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Monday, February 1, 2016

Don't Let the Details Fool You, 2.1.16

I always like to study the cose-up photos of the beautiful pieces of china, crystal, silver, etc., that are displayed in blog posts each week.  There has been more than one of those  close-ups that has inspired me to add a certain pattern to my collection!

We see delicious place setting ideas and new ways to display our linens...

 ...and beautiful crystal always elicits an ooh and an aah from me!

 Who knew that there could ever be such a plethora of delightful flatware...



 ...and how about the nearly endless ideas for wonderful centerpieces?  But don't let the details fool you...

 They could just mean that I totally forgot to take pictures of my tablescape until after the luncheon was over and most of the the dishes had been removed to the kitchen.  Whew!  Thank heavens for those little details.  :-)

This week I'm joining:

Tablescape Thursday with Susan @ Between Naps on the Porch

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Dinner with the Guys. 1.15

Having the Garden Friends for lunch on Wednesday must have given Sweet Mister an idea.  On Friday morning, he called from his office to say that he had a friend whom he wanted to invite for dinner...one of our "Friday means Outback Steak curbside take-out"!  Now that's a pretty easy request to fulfill...all I had to do was design a small table for three, suitable for the guys.  Come on in and see what I created for them.  This one is short and sweet.

 An easy-going melange of browns and whites set the tone for dinner with the guys.

 The elements...a Pimpernel place mat featuring sporting dogs...


...the Caspari rattan charger...think duck blind and hunting...


...add the Spode Delamere dinner plate and brown handled flatware...

 ...a pair of Gotham Octette goblets for water and wine, and the Williams-Sonoma hemstitched Flax napkin...

 ...one of Sweet Mister's duck decoys with a pair of antique English wood pieces for my centerpiece, and...

 Voila!  Sweet Mister pulled into the back drive, and Dickens just announced that his friend was at the front door.  It was time to eat.  They lingered long after dinner, laughing and sharing stories.  I mainly listened with a happy smile on my face.

This week I'm joining:


Inspire-Me-Tuesday with Marty @ A Stroll Through Life

Worthwhile Wednesdays with Crafty Allie

Winter Blues Wednesday @ DIY by Design

Tablescape Thursday with Susan @ Between Naps on the Porch

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Booth's Real Old Blue Willow, January, 2015

It was a cold January, 2015 Wednesday.  I was progressing well in therapy from my first knee replacement surgery, and I was so excited to be able to host my Garden Friends Bible study once again.  I was determined to make a large pot of my chicken noodle soup, and I invited the ladies to remain for an easy-going, laid back comfort meal for lunch.  We're eating in the living room at the games table.  We were a small group this day, and I set a table for five.  Won't you join us, please?

One of my sweet friends brought a bunch of bright yellow mums to bring some sunshine to a cold dreary day...

 The mums were serendipitous...I had set my table with a soft yellow mattelasse tablecloth.


Still not able to make quick trips to the market for fresh flowers, I relied on the Burleigh Blue Willow tureen for my centerpiece, a long ago gift from Sweet Mister...

 ...and I thoroughly relished creating a blue and white table after all the red and green from the Christmas holidays.


Sigh...makes me very happy.

 Just below the crescent dish which held cornbread and butter, the Royal Doulton Steelite cobalt charger provided an anchor for my place setting...

 ...and I could hardly wait to pair the Booth's Real Old Blue Willow with... the L'Argent Sophia flatware and...

...the Real Old Blue Willow rimmed soup.

 Wine and water were served in the AJKA Xenia stem and the Libby goblet from Dollar Tree.

Ready to roll...

 It was a perfect, slow January day for sharing good food, good fellowship, and good fun long into the afternoon...my favorite kind of day!

This week I'm joining:

Inspire Me Tuesday with Marty @ A Stroll Through Life

Worthwhile Wednesdays with Crafty Allie

Winter Blues Wednesday @ DIY by Design

Tablescape Thursday with Susan @ Between Naps on the Porch

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Antique Club Christmas Luncheon, 2015

After my last small luncheon on Friday, December 18, I had the weekend to prepare for my antique club's Christmas luncheon on Monday, December 21, which also happened to be my 47th wedding anniversary.  It was a busy and wonderful day.  Our little club sets its membership limit at 25.  Today I set three tables for 24 guests.  Come on in and allow me to share the day with you.
 One of the tables was, as you have probably already speculated, at the games table in the dining room.  What would I do without my trusty flip-top tabletop that turns my games table for four into a comfortable table for 6-8?

