Tuesday, October 27, 2009

October Dinner Party

I've invited two couples to join us this weekend

for an autumn dinner party.

I have struggled with getting this tablescape just right all week long.

It is soooo hard for me to NOT do a formal

look in my dining room.

I must have changed these placesettings

at least four times and I'm still not satisfied.

I started with crystal and my china (Lenox-Eternal)

on the glass plate chargers that I painted gold.

I added the sage green brocade placemats beneath for some color.

I need more COLOR in my life!!

I felt it looked too formal so

I took off all the crystal and decided to use the

amber martini glasses...

I intend to make Caramel Apple Martinis!


  • 2 oz. Sour Apple Pucker®
  • 1 oz. Vodka
  • 1 oz. Butterscotch Schnapps
Shake with ice to chill & strain into glass.

You can put a thin line of caramel topping in the glass if you like.

Now I'm thinking

I should put one water/wine glass back at the places.

I didn't like the crow on the papier-mâché pumpkin centerpiece

so I switched to this
shiny porcelain pumpkin.

I like it much better!

I also have little glass tea lights scattered around.

Real flames....yikes! They make me nervous but I'll cope.

I wanted to accent the plum color in the grapes

and when I saw these candlesticks,

I thought they would do the trick.

Look how beautifully they match both bunches of grapes.

After I thought I had it all complete, I remembered

the brown leaf chargers that I'd bought recently at Wal-Mart.
(only $3 apiece)

Sooooo, I switched those for the gold and

they really made for a warmer and more casual feeling.

Now I'm not so sure about using them with the dressier

silk brocade placemats but I liked the colors together.

Sometimes they look like wood and

sometimes they look like leather.

In some light, they almost look plum colored!

Lastly, I took off all the little individual salt and pepper

shakers so I could use the cute little ones shown here....

because I had just realized how great they go

with this little bowl I found in a thrift shop last week.

I have no idea what I'm going to put in it.

Any suggestions?

Its too small for rolls and a bit too big

for mints or after dinner

Maybe grated parmesan cheese.

Does everybody else fuss like this?

Now to work on the menu

which I base on the dishes I'm using

instead of the other way around, like normal people.

I'm leaning towards serving

potato soup in the pumpkin bowls,

followed by a salad with pears & walnuts.

I can use this pretty platter above for serving

individual beef wellingtons.

(all the work is done ahead of guests arrival)

Beef Wellington Singles
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 Tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped
2 sheets puffed pastry, thawed
1/2 Cup Boursin Garlic & Herb Cheese
1/2 Cup mushrooms, chopped
2 Tablespoon butter
2 Tablespoon olive oil
2-3 shallots, finely chopped
4-6 filet mignon steaks, 2" thick
Salt & freshly ground pepper, to taste
Parchment paper

Recipe Description:
Traditionally a large roast entrée, Beef Wellington Singles are essentially individual "roasts" that provide the flexibility to serve fewer people. They may be prepared a day in advance.

Recipe Directions:
Heat olive oil in a heavy skillet over high heat. Season steaks with salt and pepper, and sear. Sear steaks for 3 minutes on each side. For rare steaks, sear 1 to 2 minutes; for well done, 5 to 6 minutes. Remove beef from skillet and allow to cool.

In the same skillet, melt butter. Add mushrooms, shallots and thyme, and sauté for 5 minutes or until soft. Remove from heat and cool. Preheat oven to 425F. On a lightly floured surface, prepare pastry.

Roll out each puff pastry into a 13 to 15" square. Cut into 4 equal squares, for a total of 8. Blot steaks dry and place in the center of each square. Spread 2 tbsp. Boursin cheese on each and top with mushroom mixture.

Brush the corners and sides of each square with lightly beaten egg, fold each corner up to the center, tuck in the sides, and press lightly to seal. Transfer to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

To decorate, use a paring knife to cut out pastry leaves from remaining puff pastry. Brush with egg to help leaves adhere. Cover and chill 1 hour or overnight.

Remove singles from refrigerator and brush again with lightly beaten egg. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes for medium doneness, or until golden brown. Serve warm.

Recipe Author:
Giant Eagle Kitchen

Dessert will be pumpkin roll slices

topped with a small scoop of French vanilla ice cream

and warm caramel sauce to drizzle on top.

I think the table is FINALLY finished.

Unless I decided to pull off those green placemats.

I can never decide if the juxtaposition of rustic & formal

is creative or stupid looking.

I think I need a nap!

Thank you to Susan for hosting

at her blog, Between Naps on the Porch

as well as
Michael for having

at Designs by Gollum.

Please be sure to visit both of these wonderful

blogs to see more of the same tables & treats.


