Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Chinese-Inspired Tablescape for Brack's 12th Birthday

OK - Let's get this out of the way first thing...Brack, my baby, is turning 12 this week. Did I mention he's my baby? And that he's turning 12? Yep, this mama is having a hard time dealing. But he will always be my baby...just ask him! 

I know I say this a lot, but this is one of my favorite tablesettings of all time! I pulled it together this afternoon while he was still at TKD. But I'm getting ahead of myself...

As I've mentioned before, around here (and at my parents' home while we were growing up), the birthday boy (or girl) gets to choose what they want for their special birthday dinner. Brack chose Mongolian Beef. One of my favorites, too! Then he picked a few more of his favorites, and we have a (kinda) Chinese menu! 

We have a really busy week, so we are having his birthday dinner tonight, even though his birthday isn't until Thursday. More on that later, too.

When he started naming Chinese recipes, I knew I had the perfect dishes. I'll show you everything step-by-step, but first, some sad news...

That, my friends is a hole - actually, two! - in my favorite white linen tablecloth that I use ALL.THE.TIME. Seriously. I knew it was not as fresh as it used to be, but I was really surprised to find the damage when I went to iron it today. The only thing that will make me even more sad is when my 20 plus year old John Deere riding lawn mower (also on it's last legs) bites the dust. They're both such good ol' friends!

Don't get me wrong - I'm not throwing it away. Most of the time, it goes underneath something else. Just like today.

The fabric for this pretty blue tabletopper came off the remnant table at Hancock Fabrics years ago. I have used it a couple of times before, but I think the only time I've blogged about it is when I hosted my book club and had a Colonial/Mt. Vernon theme. You can see the details here

Next I placed a runner down the middle for some texture. I used this a while back for Thanksgiving 2015. It also adds a very "earthy" feel. Perfect for this tablescape, I think.

I pulled out my old gold chargers to start the plate stack. These just go with everything!

Next is my "new" old set of dishes, "Heritage" by Pfaltzgraff. These were a recent thrift store find at $1 a piece per plate. I introduced them in my Easter 2017 tablescape. 

Next, I placed my new (old) vintage blue glass plates by Arcoroc. I haven't discovered the pattern name for these yet, but I found them a couple of weeks ago, also for $1 each. They are dinner size, so the white plates don't really show underneath, but I like that it gave it some height, and I didn't like the way the blue looked directly on the gold charger. It was kinda muddy colored.

Not sure of the pattern on these, but I've had them a while. Got them at Service Merchandise (who remembers them?) close to twenty years ago.

I folded and rolled a lighter blue napkin, then placed it in a wooden ring. Things were getting a little crowded so these went on top.

The flatware has a touch of gold which picks up the gold charger. This pattern is "Abigail" by Hampton Silversmiths.

These salad plates came from Big Lots years ago. I got several pieces, and they were all .99 cents. I used these for my mother's birthday dinner a few years ago. I called that tablescape "Orient Express". I also used the blue floral tablecloth there, too! I love to look back at old tablescapes to see how my "skills" have advanced! I used much of the same stuff, but it looks so different.

Gerald will stop on the way home from work and get egg drop soup when I 'm making Chinese, so I love to have these on hand. Found them years ago.

I found these condiment bowls at Tuesday morning, I think. 

These fish are also perfect for soy sauce. Don't remember where I got them, though!

I picked up this blue and white creamer at the thrift store for .50 cents, a month or so ago. It is perfect for holding a little bit of greenery. 

TIP - Make your own "frog" by adding a little tape before filling with water and flowers. The mouth of this little pitcher was very wide and low. I wanted my greenery to stand up. It will peel right off when I wash this up later!

We got a lot of rain over the weekend and my basil had bolted. I didn't want it to go to seed, so I pinched off several stems pretty low. I had stuck these in a juice glass to use later in cooking.

As I've told you before, I love cut flowers, but I use what I have. Right now, nothing much is blooming. So, I snipped a little of my dwarf nandina that had shot up due to the rain, too. I clipped the new growth (chartreuse green) and a little of the older growth (mottled red). I clipped some ivy, too, but didn't need it.

Isn't that pretty? And it smells amazing because of the basil.

Here's a complete tablesetting.

I also pulled out a couple of my gold-patterned votives from Dollar Tree. I featured these last Thanksgiving.

Now on to the food!

As I said, Brack's birthday is not until Thursday, but we have TKD Thursday afternoons, and by the time I get home, it's too late for cooking a from scratch meal. We decided that Monday was a better day for having his birthday meal. 

Well, it never fails, right? I went in to the kitchen about 4:30 to start working on a few things so I could have everything ready when Gerald got home a little before 6:00. As I walked in, the power went off. Didn't come back on until about 6:00, so I lost a good bit of prep time!

It's a good thing I had decided that not everything would be from scratch! I have started making my own California rolls, but they are time intensive. So I picked up some pre-made at Walmart instead. It is VERY good. 

I did make my own crispy Spring rolls (for the first time!), and while I'm not thoroughly pleased with the way they look, they did taste good. Let me work on these a little longer, and then I'll share it with you.

I also made a dipping sauce that tasted just like the sauce they serve at Lek's, my all-time favorite restaurant. I'll post the recipe for it when I blog about crispy Spring rolls.

I also make my own egg drop soup sometimes, and while Gerald and I love it, Brack's favorite is from Ding How. So I had Gerald stop and get some on the way home. Good thing! What with no power for so long, it was one less thing to worry about!

I used a copy-cat recipe for PF Chang's Mongolian beef. Not the best I've ever made, but not bad!

One more look...

I love all the shades of blue with touches of white and gold. Everything worked beautifully together, and the only shopping I did was in my cabinets!

I encourage you to take time to make special dinners for your family. Pull out your best stuff. It's your family. They're worth it! Even my 12 year old son appreciated the time I spent in honor of his birthday. Do it! You won't regret it!

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

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  1. Your table is beautiful Missy! I love all the layers and especially the way you layer the table cloths and runner. PS: I'm craving Chinese table out now. Happy Birthday to Brack!

    Smashing Plates