Saturday, July 12, 2008

Lovebirds: Lenox Chirp dinnerware

With a wedding confection inspired by your porcelain pattern, you can have
your cake and eat off of it, too.

The whimsical spirit of these "Chirp" saucers, $12 each; mugs, $25 each; bowls, $30 each;
and platter, $191, all from Lenox is shared by the stunning watercolor birds on this cake designed by Kate Sullivan for LovinSullivanCakes, NYC, $1,000, serves 100.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Sea Urchin Vase: Let the sea flow onto your table

Living miles from the sea needn't mean you can't have a little marine decoration on
your table. The sea offers a huge source of ideas and materials. Traditional tokens
of beach outings, seashells are celebrated for the beauty of their unique forms and
textures and often used as decorative touches in seashore abodes. But that coastal
address isn't necessary in order to enjoy the brilliance of the beach, with a host of
of products bringing it as close as the backyard.

Indulge a love of the sea with a few nautical inspirations. Water restores the soul,
so it makes sense that aquatic objects, sea urchin vases, would renew your table.
You haven't seen underwater action like this since you last went scuba diving.

sources: Michelle Rago and Brides magazine

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Summer tables sizzle with colors and patterns

Whether it's a laid-back picnic or lively dinner party, forget about setting a serious table.
After all, it's summer and that's the perfect excuse to dish out a table that's drenched with
color and wild with pattern. Since we have only a few months of reliable warm weather each
year, why not make the most of them and create a special place in your yard for summertime
dining and entertaining? With a little imagination, you can create an oasis for a daily escape.


Play up the look with mismatched china cups, more than one teapot, posies from the garden,
and cupcakes frosted in a multitude of floral hues. Use plastic plates and utensils for a casual
sea-themed party. Sea shells function as flower vases, decorative centerpieces, and place
setting embellishments.


A humble picnic table can be set with as much care as your fine dining table. Dress up
a wooden picnic table with an embroidered cotton or lace runner, and use a few
strategically placed bowls and plates, like these bandanna-printed ones, to anchor
the cloth. Mix vivid flowers, saturated colors, and patterns to set an exotic scene.


Mismatched silverware and china still look sophisticated with natural embellishments,
like a hand-picked fern frond. Even when dining outdoors, if your table's surface is in
good shape, like this one, you can forgo a tablecloth. Don't be afraid to use crystal goblets
outside. They add elegance to the table and look right at home next to antique flatware
and long, tapered candlesticks.


Improvise a "cloth" tablecloth by criss-crossing strips of burlap from a garden-supply
store, then layering lengths of crinkly white gauze over them. The effect is reminiscent
of antique linen culled from Grandma's attic.

(top photo - a refreshing palette of golden yellow and robin's-egg blue sets the scene. For
a casual yet stylish affair, mix upscale elements with down-home details. Burlap,
bandannas, and disposable pleats mingle effortlessly with fresh flowers and herbs).

source: Country Living magazine

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Do The Bright Thing!

Summertime, and the living is easy and it's generously colored: bright, like a daisy;
pastel, like sorbets; and other hues that are as cool as a lake or pool.

This year there's a bumper crop of new designs, many of them on melamine, a rugged
plastic hybrid. It's dishwasher safe, of course, but improved methods of fusing colors
to the melamine mean the patterns won't chip or scratch in the dishwasher, either.
And the designs run the gamut from fanciful to elegant.

Solid-color plastics have not been forgotten, either. In the table setting above, the bright
colored goblets give the table a lift, as does the decoupaged teapot, especially when it's filled with flowers.

