Decor – Tea Table Displays

Several years ago on a trip to Asheville, NC I purchased a lovely antique tea table which is now placed in the corner of our formal dining room.  Our dining room was already furnished with a beautiful dining table with 8 chairs and matching china cabinet.  Also in the room was a tall cherry wood cabinet where I store silverware and table linens.  I had been searching for a long time to find a piece of furniture to complete the room’s furnishings and the addition of the antique tea table was the perfect piece.

So what does a person place on a tea table?  A china tea set of course!

The china tea set that I placed on the tea table was purchased several years ago when I worked in a small retail store that sold home decorative items and various collectibles.  The white china tea pot has pretty pink roses and ivy, on the front are printed the words “And the greatest of these is Love”.  The two teacups and saucers also feature pink roses and ivy, trimmed in gold.  The words, “Love, Faith and Hope” are printed on the front of each teacup.  I search and was able to find gold teaspoons that I placed on the saucers to match the gold trim.  The saying on the teapot has a very special meaning to my husband and me because at our wedding we had the 1 Corinthians 13:13 verse read during the ceremony.

China Teapot, cup & saucer set

Hanging above the tea table are two framed items that will continue the story of our wedding and complete the decorations in this area of our dining room.  The first is a framed print of the Marty Bell painting “Sweetheart’s Gate”.  I love the vivid colors of print and if you look closely there are hidden hearts which Marty Bell painted into many of her paintings.  Below that framed print is another framed item; it is the custom label from the wine served at our wedding.  Before we got married my husband and I took a wonderful trip to the Napa Valley and toured several of the wineries.  Knowing that we would be married in a few months we order several bottles of wine from a small winery in the area and had custom labels made with our names and the wedding date.  I had a few extra labels and I decided to mat and frame one of the labels to create a unique wedding keepsake.  (Décor Tip:  When decorating an area of the home, think about displaying related items that tell a special story, this is what I did in the corner of our dining room)

Artwork above tea table

As most of the readers to my blog know, I love to decorate for the different seasons throughout the year.  In this post, I will show how I have decorated the tea table with various seasonal items.

Spring/Easter –

Shown below is a photo of the seasonal decorations I used for Easter.  I keep the china tea set on the tea table and then placed a special holiday decoration.  The used a white feather tree and placed it in a cute cracked egg white vase that I found in my local craft store.  Then I decorated the feather tree with sparkle egg ornaments in pastel colors and for a little bit of whimsy I also added a few small white bunny wearing pastel colored tutus.  For another touch of merriment I place a small stuffed duck into one of the teacups.

Tea Table Easter 2013

Fall/Thanksgiving –

Shown below are two different seasonal decorations for fall.  The first photo shows a lovely floral arrangement of golden roses and greenery placed in a crystal vase, this arrangement usually sits on the dining room table.  To add an extra festive touch, I added several peasant feathers to the arrangement.  The second photo shows a unique decoration that I made especially for the year that we hosted Thanksgiving dinner for several family members and since the holiday season is a time of celebration and remembrance I wanted to create a special “Memory Tree”.  I used a small tabletop artificial pine tree which I decorated with family photo frame ornaments, golden feathers and bronze jingle bells.  (For complete instructions on creating a “Memory Tree” for your home, please click on the link)

 Tea Table Fall 2013    Tea Table Fall 2012

Christmas –

Shown below is the special Christmas decoration that I made.  Inspired by the cranberry topiary that I had seen in the Red Room on the HGTV White Christmas special a few years ago I decided to create one for the tea table in our dining room.  It was very easy to make and I used two different Styrofoam pieces, artificial pine, pinecones and artificial cranberries.  When I completed the decoration, I placed is on a silver pedestal to add height.  (For complete instructions on creating a Cranberry Topiary for your home, please click on the link).

Several years ago on one of our antique shopping adventures I came across old sheet music of “Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer”.  I thought that it would look wonderful framed to match the other two framed sheet music that hang on the wall on either side of the china cabinet.  So, for the Christmas season I remove and store the framed Marty Bell print and the framed wedding label that usually hang above the tea table.  Also to match the other two framed sheet music, I add artificial pine boughs and pine cones placed above the frame.

