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Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Amethyst and Toile

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.


Today I was blessed to host my treasured Garden Friends Bible Study, as we celebrated two precious January birthday girls.  I had such a good time creating my tablescape.  I was operating outside of my normal comfort zone, and I decided that I need to embrace such opportunities more frequently.  The color of the day was yellow...definitely not one of my "go-to" colors...but hey, I could learn to love it.

My inspiration for today's table was the yellow, cream, and gray toile tablecloth.  I bought a lot of them on eBay this fall, primarily to use on the back porch when I'm hosting larger groups and want at least three tables.  This is actually two tablecloths that I have layered. 

To disguise the spot where the two tablecloths intersected, I laid an antique lace square that belonged to Nana in the center of the table.  I like the texture of the lace against the furls and garlands in the pattern of the toile, and the cream color added a soft, romantic touch.

My second inspiration for this design was this old Mottahedeh Tureen, called "Lady Attended by Cupids."  I thought that it was a natural choice to use with the toile tablecloth.  It was an eBay auction 'win', and I won't even tell you what an amazing 'get' I scored on this neat old piece.  Some things are just best left unspoken.

The remaining components for my centerpiece included my faithful stand-by Val St. Lambert crystal candlesticks.  If you think that they would work well for you, I see them pop up on eBay periodically.  I interspersed them with a pair of estate sale black tole containers.

I 'planted' the jardinieres with purple crocus purchased from the grocery store for $6.99 each.  I chose the purple because it is the complimentary color for yellow, and because the crocus was wonderful...

...with the AJKA "Arabella" amethyst wine goblets.  I also really liked that the shape of the goblet ...

...closely resembled the form of the crocus blossom.  Tip:  Repetition in elements like color, shape, texture, and pattern can be a very effective design technique.

The amethyst wines were paired with my wonderful new Mikasa "French Countryside" goblets.  We finally reached the point where we had to replace our everyday goblets.  I've been impressed with the optic design and weight of the "French Countryside" for some time.  This is a goblet that rests extremely comfortably in the hand, and it is a generous size.  Sweet Mister appreciates the 'heft' of this glass.  We bought the large goblet which holds 18 ounces, and this, the medium size goblet holds 15 ounces.  It is also available in a smaller wine goblet.  I haven't made a decision about the wine glass, yet.  I am pleased that my lovely Mikasa stem will work on so many levels...like that perfect dress that you can wear to work and then go directly out for a fancy evening on the town.

The vintage heavy linen and organdy monogrammed napkin belonged to my mother-in-law.  There is a gorgeous large banquet cloth that matches; I could envision using it, instead of the toile, for a dinner party with couples.  The sterling flatware is my wedding silver, Reed and Barton, "Grande Renaissance."  Forty-two years later, I would still choose this pattern.  I thoroughly enjoy it every single time that I use it.  Tip:  I highly encourage you brides-to-be to register for sterling flatware.  Although you may not use it very much in the early years of your marriage, the day will come when your husband or you need to bring home clients, a boss, or someone else for whom you will want to lay a table using your best things.  Silver is definitely expensive, but as a gift...one spoon, fork, or knife at a time...it's not hard to accumulate a service.  Down the road, trying to afford a complete set at the same time that you are supporting a family with children, can be very overwhelming...potentially out of the realm of possibility.

The starring role for today's luncheon went to my Oxford Bone China by Lenox, "Filagree."  "Filagree" is my wedding china.  Have you noticed how most young brides choose china with a platinum rim?  Although I now lean toward gold accents, at the time, I chose silver, too.  I love this pattern with the toile and with the design on the tureen.  I anchored the dinner plate with an acrylic black charger from Hobby Lobby.  I get a whole lot of mileage out of these chargers, and they are only $1.99 each, available in assorted colors.

