Tag Archives: Bells of Ireland

The Christmas Rose Tablesetting

Christmas tablesettings are an opportunity to use the good china, if you have it, and to create stunning centerpieces. While I don’t always use fresh flowers in my tablescapes, I never underestimate the power and beauty of fresh and softly fragrant flowers. Sometimes, as is the case in this tablesetting, only the fresh flowers will effectively achieve the sophisticated tablesetting I wanted. Just make sure that whatever flowers are chosen, they are not potently fragrant as that can be offputting for some guests.  Creating a beautiful holiday table is part of the equation but the other part is ensuring guests are comfortable for the meal.

To keep the tablesetting neutral and restful, I recommend chosing a color scheme and limiting it to two to three colors that complement each other well.  Otherwise, the table may start to look busy.  In this tablesetting, I used the blush-colored roses and a couple of shades of green with white as the table’s background. This strategy allows the focal point of the table (the centerpiece) to stand out.

The Christmas Rose Tablesetting
The Christmas Rose Tablesetting

This tablesetting has the overall effect of understated elegance with just a touch of whimsy and glitter.  The table is uncluttered and the centerpiece, the anchor of this Christmas tablesetting, is the single tall and elegant triangular flute-shaped vase with eight votives attached. Keeping the tabletop uncluttered creates a stylish and sophisticated holiday tablesetting. It’s classy and creates a serene and restful looking tabletop for dinner guests.

Candles create an inviting atmosphere and give warmth to a tablesetting. Votives are great because they provide an elegant soft low light to the tablesetting and they are also relatively safe to use because they are low and won’t likely tip if the table is jerked accidentally by the knee of a guest.  I find tall tapers to be a bit unnerving because they more easily can tip over because of their height. I rarely use them in tablesettings for this reason.

The principal flowers I have selected for the focal point centerpiece have meanings to Christmas and are steeped in legend. Whether or not any of these legends is true or not, I have no way of knowing but they do make for good conversation pieces.

The Christmas Rose Centerpiece
The Christmas Rose Centerpiece

The Legend of the Christmas Rose

Legend has it that a young shepherdess named Madelon, was tending her flock on the hillside as she watched the wise men and shepherds passing by with their gifts to present to the newborn King.  Madelon, in tears and despairing that she had no gift to offer to the Baby Jesus, was seen by an angel who is believed to have made the snow at Madelon’s feet disappear, revealing a rose with pink-tipped petals.  According to the legend, these petals were formed by the angel from the tears shed by Madelon.  This flower then offered Madelon the opportunity to present a gift at the manger. The flower became known as the Christmas Rose.

The Christmas Rose
The Christmas Rose

So, I have used a dozen soft blush-colored roses with pink-tipped petals as the main flowers in this centerpiece.

The Christmas Rose
The Christmas Rose

Legend of Star of Bethlehem Flower

This is an all-white star-shaped flower. Legend suggests God thought that the beautiful Star of Bethlehem he created to guide the wise men to the Baby Jesus was too beautiful, after it served its purpose, not to do something more with. So, the star was burst into pieces and, when it scattered to the ground, it turned into white flowers that became known as the Star of Bethlehem flower.

I have included a single Star of Bethlehem stem in the center of this arrangement.

Star of Bethlehem Flower
Star of Bethlehem Flower

Other Components of the Floral Arrangement

To complement the pale blush color of the centerpiece, I have added the green bell-shaped Bells of Ireland and small green chrysanthemums. The Bells of Ireland are said to symbolize good luck and the chrysanthemums represent happiness, love, longevity, and joy.

The greenery in the arrangement is comprised of fir and pine.

Bells of Ireland and Green Chrysanthemums
Bells of Ireland and Green Chrysanthemums

The tiny white frothy Baby’s Breath (seen to the right in the photo below) has much symbolism. One of its symbols is said to represent the power of the Holy Spirit in the Christian faith. Baby’s Breath is a great filler flower for arrangements and I think it looks like little snowdrops.

