Casual Fall Harvest Dinner Tablescape

Tonight is the final night of my “Fabulous Fall Tablescaping” classes. Starting tomorrow I will  leave autumn behind and start the task of building Christmas (yes, I said CHRISTMAS…already!!!) tablescapes throughout the house in anticipation of the next class series, “Tablescaping a Winter Wonderland“. I will have just two short weeks to convert the straw bales and pumpkins of fall into holiday wonderment. Yikes!!!

In last week’s class I demonstrated to my students how the same table linens from my September Harvest Breakfast Tablescape could take on a whole new look for a fall dinner with the simple addition of another layer and some accessory changes.
(Click on any photo to enhance/enlarge it. Photos by Sheri L. Grant.)

Last week’s harvest table used the same hunter green full-length linen topped with soft burlap. The addition of a third layer – an autumnal quilt created by my talented friend and neighbor, Barbara – creates a wonderful, rich sense of seasonal coziness as well as an American homespun feel. Layered linens are a great way to add color, pattern and texture to your tablescape.

A deep rust-colored metal charger (Tuesday Morning) is topped with a pumpkin dinner plate that I found at a Price Chopper grocery store at 103rd & State Line in Kansas City, MO. To break up the saturation of dark colors that would essentially make the places settings disappear into the quilt, an ivory salad plate (T.J. Maxx) with a raised pattern rim is used. The bowl, also from Price Chopper, is deep enough to hold the heartiest of soups on a chilly fall evening. Notice how the colors in the linens are mirrored in the place settings.

The two-tone cotton napkin (also seen here in “September Wine” and here in “Pears & Pinecones“) is folded to allow both colors to show and to mimic the triangular shapes in the quilt topper. Little details like this are not necessarily something your guests will notice, but it is a subconscious draw.

Smoky brown stemware (Old Time Pottery) picks up the deep brown in the quilt, and a simple flatware pattern, Hampton Silversmith “Patriot-Mirror”, complements the setting.

A pair of rustic pine cone-topped lanterns with pumpkin-colored candles are visually connected by a trail of pine cones and pears. Using seasonal fruit as a part of harvest table decor is a natural and inexpensive way to work with the theme. (Don’t forget to freeze those pine cones first to kill off any hidden critters!)

Try to imagine this table set up outside on a patio or deck. Can’t you just imagine this harvest vignette in a nearby corner or near the buffet table? Extending the theme of your dining table to an adjacent area really gets guests in the mood! Our weather conditions (wind mostly) here in the Kansas City, MO area last week wouldn’t allow me to set this demonstration table up outdoors, but I sure wish I could have!

This Children of the Corn-looking scarecrow freaked me out a little at first, but he seemed to just fit in somehow! 🙂 (Nonetheless, I keep him locked in a closet on the lower level! Look at that psychopathic/serial killer/eat-your-liver-with-a-side-of-fava-beans-and-a-nice-chianti look on his face!)

Click on these links for more autumn tablescapes on this site:
Autumn
September Wine
September Harvest Breakfast
Autumn Blues
Serape High Style
Wondrous Wheat
Pheasants & Peacocks
Pumpkins & Peacocks

I am pleased to join Cuisine Kathleen for “Let’s Dish!” starting Wednesday at 6:00 p.m. CDT and Susan for “Tablescape Thursday” starting at 9:00 a.m. CDT on Thursday. If you love looking at creative, inspiring tablescapes, you’ll love these blog parties! Join me, won’t you?

September Harvest Breakfast Tablescape

Since I began teaching my “Fabulous Fall Tablescaping” class last week, I am suddenly in the mood for everything fall. Never mind that the cooled temperatures and shift in barometric pressure have my arthritis jacked up to full throttle. The leaves are starting to turn, the nights are ripe for snuggling, and the mornings are just beautiful!

I created one of two harvest-inspired tables for the first night of class with hopes of getting my students fired up about the season, too. I’m joining Cuisine Kathleen’s “Let’s Dish!” Harvest Theme Tablescape Challenge this week, so if you want to really get inspired to store away those pool inflatables and flip-flops in exchange for soft sweaters and penny loafers (I’m an old Catholic school girl…loafers = fall to me!), be sure to pop over there anytime after 6:00 p.m. CDT on Wednesday.
(Click on any photo to enhance/enlarge it. Photos by Sheri L. Grant.)

Ideally this table would be set up outdoors, but for class purposes (and because the winds were gusting up around 25mph!) I set up inside with the morning sun streaming in through the windows. The table is dressed in a hunter green full-length linen (LinenTablecloth.com) and topped with supple wheat-colored burlap. Layering linens in fall and winter reminds me of how we dress ourselves in those seasons…it’s cozy and warm!

A little something different for a charger are these fun faux cast iron skillets from Old Time Pottery. Each skillet came with one of four harvest designs that I allowed to show through by using clear glass plates. I added a bow of twine to the gingham ribbon embellishment (more layering) that plays well off the burlap topper.

The simple lines of Hampton Silversmith “Patriot-Mirror” flatware work nicely next to the busy floral pattern of the Stein Mart cotton napkin.