As a finishing touch, I topped the dinner plate with a Haviland "Ranson" luncheon plate.  I adore the element of the double ruffle on the rim of the plate.  Tip:  Remember that the French manufacturers luncheon plates are often 8 1/2", smaller than English or American 9 - 9 1/2" luncheon plates.  The French version allows a greater portion of the design on the dinner plate to show...doesn't hold as much food, but it's really pretty.

It's a gorgeous, sunny January day here with temperatures in the 60's.  I can hardly wait for my cherished Garden Friends to gather around my table.  I can already hear the joyous conversation and laughter.  I relish the thought that someday...some way... I can have you seated at my table, too.

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  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.
For Tablescape Thursday, click HERE 



I'm excited to link my post to Masterpiece Mondays for the first time.  Click the button to hop over to Boogie Board Cottage and join the fun!

Boogieboard Cottage

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!  





  









Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Baby Blues

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.


I was truly blessed by all of your kind comments for last week's post, "Shower of Thankfulness, HERE.  I'm currently planning a birthday luncheon for the Garden Friends for next week, so tonight I'll delve back into my archives and share a baby shower that I enjoyed creating.  The guest of honor was Emily, the daughter of my dear friend Marsha, and it took place on a chilly Sunday afternoon in November.

 As our guests arrived to celebrate the coming birth of a precious baby boy, they were given a cup of French Hot Chocolate served in an assortment of my Haviland demitasse cups.  The large silver urn was a birthday gift from my sweet sister.  The pair of crystal lustres belonged to our precious Nana.  I used a blue matelasse cloth to cover Nana's wonderful old English tea cart.  For the party, the cart made the trip from its normal home in the breakfast room to the foyer.

Tip:  Sunday afternoon is my favorite time to host a shower for ladies.  They've eaten lunch, and it's too early for dinner.  I find this to be the most economical time to host a shower, and it's easy to come up with a delicious but low stress menu.  My table for this type of party will usually feature a fruit dish, a cheese offering, a vegetable choice, maybe a meat, and a selection of sweets....lots of sweets...I. Like. Sweets!  Today all of the goodies are showcased on a tablecloth that I made.

The jardinieres were purchased on clearance from Michael's.  I bought these several years ago, but I found some that are very similar in a cream color, just a few weeks ago at Hobby Lobby.  Tip:  I really like pretty ribbon, and I think that it's possible to get a lot of design mileage by simply tying an assortment of ribbons to candlesticks, etc.  I created the trio of white carnation topiaries for my centerpiece.  I think that carnations are quite the underrated flower.  They are inexpensive, they are fragrant, they last a long time, and I think that they are charming.  The tall crystal compotes add a reflective element to the table.

I think that Hypericum Berries always add a nice finishing touch to a centerpiece.  Today I used my "go-to"  Val St. Lambert candlesticks.

For the buffet, I filled a pair of matching vases with Stargazer Lilies from Sam's.  The plates are Haviland, "Ranson."   Between the vases, I nestled our hostess gift for the mommy-to-be...

...a fabulous Advent Calendar, filled with small toys for the baby's first Christmas.  Tip:  When hosting a shower, I like to integrate the hostess gift into the design of my tablescape.  Another one of my favorite hostess gifts is a custom "Moses Basket" filled with flowers for the table.  At the end of the party, the guest of honor can take home her gift as well as some beautiful flowers.


A trio of lacy white covered pedestals features darling iced sugar cookies from The Cookie Princess....


...and a variety of yummy goodies are ready for our guests.  I hear the door bell; I'd love for you to be one of the guests walking through the door to share this marvelous day.  It's going to be a great party!

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  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.
For Tablescape Thursday, click HERE


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!


  



   


Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Shower of Thankfulness

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.


Last week at this time, I was fully engaged in preparations for a luncheon for 120.  Veronica, the bride-to-be, wanted to have a Friday luncheon to shower her friends with thankfulness as she prepared to walk down the aisle on Saturday morning.  My precious daughter and I stepped in to organize the catered luncheon, which was held in the pavilion building of a local church.

