Like Eddie Ross said for his article on Lonny magazine, the key to a stunning tabletop is to edit it. You need to put just enough elements to create drama and interest. One way to achieve the look is to mix vintage and modern.
This is a fall tabletop that Eddie created with Jaithan Kochar for the October/November 2010 issue of Lonny magazine. Do not worry if you do not find the right color of napkins. Use an old trick, Tintex fabric dye to transform plain white napkins. It works very well. I did it many years ago with a pair of jeans that I wanted to be reddish pink. I am glad that Eddie reminded me of this easy DIY project. You can buy Tintex at some drug stores and at fabric stores.
Easy Food Presentations
On the same issue, I spotted two modern rustic ways to serve simple food to your guests this Thanksgiving. The glassware is from Steuben.
To my Canadian readers, I wish you a Happy Thanksgiving while our American friends enjoy Columbus Day. I can inspire you if you need last minute menu ideas for your Thanksgiving dinner.
+ Recipe for a Stunning Thanksgiving Table on Lonny Magazine Oct/Nov 2010 issue
I selected waxed natural iron as the main material for our branch staircase. Therefore, it is fair to say that I adore the look. The material is easy to maintain. I simply dust the iron rods once in a while.
Imagine how great this circular log holder that sits on a wood base would look next to it. It would pair so well together. I love the rustic elegance that the Italian design studio Civico Quattro gave to home accessories and dinnerware.
Dress Up your Table with a Modern Rustic Charm
That is not all, Civico Quattro also produces sublime hand-finished glazed porcelain tableware. They designed two sizes of soup bowls, dinner plates, cups and cylindrical vases. Dining with this organic dinnerware on your table would be treat for many years.
To complete the look, let’s rest 100% linen folded napkins inside these black powder-coated stainless steel napkin rings. You get 3 spoons and 3 forks in a pack. Look for the minimalist look of the table linen by Fog Linen Work to create an amazing ensemble. You do not even have to own a reclaimed wood communal dining table to achieve that look.
+ Rotzo log holder by Civico Quattro 360 €
+ Porcelain Dinnerware by Civico Quattro – Set of 6 bowls, cups or plates from 115,20 € to 288 €
+ Posina Six Napkin Rings 108 €
The French design brother duo Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec created for Alessi a new tableware collection suitable for any time of the day. Ovale definitely has rustic and traditional roots; it is visible especially through the usage of each piece. But, at the same time, the asymmetric shapes reminded me of Scandinavian tableware.
The Ovale collection marries white stoneware with stainless steel in an exquisite way. The dishes, serving ware, covered containers and buckets are reasonably priced for designer pieces. It is scheduled to be shipped in Fall 2010.
If you live in Montreal, New York, Chicago, Phoenix, San Francisco or Los Angeles, you could check out the collection at Alessi flagship stores.
+ Ovale dinnerware by Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec for Alessi $14 to $62 USD at Unica
+ Ovale serving bowls, containers and ice buckets by Alessi $14 to $275
+ Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec
These tableware pieces are produced by a ceramics studio in Jersey City and sold at Canvas. I appreciate their simple lines. I usually lean towards simple dinnerware because they give me more freedom when I design my tabletops. I let the ad-hoc accessories and decorative elements create the punch.
And no one can deny that the styled pictures make the bowls and plates more desirable. Good photography sells whether you are a retailer or a blogger. Canvas is a retailer that specializes in home products created by artisans and craftsmen from the US and abroad.
My favorite pieces are:
+ Hand-Made Earthenware Cooking Utensil Holder in a matte white finish$56 USD
+ Earthenware Colander w/ Saucer that is unfortunately sold out
+ Bistroware Small Pasta Bowls in vintage white finish $18
+ Glass mini Carafe $18
One way to save on your invites is to print your own. For better results, it’s best to use a local print shop, or an online printing service. A Printable Press keeps a list of good online printing shops on their site.
Their collection is fresh and diverse. There is something for every taste. From the modern design of Picnic to the western vibe of One Night Only.
What you get is a personalized PDF document. Invitation is $70, response card with a postcard back is $50 (printed with your return address on the back), regular response card, insert card and thank you card are each $30. Save the date card is $40. You can change color, font and dimensions for a $25 extra fee per change.
+ One Night Only from the Sheer Whimsy collection
+ Picnic for the Mod Candy collection
I like the casual, easy living quality of the hand stenciled pure linen napkins and table runners produced by Emersonmade. They will custom print your choice of 1 to 3 upper case letters in black print.
The couple who runs Emersonmade are fun to watch through the pictures they put on their blog. We can see here posing for a Scrabble photo shot.