Tea Table Christmas 2012    2012 Christmas  Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer sheet music

Craft – Memory Tree or Wreath

Since the holiday season is a time of celebration and remembrance, I have created a “Memory Tree” to decorate a small antique table in our family room for Thanksgiving.  I used a small tabletop pine tree which is I decorated with family photo frame ornaments, golden feathers and oak leaves with acorns.  Since we now live in the Midwest and most of our families are still on the West Coast, it is a wonderful way to honor them.

The following instructions are a guide to creating your own “Memory Tree” –

  1. Start with a tabletop pine tree, size does not matter but should be determined by the table it will be displayed on.  It can be a full traditional tree or a more open spaced feather tree.
  2. Find small photo frame ornaments for the number of family members you wish to display.  The frames do not necessarily need to match.  The photos of an individual or group can be used and the size can be reduced on the computer and printed to fit the frames used.  (Try to purchase the photo frame ornaments during the holiday season when they should be available at your local craft store)
  3. Display the photo frame ornaments evenly around the front and sides of the tree when the tree is set in a corner or against the wall.  If the tree will be displayed with a full view of all sides, make sure to space the photo frame ornaments around the entire tree.  If desired, attach the photo frame ornaments with ribbon for added decoration or wire for a more secure hold.
  4. Add embellishments, I used golden feathers and oak leaves with acorns evenly spaced throughout the tree for Thanksgiving.  For Christmas I remove the golden feathers and oak leaves and change the decorations to burgundy feathers and small glass pinecones.  To add even more memories to the “Memory Tree” in years past I’ve used bronze jingle bells with our favorite vacation destinations and dates written with gold pen.  This is a great way to remember fun family trips!
    (Additional suggestions would be to add small pinecone or acorn glass ornaments for Thanksgiving and holly leaves, red berry sprays or small ball ornaments for Christmas)
  5. The final step would be to add some sort of tree topper.  For the tree pictured, I gathered several feather sprays and secured to the top with wire.

A “Memory Tree” would be a perfect decoration for both Thanksgiving and Christmas.  Another option is to create a “Memory Wreath” using the same family photo frame ornaments and decorations.  This is a great idea when there is no space for a tabletop tree.  NOTE: I would recommend only hanging the wreath inside the house since the decorations would not be weather-proof for displaying on an exterior door.

Decor – Fall to Christmas Change Over

The week after Thanksgiving is a very busy time for me!  That’s when the Fall decorations are put away and the Christmas decoration boxes are brought up from the basement.   I really enjoy taking my time to unpack each box and deciding how I want to do this year’s displays.  Even when I’m using the same pieces year after year I try to set my displays in different ways or in different rooms of the house.  Sometimes the Fontanini Nativity set will be in the dining room and the next year it will be in the our library or the Department 56 North Pole Village will be in the family room bookshelf and the next year is will on the mantel over the fireplace.  This keeps everything interesting and it is fun to use different ideas or techniques to set up the displays.

In upcoming December posts, I will take you through all my preparations of the different Christmas displays I create in our home, such as: Fontanini Nativity Display and Department 56 North Pole Village.  Some other December posts detail my other Christmas decorations, such as: Themed Christmas trees and Christmas wreaths.  All of these Christmas decorations are created to make the holiday season a special one for my family.

Now, I wanted to discuss how to use some of the same materials for both Fall and Christmas.  When this is done in a creative way it can save time and expense when changing over the decorations from one holiday to next.  (Who doesn’t want to have extra time and save money at this time of year!!)

Pine garlands are a very versatile material for this purpose and I will show how with some simple changes it can be used for both Fall and Christmas decorations.  One of the most traditional ways to use pine garlands are on a mantel over the fireplace.  Below are two photos showing the same garland decorated for both holidays.  Keeping the same pine garland on the mantel, I switched out the fall decorations and replaced them with the Christmas decorations.  For Fall, the pine garland is decorated with colorful ceramic fall leaves and red berry sprays scattered throughout.    For Christmas, I used several ceramic snowflakes, large green glass pinecones ornaments and red berry sprays.


