White Hot

Planning a table for an low-key, intimate New Year’s Eve dinner party can be a little tough. We had a super sparkly table last year, and I am considering a similarly blinged out table for this year’s celebration. (Click HERE to see last year’s post, “Ringing in the New Year.”)

For those preferring something a bit more subdued before the noisemakers come out, here’s an idea table that just might fit the bill.

I am and always will be a sucker for a full-length white linen for most semi-formal and formal settings, unless you have a table with a pristine finish or interesting design.

I used some of my favorite TJ Maxx creamy white dishes with scrolled rims atop the polished silverplate chargers, but just about any nice white dishes will do.

International Silver “Royal Danish” sterling flatware adds to the formality of the place settings.

Godinger‘s “Chelsea” collection crystal stemware.

White linen napkins pulled through heavy crystal napkin rings from Z Gallerie‘s 2010 collection.

Simple silver spheres to hold place cards.

Reflective silver 14-inch, 5-branch candelabra dripping with crystal bobeches grace the center of the table. If you have concerns about fire safety like my husband does after THIS fiery fiasco last summer, reduce the risk by using metal case candles (also referred to as mechanical candles) such as these from Paradise Candles. Not only do they up the fire safety ante, but they save your nice linens from wax drips.

If Christmas broke the bank for you, alstroemeria is a good economical flower choice. Here, a single bunch from the florist is divided and arranged in classic silver julep cups.

The clean, polished look is finished off with scattered cut crystal votives.

This look is also appropriate for a bridal shower, rehearsal dinner, adult birthday or a little something special on Christmas Eve.

I’ll post this year’s actual New Year’s Eve dinner party tablescape next week…if I can decide exactly what I want to do with it! 🙂

HAPPY NEW YEAR TO YOU AND YOURS!!!

Cranberry Christmas – Long Table

My cousin (no, not the weird one…the other one!) recently asked for formal Christmas tablescape ideas using cranberries as a part of the decor. Ask, and you shall receive! This table is shown in the Tuscan-style (long) form. Click HERE to see how the look of the same basic decor changes with a square table. (The 2nd look would also work quite well with a round table!)

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IMG_3361WMHere, two 6′ x 30″ oblong tables are set end-to-end to create a 12-ft. table. With the large amount of decorative detail, generously proportioned 13″ chargers, and increased amount of china and flatware, however, it only seats 8. Using the more common 12″ charger, smaller decorative elements, and eliminating the bread plate would free up space for up to 12 guests.

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The Christmas holidays are a time for over-the-top tablescapes that have a lush, luxurious feel to them. Using an additional charger can help achieve that look and feel. I like to remove the first one after the salad course and the second after the entrée. (Formal etiquette calls for removing all chargers before the entrée is served, but many guests enjoy the additional razamatazz. Depending on who I’m entertaining, it might stay or go!) For this place setting, a 13″ sparkly red charger (Target) is topped with a 12″ silverplate charger. Any plates with a formal holiday vibe will work. I used my trusty Noritake “Spectrum” dinner and salad plates with the simple, sleek platinum band.

A crisp white cotton napkin with a monogram or initial is always perfect for a formal setting. An icy crystal napkin ring from Z Gallerie helps to set this one off against the silver and white plates.

J.A. Henckels’ “Bellaserra” flatware has a beautiful mirrored finish that works well with the silver & white tablescape. A black-handled steak knife is added for use with the entrée.

IMG_3379WMCristal d’Arques “Longchamps” crystal stemware is always a nice choice. The diamond-shaped cut of this crystal mimics the cut of the Z Gallerie napkin ring.

Cranberries are wonderful for Christmastime decorating! They are relatively inexpensive (you can pick them up for as little as 99¢ a bag at Aldi’s or similar discount grocery stores), and they can be used in SO many ways. To dress them up, I am floating them in silver pedestal bowls with candles. (I used this pedestal bowl filled with rose petals for a wedding tablescape HERE.)

IMG_3366WMPlaced at strategic intervals down the table are three 27″ silverplate candlesticks with pillar candles. The candlesticks lend height to the table as well as ambient light at a higher level. The rose-filled silver julep cups placed at each person’s place setting work well as tabletop decor during the meal and as a nice take-home gift after dinner.

Ambient light at the lowest level is provided by silver mercury glass votive holders.

