DIY: Candy Cane-inspired Holiday Table

By Libbie Summers
Assisted by David Dempsey

A simple red and white candy cane inspired this fabulously festive (and fun) holiday table! It checks all the boxes…inspirational (yes), attainable (YES, anyone can do it) and affordable (yes, minimal dollars spent).

Here’s How You Can Do It!
Step 1: Make a Tablecloth (create a woven ribbon “tablecloth”)
Lengths of inexpensive holiday ribbon were cut to run the length of the table and taped securely under the edge. My table was white so I love the idea of using the white as part of the pattern, so I left space between the ribbons. Then going the width of the table more of the same ribbon was cut as well as widths of a coordinating bandana ribbon. Then the ribbon was woven (under and over/alternating) into the already taped ribbon. Once each piece has been woven, adhere under the edge with tape.
Holiday Ribbon Tablecloth, Weaving Ribbon, Dinner Table Designs, Libbie Summers Entertains, Red and White Table, Candy Cane Inspired

Step 2: Make a Centerpiece (we made “kissing balls” out of starlight mints). I hot glued starlight mints onto a varying sizes of styrofoam balls that had been painted with red craft paint (optional). You could also use other soft candy and pin the candy to the styrofoam ball with long straight pins.  Soooo much fun drama. The balls were placed on old milk glass as holders for elevation and some just on the table.
Fun Decorating Ideas, Candy Kissing Balls, Decorating with Candy, Libbie Summers Entertains

Step 3: Set the table.
Since the woven ribbon tablecloth and centerpieces are so over-the-top, I wanted to keep the place setting fairly neutral. I used hand thrown white dinner plates, simple white-handled flatware, clear tall cut-glass water glasses and pink champagne glasses. To bring the bandana ribbon into the rest of the setting, I used a ric-rack trimmed red bandana from the Yum Yum Smile Shop as each napkin. For the name card, I wrote my guests name on white paper cut into a tree shape and tied it onto a peppermint stick with red and white baker’s twine.
Holiday Entertaining, Holiday Decor, Holiday Tablescapes, Candy Cane inspired dinner table, Libbie Summers entertains,

Finally, add a little extra candy cane flare with candy canes as glass “garnishes”.
Holiday decor, Holiday Tablescapes, Candy Cane Inspired Tablescape, Holiday Decorating, Holiday Entertaining, Libbie Summers, A food-inspired life,

Radish-Inspired Floral Centerpiece!

By Libbie Summers
Assisted by David Dempsey
Tabletop Linens from Yum Yum Smile Shop

“When I asked her to tell me a food the inspired or held a special memory for her, she quietly whispered “radish”. And so a luncheon table was set in her honor..”

 

I wanted to honor a friend by setting a table inspired by her favorite vegetable, radish. I started with a foam head form from my local craft store, and three dozen pink geraniums in three different shades of a radish – the idea was to duplicate the beautiful ombre color of a radish. I carefully removed the tops from the stems and pinned them to the foam head using long corsage pins. From the back, I pinned darker pink or reds and in the front I pinned the lighter pinks. Once finished I added a fun temporary tattoo from Tater Tats! Isn’t she beautiful?!

Radish-Inspired Floral Centerpiece by Libbie Summers

To set the table: I used white hand thrown plates, pink water glasses, rosé glasses, gold flatware, and Agen Linens Napkins from Yum Yum Smile Shop!
Radish-Inspired Floral Centerpiece by Libbie Summers

We opened a great bottle of rosé, poured two glasses and sat to eat.

The coarse; a fresh greens salad with matchstick radish, a sprinkle of fresh thyme and a drizzle of homemade Raspberry Jam Vinaigrette dressing.

Raspberry Jam Vinaigrette
(sweet, smooth and pretty)

What you need:
1 heaping tablespoon raspberry jam
Juice of 1 large lemon
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1/3 cup canola oil
Flake sea salt
Coarsely ground black pepper
What to do:
Whisk jam, lemon juice, vinegar and oil vigorously together. Salt and pepper to taste.

Radish-Inspired Floral Centerpiece by Libbie Summers

 

 

An Art-Tablescape Inspired by Frida Kahlo

By Libbie Summers
Assisted by David Dempsey
Photography by Siobhan Egan
Tabletop Linens from Yum Yum Smile Shop
Published in Paprika Southern, Fall 2019

“Take a lover who looks at you like maybe you are magic.” – Frida Kahlo.

