Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Top Tips as We Gather Together

Are you starting to feel a little overwhelmed with planning and executing holiday entertaining? Whether you're entertaining a few or a few dozen guests, the key to having a successful go of it and a good time is to be prepared. Today, I'm sharing my "Top Tips as We Gather Together", practical tips for entertaining at home, especially through the holidays. As one of several bloggers joining our host, Amber, from Follow the Yellow Brick Home, you're in for a slew (that's a lot!) of tips and ideas, whether it's decor, crafts, recipes, traditions or reflections, for Thanksgiving and even holidays beyond. If you've just come from Carole's blog, Bluesky at Home, you know exactly what I'm talking about! 
All of these tips I'm sharing consistently made my life a whole lot easier as I geared up for hosting big events in my home (guests up to 40). I'm simultaneously sharing several of my favorite past fall tablescapes (with original links back as the caption to each photo). While I'm reaching into my archives, the content remains relevant now. My hope is that one or more ideas may inspire you, whether it's an organizational tip or table styling idea, so you can host with the best of them, and have fun too! Sharpen your pencils, readers, class is about to begin!

1. Coat, please. If it's coat-donning season, why not empty your foyer coat closet and use it for guests?  Hangers are inexpensive to buy (or free), and leaving your own coats on a bed or portable, folding clothes rack allows you to let guests feel welcome (and useful, hanging their own coats) right at the door.
Richly Rustic, Romantic Autumn Tablescape
2. Rely on the numbers. Ask guests to RSVP by mail (if formal), email, text or phone call by a set date. Plan groceries accordingly, and a seat for each person with a table (snack tray or drink table, if necessary) and coasters. Set the tables you have, and then make utensils readily available at the buffet line for those who will take seats elsewhere.
Pale Palette Fall Tablescape
3. Plan an organization chart for the meal or buffet. Pull out all serving dishes in advance (at least a couple days in advance), making sure everything will fit, whether on your table or on a buffet service. Also important to consider is where electricity will be necessary for crockpots, roasting pans, coffee makers, etc. It's important to have a good flow when serving a large number of people. Using paper teepees to label items being served on a buffet is helpful.
Pheasant Merriment Tablescape
4. Do as much of the food preparation in advance as possible. Have as much food cooked, baked and/or in serving dishes in advance as is possible. I even have a sister-in-law who prepares her turkey one day in advance! That way, your last couple of hours prior to guests arriving is just in heating things up and setting things out. If family members help with some of the dishes, try to have them deliver those earlier in the day, where they slide into the fridge or coolers until the evening heating and serving.
Fall Tablescape: Cornucopia, Canyon, Currier, Color!
5. Don't forget to plan space for the drink station, appetizers, and dessert bar. It is so much easier to let guests serve themselves drinks, apps, and desserts, if not the meal itself (buffet style). Plan a bar set with glasses, ice, mixers, etc., and have a cooler (indoors during inclement weather, or outdoors with better weather). Keep ice in the cooler and a towel at the ready for drying up drips, and on a tile floor in case of mishaps. This makes mixing and mingling much easier, while you handle last minute prep tasks.
England Crown Ducal 'Atlanta' Autumn Tablescape
6. Is that my drink? If you're using real glasses, try using wine charms, ribbons, or some other type of identifier for each person's glass to minimize confusion and keep drinks organized. If using cans or bottles, consider koozies that guests can write their names on and take with them. This would make a great take away for guests!
Impromptu Merriment Table - Fall Flourishes
7. Plan for cleanup. No one likes the overwhelming task of cleaning up after an event, so plan for it. For food trash, consider two cans in the kitchen, one for compacting, the other for food waste that doesn't go in the disposal. If using cloth napkins, keep a basket in the laundry room where they can be dropped and laundered later. Invest in a few plastic bus tubs (utility totes) where dirty dishes, utensils and glasses can be rinsed, separated, and stacked until guests leave, or even until the next day.
Forest Walk Thanksgiving Tablescape
8. No butts about it! If there are smokers in the group, have a designated smoking area outside at the ready, with either ashtrays or a sand-filled pot for the butts.
Feline Fondness for Fall Tablescape
9. Privacy, please....Most people don't wish to use the same towel as others before them (gross!). Do everyone a favor and leave the towels as pretty decor. Buy a supply of disposable, fingertip towels as an option for guests to use once and toss. Provide your guests with the option of a simple can of your choice of air freshening spray in a decorative basket so they can be comfortable taking care of their business.
Fowl and Feather Fall Tablescape
10. If you provide take away 'thank yous' for guests, prepare and have them ready and waiting near the front door as guests leave. If your event is casual enough and you offer leftovers, make sure you save your reusable plastic containers leading up to the event, or purchase an assortment inexpensively beforehand. Chinese takeout cardboard containers are also a nice alternative.
Ironstone, Transferware Fall Tablescape: "Meat and Potatoes" China
Oh, and one last thing: plan time for holiday fun! All work and no play makes for stressful holidays. Make sure you make time for yourself. Have fun, turn on some music, get out and enjoy the sights and sounds of the season, and relax with friends and family! Or, take a nap!

