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Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Cream of the Crop

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. 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.
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Every once in a while, I am privileged to host an event that is more exciting for me than for the honored guests.  This was one of those occasions. For more than a year, I have been compiling a data base of ladies who lived in my sorority house during my college years.  With the assistance of some dear alumnae, who live near, we issued around 200 invitations for a luncheon to be held in my back yard on Friday, June 17.  The response was fantastic!  We heard from more than 140 sisters, many of whom we had not seen in more than 45 years!  We were blessed that 56 wonderful old friends were able to join us for lunch on the back porch and under the shade tree. They came from all across the country, including Oklahoma, Texas, Arkansas, Missouri, Ohio, California, Colorado, Georgia, Kentucky, Virginia, Florida, and Mexico.  You would have loved the energy and excitement in their voices as they reconnected after so many years apart.  The conversations began anew, as if they had never ended.  I'm still flying high from our magical day!  This day fulfilled all the criterion for 'collecting with a purpose.'


The back porch and the area under the big shade tree served as the perfect spot for seven tables of eight.  The flip-top table tops, of which you've often heard me speak, came in handy once again.


Our invitations featured a black and white cow with the caption, "Let's Reminisce Until the Cows Come Home!"  The guests were invited to join "The Cream of the Crop" of our chapter for an al fresco luncheon.  The small white creamery bottles held a single red Gebera Daisy and were placed at each place setting.  Each lady took home her creamery bottle as a party favor.  The dark rattan chargers on each table were a great bargain at WalMart.  No, I don't own 56 dark rattan chargers.  Yes, I am blessed to co-op these chargers with two friends.  I really liked them with the toile.  The back porch tables were set with Royal Doulton, "RD199" luncheon plates, on Castleton, "Laurel" dinner plates.

Did you know that you can order bulk flowers from Sam's Club Online?  I ordered the Sunflowers and the Gerbera Daisies, and I was able to specify the delivery date.  It was the perfect choice for today because I created 10 centerpieces for our luncheon.

The pastoral motif of the black and white tablecloths were perfect for our theme.  I bought 8 of them on eBay for less than I could rent two of them at our local linen rental shop.
I created the table centerfpieces in black reproduction French wire baskets that I found on clearance at Hobby Lobby a year or so ago.  In addition to the Sunflowers and Gebera Daisies, I used red Spray Roses, white carnations (our sorority flower), and Hypericum berries.

The goblets on each table are Mikasa, "French Countryside", purchased at Dillard's.  There was a bit of wind when I set the tables, so the stemware was presented "Bottoms-up."  Our menu featured a variety of salads and desserts, so a pair of Reed and Barton, "Francis I" forks at each place setting were the only utensils needed for our luncheon.  Hooray for family silver! 


Under the shade tree...


...Looking toward the back porch.

The tables placed in the shade of the tree were set with Castleton, "Laurel" luncheon plates, which belonged to my mother-in-love, on Wedgwood, "Countryware" dinner plates, one of my patterns bought through eBay.


The Pier One white cotton napkins were tied with narrow "Cardinal and Straw" picot ribbons...our sorority colors.

The back yard is ready to receive my precious friends...the women who hold my history....

....the women who, in their victories and in their defeats...

taught me, by example, how to live my life.  I am blessed to get to welcome them into my home.



The dining table is dressed in the same black and white toile found on the tables in the back yard.  I couldn't resist using the Mottahedeh, "Musee d'Arts Decoratif Motifs" tureen with a pair of black tole containers and the Val St. Lambert crystal candlesticks.  Each attendee brought a salad or dessert to share with the others.  It was such a marvelous day.  We plan to meet again in October, 2012.  I wonder how many will be able to come the next time!

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."   Hop on over HERE 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.


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."  It is available on iTunes or through her website.  I hope that you'll give her music a chance.  I know that I have zero objectivity where she is concerned, but I think that you'll fall in love with her music and her!   

37 comments:

Martha said...

It is so much fun to entertain and you do it so well -- beautiful tables and I loved the "cream of the crop" theme and the little cream bottle favors -- how clever!

