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Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Breakfast for Supper

"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 always look forward to Sunday supper for several reasons.  First, we usually have breakfast for dinner, fried eggs, crisp bacon, toast, and a large glass of ice cold milk...one of my favorite meals.  Second, Sweet Mister always cooks on Sunday evenings.  He makes me feel like a princess!  This past Sunday night, I prepared the table for several friends who were joining us.

I am comfortable with my breakfast room.  I enjoy seeing my collection of tureens and the variety of tiered hostess trays.  The space is chocked full of things that I like, and our meals taken here are always relaxing and enjoyable. I occasionally consider editing the room, but I'm more likely to add 'just one more thing.'  Dusk was still waiting to fall, and the Western sky was bright and sunny outside the breakfast room window.

I found the vintage tablecloth at an estate sale this last Spring; this is the first time that I've used it.  I love the red ribbon looping through the fruit motif.

The table was set about thirty minutes before Sweet Mister started the bacon.  I didn't have time to create a floral centerpiece, so I put my yellow and blue scalloped bowl into service and filled it with shiny red apples.  I bought the bowl through eBay.  When it arrived, one of the lobes was broken.  The seller refunded my money and told me that she didn't want to pay postage for me to return it.  Sooooo....I took the bowl to an amazing man who does spectacular restoration work on all kinds of things.  Once he completed his  work, I can't even tell where it was broken!  

And it's in my favorite...blue, yellow and white!  Woohoo!  Tip:  eBay can be so much fun, if you use a few helpful strategies.  Early on, I was told that in general, a buyer never wants to do business with a seller who has a feedback rating lower than normal body temperature, 98.6º.  I rarely buy from anyone who has less than a 99% feedback rating.  If I'm tempted to buy an item offered by someone with a low feedback percentage, I take the time to scroll through the comments left by former buyers.  If I can pick up on a pattern of certain problems, I'm probably going to look for the item elsewhere.  That's a second thing that I've learned shopping on eBay...Take your time!  Most items will show up numerous times.  Don't panic and buy something that is really overpriced.

We've had these Fenton goblets for many years....around thirty-plus years, I think. 

Fenton, "Empress" was made in a number of colors.  This one is a true cobalt blue.  We also have a set in red.  "Empress" appears on eBay every once in a while, but not often.  It also comes in a lovely Williamsburg Blue.  This design works quite nicely with many English transferware patterns.  

 I use the blue and white gingham checked napkins almost every day.  They launder beautifully, and I rarely need to iron them.  They began as 'lake house napkins', and we have a large stack of them.  We bought them at the same time that we acquired the goblets...more than thirty years ago.  Our easy-goin' meal called for our everyday Towle, "Antique Bead" stainless steel flatware, ordered from Barron's Catalog, years ago.  Tip:  Have you ever shopped in Barron's Catalog?  They have some of the best deals on sterling flatware that I've ever found.  The larger the quantity that you purchase, the better the price!  Check it out HERE!

I've become quite fond of the Wedgwood, "Countryware" , and I've used it often this summer.  It works with so many different tablescape designs.  Today, I placed it on the Pottery Barn, "Outdoor Collection" enamelware plate.  This was actually marketed as a dinner plate, but it's 12 inches in diameter, so I always put it to work as a charger. Tip:  Charger plates are not just for looks!  I rarely find any spillage on my tablecloths or placemats when I utilize chargers.  Many times I'm able to just put the cloth on a hanger and pop it back into the linen closet.  Makes me a happy camper!

Surrounded by family treasures (the Copeland Spode, "Pink Tower" belonged to my mother-in-love, and the sterling tea service belonged to my maternal grandmother) and warmed by sunlight filtering through the trees in the backyard, the breakfast room is always a welcoming, comfortable spot to share food and fellowship.  

About now, Sweet Mister was finishing cooking the bacon on the griddle.  It smelled so danged good.  I'm in charge of pushing the buttons on the toaster...I think that I can handle that.  If you're ever passing my way on a Sunday evening, just give me a call.  We're always glad to add another place at our table for a friend.  How do you like your eggs?  



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.


When I think of summer, I think easy going suppers shared with friends over a no fuss table.  How about you? With thankfulness for her dedication and efforts, I'm joining the multi-talented Tablescaper for her meme Seasonal Sundays.  Don't miss out on this marvelous blog party.  See you there!  




