Category Archives: Tablescapes

Early Fall Bistro Style Dinner on the Front Verandah

Serving the Charcuterie-Cheese-Fruit Board Appetizer
Serving the Charcuterie-Cheese-Fruit Board Appetizer

Our fall this year has simply been fabulous. Uncharacteristically for the Island this time of the year, there have been days this fall where we were still able to dine on the front verandah and today was one of those days.  This will probably be the last “outdoors” dinner this fall. I thought you might like to take a little peek at the table.

Alfresco Dining on the Front Verandah
Alfresco Dining on the Front Verandah

Charcuterie, cheese, and fruit trays (or a combination of all three) are common for entertaining.  They are relatively quick and easy to prepare, plate well, are attractive and appetizing, and they are tasty, too.

Charcuterie, Cheese, and Fruit Starter Board
Charcuterie, Cheese, and Fruit Starter Board

These trays, or boards, can be used for a wide variety and style of events – entertaining friends at home, picnics, potlucks, and just about any kind of get-together.  You can check out a couple of picnics in which I have used combination charcuterie-cheese-fruit boards, ranging from the very simple version (click here) to the more elaborate (click here).

These kinds of boards can also be used as an appetizer or starter to a meal which is how I am using them today.  Sometimes, I’ll prepare a communal tray and set it in the middle of the table where it doubles as a centerpiece.  Other times, I’ll prepare individual boards for each guest as I have done here today.

Charcuterie, Cheese, and Fruit Boards Make Great Appetizers
Charcuterie, Cheese, and Fruit Boards Make Great Appetizers

Before I explain what is on the individual charcuterie-cheese-fruit boards, let’s construct the tablesetting design, starting with the blank canvas – the tablecloth.

Linens
Even though this table is set for a casual get-together on the front verandah, I’ve still opted to use my favorite blank canvas – the white tablecloth.  White is my “go-to” for many of my tablescapes because I like the look of clean, simple white table linen – it’s always in style and food and other elements in the setting look exceptionally good against a blank white canvas. I also think white linen lends an air of sophistication to any tablescape. The tablecloth I have used here is a vintage Irish linen cloth but any good quality white cloth or tablecloth will do…just make sure it is pressed, free of wrinkles, and doesn’t sport any stains that could suggest to guests that it has not been laundered since its last use.

White Table Linens Make the Elements of the Tablesetting Stand Out
White Table Linens Make the Elements of the Tablesetting Stand Out

I always recommend good quality dinner-size napkins be in the host’s or hostess’ linen drawer.  Just like white tablecloths, they go with anything and always look crisp and chic. I’ve kept their positioning very simple on this table, simply folding them and placing them, unobtrusively, under the forks.  This is intentional to maintain the casual ambiance of the table.

Centerpiece
I have owned the ikebana (seen in photograph below) handmade by PEI potter, Peter Jansons, of the Dunes Studio Gallery and Café in Brackley Beach for a very long time.  Peter is well-known for these ikebanas which he produces in various colors, sizes, and shapes.

Ikebana
Ikebana

Fitted with a floral frog, the ikebana is super easy to work with and an attractive contemporary-style floral arrangement is possible with any flowers and with little to no flower arranging abilities.

Contemporary Floral Design
Contemporary Floral Design

The flowers in this simple arrangement were gathered from our flower and herb beds, nothing too fussy.  There is no need to spend a fortune on flowers for centerpieces; sometimes, nothing more is needed than what can be found in one’s own backyard!

Fresh herbs, such as oregano, are great in casual floral arrangements
Fresh herbs, such as oregano, are great in casual floral arrangements

Dinnerware
For the main meal, I’m using my basic white dinnerware.  But, what I’m focusing on for this posting are the very basic, simple, small wooden breadboards for the starter course – the charcuterie/cheese boards.  Plates can, of course, be used for this part of the meal but, for presentation purposes, the wood boards lend a more casual, rustic, and interesting look to the table.  The boards I am using are inexpensive and are proportionally sized to fit within each placesetting space.

Small breadboards are ideal for individual-sized charcuterie boards
Small breadboards are ideal for individual-sized charcuterie boards

Flatware
I tend to prefer good quality basic flatware, not overdone with design.  Unless you wish to spend a lot on flatware and have multiple sets, choose a plain pattern that works equally well with casual and more formal tablesettings.

