15 Picnic Table Setting Ideas

Picnics are such a marvelous way to satisfy our need to get outdoors, away for apartment walls.  Here are 15 lovely picnics and picnic table settings ideas to get you started.  

Enjoy beautiful picnic table settings right at the table using simple or elaborate centerpieces, table cloths, and of course a lovely set of dinner and flatware.  The latest collection for outdoor dining ware can be found in attractive melamine dinnerware in stores such as Pier One Import, William Sonoma, Plow And Hearth, and Crate And Barrel.

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Or take your picnic adventure right to the ground–but with style.  Add lots of cushions, colorful table settings, a blanket and even a very low table.

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Going to the beach?  Pack up for an even more comforting picnic also with lots of blankets, cushions and table settings.  

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Check out what’s being use for a low table in this beach picnic idea:  a wood pallet!

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For those beach picnics that run into or start into the evening, be sure to take ambient lighting, such as sparkles and candles in hurricane lanterns.  

Inspired?  I hope so!  See you at the park or beach?

Shirley,
xoxo
 

May I Suggest A Mother And Daughter Tea?

May I suggest a Mother And Daughter Tea?  Some of the most endearing moments of being a woman, are the intimate tête–à–tête moments between mother and daughter.  Such moments often occur at any time: over a casual cup of coffee, shopping together, a lunch, a birthday–even a short ride in a car.  

Photography Shirley Byrd
Photography Shirley Byrd

In the U.S., there is an official day to honor and celebrate Mother’s Day, and an unofficial day to celebrate daughter’s day.  But I say, any day you’re alive is a good day to celebrate the relationship between mothers and daughters.  Do it with a special tea! 

Setting Up Your Own Mother And Daughter Tea occasion can be up scale or simple or somewhere in between.  It can be for a late morning, lunch or afternoon.

To Create A Basic or Somewhere in Between Tea Occasion

Here’s a list what you’ll need to create a successful basic or somewhere in between tea occasion:

Click to enlarge image.
Click to enlarge image.
  • A plan with a schedule is really critical!
  • Number of guests and invitations
  • A Menu (see menu ideas below)
  • Tea (see how to make a pot of tea at the end)
  • Arangement of flowers for a centerpiece (Optional: add several bud vases with a flower that become a take away gift for your guests)
  • Chinaware to include a lovely tea pot, tea cups and saucers
  • Flatware to include teaspoons and butter knives
  • Servers (three-tier or cake plate/platter), sugar and creamer, and a small bowl if you are serving plotted creme 
  • Linen to include cloth napkins and tablecloth

I always like to have sufficient small plates for just the tea sandwiches and then another for the dessert

 

If you want to serve a grand finale, which I highly recommend, serve a beautiful cake or a fabulous torte.

I promise you, there won’t be a crumb left!

To Create An Upscale Tea Occasion

To create an up scale mother and daughter tea or any tea occasion, follow the list above.  But here is where you break out the fine china ware, the sterling silver flatware, and the very best linen. Definitely include a statement bouquet of flowers.  Your menu items may even be more elaborate.  Without a doubt, I strongly suggest a three-tier tea tray.  Use the very best and elegant tier tray your budget can afford. In short, pull out the stops.

Styles And Where To Buy Tea Sets, China and Flatware

When it comes to styles, you won’t be disappointed with the wide range of designs from the very traditional to contemporary and minimalist to Asian, material contents and price points.  You can go with a very traditional style and purchase so that every piece matches as a unified collection.  Or just have a lot of fun and create a tea collection that is eclectic, such as different tea cup designs.  

White there are so many designers and companies to choose from, here are just a few to get you started:

Wedgewood Butterfly Bloom Teapot
Wedgewood Butterfly Bloom Teapot
  • Royal Albert of England for the traditional flower patterns in fine china. The company has been around since 1904 and the selections are simply divine. 
  • Lenox ™ carries beautiful fine china tea sets in the traditional floral and butterfly patterns to the solid colors for the more contemporary look.
  • A. Raynaud & Co from France offer an exquisite limognes collection 
  • Wedgewood Tea & Teaware, since 1759, offers a selections tea china that is simply to die for!!  You’ll find selections from the traditional to the traditional patterns with modern interpretations to contemporary.

Replacements, LTD is a company that offers an extensive selection in finding replacements pieces for china, crystal and silverware, old and new. You will need to know the brand and pattern name.