The red berry theme is extended with a berry-covered grapevine wreath over the mantel. The greenery on the wreath is the same used in the small julep arrangements on the table. Additional silver mercury glass votives flank the wreath.

So…if you have space for a 12-ft.+ table, this style works very well. (Two 8-ft. tables would require additional decorative pieces, but would be extra FABulous!!!) Of course, it requires a bit more decor because of its length, but it’s the same as doing two rounds. To see the squared version of this table which can also be done with a round, click HERE.

More tablescape designs on this site using long tables:
Oopsy Daisy!”
Raining Orchids
September Wine
Autumn White Wedding
Get Me to the Church On Time
Daisy Crazy
Blue & White Family Picnic
Thanksgiving 2010
Hollywood Fright Night
Celebrate the Season
Black, White & Red All Over
Pretty In Pink
Love & Orchids”
Tented Green

A few other Christmas tablescapes on this site include:
Celebrate the Season
Christmas in the Woods
“Kaleidoscope Christmas”
“Merry & Bright – Multi-Color Christmas”
“Christmas Through the Red Door”
“Life Is A Cabaret – New Year’s Eve”
Waking Up to Christmas – Bedroom Decor
Black, White & Red All Over Christmas
Christmas 2012 – Red, Black & Silver
Checkered Christmas
Pink & Purple Chocolate Christmas
Sugar High Payback
Contemporary Christmas
Gentlemen’s Winter Retreat
Woodland Men’s Tablescape
Cranberry Christmas Squared
Get Me To the Church On Time
Christmas Progressive Dinner
White Hot
Winter Brunch
Really Red Christmas
Roman Holiday
Cardinal Christmas
Frosty the Snowman
March of the Penguins
Winter Cardinal
Ideas for Throwing a Winter Dessert Party
Christmas Fiesta
Over the River and Through the Woods
Black Friday Luncheon
Noel Progressive Dinner
Old-Fashioned Red & Green Christmas
Timberland Christmas
Christmas Coffee
Warm Metal Christmas
Let It Snow
Tuscan Holiday

Fa-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la! I am joining Susan and the other tablescapers from around our glorious world for Tablescape Thursday again this week. You’re invited to come along for the ride!

Laissez Les Bon Temps Rouler!

Bienvenue! Laissez les bon temps rouler!!!
(Welcome! Let the good times roll!!!)

We will be shakin’ our bon-bon and having a grand ol’ time in celebration of Fat Tuesday tonight! Our trusty butler, Geoffrey, even plans to get in on the fun which is so against his staid British upbringing! 🙂

I’ve been busy all morning preparing a slightly more formal table than the way we celebrated over the weekend. The same amount of debauchery, however, is expected as for any Mardi Gras celebration!


I elected to allow the natural wood of the dining table anchor the setting. Over the bare wood I crisscrossed lengths of shimmering purple, green & gold netting.


Each place setting  started with a deep purple cobbled charger from Burlington. The china was purchased several years ago at Pier 1. Add gold toned flatware and my trusty Godinger “Chelsea” collection stemware.


Purple gemstone napkin rings from Z Gallerie hug the sheer organza Pier 1 napkins. Here you are better able to see the cobbled texture of the chargers.


The centerpiece is made up of several pieces. First, in a Godinger “Dublin” hurricane, is a mass of free-flowing fresh greenery. I wanted a kind of “messy” look to play off of the more formally arranged carnations beneath it.


Clusters of beautifully fragrant royal purple carnations rest in diminiutive crystal vases.


At each end of the dining table are Godinger “Dublin” cut crystal candle holders.


Graceful purple birds with soft green bellies and long, sweeping tails perch high above each gold candlestick. The birds were purchased wholesale many years ago, but this is the first time I’ve had an opportunity to use them.

One of my favorite parts of decorating is the chance to create something new by combining various elements. The very boxy gold-toned candlesticks are softened by the addition of these bobeches dripping in crystals.


The buffet area is the perfect place to extend the festivities from the dining table. Purple, green & gold mirror balls stretch the length of the buffet with a strand of the same colored beaded garland. On one end of the buffet, a Harlequin doll stands guard over the assorted candies in cut crystal containers.


On the opposite end, a mini bar of soul-satisfying bourbon, scotch and brandy in cut crystal vessels awaits thirsty guests along with fun feathered masks.


