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Quick-change table trimmings set the scene for Christmas and New Year's

Can't decide on silver or gold this season? You can have it both ways by pulling a few simple switches. China and crystal at these festive tables remain basically the same, but the table cloth, napkins, and seasonal fruits change to produce two different looks. The richness of a tablecloth, ribbons, and napkins touched with gold, teamed with ruby red pears and pomegranates, strikes a Yuletide note (at right; see page 90 for directions). Replace the red fruit with green, add a few silver balls, substitute silvery linens, and your holiday table is set for a New Year's party (see pages 90 and 91).

Our tablescapes, created at the home of Palo Alto interior designer Suzanne Mann-Moore, are made on glass cake stands set on a silver tray, one stand slightly smaller than the other to create a tiered effect like a wedding cake. The New Year's setting has an additional tier - a small silver dish topped with a decorative green pear and frosted grapes.


Follow the instructions below to decorate the fruit. Arrange it on the cake stands, alternating frosted, glazed, decorated, and plain fruit with sparkling ornamental balls. Weave ribbon (about 3 yards) loosely into the arrangement. Use pomegranates or small green apples to hold the place cards.

COST: Approximately $35 for each table


TIME: 20 minutes


* 3 1/2 yards 1/8-inch gold braid or ribbon

* Five large red apples or pears

* One pack antique gold upholstery pins, available from craft and fabric stores

Cut a 22-inch piece of gold braid. Pin one end about 1/4 inch to the left of the fruit's stem. Run braid diagonally across the fruit, under the base, and up the other side to the top. Pin braid about 1/4 inch to the right of the stem. Run braid diagonally back down front of fruit (crossing first section), under base, and up to top. Push a pin into each intersection of braid. If desired, tie wire-edged gold ribbon around the stem. Repeat with remaining fruit.


TIME: 20 minutes


* 8 yards metallic silver cording

* Six large green pears

* Pins

Cut a 48-inch piece of cording. Pin one end of cording to the base of the stem. Wind the cording twice around the stem, then down the length of the pear, looping it under the base, and up the other side. Wind once around the stem and pin at the base and top. Repeat the process to divide the pear into eighths, securing cording with pins where necessary. Twist cording to cover most of the stem before completing the final loop, then run it down the side of the pear, tucking the end out of sight in the base with a pin. Repeat with remaining fruit.


TIME: 15 minutes


* 8 yards metallic silver cording

* Eight small green apples

* Pins

Cut a 33-inch piece of silver cording. Push one end deep into the apple at the base of the stem. Secure with a pin. Carefully wind cording around the apple in a spiral, working from top to bottom, pinning in place at regular intervals. Tuck end out of sight in the base with a pin. Repeat with remaining fruit.


TIME: 30 minutes


* 4 1/2 cups sugar

* 2 cups light corn syrup

* Dash of salt

* 16 crabapples, small Lady apples, or small red pears

In a 3-quart pan, stir together sugar, corn syrup, salt, and 1 cup water. Without additional stirring, bring the mixture to a boil and cook until temperature measures 290 [degrees] (293 [degrees] if weather is humid) on a candy thermometer. Remove from heat and wait a few seconds for bubbles to subside.

Note: To retain richness of color, drop 2 tablespoons red food coloring in the mixture and stir.

Grease a baking pan or a cake rack; set rack over foil. Working quickly and carefully (wear protective gloves to prevent burning), pierce each small apple or pear behind its stem with a long wood skewer and dip into syrup, using a long-handled wood spoon to coat entire fruit with syrup. Drain off excess syrup; set fruit on prepared baking sheet or cake rack. Remove skewers before glaze hardens.

Note: When syrup thickens, replace over low heat until hot and thin. Remove from heat and dip remaining fruit.

Once the glaze has hardened (after about 15 minutes), fruit can be stored, tightly covered, in a cool, dry place up to two days. Do not refrigerate.


TIME: 15 minutes


* One box (16 oz.) superfine sugar

* 3 pounds red or green grapes, or small fruit

* Two egg whites (from extra-large eggs), slightly beaten

Sprinkle a liberal amount of sugar onto waxed paper (use 2 or 3 sheets). Dip a small cluster of grapes, or a single piece of fruit, into egg whites. Roll fruit in sugar until lightly coated, replenishing sugar as needed. If needed, use a spoon to distribute sugar evenly. Set fruit on waxed paper-covered baking sheet. Repeat with remaining fruit and store in a cool area.

Mantel swag


* A bunch of straight branches cut to fit the length of your mantel

* Florst's wire

* Wire cutters

* Six strands of vine (such as curly willow or grape) at least 24 inches long

* A 12-oz. can of gold spray paint

* Eight or nine delicate twigs

* A bunch of dried silver dollar eucalyptus leaves

* A pack of dried magnolia leaves

* A bunch of fresh silver dollar eucalyptus leaves

* A bunch of fresh magnolia leaves

* Eight sprigs of yellow oncidium ('Gold Coin') orchids

* Eight florist's vials with pointed tips

* Seven pillar candles of varying sizes


1. CUT BRANCHES IN HALF, separate into two groups, and wire each group together; wire at least three vines to each group to form a 1-inch-diameter "dowel."

2. SPRAY-PAINT branches, vines, twigs, dried eucalyptus leaves, and the backs of the dried magnolia leaves.

3. WORK FOLIAGE INTO THE SPACES between the wire and vines, including fresh eucalyptus and magnolia leaves, to get different colors and textures. Use enough foliage to cover the branches and vines.

4. POKE GOLD-PAINTED TWIGS into the top and front of the swag. They should be visible above the greenery.

5. INSERT ORCHID SPRIGS in water-filled vials and set two into each side of the arrangement. Position the assemblies on the mantel, leaving enough space in the middle for candles. Arrange candles in groups of two at each end; place three in the middle, varying the sizes. Add remaining fresh eucalyptus leaves to encase the candles and trail gracefully over the edge of the mantel. Gently push the remainder of the orchids into the swag.
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Copyright 1998 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:table decorations for Christmas and New Year's
Author:Bertelsen, Ann
Date:Dec 1, 1998
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