Monthly Archives: February 2015

How To Set a Proper Table

Since this blog is all about tablescapes, I thought that we would take a step back and start with the basics, “How To Set a Proper Table”. 

It is often said that we eat with our eyes and I don’t think that just starts with the food. I think the table setting sets the mood for the meal as well.

I realize that life is so busy these days and many people eat on the go or in front of the TV when you get home after a long day; but when you have the time, it’s great to slow down and share a meal with the people you care about.

Below are some of the “old school” rules for setting a proper table.

place-setting-informal- INFORMAL

The informal setting is pretty basic and I am sure this is how many of you already set your table for a lot of occasions.

For an informal setting or lunch, I use placemats at every place setting, or nothing at all (Tablecloths are optional). If you don’t use a placemat, make sure the plate is set two inches from the edge of the table and it is placed so that it centers the chair.

The forks go on the left and the spoon and knives are on the right of the plate.The spoon will be on the outside and the knife on the inside with the blade facing the plate. Just in case you forget this order, just take the advice of my son when he was very young setting the table….I kept asking him if remembered where everything went and he turned around and said, “Yes, I remember, it’s alphabetical left to right”. I have to admit that this was something I never thought of myself and I was amazed that he did at such a young age.

If you are serving a salad or soup then a salad fork is placed on the outside of the dinner fork further to the left. The same principal applies for a soup spoon, on the outside of the dinner spoon further to the right. Teaspoons to the right of the dinner knife.

Flatware is set up by course, so use the flatware from the “outside to the inside” left and right and work towards the plate as the meal progresses. The flatware should align with the bottom rim of the dinner plate.

Dessert forks and spoons are brought out when you serve dessert.

The napkin is placed under the forks, or in the middle of the place setting.

Place salt and pepper shakers are usually placed between two place settings. If someone asks you to pass the salt, pass the pepper as well. The pair should always travel together.  (Little extra info – since most people use salt than pepper (and most people are right handed), the salt shaker is placed to the right of the pepper shaker, in a position closer to the right hand).

Water glasses are always above the knife and to the right of the dinner plate and the wine glass is to it’s right.

Pretty easy and basic enough and now we move on.

placesetting- formal with champagne - FORMAL

 Then we have the formal table setting where the informal setting rules still apply but now we have more glassware, plates and flatware to deal with. This setting is usually used for holidays and special occasion like a wedding. 

Food is served from the left

Dishes are removed from the right.

For a formal setting I would definitely use a cloth tablecloth, cloth napkins and a charger plate at every place setting. A charger, or presentation plate (also called service plate),  is purely a decorative over-sized plate (usually 13 inches) used to add color, texture or pattern to the table. I use chargers all the time because I like the look it adds to the table. It makes your dinnerware really stand out. Charger plates range in price depending on the material it is made of. I have a mix of inexpensive and expensive chargers (such as mirror or glass) and alternate them depending on the holiday.

Food is never served directly on a charger, but a first course soup bowl or salad plate can be set on a charger. The charger plates should be cleared from the table along with any soup bowl or salad plate before serving the main course.

(I have to admit that there are certain holidays that I keep the charger plates out during the entire meal because I just love how it brightens up the table. Yes, I know, I broke a rule but I had to tell you the truth).

We also introduce the bread and butter plate and butter spreader with a formal place setting. The bread plate sits above the dinner plate to the left and the spreader is placed diagonally over the plate. 

Place napkins to the left of the forks if there’s room on the table; otherwise, you can place them under the forks, or position them on the charger.

Dessert forks and spoons are usually placed on the table before the meal, directly above the place setting, positioned horizontally. Make sure that the fork tine’s are set facing Right and the spoon’s bowl is facing Left, and the fork is closer to the place setting than the spoon. 

Depending on how many different wines are being served, wine glasses should be placed above the knives to the right of the water glass, and then follow in the order for which they will be used, working from left to right.

For glassware follow this rule:

Water – Champagne – White Wine- Red Wine – Dessert Wine

When dessert is served, all wineglasses (except dessert-wine glasses), bread plates, and salt and pepper shakers should be cleared from the table. Dessert flatware can either be set above the dinner plate or charger at the initial table setting as mentioned above, or it can be carried in on a tray at dessert time, along with coffee cups and saucers. Water glasses remain on the table for the duration of the meal. 

