tables, dahlias, decks, stripes, adirondacks, mason jars & bowls

Thu 17th, Mar, 2011

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Good moaning from the lovely Australia.

How you all doing today?

Well I’m good and checking in loud and clear from the deck of my old cottage this morning.


Wanna talk my sweets about table dressing?

On a budget.

Well good, settle right in, ‘cos that’s what I’ve got for you today…


I recently had to do a table dressing for a magazine…(and this is the one that ended up on the cutting room floor ;-) )


I had an email from an editor to ask for my input on how I would do up a table without spending much money…that was the whole point of the article.


What a challenge she said.  Do you think you can do it?


The fact that her usual stylists customarily have a budget to play with made me smile to myself….do you think I can work with that?  um I think I can give that a go…I mean hello I practically spend half my life foofing around with tables making ‘em look pretty with just the cost of a bunch of drugstore flowers bought on my way home from school.

Honey I think I can have a go at cutting the mustard.


And on a budget, apart from the humble hydrangea, my fave, there is really nothing better than the hit-me-with-it distinctiveness of the old-fashioned dahlia, who when broken up into single stems sits there happily with a pop of vibrant colour and a flourish of on-a-serious-budget but ever-so-casual chic.

Plus if you really are not much of a table dresser but fancy having a go and do not want to do little other than spend 8 bucks, slit open a packet of cellophane, plonk your collection of thrifted bottles and the like on the table, and fill them with water, then this is just about do-able with just about zero effort.

(of course I didn’t tell her* that)


throwing in a few cafe au lait’s into the ring…well that will always go down well…(you can read more about these bowls and France here)



I hope you liked it…love to hear what you think…

for me?  I loved how this turned out, I was surprised it hit the cutting room floor..the combo of the putty bowls, the stripe, the white, the pop of colour, the vintage milkshake cups, the mason jars…well I couldn’t really not like it though, it’s me all over ;-)

Righto lovelies, I am off, I have some BC Sweet Blogging Tips to get going on :-)  …more of those coming very soon..

Catch ya later

blogged for TT at Susan’s thanks!


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50 Responses to “tables, dahlias, decks, stripes, adirondacks, mason jars & bowls”

  1. Angela Steyn says:

    I just love these photos… quite an unusual colour combination but it looks stunning!

    I really adore your blog – it is such a happy place to visit so THANK YOU!


  2. marylou says:

    Those putty latte bowls are GORGEOUS, I remember that post;-)

    The richness of the ruby dahlias is fabulous & combined with the putty bowls, reminds me of red and beige ticking, my new love and I am not that fond of red, but in the tattered vintage fabric it makes my heart smile~~

    Always a JOY Sarah to visit… you are a diamond among many faux gems *wink**


  3. HRH Sarah says:

    Fabulous again! What a great spot to enjoy some cafe au lait ;)

    Hoping that your genius will shine through, can’t wait to find out what mag?!?

  4. catherine says:

    love everything!

  5. Alice says:

    I know I’m not surprised. I love it! It’s beauty at its simplest and that means at its best. Always a pleasure to sit here and just drink up all the beautiful photos of your beautiful home it often makes my day. Keep working it…..

    • Alice says:

      sorry, I meant to say that I was surprised that it didn’t make the cut! Yeeeshhh, the whole sleep deprevation thing is really starting to intefere with my everyday skills!

  6. Bev says:

    Those ruby dahlias just make me happy !!!!. I can not find them here : (

  7. I adore dahlias! Just seeing them in your post convinces me to plant them in my garden! Thanks for that.

  8. Felicity says:

    I love this autumny twist with the muted reds against the taupe and white.

    You’re right it IS so you!

    xx Felicity

  9. Since red is my favorite color and I love pops of red against a neutral background, I think this is lovely. It definitely caught my eye.

  10. Deneen says:

    Love the colors!

  11. I walked past some dahlias the other day and nearly bought them but wasn’t inspired enough. Now, you’ve inspired me! They look great as singles in little jars etc as, of course, does your whole table. And sorry about the spread that ended up on the cutting room floor – you can flick it our way if you like!! Now, I might just have to make a visit to the grocer for those flowers …

  12. beachcomber says:

    great deck…love all the white. the box you found looks amazing!

  13. Tammi says:

    Well Sarah, they obviously don’t know true down to earth Aussie style ;)

    I love this look, the pops of vibrant colour, misxed vintage treasures, white and stripes….I know if I saw this look in a magazine I would be swooning and so wanting to emulate it in my home.

    Your style rocks!!

  14. Very noice indeed! Love the pop of colour with the dahlias..

  15. nicole beltane says:

    oh that colour really pops against the white, beige and putty doesn’t it. So so sweet

  16. Lisa says:

    See this is why blogs are superior. Magazines don’t always know a good thing when they see it.

    Lisa x

  17. Annie Turner says:

    Prettier than a magazine spread!!! Love it!

  18. Marleen says:

    Great job Sarah,
    Now It’s really nice to use your deck for taking pictures.
    I love all the white and earth colours. In contrast withe the dark red of the Dahlia.
    :) Marleen

  19. Fiona says:

    Wow, those Dahlias really pop!
    One of my favourite flowers. Beautiful photography.
    cheers Fiona

  20. Susan says:


    Do you know the affect you & your bloggy blog are having on me??? I find myself wishing I had the time to fluff around arranging, re-arranging, photographing and then editing said photos, or ducking off to Ikea, or going to a newly spotted thrift store…………. but instead I must attend to 16th birthdays and sick small four year olds and a set of quite delightful two year olds and cook dinners and take birthday girls for drivers licenses…… and on & on I could go…. and I LOVE LOVE LOVE all that busy life… yet I think of you {knowing that you are busy too…. and I don’t know how you find the time to fit in your arranging and re-arranging etc etc}

    so your sweet bloggy blog is stuck in my head for the most part of the day… I see my latest bunch of yellow roses and want to photograph them and I just. don’t. have. time. So I come here and look at your dahlias… LOVE :)

  21. Helen says:

    Picture Perfect!

