In appreciation of friends who helped with the
Academic Decathlon contest in January,
I hosted a small
Preparations took place over several days with many details
to create an ambiance of friendship.
Since Valentine's Day was the Friday before the lunch,
hearts and flowers were a perfect way to say,
What makes a lunch special?
Makes friends feel special?
Table Setting with Flowers
Individual Plants as Small Gifts
Fabric Tablecloth and Napkins
Sterling Silver Flatware
Printed Friendship Prose
Heart-Shaped Homemade Individual Quiches
Heart-Shaped Butter Pats
Dessert Served on Cake Stands
A key to tying together all the parts of a lunch is
to repeat design patterns and motifs.
People often do not know why they
enjoy a setting,
but chances are the reason is
continuity derived via a theme.
Disjointed images are unsettling to the mind,
causing it to "jump around,"
but repeated patterns with variations
allowing the mind to connect the images
and to form an overall soothing setting.
White snapdragons tied with a wired ribbon
and standing with their feet in a bed of clear glass hearts
were the centerpiece for the simply set table.
By tying the flowers with the ribbon,
the arrangement looks fuller than
one with the flowers freely leaning in the vase.
The clear glass hearts in the base of the vase help set the tone as a friendship lunch
and help anchor the flowers so they do not slide around....
a loose "frog" that helps support the flower stems.
An inexpensive gift for each guest is a small herb bedding plant.
Although winter is still raging, nurseries and hardware stores
begin offering small plants in our area in February.
Later the plants will be larger and more costly.
By repotting the herb into a small clay pot,
the lowly mint plant adopts an air of élan.
Easy to buy in advance, repot, and set aside...
Just be careful the plants do not dry out.
To my dismay, that is exactly what happened to me
a couple of days before the party.
Placing them in a large oval baking dish,
I was able to soak them in water and revive them.
Remember to include plant care directions that come with the plants.
How to connect the small gift to the party?
A small heart cookie cutter was just the right size
for tracing a heart on white watercolor paper,
one of my favorite papers to use for any project.
The texture and thickness of watercolor paper
add depth, and the paper is another way to create élan once again.
Decorative-edged scissors give the hearts yet another layer of élan.
The snapdragons are white, the dishes are white,
the tablecloth and napkins are white, and
Martha Stewart makes
the cutest little white sticker hearts
that added a more defined heart shape to the card.
The watercolor paper allows other colors to be used
by watercoloring the background whatever hue matches the theme.
Other sticker shapes can be used.
Individual mint plants at each place setting dress the table
and provide a heavenly mint fragrance.
Since the lunch was served buffet style, the plants
keep the table from looking bare.
For lunches served family style, the plants grouped
in a clear baking dish could be set on a side table
within view to enjoy and within easy reach to
present to guests as they leave.
A small paper coaster protects the tablecloth while looking pretty.
Printed on wausauPAPER metallics,
each place setting has my favorite quote about friendship.
Four quotes fit onto one 8.5"x11" sheet.
The specialty paper is for inkjet, laser, and copier machines
and comes in more than one metallic finish.
Champagne pearl is shown,
and it has a soft shimmery texture.
Office Depot carries it in my neighborhood.
White plates, white fabric napkins, and sterling flatware
complement the white snapdragons and mint plants,
recede into the background, and
allow the flowers and plants to be the main attractions on the table.
Small individual-sized preserved boxwood heart topiaries
are near the buffet served on the kitchen island.
The shelf holds hand-thrown pottery with vine designs in soft colors.
Under an etched-glass cloche, the heart topiary is in a miniature clay pot,
repeating the clay pots of the mint plants.
A large preserved boxwood heart topiary and a vase of hyacinths
preside over the dessert table in the kitchen.
Pear tartes from France made dessert quick and easy.
Trader Joe's stocks these ready-to-eat tartes from France.
Just thaw for about 30 minutes to an hour.
Such an easy dessert gave more time for making
homemade bacon and onion quiches
in a baking dish with six individual wells.
Since the recipe can be made up to three days in advance,
multiple batches of individual quiches can be made,
stored in casserole dishes in the refrigerator,
and reheated in the oven the morning of the party.
Also, an easy dessert allowed time for cutting individual
heart-shaped butter pats using a pastry cutter.
Thank you to all my wonderful friends,
both in the real world and the virtual world.
My life is much richer because of you.
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for my readers, and I did not receive any
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