Run For the Roses

RUN FOR THE ROSES
(a re-post from May of 2010)

Nearly every fine home in Louisville hosts a party to celebrate the Kentucky Derby. It’s a time to bring out the heirloom china and serve wonderful food amidst fresh red roses galore. Who says a gal with a Midwestern accent and a slightly less generous budget can’t join the fun?

 

This wooden showhorse makes the perfect backdrop in the dining room. (Visit Kentucky Derby Buffet  and Celebrating Longview Farm to see him on a Derby Buffet table as a centerpiece and Carousel Colors to see him used for a Springtime decorating accessory!

 

 

Each place setting consists of a beaded silver charger with platinum-rimmed Noritake “Spectrum” china, a monogrammed linen napkin, heirloom flatware (with rose detailing), Longchamps crystal, an authentic silver julep cup, and…for a bit of whimsy in an otherwise staid & traditional setting…a real horseshoe! If you use horseshoes atop fabric, be sure to wash them thoroughly in hot, soapy water then dry with a soft cloth. Allow to air dry for at least 2 hours to assure all moisture has evaporated so as not to rust and stain. These horseshoes were surprisingly affordable at just $2.39 lb. That’s quite a bargain!

 

 

 

Menus created using white vellum over red cardstock have a craft store red rose affixed to the top. At the bottom of each menu is fun Derby trivia for guests to share during dinner. And no respectable Southerner’s derby dinner table is complete without sweet tea, cheese grits, hot biscuits, and mint juleps served in a traditional cup! (Get the recipe for deliciously rich, traditional, Southern homemade pound cake HERE.)

 

Rich, red roses are the focus of the centerpiece, buffet and foyer florals. Click HERE and scroll down to Tip #39 for a tutorial on fluffing fresh roses to get them looking nice and full.

 

A pair of beautiful show horse figurines from Hobby Lobby flank the center trophy of roses. I created the traditional “garland of roses” using red satin ribbon and rosettes like those used on the menus. (The real garland for the winning horse, of course, has more than 400 red roses!

 

Hat collage
  My Mom in her pink Derby chapeau, and me in blue!
More tablescapes on this site using roses that would be great for Kentucky Derby:
Derby Day Dining
Kentucky Derby Buffet
Roses in October
Show Me State Dinner
Should Have Put A Ring On It
88 Years & 88 Keys
Tablescapes using roses in adaptable colors include:
Celebrating 85 Years of Fabulous
Roses In October

 

Blue & White Family Picnic

What better to do on a warm August evening than gather with friends and family for an old-fashioned, fun picnic…with an elegant twist?  

Grandpa Ramon entertains the little ones while Grandma Alycia rushes to finalize details.

 

When the weather is warm, cool colors for the outdoor tablescape are definitely in order! A classic blue & white checkered tablecloth anchors the setting and renders a true “picnic” feel.

 After a few family photos are taken…
…the food is set out, the champagne expertly poured, and it’s time for everyone to sit down, relax, and enjoy!
 Reflective silver chargers, icy clear dishes & stemware (Bed Bath & Beyond), and faux mother of pearl flatware (Target) were perfect for the occasion. White pillar candles, which bring one of three levels of candlelight, are protected from the breeze with standard clear glass hurricanes.
 Silver candelabra brimming with luscious grapes are outfitted with white candles to be lit after the sun leaves the sky. (Table linen and chairs from All Seasons Tent & Party Rental.)
 Silver julep cups are filled with pure white and citrus green carnations along with hosta leaves from the garden. (They were later transferred to faux silver juleps for the guests to take home.) Notice the votive candles in addition to the pillars under the hurricane shades and candelabra. I like the look offered by multiple levels and sources of candlelight that make any tablescape dance!
 Sweet bing cherries and plump, ripe blueberries are set out in beautiful white ceramic vessels from Hobby Lobby for guests to munch on before and after dinner. I love this white jardiniere…wish I had more!
 The dessert table is dressed up with a larger version of the carnation & hosta arrangements on the dining table.
 I like to think of new ways to present old favorites. On this day fresh strawberry lemonade was served from a clear glass apothecary jar (available at Target or Function Junction). A custom engraved silver tag strung with ribbon identifies the contents. (I had several of these tags made up for various beverage and candy displays.)
 
