Monday, October 6, 2014

A Lake View Setting for Fall

Fall days in Virginia can be the best time of the year to be outside.  Without the humidity we often experience in summer, and the mild temperatures, it is pleasant and enjoyable.  So we were off to spend an evening at our lake property right outside of Blackstone, Virginia, in Nottoway County.  
Just an hour from our home, we were excited to have some close friends join us for dinner and conversation. Photo courtesy of Bill Fischer
The road leading to the lake is cut right through a soybean field, which, I believe, is ready for harvesting.  Photo courtesy of Bill Fischer
We have had quite a bit of work done this summer, and now it is an enjoyable retreat with a beautiful view of the lake.  Before we had the patios built, I set up a table in the same spot.  See it here.
We often joke that we put the cart before the horse, because there is no house or cabin on this property, only a camper.  But to have a working bathroom and electricity is a beautiful thing.
Using the upper patio as our dining area, I set the table simply with a floral runner and a pumpkin centerpiece.
Using an artificial garland as a base, I added fresh greenery and nandina berries.  I curved the garland around the centerpiece and added taper candles.

Adding extra flowers, berries, and greenery to an artificial garland really makes it full and lush.
The napkins and runner have a white base, with the orange and green leaves which are so appropriate this time of the year. 
I felt like I had hit the jackpot when I found these dishes a few years ago at a TJ Maxx store in South Carolina.  I like the fact that they are white, but with the colors of fall.  
For my centerpiece, I started with a white pumpkin from Michaels and carved out a hole in the top for oasis. Then I added alstromeria, berries, and fresh greenery from my back yard.
I tried to use the oasis on the top of the pumpkin by attaching it to the stem per pinterest tutorial, but it didn't work so well for me.  It was easy to cut open the top and add the oasis.
With limited storage here, I have to plan ahead and cart all my accoutrements from home.

With all the trees, it always seems to be a breeze here.  After setting up, we had a little time to relax
and enjoy the view with a cocktail.
All ready for the guests to arrive!
I use these pumpkin plates quite frequently in the fall for salad, appetizers, or dessert!
This is the upper patio taken from the lakeside.  The steps that were added look like stone, but are actually a man-made product.  We chose these because they were level and still had a great look.
The landscapers we used also help us at home.  They were so excited to do this job, and it shows in the quality of work that was done.
After our guests arrived, we began to prepare dinner.  Nothing like steaks on a wood fire!  Photo courtesy of Bill Fischer
While the steaks were cooking in the firepit, we were also preparing grilled chicken, corn and asparagus on the green egg.  (sorry for the grainy picture, used my phone)
A view of the area from above.  Photo courtesy of Bill Fischer
Candles are lit!
Even though the lighting for pictures wasn't great, here are a few taken in the evening.  Enjoy!


Thanks for visiting, hope you enjoyed your visit.  For more on the evening and my friend Bill's Chinook experiences, visit his blog, http://chinookconcourse.tumblr.com/

Thursday, July 3, 2014

A Setting for the Fourth

Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the survival and the success of liberty.--John F. Kennedy, January 20, 1961

So, I know I have not tablescaped in a while.  But I put together a little fourth of July 'scape inside--mainly because Arthur is supposed to be paying us a visit later this evening, tonight, and tomorrow morning.  I will move this party outside tomorrow afternoon, but for now, we are getting in the spirit of things, and waiting for our daughter to arrive from New York.  We are having a little cookout tomorrow evening, nothing big, just another couple and the three of us.  So without further ado, here goes!
 
I found this cute little centerpiece bowl and candleholder at an estate sale.  It was in rough shape, so I sanded it a bit, and painted it white.  Love it now!
Plates are Ralph Lauren, and charger is from Tuesday morning.  
Can't remember where I purchased the napkin rings, probably Tuesday morning as well.
Used my bandana glasses and cobalt blue wines.
The 15" candles give the table some heighth and drama--
For the centerpiece arrangement, I used knock-out roses, white carnations, and those little blue flowers out of my yard (don't know their name).  I also used Camellia greenery, which I love using in arrangements because the stems are substantial.
Had to add little pails of fireworks and lots of red, white, and blue votives.

