Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Finishing Touches - The Art of Gracious Holiday Entertaining: How to Create a Seasonal Tablescape with Motifs inspired by the Garden - plus Learn How to Mix up a Festive “Garden to Glass” Hospitality Cocktail Workshop

Thanksgiving Harvest Tablescape features Silver & Crystal - & silver-painted wishbones!

Finishing Touches Workshop at Atlantic Highlands Arts Council, Sunday, December 10, featuring Hospitality and Garden Design Specialist, Leeann Lavin -- (me!) 

Just in time for the season of entertaining, eating, and drinking, the Atlantic Highlands Arts Council announced its Holiday Workshop, scheduled for Sunday, December 10, 3-5 pm; with a cornucopia of elements:
  • Tablescape Design
  • Create a Craft Cocktail 
  • How to Set a Table 
This is a fun, creative, Hands-On, DIY workshop, designed to inspire a memorable Tablescape design that will delight your family and friends.

What’s a Tablescape, you ask?
Although tablescapes often adorn the center of the table, they are more than centerpieces. 

A tablescape is an overall look that addresses the entire table or serving area and complements its surroundings. The art of tablescaping makes your guests feel welcome and relaxed. 

This is my entrance Welcome Hostess composition featuring seasonal chile peppers in black urns, dried hydrangea fro the garden, grapes, crystal, silver, the scent of fresh apples in a glamorous Murano glass bowl, & the holiday hostess cocktail: Applejack, lapsang souchong simple syrup, sparkling apple cider.

Tablescapes bring your event together with color, style, whimsy, and dimension. 

It tells a story of the season; making an impact and creating a strong story – whether its modern or traditional – it’s all about the ingredients.

It’s eye-candy for your table!

"Our tablescape presentation offers attendees a primer on how to choose color, texture, and visual stimulation, which in turn leads to fun and interesting tableside conversations,” said Mary D’Agostino, the Atlantic Highlands Arts Council. “The combination of a photo-rich presentation and the hands-on element is a double header – a great opportunity to learn first-hand how to create a sense of balance, harmony, and personal style to suit your celebration.”  Mary offers that this is a perfect meet-up workshop to be enjoyed with your family and/or friends.
I always recommend greeting your home guests with a special, mixed cocktail -- in a punch bowl or beverage dispenser so that your guests can readily get into the festive spirit without wondering what's appropriate to ask for, or checking to see what everyone else is drinking (is it wine, beer, or martini's??) or whether you're pouring their drink -- so the ready-to-go drink is fun and easy -- and elegant.  
So too the Workshop kicks off with a segment about creating a delicious and elegant “Garden-to-Glass” holiday cocktail, "Heart of Gold" and food pairing,

using craft ingredients -- especially selected from my soon-to-be-released book, Finishing Touches, The Art of Garnishing the Cocktail 

New York's Leyenda Brooklyn Cocteleria Craft Cocktail Mixologist Jessica Wohlers, and me, will demonstrate how to take your cocktails to the next level with a tasting! 
And I'll show a collection of garnishes from herbs, jewelry and candy, as well as other fun, decorative embellishments

along with a primer on how to make a Simple Syrup.

The next segment of the Workshop is a presentation I've prepared with lots of images and suggestions on how to build a tablescape of your dreams.  Everyone loves looking at inspiring, Pinterest-worthy creations, yes? 

Next, we'll explore the hands-on workshop element where you'll get to use ingredients you bring -- attendees are encouraged to bring their tablescape ingredients to design a memorable look. 

So, stir your imagination and design with intention; here's where you can let your decor ideas come to life.

I encourage attendees and at-home designers to explore your late autumn garden and yard - it’s beautiful!  The added benefit is you get to enjoy your garden and maybe even discover plants you didn't think about at this time of year.  There are flowers, twigs, seed pods, ornamental grass, and more.  
Or, you can use grocery store bouquets, or favorite blooms from the florist. 
Use whatever strikes your fancy or captures your eye. 

Still wondering what could work?  This time of year I reccomend any of the following:
  • Japanese Maple 
  • Beauty Berry 
  • Kousa Dogwood 
  • Heavenly Bamboo/Nandina 
  • Viburnum 
  • Virginia Sweetspire 
  • Redbud 
  • Magnolia Leaves
  • Carnations 
  • Roses 
  • Seeded Eucalyptus 
Gather accessories you have around the house – or head to your local craft or garden center for:
  • Vases 
  • Urns 
  • Lights 
  • Mirrors/Trays 
  • Table runners 
  • Jewelry 
  • Glitter 
  • Artificial Snow 
  • Cache pot/fruit bowl/sleigh -- a vessel for cuttings 
  • “Animals” - toys - gift boxes 
  • Accessories or Collectibles 
Or anything your heart desires….

The Arts Council will provide buckets for the fresh plant material, tables, scissors, glue – and the Finishing Touches Cocktail.

The fee for the three-hour hands-on workshop, tutorial, and cocktail tasting is $40.

Register online at the Atlantic Highlands website:, starting Monday, November 27, or in person at 54 First Avenue (Tuesday-Friday 1-7 and Saturday & Sunday 10-3). Or call!

Space is limited.

The Atlantic Highlands Arts Council is located at:

54 First Avenue, Atlantic Highlands, NJ 07716

Phone: (732) 737-7160

The mission of the Atlantic Highlands Arts Council is to strengthen community through the arts. We are a 100% volunteer 501(c)3 non-profit organization that believes in the power of the arts to transform and enrich communities. Our primary function is to develop and execute events and arts related activities for the benefit of our community.

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