Background

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Safe Harbor

"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.


Several weeks ago, I shared a table with you that used four of six wonderful hot pink goblets that I found while on a trip to Scottsdale.

I also told you that I had looked for additional stems without success.  Late last week, the Fed Ex man rang my doorbell and handed me a box.  I was totally blown away when I opened the box to find four more of these marvelous goblets...from one of you...who chose to remain anonymous.  You made my day!  Thank you. Thank you. Thank you for your generosity.  I am looking forward to setting a table for ten with my beautiful stemware!  The kindness of friends is sometimes overwhelming.

Today my friend who needed a Port in a Storm a couple of weeks ago, called seeking another safe harbor.  Once again, she stopped at one of our favorite spots to pick up take out salads, and I quickly set a table for two at the game table.  I wanted to establish a soft and calming mood.

White-on-white, the softest blue, and gentle browns set a relaxing tone for our tablescape today.  The Williams-Sonoma white linen hemstitched table square was laid under a water blue and taupe on cream toile square.  Both pieces were recent eBay purchases.

I went against type today and chose to create an asymmetrical centerpiece.  The old Lalique rose bowl was one of my favorite treasures from our dear Nana.  The Hydrangeas are dried from the centerpiece that I made for the last luncheon with my friend.  I just jerked them out of the Bordallo pitcher and plopped them into this neat old piece.  The browns in the Hydrangeas worked well with the toile square.  The Wedgwood "Queensware Patrician" tureen is a great eBay get.  I bought it with the underplate for $50.00.  There was another of the same tureen, minus the underplate, listed right next to this one for an opening bid of $600.00.  Score!!!!  Start looking, people...there are wonderful bargains just waiting for you.

To counterbalance the offset centerpiece, I positioned the Haviland, "Ranson" butter dish and Nana's crystal and silver salt and pepper cellars on the other side of the table.  

The Caspari rattan chargers added a nice touch of texture and continued the use of soft browns.  I liked my wedding silver, Reed and Barton, "Grand Renaissance" with the motif of the toile.  The silver cream soup, for a Tomato Bisque first course, was an eBay purchase that I enjoy mixing with other patterns.  The Copeland Spode, "Jewel" luncheon and dinner plates were chosen because of the cream color and lacy texture.  I collected the "Jewel" through eBay over a period of time.  

Dear, sweet Nana has blessed us in so many ways.  I think of her each time that I use her antique  French cut crystal.  I wish that I could take a picture that adequately shows you the beauty of these goblets.  Using them always give me such pleasure.

The finishing touch for today was the Pottery Barn, "Flax" hemstitched linen napkin.  I love this silly napkin because of its color and the 'hand' of the linen.  Did you catch that the Williams-Sonoma hemstitched linen tablecloth  and the Pottery Barn napkin are the exact same fabric.  Did you remember that Williams-Sonoma owns Pottery Barn?  Could be a helpful tidbit of knowledge when you can't find something at one store...try the other one...especially with the hemstitched linens.

That does it for today...a tablescape in under twenty minutes.  If you ever need a safe harbor...a port in a storm, give me a call.  I can have our table set in a flash!


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.


When I think of summer, I think easy going afternoons 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 HERE.  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, August 23, 2011

Best Laid Plans

"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, Sweet Mister told me that he had invited a group of hunting buddies for dinner at our house on Thursday night.  My task was to prepare a table, and he was going to take care of the food.  I didn't know how many would actually come, so I designed a table for 8 that could easily be increased to 12.  I was pretty excited about the results.

 I wanted a to create a 'manly man' tablescape for Sweet Mister's evening...bold, masculine colors...strong textures and designs...not even any flowers.  I knew in moments how I wanted to proceed!



Sweet Mister's carved decoys normally reside in the study.  They occupy spots in the bookcases and on the floor.  They were exactly what I had in mind for my centerpiece.  



I adore Barley Twist candlesticks.  I've collected my grouping through eBay and from a local antiques store, Notting Hill.  eBay Tip:  Take your time and compare a number of different auctions when searching for an item.  The Barley Twist candleholders are a perfect example.  Some of these antiques can be listed for a small fortune, but if you'll wait. wait. wait...you'll find just what you want for a reasonable price.  Remember to read all the small print!  Sometimes the word 'antique' refers to the 'antique' stain on the finish...or it might say 'antique style'.  These are probably reproductions.  And, depending on your need, sometimes a reproduction can serve you very well.  If so, bid away!  Read closely about the condition of all items that you consider buying on eBay.  If one of your concerns is not addressed, send the seller a question.  It is imperative that you ask all your questions before bidding.  For one thing, if you buy an item, and it arrives 'not as described', you have a much better standing when requesting a return/refund.  Also...if I am bidding on an item, I keep every 'scrap' of correspondence that I have to and from a seller.  I save all notes in my email until I have received the article and find it acceptable.  If I have a problem, I want to be able to document everything.  That said, I've had only a couple of unsatisfactory transactions on eBay.  I'm a huge fan!    

