finished centerpiece by designer Monica Cowsert.
the holiday host, there’s no shortage of things to
spend on: the meal, drinks, decor, gifts. Dressing a
table doesn’t have to blow the budget, too.
items from your home — and backyard — allows for a
creative, budget-friendly centerpiece. Embellishing
grocery store bouquets with a few simple touches
elevates them from standard to spectacular.
challenged Dallas stylemakers Ashley Brown and Monica
Cowsert to use items they already had — along with a
$10 budget — to design something that would give
guests something to talk about besides the bird of
a blogger who writes about ways to incorporate antiques
and family pieces into the everyday, Ashley Brown is
always looking for ways to showcase heirlooms.
put a dainty Royal Doulton figurine in a place of honor
on her table. The 100-year-old collectible of a woman
carrying flowers watches over guests atop a stack of
cake pedestals. To give her even more prominence, Brown
set the item, which once belonged to her
great-grandmother, on a bed of floral moss inside a
glass serving pieces were also dressed with moss and a
selection of citrus fruits in a variety of sizes and
colors. Brown also made sure to layer space under the
pedestal with texture.
were snipped into small bundles and tucked among the
fruit and moss to add more dimension.
key to a successful centerpiece is getting the height
right. A simple solution is using books, and if they’re
antique and in the right color scheme, even better.
used a stack of books as the base for a wired and domed
bird cage. She filled the metal accessory with shredded
basket and gift-wrap filler. A strand of battery-powered
fairy lights illuminates the paper globe Brown used as
the focal point.
more interest, glittered pine cones, fresh greenery and
berries were nestled around the cage.
off the bird atop the cage, Brown perched a small silver
bird figurine on the corner of the books.
biggest expense for this centerpiece? The lights. The
rest of the items, Brown already owned.
OUT ON A LIMB
you’re in the wedding and events business, you see a
lot of centerpieces, says Monica Cowsert.
who owns the Bird’s Nest in Melissa, says she has been
inspired by creative brides who have used everything
from pinwheels to photos to create custom arrangements.
a traditional vessel for flowers, Cowsert instead used a
portion of a downed tree branch. She added a few nails
into the wood to help keep the flowers in place.
there, she broke up a budget grocery store bouquet and
placed the flowers on top, filling in with dried moss.
She added a single hydrangea in the center for drama.
Eucalyptus was also scattered around the base of the
log, and Cowsert draped pieces from a deconstructed
grapevine wreath atop the arrangement for additional
look, she says, can be easily replicated to make a major
impression. "I had in mind doing not one amazing
showstopper, but one that can be re-created on multiple
tables," she says.
afraid of pattern or color? Then add even more of it to
is crazy for Schumacher’s Chiang Mai Dragon pattern.
She took a wallpaper scrap from her powder bath project
and made a color copy and had it laminated. From there,
a centerpiece was a just a few pieces of invisible tape
taped the copy into a cylinder shape that would conceal
a vase filled with fresh flowers and greenery.
cut apart a wreath and used those grapevine pieces
throughout the arrangement, encircling the base to bulk
up the centerpiece.
thing I like to do is make something that can be used in
another way," Cowsert says. "When you untape
the vase, you can use the copy as a place mat."
can also use a potted plant rather than a bouquet to
fill the vase, and you can plant it once the party’s
A TABLESCAPE FOR FAST RESULTS
too rushed to shop your house or the stores for a
and Dine has already done the work. The North Texas
company has a selection of tabletop decor available to
rent. All you have to do is put it out on the table
ahead of the party.
boxes are offered in a variety of styles. A party box
includes everything from linens and centerpiece options
to chargers and napkin rings. The Woodland collection
features burlap, birch and jute accents.
taking the work out of entertaining at home by me doing
the design work for you," says owner Stacia Marlow.
the party’s over, put the pieces back in the mail and
ship them back.
start at $100 for a party of four, and additional
embellishments and place settings can be added. Find
them at sparkleanddine.com.