Amy’s Free Ideas

The shimmering glass and lights may look so elegant that you wouldn’t think that most of it came from dollar stores (hundred yen stores,) but it did. The vases, mirror tiles, glass beads, short glass candle stands, and even the scolloped bowls and glasses came from there. If you want to imitate this arrangement, but can’t find mirror tiles, use a full length mirror that is not as long as the table, or 2 or 3 wall hanging mirrors to make a runner for your table.

Instead of one large flower arrangement, use 3 vases with just a few flower in each, and lay a few more flowers on top of the mirror tiles. Add clear glass candle sticks with candles that match the color scheme. Scatter more objects around these items, such as clear marbles, Christmas tree balls that fit the color scheme, and paper weights. Look around your house or dollar store to find more clear or sparkly items to add to the arrangement. Tie the napkins with ribbon.   

Most people who throw a New Year’s Eve party just leave their Christmas decorations up. People who want to make it special will put up different decorations for the New Year’s celebration, often in blue or purple in order to contrast with the red decorations from Christmas.

For more place setting variations, use white plates as chargers with clear plates on top. Trim small paper doilies to look like snowflakes and sandwich one under the clear glass plate and put another one under each drinking glass. (These were paper coasters sold at 100 yen stores.) Then put large paper doilies under the white plates. Another option is to simply place a flower or two on each napkin.

Here is another elegant table set with mostly dollar store items (hundred yen items). Obviously the silver candelabras were not--they were a gift from my mother-in-law. But the plates, goblets, silver balls and strands of silver beads were. I filled a narrow crystal bowl with silver Christmas balls, and ran the strands of silver beads all down the table and draped them around the silver balls in the bowl as well. I folded white napkins on each plate (see instructions below) and added more silver Christmas ball to decorate each plate. You could write names on the balls for name cards. Or fill small white boxes topped with silver bows.

For place setting variations, use the same the paper doily idea from above, but it looks quite different since this time it is white on white. The napkin ring is a silver cord to continue the silver theme from the centerpiece. In the lower photo, for a more subtle snowflake pattern, use tracing paper or thin packing foam sheets to cut out snowflakes. 1) Cut the packing foam into squares. 2) Fold each square in half into a triangle. 3-4) Fold in thirds. 5) cut off the parts that stick out beyond the triangle and snip notches along the edges. Unfold to reveal a snowflake. Make enough for each plate and glass--each one can be a different design.

For a more playful centerpiece, I used a fiber optics gizmo--no need for candles.The base was not very pretty, so I covered it in tissue paper and tied it in place with curling ribbon, also sold at dollar stores (hundred yen stores.) The string of pink beads draped along the table was sold as a Christmas tree ornament at a dollar store (hundred yen store). The snowflakes were cut from tissue paper, but origami would work, too. Arrange various colors and sizes of snowflakes under clear plates. The ones shown on the right are dark blue, teal blue, lavender and white. Try layering a small one on top of a big one, or on top of a circle of tissue paper that fits on the plate, or arrange two or three next to each other--each plate can be different. The color of the tablecloth can make a difference as well. You may want to test the tissue paper with a little water to see if the color bleeds.  If there are any spills, you don’t want your tablecloth ruined!! The snowflakes under the glasses were cut from thin packing foam sheets, so it doesn’t matter if the condensation gets them wet. The napkins are folded the same way as explained above, but this time they are on the table so as not to hide the snowflake decorations on the plates.

Here is yet another super simple centerpiece using mostly dollar store (hundred yen store) items. 3 large felt snowflakes are layered on top of a white tablecloth and a Christmas ribbon. On top of these, 3 tall narrow vases have white rocks at the bottom, then are filled with water and topped with floating candles that color-coordinate with the snowflakes. (These are the same vases used in the arrangement at the top of the page.)

Where to get it In America: craft stores sell Christmas items as early as summer, but the best time to buy them is after Christmas when everything is on sale as much as 80-90%!! You can stock up for the next year.

Where to get it in Japan: The vases,  small white rocks, the floating candles, and the felt snowflakes were all purchased at hundred yen stores. If you can’t find any in stores near you, the snowflakes would be fairly easy to make by cutting them out of felt or paper ( make a pattern out of paper and following the instructions above). The vases were more than 100 yen each, but less than half what they cost at a flower shop. The bows tied around the napkins were cut from a single 50 yard roll of ribbon purchased at Costco, and the ribbon down the middle of the table was purchased at the Seiyu department store at Christmas time. If you go early enough, hundred yen stores do sell ribbons at Christmas time, but they sell out very quickly.  Seiyu has a much bigger selection, is almost as cheap, and they don’t usually sell out. They also go on sale for half price the week before Christmas.

For an alternate place setting, put a blue napkin on a white plate, and then put a white crocheted snowflake on top of the napkin. Or use the snowflake ideas listed above--either a doily cut to look like a snowflake, or cut snowflakes from tracing paper or thin foam packing material.









Fold napkin in half

Keep accordion folding...

till just over the half way mark

Fold in half again

(If napkin is folded in half with folds on the inside, it won’t open.)

Fold napkin at an angle

Tuck the remainder under the napkin

Open accordion folds like a fan.

To fold napkins like this, 1) fold them in half to form a rectangle,  2-3) accordion fold till just past center, 4) fold in half so all the folds are doubled up. 5-6) fold the non-accordion end in a triangle to hold the rest, 7) put it on the plate and let go. The pleats should fall open into a fan. If they don’t, you folded it in half the wrong way--the accordion pleats have to be on the outside. It works with paper napkins, too.







Here is a different centerpiece that uses the same colors. Put a white Christmas garland in a glass bowl, or silver basket, and pile with blue Christmas ornament balls.