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Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Private Quarters

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.

My precious daughter, KC, asked me to help her host a Private Quarters party, last night in my home, for her friend Alee, a consultant.  KC and I had so much fun designing the table to serve a light buffet supper for our guests.  Private Quarters is an in-home business that markets some beautiful linens for the home.

KC is such a wonderful 'girly-girl.'  It was great fun to give her free reign to poke through my china closets and choose the items that she wanted to use for her party.  

Dusk was upon us, and I enjoyed the opportunity to entertain in the glow of lovely candlelight.  The base for our table is a Williams-Sonoma Matelassé Tablecloth.  I'm a huge fan of matelassé; I think that it bridges the entire spectrum of entertaining from casual to formal.  If you are only going to have one tablecloth, I encourage you to strongly consider matelassé.


KC selected the Mottahhedeh "Musée de Decoratif" tureen for our centerpiece.  The tureen is flanked by two pair of crystal lidded compotes from Tuesday Morning. As our source of candlelight, we used small pink votives and the Val St. Lambert crystal candlesticks.  Tip:  I like the light effects when the candlelight comes from high and low sources.  It a great technique for maximizing the "sparkle factor."

I sent our selection of flowers from Sam's home with KC.  She also took two of my peg nappies, and she created these lovely arrangements which were set in a pair of crystal candlesticks. For our light supper, we offered our guests a Spinach Salad, Bruschetta, Chicken Salad, and Iced Sugar Cookies from The Cookie Princess.  Check out her amazing creations HERE.  

I'm impressed with KC's skills...we're both amateurs with a passion for flowers. Tip:  I layered a small white linen tablesquare with pink embellishments (a Christmas gift from my dear friend, Janet) between the white of the matelassé and the white of the tureen.  It provided just enough of the pink to keep the tureen from visually fading into the tablecloth.

The spinach salad was served in Nana's salad bowl by Dorothy Thorpe.  Dorothy Thorpe was a California artist who created beautiful pieces during the 30's and 40's.  The silver pieces belonged to my mother-in-love.  They are Reed & Barton, "Francis I."  

The Bruschetta was served on a Dorothy Thorpe tray, a companion to the salad set.  Haviland, "Ranson" held the Chicken Salad.  A small pink Fenton, "Coin Dot Ruffle" bowl was a nice pop of pink and held my all-time favorite salad dressing, La Martinique, True French Vinagrette.  Give it a try; I think that you'll love it!

I sent the Cookie Princess an email with a picture of the dinner plates that KC selected for the evening.  I told her to use her imagination, and she created these....which I think are perfect for...
...the Royal Doulton, "Old Chelsea" dinner plates, an eBay purchase... and the vintage pink linen napkins, estate sale treasures.

KC chose to use my wedding silver flatware, Reed & Barton, "Grande Renaissance."

The pearlized pink goblets from Pier One provided a good shot of pink for the far end of the table.  I'm always comfortable with guests walking around with these stems because I bought them on deep clearance for $1.00 each, a number of years ago.  The silver champagne bucket belonged to Nana....our sweet, "hostess with the mostest" in her day.

Everything was ready for our guests to arrive.  We had a wonderful time learning about the Private Quarters line of beautiful linens.  I feel confident to encourage you to check them out!  I'd love to know if you have favorite items from Private Quarters.  I bought the feather bed!  I can hardly wait for it to arrive.  Some evening, I hope that you can join me for a time of good food and good fellowship.

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 HERE 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.



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, February 16, 2011

Hen Party

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.

After two blizzards over the past two weeks, I was so excited to be with my Garden Friends Bible Study once again.    To celebrate our reunion, I invited them to stay after Bible study for "A Hen Party."  Fare featured homemade Chicken Noodle Soup, Chicken Chili, and Chicken Salad....do you see a theme here?!

A table for ten was in order for today's "dine and dash" luncheon.  I knew that because I was featuring a variety of chicken recipes today that I wanted to feature my Fitz and Floyd chicken tureen and individual chicken ramekins.

I've had the chickens for many years...probably more than thirty years.  A long, long time ago, we used to be one of the owners of a gift store called "Applefields."  It featured fine cookware, Dansk, Fitz & Floyd, and many other tabletop lines.  I never worked there, but I took full advantage of an owner's discount.  My poultry collection was one of my favorite acquisitions....I collected chickens before chickens were cool.

Mama Chicken takes stage center today.  She is flanked by a pair of inexpensive estate sale find, blue & white import vases filled with a casual grouping of roses and tulips.  Tip:  My "casual" bouquets really aren't that casually constructed.  I didn't have enough flowers to fill the vases...allowing the flowers to hold each other in place...so I stuffed a chunk of Oasis into the throat of the vase and placed my stems "just so" to use the space effectively.  You might have observed that I wired the tulips.  For today, I wanted them to 'stand at attention' instead of drooping over the rim.  To either side of Mrs. Chicken, I placed a pair of Coalport, Blue and White Decanters.  I see these decanters frequently on eBay.  They can be bought quite reasonably; I think that they were originally limited edition bottles for some brand of liquor...works for me.