I love to use different drinking vessels whenever possible, and the design of a Ball Mason jar – in purpose and motif – really embodies the harvest theme. If dining outdoors (as this table is designed for), the lid helps keep the proliferation of bees attendant to the month of September from honing in on your morning juice! The miniature milk bottle with an old-fashioned metal clasp (Hobby Lobby) is perfect for individual servings of plain or flavored milk…something kids in particular would really like! (Old kids like me would love it for its nostalgic value!)

For breakfast tables I like to keep the centerpiece a bit less fussy. Here an old-fashioned moonshine jug (yes, I said moonshine! :-)) embellished with jute twine and filled with a wave of blackbeard wheat creates height for the extended centerpiece. A profusion of pumpkins in various colors and sizes mixed with pine cones wind their way down the center of the table. A chalkboard cow posts the morning menu. The absence of flowers – using wheat and seasonal fruits instead – makes this a great budget idea!

I can’t help myself. You know this would not be an Alycia creation without one of our faithful valets! Here, “Cecil” (British pronunciation of SEH-cil, of course!) wades through a mound of fall leaves on his way back from picking a few pumpkins and root vegetables from the garden. In stark contrast to his very proper uniform, Cecil has donned a saucy straw gardening hat to protect his fair English skin from damaging sun rays. 🙂

On the breakfast bar, a melange of seasonal squashes & pumpkins are visually connected by a bittersweet vine. Seasonal fruits are displayed in various baskets and a tiered stand. Napkin-lined baskets of assorted baked goods to enjoy with a steaming hot cup of Joe suggest what the wheat might produce. Miniature straw bales provide varied height for the display. (P.S. For those of you with open concept kitchen/family room areas, a display like this is a sneaky practical & attractive way to partially block the mess in the kitchen as you scurry around preparing the meal!)

Other posts on this site that are great for harvest celebrations:
“September Wine”
“Wondrous Wheat”
…and be sure to check out other great seasonal tables on the “Autumn” page

In addition to the blog party at “Let’s Dish!”, I am joining Susan at Between Naps on the Porch for “Tablescape Thursday” again this week. Hope to see you there!

HAPPY FALL, EVERYONE!!!

Pumpkins & Peacocks

Here we are once again at the crazy transitional time that calls for us to walk that pencil-thin line between summer and autumn tablescapes. A September tablescape can be one of the most difficult as we teeter on the cusp of the bright colors of summer and the warm, deeper tones that come with the crunch of autumn leaves. This mix of a bright pumpkin color and the flickering jewel tones of peacock feathers is a tablescape that might satisfy the need to meet in the middle. And, as the peacock is the national bird of India, this might also make a fun table for the festival of Diwali which marks the end of the harvest season.
(Click on any photo to enlarge/enhance it.)

The foundation of this colorful Fall tablescape is an attention-grabbing floor-length pumpkin-colored linen from LinenTablecloth.com.

While the layers of the tabletop include more of the bright pumpkin hue, the deepness of the greens and purples ground it a bit more and bring it even closer into Fall.

This table for four features complex layers that speak to the cooler autumn months but don’t abandon what’s left of summer. A double layer of square gold chargers from World Market hosts a French-inspired plate adorned with a gorgeous peacock, his iridescent plumage on full display. The lower right corner of the plate comes alive with brightly colored gloriosa lilies.

Gold-tone flatware complements the orange-y hue of the linens. Around the napkin is a showy purple “gemstone” napkin ring from Z Gallerie, usually reserved for Mardi Gras around here. (See it used HERE and HERE.) The purple in the napkin ring complements the jewel tones in the eye of the peacock feathers.

Inexpensive but nonetheless lovely green Dollar Tree stemware complements the green tones in the peacock feathers and offers another layer of color to the table’s palette.

I didn’t have a lot of gloriosa lilies, but I did have on hand enough of these faux orchid stems that were very close in both color and form. I chose to create a kind of wild, untamed, uncontrolled floral arrangement…much like the demeanor of peacocks! While a faux orchid floral arrangement is used for this demonstration, it would be REALLY cool if your budget allows for real ones!!!

Tiny pumpkin-colored tea light votives candles produce ambient light and extend the surface level girth of the centerpiece.

A simple straight line of votives across the fireplace mantel mimic those on the table.

To see more Fall tablescapes on this site, visit:
Autumn” page (has TEN different posts on one page!!!)
September Wine
Autumn Blues
Autumn White Wedding
Roses in October
Sunflower Simple
Serape High Style
Raining Orchids” (another great transitional table!)

Next week I’ll have photos of one of the four tables I have been laboring to set up for my “Fabulous Fall Tablescaping” class through Longview Community College’s Community Education department. I’m keeping my fingers and toes crossed that I get the requisite number of students so that the class isn’t cancelled. I know people are very busy and that the economy really sucks right now, but I have such great plans for this class!!! I hope it fills up! If you live in the Kansas City, MO area, you have until Friday the 14th to enroll, so give them a call at 816-604-2030. Classes start Tuesday, September 18th.

I am joining Cuisine Kathleen for “Let’s Dish!” starting Wednesday at 6:00 p.m. CDT. Also on Wednesday I will be joining The Style Sisters for “Centerpiece Wednesday“. Then on Thursday, please come along with me to Susan’s “Tablescape Thursday” starting at 9:00 a.m. CDT. I hope to see you then!