 I added red and blue toothpicks to small vases of white carnations.
America is best described by one word-freedom.--Dwight D. Eisenhower, January 9, 1958
Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation.--Francis Scott Key
I know not what course others may take, but as for me, give me liberty, or give me death.--Patrick Henry
One nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.--Pledge of Allegiance

One last one, 

May I never wake up from the American dream.--Carrie Latet

Happy Fourth!!

Monday, June 23, 2014

A Perfect Setting for a Wedding

At this stage of my life, I have many friends that I have made during all of the different phases.  I have my girlfriends from my hometown--and we still get together at least once a year, I have my work friends, I have my neighbor friends, I have my relatives who I consider my friends as well, and my friends that I made through our children.  I have seen several friends go through painful divorces, and watched helplessly as they struggled with emotional pain, and issues with finances, housing, and child custody.  My friend, Joanne, is my friend that I met 13 years ago when our sons became buddies at the tender age of 8.  Joanne battled all of the struggles of divorce with grace and a strength that was admirable.  After being a stay-at-home mom, Joanne began teaching special needs children at the elementary school our kids attended, and provided a stable life for her children.  In addition, she continuously made a point of staying in contact with her friends, and leaning on them when she needed a bit more support, as her many siblings and family lived in other states.  Fast forward, Joanne was married Saturday, to a kind, funny, lovable man who is crazy in love with her, and I've never seen her happier.  I was honored when she asked me to decorate the church and reception site.  Of course, I said yes, even though I've never done a wedding before.  How hard could it be, I thought!
As a northerner transplanted to the south , Joanne and Chris decided to stick to an old southern tradition, the burying of the bourbon.  It must have worked, because the weatherman predicted 80% chance of rain, and we had a beautiful day.
Built in the 1800's, the small chapel was lovely.  Without any decoration, it was simply beautiful.  I made pew bows from tulle, and inserted yellow roses, baby's breath, and ivy.
Each bow took about an hour to make, so I started weeks in advance.  Of course, all florals had to be done at the last minute.
I also decorated grapevine wreaths with artificial magnolia blossoms, gardenias, and ivy.  These were hung a week early, to avoid the last minute rush.  Fortunately, a friend and owner of the property where the reception was held, helped us hang them.  He is also a board member of the chapel.  The arrangements in the back by the door were made from blue hydrangeas, yellow roses, alstroemeria, and curly willow and are in plant stands from my yard.  I loved the tall windows with the point at the top.
Wreaths with fresh flowers and greenery were hung on the doors.
White tulle and yellow ribbon bows were hung on the outside railing of the chapel.
At the front of the church, is a baby grand piano, which Joanne's daughter played for the service.  She is 17, and it sounded beautiful!  I used a table from the church house next door, and decorated it with a center arrangement of yellow roses, white carnations, yew, and magnolia leaves.  The globes held candles, which we added later.  To the right of the arrangement is a vase for the unity sand.
The candelabras were handmade, and I used the same decoration as I did on the pew bows.  Two kimberly queen ferns in fishbowls were front and center.  Since open flames aren't allowed in the church, we used battery-operated candles, which looked great.
A silver neo-classical vase (estate sale) held two magnolia blossoms and leaves.
After a sweet ceremony, which fit their personalities to a T, everyone moved down the road to a property affectionately referred to as Mudcat.  Seems the owners, who are friends of the bride's, found a sign when they were building and clearing out the property with Mudcat on it, and the name stuck.  Their property is on the James River in Powhatan, Virginia.  I can't even explain how beautiful it is.
The happy couple enjoys a glass or two of vino, so a wine theme it was.  You would think with all the wineries around here, I could come up with a wine barrel, but this was as close as I could get.  Served the purpose.  This is the entrance to the pool, which served as a guide for guests to go to the gift and sign in tables, and grab a drink.
