Easter is a glorious time to celebrate. Wake up to a sunrise breakfast, then later, gather family and friends for a delicious dinner.
Wherever you serve Easter breakfast, be sure the setting is light and airy. Raise the shades and fling open the windows, or set the table on the porch or patio for alfresco dining.
The fresh-from-the-garden ambience here includes vegetables and flowers, porcelain bunnies, and a palette in springy pastels. Petite favor baskets attached to the back of each chair will attract the attention of chocolate lovers of any age.
Clever details, such as the chandelier shades, lend a lighthearted touch to the morning festivities. Pull the outer leaves from an artificial cabbage and tie them with twine around plain or rattan chandelier lampshades.
A runner of raspberry silk is a fresh accent that helps highlight the white bunny vases and purple flower arrangements.
Elegant china gets a casual treatment when set on woven chargers and topped with a heavy linen napkin tied with twine and one perfect radish. Mixing and matching old glassware in various shapes and sizes is easy if the pieces share a common theme, such as the etching on these. Bamboo-handle silver adds another outdoorsy detail.
Fill tiny wire baskets with sphagnum moss or Easter grass, then add a handful of foil-wrapped candies. Tie on a big bow made from silk wire-edge ribbon, and attach a basket to each chair back with twine, tying it tight so the baskets don't sag.
Called into action from the potting shed, an inexpensive terra-cotta saucer serves as a whimsical coffee- and tea-service tray. Fresh garden vegetables fill the lower tiers of a wire basket, and flowers nestled in a bed of lettuce top it off with a joyous finale.
Wrap the flower stems loosely with a rubber band, and tuck the bouquet into a small canning jar filled with water before hiding it inside the leaves. Soak the vegetables in a chilly bath, then blot dry and arrange just before the first guest arrives.
Late in the afternoon, after church and the traditional egg hunt, gather in the formal dining room for an elegant dinner.
This table is covered in fresh white linen with individual floral arrangements at each place setting, as well as a large arrangement of fresh flowers as a centerpiece.
Even in this elegant setting, a bit of whimsy peeks out: A collection of tiny Hungarian porcelain rabbits has been pulled out of the display cabinet to decorate the place settings. If you'd like, lean a place card against each bunny.
The same china pattern used on the breakfast table is present once again, this time combined with white embossed dinner plates and grape-leaf trivets used as chargers. You could make similar decorative chargers by decoupaging artificial grape leaves onto heavy cardboard rounds.
Coffee and tea service on a silver tray awaits the dessert course; the tray is graced with a bouquet similar to those at the individual place settings.
These Brussels sprout-covered topiaries began as 15-inch foam cones potted in a pair of footed soup tureens. Place a piece of foam in the bottom of each tureen to elevate the cone to the lip, then pin or hot-glue the cone onto the foam base.
Use long T-shape pins to attach Brussels sprouts to the foam; pin the sprouts as close together as possible, beginning at the bottom and working up. Fill in any open areas with sphagnum moss and tuck, glue, or pin more moss to the bottom edge of each cone. The topiaries will last, unrefrigerated, from several days to a week.
Displayed on a bed of garden lettuce in a footed china compote, hard-cooked brown and white eggs grace our Easter breakfast table.
An early-morning breakfast table is filled with frolicking porcelain rabbits and fresh flowers to welcome family and guests with the colors and icons of spring.
For a large arrangement such as the one seen on our dinner table, carefully crumple chicken wire into a loose ball, fit it inside a vase, and poke the flowers, stem by stem, through the wire.
Though the flowers in this stunning centerpiece, including hydrangea, larkspur, roses, and sword ferns, come from a florist, you could substitute garden flowers or blossoms from flowering shrubs.
For maximum impact and the most natural look, gather the blooms into clusters of like flowers, rather than placing them individually into a more carefully arranged bouquet.