TELL A STORY with your tablescape! It’s creative and fun, and will be an instant conversation piece with your guests! Once you have a theme, the excitement and layering begins! Give yourself enough time to design it. Rushing and time restraints promote stress and zap your creative juices. This tablescape took me three hours (with plenty of time to spare!) of adding, deleting and then finally...swooning. I never think, "oh, I've got to SET the table". I always think, "Oh, I've got to DESIGN my table". It's so much more fun.
THE COLOR SCHEME this year was decidedly going to take on a more neutral approach, a deviation from my bold orange design of last year. I waited for the inspiration to come to me. Sure enough, it hit me at the Rooms with a View Decorator Show House in Southport, CT. My design began with the purchase of two gorgeous ferns in beautiful, natural rolled, birch bark containers, and two large moss balls, I hand-carried on the boat to Nantucket! I supplemented with matching birch bark candle pillars holding tea lights, I found at Flowers on Chestnut, on island. This year, unlike last year, my table linens, in simple ivory, would serve only as a backdrop, not making any statement at all. The same would be true of the china I used, which was my ivory, gold-banded LENOX, from our wedding in 1979, which I love and covet with all my heart! I used tiny kraft name tags at each place setting in small round vases I’ve had for years that house both the flowers/greens and the name tag. I love the natural feel, the color and look of anything kraft.
These feathered placemats sent me over the edge!
Did you know that until 1918 there had been no American made china in the White House? This upset President Woodrow Wilson, who finally commissioned Lenox to create the first US made china.
A New York City newspaper reported,“The proud day has arrived when the White House dining service [was] designed by an American artist, made at an American pottery… and decorated by American workmen.”
Since that time, six presidents have commissioned Lenox for their own signature china.
THE GRAPES in the centerpiece contributed majorly to my design, which was clearly taking an organic turn! To incorporate natural colors, I thought fruits! Yes! Different colors of grapes! I loved the idea of them cascading down a 3-tiered cake stand, but wondered how I would keep them perfectly in place (crashing down on the votives would not be good). I got out my favorite tool of all time, a glue gun, and anchored the heavy part of the stems to the cake stand tiers. I bought a couple of bags of loose moss, which I used to gently nudge (wedge) the grapes to remain where I wanted them! And then, of course added my birds!
Grapes, as a the centerpiece
BIRDS OF A FEATHER are always part of my holiday designs in some way shape or form. So out came my collection of birds! And then, speaking of feathers, why not use fabulous feather placemats?! Lion's Paw of Nantucket, I love you! While we're at it, let’s add feathers elsewhere, too…. I used 3 inch burlap ribbon for the napkins and inserted an 18 inch single feather into each one. I used the other feathers in a grouping near the moss balls on my sideboard. This really got me excited! This was when I added the gold deer antlers in the fern plants to pick up the trim of the china. Burlap, fruit, moss, pinecones, ferns, deer antlers, birch bark, birds and feathers! I think I’m getting somewhere with this, and I think it's a woodland theme!
PUMPKINS always add a lovely autumnal look and feel to Thanksgiving, especially since they are used so much in cooking and baking during the season! I was happy to find little white ones on island, keeping everything in neutral tones. And so it began…. Our Thanksgiving tablescape was on its way to paying homage to the forest and the fruits of the land! Your story becomes pivotal in the design, the colors you choose, and the style you see evolving. Have fun with it! Be whimsical and creative. It sets the tone for FUN before the FUN even begins!
Our Culinary Excursion!
Our Thanksgiving morning was a bit more relaxed this year, as there was no zooming out the door for the 8am 5K race, since our daughter had just run the New York City Marathon! But we were up bright and early and had a nice cozy, breakfast before the traditional ice cold Turkey Plunge!
Corn and Cranberry Pancakes (compliments of my husband, Jim, the pancake genie!)
• Fresh fruit of raspberries, blueberries and strawberries
• Orange Juice
Traditional Post-Plunge Bloody Mary Party
(my Brother-in-law and Sister-in-law’s home)
• Classic Bloody Marys
• Shrimp Cocktail
• Cheese Platters
• Corn Chowder with Squash & Bacon served in “squash bowls” (pictured)
• Gravy (The gravy fairy visited me this year with a perfectly smooth and tasty gravy!)
• Mashed Potatoes
• Sweet Potatoes with marshmallows (the kids are never giving this up!)
• Brussel Sprouts with bacon and maple syrup
• Oyster Cornbread Stuffing with mushrooms
• Mixed Fruit Stuffing with grapes (of course!), apples and pears
• Carrot Pudding
• Cranberry Citrus Mold (A great presentation)
• Penny's Cranberry Sauce (See recipe on Cranberry Blog in Food & Cocktails)
Corn Chowder with Squash & Bacon served in “squash bowls”
Place card holder and floral vase all in one!
My favorite of all the birds in my collection
Wait...I'm having a Cinderella deja vu...with this bird and moss green velvet ribbon...
Crystal: Saint Louis “Tommy”
Placemats: The Lion’s Paw Nantucket
Burlap Ribbon: Michael’s
Feathers: Private Collection
Napkin Feathers: Michael’s
Bags of Moss: Michael’s
Cake Stand: Private collection
Birds: Private Collection
Green Ribbon: M&J Trimmings, NYC
Linens: Williams Sonoma
Ferns, Bark vessels, Moss Balls: Rooms with a View, Southport
Green Candles: Fresh Market
Votives: Private Collection
Bark Pillars for tea lights: Flowers on Chestnut, Nantucket
White Pumpkins: Bartlett’s Farm
Place Card holder: Private Collection
Kraft Place Cards: The Lion’s Paw, Nantucket
Gold Antlers: Michael’s