Entertaining Mexican-style: 5 ways to brighten up your table

Miniature cactus transformed into place cards, warm lighting, a bouquet of exotic flowers, colourful napkins and terracotta place mats... here are five ways to brighten up your table.

Warm lighting

Take a piece of aluminum foil, 36" wide, and cut a piece that is large enough to cover the area of a glass lamp. Use a fine felt-tip pen to draw the outline of a flower, bird or cactus on the foil. Use a large needle to pierce holes along the outline’s entire length; make sure the holes are wide enough to let light shine through. Cut the top of the foil with a serrated knife. Wrap the foil around the lamp and attach with a bit of metal wire or raffia cord. Place a small candle in each lamp.

Bouquet of gerberas

Exotic flowers are a great way to liven up your table but I love colourful gerberas that make an impression and cost less. Arrange them in a waterproof terracotta planter and saucer. This will prevent leaks and avoid getting the tablecloth wet. Place a block of previously soaked floral foam in the planter. Use a pencil to make a hole where each flower will rest in the floral foam. This will preserve and support the stems. Cut the gerbera stems diagonally and place each flower in a waiting hole in the planter. Scatter some green leaves in the planter saucer.

Cactus place cards

Transform miniature cactus into original place cards. Put them in terracotta pots and add a bit of Spanish moss to cover the soil. Use a marker to write the name of each guest on a pot. Everyone can take their little cactus home after the meal.

Colourful napkins

Create some ambiance by using brightly coloured napkins. Colours such as yellow, red, orange and green will liven up your table. Loosely roll each napkin and use ribbon of contrasting colours as napkin holders.

Another use of terracotta

Terracotta planter saucers can be used as place mats, coasters, serving platters or tortilla plates. Waterproof the saucers beforehand by using Multi-Purpose Americana Sealant, a product applied with an acrylic brush. You can find what you need to make the candles and to waterproof terracotta in your local arts and crafts store.

Lise Carrière