The holidays are coming and there will be plenty of occasions for gathering around the table.
It's such a warm and wonderful time of year for catching up with those long-lost cousins and old friends.
But, setting a beautiful table doesn't have to be stressful. Mom always sets an elegant, but simple menu and layout. She has an eye for unique design ideas and inspires me to follow in her footsteps.
Our front garden is in full bloom now with pretty roses that smell so sweet.
A few cuttings brighten up even the most casual breakfast table.
My parents brought that old teapot with them over 30 years ago when we moved to the States. Despite missing a lid, it serves well as a sentimental vase.
We love entertaining and want our guests to feel comfortable to stay awhile. After all, they are what makes the meal truly memorable.
Setting the table can be as much fun as cooking or baking the meal
Anyone with a toddler will tell you there's no sleeping in on the weekends. We're up before the roosters start crowing.
The breakfast nook is the perfect hangout for some buttery toast and coffee. Entertainment is a sure thing, courtesy of the music industry's latest sensation, li'l Miss Daisy.
But, once boredom strikes, she'll toss her ukulele aside, pull on her Hello Kitty boots and off we go, outside in our pajamas!
Armed with the spray bottle full of dish soap (kills the bugs), she tends to the roses right away. She takes her time and patiently covers each plant, the way Grandma taught her.
Every now and then, she'll stop, lean forward to smell one, something we should all remember to do.
Our neighbourhood's a very friendly place with lots of nice people walking by our house. They'll often stop for a chat and watch Daisy who's quite serious about tending to the pretty flowers.
Like most kids, Daisy loves to "he'p" with what seems blindingly boring to the rest of us.
She loves washing dishes (playing with water), baking pumpkin pie (stirring the batter) and gardening, her latest hobby. She loves flowers on the dining table and often picks out a bouquet when we're shopping at Trader Joe's.
Daisy does a great job putting them into various arrangements.
Our resident ikebana master is always ready to create something interesting.
She has so much fun with a few flowers, some water and an old teapot or salad bowl.
Watching her little hands at work and anticipating what she'll create makes me so proud.
Whether casual or formal, the dinner table comes to life with fresh flowers. They're even more of a showcase if they happen to be hand-picked by the loveliest li'l member of the household.
If you don't have a garden, you can always find seasonal flowers at the grocery or home improvement store.
Look for ideas at the supermarket.
Chili peppers and apples can add Fall flavour to any flower arrangement.
For something unexpected, line up a few fresh pineapples or artichokes in a row at the center of the table.
Don't be afraid to accessorize the dinner table.
Patterned paper napkins make everyday plates look new.
Drop tealights into shot glasses to add a cozy flicker.
The perfect meal isn't just about the food.
Look around you and see what inspires you to set the scene.
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