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, July 19, 2011

Supper on the Bungalow Porch + A Winner!



"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's been wonderful reading all of your ideas about how you would use the set of 12 Theodore Haviland floral pink luncheon plates.  I used the True Random Number Generator to select a winner.  I'll be excited to see how they are used by the winner:


Susan (My Place to Yours)


Susan, send me an email with your mailing information, please, and I'll send them on their merry way.

My sweet KC recently invited a group of her girl friends to join her for "Supper on the Porch". I stopped by shortly before everyone arrived to assist with a few last minute details and to snap some photos to share with you.  KC and David live in a Craftsman bungalow in an historic preservation neighborhood in our city.  She has completed so many wonderful projects in their home.  Check my archives HEREHEREHEREHERE, and HERE to take a more extensive tour of the bungalow and see the results of her labor.



KC loves to build furniture...blows me away!  She built her outdoor dining table all by herself.  Can you believe it?!  It is beautiful, and it provided the perfect setting for her supper with friends.

KC recently decided that she wanted to learn to sew.  The morning of her party, she whipped up the runner on her sewing machine.

The Vietri creamware pitcher became her centerpiece filled with grocery store roses.  She used a variety of elements down the center of the table to provide further visual interest.

The antique oriental green covered ramekins belonged to our precious Nana.  KC is such a good steward of family treasures.  It pleases me that she regularly uses her great-grandmother's and grandmothers' things.  

Green glass decanters, found at Tuesday Morning, were filled with iced water and placed at the four corners.

I made a swing through Tuesday Morning just this week.  They are still currently available for only $4.99!  Hurry!  The hot pink napkin is one of our gifts to KC while we were all in Sorrento, Italy earlier this summer.  I think that I'll need to pilfer them at some point for one of my own tablescapes.  They are so pretty!

The assortment of pastel tumblers are by Waterford Marquis.  They effectively provide a jewel-like touch for the tablescape.  I love the way the crystal dances in the light.

Because she used her antique French Haviland, "Ranson" for the dinner plate...

...she was able to employ her Copeland Spode, "Tower Pink" dinner plate as a charger.  Tip:  While building your collection, think about selecting patterns from an assortment of countries.  French china manufacturers, especially in vintage patterns, typically designed a 9 5/8" dinner plate.  Compare that to English companies who produced larger plates, some up to 11" in diameter.  Additionally, think about patterns produced during the Victorian era. Because it was common to serve many courses throughout the meal, the plates were often much smaller than those produced today.  This amazing variety opens a plethora of design options for us!

After dinner, KC served dessert...

...to her guests while they were seated on her custom made sectional bench...  

Custom made...because she made this, too!  She built the benches from scratch...She bought the foam and pillow forms...and... She made the pillow covers and upholstered the cushions.  Yep, that's my girl!  When I was a child, families regularly whiled away a summer evening on the front porch...such a great way to get to know the neighbors and build community.  I love that she has embraced this marvelous style of living. 

I'm certain that a wonderful time was had by all.  KC also thoroughly enjoyed herself.  She said that she looks forward to entertaining her friends frequently.  Can you tell that I'm a proud mama?




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.


When I think of summer, I think of blissful time spent whiling away the day on the front porch.  How about you? With thankfulness for her dedication and efforts, I'm joining the multi-talented Tablescaper for her meme Seasonal Sundays HERE.  Don't miss out on this marvelous blog party.  See you there!  



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, July 13, 2011

Entertaining Women Blogiversary and GIVEAWAY!!!

"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.


Happy Birthday to Entertaining Women!  To celebrate my first year of blogging, I want to GIVEAWAY something from my personal collection.  One of you will be the winner of the luncheon plates that I used in my tablescape today.  My table was set for four, but the winner will receive a set of 12 of these antique Theodore Haviland, Limoges France luncheon plates.  I'll share instructions for entering to win at the end of my post.

It. Is. So. Dang. Hot.  This is the time of year that I often choose to stay home where it's nice and cool.  That said, I still like to spend time with my dear friends, so today I've invited three of them to share lunch with me.  

If you've spent any time at all in my little corner of blog world, I'm fairly certain that you knew that because I was preparing for a small group of four, I would choose to create my tablescape at the game table in the living room.  Today I've switched out the usual Minton Spidel high back game chairs for the McGuire rattan chairs.  I thought that they were more in keeping with a dainty summerscape.  I may leave them here for a while; they kind of say "Summer" to me.

