December 11, 2012

Right Down Santa Claus Lane

Before I launch into an explanation of the patio decorations, I want to say something about the lights.
SantaClausLane2LED string lights are bright enough to light up a maximum security prison yard. Honestly. They make the dead of night look like high noon.
This picture was taken at midnight.
I used a series of 50 little, round LED G12 string lights.
In an attempt to avoid the above mentioned prison yard lighting, I used warm white bulbs (as opposed to cool white or true white).

Every few feet, 50 bulbs were stuffed into a large Mason jar.
Light plugs are hidden in the jars or under the Santas.
These lights are not harsh, but they definitely light up the table.
Though it may not appear so in this photo, they turn the Mason jars into magical beacons of light.

Ahh. The Grand Experiment.
Christmas Eve Dinner on the patio.
If your interested in how I built the table, visit my earlier post.


Didn't care for the salad bowls on the side.

Thought they looked so-so on the dinner plates.

Eventually, I decided to put the bowls on the buffet and have my guests fill their salad bowls first, then return to the buffet with their dinner plates.
It's a plainer look, no doubt, but more efficient considering the lack of wiggle room.
The burlap tablecloth, which is edged in red and white gingham, is covered with the word "believe". I seamed the fabric down the middle so that the words read right side up on both sides of the table.


A paint pen (especially designed for glass and ceramic) was used to write the word "believe" on Dollar Store wine glasses.

Strips of burlap and gingham wrap around Mason jar mugs.

The coffee station is to the left of the fireplace. The large coffee maker hasn't made it out of the box yet, but will be added shortly.
I spotted the big Santa on Jo-Ann's 60% off table. With the addition of a 50% off coupon, it was mine! I NEVER find deals like that.
At any rate, I love this Santie because his face and beard mimic the faces of the little table Santas.



Far be it from me to let the
Chalkboard Painting Craze
pass me by.

Armed with plenty of samples from the internet, I added a sign to lure guests into thinking
there's more options than I'm actually offering.

A chalk menu board is permanently mounted above the outdoor buffet.


Burlap stockings await Santa's arrival,
while a burlap ribbon wreath hangs above the mantel.


And on the only wall that has space left,
hangs a jigsaw puzzle my son put together
when he was about 8.

Added these place cards,
alternating Naughty and Nice at each placesetting.

In the Early Morning Rain
(I know some of you oldies just said, "With a dollar in my hand.")

Merry Christmas

Update, December 30, 2012:
This picture was taken by one of the Christmas Eve guests using the panoramic feature on the iPhone.


Red plates: The Dollar Tree
Felt table Santas: The Dollar Tree
Wine glasses: The Dollar Tree
Red flatware: Ginkgo,
Party straws: Sur La Table
Tablecloth, napkins, felt napkin rings, Christmas stockings: fabric from Jo-Ann Fabrics and Crafts
Large felt Santa: Jo-Ann Fabrics and Crafts
N. Pole Beanery sign: Scrap masonite, chalkboard paint (Lowe's), chalk pens (Aaron Bros.)
Large Mason jars: Meaney and Son Ace Hardware, La Jolla, California
Burlap wreath: wire frame and burlap ribbon from Michaels


  1. I know absolutely nothing of this "early morning rain with a dollar in my hand" Gordon Lightfoot song you speak of! ;-) Man, that's harsh. Busted! Here's what's funny: I had to go back are re-read that first paragraph. I thought, "What??!!??! She did a tablescape at a prison?!?!?!" That's just how far my brain has deteriorated this holiday season! I actually thought you might have done a tablescape in a prison yard! I need to be medicated...heavily!!! :-) SO COOL!!!! The new table is working out great! I love how you did the warm white lights down the center in the Mason jars. Along with all the other lighting in the room (especially those cool overhead ones!), it looks great! That table covering is C-U-T-E!!! I love it! And then you made stemware to match. TOO MUCH!!! LOVE IT!!! I like how you coordinated the strip around the drinking glass with the checkered undercloth. Very cool! Your fireplace looks great out there, and the little stocking on the end is just so cute. He's just hanging on for dear life! That is really sweet! LOVE that burlap wreath, too! Your chalkboards are the bomb! I would love to do some around here, but I'm just not very good with a spray can of paint. I'm sure I would end up being a walking billboard myself! ;-) GREAT table and GREAT decor all around!!!

    1. Oh, my gosh! Sister Mary Ambrose is turning over in her grave. "Denise," she'd say, "The most important part of writing is the REWRITE. You must walk away and then come back and read it again! What you've handed me is simply unacceptable." Despite our different outlooks on what constituted academic dedication, I loved that woman.
      Well, I went back to try and make the opening a little clearer. No, I did not do a prison tablescape - although Sister Mary Ambrose probably thought, from time to time, that I was headed in that direction.
      The little stocking that's "hanging on for dear life" belongs to my youngest granddaughter, not yet 1 year old. The other three are for the big galoots, 8, 9, and 10 years old.
      Merry Christmas and thanks for taking the time to write such a positive and humorous comment.

    2. P.S. I don't think I even knew that Mason jar always starts with a capital letter, as in "Mr. Mason, the inventor." I fixed that too.
      Just goes to show, you can learn something new everyday if you just keep you eyes open. HA!

  2. This is fantastic Denise! Went back and looked at how you made the curved table and was amazed at your inventiveness! It will be wonderful for your guests to be able to sit together and converse easily. And what a view they will have! Love the Santa parade with the lights - very fitting and festive! Enjoy!


  3. I agree with you on the LED lights being so bright. I am still using the old lights, and hope I can for awhile. I like their softness. That is one great patio. I am assuming that it is heated? My friend used to live in AZ, and they had outdoor covered patios they called Arizona Rooms. I would call them party rooms. I love the idewa of the lights and the mason jars, and the chalkboard art you have done is truly wonderful. You will have so much fun at this table. Love it. Joni

  4. How absolutely delightful!! You have made a wonderful place for everyone to gather. I hope you all make great memories together.

  5. Wow! This looks spectacular! I had to scroll down and read about how you made your table -- MADE your table! Impressive! I really love the tablecloth -- and that you thought to make it so that the writing wouldn't be upside down to half the table. It all looks super festive, and your friends and family will be thrilled to dine in such a lovely spot!

  6. Learned something.. the dreaded led lights actually come in a soft white.. something to check out. Love the table covering. Love love the way everything integrates. I know everyone will feel welcome and have a great time. Thanks.. xo marlis

  7. What a festive the shape of it!

  8. WOW!!!! I am SO envious of your patio and the ability to eat OUTSIDE for Christmas eve!!!!! I am hosting Christmas eve also ans haven't even decided what I am making or what the table will be. I love your table, I did read your post when you made the table. Have a bEAUTIFUL Christmas!!! XO, Pinky

  9. This is fabulous! What a great space you have, perfect for celebrations!
    I love it all, the tablecloth, the Santas, everything is perfect!
    Merry Christmas, Denise, and many blessings in the new year!


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