Menus Ideas

One of the fun activities for a mother and daughter tea is deciding what to serve.  A classic serving will of course include a tea often black or green.  Herbal teas are also available.  But frankly, I must say black is the first choice with green coming in second.  Why waste a perfectly good tea occasion with a herbal tea.  Okay, I’m probably just a tea snob!!

Want to know how to make the perfect pot of tea?  Start with instructions from Yorkshire Tea, U.K.  There are of course instructions on the box of tea bags, which I would recommend.  If using loose tea, The Tea Spot is a great site that even breaks down how much to use based on the type of tea.

Next high on the menu list should be scones, jam and clotted cream. In the U.S., clotted cream can be difficult to find, especially when you don’t live in or even near a big city.  I did find a wonderful recipe on All Recipes.com for a ‘mock’ clotted cream.  It was labeled easy clotted cream but that’s simply not the case.  I made it and followed a reviewers suggestion to strain the sour cream over night.  I loved it.

Ingredients for a mock clotted cream:

  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/3 cup sour cream
  • 1 Tablespoon confectioner’s sugar 

Preparation:  Using a wish attachment on the mixer, whip heavy cream until stiff peaks form.  Remove from mixer.  Hand wisk in sour cream and confectioner’s sugar until just combined.  Store in refrigerator.  

 

Tea sandwiches and pastries are an absolute must.  Your choices are huge and will depend on your taste.  Here is what I had included in my mother and daughter tea party above.

  • Vegetable Medley (from MyRecipe.com): thinly sliced cucumbers, summer squashes and radishes on *white bread. Bread should be buttered then add a layer of mayonnaise. Arrange vegetables on bread, slice to form two triangles and top with salt and coarse white pepper.
  • Egg tea sandwich: Sliced hard boiled eggs.  Cut bread into rectangle about 3″ long for (for 3 slices of eggs) and 1-3/4″ wide.  Butter top of the bread and one side.  Add a layer of mayonnaise to the top.  Dip the buttered side into finely chopped curly-leaf parsley. Top with sliced eggs, add salt and coarse white pepper.
  • Smoked salmon: Using a heart shaped cookie cutter, cut out a piece of white bread (or try a lovely wheat bread).  Top with butter, then mayonnaise, smoked salmon and garnish with dill.  Or try a garnish of thinly sliced of the part of a spring onion.
  • Miniclub sandwich (idea from Traditional Home magazine, May 2001): Generously butter sliced white bread; spread mayonnaise on both top and bottom slices.  Layer bacon, lettuce, tomato, and turkey on one slice.  Add the top bread layer. Cut each sandwich diagonally in quarters to make four triangles.  Use a decorative tooth pick if needed to hold the sections together.  I had used garnished each section with spouts.

Unless you’re a pastry chief, I strongly suggest that you go to a good bakery and buy a cake and pastries until your heart’s content.  As you can see, I had purchased petite fours and a chocolate torte.  I had planned on baking scones (even had dry ingredients already mixed) but ran out of time and found myself dashing off to Starbucks!

*A note on the bread:  use thin sliced bread and always, always, always slice off the ends!  Did I stress this enough?  So now you know my second pet peeve on tea occasions.

Blog Post Wrap Up

I so hope you enjoyed this blog post on mother and daughter tea parties.  Don’t wait just for mother’s day or some special occasion.  Make any day you’re alive a special get together over tea.  Have fun and dress the occasion if you like.  What’s the fun dress attire?  A lovely dress, an adorable hat and white gloves.  Okay, in the U.S., white gloves may be a bit over the top depending upon where you are (home, a friends or some lovely swanky place.)  However, if the spirit moves you, do it!!

But If you have never experienced a tea occasion, first go to an upscale hotel that serves tea, particularly those in major cities, such as New York, Chicago and Washington D.C..  Admittedly, even some upscale hotels can be wanting on serving a good tea. (I must decline to name the one that comes to my mind.) If you’re fortunate enough to travel to England, don’t miss an opportunity to go to tea.  You’ll find many excellent places for tea. (Perhaps some of my English readers would be wiling to name one or two places?  On please do!)  I can also suggest, the Ritz Carlton at Pentagon City in Washington D.C.  

Please do feel free to share your experiences in having had a mother and daughter tea
or any other occasion you took to have tea.

