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The DIY Summer Table: Priscilla’s Woolworth Conversation-Starter Place Settings Made from Castoffs

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The DIY Summer Table: Priscilla’s Woolworth Conversation-Starter Place Settings Made from Castoffs

August 7, 2023

Priscilla Woolworth is a green goddess: for decades now, she’s been speaking out about the climate crisis and coming up with artful, approachable ways to avoid waste at home. An LA transplant in upstate NY, she lives at River’s Edge Farm, which, in her words, is “a climate-resilient, carbon-neutral, zero-waste, composting, organic vegetable and medicinal plant mini farm.”

From her 1790s farmhouse, Priscilla puts out The Newsletter, her tip sheet of healthy choices and promising environmental news; holds workshops on “the what, why, and how of everything growing here”; and runs The Rabbit Hole, her tiny shop of homemade natural goods (retail runs in her family).

Priscilla also frequently entertains and a DIY of hers recently caught our eye on Instagram: for an outdoor dinner party, she set her table with things found on the ground and rescued from the trash bin. Take a look.

Photography courtesy of Priscillia Woolworth (@priscillawoolworth).

&#8\2\20;i got the idea to make placeholders when i found some american syc 17
Above: “I got the idea to make placeholders when I found some American sycamore bark on the ground. It’s often curled but lots of pieces were just flat enough.” After experimenting with paint—”too messy”—she got out a stencil sheet she’s had for decades and found that it worked well with Sharpie fine point markers.

The pieces of bark are 6 to 8 inches long and the letters, spaced by eye, are an inch tall: “you want to make a statement,” says Priscilla. She warns that the bark breaks easily: “look for sturdy pieces and gather extras; if they’re dirty, just wipe them carefully with a damp cloth.”

for placemats priscilla used the paper wrappers from six packs of quilted north 18
Above: For placemats Priscilla used the paper wrappers from six-packs of Quilted Northern Toilet Paper: “I recently came across this new product at my local Hannaford supermarket: no plastic cover and no paper around the individual rolls, which are made from FSC-certified paper.”

Priscilla notes that she always smooths out and saves any reusable paper—grocery bags, crinkled kraft packing paper—to decorate with stamps or paint as wrapping paper and placemats. “Newspaper is also good, but it’s nice to start with a blank canvas.”

the quilted northern wrappers are printed on one side and blank on the other: & 19
Above: The Quilted Northern wrappers are printed on one side and blank on the other: “I wrote to the company and told them they should pattern the reverse side with something simple, such as stripes, so it gets reused.” She painted hers freehand with paint she had on hand and hung the finished work to dry on her laundry line
for pattern making, priscilla says &#8\2\20;any shape in repeat en masse lo 20
Above: For pattern making, Priscilla says “any shape in repeat en masse looks great.”
priscilla&#8\2\17;s flatware is vintage hotel silver, a heavy silver plate  21
Above: Priscilla’s flatware is vintage hotel silver, a heavy silver plate bought at an LA flea market: “it’s great looking and so study.” Her white dinnerware is “nothing fancy; I’ve had it for years.”
priscilla&#8\2\17;s table is on the deck of her house overlooking the botto 22
Above: Priscilla’s table is on the deck of her house overlooking the bottom of her garden and Taghkanic Creek. Her metal chairs are Tolix-style and her  linen tablecloth is by Libeco ( read about the virtues of linen in our Object Lesson).

Here are Three Uses for Citrus Peel from Priscilla.

More table setting ideas:

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Frequently asked questions

What is the purpose of this DIY project?

The purpose of this DIY project is to create a festive summer tablescape with zero waste. It aims to inspire individuals to reduce waste and be more environmentally conscious in their entertaining.

Who is Priscilla Woolworth?

Priscilla Woolworth is an eco-conscious lifestyle expert and the creator of this DIY project. She is passionate about living sustainably and shares her ideas and tips through her blog and website.

What materials are used for this tablescape?

This tablescape is made using various eco-friendly and natural materials such as reusable fabric napkins, vintage glassware, compostable plates, and organic flowers.

How can I create a zero-waste tablescape?

To create a zero-waste tablescape, you can follow the steps and ideas provided in this DIY project. Use reusable or compostable materials, opt for second-hand or vintage items, and incorporate natural elements.

Where can I find the materials needed for this project?

You can find the materials needed for this project at various stores, both online and offline. Look for eco-friendly and sustainable options, and consider checking thrift stores or local markets for unique vintage items.

Can I customize the tablescape to match my personal style?

Yes, definitely! This DIY project serves as inspiration, and you are encouraged to customize the tablescape to reflect your personal style and preferences. Feel free to experiment with different colors, textures, and decor elements.

Are there any additional tips provided in this DIY project?

Yes, the DIY project article provides additional tips and ideas to help you create a beautiful and sustainable tablescape. These tips include using seasonal produce as table decor and incorporating homemade elements.

Will following this DIY project save me money?

Following this DIY project can potentially save you money in the long run. By using reusable materials and opting for second-hand items, you can reduce the need to continually purchase disposable tableware. Additionally, making your own decorations can be more cost-effective than buying pre-made ones.

Can I use these ideas for other occasions or seasons?

Absolutely! While this DIY project focuses on a festive summer tablescape, many of the ideas and principles can be applied to other occasions and seasons. Simply adapt the decor elements and colors to suit the specific event or time of year.

Is it difficult to create this tablescape?

No, creating this tablescape is not particularly difficult. The DIY project provides step-by-step instructions and visual references to help you recreate the look. With a bit of creativity and effort, you can easily achieve a stunning zero-waste tablescape.

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