Winter Dinner Tablescape

I had a good time this morning doing a live segment on holiday tablescaping at our local CBS station, KCTV-5, on the “Better Kansas City” show. Host Kelly Jones made me feel very comfortable and welcome. It was weird to be on the “other side” of a show like that. I hosted a half-hour news program called “District Directions” way back in the 1980s. (Yes, young people…television had been invented back then!) Don’t know if it’s because I’ve aged mellowed or what, but it seemed less frenetic than back when I was doing the interviewing with someone else in the hot seat some 25 years and 40 lbs. ago!

Behind the anchor desk of “District Directions”, November 1987.
That was then…

…and this is now, 25 years later.
On the set of “Better Kansas City” with my friend, Barbara, and host Kelly Jones.

I wanted so much to hate the tall, svelte, gorgeous, gracious host of the show because she is tall, svelte, gorgeous and gracious, but I just couldn’t. She was aces! 😉 My friend, Barbara, is skinny, too, and she did a fantabulous job of helping me to set up. Because she is skinny, though, I have officially decided I don’t like her, either! 😉

So…the table. My segment was first up, so Barbara and I kicked into high gear with just about 45 minutes to get everything ready. I had set up at home first to make sure I had all the necessary elements. Our dining table is 6 ft. x 42″, but the table on set was only 30″ wide. I made some adjustments for width by putting 3 place settings on each side. Then, per the director, I moved some of the centerpiece items around to create an unencumbered sight line for the camera.

A quick change out of my very ladylike Keds and chambray work shirt into high heels and jacket, then ready, and…we’re live!

Click the image above to see the live segment. (For those of you hearing my voice for the first time…I’m sorry! I kinda laugh like a hyena in heat! ;-))

Here’s the winter tablescape as it was set up at home…

Having a 42″ vs. 30″ wide table makes a huge difference! I like the way both turned out, though. It’s really a very simple tablescape to create that doesn’t burn through your bank account. Lots of candlelight adds warmth to the wintry look while the glass cylinders, mirrored chargers, and silver Christmas ornaments add that icy shine. The pine cones bring a rustic element to the tablescape. Changing out the ornaments for  gilded mini pumpkins would turn this into a slick contemporary Thanksgiving look, while deep-sixing the pine cones for miniature disco balls (mirror balls) would transform it into a terrific New Year’s Eve tablescape.

So that’s my day in the bright lights! Many, many thanks to host Kelly Jones, producer Erin Cansler, and all the terrific folks at KCTV-5 and “Better Kansas City” (including that very handsome camera operator!). A special thanks to Ty Edwards of All Things In Place who recommended me for the show and to Barbara Alsup for getting up at the butt crack of dawn to help me set up.

For more Winter tablescape ideas, please visit the Winter page!

For more tablescapes on this site using clear glass cylinders:
And the Winner Is…
Welcome Back, Joel
Flamingos in Paradise
Mardi Gras Mojo
Apple Green Luncheon
Oopsy Daisy
Raining Orchids
Pretty In Pink
Autumn Orchids
Love & Orchids
Contemporary Christmas – Fire & Ice
Get Me to the Church On Time
March of the Penguins

I am linking up with Cuisine Kathleen this week for “Let’s Dish!” and Susan for “Tablescape Thursday” so please join us!

Have a Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

After the Hunt Tablescape – Gentlemen’s Winter Retreat

Deer hunting season officially began in the great State of Missouri on November 1. While it’s not my thing (I’d much rather spend time hunting dishes!), I know there are a lot of people – men in particular – who really enjoy hunting for sport. Seems kind of silly to me with Costco just a few miles away. Anyhooooooooo……. 😉

For one of my “Winter Wonderland” tablescaping classes this semester, I created a gentlemen’s tablescape for after the hunt. Whether it’s a hunt for deer, a hunt for that little white ball you hit with a very expensive stick for 18 holes, or a hunt for that perfect Christmas gift from Tiffany’s (hint, hint!), this is a table I think many gentlemen would enjoy to unwind with a hearty meal…in a civilized manner! (This might also work well for a man’s birthday in the winter months!)
(Click on any photo to enhance/enlarge it. Photos by Sheri L. Grant.)

Set up in our little library, this 48-inch round table is dressed in a full-length black linen that is topped with a piece of wonderfully soft and washable black, brown & white plaid fleece from Hobby Lobby. The fleece tablecloth conveys warmth, while the plaid pattern reminds me of the flannel shirts guys often wear under their camouflage jackets.

