This stylish table setting is based on the traditional seasonal color palette of red and green. Though this year I got the urge to shake it up a bit… I decided to add multi-colored mini gingerbread houses to each place setting, and also, and perhaps more daringly, a bit of black in the napkins, the party crackers, and the chair sashes. This black added a new and interesting degree of elegance as a counterpoint to the playfulness of the gingerbread. At the center of the creation however, and never to be overshadowed, a lovely, lit, fresh arrangement of red roses, peppermint-toned, fringed tulips, kale, crabapples, greens, and cones stole the show! See all the details below! Enjoy!
Tablecloths & Placemats:
- Tablecloths: There are actually three tablecloths in use here, two of which I crafted. The base cloth is a chocolate-brown, cotton, hem-stitch available at Amazon.com. In my case the size is 60X120, but additional sizes were also available. The two upper cloths are both 50-inch squares (when finished) and handcrafted with a suede-like, berry-colored fabric from JoAnn Fabrics. I used the same technique as described in my prior post on the method for crafting napkins only in this case, I chose the “no-sew” option. The arrangement pattern was two kites with points overlapping in the center and hanging down on six sides, a lovely dramatic display of color, shape, and texture.
- Place Mats: Just as with the square tablecloths, these were handcrafted using the no-sew version of the napkin technique described here with completed dimensions of 12 X 18 inches each. My fabric choice was a coordinating, suede-like olive also from JoAnn Fabrics.
The gold and burgundy tones of this china suit it well to an elegant Winter Solstice setting. It is made by Noritake, and the specific pattern name is “Gellee”. Mine is a family heirloom, but it is readily available on ebay and through Replacements, Ltd.
- Water glasses were purchased in a set at T.J. Maxx.
- Petite European crystal wine glasses look lovely and allow small, frequent pours for course pairings. These were purchased on ebay.
When considering a purchase, it may be helpful to note that these tend to be the same glasses I use every holiday, so they get plenty of use.
My centerpiece consists of three components: a central, rich floral display, two tapers, and six individually painted holiday angels.
- Flowers: This full and fragrant floral arrangement brimmed with vitality and quite frankly stole the show! It sat within a 6 X 9 X 5.5-inch, handled basket and consisted of red roses, peppermint-toned, fringed tulips, kale, large crabapples, evergreen sprigs, and both frosted and unfrosted cone clusters. I purchased mine from a local farm stand, but with a little patience, a basket, and some floral foam, a naturalistic arrangement combining evergreens and local flowers and produce could provide both a rewarding crafting experience along with a dazzling central display. In order to further augment its already dazzling effect, I also chose to intersperse small, white lights throughout. I purchased mine at a local Michaels craft store though any small set designed for lighting holiday wreaths would do nicely.
- Candles and Candleholders: I adore the sight, the scent, and the history of authentic bayberry tapers and chose to accent my centerpiece with one on each side of my floral arrangement seated within a silver candleholder. Tapers were purchased locally through the Drumlin Farm Wildlife Sanctuary, and candleholders through Michaels.
”Bayberry candles, made from the wax on the berries of the bayberry shrub, have been the traditional holiday candles since colonial times. Burned to the nub on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve, they bring good luck for the coming year. A white powder called bloom forms naturally on the surface of bayberry candles as they age.”~Massachusetts Audubon Society
- Solstice Angels: These were purchased unpainted from my local Michaels craft store several years ago and became a loving project in my home. We carefully chose the rich and rustic colors we preferred (acrylics) and set to work painting each detail, each angel distinct from the others. These sweet statues have quickly become a treasured tradition, and in this year’s setting three surrounded each taper.
- The overall effect:
- Napkins were handcrafted with love, and I was so pleased with the results. Being able to deeply personalize my fabric pattern (“Winter Solstice” from Jason Yenter displaying fir boughs, fir trees, cones, holly berries, holly leaves, and a prominent sun graphic in lovely hues of red, green, gold, brown, and black), I was thrilled to be able to include the concept of the diminishing and then reemerging sun in my decor being the natural phenomenon behind the seasonal celebration itself. Simple instructions (including both sew and no-sew versions) are available here.
- Napkins were folded in a Standing Fan pattern and situated behind the plates. Easy-to-follow folding instructions are available here at a wonderfully useful blog called NapkinFoldingGuide.com.
Chair Covers and Chair Sashes:
- Chair covers: Consistent with the idea of brown being at the base of this decor (just as it is at the base of a tree), these are chocolate spandex and are available at: eFavorMart.com.
- Chair Sashes: These lovely black, flocking chair sashes worked as a perfect accent and were also available at eFavorMart.com. I embellished them with Artificial Evergreen Pine Hemlock Sprays with Real Pine Cones from Amazon.com.
- Candy: Each place setting included:
- an all-natural mint tree lollipop ornament (resting in front of napkin)
- a Belgian chocolate gnome from Whole Foods Market (aside the hurdy gurdies)
- a peppermint stick (with the gnome)
- a spiral candy cane purchased at a local Michaels craft store (hooked onto the tea cup)
- a piece of all natural mini ribbon candy (resting in the saucer)
- a handful of peppermint pillows (resting in the saucer)
- and several all natural vanilla puffs (resting in the saucer)
- Personalized Wine Charms: Wine charms with each guest’s initials are not only very flattering but also quite practical, especially when pairing courses with wines and therefore involving small, frequent pours. Click here for the instructions for making these sparkling and ever so versatile personalized wine charms.
- Place Cards: Click here for instructions on making these coordinated, Yule-inspired labels.
- Hurdy Gurdies: These timeless mini music boxes are playful, fun, and an intriguing favor. They are holiday-inspired and are available at Victorian Trading Co. I further personalized them by purchasing Victorian-themed Old Snowmen Stickers and Yuletide Stickers and cutting them out appropriately to vary the images on the fronts of the hurdy gurdies so that each guest’s treasure would be unique
- Mini Gingerbread Houses: These stunning original pieces of edible art (and gluten-free and delicious to boot!) were a cornerstone of the decor. They provided comforting aromas, artistic elegance, and child-like delight all at the same time! Instructions on creating them are available here. They stood atop gorgeous Victorian cupcake pedestals from Victorian Trading Co., most fitting means for displaying such treasures.
- Yule Party Crackers: No table setting is complete without these! I cannot even convey how much these favors are enjoyed! Click for detailed instructions on Yule Party Cracker-making.
I hope you have enjoyed my 2011 holiday table décor selections, and always remember, the most important part of creating an inspired table setting is to follow your heart. May this and every holiday season fill you with joy!
Happy Winter Solstice!