Thursday, May 25, 2017

Garden Friends Luncheon, May 25, 2017

The Garden Friends Bible study group met for lunch to have a fellowship time before we begin our summer break.  I was blessed to gather these priceless friends around my table.  Today I set a table for 8 in the dining room.  Come on in and join us!

It's Spring, and the perfect time for a celebration of color...

 and what says Spring?...

...more deliciously than...

TULIPS!  Thank you Whole Foods Market.

Of course, there were other pretty blossoms to be shared!

Now sometimes we need to amend the soil first, so I started with the Vietri charger,...

...which added just the right finish to the Mottahedheh Light Blue Lace charger.

Today's blooms are brought to you courtesy of the Spode Chelsea Garden dinner plate blossoms...

Close enough to smell the flowers

All good gardens need pretty ground cover, right?  Today it was the Reed & Barton Grande Renaissance flatware.

So many pretty posies...

There's even a tiny blossom on the Madeira linen napkin.

My wedding crystal Lalique Trèves wine was a fitting addition to the Waterford Simply Blue,



and Lime garden art.

 And of course, one must have glorious potted plants.

Herend Queen Victoria...

So many incredible details

  A garden to be enjoyed any day of the year laid on a lawn provided by the Williams-Sonoma jacquard linen tablecloth.

Do you find inspiration for your garden while looking in magazines, or at a flower show perhaps?  Now you see where I found mine.

I'm always seated at this end of the table...a great view of my garden, but mainly closest to the kitchen.  Do you seat yourself in a place that allows you quickest access to the kitchen, too?

Every lovely bloom needs to be adequately watered...I like to place decanters at my table for my guests to be able to refill their water goblets without interrupting their conversations.

 Another delightful Garden Friends gathering.  Let me know if you're coming through our city on the prairie.  I'd love to set a lovely table just for you, and I know that my Garden Friends will join me to make you feel welcome.  There's always room for another blossom in my garden!

This week I'll be joining:

Inspire Me Tuesday with Marty @ A Stroll Through Life

The Style Sisters Centerpiece Wednesday linky party

Tablescape Thursday with Susan @ Between Naps on the Porch

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Mother's Day

Mother's Day 2016, made me very happy.  I had been unable to sustain enough energy to entertain larger groups for what seemed like way too long.  This day I felt like my life might be returning to something that looked like normal.  I was so excited to gather our family around our table to celebrate such a sweet holiday...Mother's Day.  I set a table for ten in the dining room.  Come on in...

 Mother's opportunity to invite the men in the family to sit down at a completely feminine table.

I knew that I wanted to use the Williams-Sonoma matelasse tablecloth.  I like the texture, and it doesn't hurt that I rarely need to iron it!  I found it on eBay, and I use it often.  It's really not long enough for my new dining table, and I don't care!  That's how much I love it.  Some day I'll find one that's the 144" the table needs.

Mother's Day and Spring...a perfect life and new beginnings...delicate blooms...pinks and greens...oh the possibilities!

Come a little closer and have a better look...

Always a regal base for any place setting...the Mottahedeh Blue Lace charger plate is flanked by Horchow's hot pink flatware.  Howchow called this a red.  I disagreed but kept it anyway.  I use it fairly often, and I'm still looking for a red flatware pattern.

I adore the Royal Doulton Lowestoft Bouquet dinner plate.  Did you happen to notice the wavy scalloped pink line just at the top edge of the verge?  That simple little detail adds so much interest to this very English design.  The whole design just makes me old fashioned, yet timeless.

  I alternated the Waterford Simply Lime and Pink goblets along side our Nana's antique French crystal goblets.  I wish that I knew more about her crystal.  It's so special.  Nana also provided the Limoges open salts.  It's always a treat to use her lovely things.  Seemed appropriate for her to be represented at our Mother's Day table.

I probably was slightly carried away with the candlelight for our luncheon.  I just loved the way it made the crystal dance.  I've had the Val St. Lambert candlesticks for decades, and they remain one of my favorite decorative elements when creating a centerpiece...minimum effort for maximum effect.

As happens frequently, my centerpiece is really a no brainer...the crystal candlesticks...votives from Dollar Tree...

...Lenox china urns... and Hydrangeas from my garden...let me say that again...Hydrangeas from my garden.  I am not a talented gardener, and I have fought for years to finally have a number of precious Hydrangea plants that are actually flourishing  in our yucky red clay earth.  You would have thought that I had won the Westminster Flower Show.

Oh...and the Herend Rothschild Bird tureen, found during a great sale at a local jewelry/gift store.

A combination of pieces lovingly collected over time often make the best centerpieces, and we only have to shop our closets.

Delicate lady-like touches... celebrate the important women in my life...the moms in our family.

I pray that each and every mother knows that she is truly appreciated and loved as we celebrate this year's Mother's Day.  I miss my mama every day, and I can't even measure what I would give to be able to share this day with her and honor her one more time.  HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY!

This week I'm joining:

Tablescape Thursday with Susan @ Between Naps on the Porch

The Scoop #274 with Stone Gable

Centerpiece Wednesday with The Style Sisters

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Farewell, Downton Abbey, February 29, 2016

On February 28, 2016, many of us found ourselves drawn to the television screen as we said goodbye to Lord Grantham's family and Downton Abbey.  On Monday, February 29, 54 women joined together for tea to commemorate the moment and to raise money for City Care, a Christ-based organization that works to make life more bearable for the many homeless men, women, and children here in our city.  We were blessed to be able to hold the tea in the home of Mo Anderson, an amazing and incredibly generous woman...WOW...what a woman...what a role model...what a home!

