Dede Wood brings the art of setting the table to 4-H | Hadleigh Bolton | Columns



Lucky Clover 4-H is offering a series of lessons as part of the new Home Arts project – table setting and etiquette that will be taught by expert interior designer and longtime Santa Ynez Valley resident Dede Wood. .

This will be the fifth home arts lesson and one of fun.

Dede likes to beautify the spaces around her, which is why she’s perfect for teaching this important lesson. The session will be hands-on and interactive, focusing on how to make your table and interior look great, even if you don’t have a big budget.

“Everything from roadside flowers to elegant and practical leaves can beautify your home,” Dede said.

Table setting is a traditional 4-H project and members can showcase their table setting designs at local fairs.

Although setting the table is often seen as a chore by young and old, Dede thinks it’s not necessary if you learn how to do it.

Mindy Rice, local floral designer and event planner extraordinaire, volunteered to teach her craft to the Home Arts group this week.

To begin, it is important to know how to place the dishes and utensils. After all, no one wants to mix up their tablespoon and dessert spoon. Also, the way you place your silverware shows what stage of the meal you are at. There are specific ways to symbolize the start of the meal, the end, and if you’re ready for the next course.

Aside from specific utensils, table decor is another essential part of table setting.

For example, there are many creative ways to style napkins and add garden elements to create a beautiful table setting.

Dede herself practices it. The latest example being the acorns from her neighbor’s garden that she just couldn’t resist. They went to her table that night when she set it up, and she hopes to teach the Home Arts group how to do the same.

Not a chore but a sophisticated art, table setting is both decorative and useful.

“It can be something that people of all ages love to get creative with and enjoy,” Dede said.

Dede will also include the table label in its session.

Manners are something we all value in ourselves and others, and they are important especially when eating.

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Savings, or shopping at a thrift store, will be a hands-on experience where 4-Hers can try their hand at saving and discover its many benefits.

Why are good manners important? Everyone wants to be respected and to be kind, and you should treat others as you would like to be treated. Manners are an important part of society and help people get along. So learning good table manners will be a valuable part of the lesson.

Dede has a long history with 4-H.

In the 90s, she taught the Lucky Clover 4-H sewing group when her daughter Mindy Rice (last week’s star instructor) and her sister were members.

Both boys and girls participated in her class. At the end of the year, they did a fashion show, which Dede said was “a lot of fun.” She is excited to teach another class for Lucky Clover.

Dede brings over 50 years of expertise to the Home Arts project, specializing in interior design and home construction.

She and her husband, Steve, built many high-end homes that they designed, lived in, and then sold. Dédé is currently in the middle of a new project, his last home.

After a great career, she made the choice to retire. Lucky Clover executives hope she will have even more time to volunteer 4-H during her retirement years, as table setting and etiquette would be a fantastic addition to the Home Arts project.

To learn more about Home Arts and Lucky Clover 4-H, contact Jen Berman at [email protected] or visit

Next week, our cross stitch instructor, Tina Grunzweig, joins us for the final Home Arts interview and shares her experience with sewing and cross stitching.

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