 Today, the table was set for six.  I had such a good time mixing precious old family items with other vintage pieces that I've collected over the 47 years of our marriage.

 My Baroque silver chargers, a gift from my sister many years ago, provided a lovely seat for Nana's Limoges thick gold rim dinner plates.  Take just a moment to notice the amazing flat to satin appearance of the gold rim, found on any number of wonderful old plates.  I'll show you later why I wanted to mention this.  My estate sale gold-tone flatware makes a fitting companion to the plates.

 Another of my collected vintage finds, the Kings Crown ruby flash luncheon plates and the dinner plates were removed right before the luncheon was served.  The luncheon plate was later used for several dessert offerings.  The AJKA Arabella red wine was paired with my mother-in-love's cut crystal goblet.  I don't know the name or maker of her crystal.  It's so pretty, and I am blessed to be its caretaker until it is passed on to the next generation of our family.  The angel in the centerpiece is one of a number of angels that you will see today, another gift from my beloved sister, Pat.  I also enjoyed using my antique cranberry bell collection on all the tables today.  The table linens are yet, another example of my decision to mix old and new.  The antique lace runner and the matching placemats and napkins belonged to our Nana.  The Williams-Sonoma toile tablecloth is one that I found on eBay.  Tip:  eBay is such an amazing resource, if you are willing to do your homework and BE PATIENT!  Yes, that was me yelling to the rooftop.  You guys, several week ago, I bought an absolutely amazing set of 12 Aynsley cobalt and gold trim dinner plates for $9.95 and free shipping!  It was the opening bid, and I turned out to be the only bidder.  Can you imagine being able to give a beloved daughter, niece, grand daughter, etc., a gorgeous set of 12 excellent English china dinner plates as a wedding gift for less than $10.00?  Oh my word...I hope you'll start shopping, if you're not shopping already!
 The crystal bowl with amazing silver overlay belonged to Nana.  The inexpensive Pasabache crystal compotes were another of my eBay finds.

 That's probably more than you wanted to know about this table, so let's head into the dining room...

 ...where I've prepared a table for twelve.

 Starting with the centerpiece...more angels, more cranberry bells, gold cone Christmas trees and assorted picks and berries from Hobby Lobby.  "Rose Lilies" and red roses  from La Grocery Store are resting in Nana's vintage Glastonbury-Lotus bowl.


 Can you see all the layers in the Rose Lilies?  They are gorgeous!

 Oh yes!  Please, give a hand to my co-hostesses for the luncheon.  They were an amazing team, and I'd work with them any time.  Linda (center) brought each of us one of the pretty aprons to wear while we served our fellow members.  We were worn slick by the end of the day, but we had a great time working together.  I'm so thankful for them.
 Friends and guests often ask me to name my favorite tablecloth...

 ...This has to be the one...

 The antique tape lace figural tablecloth and the napkins belonged to...you knew it all along...Nana!  I'm also blessed to have Nana's antique gold medallion dinner plates by Stouffer Studios.  This also has to be one of my favorite plates.  By this point, I probably don't even need to identify the Retroneau Hollydays flatware.


 The dining table was festooned with the Waterford Simply Red goblet and Nana's amazing antique French hand-cut crystal goblet.   The Lenox Holly napkin rings were an estate sale find.  Score!  I was so busy that I never remembered to light the votive candles...ah well.  It didn't seem to put a damper on the party.

 I did notice that there were lots of handbags reserving early seats at this table.  I took that as a compliment for Nana.



 Never say never.  I rarely, if ever,  repeat a tablescape, but I may have to pull this one out of the archives one day.  I really enjoyed putting this design together.  So, you may ask..."Where did the kitchen help sit?'...

 Just like Mrs. Patmore and her crew at Downton Abbey, we were seated in the kitchen. Again, I mixed another set of Nana's antique placemats and runner with a Williams-Sonoma toile tablecloth. The napkins were an estate sale buy.  The crystal is the same as that used at the games table.

 The gold rimmed plates looked so much like Nana's Limoges plates on the other table.  You know...the ones that I asked you to notice a while back.  When I saw them on eBay, I snapped them up.  Upon opening the box, it took only a moment to realize that I should have asked the seller more questions.  Instead of the rich satin finish of the antique plates, the newer ones have a bright shiny, almost gold mirrored finish.  You may be able to detect the difference in the bottom right plate.  eBay Tip:  When shopping on eBay, take the time to read every single word in the description, examine the pictures as closely as possible, and if you're trying to match plates that you already own, ask extra questions!  I like the plates just fine; I happily use them; but they are not what I thought I was buying.

