Throw Back Thursday: Chinoiserie Chic Christmas Tablescape…..

I thought it would be fun to take a trip down memory lane to look at a Christmas tablescape I did last year for the Nate Berkus Show. I created a tablescape I labeled “Chinoiserie Chic” – it had elements from several Asian cultures mixed with a traditional Christmas vibe.  I combined the traditional color scheme of red and white but filtered through the use of non-traditional decor like wicker lanterns, shadow boxes, paper flowers & fans.  Throw in some overtly Asian touches like red envelopes and you end up with what I am calling a “Chinoiserie Chic Christmas Table” ……..

The tablescape is anchored the the large handmade paper flower on the window…

The mural consists of about 17 different paper flowers made from a variety of papers including cardstock, wrapping paper, tissue and my personal favorite, the red glitter paper.  I added red clip-on bejeweled dragonflies as an unexpected surprise and to continue with the non-traditional Asian motif.

The centerpiece is composed of a manzanita branch I sprayed lacquered red, white wicker lanterns, clear glass bulbs and the red clip-on dragonflies.  Poinsettias in lanterns and a trio of modern glass candlesticks finish off the centerpiece.

The Ralph Lauren Pagoda print dinner and salad plates were the inspiration for the entire tablescape and their graphic design is the perfect counterpoint to the organic nature of the manzanita branch.  Each plate setting had a red envelope which is traditionally used in Chinese culture to give money during special occasions. I opted to fill each envelope with a different kind of currency –  individualized notes to each of the dinner guests telling them what they mean to me.

In lieu of flatware, I opted for red wooden chopsticks propped on a small ceramic poinsettia leaf on top of red cotton napkins. Two different champagne flutes were used for the table to give varied height and visual interest.

A customized shadow box placemat was created using a white shadow box frame from Ikea, lined glitter wrapping paper.  An inexpensive paper fan and swan chopstick holder were hot glued in each box to remind the guest of our trip to see to attend the Cherry Blossom Festival in San Francisco.

Aside from the handwritten notes in the red envelopes, I wanted to be able to give each dinner guest a little something, so I created individualized flower arrangements in red Chinese take-out cartons.

Okay one more shot of the table before I send you off to do your last-minute holiday shopping and preparations……..

[photo credit: moi]

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Nate Berkus Chinoiserie Chic Christmas Tablescape…..

Y’all don’t know how much I wanted to share this tablescape with you!  However, I had to sit on it until today since it is the one I created exclusively for my second appearance on the Nate Berkus Show which is airing today!

When I got the call from the producers that they would like to do a segment on how I decorate for the holidays I was elbow deep in Thanksgiving prep, had a house full of guests and was planning a trip to NYC the following week.  Part of me was overwhelmed by the invitation and part of me was excited to display an idea that had been brewing in the back of my head for several months.

I had this idea bouncing around my noggin that it would be an interesting idea to do a non-traditional holiday tablescape that bad homage to my Partner’s Asian roots.  I wanted to do something that touched on his pan-Asian upbringing but in a way that was undeniably “Christmas”, so I opted to use a a traditional color scheme of red and white but interpreted through the use of non-traditional decor like wicker lanterns, shadow boxes, paper flowers & fans.  Throw in some overtly Asian touches like red envelopes and you end up with what I am calling a “Chinoiserie Chic Christmas Table” ……..

The tablescape is anchored the the large handmade paper flower on the window…

The mural consists of about 17 different paper flowers made from a variety of papers including cardstock, wrapping paper, tissue and my personal favorite, the red glitter paper.  I added red clip-on bejeweled dragonflies as an unexpected surprise and to continue with the non-traditional Asian motif.

The centerpiece is composed of a manzanita branch I sprayed lacquered red, white wicker lanterns, clear glass bulbs and the red clip-on dragonflies.  Poinsettias from Home Deport were pulled from their foil pots and placed in the lanterns.  A trio of modern glass candlesticks from CB2 were also used.  I loved how their shapes echoes the lines of the wicker lanterns.

The place settings were a steal from Marshall’s that I still can’t believe.  I found these Ralph Lauren Pagoda print dinner and salad plates for $5 and $3 respectively on clearance.  They were the inspiration for the entire tablescape and their graphic design is the perfect counterpoint to the organic nature of the manzanita branch.  Each plate setting had a red envelope which is traditionally used in Chinese culture to give money during special occasions. I opted to fill each envelope with a different kind of currency –  individualized notes to each of the dinner guests telling them what they mean to me.

In lieu of flatware, I opted for red wooden chopsticks propped on a small ceramic poinsettia leaf from Michael’s for $1 on top of red cotton napkins from HomeGoods.  I pulled two different mismatched champagne flutes from my collection for the table to give varied height and visual interest.

