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Dinner by Design: Burlap and Blue Tablescape

The latest tablescape from my collection layers delft-like blues with natural elements. The Burlap and Blue Tablescape, like each Dinner by Design post, sets a creative tablescape using inexpensive or pre-owned pieces. With a little ingenuity, you too can create a Burlap and Blue Tablescape based on materials you have on hand or follow my shopping links for exact items.

Starting with Dessert

You may be surprised to learn that this month’s Burlap and Blue Tablescape began with dessert. Because the dessert I had in mind was my Key Lime Parfaits with Chocolate Sauce, and I wanted to serve them in teacups. I needed a beautiful teacup that was tall and wide. Some are short and narrow quickly toward the base. But these blue and white teacups inherited from my grandmother were a wonderful shape.

And so this china set, a Kaiser W Germany Bornholm design, was my lovely starting point.

Lovely white china teacup with blue floral design filled with Key Lime Parfait topped with chocolate sauce and lime slices.

The Place Setting Layers

To mimic the delicate scallop of the china’s edge, I placed it on top of an inexpensive plastic white charger with a lacy edge. Using a blue placemat added another layer in a lighter blue shade.

The white ceramic napkin rings are so versatile! They have lovely grooves and ridges that invite further ornamentation, but can also stand alone. Before I had decided how to adorn them, I slipped them around my blue fabric napkins that complimented the placemats. Some tiny silk flowers, picked up the darker shades from the delft-like blue pattern of the china.

White charger topped with blue floral china. A blue fabric napkin in a white ceramic ring sitting on top of the plate.
Above view of all the table set with burlap, blue and white decor including table settings and centerpiece.

Runners for Length

While I was setting for four instead of six this month, I chose to set my guests two per side. Doing this allowed me to play with a longer and sleeker design, adding a touch of modernity to a colonial-style dinnerware. My woven jute table runner was a steal when I purchased it for less than $15 from Hobby Lobby, but sadly it’s no longer available. The natural shade completed the color palette begun with white and blue shades. It also incorporated and lifted the tones of my dark wood table, further highlighting the subtle shades of blue.

Money Well Spent

With these elements of the Burlap and Blue Tablescape decided, I took advantage of a day trip to Pella, Iowa to search for finishing touches. I wanted a little more blue, and a little more femininity. Visiting the local quilt shop provided a simple, inexpensive opportunity to punch up the design.

The Quilted Windmill in Pella, Iowa

With the design pattern in my head, I searched for a fabric that would further incorporate the shades of blue and white that the tablescape already carried. I found a perfect fabric and purchased it to add another layer of runner.

The No-Sew Faux Runner

Because my table is quite narrow (37 1/2 inches wide), and because I was creating a secondary runner to cover an existing one, I was confident that a more expensive fabric in small quantities would do wonders without regret. Even better, this beautiful fabric was moderately priced at $9.95 per yard. Not at all bad for a specialty quilt shop fabric!

Math is not my strong suite, but guesstamation (a word I coined) is! The fabric was a typical 45 inches wide. I only needed my fabric runner to be 12 inches wide, and I knew from experience that I could lay out fabric with a cleanly cut edge without needed to hem. Because the pattern of the fabric could run either direction, I considered purchasing 1/3 of a yard which would give me a 12 inch by 45 inch strip. Since I hadn’t measured my table length, or determined how many table leaves I would be using, I decided to purchase 2/3 of a yard to be safe. This would allow enough fabric to cut it into two 12 inch by 45 inch pieces. These two pieces I could attach or lay end-to-end and extend the length to whatever I needed. A 90 inch length was a pretty safe bet.

The edges of the blue fabric runner shown on top of the woven jute runner and beside a blue placemat.

So glad I purchased the 2/3 yard, because I did, in fact, need a longer length than 45 inches! Twelve inches was a beautiful length to lay over the top of my woven jute runner. I was too lazy to sew the two lengths together. I just ironed the edges smooth and laid the strips one on top of the other.

Adding Burlap Strips To Compliment Long Lines

Two layers of runners on the Burlap and Blue Tablescape are complemented by parallel strips of jute running underneath the placemats.

Laying my pieces out at home caused me to wonder how adding adding a burlap strip under my place settings would look. I found that this was a wonderful way to continue the illusion of table length and add a sense of cohesion. It also added a layer underneath the dishes that further punctuated them.

Being eternally frugal, I used a length of burlap that was already cut. Perfect! I saved the integrity of another cut length by turning under the excess and ironing it to the correct length. You never know what length I’ll need the next time I pull out this burlap so I wanted to keep it in tack.

To duplicate this Burlap and Blue Tablescape with shorter pieces of burlap strip, simply tuck the ends of shorter lengths under the placemats to give the allusion of one entire strip. Your guests will never know!

Centerpiece: Borrowed is Better

While in Pella, I peeked into all the lovely shops hunting for a blue vase and white flowers. These boutiques offered several lovely options. All the artificial flowers were so gorgeous and realistic! But when my companion found out what I was searching for, I couldn’t turn down her offer to loan me the articles I needed! Borrowing in this case was my best option.

Using my friend’s bottle blue vase, I took a lace-covered burlap ribbon and wrapped it around. Again too cheap to cut down material lengths, I simply taped down one edge to the bottle and wrapped the entirety of my small strip around it. I used straight pins to fasten the edge rather than gluing anything to the vase.

Blue vase wrapped in lace covered burlap.
Blue and white floral bouquet makes a stunning centerpiece on the Burlap and Blue Tablescape.

I worked the same dark blue flowers I had tucked into the napkin rings into three bunches of my friend’s lovely white peonies for a stunning centerpiece bouquet. The only thing lovelier would have been real flowers. I’m always a fan of real flowers. But free flowers are also good. If you can cut things from home, you’ll have the best of both worlds.

Finishing Touches

Twine-wrapped white napkin ring with blue napkin and tucked with dark blue flowers tops a blue floral china plate.

Now that I had burlap for inspiration, it was cinch that my napkin rings should be finished with jute twine. The jute and simple knotted gives the aethetic a more modern organic vibe. The earthy material provides a perfect masculine balance to the frilly and feminine curlicues of the delicate china.

Since I had more beautiful teacups, why not make them into floating candles? Such an easy addition to the Burlap and Blue Tablescape. You’ll also notice the small antique books of poetry that are used to elevate the teacup and saucer.

A white candle floats in a blue floral teacup.

And Dinner

I always love to share my dinner recipes as well! I’ve already mentioned the Key Lime Parfaits for dessert. With the fancy dessert, I served a simple and satisfying meal of Classic Lasagna, Caesar Salad with a homemade dressing I should post someday. A friend brought her lovely homemade sourdough bread.

a classic lasagna recipe without preboiled noodles

What was your favorite piece of the Burlap and Blue Tablescape? What ideas will you take away when setting your own dinner table for guests?

This week on Instagram I’ll also share a trick for cutting a nice straight fabric edge, and another candle/teacup design. So be sure to share and follow on social! I hope to hear from you there and in the comments below.

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