This was the one theme that I had to give an annoying sigh over when I read the list at the start of the project. Isn't that awful? I'm trying to teach my kids about being respectful, particularly with tone of voice and facial expressions, and I realize, I do this, too..... all the time. But the source of my sigh is that "tablescaples" just aren't "me".
It isn't that home decor isn't important to me, because it is. I truly want my home to have a feeling of "haven" and "refuge" and the decor is a part of that. But my style is more utilitarian. Like my favorite Alton Brown, I like things to be useful, functional, and hopefully serve more than one purpose. So decorating a table with lots of froufrou things that are there merely for ornamentation.... yeah, I will struggle with that. Add to it that this theme falls just a few days after a long trip for us and I've spelled for myself certain disaster.
Before we left for our long trip, I knew that I would HAVE to shoot for this theme on the Monday after our return. I simply must. Tuesday I would be running for my C25K during the right light, and Wednesday I'd need to edit the photos, blog prep them, and make my post to go live Thursday morning. Monday was my only window. I hoped so strongly that we'd have sunshine.
I knew before we left what I'd do. Decorating MY dining room table was out of the question. I yearn for authenticity... and let's face it. I don't decorate my table.... ever. So I wasn't going to for this project either. However, we've entered the land of tea parties with the Little Lady. So I would do a tablescape for HER tea party.... outside in our yard with beautiful backlit sunshine. I'd use the little white table, her pink chairs, her tea party stuff..... and come up with something for decoration.
We pulled into the driveway at 6:45pm Sunday evening after our long away.... and I knew it was then. I needed THAT light, right there. Tomorrow at 6:45... it was set. Now I needed sunshine.
Thankful that God blessed our Monday with warm temperatures and sunshine!!!
As the time approached, I gathered up the supplies to lug out to the yard. I needed a tablecloth.... and thought of her play silks. The size was perfect. I grabbed the carnation centerpiece from her birthday party last year that I kept in the party box... and we went outside.
I really detest these "set up" situations, to photograph. I usually shy away from these types of things. I like to photograph reality. What really happens. I suppose it is that part of me that craves authenticity. And if I am going to be honest, I also hate unmet expectations. Whenever I contrive a set up.... the result never, ever meets my expectations and I end up sooooo sad, disappointed, and frustrated, beating myself up for the failure. In this situation, I did have some expectations though. I knew I'd set up my tea party in the yard with my backlit sun. So again, I was setting myself up for failure... like what happens 99% of the time.
However, this time.... the result exceeded my expectations. By far. I'm so thrilled with these images.
But the reason why is that although I created this activity, it was the Little Lady who took it and ran. I set one pink playsilk on the table... I arranged the tea party.... and ran inside to get my camera. I came back out and she had decorated everything with the remaining playsilks. She had draped the chairs. She even draped a leg of the table. Later she would drape the pink cup/vase of flowers.
She was sooooooo excited about this tea party and her "guests" as she called us. She was getting VERY frustrated with the wind they kept blowing things around ("would somebody PLEASE stop the wind!!???). She was also frustrated that I kept photographing instead of sitting down to enjoy the tea party, as any good guest would.
But here she is in all her Little Lady glory. Her crazy curly hair. Her unmatching clothes that she selected. In her decorated tea party in the beautiful evening glow. It is beautiful, and her, and authentic, and the tablescape of my dreams. A Tablescape that is still "me".... and "her".
So as it turns out.... the theme that made me roll my eyes, turns out to be my favorite one yet that generated images that swell my heart with joy. Thanks, Jayme, for submitting it. It thrills my heart.
In case you wondered, those little toy cupcakes are awesome. So so awesome. They are the Whipple Cupcake set. We bought ours from Bear n Friends in Kingsport for Christmas, and she loved loved loved making them, and has continued to love playing with them. I think I want to do another set. You decorate the cupcake with the "icing" and then the beads/etc... then let them dry for a day or so and voila! Perfect for a crafty little girl.
The next photographer on the circle is new to our group this month, so please take a moment to visit her take on Tablescape and leave her some good comment love! Christine Blaylock