Traditionally, I love using tablecloths on my tables.  I love the pop of color they provide as well as the background they create for the rest of the tablescape.  However, a tablecloth seemed out of place for this table but leaving the table settings resting on glass table made the tablescape appear bare.  So I decided to create a customized shadow box placemat.  Using a white shadow box frame from Ikea, I lined it glitter wrapping paper and hot glued a variety of items inside that were indicative of the guest seated at that spot.  In this case, I used an inexpensive paper fan and swan chopstick holder to remind the guest of our trip to see to attend the Cherry Blossom Festival in San Francisco.  Throughout dinner, each guest can be asked to explain what they think their shadow box represents.  It’s a fun way to enliven dinner conversation especially if all the guests don’t know one another.

Aside from the handwritten notes in the red envelopes, I wanted to be able to give each dinner guest a little something, so I created individualized flower arrangements in red Chinese take-out cartons.  Each arrangement is simply a one large cut flower with accent foliage that I inserted into a baby food jar filled with floral foam.  The cartons are from World Market for $0.60 each while it took one bouquet of each type of flower to make 6 arrangements.

While this table is a little more labor intensive than my other tablescapes, the effort will not be lost on the guests.  By creating personalized and customized items for each guest, I am positive it will be a fantastic Christmas dinner full of old and new memories…..

Thanks again to the team at The Nate Berkus Show for inviting me back and being so generous in their time and feedback.  And thank you to everyone reading this as without your support, I am positive I would not have had this second opportunity.

Okay one more shot of the table before I send you off to do your last-minute holiday shopping and preparations……..

Have a GREAT Christmas, enjoy your time with your family and friends and be thankful for all the wonderful things that you have in your life no matter how small.  Peace, love and happiness to each and every one of you…….

See all my tablescapes on my Tablescape & Vignette page.  In addition check me out on Facebook and Pinterest as well as Twitter.

Sharing On….

Between Naps on the Porch

HomeGoods Fu Dog Look-a-Likes….

Over the years, I have  been schooled that many of the things Americans find “Asian chic” or “Asian inspired” can be construed as insulting by many Asians and Asian-Americans.  The Partner has pointed out that many things labeled as above are a jumble of design elements from Japan, Korea and China.   I have become hyper aware of such things as The Partner and his family are of Taiwanese descent. 

Historically, chinoiserie has played fast and loose with its definition of “Asian inspired” and has freely borrowed from a range of Asian cultures.   While I have never been a huge fan chinoiserie, I do enjoy it in small doses.  Done correctly, chinoiserie can add an  bolt of color, vibrancy and history into modern spaces.  Done incorrectly, it can border on insulting, coming off as mocking towards the Asian cultures it is suppose to admire.  That is why I was surprised that I was quite smitten with the Fu Dog Bookends that CB2 is currently selling: 

CB2 Fu Dog Bookends

 

They are a classic example of chinioserie and definitely add a pop of color and style to any room.  I have been eyeing them for either the Music Room or the Master Bedroom, but in either case, they were going to need to be spray painted a different color.  So paying $50 for an accessory that I was going to need to redo, was a bit of a deal breaker for me. 

However, as with many things, good things come to those who wait.  On Saturday, I made a special trip down to Moraga, CA to visit the HomeGoods store.  If you have not been to HomeGoods, why are you waiting?  And if you don’t have one in your area, move.  I told The Partner that should we ever move, we need to confirm that there is an In-n-Out and a HomeGoods store within driving distance of the respective house, otherwise I am not going.  Honestly, it’s one of my favorite stores.  Imagine, an entire store dedicated to home goods and decorating.  Now imagine that store the size of a large TJ Maxx.  Now imagine everything being sold at TJ Maxx prices ….and that my friends is why I love this store.  Matter of fact, HomeGoods is a division of TJ Maxx, so it’s very likely that you may be find some of the same items in your TJ Maxx home goods department, but it doesn’t compare.  I honestly get a bit giddy going to the store.  I have friends who geek out going to guitar shops, used record stores, vintage clothing stores or wine importers.  I geek out over home decorating and kitchen supply stores.  I can blow a good chunk of change in HomeGoods and not blink , so I typically drag a friend along to talk me down from buying three duvet covers and or a pair of lamps because they are $19.99 each.  Sad but true story….. I am redecorating our master suite based on the fact that I found cheap sheets at HomeGoods.  It’s a sickness….I know. 

Any case, I visited HomeGoods and ran across a set of Fu Dog Bookends that struck me as mighty similar in color and shape to the CB2 set.  I immediately walked over and picked them up to inspect.  They were a tad lighter in weight than I hoped, but when I checked the price, the deal was done.  Each bookend was $3.99!!  Honestly, $8 for the set.  Yup, those puppies were tossed into my basket and I went about the rest of the shopping excursion in a happy daze.  

 

 

Fu Dog Bookends from HomeGoods

 

Along with the bookends, I bought some crystal candlesticks, scented drawer liners and a silver gravy boat.  I feel like I made out like a bandit!  Even better is that when I showed The Partner the bookends, he actually liked them.  Whew!  So now I just need to confirm which room they will go in, so I can decide on a paint color. 

 Isn’t it amazing how stumbling upon a decorating score can elevate your whole day?