Thursday, January 26, 2017

Fall Buffet Tablesetting for November Book Club Meeting

Our book club generally meets on a weekday evening. But since we live a good ways out, and since my family generally spends their fall and winter weekends in the woods hunting, I decided to host it at my home on the Saturday before Thanksgiving. Several were out of town for the holidays, but we still had a good group of ladies to attend.

We met in November, so I chose "Fall" for my theme. Pumpkins, nuts, and shades of gold, bronze, and brown were perfect for this buffet tablesetting.

We usually have a potluck menu, but since it was a small group, I did all the food this time. I set up a buffet on my dining room table.

I went around my home and gathered several items I already had on display for fall. This tablescape came together very quickly, and at no expense at all!

The "Friendly Village" water pitcher you see above contains the eucalyptus branches year round. I stuck in a few stems of tiny artificial orange berries to add a little color. I have a box of seasonal silk and dried flowers that I keep to freshen up arrangements from time to time. If I see something I like on clearance, I'll pick it up and add it to the box.

The white ceramic pumpkin was a hostess gift from a young lady at the last Miss Manners party I hosted. It has a beautiful gold stem. The brass colored ceramic pumpkin salt and pepper shaker set was about $2 on clearance at Michael's after Halloween last year.

I pulled out my "Friendly Village" dinner plates, along with the muslin napkins I made for Thanksgiving a couple of years ago. Forks were corralled in a little galvanized bucket. I had picked up the large wooden carved acorns as well as the tiny brown ones at Hobby Lobby a while back at 50% off. The whole pecans were a gift from my uncle off his own trees. I hadn't had time to shell them yet, so I scattered them around the table.

A beverage station anchored the other end of the table. I made a cranberry punch and also had iced water and coffee. The one gallon beverage jars fit perfectly on the upturned galvanized tub. I also like that it offered a variation in height to my table.

I adore how Johnson Brothers always puts a little design on the inside of their teacups! It's such a pretty little surprise! The glasses are "Sweet Swirl" in dark green by Noritake.

Stacking the tea cups makes the tablesetting more casual and interesting.

Now to the food! I used little mini chalkboards to identify the food on the buffet. I like the way the black breaks up the lighter colors. Baked ham and cheese puff pastries were the perfect starter.

I think of Brussels sprouts as a fall veggie. This slaw was crunchy and sweet, and even won over a Brussels sprouts hater!

This pineapple-pecan cheeseball was a nice twist. A little sweet, it balanced great with the other savory items. I served it with whole wheat Ritz crackers. My kids actually like them better than the original, and they're much healthier! 

Rosemary cashews were the perfect snack served in this pretty red leaf bowl that was a wedding gift.

For "dessert" we had pumpkin pie dip with apples and graham crackers.

This is SO good. I have also made a gingerbread variation, but this is my favorite!

I draped a fall napkin under the drinks to add another layer of texture.

I love our book club! We have such an interesting mix of ladies! Over the next few days, I'll share the recipes for the yummies you see above.

I'm so glad you stopped by my neck of the woods!

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Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Apples of Gold...Thanksgiving 2016 Tablescape

Our area has been hit with some less than Southern Comfort(able) weather the past week or so, so I've taken advantage of the downtime to catch up on on some blogging. I have about five months of projects and parties to share, so I hope you'll keep checking back in!

Today I want to share with you my tablescape from this past Thanksgiving. I have to admit, it's probably my favorite so far! 

As you know, we have hosted Thanksgiving at our home for the last ten years or so. We are blessed to have my parents as well as my two brothers and their families, Gerald's parents, my SIL's parents as well as her two siblings and their families, and then we often have others - family or friends - who may not be able to be with family that year. 

Last Thanksgiving I focused on pumpkins for my tablescape. This year, I wanted a more simple and elegant theme. I decided to use apples as my inspiration. The phrase "apples of gold" popped into my head and I went with it.

As a rule, the "ladies" sit in the dining room. This includes all the grandmothers and usually me. Above you can see my dining room tablesetting.

This is the table in my kitchen area. The "men" sit here - granddaddies and my husband. My brothers anchor the couch with the other men of their generation and keep a close eye on the ballgames.

This year, I set a smaller table up in my foyer for the SIL's. I love this little table. Besides the fact that it belonged to a very dear friend, Elizabeth Wright Smith, it's such a neat little table. Check out this post about a special dinner for two, and you can see what it looks like and how it works.

Here's a lengthy view of my centerpiece of apples, fresh green clippings from my tea olive bushes and gold votives. I was going to use sprigs from my camellia bush, but it had been a dry summer (read: drought) and they weren't blooming yet. We had however received a lot of rain in the day or two before Thanksgiving - not enough to prepare the camellias for blooming, but enough to cause my tea olives to bolt. They needed to be trimmed anyway, so I killed two birds with one clipping! 

