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Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Quail Christmas, 2012

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.
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It's the day after Christmas, and I'm happy and worn slick.  Christmas Eve morning, we drove 3 1/2 hours to spend Christmas Eve ( dinner and church service) and early Christmas morning with our son, daughter-in-love, and two precious grandsons.


  Six a.m. found us opening presents with the boys and enjoying a delicious Christmas breakfast prepared by Jami.  Ten a.m. and an approaching snow and ice storm placed us back in the car for a now 4 1/2 hour drive home to share a Christmas evening tree and dinner with our daughter, son-in-love, and the newest blessing in our family, Beatrice Emaline, 3 months old...plus four friends who were without family for this Christmas.


Part of Sweet Mister's Christmas tradition always included a Quail Breakfast.  This year, he requested that we prepare Quail Breakfast for our Christmas dinner.  I designed my Christmas table with this in mind...

Come on in...You'll notice some familiar elements from the last few weeks...with a tweak here and there.

Red, white, and blue for Christmas?  Why not?  I decided to go for it.  

I've had the Haviland "Twelve Days of Christmas" collection of plates waiting in the wings for some time.  I was excited to have an opportunity to feature them in one of my tabletop productions.  They were the crowning touch for my design.  They were removed for our dinner/breakfast and returned for an encore as our dessert plates.

The red glass charger plate turned out to be an important design element.  I wanted to keep the shimmering green accents, and I wanted to add blue.  Increasing the touches of red allowed the design to achieve an effective balance of color and still remain Christmasy...is that a real word?  Once again, I've used the Reed & Barton Francis I silver flatware.
   
For our Quail Breakfast, I knew that I wanted to use the Furnivals Blue Quail dinner plates.  We've had a large service of this pattern for more than twenty-seven years.  They were originally our dinnerware at our lake house...the house was sold many years ago, but I couldn't part with the dishes.  The rim of this plate was the perfect amendment for the Haviland plates.

Continuing the red, white, and blue theme, I chose the red Fenton Empress goblet and the French Blue Whitehall Quilted Footed Tumbler.  The light blue damask napkins belonged to our dear Nana.  This evening I caught them in the red and green beaded candle ring that I chose to employ as a napkin ring.  Are you beginning to see how my mind is working here?

For the centerpiece, I replaced the green shimmering ribbon, that you've seen the past few weeks, with a wired red and white checked burlap ribbon.  I recreated the same looping design that I used with the other ribbon.  Gone are the red quilted cachepots.  Now the white poinsettias are ensconced in a pair of light blue stoneware jardinieres from Hobby Lobby.  The hurricanes remain the same, minus the candy striped ribbon surrounding each pillar candle.  

The buffet has also received minor adjustments.  A touch of the red checked ribbon and the addition of another pair of the blue jardinieres completed my design.

 Because the menu features a number of items that must be prepared last minute, our guests will take their plates and fill them in the kitchen...very laid back and relaxed from start to finish.  Dinner will feature Fried Quail on toast with Cream Gravy, Scrambled Eggs, Crisp Bacon, Sour Cream Waffles with a choice of Warmed Syrup and Melted Butter or Fresh Peaches topped with Whipping Cream.  Dessert offerings will be Homemade Cheese Cake and/or Mama's Brandy Ice.  I had both...Diet to begin on the 26th.


 This has been a fun, change of pace tablescape design for me.  As exhausting as the Christmas holiday always seems to be, I am eagerly anticipating another round of Christmas designs for next year.  After all, it's always special to be able to celebrate the most important birthday of each and every year.  Happy Birthday, Sweet Jesus!

Wednesday is the 41st edition of Cuisine Kathleen's meme, "LET'S DISH".  I'm excited to be a charter member.  Pop over (pun intended for the Chef Supreme Kathleen) and join the fun!

Lots of great ideas to be gathered when you visit Yvonne at Stone Gable for TUTORIALS, TIPS, & TIDBITS.  Don't waste another moment...hurry on over!  
                                                                
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 "BETWEEN NAPS ON THE PORCH."   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 December, I think about precious family traditions built through many years...this week, we relished celebrating Christmas with our family.  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!  

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 "The Tag Hollow Sessions""  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, December 19, 2012

Garden Friends Christmas, 2012

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.
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Tomorrow morning the Garden Friends Bible Study group will gather around my tables to celebrate the most important birthday of each and every year.  I'm so excited for them to walk through the door and sit at my tables.  I've had a wonderful time preparing special tablescapes that I pray will honor them.  I hope that each one of them will return to her home and feel that she was the guest of honor.  (Photo intensive post...enter at your own risk.)

I found a bright sunny morning when I came down the hall to give Dickens his breakfast this morning.  I grabbed my Nikon to capture some light filled shots of my tablescapes for the Garden Friends' Christmas luncheon.  I've set two tables for 17 guests.

I've enjoyed using lots of shimmery apple green in my Christmas decorating this year.  A determined sunbeam seemed to say, "Here, let me make everything even more bright and shiny for you."

