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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Thank You……

I am not a person bent on waxing poetic.  I am not overly sentimental nor am I prone to getting all mushy when it comes to life events.  However, I do believe that one should give proper accolades where do.  So I wanted to say …….

On this final posting of the year, I need to give my thanks to several people who made my 2011 so amazing, memorable and wonderful…..

1) The CasaSugar Editors:  Thank you Julia & Elka!  You ladies took a chance on a completely unknown person who had an inkling that he wanted to do interior design.  You have championed my designs for the last year and it has led to so many opportunities and doors being opened.  I am forever grateful for your support and humbled by your kindness.

2) Centsational Girl: Kate you rock.  You shared your platform with a complete unknown and gave me a voice to communicate with thousands of people.  My monthly article on your blog, while at times challenging to write, pushed me to think like a designer and write like a journalist.  I can’t wait to see what 2012 has to offer!

3) The Nate Berkus Show: Thank you to the producers of The Nate Berkus Show.  Clearly I didn’t scare the hell out of you from my first appearance because you were crazy enough to invite me back again!  I am officially checking off “being on television” on my bucket list.   I doubt you will ever know what having me on the show did for my confidence – it gave me the shot I needed to keep trudging forward.

4) Meredith Heron: My feisty Canadian redhead design diva.  Our banter on Twitter has made me laugh, given me food for thought and forced me to think through some tough decisions.  I appreciate your candor and thank you for your honesty.  Now let’s figure out how to meet in person in 2012!

5) Hi Sugarplum: Cassie – Hey Girlfriend!  You have been one of my biggest supporters and cheerleaders.  Thank you for your wit and your ability to crack a joke even when I feel low.  You are my “divine blog sister”…. (TWSS)

6) The Partner: You have the patience of a saint to deal with my random ramblings.  You have been supportive on so many levels.  I could not have done this with you.  You are my rock and I thank God every day that he blessed me with you.

7) YOU: I can’t say thank you without including you all!  Each and every day you come to my little blog to read whatever random musing struck me that day.  I can’t stress this enough that it is because of YOU that I have been blessed with so many opportunities.  Thank you for reading, commenting, tweeting & emailing – it means the world to me that out of your busy day you choose to spend a few minutes with me.

I hope each of you have a fantastic New Year’s!  I am going to be signing off for a few days to prepare for the new year and get my household in order.  I will see you in 2012!

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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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