Get set for entertaining from fall to New Year's with a casual tabletop look. Centered on a eucalyptus-and-strawflower garland, the versatile decor keeps pace with the season's many gatherings.

Strawflowers dry naturally on the plant and retain their color and papery look for two to three years. Grow this charming, super-easy annual from seed, or purchase flowers at farmers markets or crafts stores. Combine with eucalyptus bunches for a pretty seasonal garland.

Form the garland base by wiring together bunches of eucalyptus. This inexpensive green drapes well, adds light fragrance and won't seep sap. Bonus: The garland looks good on the mantle, over a doorframe or along a banister.


How to create this tabletop

1. Thread strawflowers onto the desired length of fishing line; secure with knots. (Plan to use fifteen 1- to 3-inch flowerheads per foot of garland.) For an ombré effect, our 5-foot garland goes from yellow to orange to red to pink. Wind through base of eucalyptus leaves.

2. Write drink names on leather bracelets, and snap them around decanter necks.

3. Create a natural stage for dinner with place mats of ¼-inch birch plywood. Your local home improvement store can cut the boards to a standard place mat size, such as 12x18 or 14x20 inches. A quick sanding eliminates any rough edges. Tie a hand-lettered scalloped leather concho with string around silverware to double as a place card.