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Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Ridgways "Lynton" Alfresco

"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. As you consider your own philanthropic opportunities, I hope that it will encourage you to support projects in your community that contribute to the effort to overcome hunger.


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Here on the prairie, we experience extreme weather variations ( with the exception of this winter) during each of the four seasons.  Our Spring this year is glorious, and we know that with the strong possibility of a blazing hot summer, we want to grab every opportunity to enjoy our time outside now!  Everything is greening up nicely, and although the Plumbago is still small and the Day Lilies have yet to open, my potted Geraniums and the Knockout Roses are putting on a lovely show of reds and pinks.  I am not a gifted gardener, but I do love a wonderful display of color in my flower beds.  With that in mind, yesterday I set a table on the back porch for luncheon with friends.  The day was perfect!

Come on outside and see what's waiting for your enjoyment...

We'll settle in the shade of the big ole tree, and we'll soak up that magnificent clear blue sky.  We might still be sitting here come supper time.

Happily returning, yet again, to my cherished blues, I layered the patio table with the Williams Sonoma, "Light Blue Linen Hemstitched" Tablecloth, an eBay purchase.  These are such lovely tablecloths.  They are machine washable, and I usually lay them out to dry across one of the patio tables.  They iron up nicely and easily.  eBay Tip:  These tablecloths can be listed for a pretty penny on eBay.  Once again, take your time!  Keep watching by saving items of interest to your My eBay page.  You'll start to see a range of prices appear, and you'll quickly learn to recognize when someone lists one for a "good price for the particular item."  Pay attention to the ending time for the auction and plan to bid during the last 30 seconds or so...depending on the speed of your computer and server.  I prefer to bid with 20 seconds left in the auction, and I bid the highest price that I would be willing to pay.  I rarely actually pay that price; it's usually just a dollar or so above the current high bid.  By bidding my high bid and bidding late, the other bidder rarely has time to come back and bid against me.

My centerpiece was a no brainer...I used the blue and white pot filled with Geraniums that sits on this table throughout the summer....

...flanked by a pair of Hobby Lobby small blue and white footed bowls holding battery operated pillar candles...

...and a pair of Coalport Decanters, another inexpensive eBay find.  Today the decanters were filled with water and wine which prevented frequent trips to the kitchen for refills.

The featured player for today's table is the Ridgways, "Lynton, Blue".  You can also find it in a wonderful brown.  For years, I've been searching for Ridgways, "Portland Basket", to no avail.  When I came across the Lynton pattern on eBay, I decided that I could achieve much the same design effect.  The Portland Basket remains on "the list."  If I ever happen to find it, I'll give this pattern to my children...maybe.  

I used the Wedgwood, "Queens Plain" 'Large' Dinner plate as a charger.  I bought these from Replacements for a better price than I could find on eBay.  The small Cream Reticulated Plate was one of twelve that I picked up at the tail end of an estate sale for $10.00.  They are not marked, and I don't think that they are particularly valuable...except to me.  I really like them.  The flatware is the L'Argent, "Sophia" in the 'gold'...

  ...I chose the "Sophia" gold because they nicely punctuated the yellow roses in the plate's floral garland.

The blue and white gingham napkin is the napkin most used by Sweet Mister and me.  We've had them since 1985...I'd say that they've proven their value.

The sun was so crisp and bright that I knew that clear crystal goblets would be dancing in the light...
The larger Godinger, "Sutton Place" goblet was another eBay acquisition, purchased a few at a time for $5.00 each or less.  The last time that I checked, the price was higher.  The wine goblet is Tiffin, "Elyse", found at the end of an estate sale for a scandalously low price.  Tip:  Have you ever tried to find someone to identify a crystal goblet design for you.  Most replacement places will help you.  I thought that it was interesting to learn that when you send them a photo, they are most interested in the stem of the goblet...more than the bowl.  Evidently, it is the stem that is usually peculiar to a specific manufacturer...pretty cool little tidbit.

I'm good to go, and if you check the top right portion of the pic, you'll see that Dickens, my Yorkshire Terrorist, has almost finished his perimeter patrol of the back yard.  This has been a really easy process for me because once again, my generous friends are bringing...

  ...take out!...

...I think that I'll step over to one of my chairs, put my feet up on the ottoman, and catch a wink or two until my dear friends stroll through the door.


Wish that you could join me for fellowship, food, and fun.  Let me know if you're going to be passing through my neck of the woods.  I'll set a table just for you!

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 10:00 AM on Thursdays.  You'll be glad that you made the trip...it's a wonderful adventure.

When I think of April, I think of  glorious sun-filled skies and meals shared al fresco.  How about you?  With thankfulness for her dedication and efforts, I'm joining the multi-talented Tablescaper for her fabulous meme SEASONAL SUNDAY.  Hope to see you there!

Tonight is the sixth edition of Cuisine Kathleen's meme, "LET'S DISH".  So excited to be a charter member.  Pop over (pun intended for the Chef Supreme Kathleen) and join the fun!


