I Have a Seat at My Table Reserved Just For You!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Blue²

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 really thought seriously about creating a tablescape using something other than blue this week...after all, I gave  you a serving of blue last week.  But...I just couldn't help myself.  I'd been moving ideas around in my head for this design for quite awhile, and I wanted to strike while the iron was hot.  Today the Garden Friends Bible study group celebrated our March and April birthday girls...do we ever quit calling ourselves 'girls'?  I hope not.  Although last week was lovely...sunny and warm, this week has been unseasonably cold and quite gray.  Weather like this always makes me think of Heathcliff calling across the moors, "Cathy, come back, Cathy!"  I actually like hazy gray days; I find them rather mysterious and romantic....but I digress.



Come on in, my bloggy friends.  There's a lot to explore today.  I just completed the preparations for my precious Garden Friends; there will be ten of us for lunch after we have our Bible study.

The Williams-Sonoma white-on-blue Edwardian motif/toile tablecloth is a recent ebay get.  I don't know how I missed this when it was in production at the WS store, but I'm really glad that I did because I bought it for less than half of its original price.  Woohoo!
This tablecloth is my inspiration for today.  I am a huge fan of the lifestyle books by Carolyne Roehm.  In her book At Home with Carolyne Roehm,  she shared a wonderful table using a magnificent white-on-blue toile matelasse cloth.  I looked for that tablecloth for years, but alas, my search never proved fruitful.  I was thrilled to find this one; it achieves virtually the same look.

 I opted to refrain from using a large cobalt charger today.  I wanted to highlight the contrast between the cloth and the bright white of the Wedgwood, "Countryware" dinner plate, an eBay purchase.  I made the same design choice when I laid out the Argent, "Sophia"  flatware, Tuesday Morning and Horchow.  I didn't want them to be 'swallowed' by the intense motif in the tablecloth.

  You originally saw the Miessen, "Blue Onion" luncheon plate when I posted about one of two back-to-back luncheons canceled because of snow storms.  I thought that it was a natural choice for today.  I like that many of the design elements in my cloth can be found in this wonderful old plate.  The "Blue Onion" plates were one of my last day/last hour, 75% off, estate sale finds.  Atop the luncheon plate, sits a simple Pier One cotton napkin held by a Coalport, "Countryware" napkin ring.  Remember, when Coalport went out of business, its molds were obtained by Wedgwood.  Coalport originally produced the "Countryware", and Wedgewood continued the exact same pattern for a number of years.  Both are still available on the secondary market.  Tip:  You'll pay about half as much for the Wedgwood as for the Coalport.  Just sayin'... :-)

Back for an encore appearance this week, the over-sized Godinger, "Sutton Place", goblet, yet another eBay purchase, adds a classic touch to my design.  I've paired it with...

...this smaller, unidentified etched goblet.  This stemware was another estate sale find.  Tip:   Around here, it is possible to leave a bid on most items in estate sales.  At the end of the first day, of a two-day sale, the vendor will call the high bidder on items that didn't sell at the original asking price.  I generally offer $5 - $10 over half of the asking price.  I get a lot of calls!  Just ask the person at the cash register if they accept bids!

Does anyone recognize this goblet...the maker, please?  Bill, Mr. Affordable Accoutrements, do you know anything about this wonderful old stem?  I was able to buy 20 of them...so excited!

Now obviously, no one would accuse me of going minimalist with today's table.  Still, I did restrain myself by using only one color for the floral arrangements in the centerpieces.  Sam's provided the yellow mums.

The large Burleigh, "Blue Willow" bowl is flanked by an inexpensive pair of blue and white import bowls that I picked up at an estate sale for $4.00...last day, last hour.  I'm telling you, people!  You're missing out if you're not at the good sales at the end.  The white ceramic birds were bought on clearance at Michael's.  I placed a small tweetie at each place setting.  Three larger birds flank the centerpiece.

To complete the centerpiece, I interspersed white porcelain candlesticks between the floral pieces.  The taller pair are Coalport, "Countryware".  The smaller pair are Rosenthal; I can't remember the name of the pattern.  Both were eBay finds.  The salt and peppers are Coalport, "Countryware".
  

As a finishing touch, I filled a pair of old Lenox vases with Sam's Dutch Iris. Many of you have inquired about the silver pieces on the buffet.  The Barker-Ellis candleabras and the Towle, "Lafayette", tea service all originally belonged to our dear Nana.  The pair of Lalique, "Le Coq", also belonged to her.  The buffet is an antique French piece, purchased locally.

