Wednesday, November 10, 2010

An Asian Theme Anniversary

This past summer my parents celebrated their 60th anniversary.  It was quite a shock to me as I'd honestly not been keeping track of the years.  When I discovered this fact (as an only child I have no siblings to remind me of such things) I found I had only a week to prepare.  Something intimate at home was all I could manage, and I wanted something peaceful and serene, but what?

Alexander Henry fabric "Manju Kanji"
It all started with this GORGEOUS piece of Alexander Henry fabric called "Manju Kanji." I am truly in love with all of the Henry fabrics and this one really spoke to me, so I was thrilled when I won four yards of it on ebay for less than I'd have paid for one yard had I been able to find it in a store.  Initially I had no idea what to do with it. I loved it, and having seen a beautiful shirt at Soft Surroundings made with a lovely Asian fabric, I suppose I figured I'd use this to make myself a duplicate of that shirt, never once taking into consideration that a) I have no pattern, b) I don't sew, c) my sewing machine hasn't see the light of day since I was in home ec in the 8th grade, and d) I have MAJOR sewing fear!  So I laid it out on the dining room table just to gawk at it and that's when the idea hit me to use this lovely fabric as the table covering for my parent's anniversary brunch. This is how ideas get started and I began building things from there.

When one has such a busy table covering as was the case with the Henry fabric, something simple is needed by way of tableware.

Bamboo flatware from Crate & Barrel was a perfect touch for this Asian table, and drew many comment from diners.

I think one of the best investments I ever made was the purchase of a set of white plates and mugs from Old Time Pottery. Each piece was only 50¢, costing less for a set of 12 than it would have if I'd have gotten decorative paper plates. I have used them with a green table covering for St. Pat's, red for Valentine's Day, black for Halloween, you get the picture. So white plates and mugs were decided upon immediately, but the question as to what glassware to use became a real problem. My son, who has grown up with my various craft obsessions, suggested I paint Chinese characters on plain glassware, never once taking into consideration that I DON'T PAINT.  But the idea was brilliant, and I never once allowed my lack of painting ability to get in my way.

A friend who paints glassware shared some tips with me, so in the midst of a severe storm, lightning flashing all around me and the tornado sirens blaring, I headed back to Old Time Pottery for 12 plain glasses, and then to Michael's for some glass paint. I returned to paint this set of glassware with Chinese characters on them, each one depicting an important aspect of a successful marriage -- compassion, kindness, forgiveness, etc. For those of you who may write or be familiar with Chinese, forgive me! My skills are limited, but the end result got me through the day in fine fashion, and each guest took his/hers home as a souvenir.

The black river stones scattered on the table amidst the homemade fortune cookies replicated the stones in the base of the floral arrangement. The handpainted Chinese character glassware was a HUGE hit.  The tea set was on loan from my son.

 I made these fortune cookies (large print for seniors! - Heh heh).   I could only bake one at a time and it took me four hours!  They began as a Martha Stewart recipe, but I ended up re-writing it (more about that in a future post). The first couple were a complete disaster, but eventually I got the hang of it, and was pretty pleased with the outcome.
A novel souvenir for guests. A photo cookie featuring my parents' wedding picture was at each table setting for guests to enjoy after brunch, or save for later.

Despite my lack of time to plan, the day came off without a hitch, my parents and their freinds were delighted, and even I enjoyed the day.

Tablescape Thursday is hosted by Susan from Between Naps on the Porch.


Melodie said...

That's absolutely beautiful!

Linda (More Fun Less Laundry) said...

Pattie! What a good daughter you are! And now you can say you do paint! Using that fabric for the tablecovering was a great start. I recently tried sewing (teaching my daughter) for the first time since Sister Mary Catherine in home ec class tsk-tsked over the zipper I was trying to install in a pair of gauchos (see how long ago?!). It was not as easy as I remembered. I agree about white plates--very versatile. Everyone should have a set. And I know that Martha recipe. She makes everything look so easy. Well, you did an amazing job. Happy Anniversary to your parents. I'm sure they were very pleased. Linda

Debbie said...

This is great from start to finish. I am one who just loves it when a theme is carried to completion! My favorite part of all is the hand painted glasses. I never would have thouht of it, and they are perfect.

Great price, too!

Is the picture edible on the cookie? I've seen that done on cakes, but never on a cookie.

Your parents were blessed with a wonderful dinner. I think you must be a wonderful daughter to go to all the effort just for them.

A great and idea inpiring table!

Marlis said...

You are right, that fabric is so wonderful. And it was perfect for the table. I love your table! Your glasses turned out great. I might have to "paint" a glass for our party in January. thanks for the great idea. What a lovely party you gave your parents, whom I am sure appreciated all your attentiveness and detail. It is quite lovely.

Barbara said...

What a wonderful celebration for your parents! I love the inspiration that you got from the fabric and the lovely way you carried it throughout the celebration. I think celebrations at home are the very best.

shannon i olson said...

wow you did great with a week of planning!!! I am an only child too. I do have 2 half sisters but did not grow up with them...2000 miles away. I still don't like to ;)

Tricia said...

What a delightful table -- you are amazing to pull this off in such a short time! My parents will celebrate their 60th next year, and those cookies with their photos in icing are marvelous! Might have to copy that idea!

Kristin said...

I love how you try to throw us all of course by saying that the original fortune cookie recipe was from Martha Stewart. We ALL know you're really Martha! Give up the charade once and for all :)
This is really fabulous, but I expect nothing less!

Lyndsay Wells said...

LOVE!! Especially the table cloth - I am completely jealous. What a wonderful, inspiring, idea.

Pattie @ Olla-Podrida said...

Thanks everyone, but I was helped out greatly by service people whom I begged like a dog for rush service. I emailed a local florist an attachment of the picture of the tablecloth to get an unusual centerpiece that complemented. I ordered a honey-baked ham, and the cookies, Tricia, I also ordered. Although I can't say I was thrilled with the way they came out. It would have been cheaper (but take up time I didn't have) to just buy the printer and edible ink and make them myself.

xinex said...

What a nice thing to do for your parents. Your Asian table is beautiful. Clever idea on the glasses and they look perfect, everything does. Love the photo cookie!...Christine

Alycia Nichols said...

First, let me tell you that I laughed out loud at the thought of you fighting a storm to get to Old Time Pottery & Michael's! You are a real trooper, and I love that! I share that trait: when I'm ready to do something, nothing - not even a tornado - is going to stop me! So I commend you on that!!! Second, the inspiration of that fabric took you to a really great place. I'm sure your parents were thrilled with what you put together! I am super impressed that you baked those fortune cookies one at a time!!! You go, girl!!! The favors are great. Please extend my congratulations to your parents on their 60 years of wedded bliss. Have a good weekend!

Kathleen said...

Oh that was great! I admire you going outside your comfort zone to paint the glasses. They look wonderful.
From start to finish, a wonderful job!

Marigene said...

Beautiful table! So many unique ideas on your table, wooden flatware, handpainted glasses and the cute picture cookies. You did an amazing job with just a week to get everything done. Your parents should be very proud of you for this special dinner you arranged.