My choice of flowers was dictated by this neat old tablecloth.  It features a cross-stitch and embroidered pattern of florals, done by hand.  The reticulated design running down the center of the table is crocheted.  This belonged to my grandmother Madden, but I don't know if she personally stitched the piece.  She liked to do hand work, and I'm guessing that this is her creation...but I can't be certain.

You saw the Royal Cauldon square plate last week on my Valentines tablescape.  Today, I liked the way that its embossed edge picked up the crocheted design in the tablecloth and  the lace corner of the linen napkin, one of our treasures from sweet Nana.  The Spode, "Wildflower" dinner plate is another example of the benefits that can come from dropping by estate sales during the last hour.  These sell for $60. 00++ on Replacements.  I brought them home for $5.00 per plate.  Yes, my chest was just a bit puffed up.

My everyday stainless, Towle, "Antique Bead" was perfect for soup and salad.  I bought the set of silver plate cream soups recently on eBay.  I don't know the maker, but they were a useful purchase.  The blue pressed glass butter dome was a birthday gift.  It's new; I don't know who made it, either.

When I want to achieve a maximum effect with a minimum of flowers, I often march a variety of miniature containers  down the center of the table.  In a former life, the small blue & white 'pots' were votive candleholders.  I bought them with the idea that they could become great mini-floral containers.  Today I paired my new Mikasa, "French Countryside" goblets with cobalt and clear stemmed goblets from The Dollar Tree.  Tip:  I had seen these goblets at Dollar Tree, but when I wanted to purchase them, they were no longer available.  I asked the manager if there was a way to obtain them.  He gave me the phone number for the distribution center.  I called them, and they shipped them to me.  I can't remember if they shipped them directly to me or to the store.  It was not a big ordeal, and I was thrilled to have them.  Just sayin'....

It was a bright and sunny 78º here today...perfect weather to gather with precious friends for Bible study, good food, and treasured fellowship.  I hope that someday you'll be able to join us at the table.  

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  HERE 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.

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, February 8, 2011

S'No Two, Too

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.

This evening, as I begin my post for this week's tablescape, the snow has begun falling ever so gently...yet again.  This afternoon I set a Valentine's table for the Garden Friends.  After our weekly Bible study, I planned for us to share a simple lunch of homemade Chicken Noodle Soup and Spinach Salad, but I think that the 9 - 12 inches of snow that the weathermen are predicting will necessitate another cancellation.  It is a bonus blessing that I shall be able to share my design with my bevy of beautiful blog buddies.  (Do you like alliteration?  I just couldn't resist.)

Because I didn't know how many to expect for lunch, I set the table for six at the game table in the living room.  My handy dandy flip-top table top was a welcome tool, once again.  I decided that I could add additional place settings or even an extra table if necessary.  Today, flexibility needed to be the 'name of the game.'

I knew that I wanted to play with pink and green for today's table, and I was excited to use this green/floral cotton tablecloth.  It's been hanging in my tablecloth closet for quite a while.  I bought it for under $20.00 on eBay, less than it would have cost to buy the fabric and make it myself.  Tip:  I search eBay regularly for special tablecloths.  If I find a good deal on something wonderful, I'll buy it even though I have no idea how I'll use it.  I know that eventually, I'll find the perfect application for it.  This tablecloth is a wonderful illustration of that philosophy.  I usually search for cloths that are 90" to 120".  I find that they are the most adaptable to a variety of needs.

A number of years ago, my life revolved around delivering and retrieving our children from assorted sports practices, and attending multiple games every week.  Much of our entertaining involved suppers and parties for their teams each season...my specialty was "Make Your Own Taco" feasts.  I eventually reached the point that I was determined to have a set of 'girly' dishes because I wanted to entertain my lady friends.  I bought these handmade heart shape dishes at a local gourmet shop.  I don't use them often, anymore; but I still enjoy them, and they are perfect at least once a year for Valentine's celebrations.


For a charger plate, I used a large square Royal Cauldon embossed dinner plate.  These were a gift from my precious friend,Cindy @ http://www.moredesigningwomen.blogspot.com.  The flatware is L'Argent, "Sophia," a Tuesday Morning purchase.  Although I haven't seen them at Tuesday Morning for a number of months, they are still available through Horchow...for the same price.  The napkins were an inexpensive estate sale find...they are a heavy cotton.  I had originally chosen a light pink damask napkin with a geometric border, but they seemed to 'float' off of the table.  I think that the 'weight' of the stronger color is much more effective. 

