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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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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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

Guest Blogging Over At Serenity Now On Tablescapes……

Creating a beautiful table is not difficult.  It just requires a bit of forethought and planning as well as the right supplies.  Amanda over at Serenity Now  invited me over to discuss some basic guidelines to setting a show stopping table……

I am sharing my top rules and tricks for saving you time, money and sanity during this already chaotic holiday season…….

Swing by and check out the post…..

I also encourage you to check me out tomorrow on the Nate Berkus Show where I will be discussing how to set a chic and unique holiday table.  I am so excited to finally be able to show you the table.  I will have full photos of the table and details tomorrow!

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Christmas Table Sneak Peek

I had a really good weekend.  A dear friend came to spend the weekend from out of town……well actually he lives across the bridge in San Francisco but for those you who live in the Bay Area, trying to get your friends to cross the Bay is a monumental task most days.  Fortunately, the lure of visiting the St. George Distillery, Korean fried chicken, baked goods and good company (moi) was enough to entice him over for a spell.

Since my weekend was great, I figured I would be generous and share a sneak peek of my  Christmas tablescape that will be on the Nate Berkus Show this month.  I tasked myself with using traditional Christmas colors and foliage but in a fun and unexpected way.  Here are two shots to give you a “taste”…..

Can you guess what my color scheme was?

So while I should I have spent this weekend making Christmas gifts, I partied like a rock star which means this week I am going to be playing catch-up.  So while I am elbow deep in caramel, entertain me and tell me what you did this weekend……

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In Case You Missed It….

Yup – I am gonna milk this Nate Berkus segment one more time. 

In case you missed the original airing, click below to view the web video of our House Proud segment:

A quick thank you to the production team I worked with (Jon & Katya as well as the rest of the crew).  You all put me at ease and were so kind to me during the whole process.  I would have been more of a nervous wreck without your emails and phone calls!

And a big thank you to all you who come read my design musings regularly.  I appreciate your support, encouragement and occasional kicks in the arse.  You all keep my focused and grounded – and for that I am grateful.

Okay, enough with all the mushy stuff.  Now back to being snarky and wondering on exactly why the Real Housewives of New Jersey is a popular show.  Yes, these are the things that keep me up at night……

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Check Me Out On Nate Berkus Today

Today is it!  My House Proud segment airs today on The Nate Berkus Show.

For those of you in the SF/Bay Area, the show airs at 3pm on KNTV Channel 11 (NBC).  You can check here to find when & where The Nate Berkus Show airs in your town.

On the off-chance you are new to the blog and found me thanks to the Nate segment, welcome and thanks for coming by!  I encourage you to browse around, become a follower of the blog, and check out my Pinterest picks as well as my Twitter feed.

In case you missed the segment or just love seeing my mug and hearing my annoying voice, I will post a web link to the video once Nate’s producers make it available. 

On a final note, if you like the segment, please let Nate and his staff know by going to his Facebook page, Twitter feed or leaving a comment on the show’s website.  The more “noise” you make, the more likely they are to invite me back for other opportunities which I would  love.  However, I can’t do it alone…..so be loud, out and proud with your opinions!

Thank you!  This is just the start peeps!  Let’s see where this goes!!!!!