For 10 years, Blimpy Girl and the Wine Guy have hosted a formal New Year’s eve dinner party. The table setting is always festive and table decorations change from year to year. The 2011 finale dinner included a colorful array of place mats and napkins. Sprigs of fresh pine and ribbon dressed each dinner plate.
I love the colorful place mats and napkins. It was a perfect fit when paired with the greenery and ribbon. The main course was New York strip steaks and cod stuffed with garlic spinach. A lemon mint orzo complemented the main course.
My last post was a recipe for home made Gyoza shared by my Japanese sister-in-law, Mariko. To complement this dish, I made a bamboo shoot centerpiece.
Elegant, but simple. It will complement any sushi or gyoza appetizer table.
The bamboo shoot was purchased at Ikea. They were selling each shoot for $2.95. For me, one stalk really made a statement. I already had the vase and stones from other arrangements.
I added 3/4 cups water to the vase. I will drain water and swap out for fresh water every two weeks. This is an awesome arrangement (and affordable) when you do a Japanese themed dinner party.
Everyone is trying to pinch pennies (or I should say dollars) this holiday season. There is something to be said for DIY decorating, gift wraps and table settings. Yesterday our family celebrated my Mom’s 81st birthday. Because her birthday is close to Christmas, I wanted a festive table setting without spending a great deal of time (or money) on it.
I grabbed one of my shorter flower vases and filled with clear glass pebbles. I did some snip-snip of pine branches in our yard, as a last minute thought I clipped a few branches from a Japanese Maple. The vase void was filled with miscellaneous holiday ornaments. A splash of water and I had a pretty awesome looking centerpiece in less than 10 minutes. It should last a week or so and when the pine needles start to drop, they will be discarded and freshly cut pine branches will replace them.
The island table top is decorated with a strip of brown Kraft paper and random cuts of holiday gift wrap. I tied the silverware and paper dinner napkin with festive ribbon. As you will see below, my youngest grandson put the ribbon to good use as a Ninja dinner warrior.
Merry Christmas place cards were printed on card stock using MS Publisher. A candy cane dressed the drink ware which the grand kids loved. The menu included spaghetti with meatballs, garden salad and garlic bread. My Mom’s birthday cake was an apple crisp that was yummy delicious.
Good use was made of the ribbon that tied the silverware.
Well, the bottle cutter has come in handy. I found a place online to order these wine bottle candle holders. They aren’t inexpensive (about $12 each w/shipping), but for me, they were a perfect fit for some of the holiday gifts I have in mind.
These bottles are currently sitting on my kitchen island. In the near future, I will be placing them on a holiday platter surrounded with greenery to make a nice table arrangement. Note of caution: The bottles get hot when burning the tea light candles. Use care when placing greenery, ribbon or other holiday ornaments near the bottles.
When the lights are dimmed and the tea lights are lit, these bottles look awesome. Even with the cost of the bottle candle holders, you’ve got a gift for $12.50 once you’ve purchased the bottle cutter. You can find tea lights inexpensively at dollar stores, Wal-Mart and Ikea. These make a great housewarming or holiday hostess gift.
Consider wrapping silver wire around the bottle neck with beads or other small holiday ornaments. You can swap out the wire wrap for various seasons. How fun to do a Valentine centerpiece in February using heart beads.
A staple item for setting a table is a pedestal bowl. You may not use it every time you entertain, but you will certainly get your money’s worth over time. My recent weekend shopping trip to Ikea in Canton, Michigan yielded some great finds. I purchased a giant container of silver ornaments for just $12. If easily filled two of my pedestal bowls.
If you have pine trees in your yard, use them. Snip branches and insert into your pedestal bulb arrangement. In the above arrangement, I also used a few sprigs of silver branches purchased at Michaels. Honestly, you can cut you own branches and spray with silver paint and dust with glitter. I would have done that but time was not on my side.
Make your holiday table festive by using what you have around the house. Ornaments are inexpensive and a little spray paint can spruce up any container. Shop your local Goodwill or Salvation Army for repurposed vessels to display your arrangements.