Glassware
I’ve mixed my antique water glasses with plain wine glasses.  The cut glass in the water glasses will give some sparkle to this outside tablesetting as the sun hits it.  The plain wine glasses are in keeping with the casual “bistro” style dining look I am using.  The plain wine glasses will also allow the color and clarity of the wine to show well.

Plain Wine Glasses Show Color and Clarity of Wine Best
Plain Wine Glasses Show Color and Clarity of Wine Best

Additional Accents
I have added a large water pitcher to the table. Apart from being functional, I like the design of the pitcher and it is in keeping with the casual dining look of this setting.

Starter Course
Starter Course

A box of locally-grown plums from Arlington Orchards rounds out the look of the tablesetting.  I like to include edible props in my tablescapes, especially when they are in season and are in keeping with the theme of the meal.

Plums
Plums

What’s on the Boards?
As mentioned earlier, I’ve opted to prepare separate boards for each guest in lieu of preparing one board and placing it in the middle of the table (which would also work).  The benefit of doing individual boards is that each board can be tailored to each guest’s personal food preferences or dietary needs.  For example, if one guest likes mild meats and another prefers spicier meats, their boards can be custom-prepared with that in mind.  Likewise, if someone has gluten-free requirements, there is less chance of cross-contamination if that individual’s board is prepared separately. A sign of a good host or hostess is one who is aware of guests’ dietary needs/preferences and accommodates them. This extra touch of thoughtfulness is always appreciated by guests, especially those with dietary restrictions.

Individually-prepared Charcuterie-Cheese-Fruit Boards
Individually-prepared Charcuterie-Cheese-Fruit Boards

I also think it makes each guest feel more special if they sit down at the table and have a lovely individual charcuterie/cheese board set in front of them.

Herb-infused Olive Oil
Herb-infused Olive Oil

We grow a lot of herbs and I make good use of them in multiple ways. Today, I have included them on the boards in these adorable small bottles of high quality dipping olive oil.  The herbs infuse the oil and they also add an element of interest to a simple little bottle of oil.  The small white dishes under the olive oil bottles are, of course, for the oil to allow for easy dipping of the bread.

Dill-infused Olive Oil
Dill-infused Olive Oil

I often make my baguettes in small individual sizes because they are perfect for these types of occasions.  In keeping with the rustic look, I’ve wrapped the small baguettes in pieces of jute tied with chives  and garnished with a fresh sprig of thyme. They dress up the boards!

Individual-sized Baguettes
Individual-sized Baguettes

I have opted to go with two nibbling cheeses – a good quality Havarti and a really interesting mosaic-patterned cheddar from Ireland.  I always try to find at least one kind of unique cheese to include on my boards and this gourmet white cheddar cheese certainly creates a statement on the board. This is a mild cheese made with Guinness-brewer porter and covered with a brown wax coating.

Bradburys Irish Porter Cheddar Cheese
Bradburys Irish Porter Cheddar Cheese

The choice of meats for the board does not have to be exclusive.  Local delicatessens offer lots of options in this regard.  Generally, for these boards used as appetizers, include two to three kinds of meats.

Tasty Appetizer Board
Tasty Appetizer Board

Everything is in the details.  Adding a few almonds add variety, interest, color, and texture to the boards.

Colors and Textures of a Charcuterie Board
Colors and Textures of a Charcuterie Board

The black cherries contribute color and shape to the board and are a great way to finish off the starter course.

Black Cherries
Black Cherries

Wine
My wine selection for this course of the meal comes from Wheatley River, PEI.  A new meadery opened in PEI in summer 2017 and it produces several kinds of mead made with fermented honey.  You can click here to read my story on this new meadery.

Wildflower Mead from The Island Honey Wine Company in PEI
Wildflower Mead from The Island Honey Wine Company in PEI

I have chosen to pair the Island Honey Wine Company’s Wildflower Honey Mead with this starter course.

Wildflower Honey Mead
Wildflower Honey Mead

So, there you have it!  Stylish little boards that make a great starter course and are sure to be conversation pieces to the start of a leisurely bistro-style dinner. Bon Appétit!