Comments can be left in the little boxes below!

XoXo
Shirley

How To Stylize White Place Settings For Every Day

Often used for formal occasions, white place settings may seem boring for every day use.  I say they’re equally exciting for every day use, especially when stylized with the right table accessories.  Moreover, white place settings are versatile.

The pattern design of a white place setting is what really matters.  How it’s used with other place setting pieces, such as chargers, flatwares, glasses and table accessories .

Fashionable Hostess
Fashionable Hostess

How To Make Best Use Of White Place Settings

Think of buying table setting accessories that complement seasonal uses, such as spring to summer. For every day use, keep your flatware a simply design.  But for a more formal or just to add an element of surprise, use more decorative flatware.

Don’t be afraid to just go wild on these accessories:  glassware, place mats, chargers, napkins, and vases (large and small),   For fun change up, add seasonal ornaments and name places.  Most of all, don’t be afraid to mix up white place settings with other pieces.  Here are 20 examples.

Spring To Summer

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Use clean design white place settings for a modern or minimal look.  You can easily add themes reflected in accessories, such as the coastal look in the place mats and chargers in the above image.

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Adding color in your table accessories with white place settings is always the easiest and often best way to make an every day meal more exciting.

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When the style is very casual, country, shabby chic or even vintage . . .

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from Gracious Home NY
from Gracious Home NY
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Need to Dress Up or Dress Down Your White Place Setting?

It’s really a matter of adding to or taking away.  From At The Picket Fence, in the white place setting below, accessories make it more formal with a gold charger, crystal wine glasses on tall stem, full flat ware setting, and a lovely collection of blue and white ceramic centerpiece.  But notice how in the image below, for a dressed down look just eliminate the charger.  Even the blue and white stripped table runner offers a more casual dining decor.

Fall To Winter

When seasons change is so easy to continue using white place settings by simply changing up the accompanying accessories, particularly with theme accessories for holidays or just everyday use.  Rich, dark colors in place mats, table runners and full table cloths;  acorns and pine cones; ornamental pumpkins; and mum plants are all just a few examples of table accessories that complement a fall to winter white table setting.

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Recap

  • White place settings are not just for wedings and other special occasions.
  • They’re very versatile and can be mixed with other dinning pieces.
  • Designs are available in a wide range of styles, solid colors to accented colors, as well as materials from fine china to stoneware.
  • White place settings are best suited for use when there is limited storage space for dining ware.
  • White place settings absolutely love being paired with other colors.

This is not an argument against pattered place settings by no means.  There are so many absolutely beautifully designed place settings.  When storage and budget are not an issue, by all means indulge your dining experience with decorative place settings.  Otherwise, opting for a white place setting and a variety of complementing table accessories is the way to go.

As for me, yes I do have very contemporary white with a taupe rim stoneware place settings from Denby.  And then a more formal white place setting with gold accent by Vera Wang.  I love them both and often set them out with varying table accessories.  

How about you?  What’s your favorite or wish list place setting?
Please do share.  I would love to here it!

XoXo
Shirley

5 Drop Dead Gorgeous Table Settings For Autumn

There are many many  beautiful fall table settings designed by very creative people.  Decorative elements as pumpkins and gourds are to be found in most of them.  I found table settings with designs and colors that are just drop dead gorgeous and that take a very different twist in use of colors and decorative elements.  Here are five of them:

HouseBeautiful
HouseBeautiful
Thisle woods farm
Thisle woods farm
at the picket fence.com
at the picket fence.com
at the picket fence.com
at the picket fence.com
Pagoda Road:  Design Stone Gable
Pagoda Road:  Design Stone Gable
DigsDigs.png
DigsDigs.png

Additional Readings:

Feeling inspired? What’s your favorite color combination?  
Mine is the blue and orange.  
I would love to hear from you!

7 Fabulous Fourth Of July Centerpiece Ideas

I love to see the flag waving of the United States of America.  And I love that that flag waves so proudly on every occasion, especially the Fourth of July.  The family gatherings, picnics, sporting celebrations and all the other ways we commemorate Independence Day all so beautifully and dramatically end with spectacular fireworks.

I had so much fun scouring the internet for fabulous table centerpieces and I think I’ve picked out some of the best in the seven shown below.  I’m certainly inspired.  And I hope you will be too.  