I am always looking for creative ways to repurpose items. At my house, we have wine corks coming out the wazoooo. Literally! My honey man refuses to throw away corks because he knows most wineries are eventually going to screw caps.
This Thanksgiving, I am using some of those kazillion wine corks to make place cards at the table. The place cards read, “I am Thankful For…”. Each person must write something for which they are thankful before partaking of the meal. It should prove fun and, if nothing more, its’s a great way to start conversation between dinner guests.
So… what are you thankful for this Thanksgiving season? I’m thankful to have work that allows me some personal freedom, a healthy family, my faith and a hubby who hangs with me through good and bad times.
Using a hand held hack saw make a lengthwise cut into the cork. Use a small amount of dental wax to keep the cork upright once the place card is inserted. You won’t need much. If you can find clear wax that is even better. Grab “I Am Thankful For” Printable Place Card Template
Here’s a great way to repurpose empty wine bottles for yourself or for gifting. Using a bottle cutter, cut the bottle base on two bottles. You’ll want the bottles to have varying heights so keep that in mind when making your cuts.
Spray the bottles with white primer spray paint. I picked mine up at Home Depot. You’ll also need spray adhesive, Epsom salt, and rubber bands. I didn’t purchase any at the time, but it is a good idea to spray the finished bottles with a clear sealant to help seal the paint and the salts.
I’ve posted a page here that explains how to make this arrangement along with additional pictures. If you keep the bottles white, you can change the arrangement for most any season.
Hand print or use a computer program to print the guest names.
It’s holiday time and Thanksgiving and Christmas will be here in a heartbeat. I do plenty of entertaining during the holidays and am always looking for new ideas to dress my table for dinner guests.
This is such a simple way to use place cards for table seating. I have included a PDF file for you to download these butterfly place cards. Just be sure to cut inside the black lines. I used a photo editing program to print the names on each placecard. You can also hand write the names. A gold or silver marker will lend itself to a holiday theme. Or, just use a black Sharpie marker. Hope you have better handwriting than mine.
I used standard 20 lb. paper but card stock can also be used. Consider using other shapes such as a snowman, star or flower. Keep the design simple. There is plenty of free line drawing artwork online that will work well for printing table place cards.
Part of the whole dining experience is visual. It’s about taste, but it’s also about how the eye perceives the presentation of the food. I am always scouting out inexpensive ways to make the food look over the top.
This above flower vase from CB2.com was a perfect fit for me. I have used these mini vases repeatedly not only for a table setting but also for arrangements on kitchen countertops and bathroom vanities.
Pictured below are a couple of other favorites from CB2.com. All are very affordable (under $10) and can be used over and over again when entertaining. During the Thanksgiving and Christmas seasons, consider filling with holly sprigs or snippets of colorful mum flowers.
Perfect size to place at each place setting.
This vase hangs, but can easily sit on a table.
Just finished the Osage Orange Fall Centerpiece. Wowie!! It wasn’t as easy as I thought. Those dog-gone oranges are pretty hefty in weight and getting them to remain upright in the arrangement took some engineering skills. And, let’s not fool anyone, I’m not an engineer. I might be creative but, I’m absolutely certain there was a better way to make this whole arrangement work.
Sadly, the photo shown was taken late tonight. I’ll post a better picture with good lighting tomorrow. I haven’t really calculated pricing, but I’m fairly certain this arrangement was quite pricey for most individuals. The dish alone was $9 and even at 50% off the silk flower, I think I’m around $35. All in all, not too bad since ordering this from a floral store would be double that cost and I had the enjoyment of making it myself.
I used wooden skewers to secure and seat the Osage Oranges. Take note: DO NOT stab yourself in the palm of the hand while trying to drive the skewer into the orange. NOT GOOD!
I will be curious to see how long the Osage Oranges will last in the arrangement. Hoping it makes it through the Thanksgiving holiday. What shocked me the most in my research of the Osage Orange was these are selling for $2 each on several web sites. Heck, I need to start selling Osage Oranges. And to think I’ve been letting strangers pick them up for free… UMMmmm… gonna have to rethink that!