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, April 18, 2012

EARTH'S SUMMER BOUNTY

"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. As you consider your own philanthropic opportunities, I hope that it will encourage you to support projects in your community that contribute to the effort to overcome hunger.





Tonight is Cuisine Kathleen's Earth Day Challenge.  I published another post EASTER, SECOND VERSE, yesterday, but I decided that I could do better for Kathleen.  When I think of Summer, I'm always excited to put beautiful fresh vegetables on the table for my guests' pleasure.  I can hardly wait each year for the amazing home grown tomatoes...and squash...and corn on the cob...and on and on.  I love the smell of freshly turned earth in a vegetable garden, especially right after a rain.  Those were the thoughts running pell mell through my mind when I created my contribution, "Earth's Summer Bounty."

Come on in...this one's for you...even if you're wearing your overalls, straight from working in your vegetable garden.  We'll gather at the games table in the living room.

The inspiration for my Earth Day table was this large ceramic basket filled with an assortment of delightful ceramic vegetables.  I found it for $10.00 at an estate sale in Dallas.  I was there visiting my kids, and my daughter-in-love and I were able to slip away for a bit to indulge in one of our guilty pleasures...estate sales.  Flanking the basket is a pair of Vietri "Cabbage Leaf" candlesticks, an eBay find.

The green and white striped tablecloth reminded me of rows of green sprouts poking their heads up through the earth.  It was also an eBay find.  The napkins were bought several years ago at an after-Christmas clearance sale from Pier One.

Like a nest of fresh leaves, the Bordallo Pinheiro, "Cabbage Leaf" charger plates cradled the place settings.

Yet another eBay purchase, I collected the Luneville, "Louis XV" plates over a period of time for sometimes less than $5.00 per plate.  I checked them recently, and they appear to have increased in price.  I chose them because they picked up some of the colors in the basket and they reminded me of baked squash!  The Rattan handled flatware was a dirt cheap get from Big Lots several years ago.

More "garden goodness"...the Bordallo Pinheiro, "Leaf Plate" added interesting shape, texture, and colors to put the finishing touch on each place setting.  The multi-colored edge again picked up more of the colors in the vegetables in the basket.  

After a morning of tending to the garden, it's nice to sit down to a large glass of freshly brewed ice tea and a generous goblet of thirst quenching ice water.  I've used the Mikasa, "French Country" and the Lenox, "Red Holiday Gem".  I used the red stem because I love that a vegetable garden features a full spectrum of color.  I used the clear goblet because although I wanted to feature a variety of color, I didn't want to fall over the cliff into a chasm of color chaos.

Ready to rock and roll....

Go ahead...choose where you'd like to sit.  We deserve a relaxing time of good food and fellowship after a busy morning tending to our garden on this Good Earth.


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 THIURSDAY."   Hop on over and check out the myriad of marvelous tablescape designs, after 10:00 AM on Thursdays.  You'll be glad that you made the trip...it's a wonderful adventure.

When I think of April, I think of rainy days that give way to glorious sun-filled skies and the blessed Easter holiday.  How about you?  With thankfulness for her dedication and efforts, I'm joining the multi-talented Tablescaper for her fabulous meme SEASONAL SUNDAYS.  Hope to see you there!



Tonight is the fifth edition of Cuisine Kathleen's meme, "LETS DISH".  So excited to be a charter member.  Pop over (pun intended for the Chef Supreme Kathleen) and join the fun! Tonight we're all participating in Kathleen's Challenge "The Good Earth."


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, April 17, 2012

Easter, Second Verse

"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. As you consider your own philanthropic opportunities, I hope that it will encourage you to support projects in your community that contribute to the effort to overcome hunger.





I had such fun creating my EASTER CONFECTION, but in the end, we didn't dine at my table for our celebration.  My sweet sister-in-love called and wanted the family to come to her home for Easter lunch.  I'm blessed to welcome the family to my table so much of the time, and I would never deny her to joy of hosting family and friends at her table. I immediately said, "Sure".  I asked her what dishes she wanted to utilize, and then I proceeded to pull a variety of accessories to enhance her table.  I popped over to her house on Saturday and pulled her table together. 

I took the flip-top table top extender to turn SIL''s 48" round table into a 60" round table, suitable for 8.  I used one of my white matelasse tablecloths to get the ball rolling.

The "flower petal" bunnies hopped over from my house along with the Fitz and Floyd bunny ring and the "flower petal" carrots.  The pot of Azaleas has served me well throughout the holiday.

I designed the charger plates, glazed, and fired them as a gift for my SIL a number of years ago.  The blue, yellow, and white striped rim added some additional color to the table.  It means a great deal to me that she still enjoys using them.  I haven't done much clay work in the past few years; maybe I'll get back to it this summer.  

The Lenox "Beltane" belonged to my mother-in-love.  It's one of my favorite Lenox patterns.  My SIL no longer had a full service of it; then one day, I found a large set of it at the tail end of an estate sale.  I picked it up for her for a great price, and she's enjoyed using it often ever since.

