I'm a huge fan of decorating with natural items - not just what's found outdoors, in nature, but with items that can be picked up at the farmer's market or your grocery store and incorporating them with items you already have in your home. This works well for those on a budget - fruit and vegetables are not only affordable, but as they start to ripen the can get consumed and you can easily fill in the empty holes. This is also a great solution for those just starting out on their own with limited budgets, or starting all over again, as well as those living in smaller spaces, who simply don't have the storage to house large quantities of decorative items, whether seasonal or not.
The trick to creating a good centerpiece is to have color, texture and height. The two angels you see that are anchoring the artichokes were actually really cheap finds from my local Christmas Tree shop a few years ago. Normally they stand on the mantel this time of year, but this year I decided to do something different. I had put them on the kitchen table as a temporary holding place but I rather liked them back to back and I bought the artichokes, persimmons, pomegranates and pears specifically with the intent of using them to create a centerpiece. The platter had been sitting out on the counter, ready to be put away, and the fruit was still in their grocery bags next to the platter. Somehow, it all came together.
After seeing how much I liked the angels back to back I decided to place them on the platter. The artichokes still had a good bit of stem attached and needed to be braced by something if they were going to stand up. The angels seemed to be the perfect solution. Next I added in the persimmons, pears - seckel and cornice - and pomegranates. (I specifically chose the seckel and cornice pears for their smaller size.) I played around a bit to create some height and make sure that the colors blended well - I didn't want all the greens grouped together, or the reds. And without really trying I had a nice centerpiece that was festive and yet somewhat casual.
Someone had complemented me on my table cloth the other day. The table in my kitchen is actually a very nice dining room table - this home has no formal dining room - and because we do so much here from craft, to work to eat, I try to keep the top covered at all times. And I bore easily. And we are a messy clan. So I need (like) to have a variety of things to place on top. This is not actually a tablecloth, but one of a set of two panels that I found one day at HomeGoods. I fell so madly in love with the pattern, that I did not even hesitate to toss them into my cart. As soon as I got home I knew immediately what I was going to use it for. I've also used pretty old sheets as table cloths. My favorite is a vintage Ralph Lauren floral sheet that I've had since I graduated from college... centuries ago!
Here's the "bird's eye" view so you can see how the centerpiece was constructed, see the layers and colors. On the kitchen counter I always keep bowls of fruit. Sometimes citrus, sometimes apples and pears. A bowl or platter of fruit adds instant color and decor to any counter, or table.
Here's another quick tip. I have a hard time with candle sizes sometimes. If the base is slightly too large it's pretty easy to trim down with a knife, but I often have the reverse problem. You can use putty or try to melt some of the candle wax into the base, but I actually prefer to use aluminum foil. It works like a charm. Simply wrap the base of your candle in a small bit of foil, then place it into your candle stick, and gently push down the excess foil so that none is showing. Brilliant, no?! Or have you been doing this all along?