Serving Appetizers
Serving Appetizers
Dinner on the Front Verandah

 

Autumn-themed Thanksgiving Tablesetting

Thanksgiving has a way of creeping up on me before I am ready for it!  The fall is such a busy season for me and there is always lots to do.

This year, I cooked the full turkey dinner. It’s a lot of work but nothing beats a home-cooked turkey dinner and the best part…..there are leftovers!

Roast Turkey
Roast Turkey

The color theme for my tablesetting was orange. The table linen is a soft white which really allows the charger plates and other elements of this tablesetting to stand out.

Thanksgiving Tablesetting
Thanksgiving Tablesetting

I found these lovely burnt orange charger plates with a leaf motif on them. I will use these right through the autumn season, not just for Thanksgiving dinner.

Charger Plates
Fall-themed Charger Plates

I have had the leaf-designed napkin rings for awhile and the pumpkin-themed napkins pair well with them.

Pumpkin-themed Napkins
Pumpkin-themed Napkins

The centerpiece is really nothing more than herbs from our garden and some leaves picked from nearby ditches. My mother has some bayberry bushes on her property so bay leaves form the base of the centerpiece. I also added some oregano and sage which both smell wonderful and then some bright yellow frothy dill for pops of color.  The centerpiece cost me nothing and only took very few minutes to pull together.

Nature's Centerpiece
Nature’s Centerpiece

I have added in some little votives wrapped in birch bark to keep the natural look flowing.

Votives
Candlelight

Some small pumpkin-shaped gourds tucked in around the centerpiece give an authentic Thanksgiving look to the table.

Autumnal Colors
Autumnal Colors
The Thanksgiving Tablesetting
The Thanksgiving Tablesetting

I tend to use a lot of heavier cut glass in autumn – the candlelight picks up the cuts in the glass and makes them quite enchanting.

Glassware
Glassware

The placesetting is quite simple.  I was setting a rather small table and, with the centerpiece, there was no extra room on the table. I wasn’t serving either a salad or soup course so there was no need for extra cutlery.  The dessert fork and spoon were brought to the table when the dinner plates were cleared and dessert served. If there is room, I often include them at the top of the plates but this setting didn’t permit the space.

Place Setting
Place Setting
Candlelight
Candlelight

I like to present the turkey, dressed, on a large platter.  Sometimes, I use it as the table centerpiece and, other times, I have it placed on a sideboard in the dining room.

The Thanksgiving Turkey
The Thanksgiving Turkey

To “dress” this turkey for dinner, I have opted to go with a seasonal red-green-yellow theme, choosing corn on the cob, cranberries, and  rosemary and bay leaves along with some whole chestnuts.

Turkey Styling
Turkey Styling
Turkey Dressed in Style for Dinner!
Turkey Dressed in Style for Dinner!

I mixed some finely chopped fresh herbs with melted butter and basted the turkey with this mixture – I like the black-specks on the turkey! I think it gives the bird some character!

Herb-Basted Roast Turkey
Herb-Basted Roast Turkey
Roast Turkey Dinner
Roast Turkey Dinner

It is not necessary, of course, to “dress” the turkey for table presentation.  The turkey can, instead, be carved in the kitchen out of sight of the guests and brought to the table.  I always like to see it nicely carved and presented on a meat platter.

Carved Turkey
Carved Turkey

Make the platter look more attractive by inserting a few fresh herbs, here and there, to fill in any open spaces and to give definition to the platter.

Plated Carved Turkey
Plated Carved Turkey

To view other Thanksgiving tablesettings from My Island Bistro Kitchen, click on the following links:

Thanksgiving Tablescape
Thanksgiving Tablesetting
Happy Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving Tablesetting

Pretty in Pink Summer Tablesetting

"Pretty in Pink" Tablesetting
“Pretty in Pink” Tablesetting

I love setting beautiful tables and making them season-friendly.  In our all-too-short summer season here on Prince Edward Island, I like to use fresh locally-grown flowers whenever I can. With beautiful pink flowers like those in the photo below, it’s easy to set a pretty alfresco dining table.

