Disappointingly I was put on the wait list for the Naples Tables event. A new idea for a fundraising event presented by the League Club of Naples. What an amazing organization of women. Over the past 3 decades, these ladies have awarded more than 4.5 million dollars in grants to not for profit agencies in Collier and Lee counties.
They even have a minor league which you might think is for younger women learning the ropes…but it isn’t at all!! It is the league member’s husbands. These men offer their wives so much support all the while organizing their own monthly luncheons to enjoy the camaraderie and entertaining guest speakers. They support the League Club financially and co-sponsors several social events…..I don’t know…sounds like a great excuse to get together with friends to enjoy a couple of brews!! Wink/wink!!
Well, …it was the 11th hour and I got the call that I was in!! I was invited to Naples Tables. I did a little happy dance and got on the phone to let my girlfriend Maurica know that she needed to pull out a pretty frock…” we are going to the Ritz”!!
This event was OVER THE TOP!!! They had designers from Z Gallerie, Williams-Sonoma and Lilly Pulitzer to name just a few of the approximately 60 designers that designed the most beautiful and creative table settings you have ever seen!!
After a delightful welcoming speech from the president; Charlene Barnette of the League Club we were introduced to a fine ‘suthun’ gentleman named James T. Farmer III (he loves being the third).
I have had a love affair with the south since the moment I visited Charleston South Carolina so many years ago. Steve was chairman of the board for a pharmaceutical convention. I was asked by the president if I would mind dressing up as a ‘southern bell’ to greet our guests…well, ya’ll better believe I jumped all over that. I spent an entire afternoon trying on one dress after another. All authentic with all the layers underneath. I wish I had a photo of myself from that night. I truly felt like a southern bell! My waist was cinched in so tight I couldn’t eat my dinner…literally…there was no room for food! My posture was perfect…the bone in the corset didn’t allow for any slouching…and if anyone has read any old romance novels from the era of Gone with the Wind and has heard the description “her breasts spilled out of her bodice” I can tell you 100% it’s true. They really do spill out and they look fabulous!!! LOL
In Charleston, you actually want to be an SOB…An SOB means you are south of Broad Street…and the lower the house number the better. It is considered the most exclusive and affluent of the downtown neighbourhoods.
If you ever get the chance to visit Charleston take one of the historical walking tours of the town. So much history to get lost in!
Since my trip there I have been addicted to magazines such as Southern Living and Southern Lady. South Carolina is where I fell in love with porches…a home isn’t a home to me without a porch. I even painted the ceiling of my porch sky blue…just like the homes SOB!
So when I heard that James Farmer was the guest of honour at this event I was thrilled to no end! He isn’t from SC but he is from Georgia ….he is a true ‘suthuner’ with a suthun’ drawl that I could listen to all night.
James T Farmer III is the author of the Wall Street Journal best-selling books – A time to Plant, Sip & Savour, Porch Living, Wreaths for all Seasons, A time to Cook, Dinner on the Grounds, A Time to Celebrate and his most recent publication, A Place to Call Home. In addition to these, he has been featured in many magazines…I am sure any magazine with Southern in the title – he has been in it!
In the program, it said ‘James’s natural Southern grace and warm personality will light up any room’….well…I can assure you …James T Farmer III did not disappoint!
I had the opportunity to meet with him beforehand. He autographed the book that I purchased; A Time to Plant. He didn’t mind doing a quick little photo op with me either…truth be told he was so gracious he made me feel that chatting with me was the only thing on his agenda that entire afternoon.
He did entertain us that afternoon with stories from his childhood to the sadness of losing his mama and his Mimi (grandmother) in the same year… to his shared love of his mother’s love of “carl” that’s southern drawl for coral!! I’d lay odds that most women that attended the event that afternoon went right home to see where they could add a splash of “carl” to their décor. I know I did!! I got right on my computer and ordered coral fabric swatches to be mailed to me. Ya’ll can expect some colour splashes in the Corner House when I get home! One thing James T Farmer III is not afraid of is colour!
I knew of James before this event…but I am now his biggest fan if you haven’t noticed. I have creeped him on Facebook and followed all of his Instagram pages. I have started reading his blog…going back as far as I can…lol…he might actually be feeling a bit uncomfortable with me stalking him this way and may have to block me from all social media sources!! LOL
After the event was over the line up for his books was quite busy so Maurica and I went upstairs for a glass of champagne (so civilized to drink champagne out of a vending machine at the Ritz on their beautiful patio) until the line died down…we got to chatting about all our favourite tablescapes that we saw that afternoon and before we knew it James was on his way out! I cannot believe we missed him. I really wanted his newest book that he featured in his talk. (A Place to Call Home) I guess I’ll just have to order it from Amazon and hope he comes back to Naples so that I can get it autographed. See? Stalker!!!
OK…so back to the event…Naples Tables. Between Maurica and I, we were able to get photos of every tablescape. Grab yourself a tea (use a fancy teacup please – no mugs allowed) and enjoy the following photos. I will let them speak for themselves and give credit where available.
Garden District Design – Cherries Jubilee
This is just a sample of the tablescapes on display. A little before dinner the designers were asked to remove all of their decor from their tables with the exception of the centrepieces. These designers were some kind of organized. Out came the extra large buckets and in went breakables, dishes, cutlery and placemats to make room for lunch.
Sous Vide Chicken Breast
Smoked Cheddar Purple Jupiter Grits
BBQ Corn and Okra Ragout, Affilia Cress
Minature Cornbread and Biscuit.
Coconut Layered Cake with
Sliced Candied Pecans and Pineapple Chutney.
It was a beautiful day and for such a great cause. I hope you get some inspiration from some of these tablescape photos. I wish I could share every one of them with you. Clearly so much talent. If you are looking for further inspiration for decorating, gardening or some fabulous recipes, I highly recommend one of James T Farmer’s wonderful picturesque books. I read mine from cover to cover today. It is definitely a book that I will look at over and over again. Great gift idea too!! ….and if EVER you get the chance to visit the south…go for it. Y’all will fall in love!
“Alone we can do so little;
together we can do so much.”