When Emily asked me to do a table top design my brain instantly swelled
with so many ideas I couldn’t think straight. Since the feature would
be in December we thought a winter theme table top would be
appropriate. But alas, here in Southern California a chilly 65º doesn’t
constitute a magical winter wonderland. So I thought about what I did
growing up in the winter… stepping on crunchy dead leaves, sitting at
old picnic tables, gathering sticks, picking berries, watching animals,
drinking hot cocoa, and gearing up for the holidays. So this is what
came to me. I would do a Rustic, Folksy, Quirky, Cheerful holiday
table…AKA “Creekside Kitsch”…
I wanted the table to feel
cozy and fun. I decided to use red and aqua as my main colors, but tie
in some browns to try to keep it from looking to much like Christmas. I
set up the table in my friend, Susan’s, back yard as it was the perfect
setting for a rustic “wedding”. I had to have an old picnic table to do
this and hers is perfect. I know finding picnic tables in multiples for
a wedding is near impossible, so a lovely white hemstitched tablecloth
will work perfectly for this design too. Use a picnic table for just
the head table if you can.
In order to feel more folksy and rustic I wanted no matching dishes,
but I still wanted to keep a hint of elegance, so I chose to dress it
up with matching glassware and vintage (looking) bone handled flatware.
I brought in the holiday kitsch by using cookie tins for the
arrangements and red paper doilies separating the 2 plates. The napkins
are sewn by me using scraps of muslin and stitched with red thread, and
the flatware casually tied up with ripped pieces of muslin or festive
ribbon. The animals triple as wedding favors (as they are tree
ornaments), place card holders and instant joy! These animals were the
inspiration for the creekside aspect of the table top and of course the
My original plan for the flowers was to force paperwhite bulbs
and display them with the roots and bulbs showing in small jars
scattered across the table. However, as things don’t always go as
planned the flowers didn’t bloom in the time that was mentioned on the
bag of bulbs(FYI 3-4 weeks until bloom really means 5-6 weeks, but
when they are blooming they stay blooming for a good 2 weeks so with
proper planning this can be done for a wedding and is really cheap)
Fortunately this happy hiccup made me do some quick thinking and this
is where the flowers in holiday cookie tins came to mind. In fact it
was a nice blessing in disguise, as it add to the holiday theme but in
a subtle way. I was still able to include some paperwhites in the
• Dishes- Large white dishes are a mix from the ¢99 Store, Ross, and World Market: Price range .99- $5.99
Small patterned dishes from the sale section at Anthropologie and Crate and Barrel: Price range $1.95-7.95
• Glassware- Etched short stemmed champagne flute from Anthropologie: Price $12 each
Hobb knobbed short drinking glass from Anthropologie: Price $8 each
Tiny etched port glass: vintage from my grandmother’s collection.
• Flatware- Bone (actually acrylic) handled is from my own kitchen but
can also be purchased at Target and also rented.
• Table Runner- kinda a grassy jute burlapy fabric(?) from Pottery Barn: Price $29
• Party animals- Tree ornaments from Crate and Barrel and Pottery Barn:
Price $5.50-7.95 each.(they are on sale now)
• Name tags are letterpress by me for gift tags.
• Flowers- All the arrangements are done by me.
hydrangea and rosemary are from my garden.
-The Kale, Pepper
Berries, Wax, Anemone(poppies), paperwhites, and a white Statice filler
flower were all
purchased from the Los Angelos Flower mart open to the public.
-Price for all flowers $27 – This made 3 tin table arrangements,
bouquet, 2 boutonnieres, with extra to fill
2 jars for hot cocoa table.
• Ribbon, fabric, and buttons- Joanne fabrics: Price $10
• Cookie Tins- small 4″ inch diameter from Michael’s Craft store: Price $2.99 each
• Back yard goodness is my friend Susan Moffet,who is part of a fabulous garden design team, Sea of Green.
Stay tuned for some great tips for creating this same look on a budget…