 Guests all dressed in blue & white raise a glass! To family!!!

A Dorothy By Any Other Name: Purple and Cream 80th Birthday

There have been many remarkable Dorothys to walk this earth. Among them the brainy Dorothy Johnson-Vaughn (NASA mathematician recently depicted in the movie “Hidden Figures”), the brazen Dorothy Height (women’s and civil rights activist), the brilliant Dorothy Hamill (ice skater), the beguiling Dorothy Dandridge (actress), the bubbly Dorothy who captured our hearts along the Yellow Brick Road, the beleaguered Dorothy Tucker-Roberts (my poor hairstylist of 20+ years for whom one must feel sympathy having to put up with me!), and finally the blissful, beautiful and beloved Mrs. Dorothy J. Knight, the honoree for this lovely celebration. When my high school friend, Audrey, asked me to craft a head table with the colors and flowers her Mother adored to celebrate her 80 birthday, I was most humbled.

 

Mrs. Knight’s birthday celebration was held in the auditorium at the Bruce R. Watkins Cultural Heritage in Kansas City, Missouri.

 

 

 

 

 

I created a dramatic centerpiece using a silver faux manzanita tree branch adorned with various hanging crystals and cream spray roses. I placed it on a round mirror to reflect back the sparkle, shine and movement of the crystals. A cluster of four standard size julep cups filled with cream roses, spider mums, baby’s breath, and miniature chrysanthemums. Satellite miniature juleps each held a single rose surrounded by baby’s breath and a few mini chrysanthemums.

 

 

Each place setting at the table included a mirrored charger, creamy dishes, lovely heirloom flatware, and a cream colored napkin emerging from a silver pew cone, also known as a cherub cone. (Other posts on this blog incorporating silver pew cones as napkin holders include “Purple & Pastel” and “Pretty in Pink”.) I placed a personal set of salt & pepper shakers at the top of each place setting.

 

 

 

The creamy ivory rosette table runner contrasts with the royal purple full-length tablecloth and complements the chair caps that are placed over ivory stretch chair covers and all tied up with a lavender satin sash.

Family members worked hard to plan and create the remaining atmosphere. They put a lot of love into it! To play on Shakespeare’s words in Romeo & Juliet, a Dorothy by any other name would not be as sweet as Mrs. Dorothy J. Knight.

For more birthday celebrations on this blog:
“88 Years & 88 Keys”
“Celebrating 85 Years of Fabulous”
“The Party She Deserves”
“Purple and Pastel”
“Blue & White 30th Birthday”
“Purple + Green = Happy Birthday!”
“Happy Birthday, Barf!”
and see FIVE additional birthday celebrations on the “Birthdays” tab!

 

Celebrating 85 Years of Fabulous – Happy Birthday, Mom!

There are certain moments in our lifetime that simply need to be extravagant. Yesterday, in celebration of 85 years of touching the lives of so many in only a way my Mom can, was one of those moments.

INSPIRATION: My Mom. Ever poised, elegant, and ahead of her time, but much more than that...forever young!

INSPIRATION: My Mom at 85. Ever poised, elegant, and ahead of her time; but much more than that…forever young!

If I tried to put my Mother’s lengthy & powerful resume on this post, I would crash the system. She has always been a go-getter in every sense of the word. I have only to aspire to her greatness in this life. For all that she is, all that she does, and all that from her has spurred me on, I wanted to bring a few ladies together again this year to celebrate. Mom has graciously consented to allow me to share her special day with all of you. Enjoy!
Click on any photo, then click again to enlarge/enhance it.)