Libbie Summers A Food-Inspired Life Paprika Southern Magazine Fall 2019
I was asked by Paprika Southern magazine to style a table and write a little something for their Fall issue with inspiration from Frida Kahlo. And this is where my head went. .
Libbie Summers A Food-Inspired Life Paprika Southern Magazine Fall 2019
Maybe she said to me, “Set a secret dessert table for two in the garden,” a certain September day in 1938. Things had been rocky with she and Diego –his philandering getting in the way of their happiness so it was only natural she took her own lover. The brilliant colors used in her artwork had been missing in her personal life. So maybe, I would have created a scene for her sweet tryst just like this one. With the colors that surrounded her at La Casa Azul. With the colors of her Autumnal world in Mexico City. With the colors of lost love and newly found lust. With the colors of magic. Just maybe she said to me “Set a secret dessert table for two…” -Libbie

Libbie Summers A Food-Inspired Life Paprika Southern Magazine Fall 2019
Shop my Yachtie Linen Napkin Set from the Yum Yum Smile Shop


(Frida Kahlo’s Blue House; Mexico City, Mexico)

 

 

DIY: Blueberry Baseball Centerpiece

By Libbie Summers
Assisted by David Dempsey
Location: The Loft at Straton Hall Events

When you have a box full of baseballs leftover from a previous event and your “Pork and Berries” dinner needs a centerpiece…you make blueberry baseballs! #homerun

Blueberries, A food-inspired life, Centerpieces, DIY, Crafts

Blueberry Baseball
makes 1

What you need:
1 Baseball
Newspaper
Scissors
Blue, white, and black paint
Masking Tape
White glue
Water
Paintbrushes
Paper Towels
Libbie Summers, A Food-Inspired Life, Blueberries, Baseball, DIY, How to, Paper Mache, Blueberries, Dinner Party, Ideas, Crafts

What to do:
1. Mix equal parts white glue and water in a small bowl. While that mixes, cut the newspaper into half inch strips. Then, cut the strips into small 1-2 inch pieces. Use the masking tape to create a “lip” on one side of the blueberry…this will be the top of your blueberry. Paint the mixture onto the baseball, place one piece of newspaper on the baseball. Continue one by one until ball is completely covered. Allow to dry completely.
Pro Tip: We made a “stand” out of rolled up foil for the balls to dry on.
Libbie Summers, A Food-Inspired Life, Blueberries, Baseball, DIY, How to, Paper Mache, Blueberries, Dinner Party, Ideas, Crafts

2. Mix white, black and blue paint together to make a perfect blueberry color. Cover the entire baseball blueberry in the blue color. Allow the blueberry to dry completely. Save leftover paint, you’ll use it soon!
Libbie Summers, A Food-Inspired Life, Blueberries, Baseball, DIY, How to, Paper Mache, Blueberries, Dinner Party, Ideas, Crafts

3. Mix black paint with a slight amount of white paint. Using a thin brush, paint a primitive star in the lip at the top of your blueberry. Allow to dry.
Libbie Summers, A Food-Inspired Life, Blueberries, Baseball, DIY, How to, Paper Mache, Blueberries, Dinner Party, Ideas, Crafts

4. Add a bit more white to the saved blueberry blue paint mixture. Wet a paper towel and dip it into a slight bit of paint and pat the color all over the sides of the blueberry. Let dry overnight.
Libbie Summers, A Food-Inspired Life, Blueberries, Baseball, DIY, How to, Paper Mache, Blueberries, Dinner Party, Ideas, Crafts

Thats it! Gather some trimmings from your Blueberry Bush (or any tree outside), lay the branches down the center of your table. Add in your blueberry baseballs and fresh blueberries if you like.
Tablescape, Blueberries, Papier Mache, centerpieces, Tablescape, Blueberry Season

DIY: Louis Ghost Chair Update

By Libbie Summers
Assisted by David Dempsey

When your event needs a little more POP, here’s an easy and fun removable idea! For this application, I was hosting in intimate dinner party inspired by cherry blossoms. The environment was very organic and I thought I needed to add a bit of a modern twist. Boom. A simple chair decal on a white ghost chair brought it all home…and was so fun to do.
Chair Decorating, Libbie Summers, Crafting with Vinyl Sheets, Vinyl Sheets, Colored Vinyl, Libbie Summers, A food-inspired life

What you need:
1 Plastic chair
Vinyl Sheets (Available at Michael’s Crafts. For this chair, I used one light pink, one bright pink and one copper)
1 piece thick card stock
Pen/Pencil/Marker
Scissors

What to do:
1. Make a Paper Flower Template: Depending on what your inspiration is for the chair (mine was cherry blossoms), Draw a simple outline of a flower, bud and leaf on the card stock and cut out. NOTE: for this application, I did two different sizes of the same flower. Flower were 2 to 2.5-inches in diameter.
2. Cut Out Flower Template: Cut out the flowers, buds and leaves from the card stock.
3. Cut Out Vinyl Flowers, Buds and Leaves: Working on the back side of the vinyl, use the paper templates to draw around onto the vinyl and cut out. Note: for this application, I did a full sheet of light pink flowers and a used the bright pink for buds and flowers. I didn’t cut leaves.)
4. Apply the Vinyl: Do a simple sketch on paper of the the design you want to start with. Beginning with the limbs, cut out strips (1/4-inch wide and various lengths), peel backing off and apply to the chair. Working one at a time, peel off backing from the vinyl flowers, buds and leaves.

Before and After!
Vinyl Adhesive, Chair Decoration, Crafting with Vinyl, Libbie Summers, A food-inspired life, Cherry Blossoms

The whole process took me 1 hour and was the perfect modern touch the table needed.
Vinyl Adhesive, Chair Decoration, Flower Chair, Libbie Summers, A food-inspired life

Get the latest from Libbie!
Stay up-to-date with the latest recipes, photoshoots, videos and much more!