Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Entertain Fair Trade, Volume 1: A Colorful World

Welcome to the first of a new series that I'm calling Entertain Fair Trade.  For almost three years, I have been a volunteer at Ten Thousand Villages in Glen Ellyn , Illinois.  For those of you who may be unfamiliar, Ten Thousand Villages is a fair trade retailer which creates opportunities for artisans in developing countries to earn income by bringing their handicrafts and stories to market through long-term fair trade relationships. Ten Thousand Villages stores are located all across the United States.  You can learn much more and order merchandise from their website, Ten Thousand Villages.  The store carries so many unique items, including gorgeous table linens, candles and so much more.  From time to time, I will be featuring lots of items from the store mixed and matched with pieces from my own collection and setting beautiful tables. Hopefully, I will inspire many of you to entertain fair trade while entertaining friends and family.

This table begins with this vibrant orange Spring Blossom tablecloth, hand screened in India.  This cloth is accented with companion napkins.

Since I love to layer, I next added these Summer Breeze placemats, made in Vietnam from bamboo and recycled newsprint.

My own Hampton Green plates, topped with orange paisley enameled salad plates, add to the riot of color on the tabletop.

Made from bamboo by artisans in Vietnam and painted bold shades of green...

these Tidbit and Treat footed bowls add yet another splash of color.  My guests will love sipping something exotic from these Highlands tumblers...

...made in Bolivia from 100% recycled glass!  There is nothing tame about this table, so I chose this colorful hand painted ceramic Rickshaw planter from Bangladesh...

and am using it as a vase by simply slipping a glass jar inside.  As always, Trader Joe's had the perfect flowers for my table.  Matching Rickshaw candles in adorable little flowerpots add to the festive mood.

I decided to write my guests' names on them with chalk and use them as party favors.  That way, my friends will always remember the good times spent at...

...this fabulous table.  You can find out so much more about all of the products featured in this posting and the artisans who made them by clicking on the links provided.  Please support fair trade and visit the Ten Thousand Villages website.  You might just discover a store nearby.  And if not, all products are available on-line.  I had so much fun setting this table and look very forward to future fair trade postings featuring the beautiful times from Ten Thousand Villages.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Chicks and Eggs

If you're like me, you probably have a bin marked "Easter"...filled with really cute chicks, and eggs and bunnies and lambs.  Setting an Easter table is just plain fun, so I hope you enjoy my rather colorful holiday tablescape.

I started this one off with a cheerful plaid tablecloth, purchased from Crate & Barrel many years ago.  With so many colors, finding accessories is simple.  I choose bright yellow braided placemats from Kohl's...

...and topped them with my Hampton Green plates from the Crate. 

These plates certainly have gotten a work-out this Spring!  I found some vintage raspberry linen napkins in my stash...

...and folded them into pockets to hold the silverware.  Once again, I am using my Lela...

...recycled wine glasses from Crate & Barrel.  Now on to my decorations.

My guests will know just where to sit, thanks to these darling jute carrots from Pier 1 that I am using as place cards and party favors.

The base of my centerpiece is made from three faux grass mats from Hobby Lobby.  I think they make a really clever runner.  I tucked these pastel wooden eggs from Whole Foods into the grass.

My favorite candle holder is just perfect to hold little tea lights, this time nestled into colorful jelly beans. 

And finally, the star of this table, these super fluffy white chicks cannot wait for the party to begin. 

So have some fun.   Pull out all of your Easter decorations and make them part of your table! Coming soon...a new series that I'm calling Entertain Fair Trade.  Be sure to check it out!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

A Bright Sunshiny Day!

Spring truly has sprung, and I for one welcome the warmth and sun.   So put your flip-flops on, dig out your cutest springtime tabletop gear and set a table to match the beautiful day.  The starting point for this setting...

were these colorful wicker mats that I stumbled upon at Pier 1, on sale no less.  Red and yellow...the wheels starting turning.  I remembered the lovely butterfly print napkins I picked up at Crate & Barrel a few years ago.

I do love them with a brown linen tablecloth.  I think my Aero flatware looks fun, tucked inside the napkins and held in place with these coppery wire napkins, picked up at Pier 1 a few years back. I tried several dinner plates,

but settled upon the Hampton Green (Crate & Barrel, currently at the outlet!)  Again, after a few missteps, I selected these gorgeous pink and orange glass salad plates (vintage Crate & Barrel).  The white centers of the dinner plates and the transparency of the salad plates make for a perfect pairing.

I knew that Lela would be an ideal wineglass choice for this table.  And finally, what better flowers for this early appearance of Spring than tulips.

I was just thrilled to find these red and yellow beauties at Costco!  Even better than the price..they lasted a full week!

I simply plopped them into a bunch of square glass bud vases and lined them up down the center of the table.  No experience necessary...tulips just do their own thing.

Nestle in a few tea lights, and this table is set to go!  Next up...a few Easter tables.  Please stay in touch.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

A Bad Case of Spring Fever

Yes...I definitely caught a case of Spring Fever, and I caught it bad!  Forget that the groundhog said we would be enjoying Winter until..hmmm...the middle of May.  March did not even bother to come in like a lion, so I say, let's just start Spring now!  I've been itching to show off my new "dragonfly" accessories.  Once again, the inspiration for my table began in the fabric store.

Found this darling little dragonfly print, September Light by In the Beginning Fabrics.  Had to have it.  Went home and whipped up some napkins.  Then, I remembered seeing these cute...

dragonfly napkin rings at Between Naps on the Porch, and low and behold, Pier 1 still sells them.  Things were falling into place nicely.

I started my table with a simple burlap runner.  These deep teal grass mats from Crate & Barrel match my napkins perfectly!

The more layers the better, so next I added these deep brown rattan chargers.  While my plain white plates were fine...I decided to give these new plates, Hampton Green (on sale at the Crate & Barrel outlet) I whirl and was delighted with the results.

Then I just slipped the napkins into the dragonfly napkin rings...couldn't be easier.  Aero flatware (Crate & Barrel) was definitely the right choice for this table.

I also like how this South Beach glassware by Joseph Abboud enhances this tablescape.

Everyone should have a centerpiece like my old favorite, because time after time...

...I find new ways to use it.  This time I added shiny little stones.

A few extra tea lights never hurts.

And the best for last, I found this darling jute dragonfly garland made in Vietnam at Ten Thousand Villages.  I love how they flit all along the length of the table.

Hope you catch the "fever" too.  Stay week, these same Hampton Green plates will be making an encore.