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com: Celebrating 85 Years of Fabulous - Table positioned lengthwise

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com: Celebrating 85 Years of Fabulous - table from side view

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com: Celebrating 85 Years of Fabulous - multiple place settings

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com: Celebrating 85 Years of Fabulous - white rosette chairs & runner from LinenTablecloth.com

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com: Celebrating 85 Years of Fabulous - Table linens & chair cover collage To create this spring green and white birthday tablescape, I used all linens from LinenTablecloth.com. The tables are cloaked in 90″ x 132″ white tablecloths with a pair of beautiful white rosette runners. The chairs start with a fabulously utilitarian white stretch banquet chair cover topped with a white satin rosette chair cap. They are finished with a flowing white satin chair sash tied in a prim and proper bow. This look is perfect for weddings, birthdays, and all special occasions in need of an exquisite feminine touch! An extravagant look for a not-so-extravagant price point!

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com: Celebrating 85 Years of Fabulous - Full place setting The 12 individual place settings begin with a silver metal charger. The Noritake “Whitebrook” china, embellished with white flowers and grey scrolls, is on loan from my sister who co-hosted the luncheon.

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com: Celebrating 85 Years of Fabulous - Stemware, napkin, favor collage LinenTablecloth.com napkins in tea green serve as a lovely backdrop to the rose-topped favor boxes. The stemware for water and lemonade is basic glass from Old Time Pottery.

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com: Celebrating 85 Years of Fabulous - Menu   Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com: Celebrating 85 Years of Fabulous - Bread basket, S&P shakers, plate of food collageI created the 3-layer menus for the luncheon on our home computer. I used a photo of my Mom in her 20s as the watermark, mimicking the look of the invitations. I actually found the strength to do all the food preparation, too, with the exception of the rolls (Costco…those things are tasty!!!) and the cake! My sister and my friend, Barbara, expertly plated the food to presentation perfection!

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com: Celebrating 85 Years of Fabulous - Centerpiece view from end of table   Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com: Celebrating 85 Years of Fabulous - Full Centerpiece view from side of table   Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com: Celebrating 85 Years of Fabulous - Centerpiece floral collage   Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com: Celebrating 85 Years of Fabulous - Moss dog with floral basket   Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com: Celebrating 85 Years of Fabulous - Dog collageThe centerpiece….OH, that centerpiece!!! I wanted each guest to be able to enjoy a little bit all the way down the table, so I put together four medium-sized fresh florals (white roses, cream spray roses, white spider mums, seeded eucalyptus, leatherleaf and goldenrod) in silver julep cups, two smaller versions in miniature juleps, glass pilsner vases topped with white faux rose balls that extended slightly into the vases for a little drama, and then two moss covered dogs. Yes…DOGS! They represent my parents’ beloved dog, Cupcake, who is my Mother’s constant companion. I slipped a small glass votive into the little basket the dogs are carrying, jammed in some wet oasis, and then filled it with flowers. A really FUN and unusual centerpiece item that added whimsy to the overall look!   Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com: Celebrating 85 Years of Fabulous - Coffee Service collageJust across the way from the dining table I set up a silver tray with coffee service for after lunch.

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com: Celebrating 85 Years of Fabulous - Guest book table collage

Clockwise from upper left: My Mom with my social butterfly niece, Von; with my stylish cousin, Dee, whose scarf reminded us of movie stars from the 50s and 60s; with my cousin Cynthia, whose fabulous gloves boasted bows at the wrist, and; with my beautiful inside & out cousin Madeline from my Daddy's side of the family.

Clockwise from upper left: My Mom with my social butterfly niece, Von; with my stylish cousin, Dee, whose scarf reminded us of movie stars from the 50s and 60s; with my cousin Cynthia, whose fabulous gloves boasted bows at the wrist, and; with my beautiful inside & out cousin Madeline from my Daddy’s side of the family.

Clockwise from left: Mom with her baby sister, Vivienne; with my stepdaughter, Robyn, who wore her hair as a fascinator instead of the actual fascinator hat (very clever!), and; my sweet friend & neighbor, Barbara.

Clockwise from left: Mom with her baby sister, Vivienne; with my stepdaughter, Robyn, who wore her hair as a fascinator instead of the actual fascinator hat (very clever!), and; my sweet friend & neighbor, Barbara.

Mom with my cousin, Irene, who was stunning in red & black. Check out those fishnet gloves and fabulous shoes!!!