Feel free to pin from this post so you can refer back to it for organizing your own events or for table ideas. I invite you to leave your comments here on my blog, and feel free to add your own tips for entertaining at home in your comment.

Next, Shannon at Belle Bleu Interiors follows me, and her style is beautiful, see for yourself! Then, check out all the other links below for all the participating bloggers' ideas!
You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!
Click here to enter

Monday, November 4, 2019

Forest Walk Thanksgiving Tablescape

Hello, everyone! Welcome to my blog, Panoply. Today I am setting a forest walk table with Thanksgiving in mind, but it could just as easily be a 'Friends'giving or any other autumn table gathering.
I am one of several stylists bringing you what hopes to be a week full of inspiration for your autumn holiday table gatherings, organized by Chloe Crabtree of Celebrate and Decorate. A complete list of those participating is near the end of this post, and I will update the list daily for your convenience. I've also included a source list so you can see how I've put together various elements to create this table - some vintage, some new, some individually handcrafted, some mass-produced.
As an antiques dealer, I most always will include vintage items to put a unique spin on my tables. On this table, it's the ceramic pitcher of hunting game. This was handmade by the seller's mother in a ceramics class from the early 1970s. The mold includes a hound handle, with pheasants and rabbits adorning the exterior in a high relief design. You can see more of the type finds I source for my home and resale in this latest post, here.
The pheasant placemats seem to have been quite popular over the past few years. I sourced these last year, but find them individually versatile as bases for small table vignettes. The tablecloth is a Ralph Lauren classic paisley in fall hues, which has remained on my table through most of this season with just a few small fabric pumpkins as a vignette.
The salad plates are new this year, but a pattern I loved when Juliska first introduced it in 2015 (Forest Walk). There is quite the backstory on how these plates were acquired, which I'll save for a future Miscellaneous Musings, a topic of random thoughts shared here on my blog (click link for a sampling).
I decided to use a petite pumpkin patch as guest favors in this tablescape. Each pumpkin is handcrafted from vintage needlepoints of yesteryear. They blend with the sage greens found in both the tablecloth and the eucalyptus garland. Natural deer sheds and pine cones were added to the garland, which is draped in an S-curve on the table, for a richer, fuller look.
Mixed metals mingle comfortably on the table: vintage brass candlesticks, copper peat pots holding the napkins, copper mule mugs for soup, and brushed gold flatware. Napkins are folded in a simple turkey feather fold, held with faux horn rings. The orange glasses are actually acrylic. The pumpkin tureen is at the ready for serving a warm, seasonal soup.
Different angles of the sun coming through our windows has been a continual study for me since moving into our loft in spring 2019. I particularly favored the angle of light below, as it cast a glow on the Asian byobu screen on the wall, the corner vitrine, and the table itself. 
Thanksgiving is a reflective season of year in many aspects: in nature, in relationships, and in one's individual life. I hope your Thanksgiving is one reflecting joy throughout your various seasons.
Source List
(NOTE: I am a non-affiliate blogger, which means I do not allow sponsored advertising or posts, nor do I receive revenue through my blog. Links provided are simply ones I've purchased from.)
Pheasant Feather Placemats, Orange acrylic 'glasses', Horn Napkin Rings  - Pier 1
Hammered Copper Mugs - local overstock auction house
Dinner Plates - Pfaltzgraff Filigree
Salad Plates - Juliska Forest Walk (eBay)
Cream Pumpkin Tureen, Ladle - BHG for WalMart
Eucalyptus garland, Gold Flatware - Target
Paisley Tablecloth - Ralph Lauren Laveen (eBay)
Upcycled Needlepoint Pumpkin Favors - sm Wollman Designs
Felted Wool Pumpkins, Acorns - Etsy StoneHouseCrafts
Ceramic Pitcher, Brass Candle Lanterns, Napkins, Deer Sheds, Copper Peat Pots - Vintage Finds
Pine Cones - Nature
If you have some leisure time this week, I can assure you you'll find some inspiring ideas with all the stylists' tables linked below. Thank you for your time spent here today, and I hope you'll return again soon. Your comments are always welcome, and I try to respond to each one, either by email or here on the blog (if you are a no-reply commenter).






Friday, November 1, 2019

Panoply New, Vintage Finds

Dear readers, happy November! In case you hadn't noticed, this girl has been on shopping hiatus for most of 2019. In fact, I've pretty much been on a blogging hiatus for most of 2019. Instead, I was on a mission of purging. In case you missed all that, you can view these posts, here and hereHowever.....there's a part of me that was longing to get back to doing what I love doing, and that's shopping, both new and vintage! Today I'm sharing most of my new and vintage finds gathered since the downsize.

With entering our new phase of living smaller, I'm settling into a better than ever sense of the things I enjoy and prefer living with. Whether it's a matter of trying to remain disciplined about 'stuff' (clutter) or just refining my tastes, the truth is I still love sourcing vintage or antique (and sometimes new) things. It's a conflicting scenario, but I try to keep a healthy balance in managing it all, both for our home and for the antique mall booth spaces. Bring something in, let something else go.