 But there is one thing that still bothers me. I am so limited with my knowledge of the glassware rules, other than the basic rule that the water glasses are always above the knife and to the right of the dinner plate followed by the wines glasses to the right of the water glass.

Glassware becomes very confusing when you start to serve multiple wines and you don’t know what glasses are for what beverage. I did a little research on and this is what I discovered…

Which glasses go with what drinks…   


Thank you

Thank-you for blog

Wow, what a busy few days for holidays and tablescapes. Within 5 days we had 4 holiday tablescapes from Valentine’s Day to Chinese New Year. I hope you enjoyed them.

I just wanted to take this time and thank everyone for their kind words, wonderful comments, best wishes and personal emails wishing me “good luck” with the blog.  And thank you to all of you who signed up to follow me either on the website via email or on Facebook. 

It means the world to me.

I am having a great deal of fun writing this blog and posting my pictures and I am thrilled that I can share my hobby with so many. If you like my blog,  please invite your friends and family to follow as well.

I hope the ideas and photos are helpful and you’ll stick around to see my other upcoming tablescapes. All comments are welcome and I would love to see photos of your tablescapes.

Until my next post, stay well and make every day a celebration!


Chinese New Year

Since I wanted you to have this tablescape photo as early as possible, Bob and I decided to celebrate one day sooner on February 18th

February 19, 2015

Golden-New-Year-Goat-2015- for blog-date 2

I am fascinated by other cultures and traditions and I must admit I don’t know a lot about Chinese New Year. I know it is the longest and most important celebration on the Chinese calendar and there are many, many traditions passed down to families for centuries. I read that family members travel any distance to be reunited with their families for this celebration.

Even though there are no Chinese relatives in my lineage, I still like to participate in some of the customs (mostly edible) and secretly hope that they will bring good luck to my family as well.

My biggest attraction to different cultures are their customary foods served at holidays. If the food intrigues me, I try to duplicate it the best I can. This is one meal I don’t even attempt to cook anything for and I rely on my favorite Chinese restaurant for that.

I know that red and gold are dominant colors for Chinese New Year and RED symbolizes “Vitality of Life and Happiness” and GOLD represents “Wealth and Prosperity”. Sounded good to me, so for this tablescape, the red tablecloth was front and center and the gold chargers plates were still out from Mardi Gras.

(click photos to enlarge)

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2015-02-18 18.20.10- BUFFET

Some of the lucky plants suggested for a holiday centerpiece for this occasion are cherry blossoms or bamboo.  I have bamboo and it is a lucky plant because I have a knack for killing every plant or flower that enters my home and this bamboo is the only plant that has survived – so far (8 months and counting).

2015-02-18 20.46.15 - bamboo plant

There are other traditions included in Chinese New Year, such as shooting off firecrackers, handing out red “lucky” envelopes with money to the children and the elderly, and a dragon dance. I am skipping the envelopes because there are no children or elderly living here. I am skipping the firecrackers to keep the police happy and I will also skip the dragon dance on the front lawn because I like the neighbors. Besides, there is always that one neighbor that would call the police. And I don’t know if I have enough luck to talk myself out of that complaint.

So let’s start the tablescape!

As I mentioned, the tablecloth and chargers are ready. For the centerpiece, I started out with the lucky bamboo plant surrounded by vases filled with oranges for wealth, and a few apples on the table for peace.

Very plain and simple.

2015-02-18 21.16.23 - CENTERPIECE

I used black ceramic dishes on top of the gold chargers and topped that with a themed “Year of the Sheep” dinner plate.  (I have also seen the year of the Goat advertised on plates for 2015, so either is okay). I wanted to highlight the animal that represents this year so I went with paper plates for a finishing touch. You may have questioned why I am using two dinner plates and the reason is that I wasn’t sure if the paper plate would be strong enough to hold some of the food so I wanted to play it safe. Charger plates are not meant for food, so the black ceramic dishes were the perfect choice.

2015-02-17 23.50.20 -PLATE CLOSE UP

I added a luncheon size themed paper plate under the goblets to highlight the year and since we are wishing for good luck, I included some fortune cookies around the goblets. 

2015-02-18 18.23.26- LUNCHEON

2015-02-17 23.53.09 - GOBLET

I recently found Chinese votive candle holders online that I thought were so pretty with the Chinese characters written on them. The characters stand for health, happiness, love, long life, prosperity and good luck. Just perfect for Chinese New Year and they would bring a nice warm glow to the table. I added one candle in front of every place setting.

