Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Celebrating with the Dragons

2012 is the Year of Dragon

Dragon Years are the luckiest

years in the Chinese zodiac.

During my years in the classroom, I always looked forward to teaching a unit on this fascinating 15 day celebration that is filled with special ceremonies and traditions. When I received this 2012 Year of the Dragon calendar from Wells Fargo Bank, I decided to use it as a spring board for a thrifty Year of the Dragon tablescape.

For many cultures, the Lunar New Year is a

special time to celebrate

with family, friends, and good food.

In the spirit of a "thrifty tablescape" the centerpiece makes use of flowers that a friend sent me last week for my birthday and a silver bowl filled with mandarin oranges. Mandarin oranges are a favorite fruit to give as gifts during the Chinese New Year.

Full moons and round symbols are also lucky,

so I added a round fan to my centerpiece.

Each month of the Wells Fargo Calendar

features an incredible dragon.

I cut out each month's illustration

and selected a few to use as placemats.

I simply placed a page

over a woven red placemat.

Then topped the pages with clear

glass plates that I already had.

I placed the square plates on

an angle to highlight the images.

The plates were made in Italy and were a

purchase from World Market several years ago.

Chopsticks that were passed down from

my mother-in-law were added to each setting.

I like the words of wisdom

that are included for each month.

Cut crystal stems add a 

bit of sparkle and elegance.

Lacquered chops 

for the men at the table .

Inlaid mother of pearl 

chopsticks for the ladies.

Party favors 

add to the fun.

A Sheet of Commemorative

US Postage Stamps for Each Guest

A Fancy 

Paper Dragon

Gold covered 

chocolate coins . . .

Spill out of a special money envelope

that was also provided by Wells Fargo.

~ To end the meal ~

Chocolate Covered Fortune Cookies

Many of you commented on this dragon

teapot that I featured in my post on Monday.

I happened to see it at an antique

store last weekend in Uvalde, Texas.

The shop owner kindly allowed me

to set up a little vignette and take a photo.

Just across the square from the antiques

shop is where I spied the flying dragon.

The Grand Opera House was built in 1891

and is the oldest functioning theater in Texas.

2012 is the

Year of the Water Dragon,

said to be lucky for anything new

~ babies to business ~

In the order of things, the elements ~ water, earth, fire, metal, wood ~ rotate every 5 years, and the animals rotate every 12 years. 1952 was the last time the dragon was aligned with water, and there was a boom in the world economy that year.
Thank you for joining me to celebrate

The Year of the Dragon

with a thrifty tablescape.

All the elements of this table were gathered

from around the house or from my Chinese New Year stash.

Year of the Rabbit ~ 2011 can be seen here.

Year of the Tiger ~ 2010 can be seen here.



The summer we married, my husband was in graduate school, and I was employed as a teacher. We took a portion of our savings that summer and purchased a sailboat. We christened our Catalina 22, “Hyacinths For The Soul” after Saadi’s poem. Our "Hyacinths" provided years of pleasure.


  1. Dear Sarah,
    just a calendar, indeed a very beautiful one, but just a calendar and you made a faszinating tablescape from it. With a few pieces you have set such an outstanding, gorgeous table. I am really off! I hope the dragon year brings you health, luck and joy. The dragon year must be very pleased when it sees how pretty it is welcomed in your house.
    Best greetings, Johanna

  2. Great table Sarah! Fun pics and favors, love the very positive calendar too. Your MIL's chop sticks are beautiful-enjoy:@)

  3. What lucky students you had, to benefit from your creativity! This is really a delightful table, with a mix of elegance and whimsy. Love the idea of the calendar-page placemats and clear plates! The fancy paper dragons added the perfect touch!

  4. I loved being able to celebrate the Chinese New Year with you and what fun table additions you added to the festivities! The chopsticks are beautiful. My husband's birthday was the 24th and he was born in 1952, so as a proud water dragon, he has been carrying on as if all of this celebration is for him.

  5. Sarah, what a delightful tablescape! Love each and every special detail!! Thanks for sharing!

  6. What a fun table Sarah! I love the little purple dragon too.

  7. Beautiful! What an amazing tablescape. Happy New Year!

  8. Inlaid Mother of Pearl chop stick? Now that's my kind of chop stick! Where did you ever find those?

    - The Tablescaper

  9. What a fabulous tablescape, especially the use of the dragon calendar. I love the Chinese New Year traditions. My business is in the neighborhood that is known as Asia Town in our city, and there is always a parade and much festivities. Thanks for sharing your beautiful table! Your previous posts are also beautiful.

