Sometimes I feel like a graphic artist when I set the table. I know the food I am going to prepare. The colors. The textures. The tone, whether simple and fast or rustic or elegant. So I look around the garden or the house to find things to bring to the table that will complete the dining experience. 

Over the years I have had my eye out for antiques for dining, pebbles with interesting colors, swaths of beautiful fabric to drape over a table, and all sorts of bits and bobs that I keep in drawers and closets to pull out and play with. It is one of the things about cooking and entertaining that I so love and find so much joy in doing—setting the table! The French refer to it as the "art of the table".

Sometimes it is color that draws me in, like these candles. I haven't used them yet. When I do, I want to keep them all together and light them all at once right down the center of the table.

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I also take pictures of inspirational table ideas so that I can use them in the future. How cool is this pitcher of vegetables and fruit?! 

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I love this clever idea for lighting candles. I know where to get them made in my village so I haven't bought one yet, waiting for the right dinner. Maybe just candles, wine and chocolates!

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I have loads of candle holders, some operatic candelabra, and I know these beauties are available at my favorite candle store in NYC, Cire Trudon. If there ever was a store that knows about setting a mood with candles, it is Cire Trudon!

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And these Himalayan salt blocks! They inspire me instantly to heat them, bring them to the table, and serve sizzling small pieces of fish on them with chopsticks and sauce to the side! They are so beautiful! And they are reusable.

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These plates still linger in my memory. I saw them in London in the Liberty Department Store. I may go back for them one day! So much fun.

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And look at these lovely antique sugar holders with their little tongs……I saw them in Brimfield Antique Market, where I find so many treasures for the table.

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…..more finds at Brimfield…….

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….that day I even found an entire table setting glistening in the setting sun…..

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….and for less formal occasions, I took a picture of this great little portable hand painted bench that you can take on picnics or to the beach to serve wine and cheese for four! So sweet.

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Decorative elements can come from anywhere, the more unexpected the more interesting a stage setting it becomes. Salt boxes. Carved pieces of wood. Bark and branches from the woods. Even sounds beyond canned music. Open the doors wide when you dine at night to let the night sounds in. Light a fire in the fireplace and throw some pine cones in for snap and crackle. 

The most memorable tables I have set didn't "match". I used random favorite antique plates and random glasses in all shapes and colors. 

But the happiest of all is when guests at my table are totally enjoying themselves. Once the stage is set, all there is left is great food, wine, friendship and laughter.

 

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