Friday, April 6, 2012

Blue, White & YOU--The Perfect Backdrop for a Wonderful Gluten Free Dinner

Just as wine is about friends, food & fun, so are holidays. This is doubly true when planning a meal around a special diet. Of our 14 friends who are joining us for Easter dinner two are vegetarian, one is vegan and my husband is severely gluten intolerant, thus the inspiration for my blog and most of what I do. There will be lots more about the actual meal in a later post.

I like to use a theme idea. This year I chose the theme "Blue, White & You". Even though we really enjoy casual gatherings, we wanted our friends to feel really special on this very special holiday. And, every special occasion begins with a fabulous tablescape. 

For our oak table for six, I chose a blue linen tablecloth and white place mats for the backdrop for our "Kathleen" Noritake china.  Dessert plates lined with a paper doily will catch the condensation from the water glasses--a trick I learned during my undergraduate vocational home economics studies at The University of Montevallo.  The taller wine glasses will not need an under plate.  (As a side note, my father made this table by hand soon after he and my mother were married in 1944).  Keep reading. Lots more details to come.

Place setting: A silver plate charger (a gift from my great aunts & uncles when I received my doctoral degree) cradles the dinner plate. A dinner fork is to the left and a knife is to the right. The fork at the top of the plate will be for dessert. 

Let's talk about napkins: I like to use two coordinating napkins--one for your lap and the other for you mouth. I laid the white napkin flat and then placed the blue one at a 90 degree angle. By pinching both in the center and bringing straight up, the eight points will form a "flower". Holding the pinched center in one hand, place the silver napkin ring down over the napkins about three inches. 

Centerpieces--the star of the table. Unless I am using silk arrangements, an interesting collection or clipping from my own yard , I prefer centerpieces that can have a future life. Here I chose a white hydrangea plant (that will be planted in my yard next week). I wrapped the pot with a folded blue table topper and set the whole thing in an antique crystal punch bowl. 

Now for the choice of candles: If you look back at the first picture, you will notice two set of candle sticks--a tall pair of crystal candle sticks that were home to two 7" white Root candles. At an angle at the base of each of these was a short Bavarian china candle holder. The hand painted sterling silver overlay makes gives this table that little extra touch to this table and held a 7" Root candle in the color Abyss.

Table for 8: I also carried out "Blue, White & You" theme on the table for my other eight guests. I chose a white linen and cotton blend table cloth. "Sylvia" china plates, another Noritake pattern were added. Again, dessert plates of the same pattern lined with a paper doily will catch the condensation from the water glasses and the taller wine will be just fine without a coaster.

Now about the place setting:  Navy satin striped place mats played host to square silver acrylic chargers that holds the dinner plate. 

Let's talk about the special touch. The arrangement of the napkins is the touch that made these place settings so special. I took two napkins, one white trimmed in lace and the other a matching navy satin striped, and laid the navy napkin on top of the white one and tied them a ribbon in the same color blue as one of the shades in the china. I placed each pair of napkins on the left side of the plate to show off the beautiful blue rose pattern.

Center stage: Again, I chose a live plant that will be give a special place in one of my flower beds after Easter. Pictured at left is a blue hydrangea in a silver double handled urn. 

And for the finale--candles: Needing two tall candle sticks in my chosen color scheme posed a tiny problem. So, I found a pair of inexpensive ones in an off-white. A couple of cans of spray paint, one a shade lighter than the other, did the trick and matched perfectly. The Root pillar candle pictured here is also in the color Abyss and the dinner tapers, also Root candles, are Periwinkle.

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