After designing Decorative Paper Banners, my second all-time favorite crafting activity is creating seasonal tablescapes–so, it’s only natural include it as the next craft in my ongoing Summer Crafting Series. Incorporating summer elements in a tablescape, such as greens, succulents, water, and glass, creates an airy feeling reminiscent of all things summer, including running through the sprinklers, iced tea sunning on the patio, and crocodile blow-up rafts in the pool (at least, that’s what I think of when I think of summer).
The central rule for tablescapes is to start with an idea, color, fabric, texture, piece, picture, place, plant, or flower that inspires you at the moment and create your display around it. The picture above is my tablescape from last summer: I knew I wanted to use green plants inside of glass bell jars, so I started there and then added elements that I either had or found.
This was my inspiration photo for last year’s summer tablescape. It was taken in the restaurant of the Mondrian hotel in NYC’s Soho neighborhood the weekend the hotel opened. The restaurant’s centerpiece featured in the middle of the room displays dozens of glass jars in various sizes with nothing in them. At night, they beautifully reflected the lights directed onto them and played off the chandeliers nearby. Don’t you just love the lavender wire accent chairs that complement the indoor greenery in front of the gold fabric? I’m definitely planning on incorporating those brilliant details into a project.
I went about this year’s summer tablescape the same way: I wanted to plant my own succulent arboretums, so I took a weekend trip to a local greenhouse, picked out my succulents, and planted them in various bowls and containers I found around the house. I found the perfect lime green fabric at JoAnns and then made the runner (with the assistance of my mother-in-law’s sewing skills). She found the rock runner on-sale at a crafting store, and it just happened to work perfectly for what I was already planning.
That’s the other magical thing about tablescapes, once you start on course and picture in your mind’s eye your unique vision, the Universe brings you exactly what you need–coincidentally someone brings it to you or you find the item you need in the only store that carries it and it’s on sale!
If your table is small or you just don’t feel comfortable with your family eating on top of your masterpiece (like my husband), you can fasten the same concept on a window shelf, corner, or niche in your home to create an equally special feel. This display I created on our living room window ledge using various recycled bottles and paper flower straws. Every time I get a glimpse of it on my way to the kitchen it gives me a little ping of joy. That’s what’s fun about tablescapes– seeing them each day fills you with a fleeting moment of delighted exasperation that never tires.
Here’s a different shelf in my kitchen that I created a display on using mix-matched bottles and orchids. This would also be pretty (and last longer) using faux flowers in recylced bottles (I save glass bottles from olive oils, vinegars, wine (only a few), and sparkling water).
Tablescapes are a lot like writing a love letter to yourself–and then reading it out to yourself loud again and again.
Or at least that’s what it’s like for me!