Food & Flowers

Elegant Traditions

When planning a dinner party, or a holiday dinner, or a romantic dinner at home, first thing you think about is, of course, the menu then the theme and how to put it all together harmoniously. The way we set our tables is what ties it all together and set the mood we want. It would be a simple relaxed dinner with paper plates and cups and disposable cutlery (because we just don’t have the time, the desire or the energy to do the dishes) or it could be so formal with countless fancy spoons, forks, knives, glasses and what-not in every shape and size it would make Emily Post weep tears of joy and Carson (from Downton Abbey) do a jig.

Autumn Expressions

You play the music that will compliment the gastronomic treat and the occasion. We wouldn’t suggest you playing Black Sabbath at an ear-piercing volume during a candlelight romantic dinner…unless, of course, you prefer not to converse with your guest/s and have your face in your Osso Buco and stuff your face with baby potatoes and Black Sabbath just does it for you, then go for it. We recommend you choose softer music whether holiday themed or not (depending on the occasion), that will allow those at the table to converse and enjoy their meal and the atmosphere without the threat of pierced eardrums and a possible headache.

Find the right table dressing and ornaments that fits the reason of the special dinner. Pine cones and ornamental balls for Christmas, Pumpkins and decorative fruit for Thanksgiving, Crystals and floating candles for a romantic date night are perfect. However, nothing will come close to a perfectly designed and placed flower arrangement.

Flowers are definitely the exclamation point that will finish the look. Whether a round and low centerpiece or an oblong one perched in the middle of the table, or small pieces nestled between serving plates and bowls, or standing tall and proud at your buffet table, will help you set the mood for your occasion. Just remember you don’t choose flowers that overpower your food. If it is sitting at your table you want to be able to smell the food you’re eating not the Stargazers in front of you. So if your must have heavily scented flowers choose them for the buffet table or for another part of your home rather than on your dinner table.

Crimson Cornucopia

Since this is Thanksgiving season, you probably are already planning your menu and your decor. If you are planning a large dinner with friends and family and their friends you are probably a going over minute details to make the day memorable and enjoyable. Here is how we can help: we the have flowers part covered. If you have a buffet table with all the food and the dining room table just for eating then we suggest a lovely centerpieces for the table, low enough for people to look over it but sizable enough for it to make a statement. Plan a taller one to put on your buffet table. If you have the food on the table your will be sitting at, then we suggest multiple smaller pieces you can place sporadically to bring some color to your table. Don’t forget to add some rearrangements around the house. Perhaps in your kitchen where you and your family will prepare the food and in the living room where your guest will sit and wait for the food to come out. Perhaps in the powder room (natural air freshener anyone?) and if you have a spacious foyer then add one to welcome your guests with.

Easter Celebrations

Are you ready for Easter?  Well, it’s this Sunday, so you better get ready if you’re not!  There’s a lot to do for a good Easter celebration, but it doesn’t have to cause you a lot of stress if you plan ahead.  Here’s a quick checklist you can use to make certain your Easter celebration goes off without a hitch.

The meal: whether you’re having Easter lunch or Easter dinner, the meal is a big part of your celebration.  Many people serve ham as the main dish, but you don’t have to.  Turkey, lamb, even cooking out on the grill are all good alternatives.  As far as side dishes go, you can keep it simple: mash potatoes, some steamed vegetables, salad, and bread make a fine meal, especially with ham.  Dessert is a must, of course, but a simple cake, cookies, or pie will do.  Cookies or little candies for the kids are a good idea, too.  If you’re going to be playing games at the table or visiting for an afternoon, having things like cookies or healthy finger foods like fruit to snack on is a good idea.

Decorations: Easter lilies make a very good centerpiece for the table, but you can also put them in your entryway or on the windowsill.  You can surround the vase with plastic eggs, little rabbits, or other store-bought Easter decorations.  If your kids colored eggs, you can put them in a basket and use them for decoration, too.  A tablecloth, paper plates, and napkins in pastel colors are perfect for Easter.

The Egg Hunt: If you’ve got young children at your Easter celebration and they haven’t hunted eggs already, you should have an egg hunt.  If the weather permits, have it outdoors.  Older kids or adults can hide the eggs while the younger kids stay inside.  Plastic eggs with candy or other treats work best, but you can hide real hardboiled, colored eggs if you want.  If the kids are really young, you might put the eggs out in plain sight. 

