Thursday, February 5, 2009

Love is in the Air...

Since this is my very first post here, I am so excited to welcome all of you! I hope you can get ideas on how to make your tables as beautiful as you can get it without breaking the bank.

Ok, here we go...

It's February and that means the air is rife with love, passion and fun.
And... it's 2009, a year of possibilities and creativity in light of this weak economy. To kick off this blog, here are a couple of my past Valentine tables. Hope you like them as much as I did! As promised, each design will be explained in detail.



Wispy hearts on red rimmed white plates

I love, love Target's $1-2.50 section, so one time during early February, while in the store, I saw this beautiful red plate (above; originally $2.50 each) and noticed how many there were still, so I waited a week. I scraped some money to buy six (there's 5 in our family). Every day that week was painful! I wanted to get them, but bills had to be paid. Finally, we get there and they were slashed down to 50% off!
Not much were sold, making me question if the wait was worth it. I quickly squeezed my cart in there and started to weed out any badly fired or chipped, cracked ones- in other words, the uglies! Out of almost 30 plates, I found exactly 12 good ones, but since I can only afford 6, I had to leave the other 6 behind. Just as I was about to back out, a manager saw me and asked if I was okay (I wasn't, the other 6 are screaming for me to put them in the cart with the chosen ones!)
Well, I told him my situation (that I was stalking these plates, oh yeah I told him!) and would like to know if they can offer any more discount. I told him that he won't be able to sell any of the ones I left behind since most are broken, badly fired that bubbles were noticeable and some have fissure cracks (of course I proved it). He left then came back, and told me that I can get them for 50 cents each! Yes!!! So, spent $6.00, and got 12! Yay!

This table was back in Mesa, Arizona, 2007. My husband and I were students and couldn't afford to go out. I was doing Coupon Sense so I also saved mucho dinero there.

Kisses Candy- Hershey/Safeway; (B1G1F + doubled coupon)
Grapes- Safeway; (99 cents/pound)
Heart-shaped string lights- Target;(2006)(90% off)
Strawberry napkins- Target; (2006)(25 cents/pack)
Clear vase- (FREE- Gift bouquet)
Glasses- Target; (2006)($2/4-pc box)
Placemats- Walmart (2007)($2/4 pcs)
Tablecloth-Gray- MINE
Chip and dip heart plate- Target; (2007)(50 cents)
Paper heart box- (FREE- VT Gift)
Candleholders- Albertson's; Close-out (2006)(1-cent ea)
Lazy Susan- Mangowood, Target; (2006) (FREE-Birthday Gift)

Steamed Rice
Penne pasta with shrimp
Broccoli and Beef saute
Hershey's Kisses
Red Grape juice with Ginger ale



Nikko "Precious" scalloped plates

Think back to October 1997, I'm an almost one-year old bride and we were in Costco salivating over everything! We were poor of course! My husband and I had just decided that whatever big purchase we make, it would have to be a gift for a significant event (like our momentous 1-year anniv) so we wouldn't get into a bad spending habit. The moment I saw those plates, I wanted them! But, I managed to pry myself away (for a few minutes, lol), went around the whole warehouse and found myself back in front of the plates again.
Finally, Charlie asked me, "Do you really like those?" (I think all the drool from my mouth to the big puddle on the floor wasn't a big enough hint, so I had to tell him, after swallowing, yes, yes, yes (imagine eyelashes batting too), pleeeeaaaseeee!
Did we dash for a cart and grabbed them? No, we had to add to the 1-year anniv to justify the steep tag per box of 4 placesettings. That's when we decided to host our very first Thanksgiving as a couple! So, these plates were also my very first Thanksgiving inspiration! (No, no pictures of those, too busy washing 8 plates, bowls and salad plates for 16 people! Trust me, exhausting but fun, plus no one noticed! Yes!)