  1. Now, when you wake up from your nap, slap yourself upside the head and tell yourself that ALL the variations that you showed in this post are gorgeous! Any one will work beautifully.

    Really -- what you are using is so lovely and seasonal and pretty that it's working just fine. As for "fine" and rustic -- it goes together very well! You have the colors just right --you can't go wrong.
    It's beautiful.
    so .. when are we expected?

  2. Wow, you have so many great ideas, and choices! I really like the way it ended up, but the others would have worked for me too! Have a fun dinner party, and don't stress too much! Enjoy, enjoy, enjoy.

  3. You tweaked this beautifully, Rett. Contrast is what makes art interesting and that's what you have here. It is wonderful.

  4. Did you ever think that maybe you have too much stuff and that's what makes your decisions so much harder? I'm thinkin' that just might be the problem..although your table did turn out lovely!! And your menu sounds delicious (as usual). Have a marvelous time and enjoy your guests!!

  5. LOL...Carol, my sweet friend, a dish-aholic can NEVER have too much stuff!! LOL

  6. I'm so glad to see someone else adds, removes, changes...LOL. I'm the same way...always tweaking. It's perfect! Love those leafy charges and what a cute bowl you found thrifting! Thanks for those recipes! The martini sounds awesome! Are the individual Beef Wellington's hard to make...I'd love to give those a try. How far in advance should you have them ready? Sorry for all the questions! :-) Love your tablescape! Thanks so much for your visits...alway love seeing your smiling face and your sweet comments.

  7. Rett,
    I just don't think you could go wrong with any of your choices! They are are just lovely! What a fantastic table!
    Dee Dee

  8. I loved all the looks. I especially liked the martini glasses. I thought they worked perfectly. Have a wonderful dinner.

  9. It looks lovely! Your guests will love it..
    Relax, and enjoy!
    What does too many dishes mean?? :)

  10. Thanks for that great info! I may just serve this to my son and his sweetie one of the days they are home for Christmas. :-)

  11. What a lovely tablescape! The centerpiece is gorgeous and the salt and pepper shakers are cute as can be. Thanks for sharing and happy TT to you!

  12. Rett, each of your settings were lovely. I can totally relate to adding and deleting as I plan a table. That's what makes this process so much fun, don't you think? You have a wonderful mix of textures on this table which gives it depth and interest. Love the linen napkins you used. The little pottery salt and peppers are fun, so perfect time to take advantage of using them. Also like your thrift shop find. I'm sure you'll think of something perfect to serve in this piece. Thanks for sharing this gorgeous table, and have a delightful dinner party.

  13. Beautiful...I would be happy with any of your choices! Love the leafed chargers.

  14. I was just reading your blog when I quickly checked mine to see that you had posted a comment about my visitors from Ohio and about your Aussie visitors...how spooky...
    This tablescape is truly amazing and you have shared a yummy recipe too!!!! This is a fantastic post-thanks so much for sharing.
    Best wishes NM.

  15. You really put a lot of time and effort into this! First of all, the menu sounds absolutely divine. All of the pictures were gorgeous.

  16. You are way overthinking this--but that is half the fun isn't it? :) It looked gorgeous every time and your guest are sure to be impressed with the meal! Do you serve a sauce with the beef wellingtons--maybe that in the bowl. Love those martini glasses. I have those chargers on my tablescape--the Walmart ones :)

  17. Rett,
    Your table is beautiful, in fact I liked them all. I think that anyone who sits down will feel very comfortable and relaxed. Everything is perfect. Thanks for sharing.

  18. I love the pretty, rich colors of your autumn table. I LOVE caramel apples, so now I'm craving a caramel apple martini. I've had an apple martini, but never one with the caramel. I'll have to try it.

    Hope your dinner party goes well. Happy Halloween!

  19. Everything on your table is gorgeous! I bet your guests will sigh with ooohs and aaaah upon seeing it. Beautiful colors and everything well put together! Great deal on the plate chargers.....Christine

  20. I thought it looked great the first go round! You're so funny. I'll bet you're changing it up until right before your guests arrive. For that little ceramic basket that you wondered what to put in it ~ is there a sauce you will serve with the meal? Maybe you could put it in there with a serving ladle {A1 or a gravy?}.

  21. I think the end result looks spectacular! What a post, full of ideas and inspiration! Great job!

  22. Rett- Thank you for shraring how you processed this tablescape. It was fun listening to you work out the look you wanted. Yes, I fuss too. I love to think about things and mull it over and come up with options. It was sooooo much fun sharing this with you.
    Your table is wonderful. I love your crystal, but the martini glasses are just over-the-top.
    And Beef Wellington!!!! Why, oh why am I not invited (whinning).
    I make it but never with borsin cheese. I will certainly try this.