2015-02-17 23.33.39- FAN AND CANDLES

I had some Chinese fans that I purchased in Oriental Trading a few years ago for a different tablescape that came in white, red and black and I thought that the white and black would be perfect for this table and match the candle holders. I love little extras on the table; so in addition to the candles I added chopsticks as well.

2015-02-18 20.47.39 - chopsticks

Table setting

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Chinese New Year table setting details:

Red tablecloth  from Linens and Things

Gold chargers from Pier I

Black dinner plates from Kohl’s

Themed plates and napkins from Oriental Trading

Fortune Cookies from Oriental Trading  (not the taste I was looking for)

Chopsticks from Party City

Artificial tangerines from Pier I

Vases from Michael’s Arts & Crafts

Chinese votive candles from Amazon – NEW purchase

Bamboo plantalready had this….”lucky me”

Chinese Fans from Oriental Trading

Dinner from Hunan Dynasty

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 Since I planned to order dinner in for the two of us, I did some research regarding “lucky foods” for Chinese New Year. Here is a list that I put together and what the food represents; just in case you wanted to put together your own  Chinese New Year Dinner.

·        Shrimp for Abundance

·        Whole Fish for Togetherness

·        Chicken for Wealth

·        Soup for everything better than last year

·        Long green vegetables for a green year and great harvest

·        Long noodles for Life (don’t cut them)

·        Mushrooms for Longevity

·        Sweet rice cakes for Wealth

·        Steamed Dumplings for Good Luck

·        Oranges for Wealth

·        Apples for Peace

·        Tangerines for Good Fortune

 We normally would have eaten at the restaurant but with all the snow and the freezing temperatures (or below freezing temperatures) we are having this winter, we decided to eat at home and hibernate. Bob braved the freezing cold to go to the restaurant with my list hoping to order a meal of good luck and prosperity.

This is what we ordered. 

House Special Soup to make this year better than last…

2015-02-18 19.43.10 - Soup

Shrimp with Chili sauce for abundance

Chicken with Vegetables for wealth

String beans and peapods for a great harvest

Cold sesame noodle for long life

Shrimp steamed dumplings for good luck

Egg roll with veggies and mushrooms for longevity

2015-02-18 19.41.22 food 2

I think we managed to order a lot of the “lucky foods”.

Dinner was fantastic as usual (this restaurant never disappoints) and I do feel lucky already that I have such a wonderful husband, fantastic son, all my friends and now my new “blog family”.

I hope this post gave you some ideas for your own Chinese New Year dinner. It was a lot of fun for me to put together.

May you be blessed with Good Health, Long Life and Prosperity.

Until my next post, stay well and make every day a celebration!

Mardi Gras

I apologize for posting this so late in the day. I ordered an item for the Mardi Gras table about a week ago (just couldn’t resist) from a vendor that will remain nameless for now. I was promised delivery last week, then yesterday and then today. Supposedly it has been out for delivery since 9:45 am.  I called every postal facility I could get a number for and I believe there is an APB out for the package and my tracking number should be scrolling below your local news right after school closings tonight at 11 pm.  Well, needless to say it has not arrived and it is after 7 pm.

If it ever gets here some time tonight, I will post some updated pictures to show you and if it doesn’t get here tonight, you will have to be surprised next year. Anyway, I hope you enjoy the Mardi Gras tablescape that I have prepared for you and enjoy the rest of your evening.

February 17, 2015

mardi gras for blog-- intro

Mardi Gras or “Fat Tuesday”, is the last day of the Carnevale season as it always falls the day before Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent.

In Italy, Venice is famous for their Carnevale Celebration. The Carnevale season begins approximately two weeks before Fat Tuesday.  Carnevale in Italy is a huge winter festival celebrated with parades, masquerade balls, entertainment, music, and parties.

In the United States, New Orleans is famous for Mardi Gras. During this time, people attend parades, festivals, and parties.

But if you aren’t traveling to either Louisiana or Europe for the festivities, join me as I celebrate Mardi Gras & Carnevale at home complete with masks, beads and food.

(Click on photos to enlarge)

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2015-02-17 17.45.42 - BUFFET

In my house, I set the table in the Mardi Gras colors.

