How to Dress up a Dinner Party

May 6th, 2009 in blog, projects     
suewhitney Sue Whitney, editor
15 users recommend

Delight your dinner guests with a creative table top trio at each of their place settings!
Heres the goods gang! Vintage shirt cuffs, jars either from your own cupboard or flea market finds, old tea stainers, white tags from a craft store, a little ribbon, letter stickers, dominoes (4 for each placecard holder), flowers, Oxy Clean, and of course some Gorilla Super Glue.
Fist up is that nasty old cuff! Run some hot water in your sink, add a little Oxy Clean, and soak the soil away. When you are happy with the results set the cuff on a towel to air dry.
When that puppys dry slip it over the jar or bottle you have selected. Youll want to make sure the cuff fits snugly around the jar. If you dont have a jar that works, just take your cuff to the grocery store the next you are in need of some jelly or olives. Imagine the looks I get while shopping and trying the cuff on different products to find one that fits.
After the cuff is on, fill the jar with water and arrange your flowers. You will only need one bunch of Viburnum from the grocery store at $9.99 to make 8 to 10 bouquets.
The cuff links are fabu!
Now for the little tea strainer. I love this little guy! I put gravel in the bottom for texture and threw in a tea light. Yah, baby! If you cant find these look for those tiny little ashtrays to hold the tea light.
Time for the placecard holder. Two of your dominoes will form the bottom. Apply Gorilla Super Glue to the edge of one dominoe. Slip the two together side by side and allow to set.
The other two dominoes are glued to the top to hold the placecard.
Make sure they are close enough together to hold the placecard upright. You wouldnt want any slippage now would you?
I dont know about you folks, but while I sip my morning coffee I like to dip my tags. Adds an interesting flavor! Always the multi-tasker! Seriously, I am a bit of a perfectionist and the manilla tags were too dark and the white a little too crisp. Nothing a little coffee or tea cant solve. Dip the tags for just a moment, lay them on a paper towel, cover with another, put a book on top, and allow to dry. When they are ready cut to fit the holder, add an initial, and cross the finish line with some ribbon.
Poof! Start ringing that dinner bell.
Delight your dinner guests with a creative table top trio at each of their place settings!

Delight your dinner guests with a creative table top trio at each of their place settings!

We all love our food, right? I sure do. As a hostess the last thing I want to be doing is getting up and down to retrieve the inevitable second helpings so I like the food to take center stage on the table. This causes a bit of a dilema because every dinner party needs a little razzle, dazzle. So instead of a centerpiece try dishing up a single serving at each diner's dish.

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posted in: blog, projects, tabletop, centerpiece, vase

Comments (11)

suewhitney writes: Thanks so much everyone! I am a bit of a nut cake for entertaining with junk. It's one of my very favorite things to do! There is so much stuff out there in the land of junk just waiting to be transformed for the dinner table! And yes I do carry my junk around to grocery and other retail outlets to get stuff that will work with my junk. I have quite the reputation around here! Gretchen...can't wait to get to the book signing next week. It's great to be back home!

Thanks again,
Sue Posted: 10:38 am on May 10th
fellowjunker writes: A stunning table setting Sue.........I love the idea with the dominoes (and EVERYTHING else)!!!
xojanis Posted: 2:34 pm on May 8th
MimiToria writes: Hey Sue - I really enjoyed reading this post. You are so detailed and I love it. Its hard to find people like me and I am so into the photos, the techniques and the projects. You just are great with all the little ins and outs of things and giving us examples of back up ideas in case we can't find a junk product. Supurb as always. I didn't see a "G", but I bet we could find one in your house to add to the table. lol
You're a gas! I totally had a visual of you shopping in the store while trying on vintage cuffs on various preserve jars. Too funny!

btw, we have the coolest area set up for your book signing at "The French Flea" the morning of May 16th. I'll have you know that I was up on the ladder hanging the cool thing over your desk area for signing. Can't wait for that morning. Hopefully, the area will stay intact and you'll still have a spot to sign at by Saturday morning. : ) See you then- Posted: 10:41 pm on May 7th
shabbychick writes: Sue - you've done it again!!! Love the look - great colors, so fun and welcoming (and I noticed the "K", yes, I'll accept! :). The cuff on the bottle is ingenious, and I can picture you going through pickle jars at the store...too funny! (Remember, they probably have makes for good entertainment I'm sure.)

I think it's going to be crowded at your table...!

Kathy Posted: 9:01 am on May 7th
CottageElements writes: I'll join you, Candy! Sue, just name a time! LOL! But it really does crack me up thinkin' about going through a grocery store trying out jars and cuffs! Only you!! But seriously, what a beautiful way to entertain your guests. Now I just want to know what you'll be serving!

Lani Posted: 6:15 pm on May 6th
alicemom writes: You are the bomb! I love it all. From the best ever pics & instructions to the finish table. Thanks so much for all your fun spirit & creativity.
Alice Posted: 5:10 pm on May 6th
Junk_Sophisticate writes: I'll be over for dinner, k?

I think the cuffs on the jars are one of the most unique and fun ideas you've come up with, Sue! It's so very sophisticated yet makes you giggle whenever you look at it because it's so fab and unusual. It definitely has the coolness factor.

And your little Hibachi-looking tealight holder is absolutely adorable! Thank you for providing the strainer as well as the small ashtray idea as a backup for the project. I'll definitely be on the lookout for some.


Posted: 5:02 pm on May 6th
monakent writes: Where do I begin???? WOW......

First of all, this reminds me a little of an idea from one of my old bosses. She would go out and buy a full place setting of a china pattern she liked (vintage or new, it didn't matter), plus a napkin holder or other item that would go with the setting. She would then invite friends over for a luncheon, with each table setting (including silverware and glasses) being different from the next. She told me her friends (many of them quite well-to-do, which cracks me up even more) would actually stand at the tables and FIGHT over who got to sit where!!! I found that to be a very unique idea and always planned to do the same some day.

Secondaly, your ideas are SUPER. I'm not sure what I love more, the placecard, placecard holder, tealight, or the cuffing-the-bottle idea (which is a HOOT in itself)!

I guess maybe the way everything goes together so well is what I like the best. The colors all seem to compliment each other. I'll tell you right now, if I ever got the chance to sit down at one of you tables, I'd be fighting for this stuff to be in front of me at the table!!!

LOVE this project. Can't wait to see more. gailmarie, bfa Posted: 3:34 pm on May 6th
Christina_S writes: This is so wonderful! I am crazy for different table setting/decorating ideas and this is one of the best I have seen in awhile. I never thought of cuffing a jar but the result is beautiful and interesting. The old tea strainer for the candle is genius as well. So, to summarize, L O V E. Posted: 3:05 pm on May 6th
georgiamoon writes: Oh Sue I can just see you in the market trying cuffs on various could really embarrass your daughter that way!!! This is such a lovely way to set the dinner table. I think it would make each guest feel really special. I really love the way you combined the modern tablecloth with the antiques..and the colors are to die for ! Love it , Georgia Posted: 2:59 pm on May 6th
grannijo writes: So elegant Sue! have the neatest ideas..have all three of your books and love each of them...keep the ideas coming...sharon Posted: 1:17 pm on May 6th
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