Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Using cookies to dress a holiday table

I have been thinking about the holidays, and more specifically, how I can incorporate my cookies into seasonal entertaining decor.

I love looking at the gorgeous tablescapes I see on favorite blogs and pininterest, but I often wonder where these good people store all of those dishes.  And how about the linens and chargers and serving pieces and crystal and decorative pieces, and......, well, you get the idea.  As appealing as that dreamy world is, the fact remains - storage is at a premium at my house, and THAT  means I am always looking for new ways to use what I have.  Today's post uses my every day dishes, stuff found around my house and yard, and of course - COOKIES!

I made three shapes of cookies - a plaque for the place card, a large scalloped round for a favor, and a tiny scalloped round for a do it yourself cup hugger.   I decided to color my  icing to match the burgundy color of the dishes, and made designs that were reflective of the toile pattern.  Just a note here, it would have been more obvious to ice the cookies in white and do the details in burgundy just like my dishes, but by flipping the dominant color, they have more visual impact.

I am completely infatuated with the little cup hugger cookies.  These are not from a special cutter like earlier this week.  I simply made a small round cookie and cut out the rectangular section with a knife.  Very easy and very cute.  I know at my holiday meals, dessert is generally served later in the day because everyone is too full from the big meal.  But who could resist a darling little cookie with coffee?  I mean ANYONE would have room for this, right?  You can get a better idea of what they look like below.

So no special equipment needed and you could easily do any small shape you already have a cutter for.  Just remember to cut out the little rectangle before baking.  And now a word about the place card cookies.

If you are like me and have a few people in your family with names that have a lot of letters (Isabelle and Genevieve), you could use a shortened nickname like I did with Izzie, or initials in a monogram style.  To write a name or any word on a cookie, I start with the letter in the center of the name like O for Bob.  Place the middle letter in the middle of the cookie and then work your way forward and back.  If the name doesn't have an odd number of letters like Tony, make the O and the N slightly to the left and right of center.  Nothing worse than starting to write a name or word on the left and then running out of room.

I put the favor cookies in the center of the salad plates, but they could also be wrapped in clear bags and tied with a ribbon.  I love consumable gifts both in giving and receiving.  From the recipient's end, it is small, doesn't need a special place to put it, one size fits all, and if they don't want to eat it (hard to imagine isn't it?) they can palm it off on someone else without too much of a problem.  For the giver, it is cost effective and  shows you care enough to take the time to MAKE something.  Little home made gifts are the very best kind!

And for flowers?

I got out an old tureen and went into my back yard and foraged.  I used ornamental grass, beauty berry, sedum, arborvitae, white pine, maple leaves, and pine cones.  I took branches that had already broken off our trees and grasses from the freakish snow storm we had weekend before last.   And because I wanted it to have a bit of je ne sais qois, I wrapped the base with a vintage fur collar that was my grandmother's.

For the record, I am a tree hugging animal lover who doesn't wear fur.  My grandmother was not.

I got out an old lace tablecloth, vintage white napkins, some candles, and my grandmother's crystal and silver.  Much gratitude to my fur wearing gram.

My point is, use what you have.

Scrounge around your basement, garage, attic, and kitchen cabinets.  Think of using garden statuary, an assortment of candles, little family pictures, jewelry - repurpose and use your imagination.  And finally,

USE COOKIES!  One thing I have learned in this last ten months of cookie decorating, is that cookies make people very happy.

I also think that when you are using cookies as a decorative element on your table, you are better off reflecting the colors of your china or tablecloth.  If, for example, your china is blue and white and it is Christmas, the cookies will look more elegant done in blue and white than red and green.

 And because I am a mother of five and have eyes in the back of my head and can read minds,  I KNOW WHAT YOU ARE ALL THINKING -  "I don't know how to decorate cookies" or "My piping skills are terrible", or you just have that deer in the headlights look on your face.  To that, I say go with polka dots or stripes or squiggles.  I am a huge fan of squiggles, in fact, I do it all the time.  Pretend you are doodling on a notepad while talking on the phone - trust me, it works.  Or here is an even better idea, fill some icing bags and give them to the children or grandchildren to do.  I used to give my kids a bag of feathers and construction paper to make turkey place cards every year, and they were my favorite part of the table (and when I get grandchildren, they will be getting feathers)

Pin It

Linking with these wonderful parties
Whisper Wood Cottage
Foodie Friday
Chic on a Shoestring
My Romantic Home
French Country Cottage
Between Naps on the Porch
Somewhat Simple Thanksgiving Link Party
No Minimalist Here

The moral of the story is, you don't have to break the bank to set a lovely holiday table, and COOKIES are the answer to everything (well, at least I think they are).


  1. Those cookies are too good to eat!

    Guess what? You just won the Witches Tea Party giveaway on my blog! Just send me your address and I'll mail your clay hat! amypytlik at yahoo dot com

    Congrats and thanks for playing along!

  2. Great tablescape, I love it! Cookies do make everything better. xo

  3. I love the cookies! The color you chose is gorgeous and what a fun idea to make those darling cup huggers! I definitely want to try those.

    Even here where I have a lot of space, it is getting filled up with dishes and holiday stuff! I need some professional to come through and dig me out!

  4. Such a greta idea.Must keep en eye on your all the tips are very useful for teh festive season:)

  5. Lisa, Your cookies are a work of art! I am so enthralled with the transferware and place card cookies! What a GORGEOUS color! I hope you have some outlet to sell these~ they are extraordinary and they need to be appreciated. I certainly do!
    Lisa, you have such a romantic style. Your table is beautiful, graceful, and rich. I love the use of fur. I would have never thought of that. What a brilliant idea!
    What an inspiring post! I loved every yummy and beautiful thing here!
    Thanks for sharing your passion and talent!

  6. completely whimsical and lovely Lisa...just made me smile.

  7. I love the concept of consumable table pretties. Beautiful tablescape too!

  8. I love this post. Your cookies are wonderful, your table, beautiful and your down-to-earth approach to things is truly refreshing!!! Thank you!

  9. wouw! this is such a great idea to decorate! Love it and it is delicious as well! Great idea!

    You can still join our shabby apple giveaway 

  10. LOVE LOVE THESE!! If I lived closer to you, I would order some cookies for my Thanksgiving table!! Gorgeous!! Beautiful table - love those colors so much, and your ideas for "using what you have." xoxo Jina

  11. Oh my gosh, this is so so adorable. Will you come do this at my house?!?! PLEASE! =)

    I love the transferware too!

  12. What talent you have with baking! An artist without a doubt! I am sooo excited you are buying a trailer and fitting it with an oven! I can't wait to see it! Keep me posted!


  13. Just so pretty!

  14. Lisa, these cookies are now #1 in my book! They are elegant and absolutely gorgeous. The color is beautiful! I must try to do the cup hooks ~ surely I can do dots on them. LOL I'm just amazed at your talent.

    The table is beautiful too. Very romantic I think.

    Thanks a million for sharing!
    P.S. How many cookie cutters do you have? :-)

  15. Thanks for linking up to The "Autumn Décor" Talent Scouting Party at WhisperWood Cottage!

    P.S. I appreciate you putting a link to WhisperWood Cottage in your post! For this particular event, the actual party button is required for participation. If you'd like to add it and shoot me a quick email, I'll make sure it shows in the linky right away! Thanks so much!