The table is anchored with a dainty cotton tablecloth sprinkled with lovely little violets.  I bought this on eBay for $6.00!  It had ribbons sewn into the cloth that when ruched, create a scalloped effect...

...I layered it over one of my white matelassé cloths (also an eBay purchase) to emphasize the scallops and the violet trim.

A quick trip to my personal florist, Sam's, yielded an inexpensive bundle of hot pink spray roses, and a mixed bouquet for the centerpiece.  The amethyst pedestal bowl is a Hobby Lobby find...


The delicate Royal Albert creamer and sugar belonged to my mama.  I didn't even fill them; I just liked them on the table.

The individual salt and peppers are McKenzie - Childs.  I'm still working on my collection.  They are interesting miniature works of art that serve a practical purpose. They were perfect for today's girly- girl table.

I waffled back and forth between different napkins for today.  I tried assorted pinks and greens, but ultimately, I couldn't resist the elegance and texture of these wonderful antique linen cutwork napkins that belonged to our dear Nana.  I've gathered them into the Coalport, "Countryware" napkin rings.  For someone who doesn't often use napkin rings, I've been using these a lot lately.

The charger plate is Bordallo Pinheiro, "Cabbage Leaf". I've collected them from eBay and the occasional estate sale.  They are wonderfully versatile.  I sometimes "co-op" these with several friends.  Together, we can serve a large number of guests.  The service plate is actually a Royal Doulton, "Lowestoft" dinner plate, also an eBay acquisition.  Tip:  I have a "saved search" set on "My eBay" page for "Plates, set of 12".  I'm generally interested in buying sets of plates...enough to set a table.  When new auctions come on line with this description, eBay sends me an email telling me what's new.  It saves time and keeps me informed. Give it a try!

The vintage Theodore Haviland, Limoges France luncheon plate was the inspiration piece for my design today.  I wanted you to see my blogiversary giveaway up close and personal because I hope that you'll fall in love with it!  I adore the beautiful embossing on the scalloped rim.  The tiny pink and lavender floral motif is typical of numerous Haviland patterns.  I am an enthusiastic advocate for luncheon plates.  They exponentially expand the opportunities for mixing and matching.  Most dinner plates can be used as chargers when paired with luncheon plates.  Just imagine the possibilites!

    I found a large service of the gold-tone bamboo handle flatware at a garage sale.  This is the first time that I've used it.  I don't know the maker, but it has a nice weight and balance.

  My girly-girl table was just begging for lots of pink and green.  The Waterford Simply "Green", another eBay goodie, paired perfectly with the hot pink Italian crystal goblet.  I found the hot pink stems at Marshall's on a recent trip to Scottsdale, Arizona.  I've recently discovered that we have two Marshall's in our city.  I've searched for more of these, but to no avail, so far.  If you happen to come across any and you don't need them for yourself, I'd love it if you would let me know.  They were a hit with my guests today...such a yummy color!

The table is ready...

...Wine, iced tea, and water are waiting in the kitchen...

Tomato Bisque soup is warming on the stove top, waiting to be served in Haviland, "Ranson" cream soups.  Hot bread is baking in the oven and will be served in our sweet Nana's antique silver roll basket.  A main course of chicken salad and avocado served on a bed of lettuce is just light enough for a hot summer day.  Dessert will be a raspberry sponge cake pyramid presented with fresh berries and peaches in Val St. Lambert crystal bowls.

I'm ready to roll...

The house is spit-spot, and I'm eager for my dear friends to ring the bell.  I'm excited to tell them about the blogiversary giveaway.  The  instructions follow just below.  I hope that you'll sign up for a chance to win the set of 12 luncheon plates.

Here's how you can enter:
1. Become an official follower of Entertaining Women. Then leave me a comment to tell me that you're a new follower!! You can also leave a comment telling me that you're already a follower.

2.  For a second chance to win, leave me a comment telling me your first thought about how you would use the Theodore Haviland, Limoges, France luncheon on your table.

I'll draw and announce the winner on Tuesday, July 19.  Good luck!  I think that the winner is going to enjoy using the plates for many years.  I can hardly wait to see how they'll look on your table, if you're the winner!

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 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.


Thank you to Beverly at How Sweet the Sound for sponsoring her delightful blog party...PINK SATURDAY.  I'm pleased to join he fun!  Click HERE to explore all the yummy posts that celebrate PINK.


