March 23, 2016

How to Set a Beautiful Easter Table -

Easter is nearly here and spring is bursting forth in East Tennessee. There's a tree next to my driveway that has looked dead or dying since we moved in last summer. And I'm happy to report that its boughs are now covered with pink blossoms. That's the thing about springtime...sometimes new life pops up in places you least expect it.

Are you hosting your family or friends for Easter this year? Whether you are setting the table for a large group or just yourself, this special season is certainly worth celebrating.

Start with your backdrop - the table cloth


Just like a gorgeous painted canvas creates the setting for a play, so does a table cloth create a place for the story of your table to unfold. It's spring and I love color, so I'm opting for a bright blue cotton table cloth to set a dramatic scene for my Easter table. My table cloth, a wedding gift, was woven on a floor loom by a family of weavers in a textile shop in Mexico. You can find a similar one from the same region available to purchase here.

I was also inspired by this gorgeous striped linen option (pictured), which is available to buy on Etsy.

Add some layers for depth - placemats


available via
When I was growing up, my mom had a set of place mats that we always used for family dinners. They weren't anything fancy, but the act of setting the table with them was a ritual that I came to be very familiar with. We hardly ever used a table cloth for daily meals, but we always used the place mats. There was something about the way they made our plain wooden table seem more dressed up. 

Place mats are a great addition to your Easter table, but don't worry if you don't have a huge collection. If you have several sets of four, mix and match them to create visual interest. I try to collect place mats in similar tones and shades so they all work together. Maybe you have some round and some rectangular. Setting a table with mats of different shapes can look really great whether they are monochromatic or complimentary shades.

Choose dishes that are simple & elegant - McQueen Pottery


I love dishes of all kinds. For several years I collected vintage Johnson Brothers ironstone in a floral pattern (Staffordshire bouquet), but eventually I decided that I'd rather have simple, white dishes. That's why I opted for Wedgwood Intaglio as my wedding china, which we use everyday. 

credit: Heather Anne Thomas (beall + thomas photography)

When I connected with Leanne McQueen of Maryville, Tennessee-based McQueen Pottery, I fell in love with her simple, yet elegant creations. Her hand formed pieces have a rustic elegance that lends itself to everything from a formal seated dinner to a casual family brunch.

McQueen Pottery comes in a wide variety of styles, including bowls, cups, plates and platters as well as pitchers and vases. It is available in two colors, milk white and speckled, a shade that is reminiscent of dove gray. 

There's something about a handmade object that makes you appreciate it even more and these pieces would make a lovely addition to any Easter table. There's also a bridal registry option for those brides-to-be. Stay tuned for an upcoming interview with Leanne McQueen for more of her story!

Accessorize - with napkins, flatware & flowers!



Napkins are a great way to accessorize your table. I have started collecting vintage napkin rings as I run across them because they can really go a long way toward making a statement with your place settings. This blog has a great round-up of different ideas for napkin rings if you want to DIY. Plus, it has some good examples of how to fold your napkins. 

Flatware is another great way to accessorize your table. When I spotted a 10-piece place setting of gold flatware at a second hand shop, I knew I wanted to add it to my collection. Whether your flatware is old or new, gold or silver, it can give your table a more complete look. 

Need tips for setting your table? Emily Post knows best! Remember "FOKS" (pronounced like fox) for the order things go in (from Left to Right - Fork, O the shape of the plate, Knife w/ blade turned toward plate, Spoon). 

For flowers, I decided to go with some freshly cut forsythia branches. The pop of yellow is nice against the blue of my table cloth and this is a lovely way to bring nature into the house. I've always loved the look of a wild, sprawling arrangement of flowers as opposed to a perfect bouquet. 

These are just a few things you might want to incorporate into your Easter table! Whatever you do, keep in mind that the folks around the table are what matter most. Even if you are just cooking a delicious meal for yourself! 

Happy Easter my friend!