The hot pink hemstitched napkins were an eBay purchase from Online Napkins.  I told you about them several posts ago.  Rhett from The Gazebo House wrote to tell me that she had ordered some and was quite pleased with them.  They are offered in a plethora of colors.  I encourage you to take a look at them!  Today I caught them in silver-plated napkin rings.

My SIL and I found her lovely Waterford Marquis optical crystal stemware several years ago at Dillard's.  I think that the pattern in "Montfort", but I could be making that up...or having a brain freeze.

It was a glorious Easter Day, and we gave thanks to Sweet Jesus for loving us so much that He endured the cross to pay for our sins and overcame death to make a way for us to receive eternal life in God's glorious heaven.  We shared a delicious meal, and we lingered long at her table to visit and enjoy precious fellowship.  I pray that you had your own peace-filled holiday surrounded by family and friends.


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 10:00 AM on Thursdays.  You'll be glad that you made the trip...it's a wonderful adventure.

When I think of April, I think of rainy days that give way to glorious sun-filled skies and the blessed Easter holiday.  How about you?  With thankfulness for her dedication and efforts, I'm joining the multi-talented Tablescaper for her fabulous meme SEASONAL SUNDAYS.  Hope to see you there!



Tonight is the fifth edition of Cuisine Kathleen's meme, "LET'S DISH".  So excited to be a charter member.  Pop over (pun intended for the Chef Supreme Kathleen) and join the fun!


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, April 11, 2012

True to Blue 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. As you consider your own philanthropic opportunities, I hope that it will encourage you to support projects in your community that contribute to the effort to overcome hunger.


Same story...one of many verses.  My friend is picking up our favorite Grilled Salmon salad and heading over for lunch.  Today it had to be blue and white...I've missed my old friend blue as we've concentrated on various holiday themed tablescapes.  Keeping it short and sweet tonight...well, at least as short and sweet as I ever am.

It's been rainy, and now the wind is rearing its ugly head...so the games table in the living room is where we've landed again.

One of the azalea plants from our Easter table added a nice touch of vibrant pink.  I plopped it in a random blue and white jardiniere that was hiding in a closet.  The pair of oriental lanterns were a half-price purchase from Hobby Lobby.  Today I didn't bother, but they'd look great with a candle inside, too. All in all, the centerpiece took moments to complete.

The blue and white toile tablecloth is one of ten that I bought on eBay several months ago for a  large luncheon that I'm hosting in October.  I bought them for less than $20.00 each.  It would have cost me $35.00 each to rent them for one day.  eBay Tip:  I sometimes find someone who is selling a large lot of tablecloths...these had been used for a wedding reception.  If you will write the seller a note and ask if there is a better price if you purchase a large number, the seller will often lower the price for each cloth.  It's always worth asking!  The Pottery Barn navy linen hemstitch napkin was an eBay purchase, and once again it's nestled in the Coalport, "Countryware" napkin ring. 

eBay was also the source for the pair of Coalport, decanters.  I filled one with water and one with wine, so we could serve ourselves throughout lunch.

Undergirding the placesetting is a Churchill, "Blue Willow" chop plate, acquired from eBay...again.  Entertaining Tip:  Chop plates will usually work well as chargers.  These are very inexpensive on eBay, and I periodically add another one.  Someday I'll have enough to set a whole table.  The L'Argent, blue "Sophia" flatware was found through Horchow and Tuesday Morning. The small white reticulated plate and the Chinese rice bowl were both found at estate sales.  Today I used them for hot bread and dipping oil.  Inverting the bowl was a design choice.  The interior of the bowl is pure white, and I wanted to highlight the blue and white design.

And yet another eBay find, the dinner plate is Wedgwood, "Countryside".  I really like the mix of patterns in this monochromatic design.  

I love that the refined AJKA, "Arabella" wine plays quite well with the Dollar Tree, cobalt goblet.

I'm looking forward to time with my friend....time to share a meal...and take a few quiet moments just to relax and breathe.  Tomorrow I'll get around to putting away the rest of the Easter bunnies.  Sweet Mister would say, "You're not the last one to put away Easter for this year; you're just the first one to start setting out Easter for next year."  He's my prince.


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 THIURSDAY."   Hop on over and check out the myriad of marvelous tablescape designs, after 10:00 AM on Thursdays.  You'll be glad that you made the trip...it's a wonderful adventure.

When I think of April, I think of rainy days that give us time to slow down for a bit and share a meal with friends.  How about you?  With thankfulness for her dedication and efforts, I'm joining the multi-talented Tablescaper for her fabulous meme SEASONAL SUNDAYS.  Hope to see you there!



Tonight is the fourth edition of Cuisine Kathleen's meme, "LET'S DISH".  So excited to become a charter member.  Pop over (pun intended for the Chef Supreme Kathleen) and join the fun!


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!