Each place setting starts with a wood slice charger. These wood slices are sold in the woodworking section at places like Hobby Lobby and Michael’s for about $10 apiece (but use those valuable 40% and 50% off coupons to save $$$!), and they really work well with outdoor themes or rustic tablescapes. Every slice is a little different, and that’s what makes it really cool! The oblong shape allows more of the beautiful wood to show under a round or square plate. I used black ceramic plates – a combo of Dollar Tree and Target – to complement the masculine black under linen.

 A brown leaf-shaped bowl from Pier 1 is perfect for a little venison stew or rib-stickin’ chili. Hampton Silversmith’s “Patriot” flatware has a substantial shape and weight for the masculine hand.

Over the lips, and past the tongue. Look out, stomach! Here it comes!
There’s nothing like a little whiskey on the rocks for sipping before dinner. These miniature bottles of Jack Daniel’s fine Tennessee whiskey are great for individual servings at the table or as a take-home “favor” for the guys. (Believe me, if you gave these as wedding favors, they would NOT be left sitting on the table!!!) While meat-and-potatoes guys aren’t usually given to fancy fixings, the substantial weight and cut of Godinger’s “Dublin” crystal will have them feeling like kings of the hunt or Titans of the boardroom or Gordon Gekko…whatever floats their boat. 🙂

Men tend not to favor a lot of fussiness, so I used a miniature evergreen tree and simply adorned it with this stuff I found that looks kind of like twiggy barbed wire…if that makes any sense at all.  It was just enough on the tree to lend a rugged, wintry feel without making it look too Christmas-y. The base of the tree is finished off with (naturally shed) antlers and a smattering of pine cones. No votives or candlesticks here. Guys don’t care that the amber flame is flattering to their skin tone, and they sure aren’t lookin’ for romance around this table!

The vitrine in the library is a perfect place to set up bar for refills. The deck of the vitrine is very humbly decorated with pine boughs. The urns on either side of the vitrine are topped with huge moss balls for a decidedly pared down masculine look.

On top of the secretary on the wall opposite the vitrine is this great find from a few years back. There is no way an actual deer head was coming into this house!!! This grapevine deer head wreath, however, is perfect for the occasion and lends a sort of lodge look to the room.

“Next it will be brandies in the smoking room. Now they retreat into a cloud of smoke and congratulate each other on being masters of the universe.” (Quote from “Titanic” – Rose to Jack after dinner in the first-class dining room.)

To see 9 more winter tablescapes on this site, visit the “Winter” page.
For additional winter posts on this site, check out:

Sugar High – Payback!
Cranberry Christmas – Squared
Cranberry Christmas
Winter Brunch
Christmas Progressive Dinner 2011
Get Me to the Church On Time
Winter Cardinal

Many, many, many thanks to fellow blogger/super sweetheart Cuisine Kathleen for the wonderful T.J. Maxx/Home Goods gift certificate I won on her site a couple of weeks ago! I am hoarding it for later use at after-Christmas sales. I’ll let you know what I buy!

Join me as I visit Cuisine Kathleen for “Let’s Dish!” on Wednesday anytime after 6:00 p.m. CST, the Style Sisters for “Centerpiece Wednesday“, and Susan for “Tablescape Thursday” anytime after 9:00 a.m. CST on Thursday!

Winter Cardinal

Christmas is over and the new year is well underway, but I’m still diggin’ the spirit-lifting spurts of bright red around the house. Even though snow has mercifully dodged us thus far, it is January so the trees are bare and the feel of winter definitely abounds.

I was sick (yes, again!) last week and spent a lot of time staring out the window planning my escape. I saw the most beautiful cardinal perched on a low-hanging branch for what seemed like an eternity and a fleeting moment all in one. She was a striking creature in her shockingly red coat and heavy-handed eyeliner. She brightened an otherwise dreary winter’s day with her brilliant color and gave me inspiration for a winter tablescape.
(Click on any photo to enhance/enlarge it.)

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IMG_4055WMI bought these 222 Fifth “Winter Cardinal” dinner plates on clearance at TJ Maxx awhile back. The same thought that struck me while looking out the window is what attracted me to these plates. The tiny speck of red, while miniscule by comparison, is the star of the flat white plate with its silvery, sinewy, naked trees. (Click HERE to see another red, white & silver winter tablescape.) To add a little drama, I went with a double dose of contemporary square chargers in silver and red from World Market. Turning the top charger at a slight angle allows the red on bottom to just barely peek out…kind of like the cardinal in the tree. (Click HERE or HERE & scroll down to “Year of the Rabbit” to see other tablescapes using doubled square chargers.)

