...family, friends, home and other tidbits of a blessed life

Sunday, February 23, 2020

How I Organize a Dinner Party

I was invited to join a FB group about dishes and beautiful tables. Oh the eye-candy!!! And it's so addicting to see everyone's pretties.

This post is a result of a comment I made to a question on how early you set your table before an event. I will admit I always do it early. But by the time of the event, I've already had it planned out far in advance; table, menu, decorations and have a detailed plan of attack in place.

Since it's spring and Easter is coming up in April, I'll just start with the beginning planning Easter 2020.

For me it's easier to work with 1) pick a theme, 2) pick the table, 3)pick the menu. I would suggest you go with what works best for you.  But I do know that melding the table decor with the menu is always a good thing. For example, your dishes look best with a white tablecloth, but do you really want to serve BBQ on your good china? Your white tablecloth?

For this Easter, I wanted to use what I had and not buy new things, but still have a fresh table. We are planning a lunch so it will be less formal and without candles.

I started auditioning the china with the 'other stuff'. Chargers and napkin rings were auditioned first.
Pier 1 Cedar placemat, Pier 1 white charger, Pier1 plaid plate, WS bunny plate and napkin, Dillard's green napkin ring. No.

Bordallo Pinheiro Charger, Pier 1 plaid plate, WS bunny plate and napkin, Dillard's green napkin ring. No.

Pier 1 Cedar placemat, Pier 1 galvanized charger, Pier 1 plaid plate, WS bunny plate and napkin, galvanized napkin ring. Yes!

Added the Tissus Tosselli tablecloth. Decide it will work and proceed to set the table. 

Minimum flatware, one glass but I am able to see how the table will look even if there will be more guests.

The galvanized center piece is 'almost' a done deal. The faux florals will be replaced with mini tulips or narcissus the day before Easter. However, i have the 'grass', the faux eggs and the bow on the chicken feeder and know it will be a fitting centerpiece.

I take a picture of the table, plan out the menu and make a detailed list of what's on the table.
Do not forget to make a note of items you want to purchase before the event. 

Then the napkins, napkin rings, place cards, ribbon, some decor items all go into a small tub. Add the lists and pictures to the tub as well. Everything is together and easily accessible later for set up and you can add items as you go. I'll add invitations to this tub when i get those.

I add the tub to the stack in the office. If I need to purchase something, a sticky note goes on the outside of the tub. Always viewable and accessible. 

Back to when do you set your table? I usually set it about 3-4 days early. Minus flowers. Cover it with the cheap plastic drop cloths available at any home improvement store and proceed with the rest of the preparations. Since I still work, I have to parse out the planning and preparation so that nobody is exhausted before company arrives! So yes, Christmas 2020 was planned last year and I actually have Christmas 2021 in its tub as well!  Happy Entertaining!!

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Christmas Dinner with Friends 2016

Every year we host a Christmas dinner. Each year I try to come up with a different theme or color combinations, use conventional and unconventional Christmas china, and present a different menu. Each year in January the menu, tablescape and decor is set. Next year's theme was chosen while we were in Vail and a trial table has already been pulled together, so I'm way ahead of schedule! 😉

For this year, the theme was rustic; brown with green. I so badly wanted to use magnolia leaves in garlands around the house and on the table. A Williams Sonoma jacquard tablecloth was the first layer and provided the backdrop. 

However, the idea was sparked from this Kim Seybert beaded runner found at Cielo, Santa Fe, years ago. When they were still open. When they had so much eye candy that I could actually feel myself feel faint when entering into the store. It's always a bit sad to know that when we go to Santa Fe, Cielo is no more. Tears flowing! 😭😭😭

I monogrammed the matching napkins to the tablecloth. I just love the addition of a monogram on table linens. 💓 It's all in the details!

Etsy provided the perfect wooden tree slices for napkin rings. A wooden charger is the base for Spode Delamere dinner plates and Noritake Royal Hunt salad plates.

Vagabond stag flatware (natural sheds!), vintage crystal knife rests, Mikasa Parklane iced beverage glasses and Ajka Arabella wine hocks finish out the place settings. 

A recent trip to Bonnes Amies, a delightful store in Plainview, Texas. yielded the wooden tags used for placecards. Some die-cut winter branches, a few beads and handwritten names personalized the tags in a hurry! The name tags rest on some resin antlers sold by the pair as Christmas tree ornaments from Wal-Mart.  

Sterling and not sterling candleholders combine on each end of the table to provide ambient light at the table. A very vintage lace runner that belonged to my grandmother-in-law and then to my mother-in-love ran down the center of the table to break up the mass of brown.

 Lenox Holiday Tartan votive holders add some light at table level. Resin antiqued silver deer gussied up with a double-faced satin ribbon and a small bauble finish the centerpiece.

A silver Revere bowl provided the vessel for the flowers; white roses, alstroemeria, magnolia leaves and pheasant feathers. The arrangement lasted well over a week!

