Dianne's Creative Table

I am inspired by light, all things natural, reusing previously loved items, and bargains!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Revisiting the Dinner Party!

My table this week didn't have much to meet Kathleen's challenge, so I went back to an oldie that has many natural elements from the stones gathered on the shores of the Pacific Northwest and the stone place cards.  

I love to entertain.  I enjoy the process of developing the menu, thinking through the preparation steps to make sure there's no conflict of appliances, deciding on the guests and making sure there's no conflict of personalities, and choosing the table decor that will enhance the food and delight the guests.  I invited a few friends and my in-laws (who I would be friends with even if they weren't family) and decided on the menu.  After several incarnations, I came up with the following:

Goat Cheese with Red Pepper Jelly
Grilled Mission Figs with Basil and Procuitto
Brambles (blackberry liquor, lemon and vodka)
Watermelon, Feta, and Black Olive Salad
Caprese Salad
Grilled Thai Sea Bass
Orzo with Caramelized Onions and Pine Nuts 
Fresh Baked Foccaccia
Grilled Asparagus
Concord Grape and Mango Sorbet
Lemon Curd Tart with Blueberries
Besides being on the endangered list, did you know sea bass costs $26.99 a pound? With eight people invited, I quickly looked for an alternative and consulted with my Executive Chef friend who suggested Halibut.  It was good, but much drier than the Sea Bass.
Then the table.... At first, I was going to keep it easy and just leave the last table with the chickens, but decided chickens with seafood wasn't exactly a good match. I thought about Halibut from the Northwest Pacific and I remembered our vacation to Uculet, BC on Vancouver Island and all the rocks and driftwood we brought home and decided that an ocean (but not beachy) tabletop would be perfect.  
The glass floats are authentic and came from a pawn shop in Seattle, several years ago.  One of our favorite vacation activities is to visit a thrift or pawn shop in different part of the country. 

All the table decor, tree bark, rocks, wood, and rope, with the exception of the mini terrariums and votives we brought, or sent home from the North West Coast.  As I look at the pictures, I remember the sound of these rocks in the surf.  I also remember carrying all those rocks for miles down the beach in my pockets and backpack!
I like to extend the centerpiece all the way down the table so every guest has something of interest in front of them.   The rocks stimulated conversation among the guests throughout the evening.

Fosteria Ballet crystal my most recent purchase from a local thrift, marked down twice to less than $5 per piece!  Right place at the right time; two more days and they would have been donated to Goodwill.  
 Tape on the "place rocks" so I could reuse them. 

Watermelon, red onion marinated in lime juice, black olives and feta.  
Thom Scott's incredible Lemon Curd Tart
Island dishes, placemats and napkins - Home Goods
Candle holders - Old Time Pottery
White dinner plates - Mikasa Antique White
Flatware - Walmart
Chargers - Hobby Lobby

Come join the party at Susan's Tablescape Thursday

Monday, July 18, 2011

Philadelphia Flower Show Cloches

This past Feb my husband and I went to the Philadelphia Flower Show, the largest in the country.  They had everything there and I created several posts with pictures of all the wonderfulness.  One thing I didn't post was the French Parlor and all the cloches.   When I read that Marty was going to host this party, I dusted off my photos and decided to join in the fun. 

 I love how they recreated this beautiful room inside the convention center.  The cloches contained real flowers. When I first saw this I was overwhelmed by the sheer number of flowers crammed into one room!  
The show has very strict rules about the materials that can be used which you can read about HERE
This is the first rule in the rule in the book:

All entries must include fresh or dried plant material; forced
plants must predominate, and the emphasis should be on color.
All exhibits must be kept in show condition. Plant material must be kept
fresh. Unsightly or wilted plant material must be replaced. No artificial plant
material is permitted in any exhibit.

 I guess the rules don't apply to the mannquin. 
In addition to the French Parlor, there were cloches hiding in several places.
These aren't officially cloches, but they were certainly beautiful.   
 They were part of the competition. 
These charming cloches were for sale in the vendor section.  It was so hard to resist buying everything I saw.  
 I love how the glass was blown to fit the cage.
 I think this was my favorite of all.  

Beautiful, but it didn't look very practical to me.  Thanks to Marty for hosting.  Come join the party!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Country-fied Tablescape

I didn't start out with a country table in mind, my idea was to just  use my green dishes and red quilted place mats.  I loved the look of the green dishes on the place mats, but as I started placing the dishes, I realized they needed some white to separate the layers of green so I started with white chargers. 
The chargers where on clearance after Christmas at Hobby Lobby for $.68 each, but there was one little problem.... they were metallic maroon.  Don't know about you, but I didn't really have any table ideas that screamed red metallic maroon.  

So I pulled out the trusty spray can and made them what I needed!  The white was too dull, so after two coats of white, I hit them with some clear coat. 
Better, but still not enough white.  
Adding the Johnson Brothers Regency plate helped,
So I topped the stack with a white appetizer plate.  Just right!
When I went looking for napkins, nothing fit until I tried the gingham.  That's when the table went country for me, so I went with it. 
Wrought iron candle holders purchased years ago at TJ,

And the perfect country accent..... Chickens and curly willow! Had to jump in the car and run to my MIL to rob borrow some curly willow from her tree.  

Isn't it great when you have a vague idea in your head and it comes together on the table way better than your idea?  
Another great idea is to visit Tabletop Tuesday, and Tablescape Thursday, as well as Seasonal Sundays.