New Finds
This time of year is particularly conflicting, when everything from pumpkins, turkeys and Christmas trees can be found all over social media, retail and email solicitations. It's not always easy striking the balance! I've purchased very few New Finds for home, but those you see pictured below are a few: a pumpkin pillow cover (I purged duplicative pillow forms), rug mat inserts for fall and winter, and a new, tabletop Christmas tree. I felt compelled to pull the tree from the box last week, simply to see if the lights all worked. Why? Because I had gotten an email for a sale, and wanted to make sure I could get another one if this one was damaged. 
I went to a craft fair recently and purchased a few items, all handmade from woods native to West Virginia. As shown in the photo below (clockwise, L to R): a wine/glass caddy of maple & walnut; a cutting board of walnut, maple and cherry, lasered with "Country Roads" lyrics in the shape of our state; a wood bowl designed and hand-turned of maple and cherry woods; two wooden toy tops cut from the centers of the bowl designs like the one I purchased (genius use of scraps, right?); some really nice faux magnolia. Since I no longer have a go-to magnolia that I can go outside and cut branches from, I wanted some quality branches to be able to have for home decor. These fill the bill!
Speaking of craft, West Virginia has been home to glassmakers for over 200 years, and Blenko, a family run business, for over 120 years. In October 2018, Blenko landed a new design team in Emma Walters and Andrew Shaffer, breathing new life into Blenko's offerings. I attended a private opening wherein they were showing new designs and prototypes. The piece you see me holding below was made by Emma and Andrew. It is titled, "Arches", inspired by a trip they made to Arches National Park in Utah.
The piece (it's the second from right in the display image from their show), made in an ombre of cobalt blue and one of their latest colors - pawpaw - immediately struck a chord with me. Mr. P. & I had just returned from a fall trip in Utah the day before. This piece is sure to now become part of our story in our home.
Tunnel Arch in Arches National Park, Utah
Vintage Finds
My Panoply sisters and I have kept our booths running smoothly all year in spite of (or maybe because of ) my purge and other life events with each of us, but we all wanted to keep shopping! It wasn't until September that we had our spree, so I'm capturing my Vintage Finds from that and a few other estate sales in this post too.

My love of Art Deco continues, both at home and in our vintage offerings. Below, a figural lamp and reference book on Maxfield Parrish (both keepers, for now, and the lamp is pictured above with the pumpkin pillow cover).
Seasonal items already placed in the booths (and some already gone): cast iron squirrel nutcracker; sitting on plaid placemats; a turkey carving board (with helpful tips!); a carrying tray with needlepoint duck under glass; a ceramic turkey platter.
Metals: a miner's lamp; brass squirrel nutcracker (next to my new wooden bowl mentioned earlier); a turtle magnifier; various O Haus apothecary weights; set of brass eagle hooks.
An architectural salvage piece of wood, framing a cherub and floral scrolled cast iron design.
The little winter scene painting below, only 4" x 4", is hand painted on vellum, another keeper. The hand carved nativity is already in the booth space.
Glass: teardrop cake pedestal (in the booth, styled with Christmas items); a small footed floral bowl with opaque and vaseline glass; two small blue bottles.
Books!  Le Louvre Tomes I and II, fifty color plates each of masterpieces from the Paris museum, printed in France circa 1940s, when the private seller's aunt visited and purchased them; [Winston] Churchill's "My African Journey"; "The Shorter Poems of Robert Browning"; "Ellis Island" and "The Old West"; The Official Tartan Map (Scotland) and Robert Bain's "The Clans and Tartans of Scotland".
The cutest resin Airedale puppy; set of 9 vintage 1930s trade skills textbooks and Lufkin folding ruler; a nicely weighted copper colander; vintage 1970s Betty Crocker and Mountain Measures cookbooks; Hanson kitchen scale; Pyrex 2C glass measure.
Looking ahead toward spring already: a vintage Johnson Brothers Heritage plate with rabbit transfer; "Violets to Greet You" antique book of poetry; sheep mug; "Scottish Teatime Recipes", Toby cup and saucer; pewter and glass honeypot.
Two very sweet (6" x 6") framed rabbits, reproductions of Old World paintings.
A nice variety of English and US horse tack, brass fobs. I am particularly fond of the two lovebirds (From R, 2nd row, top) and the entire third row.
I still have collections in boxes stacked in one closet in the condo, and also in my storage unit that I haven't touched since moving in April. Even with sourcing additional things, I find there are still plenty of things I'd feel comfortable purging, so I've become a little more selective in buying.  I'll be the first to admit, though, that being more selective in buying (consumption) is a change in mindset, a good practice in self-discipline. I rather like it though, and it's a blessing knowing it's a choice rather than a necessity.

So, has downsizing, aging or Marie Kondo's "Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up" impacted your shopping habits in 2019?

As always, I appreciate your readership, and invite your comments!

(A special thanks to Barb at French Ethereal's Share Your Style # 232 for featuring this post!)
Rita C. at Panoply