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Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Orleans Toile and Spode Mayflower

"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 four of us gathered to celebrate a belated birthday for Debbi.  I was blessed to host our luncheon.  I've begun collecting a set of plates for my daughter-in-love, who has her own wonderful blog, THE BLACKBERRY VINE, and I decided that this would be a delightful opportunity to let her know about her plates by using them in a tablescape for my blog post!  I'm excited to give them to her.

Although I considered setting up my tablescape on the back porch, the possibility of rain convinced me to locate our luncheon at the game table in the living room.

A yellow and purple color combination doesn't normally fall within my comfort zone, but lately I've been encouraged by all of your wonderful tablescapes to expand my horizons.  

   The Williams Sonoma "Orleans Toile" tablecloth was an eBay purchase.  Entertaining Tip:  This tablecloth is actually a 126" x 70" cloth, obviously too large for my 42" round game table.  I folded the cloth into a 70" square, and Shazam...I was in business.  The excess was completely concealed, and the drop was generous for my small round table.  I made certain that the four points fell between the chairs.

After viewing Mid-Atlantic Martha's blog this summer, I was inspired to pull out our dear Nana's vintage Pansy Rings.  I layered them on tiered cake pedestals to create height.  Creating this centerpiece took just a few minutes.  I snipped a bundle of white spray roses from Sam's and stuck them in the rings.  I embellished the roses with sprigs of assorted ivy that I cut from a couple of small pots of ivy that I bought at Lowe's.  So easy!


The silver salt and pepper cellars also belonged to Nana...

...and once again, the Tuesday Morning crystal decanters made it easy for my guests to refill their water goblets...

My candleholder is really a miniature amethyst hyacinth bulb vase.  I bought them in assorted colors at SteinMart years ago. A tea candle fit perfectly and provided just the touch of reflective sparkle that I desired.


 My daughter-in-love adores Copeland Spode, "Mayflower", so when I found some good buys on my old friend, eBay, I started collecting them.  I've been able to acquire 8 dinner plates for her.  For my table, they seemed to be a natural match with the "Orleans Toile".

As much as I love to use high color, these shades and hues were so intense that I felt like I needed to neutralize them a bit with an additional 'color'.  I chose silver, starting with the beaded silver chargers, a gift from my sister...many years ago.  I use them frequently.

Yet again, I've chosen to use my mother-in-love's Reed & Barton, "Francis I".  It's hard to go wrong with this elegant old pattern.  I've had the Two's Company silver tassel napkin rings for many years, but this is the first time that I've used them.  They are so pretty, but they are not extremely versatile.  I've tried them many times, only to return them to their drawer in favor of something else.  Today however, they added just the right touch.

The Corbel silver goblets were a wedding gift from my mother-in-love almost 43 years ago.  I actually decided to remove them right before my friends arrived because the table was feeling a bit too crowded.  I did return them when dessert was served...filled with my mama's recipe for Brandy Ice...a favorite of the Birthday Girl.

The Vietri Amber goblet is one my newest acquisitions. I've told my kids that this is at the top of my wish list for Christmas.  At $19.00 per stem, I'll collect a few at a time until I have a full set. They are probably available in your area, too.  I think that this will be a classic design that I'll enjoy for many years.  It also comes in a color called "Smoke" and in a great "Apple Green."

The finishing touch for my trio of goblets was the AJKA, "Arabella" amethyst stem.  I have an assortment of 12 of these in 4 colors, a Tuesday Morning purchase many years ago.  Lately, I've been able to add extras in each color thanks to eBay.  As is so often the case, these have escalated in price, but by watching and waiting, I've been able to find some good deals on additional goblets.

I love these marvelous old Double Damask linen napkins with a geometric stripe border and a field of small dots.  They belonged to my mother-in-love, and there is a lovely matching tablecloth that I use often.


In lieu of a birthday cake, I asked The Cookie Princess to design a cupcake for our party...

...She did a wonderful job!  I placed them in the individual lidded dessert pedestals, and they became a part of the tablescape.

The menu for today also includes the Pioneer Woman's recipe for Creamy Baked Chicken Spaghetti, a crisp green salad, and fresh baked French bread...just right for a cool Autumn day. My dear friends should be here any time.  I can hardly wait for them to arrive.


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 Fall, I think sunlit mornings and close friends gathered at my 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, September 20, 2011

A Few of My Favorite Things

"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.


Each September, after a summer hiatus, the Garden Friends, my beloved Bible study group, convene for another year of study, praise and prayer, and the most precious fellowship I've known.  Last week, my sweet sisters gathered at my house for a luncheon to celebrate the beginning of our 24th year together.  As is our habit, everyone brought food to share, so my task was primarily to create a special tablescape that would make each of them feel like the guest of honor.  FAIR WARNING: Enter at your own risk...this is a photo intense journey.

I've often been asked, "What is your favorite pattern?"  Although I have many patterns that I adore, today I decided to use a plate that always makes my heart beat a little faster...

Once I chose to work with the Coalport, "Exotic Bird, Z3137" luncheon plates, I knew that today's table was going to feature a few of my "favorite things."  

