Tablescapes Revisited……

Hope Christmas was a fantastic and wonderful time for each of you!  I enjoyed a low-key and relaxing holiday with The Partner at the condo in Oakland where we  had a hearty breakfast, opened presents, played with Scruffy and then had an awesome dinner of Butternut Squash & Pear Soup,  Ribeye Steaks with Whiskey Sauce, Caramelized Onion Mashed Potatoes, Roasted Parsnips & Carrots and Brandied Apple Crumble with Vanilla Ice Cream as well as a signature Christmas cocktail; the Greyhound which consists of St. George Botanical Gin, grapefruit juice and simple syrup.  Overall, it was the perfect dinner…… Since my mind is on dining, I thought it would be nice to do a little stroll down memory lane to look at the tablescapes I created this year……

Valentine’s Day

I loved the non-traditional color scheme of this table.  The brown and pink combo was unexpected but totally appropriate for this lover’s holiday.

Upcycled Chic Tablescape

I challenged myself to take the components of an existing tablescape and upcycle them into something new.  What started out as my New Year’s Brunch table was morphed into an Asian inspired tablescape suitable for any occasion.

Easter Brunch

This was my favorite tablescape of the year.  I was in love with the paisley pattern and the pastel palette.  Totally unexpected for Easter but totally appropriate, this tablescape still makes me smile months later.

Mother’s Day Tea

I traditionally love modern place settings with a geometric pattern.  However, for Mother’s Day I opted to use a more traditional tea service but still threw in modern elements like the boldly banded plate and the Vallerysthal glassware.

Halloween Dinner Party

Based on Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Raven”, the Halloween tablescape was a mix of gothic and modern with feather chargers, mini gargoyles and beautiful black and white china.  I think the restrained color scheme of black, white, grey and a burst of purple was the perfect backdrop to carry this theme.

Thanksgiving Family Dinner

Purple and gold reign supreme for this Thanksgiving tablescape.  It’s rich, lush and bountiful – exactly the feelings I wanted to convey for this holiday of abundance and sharing.  I am still quite fond of the centerpiece and the different flowers and fruits I used to create its textural quality.

Chinoise Christmas Chic

This most recent tablescape was a celebration of my family’s approach to our pan-Asian Christmas.  It borrowed design elements across various Asian cultures but linked them together through a traditional color scheme of red and white.    This tablescape is also the most meaningful since it was the one I did for the Nate Berkus Show.

New Year’s Dinner

The greek key tablecloth is what does it for me in this tablescape.  Combined with the super simple centerpiece (coffee filter wreath, a dozen purple carnations and crystal candlesticks), this tablescape was simple yet sophisticated.  It was the perfect setting to ring in the new year.

I won’t be setting a table for NYE this year as The Partner and I have been invited to a dear friend’s house in wine country to usher in the new year.  Truth be told, I will miss setting the table a bit but what is really important isn’t what’s on the table, but who is at the table.  I am grateful that you all have allowed me this year to share my random thoughts on tablescaping with you and appreciate your support and feedback.

So what are your NYE plans?  Dinner and toasting in the new year or a low-key evening in your PJs watching the ball drop?

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Halloween Tablescape Breakdown…..

Sorry for the delay in this posting.  I meant to do it on Friday but even the best laid plans get interrupted with that little thing called “life”.  So take my humble apologies and let’s get crackin’…..

The Halloween tablescape was inspired by Edgar Allan Poe’s poem, “The Raven” which in turned inspired the individual aspects of the table from plates to flowers.

Gargoyle Place Card: Dollar Mart – I love placing a little something in the center of my place settings whether it be a flower, candy or in this case a little statue of a gargoyle.  They were purchased for $1 at the Dollar Store.  If your community doesn’t have a Dollar Store then try Amazon or  The Oriental Trading Company for similar statues.

Dinner Plate: HomeGoods –  The plates were a find at HomeGoods for $3.99 per plate.  Similar plates can be found at West Elm, Wayfair and Z Gallerie 

Flatware: Sur La Table – these pieces were bought last summer on clearance for $1.99 per utensil.  Similar pieces can be found on Ebay or if you have a budget Dolce Tableware currently has this beautiful olive wood flatware set.

Feather Charger: DIY – I knew I wanted black feather chargers for each place setting but could not find anything that exactly matched my mental image, so like any good bloggers, I opted to make my own.  The chargers are stiff black poster board and three different types of feathers.  A full tutorial will be up on the blog this week on how to make your own.  However, if the thought of being covered by glue and feathers doesn’t entice you, then check out these feather chargers from Z Gallerie and Cadeaux.