We decided that each table of eight would be set with a different china pattern and chose to feature primarily pinks, blues, and golds.  Much of the day on Thursday was spent in my kitchen creating the floral arrangements.  We were allowed to have access to the building on Friday night, so we transported the dinnerware after 9:00 PM.

The next morning at 7:00 AM, we were back at the pavilion putting everything in its proper place.  The caterers provided flatware, stemware, and napkins to be used with my china and floral centerpieces.  We rented celadon tablecloths to provide continuity from table to table.  The flowers were done in my Lenox urns and in 8 reticulated creamware vases that I bought on clearance a few years ago at Michael's.  Friday evening the centerpieces were used, yet again, for the rehearsal dinner.

Everyone seemed to have a marvelous time.  I wanted to share photos of the tables with you for Tablescape Thursday.  Obviously, with this many tables, it's a photo intensive post.


For the bride's table, we chose Copeland Spode, "Jewel" with the "Jewel, Heath & Rose" luncheon plate.  It reminds me of lace...like we would see in a wedding gown.  I collected my "Jewel" over a period of time on eBay. 

We set two tables with my Wedgwood, "Albion," on the "Corinthian" blank.  It is also an eBay find.

I was able to buy a service for 12 plus numerous serving pieces in this Bernardaud Limoges, "Artois, Green."  It was a fantastic get, and I adore it.


  Nana's lovely treasures are represented today, too.  This gold encrusted plate is Limoges, "Dresden Flower," from the 1920's.


Stouffer Studios were located in Chicago.  They were known for their excellent gold decoration on china.  This was another eBay find.  They are one of my favorites...I have LOTS of favorites!

Guests always seem to really enjoy the Schumann, "Empress, Dresden Flowers."  A service for 10, plus numerous serving and accent pieces, were another amazing get from a local Haviland dealer.

I bought these through eBay.  They look a great deal like Nana's Limoge "Dresden Flower," but they are marked "Guaranteed 22 Karat Gold" on the back.  I thought that they would work well with Nana's plates.

 Another eBay purchase, I bought Castleton, "Empire, Blue," to coordinate with my mother-in-love's wedding china, Castleton, "Laurel."  Castleton, an American china company, came to prominence after the beginning of World War II in Europe in 1938, made it impossible for brides to obtain French and English china.

Copeland Spode, "Luneville,"  such a fresh, pretty pattern....another eBay find.  Did I tell you that I really like eBay?

This is one of my favorite "Nana" patterns...Haviland, "Medallion."  That's my name for it.  I have no idea what it's really called.  For this luncheon, we set two tables with this pattern.

Two more eBay goodies....I layered a Coalport, "Sevres Group," over Wedgwood, "Countryware."  Did you notice the Pottery Barn "Hour Glass" party favors...they represented God's Perfect Timing for this marriage.  

 And one final pattern from today...again from our dear Nana.  This one is by Royal Sutherland.  I don't know the name of this gold encrusted china, but it is so lovely.  Yeaaaaaa for Nana!

The dessert table featured a Pottery Barn Champagne Bucket that the bride would later give as a gift to the groom.  I bought the flowers from Sam's.  Cupcakes were from Cuppies and Joe, a local shop.

My precious daughter created this centerpiece for the bride's table.  We gave it to her as a hostess gift from the two of us.

I pick up these Lenox Urns occasionally at estate sales.  They are an incredibly useful shape.

I found these reticulated containers on clearance at Michael's.  Tip:  I use a clear glass custard cup as a liner...works perfectly!

It was a wonderful opportunity to share my passion for china by designing the tablescapes for this special day.  Wouldn't it be a dream if all of us could one day sit down together and share a lunch...wow...can you just imagine the party that we could all create!  Now that would be a party for the ages!

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. 
To visit Between Naps on the Porch, clickHERE


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!