Sunday, October 23, 2016

H"OWL TIME FLIES, 10.14.16

  The past few weeks I've been preparing for my semi-annual luncheon for the women of my sorority chapter who lived in the chapter house at some point during the four years that I also lived in the house.   This is always one of my favorite luncheons; these women are very important to me.  They hold my history, and I hold theirs.  I have managed to build a database of about 250 ladies.  Preparing for this day is a labor of love.  The riot of color provided by the flowers of Autumn just made it that much better as I designed 9 tables for 70 guests who came from all across our nation and from deep down in Mexico. 

I used three of this bouquet for the dining table buffet.  Sadly I forgot to capture any shots of the dining table, so use your imagination, please.

Fall offers pro and cons for entertaining al fresco.  The weather is as close to perfect as it comes out here on the prairie, but there are definite signs that nature is preparing to cause the lawn and flowers to go to sleep for the coming winter. The greens are less than vibrant, and the hydrangeas are long gone.  The yellow mums were a welcome spot of color, as were the bright red cyclamen plants used as the centerpiece on each table.

Blue and white are the colors of choice for today's festivities.  The mimosa in one of my hand-painted flutes was offered to guests as they entered the house.  I also see a few purses on a couple of chairs.   I think that my guests must already be saving seats.  Typically, many of the sisters like to sit with others from their pledge classes.  There is a great deal of visiting and catching up to be accomplished.  Some of these precious women have not seen each other in 54 years!  It's always a very special day. 

I bought the 10 blue and white toile tablecloths some years ago on eBay for $10.00 each.  $100.00 for 10 tablecloths versus renting 10 cloths for a minimum of $35.00 each for one day.  Now that's a no brainer in my mind.  I snapped those puppies up in a New York minute!

I chose to design my tables with three blue willow variations and an assortment of blue chargers.  Here I've placed the Burleigh Blue Willow, one of my everyday china patterns, on the Royal Doulton Steelite cobalt charger.  The goblet is Godinger Sutton Place.  For this type of gathering I tend to use what I call my "walk around" wine goblets from Bed Bath 'n Beyond.  These type of occasions tend to include dear friends who talk enthusiastically with their hands.  It's definitely not the time to pull out the Lalique, the Baccarat, or the Waterford crystals.

A variety of white napkins were caught in red or white favors used as napkin rings.  The ladies loved the watches.  I was thrilled that one of the charms on the woven leather band of each watch was a pair of wings...tempus fugit...time flies.  It was the perfect choice because of our invitations...

"H'OWL TIME FLIES".  My dear "sister" and friend, BJ always designs, addresses, and mails the invitations as well as comes up with the perfect party favors each time.  I give her an idea that has sparked my interest, and she takes it and runs with it.  This year I had visualized lots of clocks.  She's amazing, and she makes the process so much easier.

This table featured the Mottahedeh Blue Canton dinner plate on the Mottahedeh Blue Cornflower Lace charger plate.  The goblet on this table was the Mikasa French Country.  The flatware on all the tables was the blue, white, or red L'Argent Sophia.  Sorry for the wonky position. I was taking pictures as quickly as possible because my guests were beginning to arrive.  I did straighten it up right after I snapped the shot.

It was a glorious day.  On Monday, the weather forecast for Friday was 90% chance of rain and 30 mph winds.  Thank you, sweet Lord!  The day was a blessed 74Âș and 6 mph winds (that counts as no wind at all on the prairie).  It was absolutely perfect!  Answered prayer.

Here the Burleigh Blue Willow is paired with the Spode Vermicelli charger.  I had to step away for a while, and evidently my servers couldn't find all the walk around wines.  Somehow the Pier One Pink goblets made the billing.  They weren't part of the original plan, but I really like the way they look.   Flexibility is the name of the game for a luncheon this size.

The third pattern that I chose for today's luncheon was the Booth's Real Old Willow.  Here it is resting on the Mottahedeh Blue Lace charger plate. 

Booth's Real Old Willow perched atop the Anna Weatherly scalloped cobalt charger plate.  After saying grace, each guest picked up her plate and headed to the dining room to fill it.  I provided an entree of Kind Ranch Chicken, and each guest brought a salad or dessert.  It was delicious!  We started at 11:30 a.m. The last guests departed after 5:00 p.m. Priceless hours for everyone.

