California designer Shiree Hanson Segerstrom's weekly tips for decorating, gardening, and stylish living
CASA Ladies Tea and Table Setting: Planning, Shopping, and Loot. PLUS...Homemade Hummus
Conceiving, planning, and shopping for any type of an event display has always been one of my favorite, and most frustrating jobs. Whether it's a table setting, retail display, showcase, or home tour, I can never seem to approach open ended projects like these with a normal amount of practicality. I am thankful and a tad surprised when they turn out alright. Take for instance the vase above that I purchased from
Z Gallerie, and the Foo dogs from Target. I chose them for the Ladies Tea and Table Setting event I'm doing to benefit Placer CASA, Court Appointed Services Advocates.
I intended the scale to be large. The table being provided for me is a 60" round. The Foo dogs are about 31" tall and the vase is about 42" tall. Practical scale? No. But taking these types of chances, particularly on scale, has done me well. I don't know if they will end up on the table, but I'll do my best to work in as much oomph as possible. The table is a Chinoiserie theme and since Chinoiserie was already on my radar I was inspired by a shower LA designer Mary McDonald did for an expecting friend. Mary does a lot of different styles but I believe she collects blue willow ware and she decorated the shower in pinks and blue willow ware. Sharp, fresh, and punctuated style.
So I knew I wanted to do something in a large scale, despite the fact that we were asked to keep our centerpieces low. Oops, oh dear. Walking around Targetlooking for ideas, I happened across the Foo Dogs and they solidified my plans. At Target I also found a wonderful fuscia cotton sheet set that my seamstress is sewing into an 86" square table cloth and 8 20" matching napkins; 8 sheer white curtain panels to be turned into chair drapes; and some beautiful handmade glass votive's. At Pier One Imports I found the wonderful Chinese mugs with matching lids.
They are just perfect. At Cost Plus I found three small Japanese paper lanterns for $5 a piece. And at
Z Gallerie I found the giant white lacquered bamboo vase, a large white metal Moroccan style lantern, three small white metal lanterns, and two 36" inch white vases that look like bamboo. The napkin rings that look like lobsters, crabs, and octopus are so fun! They're quite large and will add a little character to the table. Plus they're white color will look great next to the fuscia napkins.
The sterling silver flatware was my great grandmother's whose last name was Smith. Her S monogram works perfectly for me today as a Segerstrom. The white dinner ware is just a good old Cost Plus standby I use when I have buffets for a crowd. The metallic silver lacquered chargers were a Christmas gift from my mom which I love. If I use the Foo dogs, they're grayish tone will pick up the silver color of the chargers.
For flowers and greenery I found some fuscia gladiolas, green horsetails, and blue delphiniums. I also have some beautiful olive topiary in mossy clay pots. They're not Chinese but remember Chinoiserie style historically has French influences, so it works. Besides, I've never been one to follow museum rules of all one style.
You can see the bamboo style vases in the picture at left. The table setting committee requested we have a water pitcher and I have two. One beautiful Waterford pitcher and one simple silver pitcher. I won't know which to use until I'm done with my practice run. I'll set up a mock table in the living room and plan it all out. When I have it perfectly planned, I'll take photos and replicate it at the site.
Apparently someone ran out of silver polish a few years ago, but the Waterford is sparkling. It's pretty but very heavy and hard to manage when filled with water. No matter. Today we are putting beauty before function. I found some bamboo stakes at a garden store and I'm thinking the little metal bamboo lanterns will look smashing pinned to the tops of the stakes, especially with candlelight. I love using natural materials in my table arrangements. I typically top off florals with some type of excelsior or fresh fruit or vegetables. I will share my finished table setting after the May 22nd tea.
1 16 oz. can garbanzo beans
2 garlic cloves, chopped fine
1 tsp. ground cumin
juice of 1/2 small Meyer lemon
1/4 C. plus, extra virgin olive oil
freshly ground sea salt
Place beans, garlic, cumin, and lemon juice in a food processor or blender. Puree well. With motor running, add olive oil in dribbles. Adjust olive oil to desired consistency. Stir in sea salt. Hummus should be thick but not dry. Serve with tortilla chips, pita bread, or celery. Delicious and high in protein. So much better than the store bought brands.