Purple for Justice,

Green for Faith and

Gold for Power

and then I serve a traditional Italian Lasagna di Carnevale, not the expected Mardi Gras food; gumbo, jambalaya, grits and beignets.

You probably guessed by now that I am an Italian girl who loves to cook, so I combined the two celebrations.

I’ll explain about the lasagna… During Lent Christians are obliged to fast and rich foods such as meat are to be avoided. Lasagna di Carnevale is filled with meat and cheese and is meant to be served as a very indulgent meal before the fasting. My grandmother used to make a different variation of this dish every year because the idea of this dish is to use up whatever meat you have in the house before Lent. Some years are just ground meat & ricotta and then other years the lasagna included sausages, salami, mozzarella and prosciutto; so there is no specific recipe. Let your imagination and refrigerator contents be your guide.

In addition to the lasagna, my grandmother would make a Carnevale Cake with almonds, olive oil & citrus –  see recipe below from

During Carnevale anything goes…

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Another common food to eat during Mardi Gras is pancakes.  This tradition started in the Middle Ages as a way of using the milk, butter and eggs that wouldn’t last during Lent. It is also traditional to toss the pancakes with a coin in one hand in order to ensure prosperity throughout the year.

 I am all for keeping up with traditions, but throwing pancakes in my house is one tradition I do not participate in; but feel free if you’re in the mood – the kids will love this.

mardi-gras-masks for blog - intro 2

For my centerpiece this year, I placed Mardi Gras beads in a glass bowl that I have had for years. I purchased the bowl in Crate and Barrel back when I was a new bride many years ago. You will have to guess how old it is, I’m not saying. This is one of my favorite bowls and you will see it quite a bit in many of my tablescapes.  I piled the beads in the bowl around a Mardi Gras cascade and added some feather masks and the centerpiece is done.

2015-02-17 18.12.15 - CENTERPIECE

2015-02-17 17.37.55 - BEADS

Mardi Gras and Carnevale wouldn’t be complete without masks, so I always include them with my place setting for this occasion. I have had these masks for years and they always look great with whatever plates I choose to use – love the sparkle. Masks range from the simple to the very ornate, but the simple masks work better for me with this table setting.

2015-02-15 17.05.30 - masksI am constantly shopping for new items for my tablescapes and this year I stumbled upon two great new finds during one of my internet shopping sprees. I was lucky enough (and very excited) to find both flatware & glassware with the Mardi Gras colors, that I think look great with the masks and bring the whole table together.

2015-02-15 15.35.13- flatware

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A few other pieces I added to the table to jazz it up a bit are the jester hat and king’s crown along with a new purchase of some Mardi Gras  glass table confetti I picked up in Pier I. I very often try to use some sort of confetti when I set a table. I especially like the glass pieces when I have candles on the table because they pick up the light so beautifully.

2015-02-15 15.32.40 - jester hat

2015-02-17 16.32.53-CROWN

It is absolutely impossible to own every dish, platter, etc. that goes along with your theme to make your table complete, so I often add a themed paper plate from a party goods store. Sometimes, it is just the finishing touch you need. Don’t be afraid to mix your china and stoneware dishes with paper goods. Remember the mix and match table from New Year’s Eve?

Here I included a solid green dinner size paper plate and a Mardi Gras themed luncheon size paper plate from Party City. It adds a lot of sparkle to the table and brings out the colors of not only the masks but the flatware and glassware as well.

2015-02-15 15.36.00- close upThe Place Setting

2015-02-15 15.33.34- place settingMardi Gras table details:

Purple tablecloth from Linens and Things

Gold charger plates from Pier I

Theme paper plates & garland from Party City

Beads, masks, crown and jester hat-  from purchases from many years ago that I keep adding to…

Glassware from Amazon – new purchase!

Flatware from Wayfair – new purchase!

Napkin rings from Bed, Bath & Beyond

Glass confetti from Pier I – new purchase!

Gold napkins from Macy’s

And once again, another Mardi Gras has arrived and a popular custom that I say every year I will try but never do, is the baking of a special cake in honor of the three kings, called what else,

A King Cake.

I am sure you have all seen them. Basically a Danish type dough that is braided and shaped in a circle. The cake is filled with either raspberry cream cheese, cinnamon or praline and decorated with sugar with the Mardi Gras colors

This photo is of the cake I purchased this year from Whole Foods Bakery.

