Set Your Easter Table

Set Your Easter Table

You know how I have always told you that I like to buy neutral pieces that are not particular to any one holiday?  That way the pieces are versatile enough to use year-round?  That was true until these little bunny plates went on sale.  My resolve and practical good sense went out the window.

The dinner plate version was also available, but I told myself that these salad plates would take up less room to store.  That was me easing my conscience. :-)

Set Your Easter Table

I am so glad that I picked them up!  I purchased 9 of them, as I usually buy an extra plate just in case somebunny breaks one.

Set Your Easter Table

I found the plates and the tablecloth at Homegoods.  The tablecloth could use a few more inches all the way around and I am thinking about adding a green border all around the tablecloth, so that it feels more sizable.  Tablecloths and comforters should be made a little larger than they currently are.  Don’t you agree?

Set Your Easter Table

I have had my eye on these gold utensils for over a year!  Finally they went on sale last year (after Christmas) and I purchased 2 sets.  I was also considering this one from Amazon but decided on these from CB2.  I love them and the only critique that I have is the size of the little fork – it is unusually small.  Maybe it would be perfect as an appetizer fork, but kind of small for salad.

Set Your Easter Table

There was a lot of color already on the table, especially with the busy pattern of the tablecloth, so these linen napkins were my go-to.  I paired them with a simple gold napkin ring that matched the chargers and the utensils.

Set Your Easter Table

You all know how I love fresh flowers but I had this little yellow arrangement by my bed and it fit perfectly inside Mr. Bunny.  To make this more substantial, I sat him on a pretty blue cake pedestal.

Set Your Easter Table

I had these faux eggs in my kitchen.  Don’t they look real?  I placed them on these tiny bunny plates.  I also thought of filling them with jelly beans.

Set Your Easter Table

Flanking the yellow flowers are these two potted plants (not real).  I like how the pots even have some weathering, which make them more believable.  From far away all the greenery and flowers look real.

Set Your Easter Table

So will I be using this table for Easter?  I have no idea!  We have yet to really make plans but I am glad that the table is set and ready to go just in case we do some last minute hosting. #JustAddTheHam

Will you be hosting Easter at your home this year?  Is it a holiday that you decorate for?  All I do is set the table but not too much more decorating.  I would love to hear about your traditions on this special day.

 

This post includes one affiliate link from Amazon.  Purchasing through this affiliate link does not affect what you pay for the item.  Thank you for supporting Graceful Order!

Christmas Tablescape 2015

Christmas Tablescape 2015

I have been absent this past week and I missed you!  Last week, everyone in my house came down with a stomach bug and it all started with my youngest.  We thought it was an isolated incident and then a day later my other son started with the same symptoms, then my husband and last but not least – moi.  I was already feeling like I was falling behind on so many things, but the flu doesn’t care about to-do lists and Christmas.  The flu is heartless.

I didn’t want this week to end without wishing you all the best holidays ever!  In a few days we will have our home full of family and friends and we will be hosting our usual Christmas breakfast.  I already went grocery shopping and the table is set.  I just have to pace myself with the cooking and the prep work, and of course I have to clean the house.  I never give the house a thorough cleaning before Christmas, I just keep it relatively clean and I focus on the bathrooms and the areas that guests will be using.  After Christmas, when the tree comes down, that’s when I will break out the cleaning gloves.

I did want to share with you one more thing before I take a little Christmas break, and that is my table setting for the breakfast.  Below is a picture taken from my living room, which leads to the dining room.  I do enjoy having a formal dining room, although our daily meals are always around our kitchen table.

Christmas Tablescape 2015

 

The living room is always decorated in a pretty neutral palette and I like to use the same colors in the dining room.  This year it was gold, green and white.  The little deer are from Target and I purchased them last year.

Christmas Tablescape 2015

I collect napkin rings and napkins but I rarely buy any holiday-specific ones so that I can use them year-round.  Plus, all these items take up space and it’s not worth it to me if I can only use them once a year.

Christmas Tablescape 2015

As always, I like to bring in another texture and this really casual, woven placemat does the trick.

