Monday, March 08, 2021


 from Catherine Castle

I’m channeling Martha Stewart today with a home décor post, so bear with me this morning.

As we head into another year of unusual holiday entertaining chances are there will still be fewer people around your table. Fewer guests don’t mean you should back down on the fancy arrangements.  Instead, why not get creative and try something different?

I don’t know about you, but when I have company, I like to set a decorative table. It’s one of the reasons I have ten different sets of dishes and several different sets of glassware. I can set a Disney table, complete with themed flatware and napkin rings; go native American with my Indian patterned dishes; have an indoor garden party with my garden dishes; set two different themed Christmas tables; or celebrate the Fourth of July Americana style. I also have two sets of patterned Corelle®, a plain white Corelle set, and plain colored stoneware that will span several seasons.

I know, I know. That’s way too many plates, cups and bowls for one person to own. But, much to my hubby’s chagrin, it’s a quirky fetish of mine. I collect dishes like most women collect shoes. I can’t bypass a single display of dishes without lusting after them. I realize most women don’t have access to such a wide variety of dishes, aside from Martha Stewart perhaps. But even if you don’t have a bazillion complete sets of dishes, you can still set a decorative table.

Having said that, I decided to challenge myself and my overabundant dish fetish. Instead of using a complete set of one of the ten dish settings I have, could I create four seasonal table settings using only four white dinner plates, 8 solid primary color luncheon plates, and 8 assorted bowls and 4 clear glasses?

With no patterns in the dishes to help set the seasonal mood, I decided to use patterned placemats. Placemats take up less storage room than dishes and cost less to replace if they get stained or you just want a change. Seasonal paper napkins and decorative elements gathered from around the house for centerpieces rounds out the table. Since white contrasts best with colored or patterned placemats I used the white dinner plates as the base for the place settings.

Spring bursts onto the table in shades of yellow, white, and turquoise. A vase of airy pink flowers adorns the center of the table, and a cocktail napkin containing all four colors ties the place setting together. If you’re having an Easter dinner, a pretty Easter basket filled with battery operated candles would be the perfect centerpiece, or unwrap that giant chocolate bunny you bought, set him on a plate with your homemade Easter eggs and fill in the empty spots with Easter grass. This is one centerpiece you won’t have to store.  J

Celebrate summer’s freedom holiday with a red, white and blue theme. A candle in a star shaped dish sets center stage. If you have them, a few sparklers set in small balls of clay around the candle would be an interesting touch. (I didn’t, so I just went with the single candle.) Placing blue and red napkins in the glasses gave the hint of fireworks to the table settings.

 I was sorely tempted to break out the garden dishes to create a summer garden party theme, but since I figured most people don’t have an assortment of flower and veggie shaped dishes, that would be cheating on the challenge.


When the temperatures drop and autumn rolls around, bring out the warmer colors of yellow and red to contrast with the warm wood tones of your table. A circle of leaves around a tall candle works as a centerpiece and draws in all the colors of the plates into the palette. If you have fall placemats they can be used under the dishes. I only had two matching autumn placemats, so I chose to forego them on this table setting. Instead of white bowls I used some red and green ramekins to pull in more fall color.

Christmas brings out the traditional, cheery colors of red and green. I interspersed green ramekins with the white bowls for a touch more green in this palette and to make the bowls pop on the red plates. Using green napkins in the glasses looks like you have tiny evergreen tree on your table.

With 20 dishes, not counting the clear glasses, I’ve created four attractive seasonal place settings. Now, the trick will be to not let the hubby see what I can do with only 20 dishes. Because if he finds out, I’ll have no more excuses to buy tableware.

 Which one of these table settings do you like best? I can’t decide. I may just have to see how many more I can create using a few unusual pieces. Oh! New antiquing idea—searching for unique seasonal serving pieces to set off my five-color scheme place settings. Then I think I’ll have some dinner guests over—once COVID is gone.

What about you? How do you create inviting dinner tables?

Now that you’ve got some great table settings lined up, relax with Catherine’s multi-award-winning inspirational romantic suspense novel The Nun and the Narc.

Where novice Sister Margaret Mary goes, trouble follows. When she barges into a drug deal the local Mexican drug lord captures her. To escape she must depend on undercover DEA agent Jed Bond. Jed’s attitude toward her is exasperating, but when she finds herself inexplicable attracted to him he becomes more dangerous than the men who have captured them, because he is making her doubt her decision to take her final vows. Escape back to the nunnery is imperative, but life at the convent, if she can still take her final vows, will never be the same.

Nuns shouldn’t look, talk, act, or kiss like Sister Margaret Mary O’Connor—at least that’s what Jed Bond thinks. She hampers his escape plans with her compulsiveness and compassion and in the process makes Jed question his own beliefs. After years of walling up his emotions in an attempt to become the best agent possible, Sister Margaret is crumbling Jed’s defenses and opening his heart. To lure her away from the church would be unforgivable—to lose her unbearable.

The Nun and the Narc is available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble

Multi-award winning author Catherine Castle loves writing. Before beginning her career as a romance writer she worked part-time as a freelance writer. She has over 600 articles and photographs to her credit, under her real name, in the Christian and secular market. She also lays claim to over 300 internet articles written on a variety of subjects and several hundred poems. In addition to writing she loves reading, traveling, singing, theatre, quilting and gardening. She’s a passionate gardener whose garden won a “Best Hillside Garden” award from the local gardening club. She writes sweet and inspirational romances. You can find her award-winning Soul Mate books The Nun and the Narc and A Groom for Mama, on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

Follow her on Twitter @AuthorCCastle, FB or her blog.


  1. Loved it, Catherine.

  2. Thanks for hosting me, Sloane !

  3. Love your table settings and decorating ideas, Catherine. Too bad I can't hire you. Wink. You'd give Martha Stewart a run for her money. Cheers!