I am not Martha Stewart. Nor do I want to be. Because people would hate me. I really like having friends who like me, and I especially like having daughters who aren’t doing a TV show making fun of me. So I’m totally okay with not being a wannabe Martha Stewart.

She’s been in the news lately because of her hateful comments towards bloggers – regarding our non-professionalism in the kitchen – even though it doesn’t seem that Ms. Stewart herself attended cooking school of any kind. So that’s a bit hypocritical of her. Many of us are self-taught, including you, Ms. Stewart.

And, let’s face a major biographical fact – this woman has been to prison. I haven’t.

But with all that being said, Ms. Stewart must be revered to some extent, at least I feel this way, for the fact that she really has good taste. She has fabulous resources, of course we would all as well if we were zillionaires, and is extremely creative and crafty.

I’m not sure if Ms. Stewart herself coined the term “tablescape,” however it’s become a commonplace appellation for the design of the party table. And if you look at her magazines or her entertaining books, Ms. Stewart is very talented at designing tablescapes. Or maybe her people are. I’m not sure.

I’m really envious of anyone who is creative in this way. Just look at Pinterest and you’ll know what I mean, just in case you’re one of the millions who hasn’t looked at Pinterest.

So I had a Christmas party a few days before Christmas in 2013. Normally I would have put clipped poinsettias and placed them in three or five vases along the middle of the buffet table and called it done. I probably would have used a green tablecloth, because that’s festive. My dining room is painted red, so the red and green would make things really festive, right? You can tell by my blog that I love colors, but I especially love red and green.

However, I have been saving this Pinterest pin on my Christmas “board” forever. Here it is:

This photo comes from this blog. The photo was from a wedding sit-down dinner; the white candles really add the wedding “feel” of the celebration. Beautiful.

So many years ago, because of this photographic inspiration, I forced myself to drink 13 bottles of Clean Slate Riesling, because I thought the bottles would be perfect for a buffet table. I didn’t know when I’d use them, I just knew I would…some day.

They’re fairly clear bottles – not aqua, and not dark green. Then I removed the labels, washed the bottles, and stored them in our basement. Until recently.

I decided to use the wine bottle-candle idea for my Christmas party! I really got excited, because for once I wanted to try my hand at a creative tablescape. Something beyond red and green.

I decided to go the non-color route, and started gathering goodies. More in natural tones, and a lot about nature. And then, it all just fell into place.

I found these beautiful carved wooden birds at my local florist shop.


Aren’t they really adorable?

I purchased the dried clove-studded oranges and lemons, and included some pinecones my husband scavenged on a walk with the dogs.


I then found some faux cherries, added faux walnuts, and threw in some raw cranberries for a little more color, at the last minute, of course.


Right after the food was placed on the table, my husband lit the candles, and it all came to life.


Since this is a cooking blog, I will tell you what I served for my Christmas party:

Smoked Scottish salmon with pumpernickel triangles
Cranberry Wensleydale and Cambazola with assorted crackers
Maple Pecan Baked brie
Pâté de foie and onion confit with cranberries, served with baguette slices
Roasted beef tenderloin sandwiches with apple-butter mustard
plus a variety of sweets, including Sugarplums, which were a huge hit

This may not be your style, but I am very proud of myself for getting out of my comfort zone a bit and trying my hand at holiday creativity. I was very pleased at the subdued, natural look of the goodies strewn along the center of the table, and candle light just can’t be beat.

Happy New Year to all of you!