Making Something Out of Nothing – Spontaneous Great Design On-Site

January 17, 2011

Instant change in scenery…from the chilly high desert of New Mexico to the expansive beaches along the Bay of Banderas between La Cruz and Punta de Mita. We’re here now enjoying the sky touch the sea and purple mountains shrouded in mist circling the bay creating an awesome scene of tropical splendor. Palm fronds reach from their trunks and crinkle their tips in the breeze like giant green shrimp trying to escape into the air.
Last night we had a dinner party with our fabuous friends the familia Leon de la Vega. Federico, Luli, Victoria and Lupita join us every year for dinner at this magical spot. In anticipation of the evening’s party, I planned the menu on the plane, groceries were purchased on the way from the airport and the first day of our visit unfolded.
Joined this year by niece Heather and cousin Tricia, we are having an adventure! As I explained the plan for the day and tasks to be performed to ready ourselves for the dinner party, one aspect fascinated the girls. I wanted (as I always do) to dress the table – and they looked at each other, shrugged, raised their up-turned hands to the sky and said in unison “with what?” (Can you visualize that scene?)
Always working with available materials the task is like a treasure hunt for me. There were simple woven placemats in a drawer. Their organic color and texture were perfect contrast to the smooth surface of the honed stone table top. Next I grabbed a water glass from the cupboard, went outside and began to prune a trailing pothos plant for the naked center of the travertine slab. In a drawer we discovered a pair of votive candles colorfully wrapped with an angelically handsome face of Jesus in a baggie with a package of matches – intended for emergencies in case of a power outage after dark – until the emergency generators kick-in. Knowing that they probably had these in inventory, I called the front desk to request 6 of these little luminaries – offered to pay for them – but they were delivered to the room gratis. After peeling off the holy wrappers, we stood back and examined our progress…a pretty green trailing plant with small white votive candles…next step…to the beach!! We ventured forth to comb the leavings from high tide where we scavenged gathering our decorative elements… smooth stones washed by the sea and bleached by the sun with white oyster shells pearly and iridescent perfect for bases beneath our little white candles.
Scattering the stones along the center of the table and placing three shells on either side of the center, we positioned the candles on the shells and Voila!! A beautiful tablescape – made more enchanting as night fell and the candles glowed -move over Sandra Lee! All created on-site with the spontaneity resulting from limited, but very successful resources, in perfect context with our tropical beach setting. Mix those margaritas and enjoy!

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