+ Print Your Own Initials Table Linens $52 USD for 4
It is probably the sense of comfort that emerges from the wooden tray platters that captures our senses. But whatever is the reason, I know that I have a hard time to resist to pictures like those. Take the party platter of the JME collection. Or how appetizing is the roast pork shoulder served with a garlicky cilantro sauce and grilled summer vegetables? You can find this recipe by chef Peter Hoffman of NY restaurant Savoy on Saveur.com. It was first published on page 113 of Saveur, June-July 2010 issue.
Jen of Simply Photo captured one of the most delightful cheese and pate platters. She photographed it when she ate at Cafe, the restaurant of the Terrain at Styer’s of Glen Mills, PA. You can buy online their artisan bark boards, in a small or a large format.
+ Party platter and bowl set by JME £20
+ Pork Shoulder with Summer Vegetables recipe – photo by Todd Coleman for Saveur
+ Large Ash Bark Cutting Board $32 at Terrain – photo by Simply Photo
These are the style of simple flower arrangements that you can use whether you host of a big family picnic or a party at a countryside venue.
+ The simplicity of the first picture will be great for a family picnic – via Amy & Mark Surprise Wedding
+ No need to splurge on containers. A nice beer bottle even works – via Once Wed
+ Love the hanging floral concept that Amy Moss of Eat, Drink, Chic – There are plenty of good ideas from her backyard wedding
+ You can splurge in one centerpiece and put besides it a grouping of flowers that you buy at the Farmers’ market or that you find in the country fields. This design was used for Barbie + Ken’s Backyard Wedding – via Green Wedding Shoes
+ A cast-iron casserole is transformed into a flower vase for the time of Rachel + Brent’s Outdoor Wedding – via Utterly Engaged
I usually serve uncomplicated, tasty meals when I have friends over. I believe it is best to cook dishes that everyone will enjoy. A simple recipe can look very appealing. A simple look at the photos on Sweet Paul will convince you, if you are not sure.
The next time you host a casual dinner, invite old friends to kitchen like:
+ a light puree soup. Jess of Sweet Amandine told us that the fine taste of the Roasted Carrot and Fennel Soup comes from the flavors and textures of its starring ingredients.
+ a rustic chicken recipe that you cook in one dish. You cannot go wrong with a Lemon and Thyme Roast Chicken. Paul of Sweet Paul suggest to serve it with your favorite green salad.
+ For dessert, I selected the Lime Pie, also from Sweet Paul. Both photos are by Ellen Silverman
They are plenty of details that you could recycle from this real wedding featured on Style Me Pretty. For one, I love the distressed wood candlelight chandelier. The concept will also work for an outdoor party by hanging the chandelier on a big tree. Plus, it is something that you can build yourself. Make sure to use small pillar candles instead of votive lights. You do not wish to replace them during dinner.
Take clues from the way they set the table for an Easter brunch party or a Mother’s Day chic picnic. The restricted color scheme means that you can mix and match paired down tableware. As you can see, every day tableware can create an elegant tabletop. It is all in the way you display it and how you will enhance the look with your centerpieces.
Think about the Comfort of Your Guests
Whenever you do an outdoor party, think about ways to let your guests sit comfortably on the lawn. Put a futon mattress on the lawn with plenty of pillows for the guest(s) of honor. Transform little kid stools into side tables or use trays to get a place to set down your glass of wine. You could use big square blankets, towels or sheets. Select a place big enough for people to gather in smaller groups, if they wish to. Close proximity encourages the flow of conversation.
+ See all of the wedding images on Style Me Pretty
My goal was to create a Thanksgiving mood board that will not include gourds, pumpkins or a roasted turkey. I wanted a theme that mixed the old with the new. When I saw this adorable farmyard animal trays by Simrin, I found my starting point. Life after the harvest at the farm influenced my theme.
Think about the elements of a modern rustic home. You can introduce the old through your home accessories in the room, not simply the tableware. Show off items made with reclaimed wood and finds from the flea market. Plus, it should not be too hard to find the right tableware since many reedited old style tableware are available in stores this season.
Do not be afraid to make it your own. For example, you can coordinate modern white tableware with vintage French country flatware and a contemporary fall foliage tablecloth. For the colors, take clues from the harvest season, the fall foliage, and life at the farm. Go for orange and natural linen table linens.
Click here if you need the step by step instructions to fold your napkins into a diagonal pocket.
+ Rattan Handled Pitcher $49 USD at Wisteria
+ Feed Sack with blue Table Runner $399 USD at Wisteria
+ side wood table by Roost
+ Black Laguiole flatware at Williams-Sonoma on the Web 20-piece $289, in store $79 per 5-piece setting
+ Farmyard Medium Rectangular Pig Tray by Simrin $76 USD
+ photo by Jodi Pudge for Style at Home
+ Etienne Rust Table Runner $46.95 USD
+ Lustre Rust Napkin $4.95 USD
+ Kava Saucer $12 USD
+ Wood-handle horn flatware $15 CAD per three-piece set At Design Group