Get into the whim of things over holidays
SETTING the table for holiday parties is a great occasion to allow your whimsical side to escape. Along with the fabulous food treats, the table should offer good cheer and panache.
Decide on an overall theme — would you like to have a simple, spare look or a happy cluster of patterns and accessories? The most elegant table is often the simplest — pure white linen, plain rimmed china, polished silver and sparkling crystal always make company feel pampered, But sometimes more is called for and there are many elements to play with, to mix and mingle for a dynamite display.
Start with a tablecloth or mats if you prefer the tabletop to show. This is the background layer onto which you place everything. A single colour or tone on tone design will allow your serving pieces to stand out. Take stock of your inventory of plates and linens and how you might build on what you have. Dishes don’t have to match, but look best if they are the same weight or thickness. Patterns can also differ, connected by a motif or colour.
Accessories, including candles, salt and pepper shakers, a water pitcher, and condiment dishes add interest and even surprise. One of the most enduring patterns is the simple stripe. It can go anywhere, pair up with any style and switch moods according to its shape and shade. Fivestripes.com shows their flair for stripes on everything from candles, cups and spoons to carpets and carry bags. The Ana candles started them off, with striped tapers and Carousel Pillars, shown here in ivory, sienna and peacock. If you fancy a little art deco style, William Bounds has a series of salt and peppers beautifully lacquered in stripes (and a few polka dots too). The Pep Art twin set in black and white looks great on any table, fun for the kitchen and fine for a feast.
Dear Debbie: My daughter has a large mirror that she wants to hang on the wall above her couch. It’s a quality mirror, but the frame needs to be updated. I would like to paint it to look like frames I have seen that are silver, but when you look closely you can see small brush strokes in black and other shades. Can you tell me how to create this elegant look? Thanks. Lori Dear Lori: What you are describing is a patina of silver rather than a matte silver finish. Paint the frame with a base coat of black or dark gray, then, stipple on the silver paint over the dry base. You need very little. You can use a stencil brush, which is flat ended or a normal bristle brush, but hold it with the flat tip to the surface. Let the first layer of silver dry, and then stipple on more silver until you see just a tiny bit of black underneath. It really is very easy. Practice first on a spare board until you are pleased with the result.
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The familiar stripe, left, takes on a party personality in the Carousel Pillar candles found at Fivestripe.
This salt and pepper set by William Bounds has an art deco edge that’s
fun and fanciful.