Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Entertaining through the seasons

More than anything I love table settings, I'm in love with the gathering of family and friends around a beautiful table and the chance in this busy world to be together for a little to celebrate with good home cooked food or maybe just toast and coffee. I love breakfast in bed, lunch in the garden, afternoon teas with the my girl friends and a good home cooked dinner.
Not all on the same day!!

I have had quite a few people asking me lately where do I get my inspiration from and how do I put my tablesettings together. So I have selected some of my table settings (as featured here on my blog this year) that I have styled in many different homes and gardens throughout the seasons to show that I don't really have a particular style and that I am always inspired by the surroundings and how I feel at the time. It's quite simply my own self expression and the mood that I'm in at the time.

Summer Scones: Black and white ginham in my garden

I have been out every day this week trying to capture as much as I can on my camera and styling flowers & table setting before the new buds and blossoms all totally disappear for another year.

As a stylist I have covered many different facets from fashion, interiors and food & wine, as well as working with flowers. But my very favourite form of styling is table settings, I have always loved putting settings together and I especially love the thrill of finding treasures for the table. Every single day I look at the details in my surroundings where ever I may be, and I just get ideas. Hundreds of them, if your ever stuck for an idea, just contact me, I will never have enough time in my life to use them all. In my mind I am constantly creating images. I see everything so clearly and before I start setting my table or styling a photograph, I know exactly what it will look like. You see, I have already been through the design process in my head. Just me, myself and I, it's just the way it's always been!!

Above: A formal setting using grapes in old silver bowls as my display picked by me from a local vineyard. This is not my dining room, but a lovely old Edwardian building in Berrima. I was asked to create a tablesetting in every room to promote local weddings and events.

I would buy a fabulous old bowl or a piece of cutlery before buying clothes. I hunt constantly for interesting old tableware, tables and objects and I love to experiment with different things. I know it is possible to create a fantastic mood with very little. There are always leaves on the trees to pick a bunch and put in a jug, a shaded spot under a tree to set up a table, a log to sit on with a rug thrown near by. My cottage is small, too small for me and all my things, so I often entertain outdoors when the weather is fine, I set up the food on my dining room table and just let everyone freely sit where they feel comfortable around an outdoor table or on a sun chair.

I always try and find the prettiest place to set the table, it may even be the driveway if the blooms are blooming.

A table setting for over 600

A lazy sunday afternoon tea with my parents

a baby girls christening tea party

.....and, one of my very favourite things to do each week is to pop over to the U.S.A (via blogging) to all my like minded table setting friends and join in on Susan's Tablescape Thursday party at Between Naps on the Porch. Come along and join me, it is a special place to be, tiptoeing through every ones dining rooms.


  1. Hello Coty,

    Your pictures alone are full of inspiration!! Have you ever written a book or thought about it?? You really have wonderful advice...

    Now I have a question for you: My home is also very small. I love to see pretty vignettes and love to make them myself, however I have so little room for furniture, and what tables and cabinets and dressers (surfaces) I have are covered with the essentials; lamps, a few knick knacks, magazines. What would you suggest?

    Jane from Chicago

  2. Hi Jane,

    Thanks for your lovely comment. I hope to have a book soon, as I have been working on a series of books for years and I just can't seem to finish them. There is always
    something that takes up my time. Now, to your home, it is so annoying I think to have a little house when your a born collector. Do you think the universe trying to tell us something.
    It would be fine if my family didn't have to live in the house as well, (only joking) but I am frustrated that we are always bumping into things and having to move many things away to entertain a group of friends. How nice it would be to have a huge house with room to spread out.

    My all time tricks to display and fill your home with your loving possessions and still run a family home is book shelves, I have mine filled usually with similar styles and colours of objects. My walls are full and I love collections of paintings hung close together. I will use a spare table to hold a tray of decanters, vase of flowers and books when I'm not using it to eat at and I have baskets of all sizes and shapes all throughout my house filled with stuff, stuff that I need and I know I will use one day. I have baskets with bottles of oils, baskets with books and mags, baskets with rugs and baskets of ribbons and crafts neatly tucked under tables and stools. I do change things around throughout my home all the time and I will put some items away and bring out other to display.

