First things first...We are truly blessed to have the means to set a pretty table and invite our friends to join us for good food and fellowship. As the harvest season approaches I am mindful that many are not so fortunate. My daughter has a passion for the work of the Food Bank. As a singer-songwriter, she has written and recorded a song that is the anthem for the world wide Crop Hunger Walk project. Her song, "Raise Your Voice" is featured in their video. I've included a link in the side margin of my blog. I hope that it will encourage you to support projects in your community that contribute to the effort to overcome hunger.
Aunt Ida was a W.A.C. Major during and after World War II. She was an intelligence officer stationed in post war Tokyo. Ida adored Japan; she became fascinated with the culture and the arts of Japan. As a little girl I remember that when she returned to the United States, she brought back many beautiful antique Japanese articles which she purchased while stationed there. They graced her home for many years. Today my sister and I are the blessed caretakers of her personal treasures. One of my favorite legacies from Aunt Ida is a set of six antique chargers. I've always thought of them as Imari, but I really don't know that for sure...I just know that to me they are as beautiful as fine jewels. Because I have so few of them, I can only use them with small groups. This day I felt fortunate to share them with three friends for lunch.
I decided not to use a tablecloth or placemats because I thought that the wrapped rattan base of the McGuire game table became a valuable design element when paired with the Imari Chargers. I also liked the colors of the Persian rug underneath the table in combination with the colors of the plates. The over-sized rattan chargers are from WalMart. When I bought them, they were an amazing $3.86 per charger...deal of the year. Tip: I am an advocate for chargers/service plates for many reasons. I have discovered that one of the benefits of using a charger is that when I use table linens, they rarely become soiled! That extra bit of plate usually catches any drips or spills. I can frequently return them to the linen closet to be used multiple times without needing to be laundered. Makes me a happy camper!
When I bought my flowers at WalMart, I chose colors from the interesting palate found in the chargers. The old cloisonné 'peacock' bowl with carved handles was our precious Nana's. I elevated the centerpiece on an antique oriental base. I always keep an eye open for bases in assorted sizes when I explore estate sales and antique shops. A good base can make even a modest container seem more important. Tip: When I entertain, I usually ask if any of my guests are entertaining in their own homes any time soon. If so, I often send a guest home with the centerpiece to be used again...my kind of recycling.
The dark bamboo handle flatware was a fortunate find from Big Lots. I paid less than $1.00 per piece for them...such a deal! The vintage Madeira napkins were Nana's. I chose them because of the unusual border design. I like that the geometric pattern in the napkin is reflected in the multi-colored 'blades' on the plate. I also thought that it echoed the rings in the flatware handles. For me, the napkin effectively contributed cohesiveness to the design elements in my tablescape.
Nana was an accomplished hostess, and she collected an abundance of beautiful tabletop items during her life. I've always appreciated these Art Deco Lalique tumblers with the palm fronds. Did you notice the palm leaves on the charger? I've never seen these glasses any place else, but I would definitely like to obtain more. Please, let me know if you happen to run across them for sale...or if you happen to know the name of the pattern. The crystal goblet is Rosenthal, "Iris," and is part of my wedding crystal. I chose it for today because the petal in the goblet is replicated in the center blue 'pinwheel' on the plate.
Two of the chargers live as part of the normal vignette on the refectory table in the background. If you look carefully, in front of the charger plate on the right is a cloissoné peacock that matches the centerpiece bowl. It is one of a pair. When they first came to stay with us, I didn't particularly care for them. Over time, I've come to appreciate them, and I now enjoy using them occasionally. They are definitely funky little fellows!
I wanted the design on the charger plate to remain visible throughout the luncheon, so I served the meal on a clear glass dinner plate. You can pick them up for $1.50 each at WalMart. Tip: When I serve on clear plates, I make an effort to serve food that won't become mashed and smeared on the plate. For example, today I served a large salad that featured shrimp, grape tomatoes, and white beans on a bed of baby leaf spinach with hot cheese bread. The plates were pre-served and kept chilled in the refrigerator until everyone was seated.
Lunch is ready, and everyone is prepared to be seated. I wish that you could have joined us today; I'll be happy to set an extra place just for you the next time. I think that you would be a wonderful addition to the conversation.
You can check out KC's music at www.kcclifford.com, on iTunes, and on YouTube. I hope that you'll take a few minutes and give her a listen. You'll also enjoy reading back through her blog on this site. The girl can really write! Her latest CD is called "Orchid."
Thank you, yet again, to Susan at Between Naps on the Porch for hosting her magical meme, "Tablescape Thursday. I'll be linking my post to "Tablescape Thursday. Click on the button below to hop on over and check out the myriad of marvelous tablescape designs, after 9:00 pm on Wednesdays. You'll be glad that you made the trip...it's a wonderful adventure.