I’ve actually been meaning to publish this post for several weeks now, but you know how it goes — “quarantine” happens and all semblance of time and space goes out the window, and then all you can do is the next right thing… wait — no, that’s just Frozen 2 playing on a loop again. But hang on — those geniuses at Disney may actually have a point — you simply control what you can using what you have to work with, despite the circumstances. Right? In my sister’s and my case, it was to make our surroundings brighter and more enjoyable given the vast influx of time we knew we would be spending at home in the weeks to come.
It worked out for the best that I didn’t post this right away because it has been a work in progress and I really love how it has evolved! So, believe it or not, I actually began this post during the first week of “quarantine” (I know, I know — the correct term is ‘stay-at-home order’ but in my defense, ‘quarantine’ has become the vernacular AND it has slightly fewer syllables). We were all a little on-edge going into the unknown (sorry, Frozen 2 again) with COVID-19 restrictions, so my sister and her husband had mapped out some really cool #quarantineprojects to pass the time at home productively. The first of which was the installation of new cabinets from Hollingsworth Cabinetry in their garage, which were made to house all kinds of miscellaneous items in the most organized fashion. Her hubby installed the cabinets and the organizing was done by us girls. Our first (and favorite) section to organize was the colored glass collection!
You may have seen in my previous posts that the women in my family have a particularly marvelous tradition of decorating while sipping champagne, which has been at the heart of our mother-daughter-sister bonding rituals for many years. Well, this sister-sister project was no exception, and I am so excited to share with you how we parlayed what started as an organizational project into a beautiful and meaningful cross-seasonal tablescape!
When we packed up our house in Florida earlier this year to make the move to Wilmington, my sister had asked me to keep my Anthro-inspired tribal table runner from Home Goods accessible so that we could use it for her summertime tablescape. It is one of my favorite table runners — lots of color and can easily be accessorized to transition from season to season with its combination of jewel tones and earth tones. Although she had originally intended it for Summer use, we decided to put it out in March (just in time for “quaran-Spring”) and keep it on display through the summer months as well. The trick was to pair it with transitional accessories, which we had no shortage of, thanks to her pretty collection of colored glass!
We incorporated some coastal vibes with the woven water hyacinth placemats, then layered a pop of color onto each one with the aqua chargers she bought from Z-Gallerie a few years back. Our Mema’s Meissen Blue Onion china was the perfect choice to brighten up each place setting, as the blue and white pattern (which is so en vogue right now) coordinated perfectly with the brightness of the table runner. The stained-glass stemmed wine glasses with gold detailing were the perfect touches of elegance and whimsy, which were complemented by the gold taper candles in a variety of textures and finishes, placed throughout the tablescape as well.
The gold-rimmed emerald-green goblets are a family treasure in and of themselves. One very special Christmas season when I was in elementary school, my mom, Mema, sister and I saw an Arby’s promotion (yep, you read that right: Arby’s): Buy a Cheddar Melt sandwich and get a gold-rimmed emerald-green Libbey goblet FREE! We had to have eaten our combined weights in those sandwiches because we seem to have collected enough glasses between all of us to throw a party for a small country! We also may or may not have snuck those sandwiches into the movie theaters in lieu of overpriced cinema snacks. (#notsorry) Over the years, we have received so many compliments on this specific collection, and to this day, I am reminded of the fun of our emerald goblet quest (and weirdly crave those crazy sandwiches) every time I look at these pretty glasses.
We were very pleased with how everything came together so nicely. The glass accents, stemware and place settings worked so well together with the table runner to brighten up the room, but we felt there needed to be some fun foliage to make the tablescape truly complete. Remember in my previous post, A Home-waii Getaway, where I had incorporated palm fronds that I clipped from my sister’s back yard? Well, a week later, those exact fronds and greenery lived on in gilded glory with the help of our friends at Rust-oleum (by way of Lowe’s). We used a combination of gold spray paint colors in matte and high-polished finishes so that when we arranged them together, they would have more dimension at the focal point of the tablescape.
It was a pretty simple process — we sprayed half of the fronds and greenery with matte paint and the other half with the high-polished paint. We waited a couple of hours to let the first coat of paint fully dry, then flipped them over to spray the backs of the fronds.
Once both sides were dry, it was time to arrange an assortment of the painted fronds and greenery together in the large, colorful glass vessel at the center of the table. I’ve got to say, the palm centerpieces looked pretty darn fabulous once we trimmed and positioned them a certain way, and they lasted like that for roughly a weekend’s time despite not having dried them out first.
Word to the wise: Lay your palms out flat for a few days to let them dry out completely before painting them. If the palms are still relatively alive before painting, they will stand upright in your vase(s) at first, but then collapse at the neck because of the weight of the frond and flimsy nature of the stem. The paint just isn’t strong enough to hold it together long-term if the fronds are not dried out first. Don’t ask me how I know. (I think you know)
That said, if you choose not to patiently heed my advice above, just know that the painted fronds will only stand upright for a few days once arranged and may need periodic re-fluffing. In any event, we loved the look so much, we put them everywhere and enjoyed them for as long as we could!
In such uncertain times as these (are you as tired of hearing that phrase as I am?), it really was a wonderful project that not only got our creative muscles flexing, but also didn’t cost us but a few cans of spray paint to accomplish. One of the reasons I love Anthropologie, World Market and Pier 1 Imports (RIP) is that their bohemian aesthetics foster personal style and eclectic arrangements of décor. That means you can take your personal collection of decorative accents a lot further than just one fleeting trend or another at a given time, AND you can combine different styles to create a new look with what is already in your décor arsenal! As for my sister and me, we managed to combine multiple generations and styles of decorative pieces into one vibrant and meaningful tablescape, simply by using what we had on-hand to work with and a little bit of paint.
It’s not just the pieces themselves we’ve gathered up that make the table special, it’s those who gather around it that make it something to be treasured. I am reminded of a wise scripture that ends with, “Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Think about it: the treasured memories we made with my Mema during our emerald goblet quest, the decorating tradition we have with our mom, the projects my sister and I did together during the dreaded “Quarantine of 2020”, the meals put on the table and the blessed moments with loved ones surrounding the beautiful display, post-quarantine. Pretty as it all is, I know where the real treasure is when I look at this well-accessorized tabletop. Just like those palm fronds in all their temporal gilded glory, the here and now, too, is only for a season. I can always look back on our pandemic-era tablescape and know that this borrowed time was so well spent in the face of uncertainty; and that, dear friend, what makes it truly beautiful.