For dinner parties, I like to serve a salad to seated guests and then serve the remainder of the meal buffet style. It certainly breaks up the formality and gets guests up and moving! It's always a nice touch to add a menu to the table. It whets the appetite!

A rustic Christmas dinner indeed. The red touches add the perfect holiday touch to the table. 

Tablecloth and napkins - Williams Sonoma
Chargers - Pier One Baroque
Dinner plates - Spode Delamere
Salad plates - Noritake Royal Hunt
Flatware - Vagabond House stag flatware (Horchow or Nieman Marcus)
Iced Beverage - Mikasa Parklane
Wine hocks - Ajka Arabella red cut to clear

I pray you had a blessed Christmas and wish you many blessings for the New Year ahead.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Christmas Dinner with Friends 2015

Christmas Dinner with Friends 2015

We love to open our home to acquaintances, friends and family throughout 
the year. However, one of the times I enjoy the most is our yearly 
dinner with friends. I try to choose a different theme each year so that 
the dinner is not only a feast for the tummy,but also a feast for the eyes. 
I do try to plan several years in advance so that should I choose to make any 
purchases,they aren't full price. 

This year's theme was the Night before Christmas. Luck was on my side last year
and I snagged the 'Twas the Night... tablecloth and dessert/salad dishes on sale from
Williams Sonoma.
Last Year's set of plates

This year's set. I sure wish we had a Williams Sonoma near us. I would have purchased
the Nutcracker plates!

I selected a red Thomson dinner plate to pair with the WS 'Twas... dishes. These were placed on
a Jay Imports gold charger. Gold flatware completed the setting.

I found the fun napkins at Home Goods and embroidered them with a big B.
I love to add the personal touch to our table. The color green in the embroidery
was selected from a very dominant green in the tablecloth.
For the life of me, I do not remember from where I purchased this embroidery font.

The Fitz and Floyd reindeer (found at an estate sale!) fit perfectly on the table
 as they repeatedthe colors of the tablecloth and kept the conversation 
flowing withtheir cheerful faces. Several years past, I had seen the idea to 
glue ornaments to a mirror as individual vases. I will admit it was
a bit tricky until I came across some circular foam with a center hole
from a CD stack.
 Another theme that paired well with the 'Twas idea, 
was an abundance of ornamental balls. I had them 
strung on the chandelier, in bowls, and outside in planters. 
With a venture of that undertaking, I made several trips
to our local Dollar Tree. You had to be there early to get
the ones with designs on them! Let's say I started in November.

I used a tureen to hold the flower arrangement, which consisted of 
eucalyptus, red roses, green buttons and white mums. An extravagance
that made the table feel sumptuous!

 Our Ajka Arabella wine hocks paired up with the Mikasa Parklane iced teas. Whereas
the clear crystal might have faded into the background, the red pop of the Ajka crystal
added a bit of color on yet another level.

On overhead shot. I just stand on my tippy toes and point down with the camera. 
My canon has a vari-angle lens so I can see the shot before I take it.

Each guest went home with an embroidered stocking. 
I designed and embroidered the free standing fabric 
holly leaves that had wire inserted in the embroidery process.
Not nearly as scary as it sounds. The names were 
embroidered on a ribbon that was knotted and then hand
tacked to the stocking cuff. Filling them was a blast!

In these last photos, you might notice that I decided that the napkins
needed a napkin ring. I love to add table jewelry when it seems to fit.

Thanks for stopping by, I know it's been a while, praying that the year
ahead will afford me more time to be more active on line. A family, still working
full-time, and being a BSF International bible study leader eats up so much of my time.
I would love to be able to spend some time with y'all.


Thursday, December 3, 2015

Tartan for Christmas

I am a sucker for tartan, especially in red. 
Red Stewart is my classic favorite. I think I can thank my mom for that. I had numerous Stewart kilts growing up. I guess they were the thing to have way back then. No, I won't share how long ago that was. 

When I saw the Nikko Tartan, it came home with me without a second thought. 

 And then I succumbed to Lenox Holiday Tartan. Mom had the black plaid placemats. Maybe the love of plaid and tartans is a gene that has been passed down?

I've used the Holiday Tartan for both informal and more formal settings

It appeared for Thanksgiving one year.

I still buy tartan and love to wear it. I've even used gifted tartan as a table runner.

This year, I might just fall pray to Williams Sonoma's tartan chargers....

and their salad/dessert plates. Should I?

Found these here.  Called Harlequin by Dot & Bo... they don't look like harlequin!

Found these here. I should have bought these!

These from Pier One are adorable!!! Small appetizer plates. One can never have too many!

From Ralph Lauren Home. Duke Dessert Plate. Yummy!

Found on Replacements.com, Sasaki tartan plaid dinnerware.
This wonderful pattern is by Spode, called Glen Lodge Tartan. Found here.

From the Williams Sonoma blog.
So do you Tartan for Christmas?


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