(above: Plate - "The oval shape of this plate is a fresh take, and it shows the pattern off
so well". Oval Batik Melamine dinnerware; Goblets - "Bright, vivid colors work anywhere
anytime". Jewel Tone Plastic Goblets; Napkin Ring - "The patterns and colors of Africa
are fascinating". 3.5" round Wooden African Mask Rings. Flatware - "Polished resin adds
sparkle to the table, think accessories, think jewelry". Shown in Orange)

All the tableware can be purchased at J.Roaman
Image source: House Beautiful magazine

Monday, May 19, 2008

Green Peace: take color cues from Mother Nature this spring when setting your table

This spring, the freshest greens lean toward bright, high-contrast shades. From spring grass
to shell peas, citron to chartreuse, green lies at the root of this season’s most inspired table

Welcome guest to the table with personalized gifts they can enjoy at home. A garden
stake in a diminutive flowerpot allows friendships to blossom.

(above: create a miniature bouquet with an inexpensive bud vase, pretty grosgrain ribbon,
a guest’s monogram and a trio of tulips).

(above: decorate your table (clockwise from top left) with a custom-embroidered napkin
and place mat. Tie buffet napkins with string and arrange them in a compote. Candlesticks
become favors. A hand-embroidered fern. Candy strips. Scalloped edges ruffle peachy plates.
Mix and match napkins and rings. Vegetables are a visual treat. Present a set of napkins to
your hostess.

I continue to be smitten by the colors and images of garden-themed decor. Fortunately,
there's an array of product, from tableware to napkins and glassware, to satisfy nearly
everyone's green thumb.

Image sources: Martha Stewart Weddings and Country Living

Friday, May 16, 2008

Parrot tulips never tiptoe their way into blooming big, bright and brassy, they deserve a centerpiece all their own

A centerpiece incorporating tulips should have a place on every table. They're colorful,
they're fun and they're great performers. They come in an impressive range of flower
forms - from simple upright goblets to the double blooms of peony-flowered forms -
and every color you could think of - except blue.

However, the frilliest, fluffiest and most flamboyant tulips of all are the parrot tulips.
They are a riot of multi-colored blooms with fringed, feathered or wavy edges. They are
actually "moving" flowers; they stretch and turn in response to the light.

Carolyne Roehm acknowledges an extreme love for parrot tulips. ``I'm drawn to their
odd streaks of craziness and their individuality - no two are the same. Looking at a
bundle of parrot tulips is like staring into a pool of the fantastic. I wonder: How did
nature decide to follow such an eccentric course?''

Roehm's fascination with these fancy flowers is demonstrated in the first photo with
the centerpiece she created.

For longest enjoyment, buy cut tulips when the buds are still closed but are beginning to
show the flower color. Before arranging tulips, prep the stems by re-cutting the stem tips.
A fresh cut opens the stems' water uptake channels. Unlike most cut flowers, tulips keep
growing in a vase. Plus, as they grow taller-often up to an inch-they tend to bend and move
toward sources of light. The fact that tulips dance in the vase is part of their charm. Don't
bother with flower food. Add fresh cool water to the vase every two days so they won't
drain the vase dry. Place tulips in a cool spot.

sources: Carloyn Roehm, A Passion for Flowers; Martha Stewart and Country Living magazine

Monday, May 12, 2008

Botanical Bliss: Naturally inspired tablesetting

Imagine sitting down at the table to find a butterfly on your napkin, green moss under
your plate, bees swarming above and birds perched on your glass. And they all make
you smile. The butterfly is a napkin ring, the sheets of florist’s moss, transforms the
table into a woodland landscape, the bees are from the beehive lantern and the birds
are porcelain.

Butterflies, blossoms, and other botanical motifs bring nature's beauty to the table.
Host a springtime lunch in the garden or backyard. Bright table linens, whimsical botanical
decorations and a few nature-inspired accents make for a setting that infused with new life.

(above: White branch-shaped porcelain containers hold an assortment of pink blooms.
Spare tulips suit the sculptural look of this nature-inspired vase).

(above: Porcelain birds perch on the rim of the wine glasses, as if they’d alighted there).

(above: Hang America Retold's Beehive lanterns in your backyard for a warm glow
at night).

source: Myhomeideas and Country Living