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Independence Day is just a couple of weeks away and it is wonderful to watch our nation get into the holiday spirit. With flags everywhere and our nation’s colors on every piece of merchandise in stores, it is time for you to start planning your party or barbeque! Our team here at Carmen Johnston Gardens just loves this time of year as we celebrate the freedom our country represents and those who have worked so hard to make it possible. July 4th is the perfect chance to share this gratefulness with friends and family over good food and fireworks!

 

When we moved into the house we now live in, Tommy and I knew we had to create a space for entertaining our friends and family. For us, this area is just outside of our sunroom with a long table surrounded by rosemary, lavender, and a boxwood hedge. The best part is the view we have of our pond and the way our boxwoods frame the space. I firmly believe entertaining should not be a burden or challenge but should be something fun and easy so you can actually enjoy the event you plan. This belief is what makes me keep a few go-to party ideas on hand, so I don’t have to stress to make any event perfect. In today’s blog, I want to share some ideas for a July 4th themed table scape that will make any entertaining space ready for your friends and family!

I start with layering my table ware. Build a base with a classic and simple charger. I have a set of burled wood ones I got at an event long ago from Target! This season they have several wonderful and minimalistic options available for you to choose from- check out this link! Next, I use a set of blue and white melamine plates that I found at Tuesday Morning. I love melamine plates because they are versatile, easy to store, and best of all, are dishwasher safe. I am going let you in on a little secret with my choice in napkins. These dish towels from Ikea are my go-to for so many occasions…so much so that I own almost 100 of these! The reason I love them so much is for their simplicity, ability to go with so many things, their large size, and because of how cost effective they are! Lastly, I use a napkin holder from Two’s Company (link) to tie everything together. I love this specific one because they have a place to put a small amount of water to hold a bit of greenery or a flower. This adds a live component to your plate! At our home, we actually use our silver on a daily basis, rather than keeping it in a silver chest. This place setting is a great chance to break out your own silver as it lends a level of elegance to your setting.

 

Now, on to the floral arrangement! I used some gorgeous vases from Two’s Company (link) in groups down the table. Both the large and small blue and white vases have come from their store. These vases are a staple in my entertainment décor because they go with so much. Also, while I definitely advocate for using planters with plenty of drainage, these pots are great vases because they hold water and don’t have a hole in the bottom. In the large vases I placed blue hydrangeas. My tip for you when using hydrangeas in arrangements is to gather several blooms into a large ball and then use a zip tie to secure the stems. This helps them to stay in place especially if you are moving the arrangement from one place to another. The small vases each have several red dragon wing begonias in them. Both of these are very common garden flowers which makes them easy to find! I don’t have either of these growing in my garden this year, but I have a neighbor who does! I’ve been known as the “garden bandit” around our neighborhood but asking to borrow a few blooms is always a great way to supplement what you already have growing!

 

This tablespace only took me about 15 minutes after pulling all my supplies together and it was so easy to create! I love finding new ways to use some of my tried and true table staples and I am so excited to share my ideas with you! Tag us on Facebook and Instagram to show us the table settings you create! @carmenjohnstongardens

Today is Good Friday, which means that this Sunday is Easter! It is almost time for that special day spent with family and friends. While a kid on Easter looks forward to scavenging the yard in hopes of finding that one special egg, an adult on Easter mostly just looks forward to sitting down and enjoying some food. The time spent around the table with loved ones is invaluable, which is why I want to show you how to set the stage for this year’s Easter dinner. And it only takes 10 minutes!

10 Minute Tablescape for Easter 1

Materials Needed:
4 ” Cabbage plants
Freshly picked daffodils
Tin buckets
Freshly clipped forsythia
Chocolate Easter bunnies

Directions:
1. Criss-cross bunches of daffodils on the table. The more the merrier!

10 Minute Tablescape for Easter 2

2. Place cabbage in tin buckets making sure that the soil is moist to the touch.

10 Minute Tablescape for Easter 3

3. Clip forsythia branches 10-14″ and stick each end in the soil to create a handle.

10 Minute Tablescape for Easter 4

4. Nestle the chocolate bunnies throughout their new home.

10 Minute Tablescape for Easter 5

10 Minute Tablescape for Easter 6

What a dreamy tablescape! I just love that Easter is so full of cheer and whimsy. Have a great weekend, everyone, and Happy (Almost) Easter!