Multiple Floral Arrangements in Tablescape
Multiple Floral Arrangements in Tablescape

I have a collection of white milk glass and like its clean look. I find it transitions well to any season and any color of flowers.  One of the biggest advantages I find to using the white vases is that they  conceal the stems and make a cleaner-looking tabletop. When I add to my collection, I try to find pieces of the milk glass that are different shapes and sizes and, when using them in a tablesetting, I use varying sizes and shapes to add more interest to the tablescape. Taller vases add a dramatic effect and “lift” to the tabletop. Just make sure that they and the flowers are not so tall as to block guests’ views of each other as this makes tabletop conversation more difficult and gives an obstructive ambiance to the setting.

Multiple Vases in Floral Arrangement
Multiple Vases in Floral Arrangement

This setting lends itself well to the use of my vintage Grindley (England) Cream Petal dinnerware in the apple blossom pattern.

"Pretty in Pink" Summer Tablesetting
“Pretty in Pink” Summer Tablesetting (Grindley Cream Petal dinnerware)

When I am setting a table, I first decide on whether it will be a casual, informal, or formal setting. Then, I choose my dinnerware accordingly and then select linens, flowers, vases, and glassware that will complement the dishes. Pink was an obvious theme color for this setting and was derived from the pink pattern on the dinnerware.

"Pretty in Pink" Summer Tablesetting
“Pretty in Pink” Summer Tablesetting

In this case, I chose a small-checked pink tablecloth and simple ivory-colored napkins to match the off-white color in the dinnerware’s background.  Because I am using a collection of vases on the table, I need to use table linens that are fairly solid in color so they don’t distract the eye and create a chaotic look. The checks in this tablecloth were sufficiently small that they work. And, of course, it goes without saying that, regardless how casual or formal the event, the tablecloth must be ironed and all creases from any folds removed. It’s a sign of a well-set and dressed table when the linens are pressed and wrinkle-free. A casual style tablesetting does not extend to the point that the host/hostess has not taken the time to properly prepare the linens.

When using patterned dinnerware and you want to show off the pattern, choose plain colored napkins and a napkin fold that is placed on the table rather than on the plate covering up the dinnerware pattern. The napkins on this table have an embossed pattern which adds a level of texture to the table. To keep tablesettings simple for a casual dinner, use a basic napkin fold and position it under the fork(s). If you aren’t adept with fancy napkin folding, this is the easiest fold to do and it is always classy and always in style.

"Pretty in Pink" Summer Tablesetting
“Pretty in Pink” Summer Tablesetting

When using multiple bouquets as a tablescape, it’s best that they be in odd number format, versus even, as this is more aesthetically pleasing to the eye.  It’s also preferable to vary the height and size of the vases as this adds interest to the setting. The great thing about using individual vases is that they can be configured in any format on the table – i.e., spread out the length of the table as I have done here, clustered altogether in the table’s center, or they can be clustered into small individual groupings here and there along the center of the table. If spreading the vases out, I recommend placing them in an “S” shape, as shown in the photo below, to make the arrangement more interesting.

Multiple Vases in "S" Pattern in Table Center
Multiple Vases in “S” Pattern in Table Center

The main thing to keep in mind with this type of arrangement is not to overfill the vases with flowers, trying to create an entire full bouquet in each.  Keep it simple and casual by placing only one or two stems and perhaps a bit of  greenery in some (but not nesssarily all) of the vases and varying the size and variety of the flowers used.

Simplistic Floral Arrangements
Simplistic Floral Arrangements

In this arrangement, I have chosen, among others, Sweet William, Sweet Peas, Estoma Lisianthia, and cress, varying the size, shape, and color intensity of the flowers chosen. The colors range from soft white to pale pink to medium-deep pink.  By keeping the colors in the same palette and varying the color intensity just a little, it is less chaotic and more calming to the eye.  The use of vivid colors on this tabletop would have provided too much contrast and taken away from the dinnerware.  A tip to keep in mind when selecting flowers to use as single stems in vases is to ensure they have strong enough stems to stand on their own without drooping over giving the impression that they are wilting on the table.

My choice of floral varieties was deliberate because I wanted them to be the varieties that would suit vintage dishes and the flowers chosen are all ones that would have been found in old English-style gardens from long ago.  All flowers came from Island Meadow Farm in York, PEI.  Owner, Barb Jewell, grows the most amazing array of beautiful flowers and I love to pay her a visit to find some wonderful  flowers for my tablesettings. You can check out her website here. She is the florist of choice on PEI for many brides for their summer weddings and I have seen photos of weddings in which brides carried stunning bouquets that came out of Barb’s small flower shop.

