Thursday, March 23, 2017

Nature's Way Spring Tablescape

Welcome Spring, welcome readers! Spring is my absolute favorite time of year, and I am happy to be sharing a tablescape today to celebrate the season. If you're new to my blog, you can see from my menu bar the topics I favor, tablescaping being just one. I especially like to incorporate vintage items into my decor whenever possible, so you'll often see that fusion with new, retail items. 

What better way to welcome Spring than to explore all of nature awakening? My tablescape today is a medley of many of the textures, colors and figures of things one might encounter in nature's way throughout the early days of spring. Given the premature blooms resulting from much of the country's warmer than normal February this year, it's easy to forget spring's typical awakening. Let's explore that more typical pathway of nature's awakening, shall we?
Trees are at their best in terms of appreciating their form and shapes when still bare of leaves, or just as they are sprouting new growth. For this, I felt it appropriate to use my wooden chargers as my base for the plate stack. These locust wood chargers were hand cut and finished by an Etsy seller in Ohio (complete source list at end of post). One side has been polyurethaned, while the reverse is the natural woodgrain. Depending on the mood - polished or plain - either side can be face up.
My plate stack began with a classic set of creamy white dishes, acquired with a recently redeemed gift card from a lovely group of friends. They will be my new, go-to set of everyday dishes with my soon to be finished kitchen updates. They represent the wispy clouds that fill the sky as the sun makes its way higher in the Spring skies, as days begin getting longer.
The salad plates used are majolica, in a cabbage motif, perfect for spring, and a nice complement to the green glass water goblets. They mimic the early garden bounty that cooler garden temperatures yield.
Paired with the dishware, the off-white flatware proves to be another classic staple for any table. The natural linen napkin prompts a vision of a sandy, loamy soil from which the spring bounty grows.
Spring is a time when, if you get out in nature, you are likely to see mallards on lakes and rivers, often times in breeding pairs. Here, I am using my mallard casserole as part of my tableware, nesting within a wicker basket, both elevated on an ironstone cake pedestal.
If you are a nature enthusiast, you may have a birdhouse or two which you've cleaned out, hoping for potential tenants. My green birdhouse is new, so I set it upon the table as decor. I've placed a silverplate salt and pepper pair of birds as the tenants near the birdhouse. Pip berry buds are another sign of early spring which you may find on casual hikes or walks in nature's way, swelling among the branches of certain trees such as the willow. My pip berry garland encircles both the birdhouse and casserole as the table's centerpiece. 
I collect unusual serving utensils because I often host family events at my home and can put the utensils to good use. Delightful yet small purchases, the salt and pepper pair, as well as the talon tongs pictured below, are just two examples of those finds from antiquing ventures. They certainly help carry a nature theme here. The pewter metal pitcher and Jefferson cups also ground the tablescape in an earthy way. They were a living estate purchase.
The serving dish was another vintage find. 
I love a masculine/feminine appeal to much of my decor, and this tablescape is yet another example of my flair in that direction. This tablescape could also easily be pulled off as a St. Patrick's Day themed tablescape. Though not your typical leprechaun and shamrock display, it certainly is a nod toward Irish Folk and Countryside, much like my Irish Country tablescape created here.
Thanks for your visit at the table today. I hope you enjoyed my Nature's Way Spring Tablescape.  I invite you to browse my menu bar of topics at the top of my blog and, if you find you have similar interests, I'd love for you to come back. I hope you feel welcome, and leave a bit inspired. 

Nature's Way Spring Tablescape Source List:
Dinnerware - Pfaltzgraff "Filigree"
Linen Napkins, Pewter Jefferson Cups & Pitcher, Silverplate Bird S&P, Sterling Claw Serving Tongs,  Ironstone Cake Platter, Majolica Serving Platter - Vintage
Duck Casserole/Tureen (estate acquisition), Majolica Cabbage Salad Plates - Williams Sonoma
Wicker Basket - Antique Farmhouse
"Sophia" Flatware in Off- White - Horchow
Green Glassware - Dollar Tree
Pip Berry Garland - Save-on-Crafts
Ceramic Birdhouse - Hannah's Pottery 
Wood Chargers in Locust - Etsy

This week I am joining all the bloggers conveniently listed below, where you can simply click on any - or all - to see a proverbial garden of spring tablescapes blooming. A heartfelt thank you to Chloe from the blog Celebrate and Decorate for organizing and hosting this roundup!





