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As I’ve mentioned before, I love to entertain and for me one of the best parts is setting the table.  I enjoy the process of deciding which dishes suit the occasion and often the ‘simple white dishes’ (Villeroy & Boch ‘Chardonnay’) are my go-to pattern (or lack thereof).  But sometimes, as in the case of a birthday dinner we hosted that took place shortly after I inherited my Grandma’s china, I used her pretty dishes and dressed the table accordingly.

My friend, Gretchen, found this fabric and then made my runner...it has violets that match the dinner plates.

For me it is more about a comfortable, casual feel to the table.  I really don’t use my crystal anymore but instead opt for a stemware pattern that has been discontinued by Mikasa—it’s simple and can be put in the dishwasher.  What could be better, right?  I’ve gotten very un-stuffy with entertaining—it suits my lifestyle and our home.  I realize trends in entertaining, much like fashion, come and go.  The main thing is making our guests feel welcome and comfortable.

This was the blue and white table setting for my birthday group.

I love the green and white plates off-set by the green flowers. {"Flair" by Joe Nye}

Joe Nye’s new book, “Flair” is a fun read if you enjoy entertaining and like setting the table.  He exhibits a flair (no pun intended) and creativity.

I realize most of us don't entertain the masses but I love the use of these lanterns and I think they would look good with only 6 guests and maybe 3 or 4 lanterns down the middle of the table.

{image by Salis Studio}

Ohhh, toile table cloth, I love it! {"Flair" by Joe Nye}

Fabric can be expensive but if you search you can find some great buys on decorative fabrics at JoAnns (where they have a weekly coupon for 40% off) and even Big Lots.

Beach Bungalow 8 featured this table setting recently. I love the use of greens.

What is it about white? I love it. I believe the table cloth is an off-white or even oatmeal. Subtle contrast but beautiful.

{Image via Country Living}

So simple, so lovely!

{Image via Country Living}

And to serve on these lovely plates…this super simple, but so yummy chicken dish.  My friend Carla first served this recipe some years ago at a birthday party—I request it whenever she hosts my birthday.

Carla’s Parmesan Chicken

Chicken  (serves 6)



3 eggs

6 chicken boneless, skinless breasts

6 ounces grated mozzarella cheese

Olive oil

1 cup seasoned bread crumbs

6 ounces Parmesan, grated

1 tablespoon parsley

2 cups heavy cream


Dip chicken in egg, then seasoned crumbs.  Brown chicken in olive oil over medium high heat.  Place in 9 x 13 baking dish.  Cover with grated mozzarella, set aside.

Heat cream and Parmesan until cheese is melted and sauce is slightly thickened.

Bake at 350° uncovered for 30 minutes.

Great with white and wild rice.