You can also check out this link to another, more formal tablesetting, I did using this Cream Petal dinnerware and beautiful flowers from Island Meadow Farm.

"Sweet William"
“Sweet William”
"Estoma Lisianthia"
“Estoma Lisianthia”
"Sweet Peas"
“Sweet Peas”

When constructing a casual tablesetting, don’t hesitate to use mixed glassware as not everything has to be perfectly matched.  Here, I have used my vintage water and wine glasses and they are not a matched set. Because the dinnerware is vintage, I have chosen to use similar style glassware as opposed to sleek, contemporary stemware. Of course, the more cuts in the glass, the more sparkle and life that natural sunlight will add to the table.

Mixed vintage glassware works in casual tablesettings
Mixed vintage glassware works in casual tablesettings

As you can see from the photo below, this setting was for an alfresco dinner held on a beautiful summer day.

"Pretty in Pink" Summer Tablesetting
“Pretty in Pink” Summer Tablesetting

Even for casual tablesettings, I tend to arrange the placesettings that reflect the order of the meal to be had.  Here, the placement of the salad plate on top of the dinner plate and the addition of two forks, suggests a starter salad will precede the dinner. While it is not necessary to place the plates on the table if the meal will be plated from the kitchen, doing so sets a pretty and inviting table as guests arrive. Without the plates, I would find the placesettings to be missing something.

Grindley (England) Cream Petal Dishes (Apple Blossom Pattern)
Grindley (England) Cream Petal Dishes (Apple Blossom Pattern)
This Pretty in Pink Tablesetting uses multiple floral arrangements to create an effective tablescape for this casual summer dinner.

 

Summer Seashells Tablesetting

Summer Seashells Tablesetting
Summer Seashells Tablesetting

Weather permitting, alfresco dining makes for a pleasant dining experience. On Prince Edward Island (PEI), our season for outside dining is quite short but we make the most of it. Summer lends itself to so many tablesetting options. Living on PEI, surrounded by water, it’s easy to draw inspiration from the sea which is what I have done with today’s summer seashells tablesetting.

The color theme I have chosen is very soft and pastel – the pale blue shades to represent the sea and sky complimented by shades of beige and pale salmon pink to represent the color of the sand on the beaches and sand dunes around PEI.

Greenwich National Park
The pink sand dunes of Greenwich National Park, Prince Edward Island, Canada

We Islanders love our beaches! Many tourists visit our Island each summer to enjoy our miles and miles of pristine beaches – the pale salmon pink sand common to the north shore beaches in contrast to the deep rusty red shade of sand typically found on our south shore beaches. Our shores are bordered by the rich red-colored cliffs like those to the left in the photo below.

Darnley Beach, Prince Edward Island, Canada
Darnley Beach, Prince Edward Island, Canada

So, as you can see, it’s not hard for me to find inspiration for sea-themed tablesettings when I am so fortunate as to live in close proximity to such natural beauty.

Summer Seashell Tablesetting
Summer Seashell Tablesetting

I rarely use patterned table linens. I find they can be a bit tricky to work with because the pattern can be busy and somewhat limiting in terms of other decor items. My preference is to use the blank canvas of a solid-colored tablecloth and add color and design features through other elements like centerpieces, napkins, candles, and so forth. However, for a change (and a challenge), I have chosen a matching tablecloth and napkins that have a seashell theme.  They actually match quite well with my pale blue seashell dinnerware by Nantucket Home.

Summer Seashells Tablesetting
Summer Seashells Tablesetting

I would not use this patterned tablecloth for a formal setting but it is quite charming for a casual meal, particularly when we live near the water and when I am serving a seafood-themed dinner outside.

Nautical-themed Wine Bottle Holder
Nautical-themed Wine Bottle Holder

In terms of a centerpiece for a patterned tablecloth like this one, I recommend going with something very plain and simple, especially when this is a tablesetting for a casual dinner. What I have used here is a rustic wine holder which does double duty as a centerpiece and for actually holding the wine.  This is also a great idea if the table is not large – you still have something as a focal point in the table center but it does not overpower the setting. The nautical look of the wine holder compliments the sea theme and is a great conversation piece.