This design came to me in the summer, but I've since catalogued it as a Valentine repeat, so here it is in this post.
We hosted a dinner for another couple that was taking over a project that I've handle for a while in our church. When Audrey told me that it would only be her and her husband Derek, then this whole concept came together. Plus, my hubby brought home two dozen of the darkest red carnations I've ever seen. I thought they were roses! Notice the wrought iron planter? I used that to hold the roses when the food were served.
The day before, my then 1st grader's teacher came by to drop off some clothes that might fit her, saw the table and she said, "your table reminds me of that host on Food Network, the one who makes her table? Sandra Lee. Yeah, your table looks like something she'd do." (Wow, I loved that compliment, boosted my obsession, I mean my confidence!)

Tablecloth- Pearly White, Alberston's closeout- $2
Plate, salad plate and bowl-Nikko "Precious"- FREE (Anniv Gift from DH)(1997)
Silverware- Farberware "Cameo"- FREE (Sis' Thanksgiving Hostess gift)(2000)
Placemat- Plastic white stripes- Albertson's closeout- 10 cents each
Glasses- Reminiscent of my Debut Gold crystal, Target- 50% off (2005)
Candle holder- Easter Garage sale find- 50 cents each (2006)
Candles and tealights- Thanksgiving 2005- Michael's, total $5
Mini roses- Basha's 3 for $5

Pork Adobo
Steamed Rice
Dessert (cheesecake I think)
Ice Water

I made the menu simple because I didn't want our guests to feel that they have to act just so. Despite the daintiness of the table, the food was of the messy, stain everything variety, so no prissy posturing that night. The dessert was served afterwards.

I hope you liked this preview for this blog for those who love to "make up" their table for any occasion.

Don't hesitate, celebrate!


  1. Both of these are just gorgeous, Carolyn! i really like the shots of purple in the first it something extra, and adds your personality to it, since I know you love purple so much. Good job haggling with the Target manager! I love those plates!

  2. Wow what great tables. They are beautiful, you are so talented. Great blog. I will be back.

  3. Wow, Carolyn! Beautiful settings.

    This is a fun blog. So much eye-candy. Thanks for sharing your ideas.

    If I had extra money, I'd buy more pretty plates.

  4. Thanks ladies! I'm so excited to be able to share with all of you.

  5. Hey Carolyn, here's what I think!! I think you should do weddings and parties and things like that professionally. I'm very serious. Do you get to share your tablescapes with anyone but your family? They are truly beautiful. You have a great eye for color and design.

  6. Melissa, you are so sweet! Thanks, I'm still trying to break into that field actually. We are waiting to get a house then I'm thinking of renting out my more elegant dishes for wedding host tables! So, we'll see!

  7. Beautiful ideas! I wish I could do stuff like this, when I do have a centerpiece it always gets moved from the table (by hubby or kids) to make more room for the food, so unappreciated!

  8. Hello Audrey! Thank you very much!
    I know what you mean; the first few years, it was painful to see all the stuff I put on the table moved because either little hands tried to grab them off the table or hubby says, "that's in the way!" Lots of experimentation, that's for sure!

  9. They are both beautiful! I love that you told us the prices of everything, and that it can be done on a budget. I LOVE a beautiful tablescape!

  10. Wow! It looks so fancy, but that's all stuff I might have bought! (I'm neither very fancy, nor very rich).

    Oh, I hope to actually make my table look presentable when we sit down to eat some day! Thanks for the inspiration. (and your menus got my mouth watering.)

  11. Brooke: Thanks! I think I love the small prices as much as the dishes themselves!

    LisAway: It'll only make you feel good, so go for it!


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Niceties first

HELLO AND WELCOME to this blog dedicated to my obsession of tablescapes, and ONLY TABLESCAPES!
That means that whatever I post will be redirected to tablescapes or you will see tablescapes or the dishes and glassware that I used AND wish to use.
I hope you like you what you see; but you can't do that unless you take the tour- the TABLESCAPE TOUR that's on the side bar! I'd also love to take you on my adventures on finding great dinnerwares to display and use while leaving some serious change in your pocket, so stay a while and see all of my great deals!
Wanna know the reason behind the madness, too? Then make sure to read, Why this blog for my philosophy.