Growing up in St. Paul as part of a large family, I have many memories of gathering around our family table and celebrating with my parents, brothers and sister, aunts, uncles, cousins and grandparents. My sister and I had the job of polishing the silverware and setting the table with our best, fancy dishes while our mother ironed a beautiful tablecloth. Holidays were noisy and it was always hot in the kitchen, even in winter. I can still hear my mother exclaim before our guests arrived: “Someone fill the water glasses!” and “Stop eating the olives, Amy!” These family gatherings are some of my happiest memories.
I would go on to make a career of setting tables through event planning. Having studied graphic design in college, which taught me how to see pattern, shape, color, texture, symmetry, etc., I always gave my events' tables special attention and choosing table linens was always my favorite part. With a gorgeous table linen as a foundation, I’d explore unique, sometimes elaborate napkin folds, much to the chagrin of the catering staff. I planned the smallest of details such as the charger plate’s scalloped rim matching the serif font of the menu card. Best of all, I loved seeing the guests’ expressions when they entered the room and saw my tables—let the party begin!
I eventually transitioned out of traditional event planning to build the event business of the McNamara Alumni Center, a stunning event venue on the University of Minnesota campus. In my years marketing this venue, I have seen 1000s of events, many with beautiful table settings that have inspired me. Beyond my professional life, I have designed many table settings for family and friends’ birthdays, bridal and baby showers etc. A favorite design of mine was for my son’s 5th birthday party---a 33-person, jungle-themed table setting in our yard showcasing a 20-foot-long python I sewed myself!
Kaleidoscope is my way of bringing more celebration to peoples’ small gatherings while helping ease the anxiety of hosting. So gather. Bring out "the good stuff." Celebrate...a retirement, a new baby, a cancer-free check-up, a breakup with a jerk...whatever the reason---it's good for the soul!