By Mar Jennings
As a lifestyle expert and designer I always find myself thinking outside the box and looking for inspiration and unexpected resources everywhere I go. This year, with a big focus on creativity and one stop shopping, I challenged myself not only to purchase everything I need for a festive lunch and dinner, but to create a tablescape that also infuses the many resources of my local Stop & Shop grocery store. This shopping trip would be like no other as I explored the aisles with a new found mission. As I searched for items, I asked myself, “What can I do with that on my table?” The result: A “crafty” table with a cohesive, creative design.
Here’s my grocery list and creative ideas by department:
- Mason jars – The half-pint size serves as the perfect vessel for tea lights.
- Candles – Dripless candles are a staple and are perfect for many projects.
- Wrapping paper rolls – Wrapping paper made from good paper stock serves up great style as a table runner. Or if you wish, you can double it and use it as a tablecloth – either way, disposable. Use pinking scissors to cut the roll to fit for a professional look. Have a table cloth you love to use? Cut the paper into place mats instead. Simply trace any mat you have, cut, and place on the table.
Lindt Lindor chocolate truffles – This is not dessert! I scatter these individually wrapped chocolates around my centerpiece. They are so pretty, reflect candlelight, and can be nibbled on before dessert arrives.
Health & Beauty
Epsom Salt – This bath item is perfect for creating a snowy effect on your table. Use the salts as a base and nestle tea lights or candles into a clear glass jar or snifter.
- Granny Smith apples – Cut off the top 1/3 of the apple to create a flat surf
Use an ice cream scoop to remove the remaining core. The apple is now a small vase for a festive flower arrangement. Use
- a rub
ber band to secure the bouquet stems together. Make multiple arrangements, enough for each guest to take home.
- Pears – Used as-is, pears are perfect for fall décor and also edible later.
- Dumpling squash – Use these wonderful items to decorate and tie in the design scheme of the season.
- Large artichokes – Use these as candlestick holders. Yes, that’s right! Cut off the portion where the stem joins the flower to make a flat base. On the opposite end, drill a hole big enough for your candle to fit snugly. Don’t want to drill? If the candle is a traditional taper, insert a paring knife into the flower and twist. sMARt Tip: Do this ahead of time and keep them fresh in the fridge. You can use them more than once by refrigerating between uses too
- Bag of walnuts – These nuts can easily be incorporated into a wonderful table or buffet design. Scattered them across a table or create napkin rings by drilling small holes to run a wire through. sMARt Tip: Drill side-to-side, avoiding the nut’s natural seams.
- Package of autumn leaves – When Mother Nature doesn’t offer you a selection, turn to your local grocery store. Nothing represents autumn more than the powerful colors and textures of fall foliage. By laying across and intertwining the leaves into your center focal point, you can build height and interest as well as pulling the colors of the season right to your table.
- Flowers – Today’s grocery stores offer huge flower departments that are filled with many ready-made arrangements. The designers that build these offer an easy alternative to those expensive flower shops. The cut flower selection is also great and a weekly purchase in my home for this very reason. Plants and holiday bulbs are also available for longer lasting décor options.
- Cinnamon scented pine cones – Pine cones can be a creative place card holder. If you try to slip a place card between the ridges the card will look rippled and uneven. Instead, use a small hand saw to create a straight space. Place the cone on its side and saw the length of it, about ½ inch in. Insert a hand written place card into the slice.
One stop shopping has never been so much fun! This season, wander your local grocery store with an open mind, allowing the unexpected to speak to you. You’ll be surprised just how resourceful you can be with your table top.
What grocery store items do you use to decorate your table or home? Share with us in the comment section below.