  23. They are all just perfect!! Love the martini glasses, though. Beautiful!

  24. Your table is lovely. It has a great subtle mix of colors. Brights can be over rated. Thank you for sharing. I really loved the salt and pepper shakers.

  25. Wow, great tablescape or should I say tablescapes? All of them are beautiful and your guests must have felt very special indeed seeing what a lovely table you set for them. I also change, add, delete my tablescapes, although I must say I don't have as many choices as you. I guess I better go shopping. Thanks for all the great ideas.

  26. Rett- Thank you for your kind comments- Yes please post that salad recipe. I love pears. And thanks for looking out for the plates.

  27. Wow! I think it came together really well! Love all the details! The menu sounds lovely as well!

    Great job, all your hard work paid off!


  28. If you are serving a soup then use the decorative bowl to hold some yummy croutons for the soup.

    Remember if you are serving caramel martinis to your guests that it will probably be before dinner and those glasses will be taken off the table.

    I would put the wine glasses back and maybe have the martini glasses ready on a pretty tray.

  29. I think it is a tablescapers problem, I do that all the time and it is so frustrating when almost all the pictures are taken and then you start tweaking here and there, I just know I should not start the pictures until the tweaking is finished...I love the end result, but I have to say I really liked all the looks, thats why you gotta love dishes, so many looks with just a few changes...

  30. HI Rett I love love the candlesticks they are charming. You did a great job. I have the same napkins as you do. Your chargers would look wonderful with my Royal Albert Old Country Roses flatware. Your TS is just gorgeous as always! have a great week.

  31. What a great post! I LOVE how you share all the details of the choices you made and debated over. Better yet, is how it turned out...FABULOUS! I love the colours, textures, formal with everyday pieces...it looks wonderful! I am so glad to hear that someone else plans their menu around what dishes they used on their table - I do that everytime!


  32. I think your table turned out great...If I posted all the pictures of the auditioning of my stuff, it would be crazy !!! I bet
    your guests will love it and have a great time !

  33. Everything looks great - you are too hard on yourself. The amber glasses are perfect. I'm sure everyone enjoyed the dinner.

  34. I do the same thing, Rett! I could kick myself for being so persnickety about every little detail ... but then the guests come and love it and I smile and say to myself that it was worth it. You did an awesome job and I love the changes you made. Hope that you have a great time. I'm not brave enough to try that entree, it looks wonderful, but so much work. Let us know how it went.

  35. I love the table with both sets of glasses. I will have to check my Walmart for those chargers. Thanks for sharing and have a great day.

  36. Your charges are beautiful, as is the whole table!! The candlesticks are great, the napkins are wonderful, the centerpiece is perfect... you couldn't ask for more!

  37. Oh, I LOVE a mixture of rustic and fine! So much more interesting than just one or the other by itself! I think your guests will be blown away by your table, and the menu sounds wonderful. Thank you so much for this recipe. My mouth is watering. laurie

  38. r u kidding??? it's a beautiful table and every photo a delight!

  39. It's completely stunning what you've done, love it!

  40. Well you have ended up with one gorgeous affair!!

  41. What a lovely tablescape...It is so pretty ...Ilove it all

  42. Oh I had so much fun reading this post and seeing all the changes you made. I do that all the time and wind up having half the dishes in the cupboards out. I really like all of the choices and all of the befores and then the after too. Everything is just gorgeous and dinner sounds just wonderful. You always have such a beautiful table. Thanks also for stopping by and leaving such gracious comments, I really appreciate it. Hugs, Marty

  43. I thing the final table looks wonderful. I like the leaf chargers, the centerpiece and the S&P Shakers. Since you are having soup, you could put crackers in the new bowl. I'm the most impressed in that you say you are not fussing over the menu and you're having beef wellington. Beef Wellington would stress me out.

  44. Beautiful table. I love those chargers. I wish I'd seem them at Walmart. :)
    I have those same candle holders, too. They are so "autumny".


  45. LOL Rett! You made me laugh. I think it's because your post reminded me of myself. I change things around all the time on my table, especially if it's for a dinner party or other people. You got it right though ~~ that's for sure! I really noticed the improvements as the pictures went along and it looks perfect! LOVE those martini glasses and thank you for those recipes! I'll share the Apple Martini recipe with my daughter as you may have seen they always host a Mystery Dinner Party. These would be perfect.

    My s&p shakers were a wedding gift to my parents from her parents, so they are very special and beautiful at the same time! :)

    I need to be a follower of yours!

  46. I am always in admiration of people who have the gift of creating beautiful tablescapes. Alas, I'm lacking in that department. Your table is lovely, with every little detail taken into account. I love beef wellington, so I'm going to bookmark your recipe. It's such a classic recipe, but one that I think is so elegant. Thanks for visiting my blog!