Christmas Tablescape 2015

The centerpiece was not really a centerpiece at all.  I placed little trees (none truly matched the other) along the center of the table, the deer as if walking through the table and finally, a set of ball ornaments in rose gold scattered throughout.

Christmas Tablescape 2015

This year I had an extra garland (the one I usually use in the buffet) and I placed it on the lamp.  I didn’t have to secure it, as the curves hug the garland in place.  It’s funny because I was walking around the house looking for a place to use the garland so that I wouldn’t have to store it back in the garage.  #ResourcefulAndLazy   I liked how it turned out so much that I may do this every year.

Christmas Tablescape 2015

I hope you enjoyed all the tablescapes that I shared this year.  I really enjoyed putting them together and sharing them with you.

I hope that we all feel well in time for Christmas day!  Enjoy every minute, my friends!

 

 

 

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Easy Entertaining – Fancy in Five

Easy Entertaining - Fancy in Five

 

This post is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group® and EDWARDS®, but all my opinions are my own. #pmedia #EdwardsPies http://my-disclosur.es/OBsstV

Lately we have been on an entertaining binge here at Graceful Order…so why stop now, right?  It’s the summer after all and everyone wants more fun and less work.  So I partnered with EDWARDS® to bring you Five entertaining short cuts that will make you feel fancy without breaking a sweat!

I set up a quick, easy (and pretty) dessert and coffee table for my friends that looked like it took all morning to put together, but we know otherwise (and now they know too because they read my blog – at least I hope they do!).

Easy Entertaining - Fancy in Five

 

1.  Use tiered servers and cake stands.

This has to be my favorite tip to elevate (literally) any party.  Here I used cake stands in different sizes for cake slices, a whole cake, one for a plant…  I collect cake stands and most of them are either white or silver so that I can use them together and they always match.

Easy Entertaining - Fancy in Five

2.  Add an orchid to your table/buffet.

I love orchids!  I think they are the best value and really dress up any table!  They cost as much as a bouquet of flowers but lasts much longer.  Pictured here is a $10 orchid that I purchased at Walmart.

Easy Entertaining - Fancy in Five

3.  Make the coffee ahead of time and use a thermal dispenser.

I have been doing this for years!  I always make coffee 30 minutes before guests arrive and I know that a good thermal dispenser will keep it hot for hours!  That way I don’t have to fumble with filters and filling up a dispenser when I could be hanging out with my friends.

Easy Entertaining - Fancy in Five

4.  Use nice napkins, preferably cloth.

I know, I know…cloth?  That means laundry.  While pretty disposable napkins are totally cute and ok to use, cloth ones elevate your table that much more.  I wash them and immediately remove them from the dryer before wrinkles set in.

Easy Entertaining - Fancy in Five

5.  Purchase a ready made frozen cake from EDWARDS®.

Or better yet, already have one in the freezer!

Easy Entertaining - Fancy in Five

You don’t need to make everything yourself and it’s ok to outsource certain things.  Especially when those “certain things” come out of the box looking like this!

Easy Entertaining - Fancy in Five

The only thing I did was remove it from the aluminum pan and place it on my fancy schmancy cake platter.  Voila!

Easy Entertaining - Fancy in Five

I actually served it with a side of chocolate syrup but no one used it.  It already has the perfect amount on the cake!

Easy Entertaining - Fancy in Five

 

The cheesecake I pre-cut for my guests because I knew my friends would go for that option first.

Easy Entertaining - Fancy in Five

I added a bowl full of berries to a gravy server so that they could help themselves.

Easy Entertaining - Fancy in Five

 

And help themselves they did!  My friends are not shy!  They like food and never need a reason to eat a good dessert.  That’s why we get along.

Easy Entertaining - Fancy in Five

 

So whether you are a cheesecake girl or you prefer another of the many varieties that Edwards offers, your friends will love your pie!  I mean, your company…

Easy Entertaining - Fancy in Five

If you want to dig into one of these pies you can use the following coupon to use at Walmart (that’s where I bought mine).