Mom with my cousin, Irene, who was stunning in red & black. Check out those fishnet gloves and fabulous shoes!!!

Mom with my sister, Berishia

Mom with my sister, Berishia, who is a cowgirl through and through as you can tell by the hat!

Mom and me...and yes, we both just happened to show up in blue!

Mom and me…and yes, we both just happened to show up in blue!

As guests arrived they were invited to sign the guest book set up in the foyer and then join Mom for an individual photo op. (I just set the camera up on a tripod, and it was SO easy!)

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com: Celebrating 85 Years of Fabulous - Moscato service collage DSCN2604WM

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com: Celebrating 85 Years of Fabulous - Cake collage Guests were then invited into the library to pick up a glass of moscato and view the cake which I had displayed on the vitrine.

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com: Celebrating 85 Years of Fabulous - Group photo at Mom's 85th Birthday luncheon Hail, hail…the gang was all here and it was time to eat! (Camera on tripod with timer feature…a Godsend!!!)

After lunch, the ladies serenaded my Mom with the birthday song. Despite a fabulous starting note from Irene, I still couldn’t get on key! Turn your volume down, folks…I’m standing right next to the video camera, and my singing kinda sucks!!! 🙂

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com: Celebrating 85 Years of Fabulous - Alycia & Barbara in their fancy lady hats Thanks again to my wonderful friend, Barbara, for all the help she rendered to make sure this party went off without a hitch!

It was a stellar day, and I am so grateful that I was able to recover in time to get everything together and actually look nice for the day. Oh…for those of you who did not know, this was my stylish footwear up until 3 days prior to the party: Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com: Celebrating 85 Years of Fabulous - Alycia with fracture bootSO glad I was able to trade this in for stylish pumps for a few hours!

If you’d like to see five other birthday party posts on this site, please click on the “Birthdays” tab above,or pop in on these individual birthday party posts:
The Party She Deserves
The Bluebird Special
Blue & White 30th Birthday
Purple & Green Birthday
Happy Birthday, Barf!

Later this week I will join Cuisine Kathleen for “Let’s Dish!” (Wednesday after 6:00 pm, CDT) and Susan for “Tablescape Thursday” (Thursday after 9:00 a.m., CDT). I hope you’ll pop in on those fun blog parties with me! And check out a new link I’ve discovered, BeBetsy. It’s a wonderful lifestyle site featuring the work of fabulous bloggers covering everything from food to fashion that will blow your mind!

Derby Day Dining

Last week I posted photos of the Kentucky Derby Buffet I created for my “Art of Tablescaping” students. This week I have the sit-down dinner version that uses a number of the same elements from that buffet table to demonstrate how various pieces can be used for either setting.
(Click on any photo to enhance/enlarge!)

The same table in the same room is all dressed up for a slightly more formal sit-down meal. I used the same black floor-length linen to let the gleam of the silver and brightness of the red roses show best. The white china tones down the dark linens and flower, thus saving the table from looking too morose.

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I swapped out the more plentiful Arcoroc “Seabreeze” glass buffet plates for my sister’s very formal Noritake “Whitebrook” china. Derby Day is the time to pull out your finest china and silver, and this china is definitely treasured in our family. The china rests atop highly polished silverplate chargers.

IMG_5107WMThese same lettered napkins were displayed in a silver champagne bucket in the buffet version. They are now simply folded, placed beneath the dinner plate and allowed to hang so as to prominently show the initial. The white of the napkin helps to break up the sea of black linen.

IMG_5121WMThe same heirloom silver flatware pattern – last week placed head-to-toe at the start of the buffet table – is used.

Noritake “Spectrum” iced beverage glasses await the traditional Southern sweet tea. The same julep cups that surrounded the huge silver punch bowl on the buffet last week are now placed at each individual setting.

Each place setting gets its own salt & pepper shakers.

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IMG_5159WMLast week these riding boots (actually a Z Gallerie umbrella stand!) were up to their straps in French baguettes. This week, sitting atop an heirloom silver tray (used last week to display veggies), they spill over with lush red roses. The silver candlesticks flanking the urns on the buffet last week are now on the table. Again I used metal case Paradise candles to keep the look pristine and avoid wax spills on my linen.

