I have a few of you who like my Dinner by Design posts where I show the table decorations for my monthly dinner gatherings. Sometimes I feel like my designs are uninspired. Boring. Simplistic. But I do want everyone who visits my site to be welcomed by honesty without a need to impress. And I truly believe there is a little art in every one of us. And that applies to me as well. Creating a tablescape or decorated table is one fun way to explore the artist within you without getting too messy. I hope you enjoy the floral lace tablescape, the yummy recipes, and the walk through my mental process.
Inspiration for this month’s lace tablescape came, not from the floral lace tablecloth, but from these magnetic bookmarks at Dollar Tree. I had a few papers I wanted to share with the gals, some great quotes from a book I’m currently reading, and I was questioning how to make them match the dinner table. Seeing these launched all my ideas.
Linens and Lace
So with bookmarks in hand, I started looking through table linens and found this floral lace tablecloth. Let it be noted that I did not buy this tablecloth. It was a gift. And even then, I contemplated whether I would ever use it. Let’s just say, it’s not a style that typically speaks to me. And yet I held on to it.
And I have to say, I’m rather glad I did! The funny thing about pieces – sometimes you love them and they match nothing; sometimes you don’t care for them, but they add just the right “something” to make your tablescape shine. And so the floral lace tablescape was born. I guess it just takes some practice to discover which pieces are truly worthy.
Another element of the lace tablescape that seldom sees use, is this sweet embroidered table runner handed down from a relative. Again, how often do I decorate in peach and lavender? Where and when did I ever expect to use this? Never and no where. But we are. There was a place to use it, and in this place it belonged. The sweet embroidery got its moment to shine!
The Place Setting
By now, you may be familiar with my mantra for setting a fancy table – layers upon layers! This tablescape was no different as I layered napkins, over plates, over napkins. Yes, the bottom raspberry placemat is really just a napkin folded in half. I like to play with the pairing of circles and squares, as you can see.
You may have noticed that my table was set for four this month rather than six. And I thought the bright tablecloth full of girly colors needed a more delicate centerpiece. I love the rills of these glass votives and wish I had more. But they were all I needed between these tiny apothecary jars I found at Goodwill.
I wanted something delicate and slightly droopy for my jars. The yellow pom pom flowers were the remaining blooms from a Mother’s Day bouquet that I paired with a sprig from the Dollar Tree. And just to prove that “beauty is in the eye of the beholder,” I used clippings from my lilac bush and chive blooms to offset the center bouquet. I absolutely loved them!
And let’s not forget those cute little bookmarks!
I printed out my quotations and then folded the paper into quarters and printed each guest’s name on the outside.
So I learned that sometimes a beautiful big picture can be made up of less significant parts. Like blues and purples and pinks that I would ordinarily overlook. That’s the way the lace tablescape worked out. And sometimes it just takes a different way of seeing to make ordinary items – like chives – glorious.
And then we have dinner
First course was a salad. A jazzed up Dole Avocado Ranch Chopped Salad to which I added a whole lotta chopped Honeycrisp apple and a whole lotta crispy bacon!
I made Mangia Michelle’s Spinach Artichoke Fried Wontons. Normally, I don’t do a lot of deep frying and this was my first attempt at this recipe. I broke my candy thermometer about halfway through. This recipe made gobs of wontons. I tried to follow the directions and my wontons cooked beautifully, but I wish I had put more than the 1 tsp of filling in each one. I had lots of filling leftover and lots of empty space inside the wontons.
The main course was Crispy Chili Beef from Kitchen Sanctuary. Love this stuff! I’ve made it a few times and tend to set off the smoke detectors so I made it the day before. Also, for the sake of sensitive palates I swapped out the chili pepper in this recipe for a red bell pepper. My favorite pepper to use in this recipe is a hatch pepper when I can find it. I paired this with white rice and cooked carrots.
In hindsight, I maybe wouldn’t have made Chocolate Chip Cheesecake Bars for dessert after a meal heavy on the fried foods. But there were no complaints. Everyone loves them and they were a cinch to prepare.
For dessert, I took advantage of my smaller table setting to feature a variety of plates from some of my more modest collections. Each guest got their own unique plate.
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