HHL said...

Hi there visiting from Tablescape Thursdays ... what a fabulous setting and to share it with so many wonderful old friends priceless!!! xo HHL

www.ATTEATUDEandChocolate.blogspot.com

Mid-Atlantic Martha said...

Oh beautiful! I love all the beautiful toile!

Anonymous said...

How wonderful to meet with friends from college. I sure it was a grand time.

FABBY'S LIVING said...

I love this party, such grand festivity with old friends...really, wonderful! I love the china you've used, it's great. Your dining table with the toile and your flowers are just perfect for this lovely setting you've created!! I'm dropping by from Susan's TT. Lots of hugs, FABBY

Marlis said...

Cherry Kay, you are so right. this event is almost more fun for the planner than the attendees. I love the toile with the flowers - and no didn't know i could mass order the flowers.. what a blessing that is to know. Your tables all look so stunning. So beautiful in such a serene setting. many blessings, marlis

Tess said...

What an amazing event and for so many people!! Sometimes I am overwhelmed with my small family. You always do such a beautiful job with any "event" that you post. So glad YOU had such a great time too!

Nancy said...

I love the cheery flowers mixed with the toile...really makes a fun but elegant setting. So pretty! Bet you all had a wonderful time!

Nancy

Pam said...

Your yard is beautiful, the tables are set beautifully and to have 45 old friends visiting is sure special! Wow, what fun!

Thanks so much for coming by my blog and letting me know about possibly getting the store to see if they can order more plates. I would've never thought of doing that. :)

Have a great week!
Pam

Lana K. W. Austin said...

You have outdone yourself! 7 tables of 8 for 56? WOW!!!! I absolutely adore those little creamery bottles! And all of the china, of course! And the toile tablecloths are divine! The flowers are just fabulous! I'm so excited for you to reconnect with those sorority sisters--that's truly amazing that so many could come out, some from so far! You'll have to make it an annual occasion!!!!

Hugs/blessings,
Lana

we three dogs and me said...

What a wonderful thing you have done. Your tables are beautiful. What fun it must have been. Love your tureen with the birds on. It must have been a lot of work. I admire you.

Pat@Back Porch Musings said...

Just simply wow! Gorgeous tables and beautiful setting.

Southerncook said...

Your outdoor luncheon is absolutely over the top. Just so gorgeous and such detail. Love the party favors too. I may borrow the idea sometime.

Carolyn/A Southerners Notebook

FABBY'S LIVING said...

I'm still in awe looking at your patio feast!! I know what you mean, I would've love making and planning these, too. Thank you for coming and for the lovely and generous comment, honey. I would so love to see your designs, or artwork, Cherry Kay. Love, FABBY

The Decorative Dreamer said...

How pretty! I think I remember when you hosted one last year too. I am just amazed at how you were able to coordinate all these lovely tables. Your backyard is so pretty and even more gorgeous with all those beautiful flowers in your centerpieces too! Love it!

~Sara said...

Gorgeous!! Simply Beautiful!! Everything has been put together with such thought, such details. But it looks so simple, beautiful, and comforting. Very nice, I am sure all who attend will be awed by your hospitality. I am chair person of the hospitality committee at my church and you sure have given me lots of inspiration. Thank yo for sharing. Have a blessed day!! ~Sara

Miss Char said...

Beautiful setting and tables. Everything looks simple, without fuss and so inviting. I'm sure the girls are still buzzing about the time spent in your lovely backyard.

Sweetladyelaine said...

You set pretty tables for your friends. I am sure you all had a wonderful time catching up. I loved the theme and how you carried it out. Very,very nice! Thank you for sharing. Blessings My Friend,

bunny The paris house designs said...

Cherry Kay
This is amazing. Such a joy to have planned, I can only imagine! I love the bright happy cheerful flowers paired with the dishes.
I haven't been over to visit in awhile and I'm so happy to have seen this lovely post.
Have a joyous week
xx
Bunny

Pondside said...