For the candlelight photography fans.  I'm working on a steep learning curve here.

I think that I've taken care of all the details.  If I've missed something, no one will know unless I tell them.  Lunch will feature Chicken Tetrazzini, a big green salad, fresh berries, Italian Garlic Bread, and Harvey Wallbanger Cake.

"Little Charlie Dickens", my four-pound Yorkshire Terrorist is watching for our guests to arrive.  Some of our friends fondly call him "Door Bell"  He'll alert me as you approach the front porch.  We can hardly wait to share food and fellowship with you 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, March 22, 2011

Al Fresco Blue

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 know that we are all so glad that it is officially Spring!  I, for one, can hardly wait to entertain on the back porch.  Although the shade grass still sports its perennial green, the Bermuda grass still looks like straw, and it will be another month or so until the rose bushes are in bloom.  Nonetheless, sunny and in the 70's means it's time to go outside for lunch!  On this day, I invited a small group of friends for a simple meal of soup and salad.

The blue and white stripe tablecloth was the result of a 'going out of business' sale at one of our local Hancock's.  The fabric is a Sunbrella type material that I picked up for less than $5.00 per yard.  I've always wished that I had bought enough to make multiples of this cloth.  Stripes always provide such an effective design punch.

My guests were offered iced tea or water, served in the Godinger, "Sutton Place" goblets.  Godinger, also marketed as Cash Crystal of Ireland, is a heavy weight crystal at an extremely reasonable price.  I found mine via eBay. The flatware is our everyday stainless steel, Towle, "Antique Bead."  I tied simple cotton Pier One napkins with a variety of narrow blue ribbons to add an additional graphic element to striped tablecloth. Tip:  I occasionally stroll through Michael's and search through their sale bins of ribbon on the bolt.  It's pretty amazing what you can pick up for $1.00.  I keep my ribbon stash in pretty fabric covered hat boxes, and I enjoy using it often for my tablescapes.  When I cut lengths of ribbons to use as napkin rings, I later store them in small ziplock bags in my napkin drawers.  That way, they are easily accessible when I want to use them again.

Simple yellow Daisy Mums from Sam's, my personal florist, are cut short and plopped into beakers that match my dinnerware.  The beakers are an eBay find.  I kept the flowers low because...

...I wanted to highlight the blue and white eggs that I painted.  You've previously seen the eggs in use HERE.  I've packed them into a trio of cloches that fit on white iron pedestals of different heights. I had seen some of the beautiful Hungarian painted eggs.  I researched them with the idea of buying some, but when I saw the prices, I said to myself, "I can do that!" My precious daughter claims that I say that all the time.  Do you find yourself often making the same statement?     Tip:  The eggs are faux.  I found them at Michael's.  If you want to look for some, they come in a mesh bag, and they look like brown eggs.  They actually have a foam stuff on the inside.  I bought my eggs last year, but I've also seen them at Michaels and Hobby Lobby this year.  I painted each egg with a layer of Gesso to give them a smooth finish.  I used a Navy Blue acrylic as my base coat, and the designs are all created with white paint.  After the eggs were completed, I used a high gloss varnish to finish them off with a nice shine.  With Easter just around the corner, they are perfect for this season.  That said, I use them throughout the year.

For a charger, I used Pottery Barn's "Outdoor Collection," enamelware.  I picked them up on clearance two years ago.  Topping the charger is our Furnival, "Blue Quail" dinnerplate and cream soup.  I've had this charming English transferware for many years, and I still adore it.  We use it as one of our everyday patterns.  The Quail pattern also comes in a wonderful brown.  Furnival is no longer in business, but Mason's Ironstone, Ltd. bought the molds and continues to produce the pattern.  The Furnival's pieces can still be found on eBay and through Replacements.

Okay, everybody sing along..."It's a beautiful day in the neighborhood; a beautiful day for a neighbor...won't you be mine, won't you be mine, won't you be my neighbor?"  Give me a minute...I'm going to put on my cardigan sweater and change my shoes.  Then we'll sit down and get to know each other better!







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, March 15, 2011

A Touch 'O the Green

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 friends are so generous and giving throughout the year.  It blesses me to be able to invite them to be the guest of honor at my table when their birthdays come around.  This day, I was excited to set a table for a few friends to join me in a birthday celebration for my dear, dear friend Cindy.  You can meet Cindy by visiting her blog More Entertaining Women, HERE.  Cindy's favorite color for decorating is green, so in a nod to St. Patrick's Day and Cindy, I created a table featuring lovely greens.

