Tuesday, November 25, 2014

A Thanksgiving Tablescape

How are your preparations coming along for the holidays?  I am still working on the basics--having my carpets cleaned, some painting done, and dare I say it, cleaning out the garage.  It had gotten so bad that I didn't have room to bring my Christmas decorations down.  I like to use the garage as a sort of staging area--so that I don't trip over boxes lying in the floor.  Usually it is not this cold, so I am bundling up, and going out today to work on my staircase garland.  

In the meantime, I ran across these pictures of Thanksgiving 2013.  Guess I didn't have time to post, so here's a few from last year--in hopes that they will inspire!  
Again, I used my Battenburg lace cloth.  This tablecloth fits my table well with all the leaves in.
I kept the table uncluttered, and used a simple epergne-like bowl which held flowers, greenery, and candles.
The greenery, leland cypress and magnolia, are greens I frequently use for the holidays.
The centerpiece base is silver and the bowl is crystal, with arms extending to hold the candles.
The silver chargers were a Goodwill find, and I frequently use them for formal dinners.
I have been collecting vintage crystal with the gold-plate around the outside.  I find them at estate sales and online auctions.  These I used for iced tea and water.
I don't know the manufacturer of these, but I love the look.
I accessorized the table with silver pumpkins and gourds, and gold pumpkin candles.
My daughter hates it when I use place cards, but I find it's a lot less hectic when people can quickly find their seats. 
I used the kitchen table for desserts.  I also had a couple show up that didn't RSVP, so I had to quickly add two place settings to the kitchen table.  Worked out ok, and I was glad they came.
Since I'm not having a huge crowd this year, I will probably also use the kitchen for serving.  There will just be eight of us this year.  Still a lot to do, so I better get up and get going!  Thanks for your visit, and I hope you and yours have a very special, happy Thanksgiving!


Monday, November 10, 2014

Creating Centerpieces for the Holiday Table

Now that the Halloween boxes are all stored away, it's time to think about the holidays. They are quickly approaching, and once here, there's a finite amount of time to get everything done.  An elegant and beautiful holiday table is on our to-do list, but sometimes amid the hustle and bustle, it is not at all what we had hoped it would be.  You can achieve an elegant look, and create happy memories with your family and friends, without a high price tag or a huge time commitment by using some items you probably already have around your home.  A beautiful table is all about the centerpiece.

I will show you how I create two of my go-to centerpieces for Thanksgiving and Christmas using a simple grapevine wreath.

DIY Fall Wreath Centerpiece:

This fall-themed centerpiece started with a grapevine wreath that I found around the house.  You can purchase them at Michaels, for under $5.
I placed my wreath on a charger so it could be moved easily, and began by placing ivy around the wreath.
My supplies included artificial fall leaves (you can use real), varigated green acuba leaves, gourds, and cylinders with acuba leaves and floating candles.
I began inserting the fall leaves around the top  of the wreath.  It's easy to just stick the leaves in between the layers of the grapevine.
Keep inserting leaves all the way around, and then begin placing leaves around the outside.  I like using the bigger leaves toward the outside, and the smaller ones on the inside and top.
The wreath is now looking full, and could be used as is.  But let's take it to the next level.
I couldn't find my third cylinder, but I had two of the same size, so I simply elevated one with a small Tupperware cup.
After adding the cylinders, I placed the acuba leaves all around the inside, filling in where necessary.  Again, ok as is, but let's give it the "wow" factor by using the gourds.
Ta Da!!  A elegant centerpiece your family and friends will envy.  All you need to do is place this on your tablecloth or runner.  The personalized table runners from Shutterfly will add just the right touch.  Add Grandma's precious china and flatware, and you are good to go!  Now some folks don't want to use candles, as they eat during daylight hours, so here's another option, with pumpkins instead of the cylinder floating candles.
Click here to see a tablescape using this same idea..

Let's move on to the Christmas wreath:

The same principle can be applied, using the grapevine wreath as a base.  For this piece, I used a combination of evergreen from my yard, and some decorative items from my stash and Michael's.
 
I decided I wanted a white, sparkly centerpiece, so I chose sparkly baby's breath, white sparkly berries, a white branch-type garland, and evergreens--yew, cypress, holly, nandina, and cedar.
I started with the yew, and stuck it all around the outside of the wreath. You don't need big, long pieces, but they can be doubled up for volume, if necessary.  The greens will last longer if you soak them in water overnight before arranging.
I used the other greenery to fill in the top, inside, and outside of the wreath.  Continue using the greens until you are satisfied with the look.
I cut off the white branches from the garland and began placing them around the wreath, using my eye as a guide.
The wreath can then be decorated in any way you so desire.  I used the baby's breath to fill in the inside, and then used the berry  branches on top.  I felt like it still needed something, so I added clear, glass ornaments.  The final touch--a white, sparkly Christmas tree candle!

Not into sparkly Christmas tree candles?  Here's another option with the same base--
I used a large hurricane globe with a lacy, white pillar candle in the center.  You can even fill the hurricane globe with any type of vase filler--berries, fruit, table gems, etc.  The idea is to use what you have, or what you would like your theme to be--for the center of the wreath.

Thank you for visiting today!  I look forward to seeing what you create for your holiday table!
--Betsy



Thursday, October 23, 2014

Halloween 2014

The weather is brisk and fall-like, the leaves are falling and turning their brilliant colors, and the days are shorter.  Then why do I still feel like I'm in summer mode?  Guess I just don't want to give it up.  But, time waits for no man (or woman) and it's here whether I like it or not.  I have had some Halloween decor up since late September, and I even thought about having a Halloween party, but just can't get in the mood. Most of the decor is the same as last year, but I did add a few things, which I will show you below:
I bought three of these little posable creatures from Party City.  They were very affordable and were a great size for decoration.  Same mantle decor as last year, with my cute little lady added, as well as orange lights.
Another view, with the orange lights on.
Here is another, colors went great in my dining room.  I changed up my Halloween tree a bit and put it in a silver vase.
Here is the third creature, trying to get out of the shower.

I added a few pumpkins, a cute witch shoe, and owl candelabra on the range mantle.
My jack-o-lantern sits in the urn on the table outside.
Moving back into the dining room, I used a small witch's hat as the focal point for this arrangement.
A closer look...
My dining room tablescape--I found this big pumpkin at Marshall's and tried to find another but didn't have any luck.  I think I got the witch at Marshall's as well, but can't really remember.
I used my silver goblets, (and didn't polish them) as well as some very old silver flatware.
The napkin rings also hold a placecard.
Smaller pumpkins were purchased at Pier 1.
I bought glittery purple candles, but the color was off, so I didn't use them on the table.  Instead, these black ones are battery-operated with a timer, and they flicker and look sorta old.  
On the server, I added a small bud vase with purple roses.
The candles are awesome, but color wasn't right...
But they worked ok over here, sorry for the blurred picture.

Happy Halloween!

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/