“Save $1.00 on any ONE (1) EDWARDS® Whole Pie by taking advantage of the Walmart EDWARDS Ibotta digital rebate (while supplies last)”

Enjoy and remember what Julia Child used to say “A party without cake is just a meeting.”!

Easy Entertaining - Fancy in Five

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How to Set a Proper Table Setting

Don’t you love those friends that you can let your hair down with?  The ones that don’t care if you serve them sweet tea out of crystal or a red solo cup?  Those are our favorite kind of friends!  But as much as I like casual and laid back I also want to know how to set a proper table, even if I rarely do it.

What if you go to some formal event and you have no idea what to do with those 5 forks in front of you?  Ahhhh!!  Well in our home it never gets more formal or complicated than the picture below.  We don’t serve too many courses since the chef, sous chef, hostess and clean up crew is little ol’ me.

How to Set a Proper Table Setting

There are many levels to the formality of setting a table.  Technically the plate should be 2 inches from the edge of the table but none of my friends carry rulers so I don’t bother with those details.  The basic idea with all the utensils is that you eat a meal beginning with the outside silverware and work your way in towards the plate.  If the salad is served first followed by the main course, then the salad fork would be on the outside and the dinner fork would be closest to the plate.

On the left you would place all your forks.  The dinner fork should be placed to the left of the plate and the salad fork to it’s left.   The dessert fork goes horizontally above the dinner plate and the dessert spoon goes directly above the dessert fork.  The tines of the dessert fork face towards the dinner knife.  The dessert spoon faces the forks.  Honestly, where the dessert fork and spoon are supposed to face always trips me up and really it’s not a big deal, but like with anything else…it’s good to know!

How to Set a Proper Table Setting

You can have quite a few glasses per person, depending on how many drink varieties will be served.  You can begin with the water goblet above the knife and then to the right of it white or red wine glasses, followed by champagne flutes if you do an opening toast.

In our home I rarely place wine glasses on the table, as we usually are already drinking wine by the time that we sit at the table, so everyone already has their glass in hand.

The napkin can be placed on top of the salad plate, folded lengthwise beneath the salad plate, beside the forks or below the forks.

Bread and butter plates would be above and to the left of the dinner plate.  If the dinner plate was the center of a clock, the bread plate would be at 10am. In this case (and in every case in our home) I omitted the bread and butter plate.

The dinner knife is placed to the right of the dinner plate.  Knife blades always have the cutting edge facing the plate.  If soup is served, a spoon may be placed to the right of the dinner knife.

How to Set a Proper Table Setting

 

I leave you with one of my favorite tips!  You know when you are seated at a restaurant (especially the round tables) and you can’t figure out which is your glass and which is your bread plate?  Simply position your hands in the “ok” sign and you will instantly know which is which.  Your right hand will form a “D” and your left a “B”.  Bread and Drink – easy as that!

How to Set a Proper Table Setting

It’s the effort to set a pretty table that your friends appreciate, not a table setting that needs rulers and protractors to measure silverware spacing.  Entertaining is about opening your home and making your friends feel welcome.  We can do that in so many different ways – by setting a pretty table or by making something from scratch or ordering in and chatting on the couch (with our feet up, of course)!  There are many ways to make our friends feel special and a well set table is just one of them.

Pinky up!

 

Other related Graceful Order posts:

Mother’s Day Table Setting

Setting a Beautiful Table on a Budget

The Thanksgiving Table

Fall Table Setting

 

Updating the Dining Room

Updating the Dining Room

Earlier this week, I shared how I updated my old curtains and I promised pictures of how I was updating the rest of the dining room.  When we moved in 10 years ago, I was nine months pregnant and we were in a hurry to get the house ready before the baby.  We painted the house in a rush and didn’t worry about most of the furnishings until after I had the baby.  I eventually realized that some of the colors we chose didn’t compliment the furniture, as well as I would have liked.  But we spent so much money on paint, and it was so much work to paint the whole house again, that I figured I would change the colors sometime down the line.  Well, it’s now sometime down the line.  The paint has lasted over 10 years and I can’t ask for more.  The colors that I wanted to change asap were the ones in my kitchen and the color in my dining room.