A table for five was well-suited for the game table in our living room.  You'll no doubt remember that I am fond of a round table for ease of conversation during the meal.  I laid a 90" handkerchief-weight linen tablecloth as a base for my table.  This sweet feminine cloth was a $15.00 estate sale find.  I love the scalloped edge and the dots...oh I do love dots!

This particular table is all about the china...Bernardaud Limoges, "Artois, Green."  I was incredibly fortunate to purchase a service for 12 with many serving pieces for an amazingly reasonable price from a Haviland dealer who is my friend.  I used the coffee pot, the master sugar and creamer, and the teapot as a part of my centerpiece.

I wanted the flowers to pick up on the floral pattern in the china.  Green and blue hydrangeas and pink snapdragons, from the grocery store, were simply plopped in the base of a lidded, footed compote by Pasabache.  Pasabache is a very inexpensive Turkish crystal, often sold as Fifth Avenue Crystal.  I bought several of these on eBay for around $12.00 each.  They still show up for auction periodically, if you have an interest.  It was just the right proportion for today's table, and I love the reflective element of the compote in combination with the crystal votives from Dollar Tree...that's right...can you believe it?  I use these little jewels often.

Tip:  I've already mentioned repeating the china's floral pattern in the flowers.  Look closely at the rim in the votive....do you see the floral border around the top?  Now, check out the patterns in the tablecloth.  Does the green laurel wreath on the china remind you of the laurel design in the cloth?  And look at the garland of posies stitched on the linen...Repetitive patterns within a tablescape "stitch" your design together.  Did you know that repeated patterns are psychologically comforting for most people?  It's why I like all those dots, and plaids, and stripes, and many other patterns.  How about you?

I used the Waterford, "Simply Pink" goblet to bring out the touch of pink in the flowers on the china.  Today I've paired the pink goblet with one of my wedding crystal goblets, Lalique, "Treves."  If you look closely at the stem, you'll notice a filagree design in the frosted stem.  Many years ago, I chose this crystal stem because I liked the way that it worked with the filagree scroll in the Reed & Barton, "Grande Renaissance" flatware.  The crisp white linen napkin features an organdy cartouche monogrammed with our dear Nana's initials.  The napkin sits nicely next to the MacKenzie-Childs individual salt and peppers presented on small silver trays.  I've collected these over a number of years, one pair at a time, because I consider them a bit expensive.  Each pair is different, and even though they are quite whimsical, I am continually amazed that they work well with many different table designs.

As a first course, I served a delicious chilled Avocado & Cucumber Soup in these Val St. Lambert scalloped crystal bowls.  The bowls were one of those super last hour estate sale finds for 75% off!  As a charger plate, I used some of Nana's 1920's Limoges, "Dresden Flowers," wide gold rimmed plates.  Tip:  They effectively set off the dainty pattern of the Bernardaud, "Artois."  Without the gold charger, the delicate design would have been 'swallowed' by the bright white of the tablecloth.  The charger also once again repeats a design element...the narrow gold rim on the dinner and salad plate.

Birthdays, St. Patrick's Day celebrations, and multiple other occasions...I'm already envisioning many ways to use this lovely porcelain in tablescapes.  How would you use it in a design?  It is always a treat to realize that I have found such a precious group of talented bloggers with whom I can share a passion for tablescaping and entertaining.

I continue to hope that one day you will be one of the honored guests at my table...just think of the ideas that we can share!  Oh happy day!

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, March 8, 2011

True Grace

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.

It should be blatantly obvious by now that I have zero objectivity when it comes to my son and daughter and son-in-love and daughter-in-love.  I think that they are the greatest!  Both of my girls share my passion for gracious entertaining and tablescaping.  This week my post covers a lovely dinner that my precious daughter hosted for our family.  At the time they lived in a 1920's American Storybook Home that oozed charm and character.  The dining room was one of my favorite spots.

KC was excited to bring out her very best china, silver, and crystal for our special dinner party.  She made a trip to my house to dig Nana's wonderful vintage tablecloth out of one of my linen closets.  She snagged Nana's antique linen napkins while she was there, too.  I'm always thrilled to share our stash of linens with our kids for special occasions.  