 

Why do we have to wait until evening to set the sparkles.  Why not have two sets of sparkles:  one to start the celebration and another one for the evening.  Add two groupings of sparkles on the table to wet everyone’s expectation of how the evening will be greeted. 

the space between blog  
the space between blog  

This Fourth of July table centerpiece is by far my most favorite.  I love its simplicity, yet dramatic effect. And I’ll be out this weekend looking for blue hydrangeas and small flags!!

Danielle Rollins  
Danielle Rollins  

As always, Susan, from Between Naps on The Porch, created another outstanding centerpiece.  The three hurricane lanterns each in colors of the flag of the United States is also simplistic, yet dramatic.  Check her website to see them all lit up for the evening.  

Between naps on the porch    
Between naps on the porch    

Humm, hydrangeas again for a centerpiece but all in white.  You really can’t loose with these stunning flowers.

hometalk .com   
hometalk .com   

For you nautical loving folks, this boat loaded centerpiece is not only lovely but down right fun.  Did you see the tea candle in the miniature lounge chair?  A lovely touch of levity to a very special day.

The Painted apron
The Painted apron

Light the way with these lighthouse-style hurricane lanterns.  They’re much more casual in style than the ones above, and they invoke a nautical touch.  So very relaxing.

Home and Garden Design Ideas   
Home and Garden Design Ideas   

Isn’t this an absolutely adorable bouquet centerpiece.  In fact, I would say it’s stunning blue and white hydrangeas hugging the red roses is perfect for a small table dining.

Okay all you serious Fourth of July revelers, now that you have been inspired (I hope), get creative!  Show me what you come up with!  Would love to hear from you.

If you like this post, let me know!  Click on the like button below and feel free to share.
If you like this post, let me know!  Click on the like button below and feel free to share.

Inspirations, Tips And Resources For Floor length Tablecloths

If you love floor length tablecloths as much as I do (and I do a lot!), then do read on.  If you’ve never tried one, now’s a good time, especially for the oncoming holiday season. You can make it as formal or as casual as you like or even mix it up.  Layer it with place mats and plate chargers.

A floor length tablecloth is easier to get than you think.  There are at least three sources.  I provide some links to resources and where to purchase at the end of this post.

  • You can purchase one.
  • You can make it yourself.  Yes, that’s right.  Purchase fabric or even use bedsheets.
  • You can have one custom made.

I’ve done all three.  I made one for an oval table.  Sorry, I didn’t take pictures and have since given it away along with the table.  I do have a gorgeous silk embroidered floor length table cloth on my project board for Christmas.  I promise to have pictures of that one. 

I had a striped silk one custom made by Calico Corners several years go for the cocoa room where the tablecloth was used on a side table. It’s fully lined and has a gathered trim at the bottom. The table itself is actually a small outdoor glass top table that measures 30″ diameter.  Now that I live in a downsized apartment, the table sits on the screened in porch and is now used for dining 1-3 people.  But I only occasionally use the silk tablecloth.  I will be making table tops and floor length tablecloths with summer themed fabric that can easily be machine washed–with or without ironing.  The glass top you see here was purchased at Pier 1 Imports.

Even with a simple table topper, on this table,  I’ve had and shared wonderful meals from breakfast to lunch to dinner. 

 

For inspiration, let’s look at more floor length tablecloths:
 

So what are the advantages to a floor length tablecloth?

  • Punch color into your decor or tone down other colors and patterns in the room
  • Cover an unattractive or very old table
  • On the other hand, protect a beautiful table from scratches and stains during a meal
  • Keeps guests from putting their feet on the base of table legs that extend outward like a pair of feet.  (Believe me, having polished the base of my pedestal table only to see someone’s shoes resting on it required a good deal of hospitable control!)
  • Give small children a place to hide and play while the grown ups sit around the table gossiping:):)
  • Whether for an elegant meal or casual dining, the whole experience is “kicked up a notch.” Your guest will love you with great admiration!
Bella's Rose Cottage
Bella’s Rose Cottage

The author and creator for this table cloth states that she used a “canvas drop cloth” which she had purchased for $20.  The cloth is 9′ x 12′ but has visible seams.  Her dilemma was to decide if she wanted to live with the seams or cut and restitch.  Not how she “temporarily” decided to just let is puddle.