  22. melissa says:

    This is exactly why I rarely buy magazines anymore. Your style? Simple, stunning, beachy-motivational. The mags, for the most part? Stuffy, OVER styled (in my humble opinion), unattainable. Thanks, Sarah, for the realistic, yet still beautiful, approach to living! :)

  23. Hi Sarah, I love, love, love this table, it is pure perfection! The softness of the whites with the pops of colors of the dahlias are so dreamy. I can just picture sitting down at this table for a cafe au lait, just heaven! I hope you have a wonderful day and thank you for inspiring me to live simply…

  24. Hi Sarah, I love, love, love this table, it is pure perfection! The softness of the whites with the pops of colors of the dahlias are so dreamy. I can just picture sitting down at this table for a cafe au lait, just heaven! I hope you have a wonderful day and thank you for inspiring me to live simply…

  25. Stina Sæm says:

    hi thank you for a lovely blog.
    I just love your table setting and it is just in time for me ,cous I have this new thing for jars and botles.
    Thank you it is inspiring and beautiful.

    regards Stina

  26. Rachel says:

    Love the bold pop of red!

  27. Heather says:

    DAHLIAS! Oooh.. I was seriously trying to decide if I should resist the urge to order some tubers this week.. I mean, my thumb it’s really brown but other than a huge heirloom tomato I can’t think of anything I’d rather see growing in my garden! Darn you Sarah! Now I just gotta ;) hehe

    Thanks for the eye candy as always!

  28. Julie Johnson says:

    Absolutely stunning, as usual. Magazines are so overated anyway. I still think you need to do a decorating book. I’d buy one in a heartbeat. You inspire so many people with your blog, photography, and decorating skills. Keep up the good work!

  29. Love it! Simple, beautiful, classy, inexpensive!

    But maybe it hit the cutting room floor because it was too easy. ;o) Sometimes those magazine people want things a little more involved. But that’s why we all come here…….we like simple and beautiful. We need our lives to be a little easier, but still have beauty surrounding us.

    You fit the bill Miss Sarah!

  30. I can’t believe this is what ended up on the cutting room floor – it’s truly fabulous. The putty bowls are divine and your choice of flowers add a real fun pop to the complete picture.

  31. You have a fun blog. I like white, creme, beige and mocha together like you have done.
    What I also like for flowers is using one flower in only one color. I think it has a much greater impact.

  32. Sallie says:

    Did none of your beautiful photos make the cut? If so, shame on that magazine for not seeing the beauty in them. I think they should have an entire spread of your photos and your delightful commentary to go with them. I agree with the writer who longs for your book; it would be wonderful to have. I am always happy to see your blog in my incoming mail. I love your cheerful attitude and the sprinkling of English from your former home.

  33. PercentBlog says:

    Gorgeous! i never have much of a budget but love having flowers around. Plus there is a flower shop just down from my office! So I end up buying flowers and sticking them in random containers. Currently its purple tulips in a carafe by my bed.

  34. Linda says:

    So beautiful! I’m sorry they got cut. Where any used? Shame on them ! :-) The contrast and the simplicity is wonderful!

  35. Sally says:

    You always have the most fabulous posts Sarah! I allways look forward to seeing one of your updates in my in box because I just know it will be filled with a wonderful ideas of yours that I can use in my own sweet home. Thank you my dear friend!!

  36. Kirsty says:

    Gorgeous flowers and tablescaping work!

  37. TheOzSys says:

    I love your work, Sarah! Simple elegance. Would love to have a place by the beach too in the future.

  38. That spectacular color from the dahlias are such a great focal point – how could you not be seduced by their color, and it goes so well with the subtle colors and whites of the set up. A great and very striking effect that really speaks volumes. A great table display does set up a great expectation for the meal coming up too.

  39. From the cutting room floor to the wallpaper on my screen…I love it!

  40. hi, just recently visited FineCraftGuild from a blog hop, and I thought to hop back. And what a nice place to hop to! I miss Australia and I love the clean fresh look you’ve managed to get onto the table here.

    Thank you for your support. We, btw have a linky party, and I’m inviting you to to join and show off!! It’s here: http://www.finecraftguild.com/diy-craft-linky-party/

  41. Quite lovely Sarah! I’m all about budget tablescapes, they are beautiful with character. I save all jars and bottles after using the goodness inside for flowers.

  42. marlis says:

    Love your table.. I love your clean look and there is nothing, nothing better than plopping flowers in vases! great job. so glad you shared.

  43. Susan says:

    Sarah, this is so pretty! Hard to believe this is the one that ended up on the cutting room floor…I love it! So fresh and summery! Hey, you forgot your link back to Tablescape Thursday!

  44. I love your sense of humor you crack me up. Your deck table scape was just what they asked for and it was great. Would love to sit and chat.

  45. Trese says:

    Elegant in it’s simplicity….. beautiful colors. Glad you shared your tablescape with us!

  46. Thanks for sharing for sharing this simple elegant table. I love the shabby chic look. Ginger

  47. The Dahlia’s work their magic in tying together the variety of geometric shapes/motifs to be found on your oh so charming porch. Great idea for design…Thank you for sharing your design…cutting room floor or not, it’s a great look! Cherry Kay