Photos: The Photography of Haley Sheffield

If you’ve been driving around lately and wondering, ‘What are those beautiful pink blooms bursting from yard after yard?’ the answer to your question is this: Sasanguas. These flowers are in full swing this season! Realizing that I had missed out on this trend, I borrowed a few from my neighbor for the sake of this Sunday’s Table.

If your neighbors are as generous as mine are with their garden, snag some Sasanguas of your own and make this super easy centerpiece.

1. Fill a casserole dish with water

2. Snip blooms, leaving a 2″ stem

3. Arrange the blooms in the water

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What did I tell you? It’s just that easy, and beautiful too! These kinds of centerpieces are my absolute favorite. It just goes to show that all you really need in order to make a beautiful centerpiece are beautiful blooms.

Thanksgiving is only a few days away so for today’s table I could not help but be inspired by the upcoming holiday. Thanksgiving Day is like the ultimate Sunday dinner even though it’s on a Thursday. The entire day is dedicated to spending time with family and friends, around the dinner table, with an outrageous amount food, and at my house, a festive tablescape is also a must.

Now, just because there is an abundance of food on this day it doesn’t mean that your decorations have to also be over the top. A simple display of glassware and bitter sweet is all you need to set your table, and the tone, for this special time with family and friends. For added fun, we placed pumpkins around the base of our display and just like that—your Thanksgiving tablescape is complete!

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Happy Early Thanksgiving! Eat lots of turkey and give lots of hugs!

During this season of the year, when the temperature begins to drop and things start to show down a bit, I am able to reflect on the year and all the friends and family that I am so blessed to have in my life. We are so thankful to have so many wonderful individuals in our life who are always willing to offer a helping hand. In celebration of cooler days ahead, I love to host small get-togethers to thank those that have blessed me with being a part of my life. When preparing for parties, I love to search Pinterest for ideas and DIY projects that are quick, but will add that personalized touch to my fall festivities. Here are some ideas that I have decided to incorporate for my next bash.

The entry way to your home is extremely important to decorate when having a party. When guests arrive, they will be totally wowed by your curb appeal and know they are headed to a classy party to celebrate the arrival of fall. Here is a beautiful example of a gorgeous front door and what a couple pumpkins and potted mums can do to bring your front entrance from dab to fab in seconds.

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Image Credit: Pinterest

I love when fall rolls around because pumpkins are as far as the eye can see coming in colors from your classic orange to ghostly white and gothic gray. Pumpkins can be used for an array of serving trays from using them as an ice chest for drinks, a punch bowl, a chip bowl and even a vase for flower arrangements.

Pumpkin vessel

Image Credit: Martha Stewart

Small pumpkins and gourds serve as wonderful elements to include in tablescapes as candlestick holders, fillers in hurricanes and a range of other clever ideas. The centerpiece on your dining room table can be as fancy or simple as you like it depending on the theme of your party.

Pumpkin centerpieces

Image Credit: Lauren Liess

For a simple centerpiece, try filling a beautiful antique crystal bowl with apples and let it be the star of the table. Or use apples as the seating cards for the party and simply lay them above the forks in the place setting.

Image Credit:

Image Credit: Pinterest

For dessert have something as simple and fun as these chocolate acorns!

The recipe is really easy:

1 pkg. of plain Hershey Kisses

1 pkg. of Nabisco Nutter Butter Bite Size

¼ cup of miniature Chocolate Chips

Gently twist the Nutter Butter cookie to expose the filling. Take the flat end of a butter knife and scrape off the filling to smooth on both halves. Once done, press a Hershey kiss to stick. Place your miniature chocolate chips in the microwave for a couple seconds so the bottoms get soft, but aren’t totally melted. This will be your stem. Press the chip to the top of the Nutter Butter cookie! Presto! You have an extremely cute dessert or fun snack to greet guests at the door with when they arrive with a nice, warm glass of apple cider.

To a fall full of festivities!

Cheers,

Carmen