Here’s another canvas drop cloth but it’s painted.  Yes, that’s right, painted.  It was purchased cheaply.  The author was pressed for time due to a fast approaching Christmas day diner and came up with this.  As you can see, the edges are left to softly puddle on the floor.

Katie did.blogspot.com
Katie did.blogspot.com
Better Decorating Bible.com
Better Decorating Bible.com
Also from Better Decorating Bible.com
Also from Better Decorating Bible.com

Clearly the two above are more formal.  The first image is a rich brocade fabric–always a great hit; the second image shows a beautifully beaded trimmed tablecloth. Gorgeous dining settings!

(NOTE:  you can dress up a plain floor length tablecloth with almost any trim.  You don’t even have to sew it on, use an iron on tape.  I once did this to drapery side panels.  Worked beautifully.)

I simply adore floor length table cloths that display a layered look as it does in this next one from Apartment Therapy.  Matching seat cushions really brings it all together for a simple but casually elegant look.

Apartment Therapy
Apartment Therapy

What do you think of these next beauties found on Houzz.com

And finally, here is a spot for dining to die for–bursting with color, playfulness and heart beating joy!

Ready to try out a floor length cloth–be it for dining or a side table?  Here’s a few resource links (It just doesn’t make sense for me to repeat good stuff that’s already been written):

  • HGTV – Floor Length Tablecloth.  Offers step-by-step instructions for sewing your own.
  • CV Linens.  Excellent charts on tablecloth sizes based upon the size and shape of the table.  Also carries a wide selection of linens and other fabric types for a tablecloth.
  • Total Table.  Another excellent chart for desired tablecloth size.

In addition to the above, almost any good fabric store or online fabric distributor will have a wide selection of fabrics suitable for a tablecloth. 

Yes, there are other options for dining at the table and I do plan to discuss those in future posts.  But for now, I say if you’re looking for just the right final touch to a beautiful dining experience, add a floor length table cloth! 

Are you convinced to give it a try?  Or is this something you already include in your dining experience?  Please, do tell!

Inspiring Fall Table Centerpieces

Don’t you just love a well dressed table?  Even if it’s just for a regular meal with family and close friends.  Well, I’m having the girls, my lovely neighbors, over next week for dessert and wine.  I plan to surprise them with a lovely tablescape and did some hunting for ideas on the internet.  Next I’ll go to the grocery store, a florist or better yet a garden shop.  Summer seems to be burning itself out here in Wilmington, NC and the temperatures are starting to drop.  So for a tablescape theme, I’ll hunt around for almost-end-of-summer centerpieces.  Look for what I came up with in an upcoming post.

In the meantime, I ran across a few lovely settings and centerpieces for fall and thought I’d share them with you.

From Finding Home Online.com
From Finding Home Online.com

Yes, I know the above tablescape is really something for the Christmas holiday season.  And I’m not trying to push you here.  Decided to include it because I like the idea of glass vases filled with red berries than topped with greenery.  The composition forms a row with small tea candles between each vase.  The design format can be substituted to suite other occasions and holidays.  Since we’re having tiramisu, to start with, I’m thinking coffee beans in small glass vases with greenery on top, a nice fresh earthy feel as we delve into the delights of the dessert.  I’ll add candles.  Wonder if I should do tea or tall glass candle holders.  Still, I need something else like a warm color.  Off I go.

Found on Pinterest from The Perfect Palette
Found on Pinterest from The Perfect Palette

Love the rustic look here and the layered burlap table cloth topped with the large leaves is just wonderful.  Fall colors are beautifully represented in the pumpkins and squashes .

Found on Cup Half Full blog
Found on Cup Half Full blog
From Remodelaholic
From Remodelaholic
The Budget Decorator
The Budget Decorator

From Just A Smidgen, a lifestyle blog, I found the next two ideas.  Here’s a crow after my own heart.

You know Wilmington, NC is on the coast, right?  Well now you do.  Being a transplant here I’m often drawn to beach elements because beach is practically year round here.  Thus, this fun and lovely sand filled glass vase topped with delicate pink rose.  It was created for a wedding but I would exchange it for something like a seashell.  Mummm, tiramisu and wine?  May be I should stick with the coffee beans and burlap. 

Pinterest
Pinterest

Don’t forget, check back later to see what tablescape I came up with.  What’s your take on dressing the table, even for an “ordinary” meal or the girls?