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Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Christmas With The Elves

"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. During this beautiful season when we celebrate harvest and Thanksgiving, I hope that it will encourage you to support projects in your community that contribute to the effort to overcome hunger



A few weeks ago, I shared the centerpiece that our Haviland group created for the Tea Table at the  2011, Theta Flaming Festival.  In addition, my friend Barb and I had a marvelous time designing an additional tablescape for the festival.  We called it "Christmas with the Elves."


I'm finishing up a table tonight for a birthday luncheon for the Garden Friends Bible Study tomorrow.  Still have quite a bit to acccomplish, so I'll keep the comments brief.

The black felt tablecloth that I made was a great undercloth for our tablescape.

Barb and I always enjoy combining our things when we create a table design.

 During the holidays, the tall Christmas tree can usually be found on Barb's breakfast room table with her precious collection of elves.  The striped trees were also pulled from her holiday stash.

You've seen my dessert dome pedestals used often when I entertain.  Today we filled them with ornaments for party favors.  Barb bought the black and white checked accent plates at Target.  The under plate is Hutschenreuther, "Racine", a Haviland, "Ranson" look-alike.  The black charger is from Hobby Lobby.  I thought that you might enjoy a closer look at Barb's wonderful collection of elves...








The sterling is my Reed & Barton, "Francis I."  My AJKA, "Arabella" green wine goblet and my Lenox, "Holiday Gem" red stem added some Christmas color and sparkle.  

The white ric rack napkins are from Pier One, caught up in Christmas berry napkin rings.  I bought several of the red and black plaid tablecloths at a local shop, The Market at Quail Springs.  I've layered two of the cloths, and gathered one of them up around the base of the tree.  Lifts are hidden under the cloth to elevate some of the elves.

I have more tables from the Flaming Festival to share with you another time.  Better get back to finishing the details for my luncheon tomorrow.  Hope that you are having fun turning your home into a Christmas Wonderland.  I've been off to a slow start, but I'm started to get excited!

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.

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, November 23, 2011

Blessings New & Familiar

"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. During this beautiful season when we celebrate harvest and Thanksgiving, I hope that it will encourage you to support projects in your community that contribute to the effort to overcome hunger



Blogging has created an unintended consequence for me this year...I'm much better organized for tomorrow's festivities...and that's because of you!  The table is set, the house is fluffed, the grocery shopping is complete, and later today I shall assemble several recipes to be baked tomorrow.  You, my bloggy friends, have truly blessed and  inspired me, and I look forward to our Thanksgiving celebration with eager anticipation.  We'll be a table of 12 this year; I'm thrilled that my son and daughter-in-love will make the trip with our two beloved grandsons to spend the holiday with us.  My daughter and son-in-love will be back from touring just in time to gather at the table with us, and his parents will be with us, too  Sweet Mister's old prep school friend will join us again, as well as my dear sister-in-love.  Okay...true confession...my SIL always prepares the turkey, the best that I've ever tasted.  I've never baked a turkey!  I prepare most of the other 'fixins', and everyone contributes something for our feast.   My Thanksgiving blessings abound!

The Simpich "Pilgrims" have journeyed to the center table in the foyer to welcome our guests as they come through the front door.  The lanterns will remain and transition for the Christmas holidays next week.  Squanto and friends will spend the remainder of the season in the kitchen.

Come on around the corner, into the dining room.  This year's table is a mixture of new and familiar elements.

You might remember the lovely tablecloth that Sweet Mister bought for me during our time in Sorrento, Italy this summer.  It reminds me of the blessing of our trip to Italy with our sweet KC and David.

I started my place setting with a bronze Hobby Lobby acrylic charger plate.  For a touch of shine, I added a rope edge silver charger plate...a gift from one of the greatest blessings in my life...my sister.  She will be observing the holiday with her family out there on the Caprock in rugged, magnificent West Texas.  

Topping the charger plates, the Coalport, "Athlone Brown" is one of my favorite eBay finds.  eBay,  a blessing?  I think that I won't ask Sweet Mister what he thinks about that.  Actually, that brings me to the greatest earthly blessings in my world...Sweet Mister, the love of my life, shakes his head and rolls his eyes each time that I trot out another set of dishes.  Then he smiles and asks, "Who's coming to eat?  I can't imagine waking up each morning without him in my life.  We'll celebrate our 43rd anniversary in December.

Perched atop the inevitable "stack," that we tablescapers so enjoy creating, sits the Wedgwood, majolica grape leaf plate, another eBay find.  Tip:  I learned a lesson on these plates.  I bought a set of 11 of these in a wonderful satin finish for a bargain.  Not long after, I ran across a "Buy It Now" for 8 more plates, and I snapped them up immediately.  When they arrived, they were beautiful, but they were not in the same satin finish as my first grouping.  They had a shiny glaze finish.  The lesson?...I should have asked the seller a question about the finish.  I had 'assumed' that they would be the same...and we know what 'assume' means...right?  This time it wasn't a major problem, but it was a lesson learned.

I chose the Reed & Barton, "Francis I" sterling flatware because it's intricate design reminded me of the blessing of a bountiful harvest that our American farmers bring to the market for us each and every day.  Each time that I lay these softly burnished pieces on our table I am thoughtful of the blessing of my mother-in-love.  She taught me much about entertaining graciously; she was an incredibly generous and giving woman.

The Pottery Barn, "Flax" Hemstitched linen napkin is gently held by the wonderful Laura Ashley, beaded tassel napkin ring, a 'give away' gift from our special Cuisine Kathleen.  I know that many of us consider her a blessing.  Kathleen is my roll model (pun intended) for cooking...someday...when I grow up...I'll be able to cook like Kathleen...sure I will.