  10. What a clever and lovely tablescape Sarah. The Year of the Dragon calendar from the bank is awesome. I love how you were able to showcase the artwork using the clear plates. The lovely flowers and fruit made a very elegant centerpiece. I love silver with everything. Beautiful mother of pearl chopsticks and adorable party favors. I'm sure your guest were delighted.

    The French Hutch

  11. Enjoyed your post and learning so much about your customs and country.

  12. Sarah this is thrifty, fun and gorgeous! Love the use of the clever! I love the Chinese New Year and keep thinking I will try a tablescape! Yours is inspiring! Hugs, Linda

  13. aren't you the clever dragon lady! so love the flying dragon on the spire!

  14. Very informative and lovely table setting!

  15. What a GREAT idea to use the pages from the calendar!!! Perfect!!!!! It's not so easy to find dragons around town (at least not around here!), so you did EXTRA great with this table!!! Love the placemats, too. They are just the right color, texture, material and shape!

  16. Cool tablescape. Love the purple dragon.

  17. you are incredible! This table is a dream. You always have the loveliest things that are just right, to make a table beautiful.
    The idea to use the calendar in such a way.... ours is not that pretty. There is no Wells Fargo around here. ours came from our Chinese take-out. But my fortune cookies said (yes, I had two),....Be brave enough to live creatively, and..... Take advantage of your great imagination. It will serve you well....
    Funny, does somebody there know me?
    That dragon on the opera house is truly awesome. Do you know why it is a dragon?
    Next time I am in New York, I will have to stop in China town, but nothing there could match what is on your table!
    Happy belated birthday dear Sarah.
    May the coming year be filled with only happy, healthy and creative moments.
    Many hugs,

  18. Stopping by from Thrifty Groove. Your post totally touched my heart. I have an adopted daughter from China and I was in her kindergarten classroom celebrating CNY on Monday. Her teacher let me develop a 45 minute lesson for CNY. We had a wonderful dragon parade, with dragon masks, bubble wrap fireworks and red envelopes with gold chocolate coins. Happy " Year of the Dragon"!

  19. What a creative table. Love those inlaid mother of pearl chopsticks.

  20. Sarah,
    What a gorgeous and interesting table! I didn't know it was the year of the Dragon..sounds like we could have a really good year! I hope so! Will be off to California for a week and will have to go to Chinatown in San Fran. thanks for posting ...very fun!
    Miss Bloomers

  21. How great to use the calendar for your table. It is absolutely beautiful! Belated Happy Birthday!! your table is wonderful.. just love it.. xo marlis

  22. Love your dragons! I like the new stamps too will be running to the post office to get some. We posted about chinese new years too, stop by if you get a chance, Laura

  23. I love the tablescape for Chinese New Year, it is gorgeous. The year of the dragon is so lucky. My, daughter was born the year of the dragon, and she is so blessed. When we lived in Hong Kong Chinese New Year was so much fun. The dragon dancers, the beautiful pink blossom trees, visiting the flower market for blossoms and pussy willows and the festivities.

    Gung Hei Fat Choy,


  24. This is so pretty and so clever, Sarah! Thank you for sharing this lovely at Potpourri Friday!

  25. Now why didn't Wells Fargo send me a calendar?!! What a beautiful use of the calendar. You have such cute dragons, especially the darling purple one guarding her eggs! I love the little favors too. What a fun table - you really nailed it!

  26. I'm a '52 Dragon, and I hope that the prosperity of '52 is repeated!
    What a wonderful Chinese New Year dinner setting you've created. So elegant!

  27. Love your Chinese tablescape, Sarah. It is so festive. Nice chopsticks! SO lucky for your students to get educated on these culture too...Christine

  28. How fun Sarah! This is something that would have been completely off my radar! How interesting. Those commemoratives are wonderful. What a fun and interesting table you have put together. I hope it's a good year for all of us!

  29. How fun Sarah! This is something that would have been completely off my radar! How interesting. Those commemoratives are wonderful. What a fun and interesting table you have put together. I hope it's a good year for all of us!

  30. How fun Sarah! This is something that would have been completely off my radar! How interesting. Those commemoratives are wonderful. What a fun and interesting table you have put together. I hope it's a good year for all of us!

