Sunday, November 25, 2012

The Evolution of a Tablescape

(or a peek at Maria's tortured mind)

I have learned (the hard way - always the hard way) that when preparing a tablescape, it's really useful to photograph the design as it unfolds.  The camera captures things that are missed by the naked eye.  I have become extremely spoiled by digital photography and its instant gratification.  These images are not great, but they gave me a sense of where the setting was going so I could discard, or commit portions of the tablescape and proceed to the next step.

I wanted to showcase the design of my new love, Delamere Woodland Brown by Spode, with its myriad flowers and scroll work.  I thought, at first, to keep everthing else very simple and understated, so as not to distract from the beautiful pattern.


I also knew that I really, really liked how the check pattern on these napkins worked as a counterpoint to the floral.  Further, the brown matched the floral border on the dishes perfectly.  Color is the bane of my decorating existence.  I agonize over it constantly and doubt myself frequently.  But this time, it just clicked.


At this point, I showed what I had to my friend Patti C., but it can be confusing to show your work-in-progress to another talented tablescaper with her own unique vision.  Patti, however, did verbalize what I myself was feeling:  The table setting looked a little flat, so it was back to the drawing board.

Should I keep the napkin ring, with its wonderful scrolls and acanthus leaves that mimic the ones on the dishes . . . ?


Too much, perhaps?  Should I tuck the napkin under the salad plate and forgo the napkin ring?


Better, I think, and I like the pinecone . . .  What if I tried a gold napkin?


This is pretty!  But then I'd have to give up on the brown checked napkins . . . and I really like those napkins . . . What if I had a gold placemat instead . . . ?  I folded the gold napkin as a placemat, just for kicks . . .


Oh, wow!  I really like this!  Gold placemats are the way to go . . . but NOT this gold; it's a different shade than the goblets . . . Oh, and this wine glass is sooo wrong!  Pointy gothic arches don't seem to go with the flowery pattern on the plates . . .


I ordered the Sferra placemats online, and the color seemed like it would work, but you never know when you order things without seeing them in person . . . When I clicked on the "Checkout" button I crossed my fingers . . .  Whew! What a relief when I saw that the color was just what I hoped for! 


The placemat and goblet are playing together beautifully!  Now to press the napkins . . . Should I fold them wider . . . ?


Or narrower . . . ?


Why didn't I think to photograph the two options next to each other so I could compare them???  Go back and take more pictures . . .


Narrower, I think . . . Well, all that's left now is for the flowers to arrive . . .


Yikes!  This arrangement is NOT right!  I told the florist I wanted white roses, and I also wanted pheasant feathers . . . and I did tell him not to put in bright oranges or yellows . . . But somehow, I thought there would be some gold . . . and, although this arrangement is quite beautiful, it's a little too contemporary-looking for this particular table . . . 


I ran to the grocery store, and picked up a pre-made arrangement to take apart.  In order to tone down the yellow of the mums, the grocery store florist spray painted them with metallic gold.  I exchanged the garishly orange candle for a white one, and, after some fooling around, came up with a traditional, round arrangement, better suited to the table and the occasion . . . with some gold flowers that added a third gold element to the design . . .


As a matter of fact, it turned out even better than I could have hoped.  The soft red, dendrobium orchids added a wonderful pop of color . . . And my mother's crystal wine glasses, with their floral pattern, worked really well, too!


It's done.  Now, about the food . . .  Is ordering a pizza out of the question . . . ?

7 comments:

My 365 Project said...

Oh what a beautiful table!

Nicki said...

Wait, you're saying you do not wear a tablescape super power cape and with a mere leap from the hutch, pull out the perfect and exact place setting, glass ware, napkins, and centerpiece for all holidays. Please reaffirm that you do, at a minimum, wear a tee-shirt bearing a red triangle monogrammed with TS under your sweater, can dodge a bullet, leap tall buildings, and whip out the best damn table for any given occasion. Please!

Anonymous said...

I love the way your mind works~~ :-) each detail so thought out.. its stunning

xinex said...

Tis looks so warm and beautiful. I love those plates, very pretty. So funny that there are so many ways we can create a tablescape with the same items and sometimes, it makes it hard to decide....Christine

Entertaining Women said...

I love the Delamere patern, too. I've started a small collection of them, but not enough to set a table, yet. I enjoyed your anatomy of a tablescape. Cherry Kay

Laurie Ritchey said...

I love that china pattern, and you have set a beautiful table with it. You made me worry that I don't spend enough time making decisions about my tables though. I'm kind of a "set the table and hope for the best" tablescaper. Maybe that's why my tables don't turn out this pretty. laurie

FABBY'S LIVING said...

What a gorgeous china, this pattern is lovely! You always make such beautiful tables Maria. Stunning! I hope all is well with you my sweet friend and that your holidays are coming along smoothly.
FABBY