Sunday, November 29, 2015

What is a Holiday Table?

This is my Thanksgiving table.  But it could be a Christmas table too.  It's a holiday table.

What is a holiday table?

It's pretty....

It's intimate....

It's yummy....

It's a feast for the eyes...

It's inspired by nature...

It's a place for everyone to gather and celebrate and be grateful for what they have.


What makes a holiday table special?

The sparkle....

The glow....

Elegant details....that aren't too fussy or precious.

Something fun and whimsical at each place setting...

Pretty collectibles that you have gathered over the years...

The gleam of silver...

A favorite flower...


A holiday table evolves and lingers... that you can sit down the next day and enjoy those leftovers in style.

What does a holiday table mean to you?


Thanks for visiting!

Linking to the following this week....
Bouquet of Talent at Life on Lakeshore Drive
Show and Tell Friday at My Romantic Home

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Fall Color in a Far Away Place

I won't ask if you've started your Christmas preparations-- looking at all the blog posts out there, I can see that for many, the starting gun has been discharged, and the yuletide baking--crafting--decorating marathon has begun.  

With our recent all-out cabin-work blitz, being sick, and pressing work obligations, I'm a little behind this year, and I can't make the mental leap to all things Christmas yet.   I'm getting there.  I've been mulling over various ideas for an approach (or I may pull out all my boxes of decorations and just dive in with no set plan, sometimes that works too...).

So for those who want to savor the charms of fall one last time,  here's a little bit of the fall color that had started to paint the high country around our cabin in Utah when we were there a few months ago (if you missed my post about our recent work vacation at our cabin, click here).  

And because Thanksgiving is just a few days away, I've thrown in some ideas for rustic outdoor the mountains of the Colorado Autumn...under a brilliant blue sky.  

Yes, along with bins filled with paint and power tools and a flatbed trailer piled high with tongue-and-groove wall planks and kitchen cabinets, I dragged along a few supplies to stage nature-inspired tablescape.

I had ambitious plans for my husband and I to have at least one leisurely outdoor meal outside one evening when the shadows are long, the cliffs turn a deep, intense red, and that bird I haven't identified yet calls from the nearby pinon trees.  

Foolish me.  Once we were done with our long workdays, it was all we could do to throw together a quick meal (I believe I had a peanut butter sandwich the first night), which was eaten off of paper plates in our 5th wheel trailer, before we fell into bed.

 I was able to get out early enough one morning however, when I still had energy, to play around with my camera.  The light at this time of day is amazing: strong, pure, and bright without the white glare of midday and early afternoon.  

I took a little walk, picked up some interesting deadwood and pine cones, enjoyed the early morning coolness and quiet.... and then dragged out my supplies, and had a little fun....

Most of these apples and pairs were picked by my sister in the historic orchards in nearby Capitol Reef.  For a small fee, you can pick apples, apricots, cherries, peaches, and pears (when they are in season).  The orchards are over a hundred years old and are a remnant of the small farming community that was established in the late 1800s/early 1900's along the Fremont River beneath towering red cliffs (click here for more information on Capitol Reef and this historic farm/museum). 

A few years ago I made jam from apricots I picked from these orchards....looking forward to making jam, apple crisp, and peach cobbler in my pretty little cabin kitchenette.  One day when all the hard work is done and we can come back here and have a true vacation and relax (will that day ever come?).....

I picked up this stag-themed flatware at Bass Pro.  Perfect for cabin life.

I have high hopes for this table, which came with the property.  Its wood is weathered and gray and slightly warped.  Its legs are wonky and the whole thing stands crooked.  I'm hoping my husband can salvage it and turn it into a usable table for outdoor dining.  Future project.  For when he has recovered from the cabin project ;-).

'Our' red rock formation peeks through the soft, warm green of this pinon.  Actually, we do own a portion of this hunk of rock; our northern-most section of land includes the east facing base of this formation.


Pulling out onto the main highway near our cabin-- vacation over.  Making that left turn to start on the long road home is always the saddest part of our visits to the cabin..... 

...but it's a road that takes you through some pretty spectacular country, so for the first few hours at least, it's still a happy trip.   

