Helleborus niger Iris alata Cyclamen cilicicus Crocus Winter sweet

Kniphofia aloides

Winter heliotrope



Various berried plants

Late chrysanthemums Forced lilies of the valley Tulips Geraniums

Narcissi Tree carnations French roses Violets, Ivy Smilax, Ferns

During December flowers are scarce, and it behoves the housekeeper with limited means to consider how she can make the most of a few blossoms, or make her table pretty without the aid of flowers.

The majority of women do not make the most of the various kinds of foliage that can be obtained, and yet some varieties, such as the golden holly and silver ivy, are as bright and pretty as flowers.

In one illustration is shown a table in the decoration of which flowers play no part, but it would be difficult to imagine a more dainty decoration. In the centre of the table is placed a white china bowl held by cupids. It is filled with a growing maidenhair fern.

Around the base of the vase, on the white cloth, a circle of small sprays of holly is arranged. For the corners of the table full-pleated pot covers have been made with bright scarlet crepe paper. To make these covers, take strips of thin cardboard or stiff paper as long as the flower-pot is round and as wide as it is deep, and stitch up the ends on the slant so that it resembles the flower-pot in shape. Then take a roll of bright scarlet crepe paper, and cut a strip the whole length of the roll and half as wide again as the flower-pot. With thread gather this strip closely a quarter of an inch from the bottom, and then stitch it on to the paper foundation. Next gather it near the top of the pot, and stitch this on also, hiding the gathers with a sash and bow of bebe ribbon. Then pull out the frill at the top with your fingers so that a full ruche, as seen in the illustration, is formed. Encircle these pots with wreaths of holly leaves, and put pretty little ferns in them. Place one at each corner of the table.

For candle-shades use the same bright crepe paper. The shades can be made in the same way as the pot-covers, but they must be mounted on asbestos frames, and have the ruche at the bottom instead of the top. Holly-leaf guest cards can be purchased, and would give a pretty finish.

One of the newest candle-shades for table use, made in parchment paper, is shown.

This parchment paper is sure to become popular, as it is safer than the ordinary flimsy paper, being less liable to ignite, and it is made in a number of dainty floral patterns.

The one here is first plainly covered with fluted parchment, and then the top is pulled out in pretty curves. A narrow strip is put on round the edge to form a double frill, and it is finished with two narrow rows of fancy braiding. The candlestick is of Coalport china.

Another charming table scheme is shown, in which lilies of the valley and violets are used. In conjunction these flowers form a perfect decoration, and, if the hostess is the fortunate possessor of a handsome oak table, the dinner should be served without the addition of a tablecloth.

The mats used for the plates, etc., can be made by the hostess. Linen mats embroidered with a pattern of the flowers used for the decoration would look very dainty, and, if cut in the form of large vine leaves and buttonhole-stitched in natural colours, would have a novel effect.

A silver candelabra is used here with shades in a pale shade of pinky mauve, and a few sprays of artificial lilies are twined round them. At the base of the candelabra a ring of small lead supports is hidden with sprays of fern and moss; and, in these, lilies and their leaves are arranged as though growing there, not massing them together, but letting them stand out gracefully.

The bonbonnieres are a feature of the table. For these violet cosaques are used. They not only form a novel decoration, but are souvenirs for the guests.

Beneath the bonbonniere is a cracker filled with novelties. The souffle case above is filled with white fondants and crystallised violets, and at each end is a little bouquet of most realistic violets and grasses.

Add a few drops of violet perfume to the water for the finger bowls, and let a few blossoms float on each bowl.

Royal Worcester ware is very lovely for table decoration; it has such soft, mellow colouring. A charming vase is depicted.