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Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Simple Pleasures

"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.


Wasn't certain that I would find time to write my post this evening.  Late this afternoon our city was hit with a violent storm that featured hail the size of baseballs, tennis balls, softballs, and grapefruits.  For the second time in two years, there will be many thousands of homes in need of new roofs.  At least this time, our home didn't sustain broken windows, but our giant tree in the back yard does look like it's been napalmed.  We were blessed to have enough warning to pull all the potted plants and patio tables and chair underneath the porch before the storm hit.  We have our electricity thanks to underground cables.  That said, there are about 100,000 homes in the city without power.  All in all, we came through the storm with minimal damage.  So...

Once again, I'm preparing for a birthday luncheon this coming Friday.  Last week, I set a small table for four for lunch.  Take out, but of course.

It was windy outside today, so we shared lunch at the games table in the living room.

The flowers are left over from the ROUND THE CLOCK SHOWER/LUNCHEON that I hosted last weekend.  The Haviland "Ranson" tureen, elevated on an oriental stand, served well as our centerpiece.  Aside from wedding and inherited dishes, the Haviland, "Ranson" was the beginning of my china collection.

Blogland has proven to be such a delightful resource for all of us dishaholics.  Just a week or so ago, Alycia Nichols, of TABLESCAPES AT TABLE TWENTY-ONE showed us this lavender charger from Michael's. I hot-footed it to Michael's, and was fortunate to find a large inventory waiting for me.  Thank you, Alycia!  They are going to be wonderful with so many of my dishes.  Today I'm using them with the Royal Doulton, "Old Chelsea" dinner plate.  The pink linen hemstitched luncheon napkin belonged to Nana.  The Reed & Barton, "Francis I" flatware belonged to my mother-in-love, and it was still out after the shower/luncheon...made it an easy choice.  

The tablecloth was a great get at the end of an estate sale, and I always enjoy using it.  The covered butter dish is also Haviland, "Ranson".  The Hydrangeas are still happy in the Lenox urns.

 The color mix of the crystal reminded me of a childhood memory.  Shortly after I was allowed to dress myself, I came out of my bedroom thrilled with the outfit that I had put together.  I was wearing a yellow sweater and a pink corduroy circle skirt.  Mama immediately sent me back to choose a more appropriate ensemble.  The "Old Chelsea" plate features a wonderful pink design with an amber rim.  I couldn't resist....

I pulled out the Waterford, "Simply Pink" and the Vietri, "Optic" amber goblets.  Mama is either smiling or gently shaking her head.  

Ready to roll...lunch would be coming through the door any time.  For dessert, I had a batch of mama's Brandy Ice ready and waiting in the freezer.  I'd love for the day to come when you would be walking through the door to share food, fun, and fellowship.



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 MAY, I think of easy going days and time to 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 eleventh 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!  KC has just released her 5th studio CD project, "The Tag Hollow Sessions".  The sold out CD release concert was this past weekend.  "The Tag Hollow Sessions" 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, May 22, 2012

Round the Clock Shower/Luncheon

"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.


Sweet Mister and his friend Russ have been close friends since they were little boys.  Russ and Kathy's son is engaged to be married this summer to a beautiful young woman whom he met while away at college.  I was blessed to host a "Round the Clock" luncheon/shower for the bride-to-be.  It was a wonderful opportunity for her to meet Kathy's friends and for us to meet the bride and her family, in town for the weekend. Five other friends shared the hostess responsibilities, and we prepared seating for thirty-two at four tables on the back porch.  

  
As guests entered the foyer, they were offered a Mimosa in a hand painted flute.  Over time, I've painted 6 dozen of these flutes.  They live in their original boxes on a shelf in the garage, and they are used quite often for large groups.  Today they were also put into service for the Brandy Ice dessert.  The white pitcher was bought from Ceramice Casola, Positano last summer during our magical trip to Italy.

When it was time for lunch, guests filled their Royal Doulton RD199 luncheon plates with a light summer menu featuring fresh mixed berries, chicken salad, and hot bread.