 Even Nana's antique silver chandelier is dressed for the occasion.  The canopy of shiny green is simply picks laid across the interior arms of the fixture.  The ornaments added a nice pop of Christmas red.  Tip:  The ornaments and the picks don't have any significant weight.  I try to "keep it light" when adorning the chandelier.  The fixture itself is so heavy that I try to avoid adding excessive weight to it.  Safety first!

 The glittery apple green reticulated ribbon is probably my favorite element in this centerpiece.  I used three pieces and "rolled them" into loose loops.  The ribbons are anchored by the red "quilted" cachepots, found at a local florist.  They were quite inexpensive, and I really like the diamond pattern.  Tip:  I bought ten of these.  I'll be hosting another large luncheon for my sorority sisters in October, 2014.  I thought that these would make great centerpieces for that occasion and many others.  Currently they are scattered in different places throughout our "Christmas house."  A pair of mirrored place mats creates a nice reflection.  I tucked four of the Lalique Love Birds into the design...just because I like them.


 The clear glass hurricanes were bought at Michael's a number of years ago.  They are still in stock, and they are very inexpensive!  The cream colored pillar candles are simply wrapped with a peppermint striped ribbon...left over from last year.

The glitz and shine continue on the buffet.  You should see me...I'm covered with glitter!  It may not all come off until Easter!

 Who knew how often I would use the Apple Green Bormolio Glass Charger, bought on clearance at Gordman's.  Thanks, yet again to Alycia of TABLESCAPES AT TABLE TWENTY-ONE.  Alycia provided what may be the 'tip of the year.' I use these chargers often.

My guests will dine off of the Royal Worcester "Regency" dinner plate, an eBay find.

Making an encore appearance, the King's Crown Tiffin Thumbprint Ruby Flash Plate will once again accommodate our dessert... 

...which will be served in the individual lidded dessert compotes.  The apple green linen hemstitched napkins are rolled into a beaded napkin ring in red and green.  I like the way that they pop against the Williams-Sonoma White Linen Hemstitched Tablecloth.  Do you see the square crystal salt cellar just above the teaspoon?  These belonged to my friend's mother-in-law.  My friend brought them to me as a gift.  I told her that I would hold them and use them until she decided that she wanted to use them after all...or one of her sons wanted to use them.  I am honored that she entrusted them to me.  My mother-in-love's Reed & Barton Francis I silver flatware is such a blessing for the times that I entertain larger groups. She was an amazing hostess, and I was blessed to learn so much from her.

Today, the Waterford Simply Lime seemed an obvious choice for my color story.  The Tiffin Optical Gold Goblet was acquired through eBay.

Makes me smile.  Let's go into the living room, and I'll share some pics of this table's "little sister"...The games table is also ready and waiting for our guests to arrive...

Come on in!  

The centerpiece for the games table is the only significant difference in the two tablescapes.  This is an old Cooper Brass Hurricane that I have had forever!  This was on of the first decorative pieces that I purchased when we bought our first home...many, many years ago.

The candle is actually glass, with an indention that holds a tea candle.  The greenery is, again, simply shimmery green picks that I have loosely fashioned into a wreath around the base of the hurricane.  Easy peasy!

Done!  I wiah that you could join me...

...We'll dine "tree side."

I captured some candlelight shots of both tables last night...  












When I think of candlelight shots, I always think of Bill at Affordable Accoutrements.  I miss him...Come back, Bill!

I am so blessed to call these precious sisters in Christ my friends.  They are one of the most special gifts in my life.  I'll be back next week to share my tablescape for my beloved family.  I pray that you will know a peace-filled Christmas surrounded by family and friends.  We have all witnessed the breaking of so many hearts in the past week...in the passing year.  I pray that we'll embrace each of the people that God has placed in our lives...some of them are easy to love...some of them take a little more effort.  I pray that we'll seek God's reconciliation in fractured and painful relationships.  The time to build or rebuild relationships can be so fleeting.  I don't want to waste a moment.  I know that in my life, I have never regretted choosing to take the high road...no matter how contentious the relationship.  I've often regretted taking the low road.  Think about it.  What if sweet Jesus had decided that we weren't worth the pain that He endured for us?  I can't even wrap my mind around the despair that would invade my heart.  I pray that we'll focus on the multitude of gifts and blessings that God has unwrapped for us in the person of His Son, Sweet Jesus, Lover of my ragged soul.  Merry Christmas, my dear blogging friends.


Wednesday is the 40th edition of Cuisine Kathleen's meme, "LET'S DISH".  I'm excited to be a charter member.  Pop over (pun intended for the Chef Supreme Kathleen) and join the fun!

Lots of great ideas to be gathered when you visit Yvonne at Stone Gable for TUTORIALS, TIPS, & TIDBITS.  Don't waste another moment...hurry on over!  
                                                                
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 "BETWEEN NAPS ON THE PORCH."   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 December, I think about the day that I married Sweet Mister...this week, we celebrated our 44th anniversary.  How about you?  With thankfulness for her dedication and efforts (even in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy), I'm joining the multi-talented Tablescaper for her fabulous meme SEASONAL SUNDAYS.  Hope to 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 "The Tag Hollow Sessions""  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, December 12, 2012

A cup of Christmas Tea - Variation I

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.
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It's beginning to look a little more like Christmas around here.  After our trip to Christmas at the Biltmore Estate, I was a bit behind the ball.  A group of some of my dearest friends were coming for lunch yesterday, so I needed to choose to get serious about decorating for the holiday season.  I had a great time creating my tablescape for our luncheon and bringing a touch of Christmas to our home.