  I searched for this plate for more than five years.  I originally saw it in one of my favorite books, AT HOME WITH CAROLYNE ROEHM, and fell in love with it. (I know, I know...that's really sad to 'love' a piece of porcelain.)  I eventually found and bought 1 dinner plate and some of the same pattern in the pink border through eBay...but I was beginning to think that I would never find any more of the apple green rim.  Then, in a two week period of time this past spring, I found two separate eBay auctions with a total of 16 luncheon plates.  Score!  eBay Tip:  Don't give up!  Use the saved search feature, so eBay will notify you when new items that you are seeking are listed.

The Exotic Bird was happily seated on my mother-in-love's wedding china, Castleton, "Laurel".  Castleton was one of the American companies that came to prominence with the onset of World War II.  Young brides were no longer able to obtain the designs produced by the European manufacturers.  Entertaining Tip:  Today, I seated 12 at the dining table.  When I have 12 at the table, I usually think that it overcrowds the table to use a full-size charger plate.  By using a luncheon plate, I am able to select a dinner plate as a service plate and achieve the desired layering effect.

Another of my favorite things, the Reed & Barton, "Francis I" sterling flatware was my mother-in-love's sterling flatware.  Did you know that "Francis I" is the most popular silver pattern made?  I love that it is so elegant, elaborate, and yet, timeless.  My daughter also chose this pattern when she married, and someday she will become the third generation to use these gorgeous pieces.  She already borrows them when she needs extra, of course. 

When I opened the doors to the linen closet for the dining table cloths, my eyes kept drifting to this wonderful old linen and organdy cloth.  This cloth was part of my mother-in-love's trousseau, and it was made for this very dining table.  It's at least a fine Madeira, and I've often wondered if it might be Marghab.  If you happen to have any expertise about Marghab, I would really like to know what you think.  It no longer has any labels.  When it came to live with us, it was rolled on a large tube in layers of acid free tissue...we no longer have the original box.  I almost didn't use it because the cloth is a dusty peach, and the plates feature a hot, rosy pink...but something kept bringing me back to it.  I was determined to make it work...

...because I adore the design of the scallops on the drop of the cloth...


...and I am in awe of the cutwork design in the center field of this wonderful old linen.  Today I placed it over a soft piece of fabric that I sometimes use as an undercloth for my table.  The organdy is actually close to the same color as the linen and not white, but I thought that the undercloth highlighted the intricate design nicely...


 ...The made-to-match napkins give you a better idea of the true color of the organdy.


Once I decided on the Exotic Bird plate, the choice of goblets was a no-brainer...at least in my mind...


The Waterford, "Simply Green", was an eBay find.  I bought them several years ago for about $20.00 per stem.  They are still available on eBay, but sadly the prices have skyrocketed.  I consider myself quite lucky to have bought them when I did.  Today I filled this hefty goblet with water or tea.

The Tiffin, "Optic Swirl", with the green stem was used for wine today.  I've been able to find two sets of 8 in this neat old goblet on eBay.  I've come to appreciate the reflective value of the optic design in crystal.  I think that it makes the light dance across the table.

I never know exactly what my centerpiece is going to be until I make a run to my custom boutique florists...Sam's Wholesale Club and Homeland Grocery.  For this table, I knew that I wanted to find a way to blend the peach of the tablecloth and the hot/rosy pink in the Exotic Bird plates...

...and I knew that I wanted to center the design with the Rosenthal, "Sansoucci" tureen, bought during the last hour of an estate sale for $35.00.  Yipeeeee!!  I also knew that the Val St. Lambert crystal candlesticks would add a nice quotient of shine and sparkle.  Flanking the tureen are...

... two pair of Verlys crystal pedestal bowls...


...with frosted love birds on each side.  These four pieces are yet another of the many items that once belonged to our precious Nana.  Verlys was located near Rouen, France.  In 1920, the Societe Holophane Francais was set up near Rouen as a subsidiary of the USA Holophane Company, to make vehicle headlights.  By 1925, they had expanded into making art glass vases and bowls.  They created a separate department and named it "Verlys".  By the 50's, Verlys was no longer made and the molds were sold to other companies, including Fenton who produced this bowl in colors.  I checked eBay just now, and there is quite a bit of Verlys up for auction, including some of the lovebird vases.






Green hydrangeas were mixed with a peachy pink and creamy white roses.  I also tucked in a few
carnations in a creamy yellow edged in hot pink.  I think that the carnation made the whole look work.  The D & Co. Limoges open salts once belonged to Nana.  I adore these little Art Deco jewels.

The silver butter dome also once graced Nana's table.  We are blessed to care for it until it goes on to yet another generation of family.  After some candlelight shots and an attempt at a blue hour moment...

   

 
 ...The next morning, as the prairie sun danced across my table...

 ...I gave thanks that all the details were in place...

...and that I would soon be blessed to have the Garden Friends gathered around my table again.  You're welcome to join us any Wednesday morning for our Bible study!  We'll have a special luncheon to celebrate that you're here!


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 Fall, I think sunlit mornings when the Garden Friends will once again sit at my 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!