When planning my design, I wanted to repeat a variety of elements that would create continuity among the tables. You can identify some of the elements on the buffet table.  The Luneville tureen, an eBay purchase, worked well with the Hydrangeas from my garden.  The Williams-Sonoma blue and white toile tablecloth was also an eBay get.  The hot bread was served in a pair of Godinger crystal bread baskets.  As a nod to our theme, small decorative clocks were tucked in along the length of the centerpiece.

Our dear Nana's silver candelabra and Towle "Lafayette" sterling tea service graced the buffet along with a pair of tall pale blue vases holding abundant arrangements starring more Hydrangeas,  and a pair of the Lalique, "La Coq".  The vases were found on clearance at Hobby Lobby.  Come on out to the back porch.  It's almost time for everyone to be seated....



It was a glorious day here on the prairie, and we were thrilled to dine al fresco...

Although no two tablescapes are exactly the same, I was able to create design continuity by using similar elements on each table.  I've again used blue and white toile tablecloths.  I bought 11 of these through eBay for 30% less than it would have cost me to rent them for one day.  Each table held a white tureen surrounded by three small jardinieres filled with more of my garden Hydrangeas as the centerpiece.  Here the tureen is Rosenthal "Sansoucci."

 Each table showcased a different pattern of cobalt china.  The Coalport "Spearpoint"dinner plate was found on eBay.  All the plates were placed on silver chargers.  

Assorted patterns of Nana's vintage linen napkins with pale blue embroidered motifs were held by oversized 'diamond ring' napkin rings.  I bought 48 of the napkin rings with 2 other friends.  We co-op them, and they have been utilized many times.  Two of the tables offered the pink Waterford "Simply" goblets.

   Of course, I wanted the bride's table to be very special.  For her centerpiece, I placed the Mottahedeh, "Musee Decoratif" tureen and underplate in the midst of a trio of small Lenox tureens overflowing with more of my Hydrangeas...

Sweet Nana's Prussian Cobalt "Portrait" plates added the perfect grace note to the bride's table. Each plate has a different portrait in the center.  I forgot to take a picture of the center of the plate.  If you wish to see them, click HERE (they're worth the click).  Two of my tablescapes held the blue Waterford "Simply" goblets.  The Waterford "Simply" goblets were all eBay acquisitions.  I bought them several years ago, very inexpensively.  They are still available, but the cost has escalated quite a bit.

For the third table, I switched back to the Simply Pink goblet.  The tureen and under plate are Wedgwood "Patrician", and the reticulated jardinieres were bought on clearance at Hobby Lobby.

Another pattern on my "list", the Minton "Consort" was once again a great eBay buy.  All the tables were set with the Reed & Barton "Francis I" flatware, which belonged to my mother-in-love.

 Completing the quartet of tables, this one features the Copeland Spode "Gadroon" tureen and underplate.  The cobalt and gold encrusted Minton "H2954" dinner plates were made for Ovington Brothers.  

I found the 12 plates at the tail end of an estate sale; they were $16.00 per plate...an incredible deal.

A beautiful azure blue sky...sunlight gently dappled on the tabletops...

It's a perfect day for an al fresco luncheon.  Let me know if you're headed my way, and I'll set a table just for you.  Let the party begin!

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 MAY, I think of days and evenings perfect for dining al fresco.  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 tenth 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!  KC has just released her 5th studio CD project, "The Tag Hollow Sessions".  The sold out CD release concert was this past weekend.  "The Tag Hollow Sessions" 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, May 15, 2012

Short and Sweet, 5.15.12

"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'm in the midst of preparing for a wedding shower/luncheon this Saturday, so I'm keeping it short and sweet this week.  When I'm planning a party, I like to invite the other hostesses for lunch while we plan.  I invited one group to join me for lunch on the back porch.  It was a lovely day.


I was in a "ladies who lunch" frame of mine, and I wanted to create a feminine design for my guests.