2015-02-17 16.30.43 - CAKE

Each King Cake has a tiny plastic baby inside. The tradition of the King Cake is that the baby symbolizes luck and prosperity to whoever finds it in their slice. The finder is designated King or Queen for the evening and is responsible for purchasing next year’s cake and is asked to continue the festivities by having the next King Cake party.

So instead of heading to the kitchen with a recipe to make the cake, I once again headed to the phone to order a praline filled King Cake from Whole Foods (between the heart shaped ravioli in the Valentine’s Day post and this King Cake, I give a lot of stores free advertising).

I will let you know who gets the plastic baby.

If you don’t want to order a King Cake and want something you can do with the kids, I saw this on Pinterest and thought this would be a great project. You can make or buy cupcakes, some white frosting and colored sugar (Wilton brand colored sugar is great and it is sold at Michael’s Arts & Crafts or Party City- here I go again with another ad) and create your own Mardi Gras designed cupcakes.

mardi-gras-cupcakes - mardi gras cupcakes

So have a wonderful Mardi Gras Celebration

I hope this post gave you some Mardi Gras ideas for your tablescape that you can use at home. I had a great time sharing this tablescape with you.

2015-02-15 17.15.13- Mardi Gras exitUntil my next post, stay well and make every day a celebration!


If you are interested in authentic Italian recipes, there is a website that I follow, –  (click on her link) many fantastic recipes that remind me of my grandmother. Here is one of my favorite recipes…


(Schiacciata Alla Fiorentina)

Makes: one 9” round cake

Prep: 15 minutes

Cook: 35 minutes


1 1/2 c. Flour

1 c. Ground Almonds

1 c. sugar

2 tsp. baking powder

1 c. Olive Oil

3/4 c. whole milk

Zest of a fresh lemon

1 Tbsp. Lemon Extract

1 c. chopped Candied Lemon Peel (optional)

Powdered sugar for dusting


Grease a 9 “ spring form pan.

Put whole almonds through a food processor to grind them finely

Mix together in a large bowl: flour, ground almonds, sugar, and baking powder.

Add olive oil and milk. Mix together until incorporated.

Add the extract and lemon zest and mix well.

Add the chopped candied lemon peel, if using it.

Pour into your prepared pan, and bake at 350 degrees until golden and set in the center – about 35 minutes depending on your oven. Test with a knife – if it comes out clean – you’re done!

Release and remove the side of the spring form pan and cool. Dust with sifted powdered sugar.

A note from Linda on how to serve: You will love this beautiful lemony CARNEVALE CAKE. You might enjoy it with a glass of Limoncello and an espresso! Believe me – there is nothing lovelier than this cake – especially as your swan song before Lent.



Valentine’s Day – Breakfast Tablescape

Valentine’s Day Breakfast Tablescape

2015-02-10 05.55.40 - opening table

(click on photos to enlarge)

As promised, here is my tablescape for a Valentine’s Day breakfast. Since the tablescape was casual, I felt the centerpiece should be casual as well. I filled a vase that I had from a previous floral arrangement with conversation heart candies and a bouquet of artificial heart and “ XO” pattern flowers from Michael’s Arts & Crafts

2015-02-10 05.43.47 - vase

Casual calls for paper plates and napkins. First of all, paper goods are perfect to emphasize a theme and cleanup is a breeze. Even if you use them with stoneware charger plates or dinner plates, the dirty dishes will still be disposable.

2015-02-10 05.43.07- plate close up

I found the glassware in Marshall’s a few years back with the “Heart & XO pattern”. I couldn’t resist this purchase because the colors of the glassware reminded me of a Valentine’s Day cake stand I bought in Sur La Table many years ago with a very similar pattern. I use the cake stand for many of my Valentine’s Day desserts and I thought the glasses were a perfect match. The mugs were another find in Marshall’s and I knew that they would look great with my red flatware and brighten up the table.

2015-02-10 05.41.00- glass2015-02-12 15.30.33 - NEW MUG

2015-02-10 05.42.13- cake stand

The flowers were an unexpected find and I loved the heart and “XO” pattern stamped on the flower because it  matched the glassware as well and everything seemed to come together nicely.