Lanterns on shepherd's hooks lined the sidewalk.  They looked so pretty in the evening.  We added magnolia and yellow bows.  Didn't get a chance to supervise this, but turned out ok.
Luckily, the wedding planner had the lanterns available to use.  I borrowed shepherd's hooks from my cousin, and made the yellow bows.
I found this cute wooden sign at an estate sale.  I painted it white and used a computer tutorial for the lettering.  Fortunately, Cindy--who is the owner of the reception property, is an artist and added some beautiful touches to it, really making it pop.
The sign-in/gift table held the arrangement from the chapel.  Instead of a guest book, we did the message in a bottle, straight from Pinterest!  Loved that idea.
Meant to use ribbon to roll up paper, but just ran out of time.  Everyone got the idea, and the bottles were given to Joanne and Chris to figure out how to get the messages out.  Probably will have to break the bottles, ha!
The wedding attire was very casual, and most men wore shorts and short-sleeved shirts.  Women wore sundresses, and flats or flip-flops.
There were 12 6-top tables, so I made 12 floral wreaths and we added these lovely hurricane globes--which were provided by the wedding planner.  To keep on track with the theme, we added corks as vase fillers.  By the time I got to number 8, I was a bit tired.  
We brought over the pew bows and tied them to the tent stakes.
On the high-top (bar) tables, we placed a charger with three wine bottles, filled with fern, hosta leaf, and yellow daisy mums.  Grapes were added to ground the centerpiece.  Silver mercury glass votives were lit at dusk.
We took the arrangements out of the metal planters from the chapel, and used them to decorate the dance floor on either side of the DJ.
Torches were added along the stone wall, to keep tipsy guests from falling off!  A few bows had slipped down because of the wind at picture taking time.
If you look closely, Scott, the property owner, used his tractor and cut a large heart in the field below, sorta between the two trees.  So very cool!
Paper lantern lights were hung around the pool (Chris, the groom, was in charge of that job) and we put LED cool icicle lights on the fence.  It was gorgeous in the evening!
A painted dry sink (Annie Sloan Louis Blue and Old White) held sweet tea and lemonade.  We used mason jars as glasses.  I bought straws, but couldn't find them at game time.  Found them the next day.  Oh well...
A friend of ours, and a dear friend of Joanne's, Bill, did all of the cooking for the reception.  His mother helped him, and 4 teenagers helped with serving and refilling trays.  We used wine bottle candelabras on the food tables.  We also used cork holders for the menu cards.  Instead of a buffet, there were different food stations.
The first station held appetizers, consisting of cheese platter, fruit platter, wings, and prosciutto wrapped asparagus.  Mozzarella tomato skewers and ham biscuits were passed.  Best ham biscuits I've ever eaten.  Gotta get the recipe.  Didn't get pictures of the other stations, as they were setting up while I was taking pictures.  Station 2 consisted of BBQ, BBQ chicken, rolls, two types of sauce, baked beans, corn, and cole slaw.  Station 3 consisted of beef tenderloin sandwiches, smoked salmon, and salad.  It was all soooo delicious!
 The couple decided on a small cake to cut, and individual cupcakes.  We decided to use different silver pieces for display instead of a cupcake stand.  We had hoped to use greenery as decoration on all the food tables, but just ran out of time.  The magnolia arrangement from the chapel was placed on the cake table.
Joanne and Chris share a bite of cake!
Joanne and her two children, Hannah, and Kellen.  Kellen walked his mom down the aisle, and Hannah played the piano and was her mom's attendant.
 Joanne, her son Kellen and daughter Hannah, with Kellen's best friends.  L to R, Kevin, Kellen, Hannah, Joanne, Phil, and my son Mitchell!

It was a happy, beautiful day!  At this point, I stopped taking photos and began having fun!  We danced, ate, drank, talked, and celebrated with the bride and groom and their lovely families.  At the end of the night, there was a fireworks display in the lower field.  I was honored to be involved in such a wonderful celebration.  Joanne and Chris are off on their honeymoon.  We will get together with them when they get back to look at pictures and rehash the events of their special day!

Thanks for looking and visiting with me!  It was, indeed, a perfect setting!

--Betsy