    I do hope that this helps you Jane and good luck with styling your home.

    xx Coty

  3. I believe I would love to just fall into one of your photos and live there! Such a lovely place to be.

  4. Gorgeous Tablescape Thursday post. Your blog is unbelievable and I too would look forward to your book when it comes out. My daughter was married last March on a plantation in Southern Georgia, USA. Typical southern wedding at a historical site but I wish I had seen your blog before this. Ours was a beautiful wedding and I had a fabulous wedding planner but my daughter and I inserted lots of ideas that spoke of who we both are. I think that to be so important when using a wedding planner. Sometimes it has their mark and not the mark of the bride.

    Carolyn/A Sooutherners Notebook

  5. i always find myself holding my breath when i am here... sensory overload, too much beauty in one spot... ahh, what a way to go!

  6. You never run out of beautiful ideas. I can relate to a lot of what you said in this post, because I have ideas all of the time too, but mine just aren't beautiful like yours. I also enjoyed reading your respose to Jane. I rearrange things in my home all of the time. I'm constantly looking for a place to put something else! My poor, dear husband has put up with all of this for 40 years now, so I guess he's become accustomed to it. I love to come here, and I can't wait until your book is published. What talents you have. I don't think there is anything you can't accomplish. laurie

  7. Oh Laurie, that is so nice of you, but seriously, "accomplished" I have a laundry full of washing, a house full of dust from last weeks storms here in Australia, the kids on holidays as of today and I think there are guests coming to visit next week. I keep tying to do a spring clean, but I just get so distracted. I really want to finish these books, but I'm hopelessly addicted to blogging and spending far too much time with my blog family. There just are not enough hours in the day. It would make an interesting book, don't you think showing our poor husbands surrounded by our loving collections, whether china or clothes and how they actually cope! What do you think? we should do this on our blogs one week with a great list of questions that they (our dear husbands) have to answer, like, What is your wife's favourite piece of china.? or Have you ever broken any of your wife's special pieces and what happened when you told her?

    Till then, xxx Coty

  8. Hello Coty...

    Ohhh my...where in the world do I begin? Well, this is my very first visit to your fabulous's absolutely incredible!!! So full of beauty and inspiration! I absolutely adore each and every tablescape that you posted!!! In the beginning I tried to choose a favorite and gave up quickly...they're all fabulous!!! You're such a creative and talented lady, my friend! I'm so happy to have come across your blog...I'll be adding you to my list of blog follows and look forward to your upcoming posts and getting to know you, my friend!!!

    So very nice to meet you!!!

    Warmest wishes,

  9. Wow! I'm speechless. Everytime I thought, "Oh, I like this one the best." I would see something else. Your work is Stunning!

  10. Dear Coty! Thank you for your kind words!!! I'm waiting to be able to congratulate you :))) Book our tickets. In Sydney 30the Dec -14 th Jan. Date? Hugs, Minna :)

  11. It's always wonderful to visit you here, Coty.
    I am constantly amazed at the beauty you capture through your photography. This post is filled with fantastic inspiration. I wish I would have known you when I got married! Your styling is perfection.


  12. Thanks Brooke,

    I'm sure your wedding was a very "beautiful Brooke Style" wedding,
    It's so nice to hear from you,
    I hope you have rested since your shopping trip to Texas, it looks like you had a lot of fun.

    xx Coty

  13. Beautiful! You have such inimitable style!

  14. Thanks for the ideas---these are bery beautiful!

  15. Sumptuous settings Coty, just full of joyous & beautiful treats! You really are the Queen of Tables (oh & our hearts!)
    Millie ^_^

  16. Hi Coty,
    As always, I love coming to your blog to see your beautiful photos & to get great ideas. Thanks! Hope you're doing well.

  17. All so beautiful Coty
    My favourite is the 1st black & white & lime.. so fresh. and the black & white gingham for the wedding setting.. clever clever.. looks stunning!! Have a great weekend x Julie

  18. Wow, your pictures are beautiful and so are the ideas in them. What a treasure trove of amazing decorating ideas.


Your comments and emails truly make my day a very special one. Thank you for dropping by and visiting me at home in Australia, I read every single comment and I treasure each and every one. xxx Coty