2015-02-10 05.39.47- flower close up

2015-02-10 05.44.47-flower glass pattern

When I purchase items years apart and they look as if they were part of a set purchased together, for someone who loves tablescapes as much as I do, it is a great satisfaction.

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This is how I buy many of my tablescape accessories, a little bit here and there. I buy what catches my eye without having a plan for them at the moment. Eventually, these items become just what I am looking for, for a tablescape. So my advice to you would be, if you see something cute, whimsical and inexpensive, make the purchase and save it for a future tablescape. You just never know if you will ever find the same item again.

The heart cake stand is perfect not only to serve desserts for dinner but Valentine’s Day donuts and bagels for breakfast. Add some juice and coffee and breakfast is ready….heart shaped waffles would be a nice touch also.

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A last minute add on to this tablescape and recent purchase that I thought was so adorable are the red heart shaped bowls; another find in Michael’s Arts & Crafts. For breakfast, they would be perfect for fruit salad and for dinner, a pudding or crème brulee.

2015-02-10 05.42.38- heart bowl

The Place Setting

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Breakfast table details

Pink tablecloth from Linens and Things

White charger plates from Pfaltzgraff

Red dinner plates from Pier I

Theme luncheon plate and paper napkins from Party City

Glassware from Marshall’s

Mugs from Marshall’s

Red flatware from Homegoods

Cake stand from Sur La Table

Heart shaped bowls from Michael’s Arts & Crafts

Artificial Flowers from Michael’s Arts & Crafts

I hope this post gave you some ideas for a Valentine’s Day breakfast at your house. Until my next post, stay well and make every day a celebration!

Valentine’s Day – Dinner Tablescape

Valentine’s Day dinner tablescape dedicated to my friend,

Rose Fontana’s Valentine’s Day birthday!

Dinner Tablescape

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(click photos to enlarge)

Usually Bob and I go out for Valentine’s Day but this year with the weather being so unpredictable, we decided we are going to stay home for dinner, watch a movie, put on a fire and eat massive amounts of chocolate and drink Prosecco. After 26 yrs. of marriage, that is a hot date. But in all fairness, I have to say that my husband has been more than wonderful and very romantic every day of our marriage, not just Valentine’s Day. He’s a keeper and I wish that all you single ladies find a husband like my Bob.

Now on with the dinner tablescape… For whatever reason, Valentine’s Day always puts me in the mood for a Victorian table setting or something very girly (lace, pearls, roses, a Laura Ashley print- you get the idea). I usually navigate to the more modern designs every other day of the year but Valentine’s Day is my one exception.

So for this year’s tablescape, I chose dishes that were in my husband’s family for generations and passed down to me from my mother-in-law. It is a very delicate bone china dinnerware set from England by Adderley and the pattern is “pink rose”. Very simple and soft and perfect for the occasion.

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Valentine’s Day table details:

Tablecloth and napkins from Linens and Things (back in the day)

Glass chargers – from Crate & Barrel

Lace overlay tablecloth from Bed, Bath & Beyond

Dinnerware- Family Heirloom

Flatware – Bridal shower gift (you will see a lot of this set, I use it all the time)

Glassware from Homegoods

Cupcake Holders from Kohl’s by Artland Aspen, recent purchase

The centerpiece is a set of mercury glass candlesticks that I received as a gift many years ago. (Mercury glass is another one of my all-time favorites. I should start a collection of that too). I placed mirror on the table to reflect the soft light from the candles. (Remember, everyone looks great in candle light), and then added some girly accompaniments. What else can be more girly than a handbag, gloves, pearls and diamond earrings so they were added as well and now the centerpiece is done.

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The handbag trinket box was my grandmother’s, given to me many years ago

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To add to the tablescape I chose a vintage pink glass cake stand from Pier I that went perfectly with the plates (and a perfect size to serve chocolate covered strawberries)

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The individual cupcake holders are by Artland Aspen.

This has to be one of my favorite recent purchases.

It’s not only for cupcakes, pastries can be presented in this individual sized server. The dome keeps the cupcakes/pastries covered for serving. I just love it…(I know I mentioned that already. I can’t help it, I get all excited when I purchase a great find)

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2015-02-08 14.01.02_USE cupcake holder

The music box was a gift from our son from the Willow Tree collection titled “Promises”.

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It’s Valentine’s Day, so where would we be without roses? I chose to break tradition of red roses for the holiday and chose pink roses with this tablescape.