Over on the buffet behind the table where the punch bowl and julep cups were displayed last week is a more subdued coffee set up. The red rose balls on oil-rubbed bronze urns from last week remain in place.

On the wall sconces are miniature versions of the larger buffet urns with horseshoes added to further tie them in with the Derby.

With just a few tweaks here and there you can go from buffet to sit-down, casual to formal without sacrificing style. While the horse was omitted from this setting (I’m sure no one would want to spend the night staring up his rump!), the Kentucky Derby feel is definitely still there. It’s semi-formal, but made less stuffy with the addition of the whimsical centerpiece.

Another table on this site that I think would just look fantastic for a Kentucky Derby celebration, “Roses in October”, can be found HERE. Although it is set up using white roses, a simple switch to red roses would make it just perfect! If you’d like to see another tablescape using red rose balls and bouquets, click HERE for “Should Have Put A Ring On It” or HERE for “Kentucky Derby Buffet”.

I’ll be skipping on over to Tablescape Thursday at Susan’s Between Naps on the Porch on Thursday anytime after 9:00 a.m. CDT.

Kentucky Derby Buffet

If you missed out on the Tartan Parade that started on April 1 at Upstairs Downstairs, Hyacinths for the Soul, Vignette Design and The Polohouse, be sure to click on over to see some really fabulous representations of Scottish tradition. Since they were accepting simple plaid for us non-Scots to be able to participate, too, check out my entry “Pink Plaid & Posies” which is a charming celebration of Spring-y pastel plaid!

It’s already the first week in April, and with time flying this fast the 138th Kentucky Derby will be here before you know it! (That’s May 4th & 5th.)

For my first “Art of Tablescaping – Buffet Style” class last month, I put together a Kentucky Derby buffet for the students to consider for ideas and form. Next week I’ll feature the sit-down dinner version, so please be sure to stop back in to check that out, too!
Click on any photo to enlarge!

Yes, that’s me hiding behind the horse’s hindquarters! Perfect product placement, huh? 😉 This horse really gets around a lot lately. This week he’s prancing on a bed of red rose petals, while just last week he was featured out on the deck in my Spring/Summer brunch post “Carousel Colors“! (He can also be seen in the posts “Run for the Roses” and “Celebrating Longview Farm“.)

img_7646wm.jpgAlthough this table is facing one way, I need for you to imagine it going lengthwise this direction starting at the plates & forks. This is a heavy Mission style table, and there was no way I was going to try and move it!

I draped the table in a full-length black linen to make it just sort of disappear and allow the brilliant red and silver be the stars. The start of this casual buffet table allows guests to take a plate from the double stack and a fork from a line on either side. The forks are arranged in an interesting “head-to-toe” pattern partly for the sake of playful design and partly to help allow more forks to fit into the available space. (Try it! You really can fit in at least 2-4 more forks!)

IMG_5387WMInitialed napkins, a gift from my best friend, are displayed in a silver champagne bucket. The idea is to not only provide a basic service but to also “stair step” (forks at the lowest level, plates up a bit higher, napkins next highest) the start of the buffet for a dramatic effect.

IMG_5357WMA themed buffet is the place to really play with unusual serving pieces. For example, loaves of French bread are displayed in a pair of black riding boots that resemble those worn by the jockeys. The boots are actually an umbrella stand purchased at Z Gallerie! (I got it for half price because of a tiny chip at the top that no one will ever see!!!)

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Almost nothing says Kentucky Derby like a silver mint julep cup! Bread sticks are offered here, but you can serve just about any and everything out of these…including actual mint juleps!!! (Note: If you don’t have the budget for a lot of silver juleps, consider contacting your florist for faux silver cups like the one above. C’mon admit it…Would you have known if I hadn’t told you?)

Chafers look really great when lined up like tin soldiers in a clean, single line. These are smaller 2-qt. capacity chafers as opposed to the larger 5-qt. ones most often seen. It’s nice to have smaller ones on hand for serving smaller crowds or if you need to conserve table space. I bought these at Big Lots for $15 each about 10 years ago, and I have recently seen them in that store again. (Of course, like everything else, they cost a little more now!)