Each guest received a hand delivered invitation.

 Notice that the actual invitation is held in a fabric lace envelope and tucked under a double sided satin ribbon tied around a moiré hatbox.  Each hatbox held an antique fine china cup and saucer, an HRH (His Royal Highness) tea bag, and a beautiful custom made iced cookie in the shape of a fully detailed teapot.  We had a blast putting them together! They were very well received, and the acceptances were amazing!  Only two people declined.  Won't you join us for our tea?  (Warning:  This is a long post and photo intensive.  Just want you to be prepared!)

Our own version of Carson, proper British accent and all, was there to greet our lovely guests at the front door and to oversee the...

  perfectly attired...

never miss a detail...

 always hard working...

well-loved, if never appropriately appreciated...

"downstairs" staff as they attended to the last minute details for our tea.

Now if you are a true "Downton Abbey" detailphile (That's a word, right?  Sure it is.  Francophile, Anglophile, detailphile!), you might remember this dinner plate from the opening credits each week as the newest episode was introduced...the dinner plate that the Granthams supposedly used for many of their numerous elaborate dinners.

Who knew!?  This is my mother-in-love's 1940's wedding china by Castleton, and I just happened to have more than enough to recreate the Downton setting for each guest.  I chose to set each dinner plate on one of an assortment of my blue chargers for further continuity.  Interestingly, Castleton is an American china.  I don't know if Masterpiece Theatre chose the plate in the post production studio or if there is an actual English pattern after which the Castleton was later modeled.  Pretty good question, I think.

The first course was, but of course, an assortment of scones served with lemon curd and jams.  These were served from tiered hostess trays set on each table, then put on assorted sets of luncheon plates already in place at each table.  Here, the Royal Doulton Orient is flanked by my mother-in-love's Reed & Barton Francis I silver flatware.  The charger is Spode Vermichelli.  I used this set-up on two of the eight tables in the living room.

The Waterford Simply Blue goblet is filled with a delicious Pear Lemonade, and the Tiffin Chrysanthemum (my invented name for the pattern) is our water goblet.  The sterling cream and sugar is a part of my Grandmother Madden's tea service.

The lovely young lady who provided the chairs, tables, etc., also provided all these darling yellow and gold tea cups and perfect for a Downton Abbey Tea.  Not to mention, I was thrilled not to need to wrap, pack, and convey 54 cups and saucers from my house, in addition to all the china, crystal, and silver.

Three tables featured the Coalport Exotic Bird luncheon plate.  The charger is Mottahedeh Blue Lace.  The lemonade is served in the Waterford Simply Pink goblet, and water is held by the Lalique Trèves goblet, part of my wedding crystal.

  The tablecloths and chairs came from the same rental company that supplied the cups and saucers.  Mo had used them once before for her daughter's wedding reception in their home.  She knew that they would work perfectly in her beautiful living room.

Two more tables were set with this charming Copeland Spode luncheon plate.  It is not marked with a name.  I found 12 of them  on eBay, and I couldn't resist.  It is one of those patterns that works in so many different situations.  I like it a lot!  The charger is Zrike cobalt. 

Two other tables were assembled using the Schumann Empress Dresden Flowers.  The charger is Steelite cobalt.    Here I chose to use my wedding silver flatware, the Reed & Barton Grande Renaissance.  It's hard to believe that I've been using this silver for almost 49 years!  I'd choose it again. 

Have you taken a look at the floral centerpieces?  The florist, New Leaf Florist, researched to learn how centerpieces during the time period would have looked.  They found the size, the shape, and the assortment of flowers that would have been used.  They were absolutely beautiful.

Several of our guests arrived a bit early to take a peek at the tables.

In addition to the 8 tables in the living room, the dining room table was used to seat an additional 6 guests.  As with the other tables, an authentic Downton Abbey tea towel was draped over each chair as a party favor for each attendee.

I hope that you are soaking up all the details in this dining room.  It is absolutely magnificent!

The amazing tablecloth was custom made for this table.  It is a beautiful piece.  Here I chose the Coalport Exotic Bird luncheon plate with the pink rim and the Anna Weatherly scalloped blue charger.  The setting is accented by the AJKA King Louis XIV cobalt goblet and the Tiffin Chrysanthemum goblet.  

 After the plates for the first course were removed, the second course of tea sandwiches and Blue Corn Blinis with avocado cream sauce were served plated from the kitchen on the Coalport Sevres Group luncheon plate.  By the time the plates were presented with the second course for all the tables, I was no longer taking photos.  I was acting as a table hostess.  This photo is from my archives.  The desserts were served on the Castleton dinner plates.

The floral centerpiece for the dining room was presented in Mo's amazing silver epergne.  Wow.  Just.  Wow.

It was a delightful way to spend an afternoon, and...

...we were blessed to raise more than $50,000.00 for the work carried out by City Care.  God was definitely in the details on this day, in this place.  Thanks for stopping by for a visit.

This week I'm joining: