Wednesday, February 29, 2012


Although we have had a relatively mild winter, I nonetheless am ready for Spring to you can see from this week's tablescape.  The inspiration for this tablesetting began with the fabric that I used to make these napkins.

I just had to have it.  The pattern is Garden Party by Jane Dixon for Andover Fabrics.  A companion fabric in the collection will be featured in an upcoming posting.  I really do love it with yellow, love it with red and especially love it with pink!

So when I saw these light grey palm grass mats at Crate & Barrel, I knew I had to have them and would use them often.  I really wanted this table to focus on the napkins, so I kept everything else simple.  I began with a vintage pink and white checked linen tablecloth.

Next, I layered my plain white plates on  silver chargers on the grey placemats.  I wanted to be able to really see the pattern on the fabric, so I fanned out the napkins as much as possible...

securing the center with these cute square mother-of-pearl napkin rings from Ten Thousand Villages.

For glassware, I chose my perennial favorite Romantika goblets (vintage Crate) and paired them with these...

lovely mint green champagne flutes (vintage Horchow). Of course every table needs a little candlelight,

this time provided by chunky square glass votives.  I suspected that Trader Joe's would have some gorgeous flowers, and much to my delight, I found this mixture...

that matched my table just perfectly.  I tucked the flowers down low into a really charming little white porcelain vase (Rosenthal) that had belonged to my Aunt Tess.  Hope you've enjoyed this repast from Winter.

I must have a touch of Spring Fever, though...because I just thought a saw some dragonflies fly by. So...stay tuned.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Part Three...The Blue Challenge

Alas, I have come to the final installment of my three part challenge.  In retrospect, the Red Challenge just sort of came together easily.  The Green Challenge rather surprised me.  Now I was left with the Blue Challenge.  At first, I was a bit stumped.  I did not want this table to look like the red table...only blue.  It needed to look fresh.  I tried this.  I tried that.  My table was not spectacular.

I knew that I definitely would use my gorgeous navy blue plates (The Blues, by Arabia of Finland).  And I couldn't wait to finally showcase my fabulous mid-century barware...

(one of my all time favorite finds from a local antique store!) Could I mix in some cobalt blue pieces?  No...they just did not look right with the navy.  Something about these little gold tea light got me thinking.  I have some chrysanthemum plates tucked in the back of a cabinet.

They're a bit orangey...but could they work?   And much to my delight, they were just the ticket!

As much as I tried to using the gold chargers...again...they work perfectly with the gold in the runner.  This time, I have used by blue plates as a layering piece, topped with a plain white plate and finished off with the beautiful salad plate.  Wanting to work a bit more orange into the setting, I remembered these adorable little porcelain vases (Dansk) and decided to use them as placecards, filled with gorgeous orange gerbera daisies.

A simple paper tag tied on with a thin gold ribbon guides my guests to their special spot at the table.  To accompany my gold tea lights,

and to give my table some height in the center, I pulled out my oh-so-verstatile candle holder (Crate & Barrel) and added some simple golden votives from Target!

A pretty gold garland with tiny orange berries woven underneath adds a last bit of sparkle.  And so, my challenge has come to an end, and I must say, I really am rather fond of this table...

...and also my red and green and blue "not really my taste any more" table linens. Makes me wonder...what else do I have lying around that just needs some loving attention and a creative eye to become a beautiful tablescape?

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Hurricane Weather!

I know I promised the final installment of "What was I Thinking...the Blue Challenge", but I couldn't pass up the opportunity to set a table for one of my favorite holidays, Mardi Gras!

I may be a Midwestern girl...but quite honestly...I can make a pretty darn good bowl of gumbo.  So not surprisingly, I just love to throw a Mardi Gras bash...with all the trimmings...and lots of them!  But trust me...just keep piling it on for one fabulous and festive table.

A few years ago, I found this perfect gold, purple and green harlequin checked fabric and made a few simple tablecloths.  Let the layering begin.

I started with some bright gold placemats and then just used my plain white plates and soup bowls, dolled up with some shiny, feathery masks and a few gold doubloons.

Shhh...Just this once I used some purple and yellow paper napkins.   But I wrapped up my fun Aero flatware (Crate & Barrel) with a few strands of colorful Mardi Gras Beads.

No Mardi Gras party would be complete without a few great cocktails.  I'll be serving Hurricanes, just like in New Orleans.

These ceramic chili peppers normally hang alongside the kitchen sink, but today they are my centerpiece!  Why not??

I couldn't resist these Mardi Gras beads on steroids.  For this party, more is definitely more!

Just a few colorful votives make my table twinkle.  For the finishing touch on this festive table, I've used...

cute little Tabasco sauce bottles as placecards!  Excuse me...but I could really use on of those Hurricanes right about now.  Please check back next week for the Blue Challenge.  I promise, it will not dissappoint!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Part Two...The Green Challenge!

After the success of the Red Challenge, it was time to tackle the green linens...same runner, same napkins, different color, different challenge.

I was thinking that this table was going to need a feminine touch. Once again, I began with my frilly gold chargers.

Oh, I know I use them all the time, but they just work so perfectly here.  But now it's time for something really different.  Many, many years ago, I discovered these "Duke of Gloucester" reproduction plates from Restoration Hardware.

Covered with peaches and cherries, bugs and butterflies, they are rather charming.  Quite honestly, these were sold as picnickware, because rather than porcelain, they are tin!  Regardless, they look "royal" on my green table, and while a little fancy for my present day taste,

they certainly do look pretty on the gold chargers, layered with the gold trimmed linen napkins.

This table definitely needs some girly glassware.  My Romantika goblets and water glasses (Crate & Barrel, circa early 90's), with their pretty pink an blue details, are perfect.

Little gold glass tealights add a bit of a modern twist to this dressy tablescape.  Finally, a simple vase of Alstroemeria...

...and we're finished.  Wow, I don't think I ever imagined these green and gold linens inspiring this table fit for a princess!

Next...the final test...the Blue Challenge.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

What was I thinking? A tabletop challenge in three parts.

Many, many years ago, I purchased all of these table linens...three runners and all of their coordinating gold trimmed napkins at Crate & Barrel.  As I recall, I had some grand plan to throw a very large dinner party, setting three fabulous tables, all a little different, with the linens tying everything together.  What was I thinking?

Fast forward 20 years or so.  I rediscovered these linens in a bin...never ever touched!  Although lovely, I look at these runners and napkins and realize that my taste has most definitely changed.  So what to do with these "too formal" linens that aren't really at all my style?  How about a challenge?  In three parts!

My goal is to use these linens as a starting point, setting three tables, using all the tricks up my sleeve and not stopping until I come up with three tablescapes to share on this site.  Here we go.

Part One...The Red Challenge!

I opted to begin with the red linens.  Thinking about the dishes and accessories in my stash, it seemed the logical...and easiest choice.  Red and gold...over the top...more is more.  Fun, not formal.  I started with the red and gold brocade table runner, of course.

Now, let the layering begin.  My super sparkly beaded placemats are old favorites from Pottery Barn.

Next, add some ruffly gold leaf (not really) charges from Crate & Barrel.  Keep going with my favorite plain white plates.

Top it all off with swirly cranberry and gold dessert plates.

Add some big red water goblets.  Looking better, but don't stop now.

Dress up the napkins with chunky gold napkin rings from Ten Thousand Villages.  This table needs some candlelight.

Round red candles sit atop gold columns.  A few red posies and some gold baubles finish the table nicely.  Fancy but fun...I think these red linens are finally looking rather fine!  That was fun.  Stay tuned for "What was I Thinking - Part Two, the Green Challenge!"