The cutwork tablecloth used to cover the bedside table in my daughter's room.  It provided a nice backdrop for the Stouffer blue rim dinner plates.  The Waterford, "Simply Blue" goblets continued my soft blue color scheme.  I arranged my Sam's flowers in the Haviland, "Ranson" tureen.  Additionally, individual floral centerpieces at each place settings were placed in the "Ranson" demitasse cups which originally belonged to our sweet Nana.  I used the matching crescent plates for bread and butter.  We had a grand time.  I'd love to plan a party with you some day.  If the weather permits, we'll gather right here on the back porch.

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 MAY, I think of my mama and precious memories celebrated on Mothers' Day.  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 ninth 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!  KC has just released her 5th studio CD project.  The CD release concert is this weekend.  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, May 9, 2012

For Mama

"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 always love a good challenge, so when Cuisine Kathleen threw down her latest challenge, Moms' Day for "Let's Dish", my mind went into high gear. The Garden Friends came for a birthday luncheon today, and I thoroughly enjoyed creating a tablescape for them that celebrated my mama.  Daddy was an architect and an engineer, and he always leaned toward minimalism.  Mama was decidedly more traditional, but she always made an effort to respect Daddy's preferences in design.  Together they created a lovely blend of styles.  They both had a great appreciation for oriental art, and my sister and I are blessed to act as stewards of their beautiful pieces until the time comes to share them with our children.  Today's table reflects her quietly elegant manner with a nod toward their fondness for the Asian arts.




Mama liked blues and greens, and I wanted to make that my color story for today.

I kept the centerpiece low-key with a trio of white reticulated porcelain lanterns and the pair of Republic Period Rose Famille lidded rose bowls, which I found at an estate sale.  The lanterns are from a local flower shop, and I'll bet that they can currently be found in one of your local stores, too.

Making an encore appearance, a pair of the Lenox cream urns topped with Hypericum Berry topiary balls flanked the other pieces in my centerpiece.  The Williams-Sonoma navy blue linen hem-stitched tablecloth was an eBay find.

The gold bamboo flatware was a very inexpensive estate sale purchase.  I don't know the maker. When I folded the napkins, I was thinking about the oriental scrolls that Mama adored.  I have some of her charming antique pieces framed on my walls.  The Tiffany Blue linen/cotton hemstitched napkins are another great eBay purchase.  They are held in place with the 
Coalport "Countryware" napkin rings, also eBay.  

The Steelite Cobalt Charger Plate, another eBay score, was yet again called into service as the base for my place setting...

I always feel Mama smiling when I lay her classically beautiful Royal Doulton Harlow on the table...wonderful English bone china, with a gold rim and a simple cobalt and gold ring at the verge, punctuated with cornflower blue blossoms... 

...And then there's the Coalport Chinese Willow Accent Plate.  This pattern has been on "the list" for a long time, but I've never bought any because it is so. dang. expensive.  My nod to Mama's collection of oriental art was, yep, another eBay acquisition.  This plate sells for about $140.00 each...I found a set of 12 for $60.00...$5.00 each.  And you're not shopping on eBay because...? 

I love you and miss you, Mama.  I think that you would have liked this, too.

Continuing with my color story, I've chosen the Vietri, Apple Green Optical goblet and the AJKA Arabella Cobalt wine stem.

When I was a little girl, I remember the gorgeous flowers that my daddy would grow each Spring and Summer.  I've shared that I am not a skilled gardener, so it was an absolute thrill for me to walk out to my garden this morning and cut fresh Hydrangeas to fill the pair of oriental vases on the buffet.  It mattered not a whit that they weren't the same colors as my table design...I was ecstatic!

I can hardly wait for my Garden Friends Bible Study to walk through the door.  This will be our last study before our Summer hiatus.  I anticipate that we'll linger long after lunch for laughter and sweet fellowship.

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 MAY, I think of my mama and precious memories celebrated on Mothers' Day.  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 eighth 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!