The Christmas Rose with Baby's Breath and Green Chrysanthemum
The Christmas Rose with Baby’s Breath, Star of Bethlehem, and Green Chrysanthemum


I am using my Royal Albert “Lavender Rose” china in this setting and have framed each place setting with a gold charger plate. I am a big fan of using charger plates for a couple of reasons.  First, I think it gives an air of elegance and formality to the setting and, second, it keeps each placesetting clean.  If food should happen to drop off of a plate, it is caught by the charger plate and means fewer stains on the table linen. Different colored chargers can also change the look of a tablesetting, particularly if the same dinnerware is frequently used for events with the same guests attending.

Royal Albert "Lavender Rose" China
Royal Albert “Lavender Rose” China

The placesettings are set with the components of the dinnerware that will be used in the order of the menu, starting with a cream soup, followed by the salad course and, of course, the main meal. This also gives guests a clue as to how many courses to expect at dinner.

Royal Albert "Lavender Rose" China
Royal Albert “Lavender Rose” China

To tie in the green color from the floral arrangement, and to add a bit of whimsy and interest to the setting, I am using these glittery clip-on birds.  They add a festive air and interest to the table.

Clip-on Bird
Clip-on Bird

Table Linens and Napkin Fold

When I am using patterned dinnerware, as I am in this setting, I like to use a plain tablecloth —  usually white — because it gives me a blank canvas from which to work and display elements of the setting. The tablecloth is a vintage Irish linen cloth.

The napkin fold I am using is a fold that is known by a couple of names: 1) the Bird of Paradise; and 2) the Sailboat fold. I will often set this fold on a plate but, for this setting, I am placing it inside the stemmed wine glasses because it replicates the triangular shape of the vase and its floral arrangement. When the floral arrangement is tall, I like to use some height at each placesetting so there is not such a visual drop in depth from the centerpiece to each placesetting.  Placing this fold in the stemware glass graduates the height of elements of the tablesetting.

The Bird of Paradise/Sailboat Napkin Fold
The Bird of Paradise/Sailboat Napkin Fold


I have chosen to use matching glassware in this setting as it gives a more formal look. Using glassware that has lots of cuts will add sparkle to any table.

The Bird of Paradise/Sailboat Napkin Fold
The Bird of Paradise/Sailboat Napkin Fold

A tasty meal is made all the more wonderful when dinner guests are presented with a beautifully set table. No matter what is on the menu, a thoughtfully set table adds a little extra holiday flair to a dinner party.

The Christmas Rose Holiday Tablesetting
The Christmas Rose Holiday Tablesetting

To view other holiday tablesettings from My Island Bistro Kitchen, click on the links below:

Blush Pink Holiday Tablesetting
Just Hear Those Sleigh Bells Jinglin’ Tablesetting
Glitz ‘n Glamour New Year’s Eve Tablesetting
The Warmth of the Christmas Light Tablesetting
Christmas Eve Tablesetting and Dinner
A Tartan Holiday Tablesetting
Pretty Poinsettia Tablesetting
Poinsettia Trio Tablesetting
The Holiday Table
The Pink and Green Holiday Table
Christmas at My Island Bistro Kitchen
Purple Tablesetting for the Holidays
Evergreens and Reindeer Christmas Tablesetting
Cupcake Tablescape
Twas The Night Before Christmas

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The Christmas Rose Tablesetting
The Christmas Rose Tablesetting

Picnic by the Confederation Bridge in PEI

A PEI Picnic
Picnic by the Confederation Bridge

Picnics are a favorite summertime activity for us. We like to do a lot of daytripping around our province discovering and revisiting all that our wonderful Island has to offer.  Prince Edward Island has many great locations that are suitable for picnics.  Our picnic last weekend took us to a scenic location near the Confederation Bridge in Borden-Carleton.