Time to stop taking table pics for today.  I can't wait another moment to go welcome the rest of my sisters.  I want to encourage you to reach out to friends from your past...high school, college, sorority, neighborhood friends.  The importance of reconnecting with old friends cannot be overestimated.  By my age, all of us have overcome some major experiences, be it illness, marriage issues, loss of  loved ones, financial disasters, and on and on.  At this point, we are all survivors in some arena, and coming together again proves to have incredible value.  As much as I am able, I never want to lose another old friend without have had the opportunity to say one more time, "Hello, I love you, and good bye. I pray that you will find your way to the same blessing.  It doesn't matter if the menu is creamed tuna on toast or peanut butter and jelly sandwiches; just please, find a way and do it. You'll never regret it!

This week I'm joining:

Inspire Me Monday @ Domestically Speaking

Inspire Me Tuesday with Marty @ A Stroll Through Life

The Scoop @ Domestically Speaking

Tablesccape Thursday with Susan @ Between Naps on the Porch

Thursday, September 22, 2016

A Sneak Peak at Fall, 2016

I adore Fall.  It's my favorite season of the year, and in our neck of the woods, Autumn always presents us with the most beautiful, good for the soul weather of our entire year.  Did I say that I love Fall?  I also love to decorate for and entertain in Autumn; but I must concede that if I start in September, by the end of November, I am completely over the color orange and all things pumpkin!  As a result, I usually prefer to introduce Fall into my tablescape designs a little bit at a time.

 Today the Garden Friends Bible study reconvened for another year of fellowship and sharing the Word.  I invited them for lunch and a time to catch up with each other.  Some of us are still out of town, so I set a table for 6 at the games table in the living room.  I considered this wonderful Pier One copper charger (probably still available at a Pier One near you), but I decided to wait to use it later in the season.  Today I wanted to design an Autumn tablescape with a lighter touch.
Cone on in ...

My always favorite blue and white cozied up nicely to the lightest touches of coral and orange.  Four small pumpkins made the show at the last moment.  They were really just an after thought.

 Keeping it soft, I chose an ecru matelasse tablecloth as the underpinning for my design.

 Here's the shot for Marlis @ Creative Journeys.  Marlis likes to see the Fortuny silk screen tucked behind my piano. I've had the cotton lace trimmed napkins for eons.  They seemed to be the perfect choice to go with the reticulated dinner plates.

There are some new additions to my collections that I want to share with you today.  Making its premier appearance, the Mottahedeh Cornflower Blue Lace Charger makes me smile a great big goofy smile each time that I use it.

Ditto, the Hartley Greens Leeds large pierced plate.  Word to the Wise:  This pattern has been on my "list" for years.  I never got around to buying it because quite frankly, it was pretty high priced for my wallet.  When I finally reached the point that I felt I could begin to collect it, I ordered 4 from Williamsburg Market  After placing my order, I told the operator that I was excited to call again the next month and order a few more.  The operator then informed me that I had just bought the last four plates that they would ever have in stock because the Hartley Greens of Leeds Pottery had gone out of business.  I was sick to my stomach!  The lesson...if you see something that you really want, don't wait too long to make the purchase.  You may never get to have it.  Luckily, I recently found a company in Great Britain ( ka ching, ka ching) that has some, and I am now collecting more as quickly as possible.   Sometimes silly dreams really do come true.

Topping the stack, another new baby...the Wedgwood feather edge Queensware luncheon plate in that peculiar Wedgwood lavender blue. I bought 12 for a steal on eBay.  Accompanying the place setting is my wedding sterling flatware, Reed & Barton Grande Renaissance.   

La stack for you detail lovers!

The Waterford Simply Blue goblet and the Tiffin Elyse wine paired nicely for our luncheon.

 If you're just down the street, I still have time to add another place setting for you!

The Hartley Greens Leeds Chestnut Bowl was an obvious choice for the centerpiece.

I surrounded it with a quartet of coral colored bouquets...

...set in the Lenox Classic Urns.  I use these urns in so many situations.  They are some of my favorite appointments.  Look for them when you go to estate sales.  I usually find them for around $25.00.

 The menu for today consisted of Chicken Tetrazzini, green salad, hot rolls, and a chocolate mousse cake.  Which reminds me...we have a brand new Trader Joe's opening this week.  I may never cook again!  Well...unless Cuisine Kathleen is coming for a visit at my house!

 It's so good to be together again with my Garden Friends.  We dined and laughed and shared stories well into the favorite kind of day.

 I really would love for you to come join me for lunch!  Let me know if you are coming my way, and I'll have the  table set by the time you ring the door bell.