The Williams Sonoma Hemstitched Linen "Navy" tablecloth was also an eBay purchase.  I bought the Pottery Barn Hemstitched Linen "Flax" napkins 'at the mall'.  Did you know that Williams Sonoma also owns Pottery Barn, Pottery Barn Teen, Pottery Barn Kids, Williams Sonoma Home, and West Elm?  You can find some good buys on their wonderful table top linens through eBay. 

The heft of the Mikasa, "French Countryside" goblets seemed like a perfect choice for a table full of men.  The "Bamboo" handled flatware was a great get from Big Lots.  I liked the organic nature of the bamboo design...I've actually seen duck blinds camouflaged with stalks of bamboo.

 The place setting featured the Caspari rattan charger as a foundation.  It was topped with Coalport, "Athlone-Brown" dinner and salad plates, another eBay find.





I even found a spot of time to practice my candlelight and blue hour photography...

I was feeling pretty cocky...organized and everything.  Don't you think that I'm pretty much good to go?  Well, I was wrong, and you would be, too.  Sweet Mister loved the table, but he informed me that his supper now had 20 guests...and he had decided that he was going to serve...wait for it....ready?...that's right...PIZZA!  Oh, brother.

The ducks, the table linens, and the flatware survived the transition.  Everything else was removed from the table for another time.  I decided to switch to the Pottery Barn, "Outdoor Collection" enamelware plates.  The men were going to sit in the living room and visit while they munched on pizza.

Lovely serving pieces, don't you agree?  I wrote the name of each pizza on the boxes.  After all, presentation is everything...LOL.

..."The best-laid schemes o' mice an' men gang aft agley." (from the poem by Robert Burns, "To a Mouse, On Turning Her Up In Her Nest With the Plough", 1785).  All told, it was a successful evening.  Sweet Mister was happy, clean-up was a breeze, and there were only four slices of pizza left at the end of the evening.  Sometimes, we just have to roll with the punches.

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!  
   



Tuesday, August 16, 2011

A Celebration of Friends

"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 we celebrated two August birthdays at Cindy's house.  We were a group of five, and Cindy laid a marvelous tablescape for us in her wonderful breakfast room and kitchen.

Cindy is a genius at using high color combinations...certainly sets the mood for a celebration!  They've recently made some changes to the breakfast room.  The custom narrow table, chairs and woven benches are perfect for casual entertaining.

I always like to sit facing this amazing hutch...so many fantastic treasures to spy inside the glassed cabinets.  Okay, you rooster devotees, did you notice the rooster tassle hanging on the right cabinet door?

Love the new pair of host and hostess chairs...great fabric!  

MacKenzie-Childs "Courtly Check" flower pots marched down the center of the table, filled with Alstromeria and Kermit Mums.  With a minimum of space available for a centerpiece, the pots were the perfect choice for maximum impact.  The lucite goblets with painted pink flowers added a festive, whimsical touch.

The loose-weave napkins were caught with tasseled napkin rings from Pier One that I gave Cindy when it was her birthday.


Cindy is a fan of placemats, and green is her favorite color.  The apple green boutis mats were charming as a foundation for each placesetting.  The Caspari rattan chargers added a nice texture beneath the Pottery Barn "PB Basic" buffet plate.  Our luncheon plate was the MacKenzie-Childs "Courtly Check".  Our first course was a homemade Avocado Cucumber chilled soup, served in the teal stoneware bowl.  The black and white toile accent plate was found at Hobby Lobby.



It's always a treat to be a guest at Cindy's table.  We sat long into the afternoon visiting and laughing with precious friends over a delicious lunch of Tortellini Pasta Salad, hot bread, homemade cherry sherbet, and chocolate cupcakes.  I can't think of a better way to spend a summer 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.

When I think of summer, I think easy going afternoons 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, August 9, 2011

Tables for Two

"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.


About a month ago, Retta, from The Gazebo House, hosted a precious tea party for her little princess in the gazebo HERE.  She designed a darling tablescape with LOTS of DOTS!  I commented on her post that I had recently bought a great Waterford Linen, "Ballet Dot" tablecloth at Tuesday Morning, and I thought that she might like it, too.  Rett contacted me to say that she had made a run to her local TM and found the Ballet Dot napkins,but no tablecloth.  When she told me about the napkins, I returned to pick up napkins for myself...and I found another tablecloth.  Do you see a pattern evolving here?  I bought the cloth and mailed it to Rett.  We've had so much fun with the whole process that we agreed to both create tablescapes with our new linens and post them at the same time.

We also think that it would be great fun if you all decided that you would like to join our party.  When you read posts from other bloggers, do you smile when you discover that someone collects a pattern just like yours?...or linens...crystal...silver...centerpiece components?  Those of you who collect roosters and chickens immediately come to mind.   We'll announce a date for our Tables for Two Party soon, so start finding your partners and make your plans.  It's going to be fun!  Rett and I live half way across the nation from each other, and we've never met in person...but I believe that I've found a wonderful new friend!  We're excited for you to make some new friends, too!

