Wednesday, January 25, 2012

It's All About Crystal!

A few months back, my niece asked me if I'd help her throw a bridal shower for her friend,  Crystal.  Well...I just jumped all over that!  I love planning showers!  I love parties with a theme.  So I thought about the bride, a very caring and thoughtful young lady...someone who rarely thinks of herself first.  I had my theme.  She deserved a day that was all about her...All About Crystal!

I knew that I had plenty of  cut glass items to use as serving pieces , and a friend offered up her extensive collection.  This will be a breeze.  My color inspiration came from the bridesmaid's dresses (pink) and also the paper that I chose for the invitations.  I draped my tables in simple white linen clothes topped with some sparkly organza fabric for a bit of glamour.

I chose to use my favorite white dishes, accenting them with magenta napkins.  My shiny Romantika (Crate & Barrel, early 90's) water goblets and wine glasses added a touch of color.

For the centerpiece, a used these shiny gold and magenta branches (from the holiday collection this past season at Target) tucked into a simple white vase.

I wrapped the gorgeous paper from the invitations (Paper Source) around small clear glass votives.  Cute, and so simple.

Oh the fun I had sourcing the party favors for the guests.  I explored the many antique stores in my area... 

...and found a unique little piece of crystal for each lady to take home.

One was lovelier than the next.

Wishing Crystal a lifetime of happiness.  She deserves it.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Year of the Dragon

This week, my table celebrates Chinese New Year...the Year of the Dragon.  It just so happens that a few years ago, I threw an...

...Asian themed bridal shower for my nephew and his bride, so I had a good supply of perfect accessories for this tablescape.  This table starts with a rich red linen tablecloth.

I've added a topper...just a large square of shiny red satin, embroidered with dragons.  How lucky!  These plates are part of an entire set of china my father shipped home from his Navy days (circa 1940's).

They still look stylish, set atop my golden chargers.  These adorable very vintage blue glass tumblers will be perfect for sipping Tsing Tao beer.

The glass is paper thin...I can hardly believe they've survived the years.  I picked up this cute ceramic Chinese take-out container at Pottery Barn years ago!

I have used it us a vase, but this time, it holds a handful of colorful chopsticks.  In addition, my guests will navigate this feast with cute little Asian soup spoons.

Red and gold paper fans add a festive touch.

These satin red lanterns were a very lucky find at Target.

And now for my favorite touch...the napkins.  Plain red linen napkins are magically turned into giant fortune cookies.

Thank you to David Stark for his wonderful resource book, Napkins with a Twist:  Fabulous Folds for Every Occasion.

While I added oversized fortunes to my cookies napkins, these could easily have been turned into darling place cards.  My table is set.  My guests are on their way.  Time to pick up the phone and order a delicious Chinese feast...take-out, of course.  What fun!

Friday, January 6, 2012


Who knew that setting the table could be so much fun?  Today's tablescape sort of just...happened!  January Chicago...and it is 54 degrees and sunny.  A friend called and asked if I'd like to meet her for lunch.  Well, of course.  Lunch happened to be at a restaurant in beautiful OakBrook Mall...where there just happens to be a Crate & Barrel.  Hmmmm.  While the new treasures for Spring are making their way into the store, there were still plenty of holiday bargains.

These Keaton Terra Cotta placemats suddenly caught my eye, mostly because they were square.  They will fit nicely on my not-so-large dining room table.  And surely I must have some napkins in my stash at home.  Sold!  Indeed, I had these Lila napkins, also from the Crate.  This is when the fun started.

Why not turn these not-rectangle placemats on their side.

Why not fold my napkins into squares to match the placemats....and plop them in the center of the bowls!  I'm on a roll.  Taking cues from the stripes on the placemats, I positioned my Aero flatware all around the plate.  Who says there are rules?

To maintain the playful mood of the table, I chose my South Beach glassware by Joseph Aboud.

Nothing else was quite in the "right"place, so I positioned the wine glass and water goblet on the corners of the mats.

Flowers just did not seem like the proper accent for this tablescape, so I opted for my ever-so-verstaile candle holder instead, this time filled with black beans.  I just could not be happier with how this table setting came together...and all I bought were a few placemats (that were on sale) !  Up next...The Year of the Dragon.  And stay tuned for future postings...a series entitled "What Was I Thinking? A Tablescape Challenge in Three Parts!"

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

All Suited Up

The inspiration for this tablescape came from a Chicago Tribune feature on holiday decor.  What is so great about this table is its adaptability.  This could easily turn into a lovely Thanksgiving table with the right details. Dress it up for Christmas or New Year's Eve.

I loved their idea of a grey flannel tablecloth. Or use it all winter long for a dressed-up look.  All that is required is a trip to the fabric store.  Called "suiting", this fabric makes an ideal table covering.  Not only does it look classy, but it resists wrinkles, drapes beautifully and washes easily.  What's not to like?  I did not even bother to hem my cloth. The soft grey color is the ideal backdrop for all the extras.  I have chosen to use my favorite white dishes, this time sitting atop shiny silver chargers.

Matching Callsitoga wine and water glasses from Crate & Barrel add some class.

I do believe my favorite recent purchase has been this very fun Aero flatware, also from the Crate with its circular spoons and stylish skinny black handles.

I could not resist  this playful grey fabric, accented with circles of black and shades of soft green and aqua, which quickly turned into napkins.

Accessories also look fabulous against the grey flannel.  These adorable mother-of-pearl napkin rings from Ten Thousand Villages once again pick up on the subtle circle theme going on.

White paper roses, also from Ten Thousand Villages, are scattered all over the table.  

The final touch is another one of my go-to pieces, a sculptural candelabra from Crate & Barrel.  This time I've added chunky round white candles for some mood lighting.

I  hope I've inspired you to give this grey flannel tablescape your own personal touches.  Looking very forward to seeing what my fellow dish lovers at Between Naps on the Porch have in store for 2012.