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

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Rejoice! it's a spring tablescape

It's spring! It's finally officially arrived. The trees are in bud or bloom, the tulips are poking out of the earth and the rest of the bulbs have sprung forth slowly but surely. In this honor, I welcome you to a spring table...

I really wanted some tulips or daffodils or something very springlike for the table center. Once again, though I was foiled! So the permanent snowdrops will have to do.

I stacked a shabby chic charger beneath the dishes I chose for the day. It's a bit unexpected with the gold rimmed dishes.

 Wooden shabby charger from Pier One beneath a Granada dinner plate. (This set of dishes was an auction purchase several years ago - nobody wanted this set and I felt so sorry for it, so I got a service for 12, plus dozens of serving pieces at about 10 cents each!)

For a bit of separation, a Wedgwood Windsor salad plate is next.

Topped the white salad plate with another Granada salad plate, where both will be removed after the salad course.

And to herald spring in style, a permanent bird's nest set in a saucer to top off the place setting.

Gold flatware was used to tie into the gold rim on the dinner plates. The tablecloth is the color of "new" spring green  by Ralph Lauren.

Napkins casually gathered in spring green napkin rings to match the tablecloth - also Ralph Lauren. Napkin rings from Dillards.

Got these after Christmas on sale. Some ridiculous amount of $1.18 each. I loved the green leaf design on the pieces.

Family favorite glasses: hand-blown French water goblets purchased in Santa Fe, NM and vintage wine glasses from an estate sale.

Green salt cellars with silver spoons invite diners to season to taste. What you can't see are the darling flower center pressed into the bottoms of the salt cellars.

Crystal cruets for the vinegar and oil set on a tray to keep any drips off the table.

The tray has a few flowers and scallops along the edge. It has a shabby appearance and an edge finished off with a bit of gold.

In the center of the table is a very curvy pedestal hurricane filled with green grass and a white candle.

One side of the table has the addition of the little bird tea light holder and the opposite a mini terrarium filled with spanish moss in which nests a sweet little bird, a gift from a dear friend.

Now that the players are all introduced.. it's time for some self-paced viewing without a lot of words:

Spring, the sweet spring, is the year’s pleasant king,
Then blooms each thing, then maids dance in a ring,
Cold doth not sting, the pretty birds do sing:
    Cuckoo, jug-jug, pu-we, to-witta-woo!

The palm and may make country houses gay,
Lambs frisk and play, the shepherds pipe all day,
And we hear aye birds tune this merry lay:
    Cuckoo, jug-jug, pu-we, to-witta-woo!

The fields breathe sweet, the daisies kiss our feet,
Young lovers meet, old wives a-sunning sit,
In every street these tunes our ears do greet:
    Cuckoo, jug-jug, pu-we, to witta-woo!
(From Summer's Last Will and Testament, Thomas Nashe 1600)

Tablecloth and napkins - Ralph Lauren
Napkin rings - Dillard's
Shabby wooden chargers - Pier One
Dinnerware - Granada, by Fine China of Japan
Flatware - International
Water goblets - Hand-blown in France, purchased in Santa Fe, NM
Etched wine glasses - estate sale; Libbey Rock Sharpe
Bird nests - local store (Shabby Chic) no longer in business
Pedestal hurricane - Home Goods
Candlesticks - TJMaxx
Permanent snowdrops - TJMaxx years ago
Bird tea light - TJMaxx recently
Salt cellars and silver spoons - antique stores/estate sales

 Thank you so very much for dropping in, your conversation (comments) are my blessings, please let me know you've been here. 

I'll be linking up to Susan's Tablescape Thursday, do be sure to drop in for some more inspiring tables set just for you.

Saturday, March 26, 2011



It's finally spring! The wisteria has come out of bud and is sending it's sweet fragrance throughout the backyard, into the open windows of the house so that it fills the house with fragrance.

 So to celebrate I'm sharing all things wisteria today!

a beautiful cloche

garden mushrooms
fabulous baskets
French garden planter

 There is a Wistaria festival in Sierra Madre, California. Wish I could go!

Roseville pottery with wisteria design.

From Martha Stewart, a wisteria cake that serves 220.. I bet it would be easy to cut this recipe down!

Tendrils of romantic buttercream wisteria adorn this majestic cake; royal-icing blossoms dangle from the natural, curly willow arbor framing the bride-and-groom topper. This vintage cake topper is from a personal collection. The columns are hidden beneath winding royal-icing vines. Since the top tiers are balanced on nine-inch columns, the cake should be assembled on the table at the reception site. If you prefer, you can use a 22-inch-diameter round cake board coated with thinned royal icing instead of the cake riser.