Bridge between PEI and New Brunswick
Confederation Bridge

This bridge transcends the Northumberland Strait linking PEI with New Brunswick. At 12.9km (8 miles) in length, the bridge is the longest bridge in the world that crosses ice-covered water. Our Island winters can be quite harsh and the Strait is covered in thick ice for several months of the year. Building a bridge to withstand these conditions was no easy feat.

Before the bridge opened to traffic on May 31, 1997, the only ways on and off PEI were by ferry or air.  Ferry service does still operate seasonally in the Eastern part of the Province at Wood Islands where ferries transport vehicular traffic between PEI and Nova Scotia.

The Confederation Bridge curves partway across the Strait and has a high navigational span that allows large ships to pass under the bridge.  It’s pretty cool to see the large cruise ships going under the bridge!

Because the Confederation Bridge is an iconic element of PEI, it makes a fitting backdrop for a summertime Island picnic.

Summer Picnic in PEI
Bridge View

So, now that the stage has been set for the location, back to the picnic……I have chosen to go with a black and white theme and I’m a big fan of checkered fabric – checks just seem to speak of picnics. I have chosen to use my plain black dinner napkins and have wrapped the cutlery inside the napkins. This is easy to do before leaving home and it keeps the items together.  To give the classy black napkins a more casual look for a picnic, I have tied each napkin with narrow twine.

To add a punch of color to the table, I selected small bright yellow sunflowers paired with Bells of Ireland.  Whether I am setting the table for an event at home or on the road, I like to see a well set table! These flowers were locally grown at Island Meadow Farm in York, PEI.  They grow the most amazing array of flowers and I like to use them in my summer tablesettings.

Summer Flowers
Sunflowers and Bells of Ireland

Picnics are meant to be casual fare so, while I always try to have a main, a side, some fruit, something sweet, and a beverage, I often like to include some finger/snacking foods as I have done today.  Let’s start with the PEI mussels in the shell. These are steamed mussels to which I have added some red and orange pepper, celery, and red onion. A light dressing of a red wine vinaigrette makes these tasty little morsels.

PEI Mussels

Cold cuts, cherry tomatoes, and cucumber are always good nibbling foods (and they add great color to the table).

Cold Cut Tray
The Nibbling Tray


I wrapped peach wedges inside basil leaves and prosciutto (seen in the photo below). These little picnic hors d’oeuvres add color, texture, and flavor to the menu. They go particularly well with Gouda cheese.

Picnic Hors d'oeuvres
Peaches in Prosciutto

I have chosen small tomato quiches for the main in today’s picnic. The great thing about quiches is that they can be served, hot, warm, or cold and, when cold, are great travelers for the picnic basket.

Tomato Quiche

And, for a side, I opted for a quinoa salad with a balsamic vinaigrette dressing. To the quinoa I added peppers, corn, celery, red onion, and kale from our garden. Packing the salad into small Mason jars is an easy way to transport salads on a picnic.

Salad in a Mason Jar
Quinoa Salad

Plates are not always necessary for picnics.  Here, I have used small breadboards which work equally well and they are easy to pack.

The Picnic Lunch

I popped by the Tryon Blueberries U-Pick in North Tryon on my way and picked a box of these amazing high-bush blueberries.  I live on these berries when they are in season on the Island!

Summer Berries
PEI Blueberries

And, for the sweet tooth, I took along some of my homemade snickerdoodle cookies.

Snickerdoodle Cookies

And, as an extra special treat, we enjoyed Belgian chocolates that we brought home from a wonderful visit to Brugge, Belgium. If you ever have the chance to visit Brugge, I highly recommend it. You can view photos of my visit to Brugge over on my travel blog, Island Shore Traveler, by clicking here.

Belgian Chocolates

I like to choose foods and elements to the picnic that are colorful and that blend well together.

Picnic Time
A PEI Summer Picnic

I hope you have enjoyed a little “taste” of my picnic by the bridge.

PEI Picnic
Picnic by the Bridge

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PEI Picnic
Picnic by the Confederation Bridge, PEI