2015-02-08 14.04.22-USE roseWanted to include a few pictures of the table in candlelight

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Valentine's Day

Valentine’s Day

The featured entrée for the evening is heart shaped ravioli (a favorite find at Pastosa Ravioli. If you can’t get to one of their stores, you can order them online @ very, very good). The ravioli, a salad and a glass of Prosecco and dinner is ready. You have to save room for dessert and chocolate……

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The salad is mixed baby greens with poppy seed vinaigrette, goat cheese and heart shaped beets. I used a cookie cutter to cut out the heart shape

(after all it’s Valentine’s Day, you have to have hearts)

2015-02-08 15.39.14-USE salad

I hope these pictures of my Valentine’s Day tablescape gives you inspiration for your Valentine’s Day dinner- enjoy!

So that is my  2nd holiday tablescape for 2015. I hope you have a wonderful Valentine’s Day and may every day of the year be filled with LOVE!

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My next Valentine’s Day tablescape will be

Valentine’s Day Breakfast

Centerpiece Ideas- “Ladies Birthday”

Dishing With Diane

Diane's 50th Birthday 019 for blog(click photos to enlarge)

Here and there I will be posting ideas for centerpieces and I wanted to share this one with you. It is very dear to my heart and was the centerpiece at my 50th birthday party (not that long ago)

I saw these Zebra handbag COOKIE JARS one afternoon while shopping in Neiman Marcus and knew I had to buy them immediately. This had to be a sign from God. Two of my favorite things -animal prints and handbags wrapped up in one. So yes, cookie jars were the inspiration for my birthday centerpieces. I bought all they had and brought them to the florist to be filled with some of my favorite flowers.

The big tip I can give you here is “think outside the box” for your decorations and party plans. Every centerpiece that involves flowers does not have to be a vase(remember the…

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Centerpiece Ideas- “Ladies Birthday”

Diane's 50th Birthday 019 for blog(click photos to enlarge)

Here and there I will be posting ideas for centerpieces and I wanted to share this one with you. It is very dear to my heart and was the centerpiece at my 50th birthday party (not that long ago)

I saw these Zebra handbag COOKIE JARS one afternoon while shopping in Neiman Marcus and knew I had to buy them immediately. This had to be a sign from God. Two of my favorite things -animal prints and handbags wrapped up in one. So yes, cookie jars were the inspiration for my birthday centerpieces. I bought all they had and brought them to the florist to be filled with some of my favorite flowers.

The big tip I can give you here is “think outside the box” for your decorations and party plans. Every centerpiece that involves flowers does not have to be a vase (remember the batter bowl from my dessert party ?) Anything can become a centerpiece with a little imagination.

As you can tell the theme for my party was handbags (another collection of mine, and we won’t even start on my shoe collection- you don’t have that much time). Needless to say there were multiple favors in the handbag theme (some could say I got carried away, although that someone would never be me)

My invitation is in the shape of a handbag and too hard to describe because there are multiple pieces. I don’t have a picture for you right now because it is tucked away in a memory box in the attic and I will post it at a later date.


Below are some of the favors I purchased for my party 

Use these ideas for your “handbag” themed party

To start with, I bought

Handbag place card holders

I filled these with Jordan Almonds (they are not just for Italian weddings)

handbag place card holder for blog 2

Handbag manicure sets

Perfect size to keep in a desk drawer at work, a suitcase or a large tote bag

handbag manicure set for blog- use

Handbag hooks to keep your bag off the floor

I don’t know about you but I am not a fan of putting my bag on the floor at a restaurant.

handbag hooks for blog

Even the cake was shaped like a handbag (It was a red velvet cake if you’re wondering) Burberry products and I are very good friends; (just ask my husband) so there was no question that the cake had to be a Burberry bag

Diane's 50th Birthday bday cake for blog

The party was just perfect and it was fantastic to share the time with the ladies in my life that I love so much and who are so dear to me. Every one special in their own way.

Celebrations are so wonderful to share with family and friends. Making new memories and spending time together. When you are planning your next party and have decided on a theme- run with it. Have some fun and think outside the box.

I hope this centerpiece was an inspiration for some future birthday parties, ladies luncheons and bridal showers…

If you do use any of my tips, please send me some photos. I would love to see your ideas

Until my next post, stay well…

Valentine’s Day tablescapes will be posted this weekend…