This time I left before my husband, who stayed behind to continue working on the cabin, and was able to stop and get some photos of the high-in-the sky aspen groves that were starting to turn. 

There are several routes that we can take to get to I-15 (the big, truck infested highway route home to California) from our cabin-- almost all are designated as scenic byways.  Many are two lane roads and have hardly any traffic.  My favorite kind of driving.

Happiness is having the road to yourself.

This time I chose a route that  travels over a high mountain pass before it plunges down the mountain to the interstate below.  This little gem of a lake is right next to the road.

Aspen orange and yellow stands out among dark conifers and pines near a high mountain meadow.

Thanks for visiting!

Linking to the following this week....
Bouquet of Talent at Life on Lakeshore Drive
Wonderful Wednesday Blog Hop at Ducks 'N a Row
Feathered Nest Friday at French Country Cottage
Brag-Worthy at Bless'er House

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Creating a Rustic and Elegant Thanksgiving Table

I must confess, I don't plan ahead too much for my holiday tablescapes.  I usually have a hazy idea of what I'll do cooking along in my head a few days ahead of time.  But that's it for any advance planning.  I may use something that I've recently picked up when out and about shopping as a starting point, such as the faux-wood turkey featured in this post, and then after that, I improvise and grab whatever is on hand.  

Tablescapes where rougher, more earthy elements are juxtaposed with elegant silverware, pretty plates, fine heirlooms, and collectibles are interesting and visually exciting, and Thanksgiving is the perfect time to take this approach to setting  your table.  After all, this holiday is all about celebrating and giving thanks for nature's bounty.  You can, with a quick trip outside (and/or to your grocery store's produce section) along with a shopping tour of your own house, quickly throw together a table that is rustic and elegant and highly personalized.

Here is how I pulled it all together for Thanksgiving last year......


The elegant touches....

While I don't exactly pull out Emily Post and slavishly follow the rules for setting out just so the flatware, water glasses, wine glasses, napkins and so on... I still follow the general table setting rules of thumb for place settings; i.e. knife and spoon to the right of the dinner plate (knife tip turned outward), forks to the left, drinking glass and wine glass at top right, salad plate either at top left or sitting on the dinner plate....But after the basic set up, it's anything goes, since we are entertaining family and friends, not the Queen of England.

I started with my pretty brown transferware dinner and bread/salad/dessert (I don't know which they are) plates... well as some other brown transferware serving pieces I've picked up over the years.  I just love this little gravy boat with it's matching dish (see below). For more on collecting brown transferware, click here

Using some clip-art napkin rings I made a few years ago, I showcased rolled up napkins in the center of each place setting.  Easy-peasy; no fancy, complicated napkin-folding trickery here. 

Adding the matching silver flatware from the set my mom gave us for our wedding gift gave the table a more formal feeling and announces that this is a special occasion (not that using mis-matched silverware is bad, not at all-- click here for more on the joys of using multiple patterns).  

And that's about as 'elegant' and formal as we get in my house...


The rustic...

I shopped the produce section of our local grocery store for some wonderful miniature pears, crab apples, chestnuts... and added some acorns and pretty leaves that I've collected over the years (click here for more on how I pulled all this together).  

Mr. Faux-Wood Turkey with his sturdy, textured finish is perfect in the starring role of my center piece and he plays very nicely with the wooden candle holders and wood and wire pedestal piece.

Woven grass chargers made a wonderful, rustic stage that pairs nicely with my transferware plates and silverware.

A twiggy wreath, with sparkly berries and bright-eyed little birdies, hangs from the chandelier overhead and added a woodland touch to our celebration. 

Can't get more rustic than a pig on the dining table...

As I do with every holiday table, I stand back and admire my handiwork (and get some photos) before the mass destruction begins (i.e. family and friends [and dogs] crowding 'round the table and gobbling down way too much food). 

How do you go about creating your Thanksgiving table?

Thanks for visiting!

Linking to the following this week....
Roses of Inspiration Linkup at The Enchanting Rose
Bouquet of Talent at Life on Lakeshore Drive