 I almost deleted this picture.  The far end of the breakfast room never received the attention that it deserved prior to seating guests in this room...even the kitchen crew.  Well, it happens, and once again...I'm pretty sure that it didn't put a damper on the party.  Oh wow..."that little girl with the red hair chews her pencil!" (You're a Good Man Charlie Brown)...

 I guess my message is...just do the best you can; then let it go and enjoy your own party.  If anyone makes a snarky comment, just don't invite them back again...or let them host the next party!  Besides, today was my 47th Anniversary, and I knew that there was a great evening waiting for me with Sweet Mister and our dear friends, Ken and June.  Ken and June were married exactly one day to the year after our wedding.  We have celebrated together for many years, and we love our precious friends.

May all of your celebrations be lovely and last many years!

I'm joining:

Tablescape Thursday with Susan @ Between Naps on the Porch

Double Duty Christmas Luncheons, 2015

Every year, I host two small luncheons for close friends who exchange gifts with each other.  Part of my gift is a special luncheon that provides us the opportunity to "Stop the World, I Want to Get Off!" We share a meal and we visit and visit and visit.  It's a time to walk away from the hectic routines that  we create for ourselves each year.  Today I want to share both of the luncheons with you.  They are pretty much the same, but I like to tweak the second one for my pleasure, and hopefully for yours.



 All the citizens of the village were ready for Christmas, 2015, and so was I.

 This day I played with a slightly different seating arrangement at the games table.  Can you see what I've done?  The place settings are still equally distributed around the table, but I've let my runner and centerpiece run the entire diameter of the table.  For some reason, it made for a more intimate setting.  My guests at both luncheons really liked the settings, and I think that I'll adapt this for future tables for four.  Oh!  Can you find the napkins?  They have been put to use as gift wrap for party favors.

 You can tell that I am still enamored with the Pottery Barn hurricanes.  I liked them so much that I used a Christmas gift certificate to buy another quartet of different hurricanes from Pottery Barn.  I can hardly wait for them to arrive.


The red heavy acrylic charger was the very first charger that I ever owned.  It was a generous gift from a friend, probably 20 years ago.  They are still beautiful, and I love to use them.

 The mug was used for a delicious tomato based soup that one of my friends contributed for the day.  If I can locate the recipe that she shared with me, I'll share it at some point.  It was soooo good!

 The Johnson Brothers Great Britain Pink Castles Christmas seemed to be quite comfortable with the green checked tablecloth that I found on eBay several years ago.  At first I viewed the cloth as a "summer cloth", but it has proven itself to be a cloth for all seasons.


Still two of my "go-to" goblets, I used the Vietri red and the AJKA Arabella green for today's festivities.

 The Retroneau Hollydays gold flatware continues to get its once a year workout.




 Color me happy, happy, happy!

 I enjoy dining tree side...

 ...with a view of our Christmas living room.

Ready to share good food and good fun with very good friends!

 Same story, second verse...

 Just a few changes...Can you find them?





 Oh, okay...one hint...

 Royal Crown Derby Brittany





Hint, hint, hint...look closely!



These two parties are always such a blessing for me.  We're all grandmothers now, with one awaiting her first precious grand baby in just a few months, and as such, we find ourselves busier and busier.  We love it so much, and still, it is wonderful to be able to sit face to face and catch up with each other...and share lots and lots of pictures of little ones.  At both luncheons, we stayed, and laughed till our sides hurt, and enjoyed each others' company until late in the afternoon.  I sent leftovers home with everyone, so they didn't have to be concerned about what to fix for dinner.  Merry Christmas!

My Christmas wish for you is that you have a circle of precious friends with whom you enjoy special moments like these.  I'll share that the common denominator for each of us is an abiding love of our precious master, Jesus Christ, the lover of each of our ragged souls.  Some of us are part of the same church family, and some of us attend other churches.  It doesn't matter...it is Father, Son, and Holy Ghost that binds us together.  I pray that you have found a church family for yourself.  Sometimes people ask me, "What is a church family?"  I answer, "Oh, it is so much.  It is a group of people with whom I worship and who lift their arms to cerebrate and give praise to God with me when things are good in my life...and who lift their arms to hold me up to God when I am in pain, or grieving, or suffering.  It is my church family.

This week I'm joining:

Worthwhile Wednesday @ Crafty Allie

Tablescape Thursday with Susan @ Between Naps on the Porch