Do you ever long for the opportunity to return to a simpler, low-stress time, when life moved at a slower pace? When I need to decompress from the madness of life in this new millennium, I like to invite some close friends to join me at the table for a modest bowl of homemade chicken noodle soup, hot bread, and dessert. It's amazing how time seems to be suspended for a few hours as we share fellowship and a simple meal. I highly recommend it; a shared meal with friends is good for the soul!
My huband and I learned long ago that we both live well with blue and white. As a child, my dolls under the Christmas tree were always dressed in blue, and my sister's dolls were always dressed in pink. My Mama and Daddy understood my affinity for blue long before I did. The plates are Burleigh Blue Willow, an English Transferware that is still available on the secondary market. They are one of my sets of 'everyday dishes,' and we've had them for many years. We use them regularly. This set was a gift, over a period of several birthdays and Christmas holidays, from my mother-in-love. She would ask me what I wanted her to start for me 'next,' and it was usually a set of wonderful dishes. She couldn't have given me a better gift!
For a simple, 'come on over for lunch,' get together, I try to keep my centerpiece somewhat simplified. I often use a large tureen in the center of the table in lieu of a floral centerpiece. Crystal decanters placed in several spots on the table are perfect for wine, water, or tea. Guests are comfortable pouring refills for themselves. Placemats also add to the relaxed ambience. These are Royal Fieldcrest, and I bought them for pennies in an eBay auction. Yay, eBay!
The multi-colored wine goblets are AJKA 'Arabella.' I bought twelve many years ago at Tuesday Morning Mall, and I wish that I had bought more. They are very versatile. The crystal goblets are Cash Crystal, 'Sutton Place.' I bought them for a song on eBay. They are quite large, and they work well for water, tea, or a great huge glass of wine. The candlesticks are my old friends, the Val St. Lambert.
A couple of bundles of yellow tulips plopped in the blue & white export fish bowls add a pop of contrasting color, while fulfilling my goal to 'keep it simple!' You can never go wrong with tulips. Did you know that you can poke a small hole (think toothpick) through the stem, just below the blossom, and the tulip will remain upright, instead of drooping? I was a very happy camper when I learned that trick.
I saw a picture of Hungarian painted eggs in a book. I immediately decided, "I can do that!" I went to Michael's and bought several sacks of artificial eggs. The shells look and feel authentic, but they have a kind of foam interior. I mounted them on a skewer, stuck them in foam to hold them still and started painting. I used acrylic paints, and I finished them with a coat of satin finish varnish. I've used them a number of times. I think that they'll last for years! I liked them with the Lalique Roosters that once belonged to Nana, my husband's grandmother. The white napkins were purchased on clearance at Pier One. I tied them with assorted patterns of blue and white ribbons and placed them just above the Reed & Barton Grande Renaissance silver. The reticulated compotes were an inexpensive purchase from Hobby Lobby.
The soup's ready. I've about decided to switch to a clear crystal wine glass. Hmm. What do you think? This one is part of my wedding crystal, Lalique, Treves. Come, take a seat, please. I'd love for you to sit right next to me, and we can get to know each other better...and plan a beautiful table together. Such fun!