Motivational Mondays: Valentine’s Day “Tablescape”….

Valentines Quote Shot_Horizontal

One of my favorite times of day is that hazy, peaceful moment between awake and slumber. You are zen.  Your mind is calm.  The world is quiet.  It is during those times where I roll over and look at my Partner’s face, so sweet and peaceful as he sleeps, that I am filled with gratitude for having such a special person to share my life with.

This Valentine’s Day I plan on forgoing some elaborate dinner and night out.  With both our schedules, anything that takes us past 9:30pm finds us struggling to stay awake.  So why not make your special person something truly special for the most important meal of the day….breakfast?  So this Valentine’s I plan on making The Partner breakfast  in bed……

Valentines Angle Close

Valentines Day Close Up Plates

Valentines Day Paperwhites

Valentines Day Flatware 2

Valentines Note

It is not quite my usual tablescape, why not mix it up with something I am calling a “bedscape” — perfect for Valentine’s Day.  It’s quick, it’s easy and honestly, who doesn’t think breakfast in bed is the quintessential romantic gesture?

This Valentine’s Day, I am celebrating that my dreams are my reality and my reality is pretty darn awesome!

Sources: Candlesticks & Tray : CB2 //Bud Vase: vintage//Flatware: Zara Home//Dinner Plates: HomeGoods//Salad Plates: Wedgewood//Napkins: West Elm//Champagne Flutes: Ross Dress For Less//Love Bird Salt & Pepper Shakers: vintage//Bed Linens: Crate & Barrel//Accent Pillow: Courtney Lake Interiors

[Photography: Photos By Adza //Styling & Art Direction: Courtney Lake]

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Valentine Day Table: Animal Magnetism…….

Love is in the air.  And smog, but that is a rant for another day……

Valentine’s Day is right around the corner and this year I am feeling feisty – like a 90-year-old woman who has just got a new pair of support hose, a sparkly pair of orthopedic shoes and a free bus pass to Atlantic City.  Yes, indeed, Poppa Bear was on the prowl and my creative juices are bubbling.  So I created an imaginary client who was just as saucy as  I was feeling.  Let me introduce you to Maggie, a 55-year divorced mother of 2 teenagers.  She has a full and happy life that keeps her busy.  Between her work as a real estate agent, the boys and her boyfriend of 10 years, Scott, she barely has any time to do anything but eat and sleep.  However, the one day she holds sacred is Valentine Day.  She thinks it may be backlash from the fact that her ex-husband all but ignored the holiday while they were married.  No flowers, no fancy dinners, not even a freakin’ balloon and a stuffed animal.  Since dating Scott, she has made sure that they celebrate the holiday in a special way every year.

This year, she wanted to do something intimate at home for her and Scott.  The boys are at their Dad’s house, so it’s just them.  So she hired a personal chef to cook them dinner and me to create a tablescape that reflected her wants of a setting that was romantic, playful and a bit naughty.  Maggie really wanted the evening to be about showing Scott that she is attracted to him as much as when they met over a decade ago.

Hearing Maggie’s request, I asked her to tell me how she met Scott.  She went on to explain that she actually stalked Scott for several weeks through mutual friends until she had the right opportunity and then pounced on him.  The words “stalked” and “pounced” instantly got me thinking feline.  From there, I just ran with the notion of mixing animal prints; cheetah, leopard and faux snake skin in an unexpected color scheme of peacock, silver, and baby blue with a healthy dose of white to balance everything out.  A low centerpiece of hot pink roses along with purple & white tulips adds in a touch of romance as do the rose petals strewn about the table.   It’s an unexpected Valentine Day palette but I think it reflects the animal magnetism that introduced Scott and Maggie but also the romance that keeps them together.

So what do you think?  Does this design light your fire or put a dampen on your groove?  Tomorrow, I will break down the table and explain how I made the super easy octagon cheetah placemats.

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Valentine Day’s Dinner Table Setting……

I am torn when it comes to Valentine’s Day.  It’s one of those holidays that you sorta feel hostage to, like Teacher Appreciation Day or Grandparents’s Day.  Deep down you know that some marketing executive (that was me in a past life) spent hours plotting a regression curve to figure out the maximum price to sell you flowers and other things for that “very special day”.  However, I love any opportunity to set a table and entertain. 

When I was thinking about my Valentine’s Day tablescape, I tried to imagine the client and her needs.  Here is who I imagined……

Her name is Sharon.  She is 36, never married but has a fantastic long-term boyfriend whom she has been with for 5 years.  They are in no rush to get married or have kids.  Both are content and quite happy enjoying each other’s time.  For once in her life, Sharon feels comfortable.  However, she knows she has a habit being too comfortable (she still remembers the time her last boyfriend caught her shaving her legs with his razor), so she makes an effort not to slack on those little things that mean a lot to the other person.  With Valentine’s Day right around the corner, Sharon planned to cook dinner at her house this year.  Surprisingly the city where Sharon lived in Northern California was having fantastic weather even in the night-time, so it was decided that dinner would be on the patio.  Dining under the night stars was something that Sharon always found romantic.  However, all the red, white and pink decorations with cupids and hearts were not her idea of romantic.  She wanted to do a something simple, elegant and a tad modern.  So Sharon called me to help her set a modern Valentine’s Day  dinner table ……

I do all of this back story because it helps me think through the vibe and tone of the table as well as plan out what pieces I would need to set the table that the imaginary client would love.  Here is what  I imagined for Sharon…..

Pink, brown and amber is the color palette for this tablescape.  I knew that I didn’t want the traditional color scheme for pink, white and red, so I looked for inspiration elsewhere.  I found it in a steno pad and a chocolate bar.  Seriously — I was taking notes and eating a candy bar.  I placed the candy bar on top of the pad to reach for something and when I turned back, was struck by the color combo….ergo my inspiration.

I used three different pieces of china to create the look.  The charger plate is amber glass and was bought at Ross Dress for Less for $3.99.  The dinner plate is white porcelain and was bought from The Dollar Store for, yup, a buck.  The salad plate is Ralph Lauren from TJ Maxx for $7 — my big splurge.  However, I often will splurge on interesting salad plates since that is what you typically will see in a plate setting.  I layer my salad plates over a simple solid dinner plate and viola — you got alot of impact for not that much dough.

Rather than having a floral centerpiece on the table which would take up space, I decided to do small gifts on each plate.  These rose shaped soaps (yup, I am not above using soap as a prop) were the perfect compromise in my opinion.  Their floral shape is the perfect substitute for flowers and saves me from not spending money on an overly expensive bouquet.  Additionally, the gift is functional and can be used later.  These were only $1 at The Dollar Store, so I bought five boxes ….perfect hostess gifts!

Here is my dirty secret.  I don’t sew. I want to learn but I suck at it.  However, I am an expert presser.  I can put a crease in a cracker if you give me spray starch.  I knew I did not want to spent a fortune on special table linens but I didn’t want to go with standard white.  After reading some of my favorite blogs, I decided that I could make my own napkins.  It was quite easy…remember I don’t sew.  I simply bought a yard of pink linen from Joann’s Fabric for $7 and cut it to size.  With an iron on high, I used hemming tape to create my seams.  For the table cloth, it was even easier.  I went to Home Depot and bought a 9×12 canvas drop cloth, washed it and let it air dry.  It looked exactly like linen but was only $9.99.  I used brown grosgrain ribbon for the napkin ring and pulled out my mother of pearl silverware and standard cutlery.

The brass candlesticks were a find at my local resale shop for $3 each.  The candles….well I am not proud but they are $1 tapers I spray painted in Sweet Pea (Satin) by Rust-Oleum.  I am sure that I will get some horrible cancer from burning them, but I could not find pink tapers to save my life!  Desperation is the mother of invention, so I made my own with a $3.50 can of pink spray paint.  The wine glasses are the luster amber set from Pier One. 

I  know some of you are wondering, why brown and amber for Valentine’s Day?  Well, I find that amber and brown glass have a beautiful reflective quality when lit.  It casts a warm glow and makes everyone look that much sexier in my opinion.  Since the dinner table I set will be primarily light with candles at night, the reflective elements from the charger and the glassware along with the warm brass tones of the salt-n-pepper shakers and candlesticks are going to wash the diners in warn golden tones — perfect when you are setting the mood for romance.

Okay, one more shot of the table……

As usual here is a breakdown of the tablescape:

  • Table Cloth: Canvas Drop Cloth (9×12) from Home Depot: $9.99
  • Napkins: 1 yard of linen fabric from Joann’s Fabric: $7/yard
  • Napkin Rings: Grosgrain Ribbon from Joann’s Fabric: $3.49/roll
  • Silverware: Vintage Mother of Pearl & everyday Cutlery from eBay and Costo
  • Glassware: Luster Amber Wine Goblets from Pier One: $5 each (bought on sale during Thanksgiving)
  • Charger Plates: Amber Glass Chargers from Ross Dress for Less: $3.99/each
  • Dinner Plate: White porcelain plate from The Dollar Store: $1/each
  • Salad Plate: Ralph Lauren “Ribbons” salad plate from TJ Maxx: $7/each
  • Salt-n-Pepper Shakers: Antique bird shakers from eBay: $6.99/pair
  • Candlesticks: Brass candlesticks from resale shop: $6/pair
  • Candles: Taper candles from The Dollar Store: $2/pair
  • Centerpieces: Rose shaped soaps from The Dollar Store: $1/each
  • Miscellaneous: Rust-Oleum Spray Paint in Sweet Pea ($3.49)

Total Cost: approximately $75 if you bought everything as laid out brand new.  However, I encourage you to take the tablescape concept and use what is in your home already.  I only spent slightly over $25 on new materials and supplies while everything else was recycled from what I already owned.  Just remember, it doesn’t need to cost a fortune to have your table look like a  million bucks!