Summer Seashells Tablesetting
Summer Seashells Tablesetting

Folding patterned napkins when the tablecloth background is also patterned can be a challenge. Rather than using a formal napkin fold, I have simply knotted the napkins in the center and placed them over the soup/salad bowls. This keeps the look casual and also adds a bit of lift and color to the plain dishes.

Summer Seashells Tablesetting
Summer Seashells Tablesetting
Simple knotted napkin for a seashell-themed tablesetting
Simple knotted napkin for a seashell-themed tablesetting

I have kept the glassware quite simple using plain wine glasses complimented by my antique water glasses. The cutwork in these glasses sparkle in the sunlight.

Summer Seashells Tablesetting
Summer Seashells Tablesetting

Regardless whether you live near the sea or not, a seaside ambience can be created using seashell dinnerware and sea-themed table linens.

It’s pretty. It’s pastel. It’s summery and this tablesetting definitely has a distinctive romantic coastal feel.

Summer Seashells Tablesetting
Summer Seashells Tablesetting
This Summer Seashells Tablesetting draws its inspiration from the seashell dinnerware.
Summer Seashell Tablesetting
Summer Seashell Tablesetting

Now, it’s time to prepare the dinner! Curious as to what is on the menu for my PEI seafood dinner? I am serving PEI mussels steamed in Upstreet Craft Brewing’s “Rhuby Social” beer followed by my mussel chowder which I will serve with my homemade rolls. The main will be Island lobster in the shell accompanied by my yummy PEI potato salad. And, for dessert?  Homemade Blueberry Cheese Pie will be tonight’s finale! I think all of these foods will look great on this sea-inspired table!

To view photos of another of my sea-inspired tablescapes, click here.

Lady Lupine Tablesetting

Lupines
Wild lupines along a red dirt country road in Prince Edward Island, Canada

Every year in late June, the countryside in Prince Edward Island is  blooming with the wild lupines that grow in a vast array of colors.

Lupines and Pholx
Wild PEI Lupines and Summer Pholx

Lupines usher in summer on the Island as their blooms are one of the first signs of the season’s arrival. They don’t have a long season in which to bloom and they don’t last long but they range in shades of purples, pinks, white, salmon, yellow, white, and varigated.

Lupines
Varigated Lupines

Somewhere around the 20-25th of June is typically when they are in full bloom and at their best.

Lupines
Lupines

From the time I was a small child, I was in love with these tall elegant flowers. I loved to pick baskets of them and they are so easy to arrange.

Lupines
Lupines

On the south side of the Island, the deep purple tends to be the predominant color although other shades as they have on the north side are starting to take hold.  The field in the photo below is beside my mother’s house.

Lupines
A Field of PEI Lupines

About 25 years ago, I picked huge amounts of seed pods in shades of pink, shelled them (clearly I did not have enough to do at the time!) and threw them out alongside the road to the cottage.  They take a long time to take root but, every year, we have more and more bunches of them growing, albeit they are mostly in the purple shades.  From time to time, I will buy a few packages of seeds in other colors and plant them where there are none currently growing.

Lupines
Lupines

You might even find a lighthouse on PEI that is surrounded by lupines.

Victoria by the Sea Lighthouse
Victoria by the Sea Lighthouse

Today, I am featuring these glorious long-stemmed beauties in a  tablesetting. I simply clipped some of these wildflowers along the roadside by my mother’s home for a pretty casual arrangement.

Lupine Tablesetting
Lupine Tablesetting

Summer tends to mean more casual dining and it’s fun to move the dinner party outside to the front verandah or porch or the back deck.  Lupines are perfect for a casual al fresco dining event. I used small jars decorated with a bit of lace and rafia and, of course, used an odd number of jars for aesthetic purposes.

Lupine Bouquets
Lupine Bouquets

The great thing about having individual bouquets like these is that they can easily be re-positioned or clustered into different formats.  Here, I have used them equally spaced in a single row along the center of the table. No need to fuss much with arranging these flowers – they are stately enough on their own that they seem to just almost automatically fall into pleasing designs and take on a personality of their own.

When I want color to pop on my table and attention to be drawn to the tablesetting’s focal point which, in this case, would be the colorful lupines, I start with a plain white tablecloth as a blank canvas.  Colors always pop on white backgrounds and white provides a non-distracting background. I have several old white linen tablecloths that have been in the family for years and I make good use of them. I am noticing that many second-hand shops will often have some old vintage white linen tablecloths so they are available.

