Because of the pandemic, I haven’t seen my mother in over a year. Now that we’re all getting vaccinated, we are more than ready to get together to celebrate, not only Mother’s Day but all the occasions we’ve missed while sheltering in place. Butterflies spreading their wings and emerging from their confining cocoons seem an apt metaphor for our “coming out” from COVID quarantine. So, to fete our own metamorphosis from caterpillar to butterfly, I decided to create an exuberant Butterfly Mother’s Day Tablescape.
This Butterfly Mother’s Day Tablescape is all about breaking out of our home chrysalis. For this reason, I decided to get out of the house and set the table on the pool deck. It’s lovely out there this time of the year with the azaleas and the dogwoods in bloom.
Unfortunately, the crepe myrtles are still bare. They’re especially horrible looking since my husband aggressively pruned them back in the fall—in an act I call crepe murdercide!
To add a festive touch and to counteract these sad trees, I strung butterfly garlands on the potted boxwoods that surround the pool.
The Table Setting
I elected to use this striking Mexican Serape blanket as my tablecloth. It seemed to fit the bill as the vibrant stripes echo the multicolored hues of butterfly wings. The butterfly placemats‘ dark background adds drama and contrast while coordinating with the black stripes in the table covering. I chose the dinner plates (similar) because their crisp checked borders stand out against the placemats. I also selected them because the black gingham pattern is repeated in some of the butterflies on the salad plates.
The spectacular Mackenzie-Childs enameled tin plates inspired the entire tablescape. As a gift for my guests, I placed small crystal butterflies on top of each plate stack. Layering all these different elements adds interest and dimension to the table.
Folded fuchsia butterfly napkins flutter at the corner of each placemat. While sturdy stainless cutlery, green stemless wine glasses, and oversized Mexican goblets complete the place settings.
The centerpiece of this Butterfly Mother’s Day Tablescape is also a delicious dessert. I baked a two-tier layer cake, iced it with white buttercream, and decorated it with piped grass and leaves. I further adorned my centerpiece cake with DIY chocolate butterflies (see my thoughts about this below.)
To take the theme to the nth degree, I placed the towering confection on top of a whimsical wooden laser-cut butterfly cake stand.
Green bud vases containing brightly colored grocery store flowers finish off the table decoration.
I got the idea of making chocolate butterflies from the Oh Nuts blog. I had intended to photograph how I made them. However, I found it very difficult and ultimately felt that this process was akin to sausage making–nobody needs to see how it’s done.
I have been decorating cakes for 20 years but had never really tried to pipe chocolate before. If you are interested in giving it a try, I warn you that getting the temperature of the chocolate just right is the key to success. I confess that I never really got the hang of it.
If you are not interested in trying your hand at this tricky endeavor, I have an alternative for you. You can purchase a package of edible rice paper butterflies for under $10. Arrange them artfully on your cake and achieve a similar effect with no hardened chocolate spattered all over your kitchen.
In the end, it doesn’t matter if the cake is a little wonky or your outdoor venue gets rained out. What matters is taking the opportunity to get together with the people you love. If this pandemic taught me anything, it’s that we need to savour the time we have with family and friends.
Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms!
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