Sunday, September 30, 2012

Welcome, October!

September was a busy month, but I finally had a weekend at home, just the two of us!  It was high time to start refreshing the house for fall after a long, hot summer.  Here are a few pics of my efforts.  First up, the entryway.  I waited to take photos until we got a glimpse of the sun after two days of rain.
 The branches anchored in coffee beans are new this year -- from my favorite Nashville store, Color.  When I saw them featured on Facebook, I immediately asked my Nashville sister to buy some on my behalf! 
 Here's a closer look at the little orange jingle bells with jack-o'-lantern faces. 
 Even closer -- aren't they darling?
 This pretty bowl belonged to my in-laws, and the colors are perfect for October.
 I bought these candlesticks a few years ago at Pier 1, and I had the candles on hand, too.
Adjacent to the entryway is the dining room.  Fall decorating is tricky in a deep red dining room!  I pulled out my cream-colored ceramic pumpkin candleholders and pale gold candles, and added them to my silver punch bowl holding some small green plants.
 As I mentioned in an earlier post, the plants are "planted" in plastic sandwich bags and loosely arranged in the punchbowl. 
 The "silver" candlesticks have been collected over the years.
 My Dallas sister gave me this tureen years ago, and I like to use it on the dining room table each fall.  Looks like I should have ironed that runner!
Finally, here's the baker's rack in the breakfast area, decorated for fall.  I stole the idea of using a wreath on the top shelf from Judy at JBigg's Little Pieces.  (Thanks, Judy!)  I've had most of these elements for years.  I added some faux berry sprigs to the bottles in a chicken wire holder.  Now that October is upon us, I'm ready for lots of pumpkins!
Thanks for visiting!  I am linking to Marty's Table Top Tuesday at A Stroll Thru Life, so be sure to visit her blog for lots of great fall decor.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Busy Weekend

We are winding down from several busy days of parties and celebrations and out-of-town family visits.  The main reason for the celebrations was my father-in-law's 90th birthday.  Here he is with my granddaughter at his birthday dinner.
But, the busy-ness started before his Friday birthday, with not one, but two receptions Thursday afternoon.  I'm a committee chair for a campus women's group, and the annual membership tea was from 4:00 - 6:00 that afternoon at the president's home.  Somehow, we had ALSO scheduled a reception for my husband's entire department -- faculty, graduate students, AND spouses -- at our house during the same time period.  I had to attend the first part of the tea, but my committee members filled in the rest of the time, thank goodness.  That meant my husband had to set out all the food and drink for the departmental reception by himself!  Now, he is a extremely capable man, but that's asking a lot for anyone to do that job alone!  I got home about 50 minutes into the reception, and everything was in full swing.  He reported later that he remembered everything but the crackers for the cheese tray, so I guess there was an empty silver tray on that table for a while!  Since I wasn't there at the beginning, I don't have photos of the food tables, but I do have one of the dining room sideboard.
Here's a closer look at the mum arrangement -- three small pots of mums with small pots of variegated greenery in a silver punchbowl.  I slipped each root system into a sandwich bag, then arranged the bags in the bowl.  A turkey baster makes watering it a snap, and when the mums fade, I can replace them easily.  I think I first saw this idea in Southern Living magazine.
 After the last guest left, we cleaned up and got ready for the arrival of our son and daughter-in-law later that evening.  Their flights were delayed due to weather, so it was almost midnight before they
arrived.  Our daughter and her family drove up on Friday afternoon, just in time to change for the big birthday dinner.  In addition to our family, we had invited three couples who have been long-time friends of my father-in-law, including one couple in their 90s who have celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary!  One of the men was also a friend of my father's in college and graduate school, so we have a long history together.  We gathered at our favorite restaurant, in their party room, which the staff had decorated for the occasion.  Here's a glimpse of the table decorations.  You can just see the "Happy 90th" sign in the center.  Four hurricanes were wrapped with colored tissue, and colored glass pebbles were strewn around the center, making a festive table.  My son and daughter-in-law are in the lower right of the photo.
We enjoyed a great meal together, stopping to tell old favorite stories about my father-in-law between courses.  Here are photos of the other guests. 
Here's a photo of my son with his nephew (my grandson).
 Here's a photo of me, flanked by my husband and granddaughter.
The family retired to our house to open gifts.  Here is the guest of honor with my daughter-in-law, granddaughter, and daughter, and in the second photo, my son-in-law. 
The next morning, we all took a large sheet cake over to my father-in-law's independent living residence, so his friends and neighbors could wish him well and enjoy a little cake and punch.  It was well-attended -- I'm glad I opted for the full sheet cake!  Saturday evening, all of us plus my nephew and his wife and two of my son's friends joined us at our house for a jambalaya dinner.  It was a lively couple of days! 