Rita C. at Panoply

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Breakfast at Tiffany's Themed Bridal Shower

Recently I co-hosted a bridal shower for my niece who will marry in late April. She adores Audrey Hepburn, and has a particular fondness for her character of Holly Golightly in Breakfast at Tiffany's. It was a natural choice in a theme for her bridal shower, and a collaborative effort in executing all the details.
Breakfast at Tiffany's Themed Shower Collage
My oldest daughter, who will be her cousin's matron of honor, was the event planner. She secured the venue just before Christmas at a local Woman's Club. It had a space ideal for our group size expected. We started a board on Pinterest and gathered all ideas related to a Breakfast at Tiffany's theme, as well as sources for supplies needed.
Venue for Shower
I signed up to provide vintage decor insofar as tablecloths, gloves, pearls and sunglasses were concerned. My sister (mother of the bride) contributed a couple of Audrey Hepburn posters her daughter had left at home when she moved out. We gathered other things we already had such as a framed chalkboard and tabletop wire mannequin, and created a fun and welcoming entry, with a party favor table nearby.
Welcome Sign for Shower Guests
My sister also printed and framed several Audrey Hepburn quotes. We scattered those among the tables we set up for the guests.
"Anyone who ever gave you confidence, you owe them a lot."

Table with Name Tags, Thank You Envelopes for Guests to Address

"I love people who make me laugh. I honestly think it's the thing I like most, to laugh. It cures a multitude of ills. It's probably the most important thing in a person."

Framed Poster, "Breakfast at Tiffany's", Beside Favor Table, Near Entry

Favor Table: "The Beauty Of A Woman Is Seen In Her Eyes, Because That Is The Doorway To Her Heart, The Place Where Love Resides"
Shopping at both the Dollar Tree and Oriental Trading Company, my sister sourced inexpensive Tiffany blue boxes for takeaways, and we placed those on the tables at each seat. Hershey kisses had little stickers glued on the bottoms with symbols and words like "I Do".
"Always Wear An Invisible Crown"

"For Beautiful Eyes, Look For The Good In Others, For Beautiful Lips, Speak Only Words of Kindness; And For Poise, Walk With The Knowledge That You Are Never Alone"

"Did I Tell You How Divinely And Utterly Happy I Am?"
It's amazing what a string of lights can do for atmosphere. We placed those behind the bride's seating. I gathered a few Tiffany boxes from home, and my sister wrapped a couple plain ones with Tiffany blue paper for additional scattered decor.
The Bride's Seating Area

I purchased Tiffany, Holly Golightly-inspired sleep masks for the wedding party from this Etsy dealer. The girls used them for their bachelorette party the weekend prior, and then we used them for decor at the shower.
One friend - dubbed the BridesAide - is always creating, and she helped in a big way also. She made the welcome sign at the entry, the banners, paper flowers, and the bow bouquet from the bride-to-be's gifts. She also brought several kitty props, as she shares a loves of cats with my niece.
Paper Flower Decor

We downplayed as much of the venue's mauve and green 1980s decor as we could, including stowing away two round, country tables with ladderback chairs, but the black piano actually blended in very well with several Tiffany blue paper lanterns set across its upper ledge.
Paper Lantern Decor 
Another matron of honor took charge of setting up a mimosa bar. :)
Mimosa Bar "Drink Up Darlings"
My daughter and I handled the food menu, grocery shopping and preparation of most all of what we served, as well as toting the serving pieces, utensils and other supplies. I prepared the charcuterie and vegetable trays the day before the shower, while ham and egg salads were made by my daughter and sister. Three of my sisters assembled the tea sandwiches the morning of the shower while the rest of us decorated.
Food Buffet: Charcuterie, Veggie Trays; Fruit; Egg & Ham Salad Sandwiches; Hummus and Crackers
The cake! Oh my goodness. For a girl who loves Breakfast at Tiffany's and cats, this cake was divine! My daughter had the cake custom made for her cousin, and added the donuts as another nod to the movie. The coffee/tea station was set up to the left of the cake.
Kitty Cake with Breakfast at Tiffany's Theme
Pictured below is the mother of the groom, my niece and mother of the bride (my sister).
The crowd we had ranged in ages from mid-twenties to mid-seventies, so we limited the games with just one, at the table (two parts): What's in Your Cell Phone, and What's in Your Purse? Printed at home with an image of Audrey as Holly Golightly, using black and turquoise ink, it was a simple game, a sort of ice breaker after guests were seated, prior to eating and gift-opening.
Simple gifts for the winner of each of the cell and purse game, along with a door prize, assured participation by guests.
The groom and dads arrived near the end of the gift opening, after having their own party of pizza and beer. We embarrassed the groom by pushing him to the front while my niece continued opening gifts. :) The bride was thrilled with not only the gifts received, but the shower of love shown with the party details.
Given the bridal season is upon us, I've shared these details in the hopes of helping anyone who may be planning their own Breakfast at Tiffany's themed party, whether it's a bridal shower, tea party or other gal pal fete. The decor certainly doesn't need to break the bank, nor does the venue or catering. You just need to be willing to put some planning and effort into the event.
Have you planned an event that you felt was successful in how you carried it out? Do tell!