That must have been a lovely afternoon. I can just imagine the sound of all the happy reminisces!
Looking at your backyard reminds me so much of the house in which we lived when we were in your city - the brick, the covered bit of the patio and the particular style of fence....a very nice little glimpse of memory lane.

xinex said...

Wow! This is wonderful Cherry Kay. How can you have the energy to serve 56 people formally? I bet everyone had a great time and was so impressed like I am!..>Chrstine

Susan (My Place to Yours) said...

Cherry Kay, you definitely have the gift of hospitality! What a lovely event you hosted for your sisters. The black and white toile was such a great choice - and the cow/cream theme is delightful!

Jeanne Selep said...

Thank you for identifying my china pattern for me as Schumann Empress Dresden Flowers. The back of the plate doesn't say a name. Your blog looks nice, I have seen posts on it before.

http://jeanneselep.blogspot.com/2011/06/4th-of-july-hutch.html

Kathleen said...

It looks wonderful! I love the tablecloths, great deal! What a lovely luncheon. Thank God the weather co operated. I am always afraid of that. I did a party for 100 in the yard when my son graduated from Law School. We did all the food too, filet mignon, loins of pork, the whole deal. I was so worried about the weather, I couldn't have fit them all under the tent!
Did you have a plan B?

Jacqueline said...

Cherry Kay how charming! I didn't know you could order bulk flowers on line! You gave us all a great tip there. Your black and white toile is fantastic and those polka dot placemats are so perfect. What a wonderful event. I would love to see old college friends and find out what they are doing. I am glad you are meeting again, that will be even more fun. You are an amazing hostess and what a crowd you can handle.

william said...

This is absolutely fabulous and such a joy, Cherry Kay! You are the best!

Francie

Linda (More Fun Less Laundry) said...

Your setting is beautiful and the tables are amazing! Love the color scheme--I never would have thought of it. Also love the cow theme! hehehe I'm planning my college reunion party now and we are trying to think of a theme--it's hard. Hope you have another successful party. Please be sure to share it with us! Linda

Alycia Nichols said...

I remember this beautiful set-up!!! Sigh!!!!!!!! So pretty and colorful, and I still just love the brightly colored Gerbera daisies with the black & white toile! When I see your back porch I just want to faint, cry, scream, and cheer all at once!!! I'm so glad you get such extensive and great use out of your back yard! Wishing you good times and lots of love on your upcoming luncheon. (Wishing you love because you sure don't need luck. You've got TALENT and GOOD TASTE on your side!)

xinex said...

Your sorority sisters are very lucky to have you, Cherry Kay! This is so beautiful. You sure are the hostess with the mostest!....Christine

The Tablescaper said...

What a lovely luncheon. So beautiful.

- The Tablescaper

Happy Cottage Quilter said...

Wow what beautiful elegant tables! What a wonderful way to visit with old friends. Very stunning.

Jocelyn @
http://justalittlesouthernhospitality.blogspot.com/

Monica @ Texas Fiesta Ware Fan said...

You created such beautiful tables. My favorite piece is your tureen!

The Tablescaper said...

Great to have you at Seasonal Sundays.

- The Tablescaper

Sarah said...

Cherry Kay, what a beautiful setting for a celebration with friends from years past. You are the ultimate hostess! Every detail is perfection. Eager to see what you do for this year's gathering.
Had to smile when I saw the cardinal and straw.....another thing we share in common.....we are sisters......Sarah

Zuni, Chickadee Home Nest said...

Lovely as alwyas, Cherry Kay. Thanks for all the details and tips of where you got your goodies. Were you referring to a brand new baby arrival in September?? If so, congratulations and best wishes on one of life's greatest, most rewarding experiences. ~Zuni

Magnolia Cottage said...

What a beautiful setting for a party! I love the black & white toile table clothes and your floral center pieces are gorgeous. Simply fabulous! Thanks for sharing.
Lisa

Kathleen said...

Loved seeing this again!
Hope all is going well.
I am getting into baking and centerpiece mode. Eamon's Baptism Sun., and then a reception for 100 afterwards. I am getting to old to do all of this!