Lupine Bouquet
Lupine Bouquet

I can’t take credit for crafting these glass vases – they came from a local dollar store. I make great use of dollar stores and thrift/second hand shops for a lot of the props for my tablesettings. I interspersed little purple votives throughout the tablescape to coordinate with the color scheme.

Lupine Bouquet
Lupine Bouquet

The lupine napkins shown in the photo below coordinate with the lupine theme.  Knowing that, if I tried to form them into a napkin fold, I would lose the pretty lupine design, I simply laid one over each plate. That’s the beauty of using simple, crisp white plates – they form a great clean canvas for other decorative (and useful) elements of a tablesetting.

Lupine Napkins
Lupine Napkins

When dining outside, contending with the weather elements can always be a challenge and, on PEI and living near the water, summer breeze is a common factor.  Using the cutlery to hold the napkin in place does double duty: It secures the napkin and also lends a casual look and feel to the placesetting. Al fresco dining is meant to be casual so go ahead and break the rules of formal tablesettings!

While lupines grow wild on the Island, many visitors like to take home packages of the lupine seeds to plant in their gardens.  These colorful seed packages make a nice take-home gift for guests at an early summer dinner.

Lupine Placesetting
Lupine Placesetting

The sparkle and shine of glass that has lots of cuts adds to a table on a bright summer’s day. Glass will always add a light and airy look to a tablescape.

Glassware
Glassware

I hope you have enjoyed a glimpse into my al fresco tablesetting that features the famous lupines of Prince Edward Island.

Colorful wild lupines of Prince Edward Island, Canada, are theme for this early summer al fresco tablesetting

The Bunnies Are Ready For Easter Breakfast Tablesetting

The Easter Bunny's Breakfast Table
The Easter Bunny’s Breakfast Table

It’s all about whimsy, springtime, and bunnies in this earthy-themed tablesetting for Easter morning breakfast.

Pussywillows
Pussywillows

Simple stalks of pussywillows are casually contained in a glass vase and secured by colorful Easter eggs at their base. Easter eggs are  strewn about the table in and among whimsical little green moss bunnies. I really think the trio of green bunnies is on an Easter egg hunt!

Easter Bunny
Easter Bunny

These little fellas are so cute!

Scamper
Scamper

The green faux-moss bunnies are kind of a refreshing change from the traditional pastel colored bunnies.

Green Faux Moss Bunny
Green Faux Moss Bunny

In a departure from traditional placemats, I have used squares of imitation moss. The white dinnerware pops atop the green moss mats. White dinnerware works for any occasion and really is a good investment. I’ve used very plain flatware in keeping with the informal tablesetting.

Faux-Moss Placemats
Faux-Moss Placemats

Simple napkin rolls are held in place with pewter napkin rings that feature springtime daffodils. These were made by Seagull Pewter in Pugwash, Nova Scotia.

Seagull Pewter Napkin Ring
Seagull Pewter Napkin Ring

This setting is meant to be fun and informal.

Easter Breakfast Placesetting
Easter Breakfast Placesetting

The bunny eggcups keep the bunny theme going.

Easter Bunny Eggcup
Easter Bunny Eggcup

Little Easter chocolate bars adorn each cup but are easily set aside and replaced with a boiled egg, if desired, at breakfast. Who says you can’t have chocolate for a breakfast treat!

Easter Chocolate
Easter Chocolate

I have added a couple of larger faux moss-covered whimsical bunnies to my dining room mantle to coordinate the theme throughout the room.

Easter Bunnies
Easter Bunnies
Easter Breakfast Table
Easter Breakfast Table

Joyeous Easter!

For more Easter-themed tablesetting inspiration, click on the links below:

Tulip Time Tablescape
Tulip Clusters Springtime Tablescape
Tip Toe Through the Tulips Easter Tablesetting
Springtime Yellow Tablescape
Peter Cottontail Tablesetting for Easter
Easter Tablesetting
A Casual Tablescape for Easter Brunch

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Easter Breakfast Tablesetting

 

Tulip Time Tablescape

Living in Atlantic Canada, it’s not unheard of to still have snow in April. That’s one reason why I like to use springtime elements in my tablesettings beginning as early as possible – if I can’t see spring outside, I can at least create a spring zone in my dining room which is what I’ve done with this tablesetting.

