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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Thanksgiving Help from & ….

Can you believe that this time next week that it will be Thanksgiving?!?  Kinda crazy right?  Well don’t stress out because I teamed up with two different partners to show you how to avoid the Thanksgiving “craziness” ……..

Joyus Screenshot

The online retailer invited me onto their web talk show to discuss my short cuts and tips on throwing a stress-free holiday party and creating beautiful holiday tablescapes.  In the segment I show three different table settings that can take you from Thanksgiving all the way through New Years without breaking the bank or you in a cold sweat!  It’s all about creating a fun and easy approach to decorating.

Courtney Lake Thanksgiving Buffet

For my monthly column at, I am talking about how to set up a Thanksgiving Buffet.  Whether you are opting for a more relaxed holiday this season or a simply don’t have the room in your abode, I show how you can create a beautiful buffet that will wow your guests and leave you with time to still enjoy the meal!

And next week for all you procrastinators still in need of a menu, I break down my picks for simple, quick and yummy Thanksgiving dishes!  So relax I got you covered this holiday season!  Now I just have to follow my own advice and get started!  Sometimes the “teacher” is the worst pupil.  Now if you will excuse me, I need to start planning own menu…..

[photo credit: by adza]

Check me out on PinterestTwitter and Insta.gram for more musings on design, food and just plain randomness. You can also find me at my online shop for Joy & Revelry.

Easy DIY Centerpieces with Valley & Co.

When I first stopped blogging and tweeting when I was just a wee lad, I happened upon a a blog that was filled with beautiful pictures of what I thought were dream weddings.  Truth be told, they were dream weddings but not unattainable weddings thanks to the work of Valley & Co.  Aleah and Nick Valley are the power duo behind the event planning company Valley & Co. and it was because of their web site that I was inspired to do my first tablescape.  Their laid back approach to event styling and tabletop decor soothed my fears and I dove feet first into the abyss and have enjoyed myself ever since!  

With the lure of warm Summer nights and the 4th of July just around the corner, I asked Nick and Aleah if they would share some quick and easy centerpieces that would provide a BIG WOW but now big “oww” to your wallet.  Their ideas are simple, quick and best of all, almost everything can be found at your local grocery store floral department.  So without further ado……..

With a few simply tips and tricks you can entertain so effortlessly in the summer months and create show-stopping centerpieces and floral eye candy with on-hand items and a few floral elements. We love to look to our personal collection and flea markets to find inspiration. You’d be surprised at what old apothecary jars, books, trophies, and tin cans can do for party decor!

For a special dinner in a field party we worked with locally grown blooms mixed with edible objects {think summery sunflowers, early season dahlias, apples and sea salt grissini} to create an effortless and vibrant ambiance. We recycled over sized tin cans {check with a nearby restaurant as they might have some to unload} by spraying them with a copper paint and dressing them in peacock-hued scrolling font with our herb table names. Some were brimming with bright blooms and other with food guests could snack on. Our 80′ long dinner table looked so incredible with this variety. Guests were transported into a cheerful and comfortable feast!

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Valley and Co Tin Can Centerpiece

If you’re looking to create a charming and fresh look, check out your local market or grocer for white hydrangea clouds. A few dollars per stem, these blooms do the trick for bringing in texture and a dreamy feeling to any celebration. Not to mention, they are huge so they take up less space than smaller flowers. Want to create a similar look to ours? Take a clear glass vases and wrap a large green leaf around the interior to cover the stems. Fill with water and add one big hydrangea bloom and accent with tulips and ranunculus or your favorite flowers in a monochromatic fashion. The result: crisp sophistication.

Hydrangea Arrangement Valley and Co
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Summertime often means travel and a kind of nostalgia that makes us want to get out and experience. For this setting we incorporate lavish brocade napkins and a rope-studded linen with objects from our own collection for a travel-inspired look. Gold gilded books cinched together with a ribbon looked eclectic and book smart nestled atop a vintage leather suitcase. Look to your home to bring funky objects into your celebration. For flower power check out the market for tropical protea {or pincushions} and line your table with single stems submerged in water. Who wouldn’t love to kick back and sip on a Moscow Mule at a clean, classic and retro table like this?

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I am pretty sure this week, I will be finishing off some canned goods so I can try to recreate the first centerpiece!  Seriously inspiring and beautiful!  Thank you to Aleah and Nick for sharing your work.  Be sure to visit the Valley & Co. blog for more inspiration from this dynamic duo! 

[Photos: Field photos: License to Still ||| White nautical: Shannon Lee Images ||| Travel: Llanes Weddings ]

Check me out on PinterestFacebookTwitter and Insta.gram for more musings on design, food and just plain randomness.  You can also find me at my online shop for Joy & Revelry.