If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Christmas Tea

Last Sunday, my mother-in-law took my favorite sister-in-law, JoAnn, and me to the second annual Nolensville Methodist Church Christmas Tea.  It is a fun event where women fellowship together, enjoy a nice meal, are enlightened by a motivational Christian speaker, and really get to see a plethora of beautiful holiday tablescapes while participating in a fundraiser for the church women's ministries.

Tables are sponsored by individual women who are members of the church and they invite their friends and family to come and join them for the afternoon.  The sponsor of the table is responsible for setting and decorating her table.  Sometimes a couple or three women will go in together and purchase the tickets for guests and decorate the table.  This is what my mother-in-law and a couple of her friends did.

JoAnn and I were guests of our mother-in-law.  A high school friend to JoAnn and me, Patricia, was a guest of her mother, Joyce's, as was one of her mother's friends, Pat.  Another of my mother-in-law's friends, Betty, brought her daughter as a guest.  Plus, the three women combined forces to set and decorate the table as well.  I think one woman provided the goblets, another the plates, and yet another brought the cups and saucers.  What a team!

Here is a look at their table:

Isn't it beautiful?  The collection of Christmas holly, green and gold seems so elegant.

It is hard to believe that all of this didn't come from the same cupboard isn't it?  I think the three women did a beautiful job of blending their resources seamlessly.  Plus, even the food seemed to take the cue and sparkle in greens and golds!

Here is a look at the centerpiece.

It features a gold lame' platform for a beautiful little white sleigh trimmed in gold.  Each additional element seems to add a bit of glitz and glimmer which only enhances the magic of Santa and the cherub in the sleigh.

Little glittering gold Christmas trees held the place cards.

Golden, glittery reindeer danced around the sleigh.

Clear glass ornaments with white glittery trim which looks like lacy snowflakes were scattered at the base of the lame' platform.

  Delicate white glittery Christmas trees flank the sleigh adding a frosty shiver to the scenery.

Aren't the soft details of Santa, the little cherub passenger, the toys, and the sleigh a soft and subtle beauty?

Here is one last look at the over-all effect.

I snapped some shots of other tables some of the women had created.  They were all masterpieces in my eyes. 

This table is a study of frosty, silvery, simplicity.

I absolutely love these shiny, silver star ornaments tied with the red and silver ribbon!

Isn't it wonderful how the different little cards add such an individual touch to the ornaments which are simply propped against the tea cup?

It was delightful from any angle.

This one was really playful and fun!

I really like how they alternated the modern, square, red snowflake plates with the more traditional round stoneware plates.  They also alternated between white snowflake place mats and red ones.  The mugs match the plates.  Of course, being the polka-dot lover that I am, I absolutely adore the napkins.  The beaded napkin holders are beautiful and I probably would not have been risky enough to use those with these napkins and place settings. 

A closer look at the centerpiece of this fun cranberry and polka-dot table.

The fluffy cotton batting projects the image of drifts of snow.  The peppermint garland trailing round the table repeats the red-and-white theme.  Then, the glittering china gifts with their sparkling bows add just a touch of glitz.  The wrapped gift concept is repeated with the place-card holders.  The cranberry juice in the champagne goblets mirrors the huge cranberry goblet centerpiece.  Isn't there loads to love about this fun tablescape?

Another study in cranberry and white.

Here is another table which has loads to focus upon.  Again, the hostess has alternated styles of plates and mugs.  This time the edge of one plate features stripes with a Santa mug and the next is a stoneware one with a Christmas tree mug.  Crystal goblets and the cranberry chargers tie all the place settings together.  Notice how the champagne goblets holding the juice have a ribbon stripe on them, too?  The place-cards are little red glittery ornaments painted with white polka-dots or stripes.  These cute little orbs are honored to sit on a pedestal created by a little antique glass plate like the ones my grandmother collected from Quaker oats.  The red striped napkins are tied with an organza wired-edged ribbon.  This hostess, like the previous one also gifted her guests with little loaves of sweet bread in a holiday bag.  What a nice touch! 

Here is another look at this cranberry tablescape.

I think the centerpiece on it was my favorite of the day.

There were lots of naturals with the green sprucey branches, the beautiful berries, curly willow, and the paper-whites tied up with raffia.  It is just hard to beat good old mother nature.

Love this lantern!  I'm just going to have to get me one of these, I think.

This table was pure modern and minimalist.  The hostess simply wrapped the Merlot napkins with a bit of glitzy ribbon.  More of the same ribbon forms a bow with trailing tails atop the lantern.  A Merlot ribbon with a sparkly golden gemstone in the center was tied to the water goblets.  The clean-lined mugs were placed atop black saucers to coordinate with the black lantern.  Tiny gold and red sparkly glass ornaments were scattered round the lantern.  If you look really closely at the dinner plates, you can see that the word Believe is scripted across them.  Chic and lovely!

Traditional Christmas.

This table is like a little church lady sitting on the back pew to me.  It is so full of gorgeous traditional features.  It starts with the red damask table runner, place mats, and napkins.  (I had to do a double take to notice that there were only four place mats and the other two place settings were atop a table runner!  These two places have contrasting napkins as well.  It was probably done that way because the hostess had this as a set, but wouldn't that be a good way to designate guests of honor?)  Then, red chargers cradle floral Christmas china which is paired with matching tea cups and saucers.  The goblets are etched with Christmas trees.

