Dinner for Two (or more!)

As we all know, Valentine’s Day is coming up in a few weeks.  Do you have any traditions?  Other than baking my mom’s recipe for red velvet cake in our heart-shaped cake pan, our plans change depending on the year.

This year,  I thought I would stylize a table for my kids and their friends.  Because what’s more important than the love between two people but the love among friends!



Every good party needs a personal touch at the place setting.  Being a graphic designer, I have the digital world at my fingertips with mega design options.  However, there is nothing better than something hand made at your dinner table.  Too much of our world is digitally enhanced and truly, around a dinner table, is where you want the organic, nature of conversation to flow.  In turn, I knew I wanted to bring something natural, organic and homemade to this overall tablescape.

One way I did this was thru the place cards.  I simply painted a quick brushstroke of hot pink to a piece of cardstock, let it dry, then sharpied the guests’ names on the cards.


MY TRICK!  Once the cards are dried, iron them!  Yes!  The paper I used wasn’t watercolor paper but 65# card stock from Michael’s.  This paper is thicker than regular printer paper but it still warps a little from the paint and water.  With a swift swipe of that iron, those puppies will flatten right out for you!

Quick Trick: iron your paper products!

With your iron set on medium heat & steam turned off, iron each card for a few seconds and voila!  Those cards are flat once again.


Look at those pretty gems!


I am obsessed with hot pink this season!!!  After all the Christmas RED, I wanted to bring in a fresh brightness to my house and hot pink was the color!  For this table, I had to figure out how to bring hot pink to the overall plan.  But how?  NAPKINS!  I didn’t have anything with hot pink on-hand, so I popped over to Homegoods.  I found a pack of 12 plain white cotton napkins for $7!  Oh yes!  Clearance baby!  The mom-mobile made one more stop at Michael’s for a box of RIT fabric dye in Hot Pink and headed home to craft away.

Have you ever ombre’d anything before?  I haven’t.  Total rookie here!  But knew I wanted to try it out because I love the natural feel, the organic softness it creates, similar to the look and feel of watercolor.  And seeing I water-colored the name cards, this would coordinate perfectly!  Here is how I ombre’d the napkins:

How to ombre napkins:

  1. In a tub, pour about 1″ full of hot water.
  2. Added 1 box of RIT dye.
  3. Add 2-4 tablespoons of salt.
  4. Let dissolve.
  5. Once dissolved, take 1 napkin (I kept them folded in half, so the fabric could lay flat on top of the liquid.  If I had opened the napkin fully, it would have been too big for the tub I was using) and dip 1/4 of the napkin in the dye on one side, kind of laying it on top of the liquid.  Lift up and do the same on the back side of the napkin, until the dye soaked in the fabric. Don’t do it too long!  You want this top part of the ombre to be the lightest shade of your color.
  6. Next, dip only half of what was already colored, letting only 1/2 of the already dipped fabric to soak up even more of the color.  Repeat on both sides.  This part of the napkin should be getting darker than the color that is out of the liquid that you dipped in step 5.
  7. Finally, dip just the bottom edge of the napkin (1″) in the dye to get the bottom edge super dark.

Once the color is to your liking, let the excess dye drip off the fabric and lay the dyed part of the napkin down on a pile of disposable towels.  Repeat steps 5-7 with final 5 napkins to give yourself a total of 6 napkins.


Once they are all dyed, hang them on a rack to dry completely.


Now we’re ready to prep that table!  Flowers in pinks and corals in a lovely gold vase, gold chargers (Michael’s or Dollar Tree has them sometimes!), your beautiful ombre napkins: folded and placed under a simple white plate, fun vintage salad plates (a gift from my parents a few years back–check your local vintage shops,they always have fun goodies!), add your handmade place-cards and you’re table is set and ready for friends!


Oh, but we almost forgot: the signature cocktail!!! or shall I say MOCK-tail?  Here’s an easy, kid friendly drink that is perfect for Valentine’s Day:


  • 1 part POM juice (regular or cherry)
  • 1 part sparkling water
  • splash (approx. 1 tsp.) of maraschino cherry juice
  • 1 maraschino cherry for garnish

In an individual glass, pour 1/3 full with POM juice, top with equal amount of sparkling water, & 1 tsp. cherry juice.  Skewer 1 maraschino cherry with a toothpick, float on top of the fluted glass and you are ready to serve!

What will you be sipping come Feb. 14th?  I’d love to hear the juice! 🙂

Cheers to you, friends!

xo, Melissa

ps. Thank you to gracehelenphotography for the lovely tablesetting photos!  To Tania at Brave Floral Design for the gorgeous florals.  Along with the cutie girls at Love And Gather, Our Pretty Collective workshop is coming soon…details to come!


17 thoughts on “Dinner for Two (or more!)

    1. Thank you Marlynn! Happy prepping for the superbowl!!! You hosting? I’m still figuring out what I’m bringing as an appie to our friends’ party. Leaning toward potato skins…with sweet potatoes! we’ll see.


  1. What a gorgeous table! That spread would sure make me feel appreciated. I love your trick for ironing paper! How smart. We don’t have Valentine’s Day plans, per se, although I’m hosting a get-together for my daughter’s preschooler pals to make valentines for our local Meals on Wheels.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Hillary! Truly, I usually have my kids make the name tags and decide who sits where. They love figuring out all those logistics and it takes one thing out of my hands!!! Though, I retain the right to be able to make a few adjustments before the guests arrive. tee hee 😉 .


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