Come on in...


 Silver bells are ringing...

The Simpich Santa has made his list...

...And Santa Takes a Break... 


 ...To make sure that he's ready to fill all those stockings in every home!

Our halls are all decked and waiting to celebrate with friends. 

The dining room is festooned with Christmas reds and shimmering greens, but we won't be dining here today...

Our small group of four will be enjoying lunch at the games table in the living room.

 Won't you please, join me for A Cup of Christmas Tea?

      Have you had the pleasure of meeting Patricia @ PANDORA'S BOX ?  Patti is a talented New York artist who loves to paint checks!  I was blessed to meet her through Sarah @ HYACINTHS FOR THE SOUL, who also enjoys using black and white checks in her designs.  One week I spotted a delightful painted silver teapot on Sarah's sideboard, and I asked where she found it.  Ta dah!  That's how I found Patti.

 Patti searches for vintage silver tea pots from estate sales, antique stores, and auctions and then she does a beautiful job of painting them a la Mackenzie-Childs "Courtly Check".  She has a knack for locating great pieces for incredibly reasonable prices.  I knew immediately that I not only wanted a tea set for myself...I knew that I had found the perfect Christmas gift for my closest friends...And the idea for my luncheon was born!  In addition to the teapots, filled with red Sweetheart roses from Sam's and fresh holly and berries cut from the bushes in front of KC's bungalow, each of my guests received a copy of the touching book, A Cup of Christmas Tea.  Tip:  I love the idea of using gifts for my guests as my centerpiece.  I particularly love it if the gift itself can hold fresh flowers for the occasion.  Today the gifts were true multi-taskers...the gift tags also did double duty as place cards for the table.  Boy, did I have fun!

  The Mackenzie-Childs Courtly Check charger plate was an obvious choice as the foundation for each place setting.  We've used our Retroneau "Holly" flatware for more than 30 years.  Tip:  When it's time to wash "decorative" flatware, make sure that you don't leave it soaking in water.  Pieces like this often have "applied" decorations, and they take a little extra attention.  With proper care, they will last for many years.  Also avoid soaking knives.  Because they are made of two separate pieces, the adhesive can become undermined over time if they are left to soak in water or suds.

  Our dinner plate was Castleton Laurel.  This was my mother-in-love's wedding china...such classic beauty.  I'm blessed to care for it until it's time to share it with the next generation of our family.  The creamy color of the matelasse cloth was the perfect complement.


 I like for my guests to see the entire stack of plates when they are seated at the table.  The top two plates were removed for plating after everyone was seated.  The King's Crown Tiffin Thumbprint Ruby Flash Accent Plates were estate sale finds.  They held...

                                                     
 ...the individual domed dessert pedestal, a generous birthday gift from my friend Marsha.  She found them at Tuesday Morning, and I've seen them in stock several times.  It is so festive filled with the Cookie Princess cupcake topped with a decorated holly leaf cookie.  The Lace edged linen napkin belonged to our dear Nana.  I used a Christmas candle ring/ornament as my napkin ring.  The darling covered butter dish that you spy up in the corner was another of Patti's works of art.

 Repeating the traditional colors, I chose to use the Waterford Simply Pink goblet and the AJKA Arabella Green goblet.  I bought both of these patterns through eBay a number of years ago ago.  They were very reasonable at that time, but their prices have escalated over the years.  With patience, you can still occasionally find a good deal on them.

 I think that I'm ready.  We'll dine "tree side" with a lunch featuring Chicken Tetrazzini, Spinach Salad, and fresh hot garlic bread.  I caught some candlelight shots to share with you...








 


I'm hosting another group of precious friends on Friday.  I'm going to create A Cup of Christmas Tea Variation II for them.  I'll share it with you next week...

Oh my, I do love Christmas...the most important birthday party of the year.  I am always blessed to share this most significant  of celebrations with dear friends.  I love the idea that we give gifts to commemorate the priceless, unmerited gift that God gave us in the person of His Son, Jesus Christ. I pray that your holiday season is filled with peace and blessings.

Wednesday is the 39th edition of Cuisine Kathleen's meme, "LET'S DISH".  I'm excited to be a charter member.  Pop over (pun intended for the Chef Supreme Kathleen) and join the fun!

Lots of great ideas to be gathered when you visit Yvonne at Stone Gable for TUTORIALS, TIPS, & TIDBITS.  Don't waste another moment...hurry on over!  
                                                                
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 December, I think about the day that I married Sweet Mister...in just a few weeks, we'll celebrate our 44th anniversary.  How about you?  With thankfulness for her dedication and efforts (even in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy), I'm joining the multi-talented Tablescaper for her fabulous meme SEASONAL SUNDAYS.  Hope to 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 "The Tag Hollow Sessions""  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!