Derby time is the time to pull out all the silver – heirloom or nouveau – and put it into service in conventional and unconventional ways. For instance, when’s the last time you saw grape scissors like these? They were made popular in the super pompous Victorian era to snip small portions of grapes from a large bunch for eating. They come in just as handy in this post-dot.com era!

Instead of running for the roses, this horse is running with the roses…in his mouth! The traditional blanket of 554 red roses for the winning horse may not be his, but he’s got his own sense of style on the track! 🙂

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The area behind the buffet table is set up with a punch bowl (a loose replica of the famous punch bowl that graces the dining room sideboard of the governor’s mansion in Arkansas) full of the traditional bourbon, mint and simple syrup concoction known as a mint julep. Making juleps in large quantities in advance cuts down on time spent behind the bar. Guests can ladle their own into a silver julep cup with ease. Uncouth lushes like me may simply opt to stick a giant bendy straw in the bowl and have at it!!! 😉 The silverplated julep cups pictured here (yup…these are the real deal) are highly recommended to bring out the full experience of each frosty sip! (Unless you can afford the too-rich-for-my-blood sterling silver which is the ultimate!!!) When purchasing julep cups, make sure they are suitable for food consumption. Some contain a compound that allows them to be used for decorative display only.

IMG_5097WMRed roses throughout the room are a given…and a must! Here, festive yet sophisticated red rose balls are set atop heavy oil rubbed bronze urns on each end of the sideboard and flanked by a pair of silver candlesticks.

IMG_5406WMDon’t forget about your entryway! Here, a bouquet of red roses greets guests/students as they check in for class. Consider also a wreath of red roses on the front door in the shape of the traditional blanket or perhaps a horseshoe.

Don’t forget to check back in next week for more Kentucky Derby tablescape ideas. I’ll have a full sit-down dinner table prepared for you.

Other Kentucky Derby posts on this site:
Run for the Roses
Derby Day Dining
Should Have Put a Ring On It
“Roses In October”

I’m linking up this week with Kathleen for “Let’s Dish” starting at 6:00 p.m. (CDT) Wednesday, Centerpiece Wednesday with The Style Sisters, and Tablescape Thursday starting at 9:00 a.m. (CDT) Thursday. Join us, won’t you? And catch me over at BeBetsy.com, too!

Cranberry Christmas – Squared

If you like decorating with cranberries at Christmastime, this is a look you might enjoy. This is the version of it on a square table (also suitable for a round). To see the Tuscan-style (long) table version, click HERE.

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IMG_3402WMInstead of placing the 6-ft. oblong  tables end-to-end, they are placed side-by-side to create more of a square.

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IMG_3409WMBecause of the formal nature of this table (bread plate, additional flatware) and the oversized charger, it will seat just 8 guests. Using the more traditionally sized 12″ charger and eliminating the bread plate buys about 8 extra inches on each side and will let you seat 10.

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IMG_3412WMThis large silver bowl is filled with water topped with fresh cranberries (3 bags here) and floating candles. Cranberries naturally rise (you’ve seen the Ocean Spray Cranberry Juice commercials!), so the look is achieved without any extra work! (Note: Carefully place the candles in the arrangement so as not to get the wick wet.)

IMG_3415WMThe same small floral arrangements placed at each person’s place setting on a long table HERE are used to surround the massive silver centerpiece bowl on this table for a completely different look.

Creamy white full-blown and spray roses, red berries, and bits of winter greenery in silver julep cups are the perfect accent. Depending on how they are arranged, fewer small arrangements are required for the square table.

IMG_3414WMThe same 27″ silverplated candlesticks used on the Tuscan-style table are used here, but a fourth one has been added to completely surround the center bowl. The same silver mercury glass votives are used here again, but in a different pattern.

So that’s one table with two distinctive looks. The silver pedestal bowls used here are 17½”H and 19″W which is pretty doggone hefty. In this case, size doesn’t matter….you can get the same pretty look using a smaller bowl with shorter candlesticks.

