“Spring has returned. The earth is like a child that knows poems.” Rainer Maria Rilke
The garden is slowly awakening after its long winter’s sleep. Everywhere shoots of new life are bursting out of the ground, reaching for the sky. I love everything about this time of year. One of my favorite color palettes is tonal greens and whites, symbols of new life and the colors of spring for me. The subtle variations in the greens and whites are brought out by texture. And there is no better place than in nature to appreciate greens especially.
“No bird soars too high if he soars with his own wings.” William Blake
Readers have requested more table settings and I am happy to oblige! The inspiration for this tablescape was a gorgeous potted orchid I had in a sweet vase with a bluebird and a French inscription that I love. Continue reading
Got cranberries? I had more cranberries than we could eat so they became the inspiration for this easy holiday table setting. Because cranberries float, they look gorgeous in glass vessels on a table. Choose clear glass vessels of different heights for interest. I featured a taller footed compote for the center of the table which could hold several floating candles and 4 smaller glass votive holders( Dollar store)to flank it. I filled them half way with fresh cranberries, added water to the rim and floated round candles in each. The table was left bare with a rich burgundy center runner embellished with gold embroidery. On this I scattered Christmas ornaments in reds and gold with some fragrant holiday greenery. Continue reading
One of the things I am most grateful for in my life is my garden club and the creative friends I have made in this group. Every year we get together to create a fresh Thanksgiving floral centerpiece. One of our members, the talented designer Mari Dolby, certified in flower arranging from the venerable Longwood Gardens, led us in a class to create a magnificent arrangement just in time for the busy entertaining season. I learned so much: from how to dangle apples from a floral arrangement( easy trick!) to wiring feathers for interest(why not!) and incorporating vine balls for organic texture. It was an inspiring class. The principles of flower arranging shared in the slide show below are useful for any seasonal centerpiece and I hope will help you in your future flower arranging.
The completed arrangement
With the leftover scraps and some foraged seed heads, this sweet little arrangement was made in a Dollar Store votive “vase” for the powder room.
“A rock in the water isn’t afraid of rain.”
My friends Ann and Michael recently traveled to Africa for the trip of a lifetime. They described vast open spaces of sheer raw beauty that moved them. Kind gentle people who touched their souls. They spoke of the many wonders of the animal kingdom where they were able to evesdrop on animals in their natural habitats intimately, on safari. A life-changing trip. Then of course, they raved about the food. Slow cooked foods enhanced by exotic and intriguing spice mixtures seducing their palates. Upon their return, they longed to recreate these foods at home. Continue reading
Thanksgiving for me is all about bringing people whom I love together. Setting a beautiful table sets the mood of the gathering and makes guests feel welcomed. But with all the cooking going on, the Thanksgiving table is often overlooked. This tablescape is totally make ahead, a bonus for all of us entertaining this busy holiday season. With its gold and red color scheme, it can transition easily into Christmas. It’s got warmth, bounty, glitter and shine! The inspiration starting point was a pair of golden papier mâché pheasants.
Wine crates are a versatile and fun vessel to create a centerpiece in. Free for the asking at your local liquor store and in various sizes, they present endless design possibilities. Perfect on a buffet table, they stand out due to the size and height of arrangements in them. For this Thanksgiving centerpiece, I painted a wine crate with chalkboard paint and inscribed it with messages suitable for the holiday (instructions here). A fun twist on my design would be to greet arriving guests with a festive drink in one hand and a piece of chalk in the other and invite them to inscribe their own words of thanks on the painted crate! Continue reading
As a lover of flowers and a seasoned traveller, I have admired my fair share of stunning floral arrangements. But it was in a restaurant a few miles from home, that a floral display stopped me dead in my tracks. I was on my way to the powder room when I paused to admire a flower arrangement created on a cake platter that looked, well, like a cake!
To celebrate the Lunar New Year I made Asian-inspired noodle bowls filled with veggies, piping hot broth and tasty mini ginger-garlic meatballs. Reminiscent of the Hot Pot, this meal incorporates several symbolic ingredients for the New Year: long noodles for a long life; ginger and scallions for prosperity and unity; mushrooms for good fortune; meatballs for reunion/unity; cabbage and carrots for prosperity and luck; cashews for gold/money; onions for cleverness. Whoa, let’s hope this soup delivers all it promises! For more good omens in the New Year serve fruit for dessert arranged on a round platter: apples symbolize peace and wisdom, oranges and pineapple, wealth, good fortune and gold, dried apricots, gold and wealth. The round platter symbolizes togetherness. Fresh fruit is the symbol of new life, new beginnings. (www.nationsonline.org)
Planning ahead lets this meal come together quickly with a simple assembly of the components. It can be adapted for a crowd. Essentially you will need a rich broth, meatballs and veggies. Everyone tops their soup with add-ins of their choosing. At the end of the post I will share ideas for setting an Asian-inspired table.
“It is at the edge of a petal that love waits.”
William Carlos William
Whether you celebrate Valentines’ Day or not, this intimate table setting could also serve as inspiration for a special anniversary dinner, which in my case, is one and the same.