Napkins & Napkin Ring: Crate & Barrel/Pottery Barn – The linen napkins were picked up at the Crate and Barrel outlet for $1.99 a piece but can still be purchased in stores.   The napkins rings are part of Pottery Barn’s caterer box series which is also available in stores and online.

Wine Goblet: Dollar Store – So I have to be honest, I cheated on this aspect of the table for effect.   The black wine glasses I originally sourced for the table from Target didn’t photograph well.  They were too shiny, too dainty, too modern for the table but at $32 for 6, they were definitely the budget friendly option.  With time short, I opted to pull my artistic license card.  A quick trip to the Dollar Store produced 6 cut glass goblets plus gloss spray paint from my supply closet produced the look I wanted for the budget.  However, since the glasses were spray painted, they are not food safe, so they would need to be swapped out once the libations started flowing.  If you are looking to reproduce the look of the black goblets, try options from Eden & Eden or Ebay.

Centerpiece: The centerpiece is a combination of white orchids, purple mums, feathers, tinted carnations and dried flowers.  The urn is a vintage trophy I already owned and use as decoration .  Using the orchids as my base, I cut floral oasis, soaked it and inserted it around the orchids.  Taking cues from nature, I grouped my flowers into large clusters and inserted them in the floral oasis.  Black feathers were used to fill in any gaps and to reinforce the table’s raven theme.  The centerpiece was not cheap but not expensive at $50 with $27 of that for the orchids, but I think of orchids as an investment since I am reusing them throughout the house.

Ravens: Dollar Store – The black ravens (or crows if you want to be specific) were found for $1 each at the Dollar Store.  I touched them up with black floral spray (which I love since it is lighter than spray paint and dries very quickly).

Candelabra & Candles: Owned – I already owned the candelabra thanks to my Valentine’s Day tablescape but you may not have recognized it since it was pink.  Thanks to two thin coats of black spray  paint, I was able to get a gothic candelabra free!

Chair Slipcovers: Dollar Store – I found grey and black netting for $1 a package at the Dollar Store.  One package was the perfect amount to slipcover one chair.  I took a small section of black ribbon from my stash and tied to each side to secure.

So unless I missed something that is the Halloween table setting.  As usual, I tried to stay true to my fabulous on a budget motto and give some inspirational ideas you can use throughout your own entertaining.  As mentioned, check back later in the week as I show you how to make the feather chargers I used for the table for less than $5 each!

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Vignette Week: Halloween Tablescape….

My last three posts have been pretty deep and self-reflecting, so I thought I would lighten it and début my Halloween tablescape.  If you have seen my other tablescapes you are aware that I tend to build backstories to help me figure out a plan of attack and this table proved to be no different.

My imaginary client for this project was Rachel.  An English major in college, she has been able to carve out a nice living for herself editing cookbooks for a medium-sized publishing company.  Having spent a better portion of her career making sure that others have the tools to learn how to cook, surprisingly Rachel had never thrown a dinner party.  Rather than tackle a  high pressure (and high stakes) holiday like Thanksgiving or Christmas, Rachel opted to throw a formal dinner for Halloween.  She called me to help her create the perfect backdrop to her first ever dinner party.

As with all my projects, I like discuss what the client envisions and if there is a theme they want to incorporate.  Aside from wanting a formal dinner, Rachel was open to suggestions.  When faced with situations like this, I typically turn to asking questions about hobbies, recent travels or collections the client may have to gain insight.  True to her English-major roots, Rachel is a lover of all the great authors including Edgar Allan Poe.  Upon hearing this, I immediately latched to the idea of creating a tablescape loosely based on Poe’s poem “The Raven”. 

I dreamed of Rachel’s table as a place where the Raven of Poe’s poem has gone after tormenting the tortured narrator of the poem.  My vision of Halloween was more gothic than gory with a strong interplay between masculine and feminine pieces.    I stuck to a fairly neutral palette of black, white and grey with the only color coming from the centerpiece.  Texture,whimsy and a touch of femininity were added through the liberal use of feathers on the table including in the centerpiece.  Hefty goblets and masculine flatware were used to balance the frilly nature of the feathers.  In the end, I got a table that I think is more haunting than haunted house. 

With that said, I present my vision of a raven inspired Halloween……..




Tomorrow, I will be breaking down the table and next week doing a tutorial on how I made the feather chargers.  This is my first Halloween tablescape, so I would love to hear your feedback!

Still craving more tablescape goodness?  Check out my Facebook page for additional photos and Twitter feed for updates.

Linking Up to….

The Shabby Creek Cottage Link Party

Hooking up with HoH Link Party

Between Naps on the Porch Tablescape Thursdays Link Party

The CSI Project Halloween Link Party