How many of you like to set a nice table when you have company for dinner?
Especially so at the holidays?
Show of hands.

No, not you Left Brain.  Hand down please.
He who serves salsa in cereal bowl and chips on plain plate does not nice table make.

All who know what a chip and dip serving dish looks like, keep your hands up.

Personally, I do like to have a nice table setting, but I do try to draw the line before I reach Martha crazed frenzy of folding linen napkins into animal shapes.  
Although, if you know how to do that, I was raised right enough to appreciate your effort and not suddenly begin a round table sing song of Old MacDonald Had A Farm in the middle of your elegant dinner party. 

I digress.
To sum up, I do not quite fit this mold:

http://betweennapsontheporch.net/wp-content/uploads/blogger/_x908CSKJhI4/TRKJ8AMQCwI/AAAAAAAAV5g/kZCp2PP7-nU/s1600/1%2BTable%2B014.JPG
Lovely as this is...
But I will at least make sure you have a clean napkin, even if it is paper - and I promise it will not have a fast food logo on it. 

 Aside from my holiday tablecloth and napkins, and putting out the good china and crystal, I will make an effort to make the table look nice for you.   Even if it is dangerously close to being swept floor-side because my children are incapable of sitting at a table that is covered in cloth.
It's like Velcro on every part of their body.   Seriously; they cannot move without taking half the table contents with them.

So naturally with such issues, this year I thought to self:  "Hey self.....let's add ice to the table!!  Also, Fire!!"
Awesome thinking.

How To Make an Ice Sculpture Centrepiece To Impress Your Guests 
and Tempt Your Kids OverMuch


 First, you need a mold.     I have a star mold that I used for my outdoor lanterns:


But you could use any bowl or container that is suitable to freeze.
TIP:  If you want round, freeze in balloons, add some colour too!  and then just pop the balloon once frozen.

I gathered pine, and juniper berry greens, some cranberries and a few other items to use as the decorations.
I start with just an inch or two of Hot water in the mold, and place some of these items.  (If you are picky about having clear ice:  use distilled water that has been boiled and cooled, and build in layers - gently to prevent air bubbles.)
Then I allow it to freeze -- luckily I can do this right outside my patio door thanks to the minus 22 weather, and thus do not sacrifice any freezer space. 

After the top has frozen enough that the cranberries or other items will not be loosened by the addition of more water and thus float to the top, I add another inch or two of cool water this time.    Repeat process; layering items and allowing for freeze time as you go.
http://www.flowerduet.com/large_flower_pictures/oasis.jpg
floral foam

I tend to the leave the middle a little bare of decorations, because my mold has a hollow centre where I will eventually place a candle.

Once your mold is completely frozen, set it out for a bit so that it thaws a little.  Do Not pour hot water to loosen the ice from the mold -- this can cause it to crack.   Instead use a bit of cold water if necessary.   Just a bit at a time on the outside of the container until it releases.

Once your ice mold is free, you will need a low edged bowl big enough to hold your mold, and some oasis/floral foam.   Line the bottom of your bowl with the oasis and it will soak up a lot of the water as your ice sculpture melts.

Once you have the mold arranged on the oasis lined bowl, use some extra evergreen, pine cones, ribbon, whatever to dress it up, and/or hide any oasis that shows.     If your sculpture happens to have a hollow centre, you can add a taper candle by inserting the end of the candle into the oasis as well.

Or, if you have space, you can insert a tea light and holder in the centre.   The LED tea lights are great if you don't want to deal with a flame, thus extending the life of your ice, However:  still place in holder since the melting water might damage your LED.


Then.....light up your ice and impress your dinner guests!!


 And warn your children that Santa watches for naughty and nice All.Year.Long.

 Some close ups taken with my new Canon Rebel EOS T3:




How do you dress your table for company?