I don’t much care for store-bought King’s cake, so I am substituting these lucious homebaked cinnamon rolls. The smell of cinnamon wafting through the house is wonderful!!!


This Beverly Clark cake server with the regal crown on the end is the perfect utensil for cutting and serving the King’s cake!

I didn’t create menu cards for our buffet this evening, but we will dine on a traditional gumbo starter followed by fried catfish, red beans & rice, candied sweet potatoes, collard greens and cornbread. After all, that’s what Fat Tuesday is all about! I wish you and yours a joyous and festive one!

Other Mardi Gras/Fat Tuesday tablescapes on this site:
Mardi Gras Lite
Mardi Gras Mojo
“Mardi Gras Madness”
“Celebrate Mardi Gras!”
“The Peacock Effect”

 In the browsing mood? I hope you will take the time to visit Susan and the other tablescapers at Between Naps on the Porch for Tablescape Thursday!

Mardi Gras Mojo!

Poor, sad, pitiful me. I lost my Mojo a couple of months back. I was moping around, sleeping too much, couldn’t concentrate, no pep in my step. To the rescue: My good friend, Rene! The postman delivered a box FULL of Mojo straight from her door to mine: What seemed like hundreds of little curled strips of paper with the word “MOJO” in various colors! What a clever pick me up!!! So to that end, I dedicate our Mardi Gras tablescape from this past weekend to my sweet friend, Rene. Thanks for helping me get me Mojo back!

 With just four of us to celebrate the weekend before Fat Tuesday, the space in front of the fireplace seemed just right. I wanted to have as much sparkle and shine and decadence as possible for this tiny table to make it really stand out. I started with these gold fleur de lis chargers I bought at Tuesday Morning 10+ years ago. They don’t get much use, but they sure are fun! To allow the fleur de lis design to stand out, I chose clear dinner plates and see-through green salad plates. Of course, goldtone flatware was in order.

Keeping with the standard Mardi Gras colors of purple, green and gold, I chose purple stemware with gold embellishment for the water glass and a brilliant emerald green wine glass, both purchased from Pier 1 about 7 or 8 years ago. The clear stems give them a cohesive look.

Cotton napkins in a rich aubergine are gathered with these fabulous jewled napkin rings from Z Gallerie. Hard to tell by the picture here, but they have a fabulous color-on-color Harlequin design.

I bought these painted Harlequin ceramic masks from the clearance bin at Tuesday Morning about ten years ago.

Ah! My motivation! They make a perfect little embellishment at each place setting!

Inexpensive multi-colored sequinned fabric works great as a table topper over a deep green full-length linen.

Something kind of fun was to use these sturdy iron chairs loaded down with fun Mardi Gras-inspired decor. Each chair received a beaded seat pillow, purple for the gentlemen and gold (of course!) for the ladies!

These votive holders are covered in purple feathers (yes, feathers!) and finished off with a band of pretty beads at the top.

So here’s a lesson in “I don’t have any extra money to spare but need the right color vase”101. I took a clear glass cylinder and gently mounded yards of shimmering purple organza into it. I LOVE the effect! It seems to give the vase movement and depth as well as the intended color change. A 6-ft. length of purple, green & gold bead garland drapes from the top of the vase, tucked just inside the rim, all the way down into a pool of Mardi Gras beads.

I’ve pulled back the feathers to better expose the Harlequin ornament (a 25 cent after-Christmas purchase from Tuesday Morning) that merrily dances on the side of the centerpiece.

The crown of the centerpiece is this exquisite profusion of purple, green and gold glittered feathers. (When there’s no money in the budget for flowers, feathers are a great stand-in!) I just started tucking them in, and the end result was what looks to me like one of those Sunday-go-to-meeting hats some of the fancy  ladies wear!

Our meal for this occasion was a shrimp boil. I had something completely different planned and already printed on the menus, but our dishwasher went on the fritz a few hours before our guests arrived. It was then a choice to either use (and have to wash by hand) 5 or 6 pots for the original menu or just switch to the one-pot-Wonder. I think I made the right choice!

Have a Fabulous Fat Tuesday, everyone!
Other Mardi Gras tablescapes on this site:
Laissez Bon Temps Rouler
“Mardi Gras Lite”
“Mardi Gras Madness”
“Celebrate Mardi Gras!”
“The Peacock Effect”