Although there is a french door in the dining room, there isn’t much natural light that comes in through the adjacent room.  The wall color was dark, the furniture is dark, the curtains are dark…I’m depressed just writing this…  Overall, the room needed to be brighter!  We weren’t about to change the furniture, so I went off to the paint store to find the right color.  I knew I wanted a white shade but finding the right shade of white was harder than expected.  Some whites are cool and others warm, the cool tones were my favorite.  However, cool tones didn’t match the existing decor, so I had to go with a warmer white.  But I didn’t want it too warm, too yellow.  I know…your head is spinning.  Mine was too.

After looking at so many swatches of color, I chose one from Sherwin Williams called “White Duck”.

Updating the Dining Room

Like many of my paint projects, I started at night.  After all, the kids were in bed and I didn’t have to worry about them running around while I tried to paint.  Here is the before picture of the room.

Updating the Dining Room

 

Look at the difference in the colors.  At first I wondered if the new color was too light.

Updating the Dining Room

 

But after finishing one wall, the room was already looking brighter.  Although outside it was getting a lot darker.  I needed sleep.

Updating the Dining Room

 

The next morning, I moved the china hutch and painted behind that last wall.

Updating the Dining Room

 

And here is the finished product, with the curtains and art back up on the wall.

Updating the Dining Room

 

Here is the other side.  So much brighter!  The ceiling was already painted and I wasn’t about to mess with that.  Painting ceilings is for people far braver than I.

Updating the Dining Room

I did paint the molding as well to make the room look fresh and complete.

Updating the Dining Room

 

One last look at the table and another angle of the room.

Updating the Dining Room

All I did to update this room was change the curtains, and change the paint color.  The room feels so airy with the lighter tone and we all love it!

What’s the next room in your home that you will probably paint?  For me, it will probably be the kitchen.

Maria

Easiest Way to Update Curtains

Easiest Way to Update Curtains

After sharing my master bedroom and my master bathroom update, I started thinking of ways that I could update other rooms in my home.  One area that I have wanted to change for years, is my dining room.  I wanted to change the color and the curtains.  I looked for different options for curtains and they were all either too expensive, or too casual for my formal dining room and existing furniture.  Of course, another option was making my own curtains, except I can’t sew.  I tried to figure out the easiest way to update curtains without sewing or replacing.

My curtains consisted of two panels and a swag.  I decided that if I removed the swag and kept the panels, the room would instantly look more updated.  The thing is that the swag was stapled to the rod and the panels hung from a separate rod that held the sheer.  Here is the BEFORE of the dining room.  The lighting is horrible but I started this project at night.

Easiest Way to Update Curtains

I removed the rod and ripped out the swag and the 90 (or so) staples that held it.  This was the most tedious part of the whole process.

Easiest Way to Update Curtains

I wanted the panels to hang from rings, except I had no rings.  I started looking for matching ones online and they were so expensive!  Especially the size and quantity I needed (20).  I eventually, found these unfinished curtain rings on amazon and I purchased 2 sets of 10.  Since they were untreated, I decided to spray paint them once they arrived.

Easiest Way to Update Curtains

Once I painted them and added them to the rod, I removed the sheer and the panels.

Easiest Way to Update Curtains

Here is my husband removing the hardware, while telling me “When you told me you were updating the curtains, I didn’t think you meant tonight”.  Does this man not know me by now??  I had already waited 2 days for amazon to ship the rings!  How much longer was I supposed to wait?!

Easiest Way to Update Curtains

Then I placed the pinch-pleat curtains on each one of the new rings and VOILA!

Easiest Way to Update Curtains

I won’t show a full picture of the AFTER yet, because my next post will be about the new color I chose for this room (not the one in the pic…stay tuned).

I haven’t decided if I should add another sheer, or some other option.  For now, I left it open.  What do you think?

Maria