Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Inspired by a Paper Napkin

While planning for a recent impromptu dinner party, I decided to let the napkin be my inspiration for setting the table.  I am always amazed by the beautiful paper napkins that are available out there.  Some of them are almost too pretty to use.  I say almost for a reason ... more on that later in the post.

 I went peeking around in my "prop closet" and found some beaded fruit and velvety leaves.  Did any of you used to watch Christopher Lowell on the Discovery Channel?  He had a home decorating show (in the 90s, I think).  Anyhow, he had a "prop closet" where he stored things that he used to decorate with when they weren't in use.  Often when he was going to begin a new project he would first visit his "prop closet".  I haven't seen him in years, but a quick Google search led me to this page .  I didn't take the time to read through it, but it does look like he offers some good holiday tips on his blog so I'll be back to visit him again later.  His taste in decorating wasn't necessarily my style, but I always found him to be inspiring.
Anyhow, I digress. . .


 I gathered up my leafy glasses and candle holders.

Must have candles to cozy things up on a cool Fall evening.
In my dining room I have an antique dresser that is used for storing tablecloths, napkins, etc.  During my recent organizing flurry, I designated one drawer for each season.  To set the table for this dinner I opened the Fall drawer and chose the tablecloth and candles too.  It was so nice to have everything all organized.  Wonder what took me so long? :).

With little effort and no expense, my table took shape. . . all thanks to my dinner napkin.

Oh, and about those napkins being almost too pretty to use . . .
when it became evident that my mom could no longer live on her own and we were helping her pack up her belongings, we came across a big bag full of napkins for all occasions.  As I looked through them I was reminded of the many times she has hosted happy gatherings and used many of these napkins.  Perhaps there were some left in the package and perhaps some of the packages she found too pretty to open.  Either way her days of creating pretty tables and happy get-togethers was now behind her.  For reasons I can't quite explain, it made me sad to know those napkins would never be involved in her "company's coming" plans again.  In a strange way it was a reminder to me that the time to use the pretty napkins and the good china is now.

Since I have a drawer full of pretty napkins for all occasions, 
I'm challenging myself to use them now to make memories with my family and friends.  I think I tend to be a procrastinator when it comes to entertaining... always thinking someday I'll do it and then someday never seems to come.  I guess inspiration can come in all forms and for me a simple napkin is just the inspiration I seem to need. :)

Today I am tuned to CNN and keeping those of you in the path of Hurricane Sandy in my thoughts.  Stay safe.


  1. Hi Kim, I survived unscathed, no flooding near me but not too far away it is a disaster, I lost power last night but it came back at 6 AM. Friends still have no power. My phone service is messed up, but it could be worse and I am grateful. And you are so right, use what you have and don't save it!!! xo

  2. So sad to hear of all the devastation around the East coast this a.m. Lots of prayers and good wishes are going out to all!

    I too Love a pretty paper napkin on occasion. Yours are so pretty! i loved reading about your finding your Mom's pretty napkins. What a sweet memory! I know I have quite a few in a drawer that are at the ready to pull out and enjoy. One time I found a pretty paper napkin set and used them to decoupage onto the back of a clear glass plate for decoration. I put it out each year at Easter as it is a Spring inspired napkin.

    Such a nice post of memories! Have a lovely day!

  3. Yes! To think that you and I were probably watching many of those Christopher Lowell programs at the same time! I blame him for a number of things the most significant of which are my Volkswagen Living Room Set and all those Hunter greens and deep burgundy walls. Ai yi yi. Oh, and I praise him for the painting of ceilings anything but white. I still don't care for a white ceiling. (He needs more pictures on his blog. Lots and lots more pictures. A picture is worth a thousand words, after all.)

    You set a lovely table and I do think it is wise to use the good stuff if it works for you. And I would like to have a "Prop Closet."

  4. Kim,
    What a lovely table you have set!
    Great organizing idea, too.
    We also emerged from Sandy unscathed.

  5. I watched him on HGTV. Do you remember he used paint cans to elevate some things and then draped a cloth over it all. It really added interest to a mantle. I love your pretty table and appreciate the memories. We learn and change along the way....from the past. Hugs!

  6. You did a fantastic job of creating a beautiful centerpiece using the napkins as inspiration! And yes, the time to use pretty things is NOW! Life is fleeting.

  7. You did a great job of decorating...inspired by those lovely napkins! I have to admit that I have no idea who Christopher Lowell is...but I'll have to check out his blog.

  8. What a lovely table and so creative. The napkins are so pretty.
    I believe like you do, use the pretty things NOW. For really what are we saving them for.

  9. Great post, Kim! I'm trying to get my house more organized because I have lately realized that time is passing and I haven't been as hospitable as I should. You are so right, NOW is the time to use the pretty things.
    I remember Christopher Lowell well and used to watch his shows. He had some great ideas.
    Your table is very beautiful...enjoy!

  10. Kim,
    Your table setting is so lovely. I know what you mean about the pretty napkins. Sometimes I will see some and just want to buy them to keep. It's so nice that you are taking over with the entertaining as your mom did. My mom used to have all the family over, and I really miss that. I love the fruit on your table, and I like the idea of having a storage closet for things we may need.
    ~Sheri at Red Rose Alley

  11. Oh, how I enjoy my visits here, and always feel blessed and inspired by them. What a lovely tablescape and the creativity behind it all made it even more special. Your mother must have been a wonderful woman. I like that you shared aspects of her life when you found certain things of hers. My mother has a cupboard right now, filled with candles and beautiful napkins, because she served so many people in her life too. How blessed we are to have them as our role models.

    I know without a doubt, that your friends will be so honored to sit at such a pretty table.

  12. For some reason I had a flash back to a decorating show that used very pretty paper plates up on a railing around the kitchen. At the ceiling height it was impossible to tell that they weren't real china and were changed out seasonally.
    Thinking of using a pretty napkin in a frame on the bathroom counter or mantle, switching seasonally...why not?

    My mom entertained a lot too. I know what you mean...


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