IMG_4040WMThe contemporary lines of J.A. Henckels “Bellaserra” stainless works well with the setting.

IMG_3983WMThe slender tube-like fold of a red cotton napkin is secured with a silver napkin ring.

Each place setting is punctuated with a square glass votive filled with waterlogged cranberries and topped with a fragrant white carnation. (For more tablescape ideas using cranberries, click HERE or HERE.)

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Another shot of red revs up the stark white linen via the TJ Maxx table runner. I double-folded the center part back to lend more of a 3-D look with just the decorated ends exposed. The barren silver trees on the runner are a nice companion to those on the plates, and it could just as easily find its way into a Christmas tablescape.

I love the look of pavĂ©d carnations! This simple arrangement of easy-on-the-budget white carnations is anchored by acrylic “ice” chips for a wintry look and topped with cranberries for color. My husband said the square shape makes it look like a layer cake with whipped cream, which would make it perfect for a birthday party, shower, or anniversary! He’s right, but I think he just wanted cake! 🙂 (Click HERE to see another post using acrylic “ice.”)

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IMG_4045WMThe buffet behind the dining table gets an austere, yet somewhat theatrical treatment. A square glass floral container filled with more acrylic “ice” chips holds dramatically arched branches coated in silver paint. Peering from within is a lone cardinal. Another glass container is filled with fresh cranberries for the requisite shot of color. Votive candles dance the length of the buffet.

Champagne anyone?

I am thrilled to join my fellow tablescapers as we start this new year together at Susan’s Tablescape Thursday. Come along this Thursday, won’t you?

Copper Zen

I’m still on the mend from this horrible upper respiratory thing that has plagued me the last two weeks, but I’m not going to let a little thing like not breathing keep me from posting!!! 🙂

I had this post on hold from a table I did some time ago. This one is not a Thanksgiving-oriented set-up, but it will be a good one to keep in mind for those days in January and February when you want to create a peaceful winter tablescape for entertaining after the hectic holiday season.

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IMG_2923WMI started with a sleek black full-length table linen.

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I bought these fabulous dark green Home Essentials & Beyond “Montclair Collection” dinner plates at Marshalls awhile back. I so love the intricate raised design! My hesitation in using these lovely plates sooner has been in what to pair with them. The black linen inspired me to use a black charger, but I knew it would disappear. The addition of the cool square copper-colored chargers made all the difference!!! I wish I could tell you where to get the copper chargers, but I bought them wholesale and don’t know where they are sold retail. The black chargers are from Wal-Mart. I set the double chargers in an offset position to show off all three layers.

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For this dinner we were eating Chinese takeout, so a pair of chopsticks were the only eating utensils necessary. I nestled them in the crevice of sleek black napkins pinched with copper-colored napkin rings (also purchased wholesale) and draped across the plate.

IMG_2915WMSo I finally got hip to Dollar Tree. It’s about time, huh? My Mom called and said there was some beautiful dark green stemware there that I just MUST see, so off I went! Lo and behold, there was stemware that would work perfectly with the plates! Hooray!!! I scooped up a dozen each goblets and champagne flutes, and the cashier gave me the ugliest look I’ve ever seen when I got to the counter. She was NOT happy about having to wrap all of those, even though I brought along my own bubble wrap and box!

I bought these uber-cool dark green Vidrios San Miguel vases (made of recycled glass!) at TJ Maxx awhile back. LOVE THEM!!! They’re huge and they really make a statement on the table! To go with the sleek, zen feeling of the room I just plopped in a few branches of fresh curly willow for a cool and easy centerpiece.

I used a double row of votives between the two vases of curly willow to lend continuity to the look of the centerpiece and add ambient light.

I repeated the oblong votive treatment on the buffet behind the dining table for a sleek, easy look with lots of character!

Other Asian-inspired tablescapes on this site:
Peaceful Peonies
Mandarin Bling
Year of the Rabbit
Mikasa ‘Daylight’ Giveaway

Other tablescapes using curly willow on this site:
Welcome Back, Joel
Autumn Blues
Blushing Bridal

I’m joining Susan and a bunch of really talented tablescapers from around the globe again this week for Tablescape Thursday. Please join us!