Thank you to everyone who participated this year for sharing your creativity with us. It has been a true pleasure to see all of our gorgeous work and hear your inspiring stories.
And now, for our winners:
3rd Place (a tie!):
3rd Place – Jen Seaman – Seattle, WA
When I first saw your entry, it reminded me of my 25-year-old daughter’s gatherings. I love seeing the old traditions combined with the new generations’ fresh ideas. This is a great example of interpretive entertaining which really represents your generation. Your party was eclectic and soulful – these are the best kinds of experiences!
Dear People Who Make My Get-Togethers Classy,
I have slowly been adding pieces from Rosanna for a few years now and hosting get-togethers at my home. One of my greatest loves is entertaining, be it on stage telling jokes at comedy clubs and festivals, or inviting my friends over for delicious, fresh, made from scratch treats. I've recently found a roommate, Justin who is also into entertaining as well. When he's not singing in the Seattle Men's Chorus, he likes singing show tunes with me in the kitchen while we try to perfect recipes such as: cookie butter, cronuts and chocolate chip cookies... the three deadly "C's."
The story behind our design was that we wanted to do something fun, original and whimsical to celebrate the wonderful summer we've had with our friends and by doing so create a unique experience to honor them as well. We wanted to incorporate bright colors with seasonal flowers and focus part of the cuisine around our friends' favorite dishes and our favorite local businesses. Our flowers were from Pike Place market and the ice cream in our drinks was from one of our favorite small businesses, Lick Pure Creamery who specialize in using local ingredients to create their ice cream, so delicious!
For our end of summer brunch we made: avocado-grapefruit salad, deviled eggs, cookie butter tartlets, open faced eggs-cheese-and-bacon buttermilk biscuits, cronuts (croissant donuts) and pienuts. Pienuts were a dish we invented specifically for the event for our friend Kermet who is an avid pie fan and often times tells jokes on the road about pies. We filmed a short video which will be out in a few months about how to make this new treat. Our kitchen has turned into a small studio where we film comedic cooking shows based around a comedian's jokes or favorite dessert. Pienuts consist of freshly made pie filling and a fully baked tartlet which are then wrapped in raw pie dough and fried. If it sounds decadent and delicious, that's because it is!
The four days leading up the event were filled with baking, amazing smells wafting through the house and lot of preparation for the big event. The best part was seeing our friends' eyes light up when they stepped into the backyard to reveal the table filled with fresh food, flowers and colors. The experience that our friends had, the laughs shared over treats and wine made the event one of the biggest highlights of our year. The largest highlight of the year was knowing that we had such great friends to give us a reason to celebrate.
Thank you for your consideration, we had a blast with our entry and hope you enjoy the photos.
3rd Place - Deb Kennedy - Irvine, CA
We appreciate what a truly loyal fan you are to us! Although you have gone through some challenging life experiences recently, it is clear that you have not let your creative spirit be conquered. We love that you are sharing your talents with family and friends as often as possible. Wishing you all the best!
You know, I have always wanted to enter your tablescape contest, and for one reason or another, I have always MISSED it! This time, fate has smiled on me - I saw your facebook post and got to work on my images. This is such a fun creative exercise for me, as I love seeing all of the entries. The creativity of others inspires me!
So, my story about the tablescape I am entering is this: The truth is, I just love to decorate! My background in retail display (35+ years) and my love of bringing seasonal touches into my own home has given me many opportunities and blessings in life. So, when I can use my skills and abilities to do something wonderful for others, I enjoy it even more!
My brother and sister in law went on vacation, and asked me to house-sit for them. They also said "Um, Deb, while you are there, if you'd like to 'work your magic' on our house and make it beautiful, that would be just FINE with us!" And of course, I could NOT resist a request like that! So I worked for two days moving the furnishings, digging through closets and drawers to find hidden treasures, and re-styling their home to reflect all that they love and also the summer season.
The BEST part of the whole project is that I did this makeover for FREE! I didn't spend a cent (except on the white gladiolus flowers). Everything I used was what they already had - I just 'FOUND' it around their house and used it in fresh new decorative ways. Which is exactly the philosophy behind my blog HOMEWARDfound: using what you have, and what you can get free or inexpensively to bring seasonal style into your home.
The tablescape is composed of their 'everyday' dishes and glassware, some linen napkins found languishing in a buffet drawer, a set of placemats that were still in their packaging in a cabinet, and a set of four bowls that were new in the box out in the garage. With those items and their color palette (which matches the decor), I had a great start. Then I located a few pieces of white china with a seashell motif. When I discovered the clear glass vases of seashells that were tucked into a box of 'party decor' in the garage, I expanded on the seaside theme. A vintage white vase from the kitchen cabinet over the stove holds pretty white gladiolus stems ($1.99 for six at the local grocer - which was the ONLY thing I purchased for this whole makeover!). And in a truly last-minute touch, the centerpiece base is a lone white shelf that I found in the garage - it had no brackets, so it was never hung. But it serves as the perfect way to make the vases of shells stand out in the center of the table!
