What’s a special dinner without the proper table setting? A big meal. My family is not one to complain about a big meal, no matter how it’s presented, but sometimes I like to really dress things up for them. I was recently inspired to create a harvest tablescape for one such big meal. I have some friends that wanted to write up recipes that used our garden or homestead harvest, and we figured “why not make it a meal?” Well, obviously somebody had to try all of the recipes. That would be me because I’m a bit crazy like that, but also because I have a young, growing family, and they can really pack away the food.
This post is part of “Around the Harvest Table,” a group effort of back-to-the-basics bloggers who have put together a farm-to-table meal using the harvest from our gardens and some old-fashioned skills. I hope you’ll visit every post listed below, because each one of my friends is sharing her recipe for the dish she has prepared for this communal meal – have a seat at our table and join us!
As I said, I wanted to make this meal really special for my family, so I spent some time mulling over how to set the right atmosphere for this harvest occasion.
I started with the basics. Whenever I want to dress the table up, I pull out one of my tablecloths. My favorite one might be the large gingham tablecloth from the Pioneer Woman collection, but that just wasn’t right for this occasion. Instead, I took out one of my “fancy” cream colored cloths. It was really wrinkled, so I actually iron it (this is something I don’t normally take the time to do, so I must have been feeling ambitious!).
Then I placed the table runner that I made for the Patchwork Table Runner tutorial in the middle of the table. I am completely in love with that table runner! I’m so happy with the fabrics that I picked. And it was absolutely perfect for this occasion. I love that it’s patchwork, yet has the gold prints and thread to dress it up. Pretty. Not too fancy, not too casual.
I really wanted to take a note from Mid-Life Blogger‘s book (okay blog and Facebook page) and find some mismatched, yet perfectly paired plates to go with a beautiful, partial set of dishes from my grandmother (I was never given the complete set as some of her dishes had broken with time). I figured I could use the large plates and just get some smaller plates, but the thrift-stores that I went to had nothing. And the store-stores that I went to also had nothing. I did have enough of the small and large plates from my grandmother to set the table for 6 people, so that’s what I ended up doing. (E won’t be able to touch those plates for several years! I even hesitate to let the bigger kids use them, but what would be the point of having them if they never got used?)
Of the cups that were a part of the set, all but one have broken (I only had two to begin with), so not too long ago, I went thrift shopping and found some cups that looked good with the dishes. I got out the special silver-that’s-not-actual-silver-but-looks-like-it-ware we got after Scott’s grandmother passed away. I love that every once in awhile, we can have dinner together and can attach it to memories of meals with our grandmothers.
Our table is not all that large so I’m always careful about what kind of centerpiece I use. I love having flowers at the table, but they always block my view of Scott, so we either move them or have to look around them during dinner. I didn’t want to mess with that this time, so I opted to make a low centerpiece without the flowers.
We have an old box that I’ve been using for decorating the table lately, but anything I put in it needs to be tall enough, or it can’t be seen over the edges of the box, defeating the point of putting any decorations in it. I had a block of floral styrofoam lying around, so I cut it in half length-wise, and then cut it up to fit inside of the box, giving me some lift for the things that were to go in the box.
I started by adding a piece of burlap ribbon and some orange candles I picked up from the Dollar Tree a few years ago (Yes, I have candles that don’t get burned. I figure that way I have backups in case of an emergency).
We managed to harvest a few small, white pumpkins from the pumpkin patch this year (probably the only pumpkins we’ll harvest… I think they are called “snowball” pumpkins), so I put that in the middle of the box. There were still gaps and I wanted to put cinnamon pinecones in the box, but there wasn’t enough room. So I took a walk around the yard.
I found a few small (partially deformed) apples off of our Honeycrisp tree, and some corn tassels from our severely stunted corn and a few sunflowers and brought it all into the house.
The sunflowers were much too big, so I put them in a vase that I put on the counter instead. The apples were able to fit (deformed side down) into the box, and I filled the gaps with a few corn tassels. I don’t know why exactly, but I really love this centerpiece. Probably because the pumpkin, corn tassels and apples are all real. Every time I walk past the table, I get a little smile on my face. If I had some nice cloth napkins, I would have used those, but I don’t have any right now, so we skipped the napkins altogether this time.
Last, but certainly not least, comes the food. After all, what would be the point of making your table look so nice like this if it wasn’t meant to feature some food? For dinner, I served up the crockpot “roast” chicken, Italian green beans, mashed potatoes, and applesauce. We had some raspberry coffee cake and pumpkin bread for dessert. The only recipe that I wasn’t able to make was SoulyRested’s maple dijon vinegarette recipe. I might just have to whip up a batch this week to eat with some of the leftover chicken on a bed of lettuce. I always have fun doing things like this. I’m really glad that I took the time to make all of the dishes and give it a proper table setting. We may have a dismal garden season, but we had enough to make a good harvest meal and make up a pretty table setting. We’ve been short on meals around the dinner table together, which made it extra special for us to sit down together like this. Make sure you click on the links below to find out how to make all of the dishes that I made for this meal. They were delicious!
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