More tables on this site using a square table:
Christmas Progressive Dinner
Pheasants & Peacocks
Serpents & Skullduggery
Sunflower Simple
“Flamingos in Paradise”

Roses in October
Noel Progressive Dinner 2010
It’s the Great Pumpkin

Don’t forget to check out Susan’s Tablescape Thursday!!!

Tall & Toile, Y’all!

The packing process is in full swing now. This will be my last post for a while. I’m taking a short hiatus to get moved to Savannah, GA with my husband. Before packing the last of the dishes and other “stuff”, though, I had to host one final (albeit small) dinner party a few weeks ago on the deck. This was an evening filled with both laughter and tears as I said, “So long!” to a couple of very dear friends. We all had horrible “racoon eyes” from crying and didn’t want to be photographed for this post. Suffice it to say, we had a wonderful time and I will treasure this final dinner party at our Lee’s Summit home.

I’m feeling sort of blue because we’re leaving the Kansas City area, so I decided to use that color for my last table.

I bought this wonderful toile table topper several years ago for a display table in my shop. I absolutely adore toile, and it was an even bigger hit with me combined with these dangling “jewels.”

Each place setting consists of silver-leafed terra cotta chargers topped with my favorite Noritake “Spectrum” china. Heirloom silver, Longchamps crystal and white cotton monogrammed dinner napkins rounds out the setting.

Creamy agapanthus in three silver julep cups was just enough for this tiny table.

I like the look of very tall candles! One of my 5-lite silver Revere candelabra held these svelte 25″ metal case candles that kept up with the cool spring winds accompanying our outdoor meal.

I will miss everything about you, Kansas City. You have been my only home for nearly 53 years. I will miss my awesome neighbors – the Alsups, the Rutherfords, the Jenisons, the Breshears – who have all been so sweet and generous and kind. I don’t know that I will ever be able to replace the feeling of “home” that they have provided on our little cul-de-sac over the years. I will miss Kansas City barbeque, the Sprint Center with its incredible acoustics for some of the coolest concerts ever, Chiefs games at “The K”, and the Kansas City symphony. I will miss the many parks, fountains and boulevards that make Kansas City so special. I will miss the Country Club Plaza, Z Gallerie (the closest one to Savannah is 5 hours away!!!), and Town Center Plaza where I have spent countless hours (and $$$). I will miss my former colleagues in the wedding industry, many of whom I still pop in on from time to time. I will certainly miss my friends – Sheri, my best friend of more than 45 years who has made life such a joy; Monica, Audrey, Rene, Michelle, my Kauffman Foundation crew – all of whom have been there for the best and worst of times. Most of all, I will miss my family: my sister and her children who make frequent trips into Kansas City; my very crazy cousins (yes, Dee…I’m singling you out!); my fun-loving aunt and uncle; my grandchildren; my stepchildren and their lively friends, and; my baby boy, Jimmo, who is the beat of my very heart. And, of course, I will sorely miss my parents. My parents who have loved and supported me in everything I do. My parents who I love so much it almost hurts. My parents who provided me with an upbringing that has made me strong enough to withstand the hardest things in life…even this move. For them I will hold my head up. That doesn’t mean I won’t cry. I’m crying right now, in fact. It does mean, however, that I will do them proud and not turn Savannah on its ear…too much! 😉

My dear blogger friends, please check back with me in a month or so. Once we are settled in to our new home in Savannah, I will be so happy to rejoin you in Blog Land.
Take care…y’all! 🙂

I am delighted to join Susan and the host of talented tablescapers who join in each week for Tablescape Thursday at Between Naps on the Porch.

Happy Mother’s Day, Senator Mom (Ret.)

As some of you may know, my Mom recently retired from the Missouri Senate. After serving five years in the Missouri House of Representatives, she was elected to the Senate in 2004 and re-elected in 2008. She served her district well, but decided late last year to step away from her career to spend more time with my Dad – her husband of 59 years – and our family.