I love the clean, simple look of the table, and the touch of pattern in the placemats and the color in those bowls. It's a look that is easy for my sister in law to replicate, too, and that was important to me. I want her to see how she not only has great taste because she bought all of these things to begin with, but that she can live with them everyday and enjoy them!
My brother and sister in law arrived home from vacation to 'the big reveal' - and nearly fell over! She could not stop exclaiming 'Is this MY HOUSE?!' and said it looked better than the Pottery Barn catalogs that she drools over. She pulled out a chair and sat at the table, shaking her head and saying "OK, we have to have a party now. Because THIS is GORGEOUS! I'm not changing this!" They couldn't believe I did it all in just a few days, and it was really gratifying to see their appreciation.
Then they DID have friends over for a party, and I hear the reviews were very good! I snapped terrific 'before & after' photos of the makeover, and am running a week-long series using them on my blog right now, and it's generating a great response. So even more people are being inspired - and I just love that.
Now, the rest of the story is this.... In the fall of 2011, my husband did some awful things that nearly destroyed me, and completely trashed our life and our business on Camano Island. Since that time, I've literally lost everything I had - home, car, business, furniture, personal possessions & treasures, and more, including my adult children and grandsons (long story). In early 2012, I separated from him and moved from Seattle back to Southern California where I grew up, and have been working to start a new life here. It's not easy to have to start over and move back into your parents' home when you are 50 years old - especially when having your own home to decorate means as much to you as it does to me. But my parents and my siblings have been so supportive of me, and by giving me opportunities to decorate THEIR homes, it really is fulfilling to me. Someday I hope to have a place of my own again - but in the meantime, decorating for others and sharing my passion on my blog is something I truly enjoy. It's amazing to me how God provides what we need - even if it doesn't come to us the way we picture it ;)
Thank you for this chance to enter your contest, Rosanna... your creativity inspires me! (and I truly do miss your warehouse sales now that I am not up in Seattle anymore)
2nd Place – Nazra Knutsen – Seattle, WA
You’ve created such a loving tradition for your little daughter. Developing and practicing traditions with our families is so important to lead a happy life. Here you’ve used your imagination to fashion not only a beautiful table, but a whimsical and playful experience! We also love how you’ve repurposed and reinvented your table which shows creativity. Well done! We share your philosophy.
We love doing impromptu dinners with friends and it's usually me texting them up saying, "Husband is cooking...wanna come over?" With his love of cooking and my love of tablescaping (is that even a word?) we make a great team! Besides the fact that we have two small children...its nearly impossible to leave for dinner dates, unless we plan way in advance! On a side note - having small children means not a whole lot of time to be creative by crafting, etc...so being able to be creative in the everyday life events (like eating & setting a table) - fills my spirit up!
I used Rosanna's beautiful (smaller) blue cake stand for this birthday party I set up for my daughter and her stuffed friends for her 3rd birthday this morning! (Well..actually the birthday fairy did it while my daughter was sleeping of course.) ;) Again...so much of this is thrifted, 2nd-hand, or hand-crafted except for the "food" & Rosanna cake stand of course. :-)
Drum roll please!
1st Place – Cheryl Gray – Niagara Falls, NY
We love your creativity and your idea of entertaining and setting a beautiful table anywhere. Your father’s 1950’s vintage heirlooms were such a lovely and sentimental accent. We like your reference to iconic American culture with Marilyn Monroe’s film “Niagara”. Thank you so much for your visionary story and photo!
My tablescape design features Rosanna's self described "platinum" pattern Belle Epoque. I drew inspiration from the 2013 theme, "Come “over”, I made food" and the cue that not all entertaining takes place indoors. Therefore my choice of outdoor setting was the most iconic representation of "over" that I know, the brink of Niagara Falls in Niagara Falls, NY.
The Belle Epoque "platinum" pattern represents the epitome of glamour and my tablescape pays homage to the iconic platinum blond Marilyn Monroe as featured in the film “Niagara” on the 60th anniversary of the making of the film. I set the table with a faux fur throw, platinum roses (Marilyn was honeymooner Rose Loomis in the film) and platinum wreaths as the napkin rings. To further evoke the 1950's movie theme also gracing the table are my dad's antique hat and an antique camera with a now extinct roll of Kodak film once manufactured in nearby Rochester, NY.
Although I am a inveterate gourmet home cook and could have developed a literal spread for the tablescape, however, I hope this homage to gorgeous platinum “eye candy” set against this natural wonder of the world evokes the theme “come over” in an intriguing way.
Italian and German tourists were photographing my table setting and nodding approvingly when a local tour guide explained the purpose of the challenge. He also shared that his son had proposed to his fiancée (now wife) on that very spot three years ago.
Cheryl M. Gray