Everyday…..okay, maybe it’s every other day, I go on an exercise walk.

I follow along several familiar routes. I have traversed these routes innumerable times. However, the other day while on my regime I passed something that I had walked by before, innumerable times, but had never seen! The shedding bark of a birch tree shaped in the perfect/imperfect size of a table placemat!

It stopped me in my tracks. I thought, could these actually be functional and become part of my table dressed collection? I was so excited by my discovery that I helped the shedding process along by removing the hanging bark from the tree. In examining it, to my surprise I found it was made up of layers and layers of bark.

When I pulled back the layers, this small piece of bark had yielded 8 placemats!

The thought of these on my dining table turned my walk home into a sprint! I couldn’t wait to see how my new, free acqusition from nature would look dressing my dining table.

These one-of-a-kind placemats had such unique and beautiful markings. Some had holes, each was shaped differently and the range of their color was stunning, from an orangy beige to an aging gray.

Deciding what dishes, glassware and linens to use with them provided to be a challenge because I wanted the placemats to be the star of this table dressed show!

After experimenting, I chose pewter, copper and white colors which blended nicely with the earth tones. For a pop of color on my tablescape, I used green napkins with an orange tortoise shell napkin ring. I created a centerpiece using purple tulips, deliciously aromatic lilacs and lavender colored hyacinths.

With the table dressed, it was time to receive my guests! And, the conversation about discovering placemats in a tree kicked off a lively evening of connection!