   

The timing for me has been perfect because I've invited the Garden Friends to join me for lunch.  Everyone will bring something to share, so my main job is to create a tablescape to welcome my precious guests.  It's still blazing hot here, so I wanted to create a cool (as in chilly) atmosphere.  My mind went immediately to my favorite blue and white.  I need to warn you that this is a photo intensive post.  The early morning light was so wonderful that I just kept snapping.  Scroll quickly if you desire.  Enjoy!




Blue and white always makes me happy...cool, calm, and collected.




The Waterford, "Ballet Dot" tablecloth and napkins provided the perfect anchor for my design...lady-like and refined without being too prissy.  This cloth has a really nice "hand" to it; I'll check out Tuesday Morning again!


I knew that I wanted to employ a variety of shades of blue.  With that in mind...

...I bought soft blue Hydrangeas to mix with a variety of blooms from Homeland Grocery Store and arranged them in  a pair of blue and white import, reticulated compotes from Hobby Lobby.

I placed the compotes to either side of our Burleigh, "Blue Willow" tureen and under plate.


I spread a number of cobalt and silver open salts along the table.  They belonged to our dear Nana.  My guests always seem to really enjoy using them.

The little blue and white frog was a gift from my dear friend Cindy.  On the bottom of the frog, she wrote F. R. O. G. = Fully Rely On God.  I keep this little guy in my kitchen, in a spot where I'll see him every day.  He's on the table today because I wanted to share the idea with you.

The Coalport decanters provided the finishing touch for the center of the table.  I put water in them, so my guests could easily refill their goblets.  I bought them on eBay for a song.  You can find them with some regularity.  They were originally  used by some  liquor company as a limited edition promotion.  Some sellers don't know what they have, and they put a high opening bid on them.  Take your time; they'll show up again for very little.  eBay Tip:  Always ask the seller questions about an item BEFORE you place a bid.  For example: A seller might list a plate for an opening bid of $9.99 and a shipping quote of $8.95.  The seller also might let you know that  a total of 10 plates are available, each for the winning price if you want more.  If you want to buy multiples, be sure to ask the seller for a "multiple purchase/combined shipping quote" for the number of plates that you wish to purchase BEFORE YOU PLACE A BID.  Why?  eBay's system will automatically increase the listed shipping price by the number of plates that you purchase.  If you buy 5 plates, it could tell you that your shipping charges will be $44.75 ($8.95 x 5).  If you haven't asked the seller for a quote, you could end up responsible for the exorbitant shipping charge, and you've committed yourself to a contract for purchase.  Most sellers will automatically revise the invoice, but I don't plan to ever put myself in a bad position because I failed to inquire.

For the place settings, I started with the gold-toned bamboo handled flatware.  I bought a large service of it at an estate sale.  They picked up the gold rim on the Royal Doulton Steelite cobalt blue charger plate.  I recently bought 12 of these on eBay for $20.00!  Steelite is Royal Doulton's restaurant quality stoneware. 

  The middle layer is our everyday Burleigh Ware, "Blue Willow" dinner plate.  I chose the Burleigh because I liked the gold rim...and it was dishwasher safe.  I have always really liked the Booth's "Real Old Blue Willow" china, but I didn't want to have to hand wash it every day.  I'm still tempted to collect the Booth's...some day.  It's an amazingly beautiful pattern.  

The Coalport, "Kings Ware" luncheon plate is another recent eBay acquisition.  It continued the idea of "dots" with its calico center field and with its embossed rim.  The blue and white import lidded cup was an estate sale find.  Today I served Gazpacho in it.  The chilled soup was perfect for a hot summer day. 

I didn't use any candles today.  I didn't want to add one extra degree on this sweltering August day.  The sunlight did a beautiful job of making the lights dance through the crystal goblets...

The cobalt AJKA, "Arabella" was a lovely contrast to the Waterford, "Simply Blue" goblet.  The cut design in the Waterford stem picked up even more dots.  The miniature blue and white tureen held butter pats today.  My dear friend Marsha brought me the pair of these from Nell Hill's in Kansas City.  I only have six of the lidded soup cups, so I used Japanese rice bowls, estate sale purchases, at each end of the table.


God was doing amazing things with his paint brush this particular morning!

I kept the buffet quite simple today...

Perched on the Towle, "Lafayette" sterling tea service, from Nana, is an Italian blue and white tulipiere.  If you happen to run across another one, I'd love to have a pair of them!  This one is about 15" tall.  The Lalique, "Le Coq" stand sentry duty.

We're good to go...

Dickens, A.K.A. "Door Bell", let me know when my guests arrived.  He's very good at his job!

Everyone filled their plates from the kitchen counter.  Gazpacho, quiche, green salad, French bread, and Red Velvet cake made up our menu.  The custom painted bread board and the creamware pitcher arrived recently from Italy.  Sweet Mister bought them for me the day that we spent driving along the Amalfi Coast earlier this summer.  I was excited to be able to use them for the first time.

It may be hot outside, but I think that this table will create a nice cool mood for my guests to linger and share food and fellowship.  I'm going to skip on over to see how RETT AT THE GAZEBO HOUSE has used our Ballet Dot tablecloth.  Why don't you come with me!

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 afternoons 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 HERE 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!