gallerie sit atop the cylinders to add a little more height and form.

The cylinders are flanked by jaunty pink flamingos from Hobby Lobby wading in a sea of still more shells that run the length of the table. I used to confuse flamingos and storks…and then baby made three, and it became crystal clear which was which! 🙂

Snippets of hot pink and cream-colored plumeria are tucked here and there among the shells along with clear cylindrical votives. Even more color and texture is introduced by way of deep green hostas and tropical-looking ferns pillaged from our yard.

These brightly colored paper parasols from Hobby Lobby get a real workout at our house! I like to casually plunk them down around the perimeter of the deck to add color and a little bit of a “Wow!” factor. They’re cheaper and less back-breaking than bringing in a bunch of potted palms. Here they’re kind of like umbrellas in the sand at the beach!

A small oblong drink and hors d’oeuvres table is set up at one end of the deck, flanked by still more of the pretty paper parasols. Another, resting atop another glass cylinder, shades the food & drink from the unforgiving glare of the early evening sun. Tiny parasols garnish each glass.

These oh-so-fun-and-fabulous ceramic flamingo appetizer/salad/dessert plates are making their debut here serving up delicious crab cakes, but look for them again soon taking center stage in another tropical-themed post. My dear blog friend, Mona, sent them to me last summer when I was feeling very blue. Their arrival on my doorstep gave me a surge of energy to the nth power!!! Thank you, sweet Mona!!!♥♥♥

And this, dear friends, is what goes into the creation of a fun, colorful, casual beach/tropical-themed tablescape!

Other posts with a tropical theme on this site:
“Hot Tropical”
“Tropicana”
“Oranges & Blossoms”
“Old Navy Seafood Cruise”

Other posts using paper parasols on this site:
“Daisy Crazy”
 “Oopsy Daisy!”

I will join Cuisine Kathleen for her 14th “Let’s Dish!” this week. Be sure to tune in anytime after 6:00 p.m. CDT on Wednesday. This week is her “At the Beach” tablescape challenge, so it will be lots of fun! C’mon and go surfin’ safari with us! Looking for great centerpiece ideas? Join me at the Style Sisters’ blog for “Centerpiece Wednesday“. I’ll also join Susan at Between Naps on the Porch for “Tablescape Thursday“, available anytime after 9:00 a.m. CDT on Thursday. Come on over! And check me out on BeBetsy.com!