David and KC were in agreement when they registered for their Vera Wang, "Duchesse" crystal goblets.  They lend such a genteel sophistication to the table.  KC chose her grandmother's pattern, Reed & Barton, "Francis I," for her sterling flatware.  Did you know that Francis I is the most popular of all silver patterns?  KC had originally registered for a lovely cobalt china pattern by Pickard.  Then one day she was in a local china and jewelry shop when she happened to notice a sales clerk pulling plates out from a normally closed cabinet.  The clerk all of sudden removed this plate...and everything changed.  KC said, "Mama, she pulled out this one plate, and it took my breath away.  I knew that it had to be my china."...

...And that's how she found her china pattern...Bernardaud Limoges, "Grace."  I told her that she shouldn't expect to receive very many pieces because it is so darned expensive.  She didn't care; she was ready to collect it slowly for many years.  By their wedding day she had received almost a complete service for 12, minus a couple of salads and desserts...incredibly generous friends...and family...I gave her a few pieces, of course.  I think that if I were to register again, I'd pick this gorgeous porcelain, too.  It's one of the most beautiful designs that I've ever seen!

Apple never falls very far from the tree...my sweet girl enjoys mixing and matching just like her mom.  Today she used her Haviland, "Ranson" bread and butters.  I collected a service of "Ranson" for her at the same time that I was building my own set.  For the centerpiece, individual posies were placed in small glass vases fitted with place card holders...just the right touch.

The entrée was in the oven; she baked her yummy lasagana recipe.  KC and David were ready for all of us to come to the table for salad.  What a delight...I'm one lucky mom!

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, March 2, 2011

Quite White

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.
NOTE:  If you follow Entertaining Women regularly, (and I thank you if you do), you'll be aware that this luncheon was held prior to painting our dining room.  It has never been posted, but it has been sitting in my personal photo archives for a spell.

I'm all about color!  That said...every once in a while, I need to stop and rest in clean, pure, shades of white.  I don't think that designing monochromatically with white comes as naturally to me as working with high color.  In hindsight, I inevitably see choices that I would change the next time around the block.  Today's luncheon was a birthday celebration for some of my precious Garden Friends Bible study group.  It's late in the evening as I write, and I'm going to keep it kind of short and sweet.

   Today I prepared for sixteen guests; I set two tables of eight.  In the dining room, my favorite vintage Damask banquet cloth was the perfect anchor for my table.  It's interesting because the only design is a geometric striped border.  I used the matching napkins.  The linens all came from my stash of Nana's tabletop treasures.

My collection of Lenox urns, bought over time at estate sales, held simple bouqets of peach and cream roses mixed with Hypericum Berries.  The white cherub Italian candelabras were purchased on eBay for very little.  If I were to repeat this table, I would make the floral arrangements fuller.  I would have been happier if they had occupied a bit more space on the table.

 For the centerpiece, I used one of my Haviland, Ranson covered serving dishes.  Again, the next time, I'll utilize a larger tureen...probably that wonderful Mottahedeh, "Musée Decoratif".

My mama's Mikasa, "Stephanie Gold" goblets brought a nice reflective quality to the table with their optic design.

The china is Haviland "Ranson.  In my "keeping it simple" state of mind, I used the Ranson for the service plate and the luncheon plate.  This beautiful vintage French china marked the beginning of my passion for collecting china.  I bought it on eBay and in antique stores over several years.

Many manufacturers made their version of Ranson, but it's hard to beat the opalescent quality of the Haviland Limoges China.  Did you know that the Haviland's were Americans?  David Haviland originally went to Limoges to order china for the family store in New York, D.G. & D. Haviland Trading.  He ultimately opened his own factory in the Limoges region of France.  Although Haviland was produced in France, it was always designed to be marketed to an American audience.  I like the subtle touch of the Ranson Butter Pat.  The Reed & Barton, "Francis I" belonged to my mother-in-love.

Ready to roll.

The second table was set in the foyer.  It's actually one of our wrought iron patio tables fitted with the 'flip-top' table top. 


 The German Bisque Angel Candlesticks belonged to my sweet mama.  I don't use them often, but they do make me smile.  The cloth is white matelasse, an eBay purchase.

The second table is virtually the same as the dining room with the exception of the angels and the silver flatware, my Reed & Barton, "Grande Renaissance."  I like the result of this table better...I think because the space is more effectively utilized here.  I wonder how I will change the elements for my next white tablescape?  I already have visions flying through my mind!  Maybe you'll be able to join me the next time that I venture into the world of white-on-white...I hope!

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!