A closer look at my dining room table shows my gold chargers as a base for my "Friendly Village" plates by Johnson Brothers. Although I change the tablescape each year, these plates are a mainstay. I love this pattern! On top are the muslin napkins I made for last Thanksgiving. These are tied up with a couple of cinnamon sticks. Cinnamon is a natural compliment for apples, right? The stemware I used on this table as well as the kitchen table, is "Jamestown" by Fostoria. I was literally driving down the road when I say these at a yard sale and stopped. I know - I have a problem. The flatware on these two tables is "Golden American Chippendale" by FB Rogers.

Here's a closeup of the centerpiece on the table in the foyer. The larger votive holders came from Dollar Tree. I bought them a while back when I did the Life's a Journey" tablescape for a special event at Faulkner last Spring. The small tea light holders came from Walmart nearly 20 years ago. The larger stemmed votive holder came from Caffco several years back. 

The stems I used on this table are a vintage pattern called "Woodland" by Fostoria. They were a gift from my Aunt Dale when we married. (Maybe she's to blame for my addiction!)

This closeup of the kitchen table shows the burlap runners I made last year. When planning my tablescapes, I pulled out all the gold I had in my stash. I needed a couple more candle holders, so I picked up these two gold hammered tea light holders at Dollar Tree. 

All in all, I only spent money on the apples and those two tea light holders! I bought four $4 bags of apples. Over the next few days, I made a big bowl of Waldorf Salad, and then we ate the rest out of hand!

The kids usually eat on the deck, but the weather forecast was iffy, so I placed the kids at a table in the playroom. I have two six foot long muslin painter's cloths that I bought at Home Depot a while back for a project that has yet to materialize. I used them as tablecloths and then ran a piece of burlap down the middle. I was out of gold chargers, so I borrowed red ones from my mother. I also borrowed the burgundy cloth napkins from her. They pick up the red in the apples a little, don't you think?

The flatware I used on their table is "Abigail" by Hampton Silversmiths. I got it at Target not long after we married. I hand wash it and the other gold pattern I have to keep them from tarnishing or fading.

I also went with my "Sweet Swirl" tea glasses by Noritake. While I'm not overly fussy about kids using my stuff, I just thought they'd be better handled by little hands.

I love Thanksgiving! I feel so lucky that we are able to host it and be surrounded by so many of our friends and family. They are truly the "apples of gold"!

I'm so glad you stopped by my neck of the woods!

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Friday, January 6, 2017

Christmas Tablescape 2016

Yes, Virginia, I'm aware that Christmas is over, but most of my decorations are still up, so therefore, I feel fully justified in sharing this tablescape with you a few days late! 

My inlaws came the day after Christmas and stayed a couple of days. I love to have my parents over when the Joneses are here, so I planned a little impromptu holiday dinner. I think it's neat that the kids can enjoy both sets of Grands at the same time. Besides that - my parents and Gerald's parents really like each other. Win, win!

The "Charlie Brown" Christmas trees had been up since my Miss Manners Gingerbread Christmas party at the beginning of December. I started with my white linen table cloth and then added the red one on top. The reason I did that is because the red cloth is made for a smaller table and I wanted the whole table covered. You really only see the white tablecloth at the ends.

This red cloth is one of my favorites. I got it 75% off at Walmart after Christmas about fifteen years ago! It's screams Christmas, but works great at other times of the year, too, since it doesn't have trees or bells or anything seasonal on it.

The plates are "Happy Holidays" by Nikko. They actually are part of a line that coordinates with my everyday white dishes. I just bought dinner plates and cups and saucers in the Christmas pattern. We use the plain white salad plates and bowls with them. I pull these out each year on the day after Thanksgiving and we use them until New Year's Day.

I only have four of the matching red napkins, so I pulled out the green ones I made for St. Patrick's Day last year. You can see them in a totally different way here. To mix it up a little, I folded the napkin in thirds and placed it under the plate. It just gives it a little extra interest.

The stemware is "Sweet Swirl" in dark green by Noritake.

Under the dinner plate are my gold chargers. Beneath that are these pretty and delicate little "placemats" I got from Dollar Tree last Easter. You can check them out with the bunnies here.

The flatware is "Golden American Chippendale" by FB Rogers. It was a gift to myself a while back.

As I showed you in the post on my Miss Manners Gingerbread Party, I decorated each of these trees with a set of mini lights I got at Dollar Tree. I hid the battery box in a cookie jar for the party. Here it is tucked under a napkin that is casually placed under the tree. They both remind me of Santa's pack!

I finished off with three simple gold patterned votive holders that have appeared several times lately. They're from Dollar Tree, of course. 

Our table was festive in traditional green and red, and we enjoyed not only the meal we shared around it, but the company, too!

So tell the truth - are your Christmas decorations still up? If so, we're both in good company!

I'm so glad you stopped by my neck of the woods!

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