Small tabletop Christmas trees can be used in the same versatile way.  In my dining room I create a “Memory Tree” and placed it on a tea table.  This special tree is decorated with family photos in small bronze photo frame ornaments.  (Please see this week’s Craft post for more information on the Memory Tree or Wreath)  Below are two photos showing the “Memory Tree” decorated in two different ways for Fall and Christmas.  For Thanksgiving, the tree is decorated with golden feathers and oak leaves with acorns.  For Christmas, I replace the golden feathers with burgundy feathers and small glass pinecone ornaments.


As you can see, all it takes is a little creativity and by simply using different decorations to accent a pine garland or a tabletop Christmas tree the look can reflect the different holidays.

I would love to hear from you so, please write me to share your own ideas or comments.


Decor – Thanksgiving Table Decorations

On Thanksgiving morning Jeff is up early in the kitchen to prepare the turkey for the oven.  The smell of onions and celery cooking on the stove always brings back wonderful childhood memories – I loved waking up to the smell of my Mother fixing Thanksgiving dinner back home in California.  Another heavenly smell coming from the kitchen is the pumpkin pies baking in the oven and Jeff makes wonderfully delicious pumpkin pies but my favorite is his pumpkin cheesecake!  (Gosh, I’m suddenly hungry!)

In our house, we have an ongoing family joke – Jeff is in charge of all the cooking and I am in charge of the presentation and setting a beautiful table.  Jeff actually enjoys preparing Thanksgiving dinner so I’m lucky that I don’t have to cook! The decorations in our dining room usually start with a floral arrangement of golden roses in a lovely Tiffany crystal vase that stays on the dining room table all year. (The photo shown above was taken last year) I always add peasant feathers to the arrangement with several small pumpkins and gourds placed around to give it a fall festive look.  This Fall season I am making a Victorian inspired centerpiece with fruits and feathers, the rose floral arrangement will be moved to the family room.  I think the new Fall centerpiece looks lovely on our dining room table and adds the perfect elegant touch. (Please see last week’s Craft post for full instructions for the Fall Victorian Centerpiece shown in the photo below.) When I change the holiday decorations it allows me the chance to be creative and make something new to keep the process fresh every year!

Since Thanksgiving is a time to gather for a wonderful dinner and give thanks, I wanted to have a special decoration to honor and remember our families.  Living so far from everyone on the west coast, we rarely have the huge celebrations like we had back in California.  Thanksgiving and Christmas celebrations were always the highlight of our holiday entertaining and we enjoyed having family and friends over to celebrate!  In the years since we moved to the Midwest, we have been very fortunate to spend Thanksgiving dinner with my Mother, Jeff’s Mother, Grandparents and also his Aunt and Uncle.  Many of those family members have passed away over the last few years and we miss them very much.  So, to complete the dining room decorations, there is a “Memory Tree” on the tea table.  This small tabletop pine tree is decorated with small family photo frames and golden feathers.  (Please see next week’s Craft post for directions on creating your own Memory Tree or Wreath as shown in the photo above.)


When the decorations are finished, I cover the table with an ivory tablecloth.  This year I will be using a lovely family crocheted tablecloth that I recently found in my Mother’s house.  I will set the table with our best china, vintage silverware and lovely crystal glasses.  Since my Mother recently passed away this year I will remember her when I set the table with the Noritake “Rothschild” china that she bought for our wedding.  I love the classic pattern and the colors are a lovely silver and muted blue.  For serving I will use pieces from my silver bowl and platter collection that I have loved finding in antique stores over the years.  When you take the time to set a beautiful table it honors your guests and lets them know the meal you celebrate together is special.

How do you set the table for your Thanksgiving meal?

Decor – Fall Home Decorations

FALL … the weather turns a little cooler; there is a fire in the fireplace, and steaming hot chocolate in mugs to drink!  It is now the time to change out the spring/summer decorations and replace them with fall decorations.