I created my main floral centerpiece in the base of a Fitz & Floyd "Bunny Tureen,"  that originally belonged to my mother-in-love.  Once again, I liked the strong shade of pink because of the weight that it brought to the tablescape.  Have you noticed how it 'pops' the pink in the stylized tulips on the stoneware?  The flowers, from Sam's, of course, were the ones that I never used for S'NO BLEU TODAY because of last week's blizzard.  They are actually on their last legs, poor things.  I may have a table full of petals by tomorrow morning.

  While poking through an antique store, I found the 'shabby chic' pair of obelisks for $10.00.  I have a vision of entwining ivy in them...at some point...today, they are my source of candlelight.  The pair of small ruby glass tulipieres were $4.00 at the end of an estate sale.  Do you see the small lamb tucked in at the base of the centerpiece?  That is my 'conceit' for the day...it was a Valentine's gift from a long forgotten boyfriend when I was in high school...pure sweetness.

I've obtained so much mileage out of these Pier One pearlized goblets.  They were purchased a number of years ago for $1.00 per stem on deep clearance.  I keep checking, hoping that they'll decide to stock this goblet again.  I'll definitely pick up some extras.

I'm so glad that you could drop by for my luncheon.  It would have been extremely lonely here today without your blessed company at my table.  After lunch, we'll cozy up by the fireplace and have a good visit over a hot cup of tea or coffee.

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.






I'm joining Candy at The Little Round Table for The Colors of Love blog party.  Thank you to Candy and the Dish Divas for sponsoring this event.  Click HERE to check out all the fun for yourself.

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, February 1, 2011

S'No Bleu Today

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 set the game table last night for lunch with my Garden Friends after our Bible Study tomorrow.  Some of the Garden Friends are currently out of town, so I prepared a table of eight for a simple meal.  I invited them to join me for chicken chili, jalapeno corn bread, spinach salad, and lemon cake.  It was starting to snow as I laid the table.  This morning when I arose, it was apparent that we were in the midst of a bonafide blizzard.  The bitter cold weather and two to four foot high drifts will be here for at least a few more days, and this has become the "luncheon that wasn't."  Despite the change in plans, I wanted to share my tablescape with my blog friends.  For this table, I've returned to my first love...blue and white.

    As much as I adore my dining room, I always enjoy small groups gathered around the game table in our living room.  The flip-top tabletop has been added to accommodate a party of eight.  Round tables are wonderfully conducive to good conversation during a shared meal.

I laid the foundation for my table with a Waverly blue and white toile tablecloth, an eBay purchase.  Simple  white cotton napkins from Pier One were purchased on deep clearance several years ago.  I took the opportunity to buy four dozen of these napkins for pennies on the dollar.  They are wash and wear and come in handy for large groups.

One of my favorite tablescaping strategies is to use a dinner plate as a charger.  Today I put the Burleigh Blue Willow, one of our everyday patterns, to work as an anchor....


...under the Meissen "Blue Onion," luncheon plate.  Tip:  I often purchase quantities of assorted luncheon plates.  They increase my tablescaping options exponentially.  With a luncheon plate, any good sized dinner plate can become a charger.  The "Blue Onion" is my latest estate sale find.  Tip:  Our estate sales will usually cut prices by up to 75% during the last hour of the last day.  I frequently go early and scope out special items for which I'm unwilling to pay the full asking price.  I'm willing to roll the dice and go back during that last hour to learn if the objects of interest are still available.  I am frequently successful.  Give it a try!

My centerpiece is the Burleigh, "Blue Willow" tureen, a gift from Sweet Mister many years ago.  The pink nosegays are faux...just intended to add color for my post.  The fresh flowers are chilling in the refrigerator in the garage.  Once I knew that there would be "S'No Blue Luncheon" tomorrow, I decided to postpone creating my floral arrangements.  Hopefully, I'll have the opportunity to welcome dear friends to my table before the weekend passes...always the optimist!

The pair of Coalport decanters, an eBay purchase, serve double duty.  They contribute to the centerpiece design, and I fill them with fresh drinking water as a convenience for my guests.


The Fenton, "Empress" cobalt goblet is paired with an unmarked black amethyst goblet for water and wine.  The L'Argent, "Sophia" flatware completes the place setting.  Did you notice the miniature blue and white tureen just above the goblets?  My dear friend Marsha gave me a pair of these for my birthday.  She found them at Nell Hill's in Kansas City.  I think that they'll be perfect for serving butter or maybe as a salt cellar.  I wish that I had more of them.  

Sooooo...here I am...all dressed up and no where to go...certainly not the worst problem that one could face...not a problem at all, really.  If you happen to be out tomorrow on your cross-country skis or hiking in your snow shoes, slide on over.  I think that it will be a great day for that chicken chili, and I'll warm you up with a hot cup of cocoa or a steaming chai latte!  I'll keep an eye out for you.

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.



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!