This week I'm joining:

Tablescape Thursday with Susan @ Between Naps on the Porch

Thursday, September 15, 2016

English Oak Centerpiece Accessories for Lunch

Where do you find inspiration for your tablescapes?  Typically, my inspirations never come from the same place two times in a row. Today I happened across a selection of antique English Oak pieces that I hadn't thought about in quite a while, and I was off and running. 

 I found this silver rimmed oak pedestal bowl on eBay.  I had seen one in a Carolyne Rohm
book and had been searching for one of my own for a long time. The day that I found it, I was definitely doing a happy dance. Since I'm your buy everything possible in pairs girl, I'm still looking for a mate for my bowl.  Some day....

A pair of English Oak biscuit/cookie jars contributed handsomely to my wooden vignette.  One was an eBay find and one was discovered in a local antique store.  One of these would make a delightful centerpiece for a smaller round table.

A quartet of Barley Twist candlesticks provided the finishing touch for the centerpiece.   Plop, plop, plop, and I was done.  So lovely.

The Williams - Sonoma striped linen tablecloth  set a subtle tone for the luncheon.

From the bottom:  The Caspari rattan charger held  the Wedgwood Queens Plain dinner plate and the Copeland Spode Tower Pink luncheon plate.  The Tower Pink was the everyday pattern that Sweet Mister's family used every day.  We are blessed to shepherd these dear old dishes through this generation.  We also use them as one of our everyday patterns.  Their familiarity is heart warming; they bring a quiet smile each time that I pull them out of the cabinet.  A caramel colored hemstitched napkin held by my Cuisine Kathleen's beaded napkin rings balanced atop the stack of dishes.

Beverages were served in the Vieri amber and the AJKA Arabella red goblets.

 Completing the design, I used the L'Argent Sophia Gold flatware ( Horchow's online and Tuesday Morning).  I used old individual Tower Pink ashtrays as butter pats...thinking outside the box can yield fun results.

 Lunch will be ready shortly.  In the meantime, come on into the living room.  We can visit for a bit before we eat.  For me, it's just another delightful day doing what I love...Entertaining Women!  Won't you join us?

This week I'm joining:
Tablescape Thursday with Susan @ Between Naps on the Porch

Thoughts of Home with White Spray Paint

Dishing It and Digging It with Linda @ Life and Linda

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Coalport Leighton Sprays & a Birthday Party

I love birthday parties, and my favorite birthday celebrations are the ones that I get to host for my precious Garden Friends Bible Study.  This day we were celebrating Barb's birthday. 
 Barb loves blues, and pinks, and greens...lots of color, color, color!  We're seated in the dining room, and I've set a table for ten guests.  Come on in...

Not a lot of stacking going on today.  There are just some plates that it kills me to cover, and this is one of them.  I knew that Barb would adore the Coalport Leighton Sprays dinner plate.  I was also certain that she would love the extra pop of color provided by the Bormioli hot pink glass charger plate.

 My wedding sterling flatware, Reed & Barton Grande Renaissance, was close at hand, so on the table it went.  The Williams Sonoma white hemstitched linen napkin was quietly caught in the Coalport Countrywide napkin ring.   Continuing the color theme, the Stelle pink scroll goblet, a great get at Home Goods, partnered nicely with the  Waterford Simply Blue goblet.   I collected the Waterford Simply goblets over a span of probably five or six years on eBay.  I use them often.

A special birthday deserves a special centerpiece.  I have been pretty much gaga over the Mottahedeh Musee Des Arts Decoratifs tureen since I found it on eBay.  eBay Tip:  By the way there is currently one of these available on eBay, if you should want one.  The one that is listed right now is priced for about half of the usual list price.Still not dirt cheap, but comparatively it's a good deal.

The tureen was flanked by our Val St. Lambert crystal candlesticks and the Lenox urns filled with flowers from Whole Foods Market.   Easy peasy!  

 The Williams Sonoma soft blue linen hemstitched tablecloth provided a gentle, feminine  underpinning for my design.  Soft, feminine, colorful, and relaxing....elements for a  delightful afternoon of celebration and fellowship.

 Be still my heart...I so love to set a pretty table to honor my precious friends and family.  I pray that each of my guests always feels like the guest of honor.

Chicken pasta salad, fresh berries, hot bread, and a chocolate mousse birthday cake was served for lunch.

It was a delightful day.  We visited long into the afternoon.  Let me know if you're coming my way.  I would love to set a table for you.

This week I'm joining:

Tablescape Thursday with Susan @ Between Naps on the Porch

Inspire Me Tuesday with Marty @ A Stroll Through Life

Thoughts of Home with White Spray Paint