Rita C. at Panoply
Behind the scenes, full disclosure style: I was in the throes of week 3 of renovations at my house when this bridal shower was to occur, kitchen updates being one of the projects. While having the event at an outside venue was ideal, it meant additional organization and moving things, something I seem to be doing plenty of lately. Luckily, the backsplash and grouting had been completed just 2 days prior to my food prep for the event. Daughter #1 was the primary event planner, but we appeared to look more like Sanford & Son with the things we hauled to the venue.
Before, During and After Party Planning
Additionally, daughter #2 is also in the wedding party and was planning to be part of the decorating and food committee. She, however, ended up sick after the bachelorette party the weekend prior, and was hospitalized 4 days the week of the shower (better now, thank goodness!). Let's just say carrying off an event such as this has its trade-offs in money you spend for someone else to handle details vs time and labor you invest in yourself. I sure felt my age the day after!

Rita C. at Panoply

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Traveling Totes Adventures - Winter Hibernation, and a Giveaway!

Yawwwn. Wait...what? It's time for installment  #10 of the Traveling Tote tribe? Oh dear, it seems I've been hibernating since our last adventure. It's time to wake up! While I'm getting the sand out of my eyes, you can read the background on this series of related posts and all about the makings of the Traveling Totes Tribe here
Let's see....after Christmas, Miss Luna C, Miss Charley C and I have been rather quiet. You see, I've been deep in the throes of not one, but two, home improvement projects, which I discussed in prior posts (here and here). Miss Luna C has been busy lugging around various samples of wood, rock, metal and paper...lots of paper. Miss Charley C and I did attend an auction on New Year's Eve, so we didn't have a chance to get to Times Square for the ball drop that night.
Where We Didn't Go #1: Times Square for NYE
Come January, the totes and I took full advantage of what we all claim to be the 'quiet' month. Listening to a lot of Pandora music and reading the backlog of magazines which piled up during the holiday, we were too cozy to want to get caught up in the DC hoopla for the inauguration. However, Miss Luna C kept claiming she should have been there. Never mind.
Where We Didn't Go #2: Washington, DC for the Inauguration
Less than a week after all that, we watched in amazement as the Dow Jones went over 20,000 points for the first time....ever. Neither Miss Luna C nor Miss Charley C can remember when it tipped the milestone of 10,000 in March, 1999, but I sure do. I was entrenched in Corporate America at the time.
Where We Didn't Go #3: Wall Street for the Dow Jones Record-Breaking Event
Early February had us all excited to party in style, the way Americans do best....with the Super Bowl extravaganza. But, as with most Americans, we took the lazy route...and watched it from our favorite chair. How else would we have seen Gaga??
Where We Didn't Go #4: Houston, TX for The Super Bowl
Or the great commercials like the one below?
Or this one?
The weeks immediately following the Super Bowl had me swimming in reorganization, just trying to stay one step ahead of my construction crew starting on my kitchen updates and master bath gut job. Nothing pretty about the collage photo that follows, and Miss Luna C and /or Miss Charley C could be buried somewhere among all those messes, but let's hope not. Those were among the piles of things gotten rid of in the last few weeks!
We took a break to celebrate love, but perhaps we were looking in all the wrong places - like Lowe's, Home Depot, Ferguson's - Miss Luna C and Miss Charley C were nowhere nearby. At least we were still smiling with each other at this point. The workers arrived the Monday following.
Just like so many other tote-traveling missed opportunities, Mardi Gras Fat Tuesday came and went yesterday. The only parade we attended was the commode parade, and it was right in front of our house, not in New Orleans. It stunk.
Commode Parade
So, on behalf of Miss Luna C and Miss Charley C, all I've got to say is:
Laissez les bon temps roulez!
Where We Didn't Go  #5: NOLA, for Mardi Gras, or anyplace else that was fun
Thank you for coming along on this installment of the Traveling Totes and all the places we didn't go. I sure hope we get out a little more by our next adventure recap, coming up June 1, 2017.

The Traveling Tribe is offering another giveaway. Sarah @ Hyacinths for the Soul is our sponsor this time. One lucky reader who leaves a comment on Sarah's March 1 post will have their name thrown into the hat for an opportunity to win the following:
UPDATE:  Congratulations to Bonnie of the blog Living with Thanksgiving. She was our winner of the March giveaway, as announced on Sarah's blog post here.

Where have all the other Traveling Tote tribe members been of late? Surely, they've been to some fun places. Check them out at the links conveniently located below. We welcome Katie from Preppy Empty Nester to the crew this time! 

Catch Miss Luna C's and Miss Charley C's earlier adventures by clicking on Traveling Totes under the drop-down menu bar 'Travel' header (top of blog). Until next time (June 1, 2017) - sea ya!

Rita C. at Panoply