These photos were found in an article entitled Sit Down to Handmade Table Settings inside the October 1980 issue of Decorating & Craft Ideas magazine. Since the holidays are nearly upon us, and entertaining is ever-certain at holiday times, I thought these were pretty nifty.
The first idea is to use a large pottery bowl as an ice bucket. On large tables, you can have several of these with individual bottles for guests. (Also a great game day idea!)
The second idea is to use wooden chopping blocks or bread boards as placemats.This would be ingenious any time of the year -- especially when reheating leftovers in the microwave. I remember my grandma using wooden boards to carry casseroles and hotdishes out to the table; using individual ones for carrying and serving food on plates from the microwave is the same idea. And wooden boards are not only very stable to carry, they are easy to clean, economical to reuse, and most often considered the healthier choice. (Wood cutting boards are also easier on your knives.)