  31. Wow, I love your table! Great idea on the calendar pages! And your chopsticks are beautiful!

  32. Bonjour Sarah. Thank you for stopping by yesterday. I am glad I came back here so I could admire this incredible tablescape. I am forwarding this to a French of mine whose husband is Chinese. She just did a presentation about the Chinese New Year in her 5-year old classroom this week and will get a kick out of this. Veronique (French Girl in Seattle)

  33. Hi lovely lady.
    Your Tablescape for the Chinese New Year is Gorgeous.!! I love your Gorgeous dishes and the way you have put this all together.Thanks so much for your lovely comments on my 2011 Tablescape for Valentine's day. I hope you and your family have a wonderful weekend. I'am going to put a new Tablescape on this Sunday for Valentine's hope you come see me.
    XXOO Diane

  34. This is fabulous Sarah - I've never seen a more beautiful table for the New Year than yours.

    I wish I was back in Asia and celebrating there - I bet it's colorful and so much fun........but I know there won't be prettier place settings anywhere!!

    Hugs - Mary

  35. The illustrations under the glass plates are quite special. You've created a beautiful design. Thank you for inviting us for a peak. Cherry Kay

  36. How interesting Sarah! What a fun and educational table you have put together. Wishing you a good year!

  37. What a great tablescape to celebrate the Chinese New Year, Sarah! I'm impressed with your ingenuity with the calendar pages & those clear plates...would be a great idea with beautiful paper napkins, too, beneath them. I have so many of those.

    I hope your birthday was a wonderfully special day, because you deserve it! Your flowers are very pretty. I must post a shot of mine, too.


  38. Hello Sarah, this is a very creative and beautiful tablesetting! I love how you've placed the pages underneath the clear plates - truly beautiful - Cute dragon too! Thank you for sharing with Home and Garden Thursday,

  39. I love your beautiful tablescape celebrating the Year of the Dragon.
    Everything is so pretty and sure to start your new year off with health and prosperity.


  40. Hi Sarah! Oh, look at your table - it's lovely! You have everything to say celebrate the Year of the Dragon! Your little dragon is a cutie! :)
    Love it all.
    Be a sweetie,
    Shelia ;)

  41. What a beautiful table and a great idea to use the beautiful pictures of this calendar. Hmmm -- even though I have a mortgage with Wells Fargo -- no calendars have come my way. Sarah, I always think what a great teacher your were because you love the little things, like holidays, and M.E. Joni

  42. Sarah~ You are TOO clever!! I LOVE your ingenius re-purposing of the calendar and using the beautiful illustrations under glass plates for your table! We are WF customers, but didn't rate a calendar this year :)

    I so love all your thoughtful touches with the coins, STAMPS & fortune cookies! How fortuitous to capture the flying dragon on top of the beautiful Opera House too :) Sending Happy Belated Birthday wishes to you!!

  43. Wonderful! And it all started with the calendar!

  44. What a fun post! I love all the information and seeing all your beautiful things. It is such a shame we can't clone you so every one could have had you as a teacher. You make learning new things so much fun! Thank you for sharing all this with us at TTF and I hope you are having a wonderful weekend!

  45. Wow! So creatively done! I like each and every detail you added... the beautiful mother of pearl chopsticks and the Italian clear glass plate highlight the words on the calendar so elegantly... nice idea! I like the inspiration for your dragon table setting... the Wells Fargo calendar! Thanks for celebrating the Year of the Dragon with us and for your loving thoughts on my wine vignette. Happy Sunday to you!~Poppy

  46. Love all of your dragons, Sarah! That teapot in your last post was well as the opera house dragon! Your years of teaching show as you always explain the holidays so well and have such wonderful collections! Have a great week!...hugs...Debbie

  47. Well I learned something new today! I never knew dragons liked mandarin oranges!!! SO CUTE!!!
    I'm glad you linked up with me for Pearls and Lace Thursday! You did a great job of getting that table together with all of the color and dragon ware...LOVED those chopsticks!!!

  48. I love those wonderful square glass plates, and how smart you are to use those pretty calendar pages as place mats. Cute favors too. I didn't know you had had a birthday. Belated Happy Birthday wishes for you, my friend. laurie

  49. nice pics!!! enjoyed your blog...

    visit my blog!!!



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