Saturday, May 3, 2014


I have yet to venture to the Kentucky derby (as I mention in my Express Times STYLE column, link below), but it didn't stop me from taking my Pennsylvania country charm and melding it with Kentucky Derby inspirations.

YOUR PROPS are everything, from a first impression to an ongoing theme, to eye candy depending on how creative you allow your imagination to get. I was fortunate enough to have been collecting model horses in different shapes, sizes and textures to add to my ever whimsically growing table.  Where was I going with all of this?  To create a horse lovers heaven.

 I started simply by taking a folding table from Target and covering it with an old woolen plaid blanket, found in a local thrift store.  I had the blanket dry cleaned and used it for my table cloth.  Next, I went on a treasure hunt at a local antique junk shop in search of old run plaid picnic coolers.

I found two in two different plaid patterns and in different shapes to add dimension and layering to my tablescape.

Below: I used one of my picnic tins to elevate and display my "Rose Garden Bourbon Shots," adding more height to my table.

 I kept my eyes peeled for certain things such as horseshoes which you can find a dime a dozen at these shops.  I was in search of some sort of container to hold all of my mint julep jars and came across a wooden Coca Cola crate.
Above/below: a Coca Cola wooden crate hold mint julep jars, and a vintage, authentic horseshoe is propped up for good luck

It was perfect and in great condition.  The box was bright red and the white stenciling really popped on my table.  Next, I needed a floral center piece and it of course it had to be red roses, hence the race nickname, "the race for the roses."
I couldn't have been more excited to come across an oversized faux trophy at Marshall's/Homegoods.  It was the perfect size.  I decorated it by hot gluing some "horse inspired" ribbon around the edges and OMG it with floral foam and red roses.

Next stop, Stein Mart, where I knew I saw picnic-esque gingham baskets and fun decor.  Here I found both large and small open baskets which acted as the containers to hold my different foods.  Containers provide a finished look.  Remember that with everything you do, it's about layering.   That's the secret to a professional looking anything!
Below:  "Run for the Roses Red Velvet Parfaits"

Below: a larger basket holds Kentucky-style Fried Chicken.  I elevated my basket by putting one on top of the other and lined it with plain cloth napkins and then gingham parchments sheets on top to prevent grease staining on the napkins.

Some other table props or decor included a gold-toned small trophy which I hot glued a horse patch to (Jo-Anne 's Craft Store), a brass bugle, mini riding boots, iron horses, horse show ribbons and a faux square of grass where I added a horse ridden jockey.

Below: a lucky antique junk shop find; mini equestrienne field boots

So as you can see, no detail or sense of imagination was spared and in the end, it's all about the imagination.  Weather you find inspiration from your imagination, my blog, entertaining books or Pinterest, you should never feel stuck.  My absolute best attribute is being resourceful and so can you!
Below, read more about my "Pennsyl-tucky Inspired Derby," in my latest Express Times STYLE column:

Now off to the races!


Jamie Gottschall

1 comment:

  1. I love this event and am glad you enjoyed it too! Look forward to reading more about your adventures and maybe running into you some time Lousivlle Home Rental