Everyone left Sunday morning, but not before I managed to get one photo of our growing family.  From left to right, our daughter-in-law (expecting a little girl in December!), son, daughter, granddaughter, son-in-law, and grandson.
Now I think I need a weekend to recover from my weekend!  But it was fun to have everyone together in our four-generation family.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Napkin Rings I Have Known and Loved

Whew!  The end of the summer and the start of a new semester on campus have kept me hopping! I haven't been able to get around to visit all my tablescaping sisters in Blogland, and I've missed y'all!  We are gearing up to host a large group of faculty and graduate students from my husband's department, so this post is featuring some of my favorite napkin rings from tables past.  (Click on the captions if you'd like to visit the original posts.)

I have to start with my very favorite ones, the clear Lucite ones my daughter gave me for Christmas.  They have a small opening for flowers and hold water to keep them fresh.  The napkin rings are from Color, a wonderful gift and home store in Nashville.  Color doesn't sell online, but that's probably a good thing, or I'd have to get a second job to pay for all my purchases!  I do visit the store whenever I'm in town to see my sister and her family.  They still had these in stock when I visited this summer, so you might call to see if they'd ship some to you!  You can also find them on Facebook -- search for "Color LiveBeautifully".

I first pressed these napkin rings into service the very morning I opened them! My Christmas centerpiece featured evergreens and white mums, so I used a mum and a rosemary sprig from the backyard in each napkin ring.  The ruffly silver placemats are also from Color (via my daughter!).
Christmas, 2010
I used these special rings again for a Presidents' Day table in February.  Adding a red carnation to each ring gave me the patriotic color scheme I was going for with my otherwise blue and white table.
Presidents' Day, 2011
The following month, it was time for bluebonnets, so I pulled the rings out again to show off the Texas state flower.
March, 2011
A few months later, I wanted to try a new color scheme, but didn't have much tableware in that color.  So, I used these napkin rings again with flowers in the desired color.
July, 2011
Here's yet another time I used these napkin rings, this time holding yellow daisy mums.
January, 2012
This year for my Easter table, the napkin rings held deep pink carnations.  By the way, those darling nests and the placemats are also from Color, this time a gift from my sister.  I'm telling you, it's a fun store!
Easter 2012
In July of this year, I visited Color again and set this table with my new goodies -- the wonderful twig placemats you can see a bit of and the lime green hemstitched napkins -- and added the napkin rings with yellow roses and sprigs of rosemary.
July, 2012
Okay, you've seen quite a few versions of that napkin ring -- it would be fun to find things other than flowers to put in the opening -- maybe little marshmallow ghosts on toothpicks for a festive Halloween table?

I have a few other napkin rings to show you, though!  Not long after I began blogging, I found these pretty mum napkin rings in Pier 1.  I thought they were perfect for my Elizabeth dishes, also from Pier 1. I noticed the napkin rings are still in stock, if you "need" some.
September, 2010
I won a set of four darling teaset napkin rings in a blog giveaway from Debbie of Mountain Breaths, and I enjoyed setting a table to show them off.  Thanks again, Debbie!
May, 2011
My Nashville sister has given me the next two sets of napkin rings.  These cute red and white felt birds are from World Market.
February, 2012
This spring, she gave me these gorgeous hydrangea napkin rings, as well as the robin's egg blue placemats and napkins -- again from Color!
June 2012
One more new addition to my collection was a set of sassy polka-dot roosters from Sur la Table.  As soon as I saw them, I knew they were coming home with me.
May 2012
I also have some cute Christmas napkin rings, but I'll save those for another post!  Thanks for visiting me!  I will be linking to Let's Dish at Cuisine Kathleen and Tablescape Thursday at Between Naps on the Porch, so be sure to visit those blog parties, too!