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, July 5, 2011

A Quiet Independence Day Celebration + First Blogiversary Giveaway

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's amazing to think that I've been blogging for a year.  Blogworld has come along at a perfect time in my life, and I've had a blast!  I am thrilled to find so many wonderful, talented, and generous souls who share my passion for tablescaping and gracious entertaining.  Heartfelt thanks go to so many of you who have followed my blog, and to those of you who regularly bless me with your comments.  You're the best!  To commemorate my year, I have a giveaway planned.  I'll post my gift in a few days, and a winner will be drawn and announced on Wednesday, July 20, 2011.  Stay tuned for more details.

This year our Independence Day celebration was intentionally low key.  Sweet Mister recently underwent spinal surgery for two crushed discs.  He is doing very well, but he will be wearing his fashionable Boston Collar for another week or two.  In addition, one of our dear friends recently almost lost the index finger on her left hand to an immersion blender. (You. don't. want. to. know.)  She's also recovering, but still taking it easy.  The four of us agreed that this year's Fourth of July observance would be customized for the 'Walking Wounded.'  A quiet dinner, sans the summer heat and fireworks, was just what the doctor ordered for our little quartet.  

 We're dining at the game table in the living room...just right for a group of four.  Okay, I know that there is an odd glass sitting on the far side of the table.  I was deciding between the Godinger, "Sutton Place" and the Mikasa, "French Countryside".  I forgot to remove the maverick goblet after my dry run.

Giving a heartfelt nod to our blessed "Red, White, and Blue," I layered the table with a toile tablecloth that I bought on eBay.  I don't know who made the fabric, but it is gorgeous...has a marvelous hand to it.

I often use a larger tureen for the centerpiece, but tonight the covered vegetable to the Furnivals, "Blue Quail" was a better proportion for our table.  Tip:  Estate sales are often a good resource for assorted vintage oriental wooden stands.  I frequently buy them, and I've collected a variety of sizes.  They are just right to elevate the centerpiece and make it seem special. They can be purchased for a pittance.  Keep your eyes open for them!  

I used four Furnivals, "Blue Quail" beakers, another eBay acquisition, to hold simple "American Beauty" roses from Homeland.  The antique linen and lace napkin is an estate sale find.  I've caught it in a Coalport, "Countryware" napkin ring, also from eBay.  Tip:  If you're not treasure hunting on eBay, you're missing out on a marvelous opportunity!  There are certain things that I have learned to make it safe, secure, and rewarding.  If there is enough interest, I'll be happy to share some of the strategies that I utilize.

I wanted to use the antique carved ivory handle flatware, but I only have knives and forks.  I solved my dilema by mixing it with Horchow's L'Argent, "Sophia" in gold.  The individual silver salt and peppers are lined in cobalt.  

I ultimately chose to use the Godinger, "Sutton Place" goblet with the AJKA, "Arabella" wine.  I liked the mix of textures, pattern, and color found in the crystal, toile, linen napkins, and English transferware.

  Years ago, it was my wounded friend and guest for our Independence Day dinner who introduced me to Furnivals "Blue Quail".  We originally purchased it for our lake house.  When we sold the house, I brought it home, and we use it as one of our everyday patterns.  It still delights me every time that I use it.  For this occasion, I floated it on the Pottery Barn, "Outdoor Collection" navy blue enamelware charger plate.  I purchased my set of chargers severals years ago on clearance sale.  They were a great deal, and I use them often.

For our supper, I've prepared a Beef Tenderloin.  I'll serve it with mashed potatoes, fresh steamed asparagus, green salad, and French bread.  The menu was chosen to make it easy for Sweet Mister to eat.  He still has to be careful when swallowing.

As soon as I exchange the odd goblet, I'll be ready for our dear friends to walk through the door. The aromas wafting from the kitchen are wonderful.  We're looking forward to an evening of delicious food and fabulous fellowship.  We'll be thinking of you as you celebrate with barbecue and picnics...sparklers, firecrackers, and Roman candles...and magical pyrotechnic displays lighting up the heavens.  I'll also be holding our amazing military close to my heart and in my prayers.  But for them, we would not have the privilege of spending our evening surrounded by what I refer to as 'fantasy and fluff.'  I am humbled by the service that they provide for us each and every day.  I pray that our mighty God will pour His favor and protection on them.  I hope that you had a grand Independence 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."   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!