Serves 220
  • 8 to 10 curly willow vines
  • Green floral tape
  • One recipe Royal Icing
  • One 1-ounce container each violet, nut brown, moss green, and leaf green food-color paste
  • Four 9-inch Wilton crystal-look pillars
  • One 10-inch Wilton clear plastic separator plate
  • 1 each 8- and 14-inch-diameter round cake tiers, each set on corresponding-size 3/16-inch-thick foam-board round, trimmed, split and filled to a 3-inch height
  • 1 each 10- and 16-inch-diameter round cake tiers, each set on corresponding-size 3/16-inch-thick foam-board round, trimmed, split, and filled to a 4-inch height
  • 2 to 3 recipes Swiss Meringue Buttercream
  • Sixteen 4 1/8-inch-long 1/4-inch-diameter wooden dowels
  • One 14-inch-diameter-by-4-inch-high wood or Styrofoam round
  • 1 grape wreath, 20 inches in diameter
  • 1 cake topper


  1. Make arbor: Soak willow vines in water until pliable, and drain. Gently bend vines to form an arbor tall enough to extend over cake topper when inserted 2 inches into cake. To hold shape, press ends into a block of Styrofoam; let dry completely, about 8 hours. Remove arbor from Styrofoam, and glue together or clip any stray vines. Wrap lower ends of arbor with florists' tape, and set aside.
  2. Make hanging wisteria: Line a sheet pan with waxed paper. Tightly roll green florists' tape into a 2-foot-long cylinder, and cut into 1- to 2-inch-long stems. Tint 2/3 cup royal icing pale purple. Fit a 12-inch pastry bag with a coupler and Wilton #101 petal tip, and fill one side with purple and the other side with white icing; the bag should be half full, with the purple and white icings side-by-side vertically. The purple icing should pass through the narrow end of the tip. With the pastry tip perpendicular to the pan and the narrow end pointing up, pipe blossoms onto waxed paper. Make clusters, 3/4 inch to 1 1/2 inches long, beginning at the narrow tip and moving down to the stem end (similar to a grape cluster). Immediately insert a floral-tape stem about 1/4 inch deep; let dry 4 to 6 hours. Turn over, and pipe clusters on backsides; let dry another 4 to 6 hours.
  3. Prepare columns: Attach pillars to separator plate. Tint remaining royal icing brown. Fit a 12-inch pastry bag with a coupler and Ateco #5 round tip; fill halfway with icing. Pipe vines along top 6 inches of each 9-inch pillar. Switch to a #3 round tip, and pipe smaller vines over the larger ones; let dry overnight.
  4. Coat tiers: Using a large offset spatula, thinly coat each filled tier with buttercream to seal in crumbs, and refrigerate until firm. Coat each chilled tier with a perfectly smooth layer of buttercream.
  5. Decorate bottom two tiers: Tint 2 cups buttercream pale purple for clusters, 2 cups brown for vines, and 2 cups a combination of moss green and leaf green for foliage. Remove 16-inch tier from refrigerator, and place on a turntable. Insert twelve 4 1/8-inch dowels: eight in a circle 3 inches from edge and four dowels in a square within the circle. Remove 14-inch tier from refrigerator; center and place it on top. Fit a pastry bag with a coupler and #5 tip; fill halfway with brown buttercream. Pipe vines trailing down from tops of each tier. Pipe more vines over top of 14-inch tier. Fit a 12-inch pastry bag with a coupler and Wilton #101 petal tip; fill in same way as for royal icing wisteria (half purple and half untinted buttercream, side-by-side vertically), with purple flowing through narrow end. Pipe clusters on most of vines on sides of tiers; pipe lushly over top edges of 16-inch tier, covering completely. On top of 14-inch tier, pipe wisteria following vine patterns; do not cover completely. Fit a 12-inch pastry bag with a coupler and Ateco #349 diamond tip. Place 1 cup green buttercream in a small cup, and add 1 cup brown buttercream; stir four or five times with a knife to slightly streak. Fill pastry bag halfway; pipe leaves on remaining vines and onto top edges of 16-inch tier; refrigerate to chill. Reserve filled pastry bags.
  6. Decorate top two tiers: Remove 10-inch tier from refrigerator and place on turntable. Insert remaining four 4 1/8-inch dowels in a square 3 inches from edge. Remove 8-inch tier from refrigerator; center and place it on top. Decorate in same manner as bottom tiers, leaving center of 8-inch tier undecorated for topper; refrigerate to chill. Reserve filled pastry bags. When chilled, place bottom set of tiers in a 20-inch cardboard box and top tiers in a 14-inch cardboard box. Refrigerate until cake is ready to be moved to the reception site.
  7. Assemble and finish cake: At reception site, place 4-inch-high round riser on table. Lay grape wreath around riser, rearranging vines for a more natural look, as desired. Set bottom tiers on riser. Center separator-plate unit with prepared columns over 14-inch tier; gently push into tier until columns reach bottom of tier. Make sure unit is secure; center top tiers on top. Using reserved pastry bag with green/brown buttercream, pipe leaves around lower edge of 10-inch tier. Center and insert arbor into top tier. Hang royal-icing wisteria clusters from arbor by bending stems around willow pieces. Place cake topper under arbor. (Note: If you are using a heavier cake topper, you may need to add one or two dowels to support the extra weight.) Add more buttercream stems or wisteria blossoms as needed.

Read more at Marthastewartweddings.com: Wisteria Cake

Linking up to the Tablescaper's Seasonal Sunday! Be sure to drop in for some lovely inspiration! 


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