Entertainment:  Some families like to play games when they’re together.  You don’t have to plan out what you’re going to play, but having some games on hand is a good idea.  Other types of entertainment include movies or watching sports.

Easter Baskets:  Another thing for the kids is the Easter basket.  You can buy premade Easter baskets from the store, but some of these are cheaply made.  If you want to make your own Easter basket full of treats, it’s pretty easy.  Take any type of basket or bucket, add some of that fake grass, and then add in your gifts. 

That’s about it.  Remember, Easter doesn’t have to be a stressful holiday.  It’s all about enjoying yourself and spending time with your family, so don’t worry too much over the food or decorations.

Planning a Beautiful Thanksgiving Table

Beautiful Thanksgiving Tables & Centerpieces
Beautiful Thanksgiving Tables

Thanksgiving is the perfect time to celebrate family and be thankful for our blessings. It can be enjoyable to create an atmosphere that your family will appreciate when they come to Thanksgiving dinner. Using a few simple ideas from this list, you can create a beautiful Thanksgiving table and dining room without a lot of time or effort.

A centerpiece draws the eye to the table and can set the whole tone for the room. There are many options for creating a Thanksgiving centerpiece. Use the colors and textures of the season, and bring them into the room. Try carving out a small (or a couple) pumpkins or gourds and use them as vases. Fill them with flowers (such as mums, sunflowers) add a few sprigs of fall leaves or a couple pinecones or berries and you will have a beautiful centerpiece. Or, just use a small pretty dish filled with a few pinecones, acorns, leaves, and berries for an even simpler look.  If you are rushed for time, consider ordering a fresh flower centerpiece from your florist.

Tablecloths and Runners.
When choosing a tablecloth or runner for the table, use autumn colors. You can set the look of your table with this, depending on the type of material you choose. If you want a more formal look, pick a more tailored material. If you are looking for a country style, maybe you would choose a plaid material or skip the runner altogether. Browns, oranges, golden wheat, and reds are perfect for creating a Thanksgiving look on your table.

Placemats & Napkins.
Find matching napkins and placemats that fit the theme or your runner if you are using them on the table. Don’t forget to tie the napkins with something that is reminiscent of fall. Use a bit of raffia with an acorn or pinecone attached to it for a perfect look.

Name Tags.
If you choose to use nametags for your table, you can easily create them out of heavy card stock. Either type or print the person’s name on the card, and then add a bit of Thanksgiving embellishment. You could add a tiny leaf in the corner, or a turkey, or whatever design ‘fits’ with the theme of your Thanksgiving table.

Dishes and Serving Pieces.
There are beautiful sets of plates and dishes available in many shapes and sizes, and if you can find some that are in the colors of autumn, that would add a very nice touch to the table. Check out your local department stores and discount stores to see if there are pieces you could use, or maybe a whole set. It is worth taking a look at.

Window Treatments.
You can add a bit more Thanksgiving into the room by adding color to your window treatments. Since most of us can’t afford to change our treatments with the seasons, add a string of beads either horizontally or vertically against your window, depending on the type of treatment you have. Or add Thanksgiving Garland across the top of the window for a different Thanksgiving look.

Candles on the table and around the room add warmth and coziness during Thanksgiving. You can either mix them in with the centerpiece or you can set them on the buffet. When you choose candles, make sure you pick colors that reflect autumn, but try to burn scent free candles. You don’t want the scent of the candle to mix with the food on Thanksgiving. The dinner should give the house a wonderful smell by itself.

If you have pictures or artwork on your wall in the dining room, consider changing one or two of the pieces with a couple fall wreaths. Wreaths add beauty and depth to a room and are relatively inexpensive. Check out your local discount stores and add a few embellishments to the wreath if necessary.

If you have a chandelier in the room, try draping garland around it, or hanging pinecones tied from fishing string from the bottom of it. Experiment with different looks to get just the right finishing touch for your Thanksgiving table.

By using some of these tips you will create an unforgettably beautiful Thanksgiving table and dinner for your family!

Kathryn Mitschelen
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