06 December 2012

The Secret to a Designer Table

Those fancy professionally decorated table settings always look so beautiful, but they need not be out of reach for the rest of us. The secret to the designer look is a very limited colour scheme - e.g. gold or silver plus one or two other colours ONLY. With a simple colour palette and found or made objects you can create a decorator look on a budget. Start with the tablecloth, plain white is perfect or if you have a colour, let that dictate your colour scheme e.g. royal blue cloth with all silver decorations. The colour doesn't have to be a traditional Christmas colour. Add paper doilies for placemats, plain white or sprayed gold or silver.

Then add your chosen decorations:
Idea 1: Natural theme. Send the kids to the backyard, park or nature reserve to find gumnuts, seed casings, pine cones etc. Lightly spray with your choice of gold or silver spray paint (from a cheap shop) and allow to dry. I think a light 'dusting' of the paint looks nice and lets the natural beauty of your found objects shine through, and when spraying anything paper make sure to use a number of very light coats of spray to build up the colour, rather than one thick coat which will make the paper wrinkle. Scatter gumnuts over the table top, glue to homemade napkin rings (cut from cardboard tube and also sprayed)or glue around the perimeter of a cardboard circle to make a wreath candle centrepiece.

Idea 2: Miniature gifts - scout around the house to find as many little boxes or box shapes as possible - matchboxes, ring boxes, kids' building blocks, pieces of styrofoam etc. Have the kids wrap them up in Christmas paper and ribbons as though they are presents - great for using up little scraps of paper and ribbon leftovers. Use a theme colour and scatter over the table, use to fill a pretty glass bowl etc. Don't forget to retrieve your objects when Christmas is over, or you could store them to be used again next year! These also make great tree ornaments, hung by their ribbons.

Idea 3: Mix up a batch of air-drying modelling dough, roll it out like biscuit dough and use your Christmas cookie cutters to cut designs. Have the kids paint them and use to scatter over the table, glue to homemade napkin rings or bonbons (crepe paper wrapped around toilet rolls and tied at each end with ribbon), glue to candles etc. A theme works well with this, e.g. stars in various sizes. All of these ideas are minimal in cost - a can of spray paint at the cheap shop, paper doilies from the paper plate aisle at the supermarket, crepe paper from the newsagents. They are also fantastic fun, and great boredom busters for the kids in the days leading up to Christmas when mum is so busy and the kids need entertaining.

Air Drying Modelling Dough Recipe: 2 cups salt 1/2 cup water 1 cup cornflour Mix all ingredients in a saucepan and gently heat, stirring continuously, until a smooth dough forms. Use as soon as cool enough to handle. Will harden at room temperature in 2 days. Can be painted or varnished. (Recipe provided by my child health centre, as provided by the Play and Learning Program, WA Department of Health) Have a wonderful Christmas with your new family!
Contributed by Margaret

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