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Tabletops: Over 30 Projects for Inspirational Table Decorations    by Jo Rigg order for
by Jo Rigg
Order:  USA  Can
Bulfinch, 2003 (2003)

Read an Excerpt

* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Like to entertain but short of ideas for settings that will start the event off on the right note and keep it humming? Tabletops gives us twenty inspired themes and over thirty projects to help pull them together. The jacket talks of 'deceptively simple ideas for creating witty and unusual table settings' for affairs that range from an Easter breakfast to a beach party or a formal champagne celebration.

My first reaction was 'Move over Martha', but then I've always found Martha's ideas, while gorgeous in their realization, much too labor intensive for my hectic life. I like the fact that the designs in Tabletops come with specific (and not difficult) projects, and also with suggestions on how to personalize your own variations on the themes. There's a breakfast in fresh 'blue and white', from tablecloth, napkins and dishes, to jam top cover, flowers and even a blueberry and yoghurt combination.

An English style 'afternoon tea' is laid out in rich florals, with instructions for a red centerpiece of hydrangeas and roses. Make a stylish Asian dinner accompanied by an orchid and homemade chopstick runner. The tin can lanterns are easy to do and effective for an outdoor 'tropical party'; definitely must try that one at the lake this summer, or for a barbeque at home. And I loved the idea of transforming champagne corks into place card settings for a special 'champagne celebration'.

The use of old photos in the centerpiece for a 'family reunion' is special and appealing, and I love the use of baubles all over the table, and lit up in the centerpiece, for 'the night before christmas'. Themes range from a 'highland supper' to 'halloween', and projects include a cutlery roll, shell place cards, sponged bowls, as well as techniques for decorating tablecloths, and making a variety of place mats and centerpieces.

Though Tabletops would make a wonderful hostess gift, I plan to keep my copy and use it for my own entertaining inspiration.

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