Easter Tablesetting
Easter Tablesetting

I love paying a visit to the retail outlet at Vanco Farm greenhouses in Mount Albion, PEI, a short drive from Charlottetown. They grow fabulous tulips all winter long in their big greenhouses. If you haven’t already read the story I wrote about Vanco’s tulip-growing operation, click here.

Double Flowered Tulips
Double Flowered Tulips

Sometimes, I have a particular color scheme in mind when I make the drive to Vanco’s. Other times, however, I go with an open mind in search of a color or type of tulip that will inspire my creativity in developing a tablescape. This is what occurred with this tablesetting.

When I arrived at the greenhouses, they had these spectacular double flowered tulips in a coral pink shade with a soft ivory/pale yellow edge.  They resemble peonies because they are packed with layers of petals. They were too delightful to pass up so they became the focal point of this Easter tablesetting and inspired the color theme.

Double Flowered Tulips
Double Flowered Tulips

If you are a regular reader of my food blog, you will recall that I sometimes like to corral the elements of my tablescape into a container such as a basket or tray. This keeps the table clean and nondistracting. This is also a good choice if you plan on removing the centerpiece from the table during the meal and replacing it with a ham or turkey on a platter. It’s much easier to pick up one container off the table than several individual items.

Corralled Tablescape
Corralled Tablescape

What I have used today for the base of the centerpiece is actually a silver mirrored bathroom vanity tray — I’m a big fan of repurposing items I have around the house.

To keep the focus on the flowers, I have used a white milk glass vase. This conceals all the tulip stems so they are not competing for the eye’s attention and the colorful tulip blooms just pop above the white vase. The plain white vase also coordinates well with the dinnerware.

To add some interest to the centerpiece, I’ve also placed a bird’s nest on a small companion piece of white milk glass and added a small Easter figurine. Adding elements that connect and enhance each other is a trademark of effective tablescape creations.

The little bunnies, like the one in the photo below, are actually egg cups but I use them to hold decorative eggs, small chocolate bars, or even flowers in tablesettings other than those prepared for breakfast.

Easter Bunny Eggcups
Easter Bunny Eggcups

If desired, add some colorful Easter eggs casually strewn about the table to complete the seasonal tablescape.

Easter Tablesetting
Easter Tablesetting

If you can only afford one set of dinnerware, I recommend buying plain white in the best quality you can afford. White is so completely versatile. I maintain you can’t set a poor looking table if you go with white dishes! There are so many styles, shapes, textures, and colors of white dinnerware. There are blue whites, grey whites, beige whites, and brilliant whites. I have three sets of white dishes and none of them are the same shade or made of the same material. The ones in this tablesetting are made of porcelain and are a contemporary design.

White Dinnerware
White Dinnerware

With white dinnerware, it can be paired with solid or patterned colors for table linens and the look is easily changed completely, sometimes by simply switching up the charger plates. And, the best part of white dishes is that food looks really appetizing against the white background. In today’s setting, I have used basic pale pink/mauve charger plates to frame each placesetting and to give the air of a well set table.

For glassware, I have chosen some pieces of cut glass to add some sparkle to the table.

I rarely use paper napkins in a tablesetting. However, these matched perfectly so I used them for that reason and also because they are stiff enough to be able to stand in the design I have chosen for them. Cloth napkins, particularly my large dinner napkins, would have been unlikely to have had the same effect.

Because this is a casual tablesetting, I have opted to place the mugs atop the plates, allowing them to form a leaning post for the napkins. This gives a great pop of color to the white placesettings and also keeps each placesetting clean and simple. This is a casual tablesetting so it works. I would not, however, choose this arrangement if I was setting a very formal table.

The only table linen I have chosen to use in this setting is a short runner made of handmade Belgian lace that I brought home from a visit to Bruges. Using minimal linen on the table keeps the look airy and casual.

For other Easter and springtime tablescape inspiration, click on the links below:

Tulip Clusters Springtime Tablescape
Tip Toe Through the Tulips Easter Tablesetting
Springtime Yellow Tablescape
Peter Cottontail Tablesetting for Easter
Easter Tablesetting
A Casual Tablescape for Easter Brunch