Due to the unpredictable Midwest weather, I usually keep the exterior decorations of the house simple.  This year I decided to embellish a simple wooden pumpkin sign I used as a front door decoration from a previous year.  Because of the shape of the sign, I choose an oval wreath to match and added some gold chrysanthemums and fall leaves that I already had.

Since the fall season has two holidays, I have two different signs for our front porch.  For Halloween I have a “Trick or Treat” wooden black cat and for Thanksgiving I have a resin Scarecrow on a wooden stick tied with a raffia bow.  To complete the porch, I set out four pumpkins.

This year, I am excited to add one of my recent Craft projects.  The Corncob Luminaries were very easy to make and a great way to use recycled water bottles. On Thanksgiving Day, these luminaries will be placed on the walkway leading to our front door and will set a festive mood to greet our Thanksgiving dinner guests.

Now, it is time to decorate the interior of our house.

In our entry, I have a low bench and I place a wooden “scarecrow” crow (funny!) with a sign that reads, “Welcome, Happy Harvest”.  On a pedestal next to the bench, I have a white rose floral arrangement and with the addition of some peasant feathers it changes to a fall festive look!  (Another idea is to add fall leaves or peacock feathers to an existing arrangement – these simple ideas can really stretch a holiday decorating budget – maybe you can buy a fabulous fall sweater with the money saved!)

In the family room, I arrange several pine sprays on the mantel over the fireplace and add several ceramic fall leaves and red berry sprays.  The pine sprays usually stay on the mantel and I will remove the Fall decorations and replace them with the Christmas decorations later – this saves time and expenses.  I also place two charming scarecrows on the fireplace mantel to complete this area.


In the library, I have a small glass front lawyer’s bookcase which displays my Boyd’s Bear Collection.  On the top shelf, I add my seasonal figurines which for Thanksgiving are a set of Pilgrim and Indians Boyd’s Bears.  On the middle shelf, I add fall leaves to my existing Bear figurine collection.  The bottom shelf holds my Boyd’s Bear Village.  I usually decorate this for every season and for fall I replace the summer/spring trees with bare branch trees.  I add a pumpkin patch and a couple of turkeys to give this display the look of a crisp fall afternoon!


In the dining room, the main decoration will be a lovely Fall Victorian Centerpiece for the table.  This is another one of my recent projects for fall.  (Please, look for this week’s Craft post for full instructions)  Since I am using this new centerpiece, I have moved the floral arrangement I use year round in the dining room to a table in the family room and add peasant feathers to give it a great fall look.  I love when my decorations are versatile, not specific to one area, and can be used in other rooms of the house.  This allows me to be creative with my holiday decorations and it keeps the process fresh every year!

In the china cabinet, I arrange three Currier and Ives porcelain house that I bought several years ago from a local craft store.  These are arranged on a mirrored silver display stand.  I add several small figurines and pine trees to create a charming display that transitions from Fall to Christmas.  I love when my holiday decorations can be used for more then one season!

To complete the dining room, I place a “memory tree” on the tea table.  During the Fall season this small tabletop pine tree is decorated with small family photo frames and golden feathers.  Thanksgiving is a time to give thanks and with this special decoration it is a wonderful way to honor and remember our families.  (Please, look for an upcoming Craft post with full instructions on creating your own Memory Tree or Wreath)

In the kitchen, I have a basket of artificial vegetables placed in the corner and it usually stays there year-round.  For the Fall season, I add a resin pumpkin carved with the words, “Harvest Welcome”.   Above the kitchen cabinets, I have a picture frame that reads, “Celebrate family, friends, traditions” which is perfect for Thanksgiving.  Normally it is displayed with a trio of decorative green plates and ceramic tea pots but I replace the teapots with two ceramic pumpkins for Fall.  Once again, I love to multi-purpose the items in the house by adding simple decorative items to an existing display and this saves both time and expenses.  (You’ve got to love that idea, right?)