I am blessed by the artisans in our world, old and new.  I adore beautiful crystal, and it's always a treat to find another design...antique or fresh off the shelf...

The Vietri amber goblet is a welcome new addition from a wonderful local jewelry/gift store, BC Clark.  The vintage wine goblet is by Tiffin, and I bought 20 of them at the tail end of an estate sale for a pittance.

By now, you are quite familiar with the blessing that was our sweet Nana.  The silver master salt and pepper once graced her table.

My centerpiece is a combination of old familiar and new.

I've used the collection of mercury glass candlesticks many times over the years.  I once again employed one of my "go to" design tricks by placing several shimmering Michael's garlands down the table in a serpentine fashion.  I've used four garlands for my table, two for each half of the table.  I double them to create a full appearance.  I always check out Michael's and Hobby Lobby at the end of the holidays and snap them up at a greatly reduced price. 

See the small mercury glass votive tucked in behind the amber goblet?  Brand new...currently available at Michael's on the clearance aisle!  Hurry!

The leading role in my tableau goes to the new Pottery Barn mercury glass pumpkins.  They make the tablescape sparkle and shine; I really like them, and I'll enjoy using them for many years.

Still working on my candlelight photography.  I don't think that it could be confused with Bill's amazing work...a blessing in itself, but I'm content with the results...for the moment.















That pretty much covers it...

 Let the good times begin!...

As we bow our heads to say grace before beginning our meal, I'll give special thanks for the blessing of all the young men and women who serve in our military...

...and for the many blessings that our mighty God has poured on my family and our magnificent country.  I pray that you have a wonderful peace-filled day surrounded by family and friends.  My precious blessing, Dickens will be standing at the ready to alert me as our family and friends arrive.  Happy Thanksgiving!

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.



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, November 16, 2011

Simpich Pilgrims & Thanks to Cuisine Kathleen

"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. During this beautiful season when we celebrate harvest and Thanksgiving, I hope that it will encourage you to support projects in your community that contribute to the effort to overcome hunger




For a number of years, my Sweet Mister gifted me with assorted doll collections from The Simpich Shop in Colorado Springs, Colorado.  When Mr. and Mrs. Simpich decided to retire, they closed their studios and shop, so the dolls are now only availabe on the secondary market.  Each October, I display the Hansel and Gretel and the mean old witch with their gingerbread house.  The second group that I remove from the storage closet each holiday season is The Simpich Pilgrim grouping.  This week I designed a Thanksgiving/Fall tablescape with these charming dolls.  The whole process was set in motion when I went to my door and discovered two packages addressed to moi!

The first box that I opened contained this Pottery Barn, Hemstitched Linen Tablecloth, in Pumpkin...an eBay purchase...

...The second box was crammed full of these wonderful Waverly, Red and Gold Beaded Tassels from the generous and multi-talented CUISINE KATHLEEN.  I was the runner-up in one of her wonderful give-aways.  THANK YOU, KATHLEEN!!!  With these two new design elements, I was off to the races with ideas swirling in my head...all the inspiration I needed.

Next I drew our Furnival, "Blue Quail" from the cupboard to be placed atop the hammered copper charger plates that I picked up at an estate sale recently.  The L'Argent, Sophia "Gold" flatware was just the right mellow yellowish touch that I wanted.  The flatware was found at Tuesday Morning, and more recently at Horchow.  Tip:  Horchow is currently offering 25 - 30% off on almost everything in their catalog.  Now might be a good time to go check them out...stocking stuffers...holiday tables...just sayin'.

The two tones of blue goblets were both from The Dollar Tree.  That's right...$1.00 per stem.

Did you remember that I'm one of those "Blue & White Girls"?  Can't get enough of it.  Years ago, Sweet Mister and I realized that we both live well with blues.  The little white turkey salt and pepper belonged to my mama.  I think of her each year when I take them   out for Thanksgiving.  The Pottery Barn "Flax" Hemstitched Napkin makes yet another appearance.  I really have enjoyed using them many times this year.

As it turned out, my centerpiece was actually quite simple to create.  I really liked the warmth of the old heavy brass candlesticks.  The tallest pair belonged to my mother-in-love, and I picked up the other two pair at the tail end of an estate sale for $10.00 for all four of them.  Woo hoo!  Tip:  Timing is everything!  Shortly after my great get on the candlesticks, I read that the new trend metal color for the coming year is...wait for it...brass!  I felt even smarter...LOL.  So...all of those old brass decorative pieces that you've finally decided to donate to someone...Don't!  And if you haven't changed out your brass hardware on your cabinets in too many years to count...Hey!  You're back in style.

The faux Fall foliage is two garlands, woven in a serpentine fashion around the candlesticks and dolls...so easy!  I keep a variety of holiday garlands hanging on a hook in my garage workroom.  Tip:  For adequate coverage, I generally buy 2 - 4 of the same garland at Hobby Lobby or Michael's.  I always wait to pick them up when they are on sale...

...And finally, my old friends...the Simpich "Pilgrims."  We've enjoyed them for many years, and I pray that they bring a smile to your face this day.  They'll be sojourning in   several different spots throughout our home during the Christmas holidays.  Squanto was a later addition to the collection.  Simpich also later designed a young Indian boy.  Some 
day I'll find him, and he'll come home to join our noble little group.

Fresh turkey and a bounty of vegetables...

Time to start cooking and baking....company will be here before you know it!  Happy Thanksgiving preparations!


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.


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!