A closer look at the beautiful centerpiece.

The huge hurricanes are filled with fresh cranberries which snuggle around the gold swirled candles.  The floral arrangement is sitting atop a glass pedestal as well.  It features red roses, golden pine cones, a few sprigs of evergreen, and a golden rope garland trailed through it.  The adorable little white metal sleigh is filled with shiny gold ornaments and a sweet little bird rides sentinel on the back.  If you look really closely, you can see that the hostess tied red fabric ribbons around the chair backs to give the simple folding chairs with white toppers a pretty Sunday dress-like sash.  I love how the light makes all of the glassware shine!

Love this simple way of dressing up the chairs!

Here is another table that features lots of things I just love!  Of course, I cannot get to the table itself without commenting on the creativity of the hostess to dress up each chair.  Yes, that is six identical table runners draped over the back of each of the chairs and tied with a pretty, sparkly organza ribbon.  How clever! 

This hostess let the flood of red color do most of the work for her!

Again, the hostess kept things simple and easy on herself.  Remember that each hostess had to load all her dishes and tablescape materials into her car and haul it to the church and unload it and dress her designated table.  There was lots of work involved, no matter how simple she kept things.  This hostess used a beautiful red damask tablecloth and napkins to set the stage.  The napkins were pleated and swirled so that no napkin ring was necessary.  Then, she centered the table with a tower of my favorite apples - Granny Smiths. 

Nature's Bountiful Beauty

I tried to look as closely as I could to see how she had created this but couldn't really tell without picking at it a little and didn't want to be rude!  It seems to start with a base of greenery such as spruce branches or yew.  Then, I think the apples were speared onto picks and stuck into a Styrofoam pyramid.  Little sprigs of baby's breath and chartreuse carnations were sprinkled in to fill spaces.  Then, more of the white, wire-edged, organza ribbon was looped around, tied up in a bow with trailing tails to top off the apple tree.  This is another one of those simple, natural, and beautiful centerpieces.

Creative mixing and matching!

This hostess did all sorts of mixing and matching to create her tablescape!  There are three different kinds of china making up each place setting, I think.  First there is the bone china cups and saucers.  Then, there is the snowflake dinner plate.  Finally, there is the Twelve-Days-Of-Christmas salad plates.  Not only did her guests have their food on these song-commemorating plates, but they also stood on plate stands to create a centerpiece!  There are at least four of them propped upon stands placed around the center glass candle stand which holds a fat red glittery candle.  More of these candles are placed between the plate stands.  The painted goblets not only hold water, but serve as tea light candle holders as well.  Simple sprigs of boxwood are placed around the center candle stand.  This hostess has chosen to use embroidered linen cocktail napkins encircled by a silver napkin ring and she has rolled up some sort of epistle in a scroll to sit beside each plate for her guests.  I like how this hostess let her dishes do all the work!

Christmas Green and Shiny Silver

This tabletop uses the sheen of the crystal and the silver mercury glass trees to dress up the dark spruce place mats.  The hostess used two different sets of antique china for her place settings.  Half of her napkins were white and lace trimmed and the other half were burgundy linen.  All the napkins had beautiful silver Christmas tree napkin rings.  she created a forest with her glass trees and had a couple of bowls of small silver ornaments placed on the table for added shine.  The place mats had little beaded edges which looked like ornaments dangling from branches of spruce.  It was truly lovely!

Casual elegance at its finest!

Mike's friend, Jackie, created this beautiful tablescape.  She put a modern turn on the traditions of her heritage.  The strong African women with carved swirls in their dresses certainly were surrounded by a group of beautiful strong African-American women on this day.  The beautiful red rose buds were accented with natural, dark twigs and more twigs which were frosted with crystals which reflected the flickering candles in the beautiful ruby red candle holders.  Little sprigs of greenery graced the golden napkin holders which were around alternating ruby floral napkins and embroidered white linen ones.  Sprigs of green holly encircled the plates (And I think they were paper - aren't they pretty?).  More holly sprigs are painted on the mugs around the words, "Remember the true meaning of Christmas."  Doesn't this say it all?

Antique and pink!

This table offers a break from the traditional red and green and lends a nod to the past.  This hostess used her antique pink floral china and dressed it for Christmas.  She used olive green chargers to hold the beautiful dinner plates.  These set atop a damask champagne tablecloth.  The beautiful matching napkins are tied up with gold organza ribbons. 

Here is a close-up of the teapot and cups.  Isn't this old china gorgeous?

The hostess made a nest with an olive feather boa.  Then, she piled shiny blown glass ornaments in the center along with satin finished ones sticking with the pink and gold color scheme of her china. 

Doesn't this look glamorous?

The menu was just as delicious as the scenery was a feast to the eyes.  We dined on quiche, fresh spinach with dried cranberries and crisp pecans for a salad, chicken salad stuffed min croissants, two different kinds of sweet breads, and frosted sugar cookies.  We had a choice of several kinds of teas as well.  The company was pleasant and the fare was delicious!  The day was truly a feast for our stomachs, our hearts, and our eyes!