First things first...We are truly blessed to have the means to set a pretty table and invite our friends to join us for good food and fellowship. As the harvest season approaches I am mindful that many are not so fortunate. My daughter has a passion for the work of the Food Bank. As a singer-songwriter, she has written and recorded a song that is the anthem for the world wide Crop Hunger Walk project. Her song, "Raise Your Voice" is featured in their video. I've included a link in the side margin of my blog. I hope that it will encourage you to support projects in your community that contribute to the effort to overcome hunger.
October is such a blessed time of our year here on the prairie. Temperatures are just perfect, and the winds are minimal. Friday was just such a perfect day for dining al fresco. Three of my sorority sisters came together to join me in hosting a luncheon for a group of ladies who all lived in the sorority house during the time we were in college. We were thrilled to welcome several who traveled from out of state to join us...one of my pledge sisters traveled half way across the country from San Diego. Some of our guests had not seen each other for more than forty years; it was a precious time for reconnecting. There were about twenty of us who gathered for a reunion lunch.
Three tables are set and ready for our guests when they arrive. I periodically check eBay for 120” round tablecloths. These were in an auction where the seller was an event planner who was going out of business. I picked up these cloths for $12.00 each.
Two of the tables are our patio tables, topped with my ‘flip-top table tops’ which turn them into 60” tables. The other table is a dining table height, 60” folding table, available from Sam’s.
Fall mums perched on the capped columns around the back porch. The colors are Cardinal and Straw, our sorority colors...otherwise known as red and yellow. I wanted to feature Autumn colors, and I was pleased to find these lovely blooms that gave a nod to Fall and to our sorority.
I like to offer my guests a special treat when they arrive for a party. Today we prepared Mimosas and served them from the dispenser that you see on the table. I painted the champagne flutes. The flutes can be purchased inexpensively from Bed Bath and Beyond. Tip: I used glass paint that calls for the glassware to be baked in the oven to permanently set the paint. The instructions say that items can be place in the dishwasher, but I wouldn’t recommend it. Over time I’ve painted about 75 of these flutes. They live in their original boxes on a shelf in the garage, and I pull them out as needed. I like to think that this small extra touch makes my guests feel special as soon as they walk through the door.
I found the reproduction Victorian wire baskets at Hobby Lobby. I bought inexpensive ready made mixed Fall bouquets from Sam’s, deconstructed the bouquets, and arranged the blooms in Oasis. I had always thought of these ivy patterned tablecloths as ‘summer cloths,‘ but they seemed to work well today. I like that the cloths repeated the motif in the Majolica dessert leaf plates as well as the colors in the goblets and the napkins.
One of our hostesses owns a booth in an antique mall. She ordered the darling faux pumpkins to add to our Autumn theme. She also provided the small framed owl charms and tied them to the pumpkins with orange and black striped ribbons. At the end of our luncheon, each guest took a pumpkin home as a party favor.
Tip: Especially when I’m preparing a party with multiple tables, I like to place decanters on each table filled with water, tea, and/or wine. Today I I liked the texture provided by the rattan wrapped decanter from Nell Hill, in Kansas City. Guests appreciate the ability to easily refill their drinks, and I don’t have to worry that their needs are unmet. The heavy cotton green napkins were bought on after-Christmas clearance at Pier One. The forest green goblet is either Colony or Viking; I can never remember. I’ve had them for many years. The olive goblet is by Libby, and I found them at The Dollar Tree. I was pleased that the mix of greens could be found repeated in the goblets, the napkins, the Majolica leaf plate, and the tablecloth. It provided an element of cohesiveness in my design. The bamboo flatware is from The Jennifer Farrell Collection. I found it at Big Lots for $1.00 per piece. Great get!
I so like to stack plates! The dark rattan charger is from WalMart, and I chose it because of the texture that it provided. The black and white checked service plate is MacKenzie - Childs, “Courtly Check.” I like the point-counterpoint of the graphic design against the other design elements that I have used. The dinner plate is Luneville, “Louis XV.” I bought these plates for bargain basement prices through eBay auctions. The Bordallo Pinheiro, “Leaf Plate,” ties everything back to the tablecloth and completes the Autumn motif. The leaf plates were also eBay finds that I have collected over several years.
Because we were dining al fresco, I used the dining room table to serve lunch. The invitation asked each guest to bring a salad or dessert, and everything was so delicious! I don’t know about where you live, but here it is common for friends to call and ask if they can bring something for the party. I’ve learned to say ‘yes.’ It makes my guests feel like they are more a part of the party, and it certainly makes preparations much easier for me, especially when serving large groups.
For the centerpiece, I used the Fitz & Floyd, “Pumpkin Tureen.” I flanked it with a pair of the same reproduction Victorian Baskets that I used on the luncheon tables. The fabric is simply a remnant of fabric from a window treatment in my small office in the back of the house. I turned under the selvedge and scrunched to my hearts content. More of the wonderful faux pumpkins are scattered around the cloth. I know that you recognize the Val St. Lambert candlesticks from past posts. See the candle rings? I think that you could easily use some of The Style Sisters napkin rings in this way. http://www.thestylesisters.blogspot.com
I’m so excited about this luncheon. I know that we all have groups of friends that have been special parts of our lives, but we’ve lost touch with them over time. I am convicted that God put these dear people in our lives, all those years ago, for a purpose, and it’s important that we reconnect with them. We need to be good stewards of these gifts that our sweet Lord has poured over us. I know in my heart that He would have us be there to lift each other up in the good times and the hard times that will inevitably come our way as we grow older. I encourage you to also reach out to your special groups from years past. The tenderness of these moments will cause your heart to gently swell. I know from this experience that ‘if you invite them, they will come.’
You can check out KC's music at www.kcclifford.com, on iTunes, and on YouTube. I hope that you'll take a few minutes and give her a listen. You'll also enjoy reading back through her blog on this site. The girl can really write! Her latest CD is called "Orchid."
Thank you, yet again, to Susan at Between Naps on the Porch for hosting her magical meme, "Tablescape Thursday. I'll be linking my post to "Tablescape Thursday. Click on the button below to hop on over and check out the myriad of marvelous tablescape designs, after 9:00 pm on Wednesdays. You'll be glad that you made the trip...it's a wonderful adventure.