  47. OK Rett, your are on!!! I will let you borrow them but you have to promise that you will bring them home in person and visit with me!!!!
    And maybe just stay for Thanksgiving!!!!

  48. Any of these beautiful settings will work beautifully.
    We are so informal around Sweet Nothings cottage, that once I get the table set, it pretty much is there for the duration. :O)
    I have the same Walmart chargers and my only regret is not getting more while they had them. 4 is all I ended up with. Sooo, now I am on the watch for some more.
    Your menu sounds devine.
    Have a wonderful time with your friends.
    xo bj

  49. Hi Rett,
    Beautiful table! I found it fascinating to see all the options you tried and hear how you made your selections.

    The menu sounds spectacular ... your hubby's a lucky guy ... and your guests are certain to be wowed by your meal and, of course, by the lovely presentation.

    Warm regards,

  50. Each and every version of this tablescape is wonderful!!


  51. Your table looks wonderful. I LOVE those amber colored martini glasses. Your beef wellingtons also look quite yummy :)


  52. Each and every one of your tablescapes are beautiful, I'm thinking that you really had fun changing things around!
    The pumpkin on the pewter compote is fab.

  53. Anyone of these pictures shows a beautiful table set for people you care about. I'm glad your almost happy with your final result. The "wellington" sounds fantastic and I'm sure appreciated by your guests.
    Have a wonderful Foodie Friday.

  54. Thanks for stopping by my blog. Your table is gorgeous. I L-O-V-E that pumpkin in the center - it's so pretty! Like your little thrift store find and the chargers too. The amber martini glasses are gorgeous too. I've bookmarked that martini recipe too! ;O)

  55. Forgot to say, like those napkins too & that sunflower platter.

  56. Wow -- this just gets better and better! I loved your table each way you've shown us. I'm sure your guests felt very special at any of these settings. You menu sounds wonderful to!

  57. Rett...

    Thank you for commenting on my first tablescape! Your tablescape is beautiful. You have so many pretty pieces. I so enjoyed studying each picture.

    I am new to blogging and love meeting so many wonderful people in blogland.

    The tennis racket belonged to my Grandfather! He would have been about 106 if he were still on this earth... He was quite a guy.

    Have a great weekend.

  58. What a GREAT!!! recipe and table. I love all the fall colors.

  59. What a beautiful table you have set for your guests. The food sounds delicious. I have not had beef wellington in years but it always used to be such a special treat when ever it was served. What lucky guests you had at your party.
    Happy Halloween.

  60. Wow all your ideas are just gorgeous!! You and I would have so much fun working together....coming up with so many fun ideas with place settings! I love it. Thank you for posting about my giveaway on your blog it looks fabulous!! I hope you win!!

    Karin :)

  61. I enjoyed following your process in putting the tablescape together. I also have struggles over formal and causal -- especially since my first choices have been formal dishwares. However, I have been trying to build up more and more less formal table wares and accessories.

  62. OMG--- Hi Rett...I had no idea that you had a blog. I was so surprised when I saw your pretty face on my cousin's blog [Twirl and Taste] as the winner of the wine set. You might recognize me as 'GaGa' from Everything Sewing, one of the Pickwick girls :) Anyway, just wanted to say congrats on your win!! Hope all is going well for you. I am going to check out your blog! See you!

  63. Rett- I thoroughly enjoy perusing your blog- you have so many great ideas and wonderful photography skills. Really like the mix of rustic and "elegant" -little more of a casual feel. the pumpkin centerpiece is beatiful and i like that is can be used for more than one holiday- keep posting

  64. Your table looks beautiful. I think you should set it however you like, and not worry about what "should" go with what. I do agree with going less formal though. :-)

  65. Hi Rett...

    Ohhh my goodness, Girl...your autumn table is fabulous!!! It's one of the prettiest that I've seen! I'm with Cass...each and every variation is simply gorgeous!!! I think you did a perfect job of creating a very special table for an informal dinner with friends!!! Ambiance...elegant but warm and inviting!!! Love your place settings...and the centerpiece is really beautiful! I love that you added the pretty candleholders with a touch of that beautiful plum color! I have always liked these warm autumn colors mixed in with the plum!!! Your friends are going to love it!!! Shoot...set another place at the table...I would love to dine with you! And...your menu sounds wonderful!!!

    Well my friend, thank you so much for coming by and taking a peek at my Summer's Ode tablescape...I really enjoyed your sweet note! I wanted to let you know about the lace chargers that you asked about. They were a gift from Gloria and I'm not sure where she got them but when I did find an online store that sells them...here is the link...


    Hope that helps, Darlin'! Thank you so much for sharing this beautiful autumn table with us...what a sweet treat!!!

    Warmest wishes,
    Chari @Happy To Design


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