Archive for the ‘Tabletop’ Category

Pretty Cloth Napkins

I like dressing up my table, even for a not-so-quiet weeknight dinner of red sauce pasta and sausage.  And there’s something about a cloth napkin that adds a little pretty to your place setting, even if you choose to eat from a TV tray.  Here are some of my favorites…what are yours?

West Elm Yarn Dyed Organic Napkins (we use these constantly)

Hammocks & High Tea Saree Napkins

DwellStudio Gate Sun Napkins

Jonathan Adler Neptune Napkins

Skinny laMinx Pincushion Napkins

Want more?

A fun alternative to placemats.

My very favorite dinnerware.

Setting a pretty table.


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It seems like the school year *just* started.  And then it was Halloween.  And now, in exactly one week, we’re going to be roasting turkeys, mashing potatoes and generally stuffing ourselves like proverbial pigs seated at gorgeously decorated tables in holiday-decked houses. 

Oh, what’s that?  Haven’t taken down the paper spiders from your window or jack-o-lantern from your porch? 

No worries.  Join me on Life.Style with Christine Koh on The Pulse Network tomorrow at 1 p.m. EST (or anytime after that)  for some super simple, wallet-friendly, use-what-you-own ideas to make your house and table gorgeous for the big day.  It’s going to be awesome.  Like Oprah and Nate, except with less hair and makeup.

{If you’re on Twitter, feel free to tweet us during the show at @mudroomboston, @bostonmamas and @thepulse}

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Fretwork Tray Table

Trays are awesome.  Tray tables are even better.  But an elegant white table with fretwork detail and a mirrored tray that looks like it should cost way more than $69.99?  Sign. me. up.

Image credit: Country Living Antique White Finish Wood Tray Side Table from Kmart

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I am so done with rectangular placemats on my round kitchen table.  It drives me nuts.  Just NUTS.  But a standard issue round tablecloth is a no-go either with my two jumping bean boys who would most certainly rip the thing off, dinner plates included, the first minute I put in on.

But a chalkcloth tabletop?  I could get behind that.

Spotted two weeks ago on one of my daily reads — Sweet Sweet Life — I haven’t been able to get the image out of my head.  Amy just bought some yardage from a local Etsy seller and cut it to size. 

Voila!  Table covering and kid distraction all rolled into one. 

Image credits: Amy Hanson of Sweet Sweet Life

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I heart Fred.

We gave these to my stepmom for Christmas.  Aren’t they great?  I almost kept them for myself, but decided that would be so un-Christmasy.

I’ve seen the clever products from Fred&Friends for many years, but this was the first time I bought.  I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

Image credit: M-Cups from Fred&Friends (I got mine — er, my stepmom’s — locally at Paper Source)

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iittala Taika Dinnerware

Last year I was out with three of my best girlfriends, cruising Beacon Hill, pretending to be Ladies Who Lunch instead of Ladies Who Make Lunch, when I spotted this gorgeous iittala pattern, Taika, at one of my favorite shops.  I scooped up a mug immediately and have fantasized since then about owning service for four.  Maybe for my birthday?  Just a few weeks away…

Image credits: iittala Taika Mug in white; also in red, black and blue from iittala.com; iittala Taika dinnerware from allmodern.com

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When hosting a party, I enjoy cooking (sort of), but my favorite part is creating fun, interesting and unexpected tabletops (elegant is great too, but they’ve gone the way of the Dodo since kids…too much pressure).  If you’re hosting Thanksgiving this year, click over to Boston Mamas for some last-minute easy ideas to make your tabletop shine.  (Yep, it’s true…two Boston Mamas columns in two weeks!)

What easy tabletop ideas do you have?  Share them here!

Image credit: Randy Weiner, Flickr (cool pic, don’t you think?)

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DSC00989Although I try to eat veggies and fruit as much as possible, all too often our weekly produce ends up withering away in our ancient fridge “crisper” drawer.  I spotted a better way to store those fresh peaches and get a summery design kick to the countertop at my stylish friend Marianne’s house this weekend.  Placing produce in a pretty basket (she got hers here) keeps it at room temperature and moving faster from kitchen to table.  How can you resist fresh strawberries staring you down?

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French Bull PicnicOver the weekend I heard a depressing statistic…here in Boston and the surrounding area, we’ve had a grand total of three days of sun in June.  Since we don’t, in fact, live in Seattle, I think enduring the ongoing deluge deserves some sort of medal, or at least this sassy and summery picnic set from French Bull.  The heavy duty insulated backpack is filled with non-breakable service for four, cutting board, salt & pepper shakers, corkscrew, bottle opener and an oversize blanket — ready for the moment that the sun comes out.  Tomorrow?

French Bull Blanket Picnic Set, $150

Image credit: French Bull

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Vase 101

DSC00705Here in New England, the peonies have bloomed, the hydrangeas are leafing up and snapdragons are just around the corner — perfect timing for a little tutorial from House Beautiful on the eight vases to have at the ready for gorgeous, simple summer arrangements:

  • Mugs
  • Trumpet-shaped
  • Collection of bud vases
  • Cylinder
  • Ginger jar
  • Pitcher
  • Footed bowl
  • Regular bowl

My go-to vase right now isn’t even meant for flowers…it’s an IKEA glass placed carefully into a small drawstring bag I picked up late last month at Les Toiles du Soleil in New York (I wasn’t sure what I was going to do with that little bag when I bought it, but I knew I had to have it!).

{Find House Beautiful’s eight favorite vases and sample floral arrangements here.}

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