Mom’s retirement was marked with a number of special events and honors, not to mention extensive media coverage. One “big ta-do” in her honor was held on March 25 at the Bruce R. Watkins Cultural Heritage Center & State Museum in Kansas City, Mo. I was delighted to add the decorative flourishes to the event in celebration of her long and distinguished service to the Kansas City community and her birthday as she turned a tender 82. (She’s still so young…I don’t think this whole “retirement” thing will last but a hot second! 🙂 )

So, my dear blogger friends, if you will indulge me…as we celebrate Mother’s Day, I’d like to share with you a few photos from Mom’s retirement party.
Congratulations, Senator Mom!

A celebration in honor of Senator Yvonne S. Wilson.

Despite not feeling well at all (101 temp!), this is me clowning around in comfy Mary Janes and anklet socks. 🙂 I reluctantly changed into snazzy heels as guests began to arrive.

I wanted to have a single focal point in the room that would be visible from the entryway. Two of my cousins helped me get up on the buffet table to build this 8-ft. tall floral arrangement before the caterer arrived to add this fabulous food display. As the room grew darker, the hanging votives (LEDs for safety!) throughout the arrangement made a stunning statement.

Assorted bright green butterflies fluttered among the profusion of willow branches, eriostemon and dendrobium orchids.

I created arrangements in faux silver julep cups for the guest tables, surrounded by a trio of votives. (We went with faux silver cups so the volunteer hostesses could take them home later as a token of appreciation.) Smaller similar arrangements were created for the two guest book tables. I love these vintage-looking pink roses with the curly green edges!!! Sprigs of seeded eucalyptus and hypericum berries complete the look.

Our sweet friend, Patrick Snuffer, created the beautiful cakes for the event. Not only does he make deliciously moist cakes, but he is also an accomplished floral designer. The fresh rose and orchid arrangements on the five cakes are his designs.

I iced down bottles of sparkling wine for the toast in two of these oversized silver pedestal bowls. Adding a few orchid blooms to the mix makes it look extra special.

My sister who loves to do crafty projects came up with the idea to have guests sign pieces of photo fabric (something I never heard of!) that she will use to make a commemorative quilt.

Almost showtime! The Three Amigas check the list one last time. L to R: My cousin Virginia Dee Evans who worked patiently and tirelessly to coordinate the event, friend Karen Boyd who selflessly pitched in to help in any and every area possible, and me.

Local celebrity, “Tall” Paul Alexander surprised my Mom when he showed up to greet arriving guests. Tall Paul – a former member of the Harlem Globetrotters – is a doorman who has greeted everyone from presidents to movie stars to rock legends, has been a fixture at the Westin Crown Center in Kansas City for 37 years. In the background is famed jazz musician Luqman Hamza (jazz enthusiasts may remember his 1950s hit “When You Surrender”) who wowed guests with his musical stylings throughout the evening. That handsome young fellow on the other side of my Mom is my Daddy, Jim.

Patrick created a beautiful corsage or orchids and seeded eucalyptus for my Mom.

For the piano, I created a compact arrangement of pink and green roses that sat atop one of my 31″H silver candelabra.

Family photo time! L to R: Nicole Wankel (nephew’s longtime girlfriend), nephew Justin Chamberlain-Dupree, Daddy Jim Wilson, Mom, niece Yvonne Chamberlain, Mom’s senatorial successor Kiki Curls, sister Berishia Wilson-Chamberlain, and me.

My feet are killing me and I am so sick I’m pretty sure I’m going to barf at any moment, but that perpetual public smile is still plastered on my face! My parents taught me well! 🙂

Missouri Governor Jeremiah “Jay” Nixon was among the 300+ guests who showed up to wish Mom well in her retirement and sign the commemorative quilt.

Newly elected Kansas City, Missouri Mayor Sylvester “Sly” James toasts my Mom. (Mayor James hails from both my high school and college alma maters!)

Once a politician, always a politician :-)…and always a gracious one! Mom thanks the crowd for their years of support. Not too shabby lookin’ for 82 years young!

The fun “thank you for your support” fortune cookie favor was another of my sister’s creations!

Happy Mother’s Day, Mom!!!

All photos by Sheri L. Grant