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Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Garden Friends Christmas Luncheon, 2013

"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.
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Merry Christmas!  I know that we've all had a full day with family and friends.  I'll share our Christmas Eve dinner next week.  This morning we were invited to share Beatrice Emaline's first Santa Claus tree at KC and David's new home.  It was such a precious time.




A week ago, I was blessed to gather some of the Garden Friends around my table to celebrate the most important birthday of the year.  Christmas...such a blessed season...we had a marvelous time filled with food, fun, and fellowship.  A good number of us were out of town for the holiday or entertaining family home for the week.  I set a table for six at our 'temporary' dining table.  



 Come on in.  Christmas is waiting for you...

 Traditional colors...

 ...made the season bright for our Christmas luncheon.

 The red Bormioli charger continues to demand a spot on my holiday tables.  The flatware is Retroneu Holly.  I've had it for years.  Tip:  Occasionally it shows up on eBay!


 The Copeland Spode Pink Tower is one of our everyday patterns.  It set a comfortable, casually traditional tone; plus, it goes in the dishwasher.  Perfect for a busy schedule.

 The Kings Crown ruby flash accent plate has also been a regular performer during the holidays.

 The napkins were a gift from my sister, and the tablecloth was a fortunate eBay find.


  Continuing with traditional Christmas colors, I paired the Vietri optical red goblet with the AJKA Arabella wine.  I get so much mileage out of these two patterns.  The crystal salt cellars were a gift from my friend Debbi.  They had belonged to her mother-in-love, Norma.


 A few easy "at hand" elements for the centerpiece...

 The Copeland Spode Camilla tureen, an eBay acquistion, is flanked by a pair of red transferware vases filled with Alstroemaria and a pair of Paden City ruby glass lidded compotes.  One of the  compotes belonged to our precious Nana.  I found its partner on eBay.

 Ready to roll!

 The buffet features a number of elements that I've used for different luncheons throughout the season.

 I'm serving Quiche Lorraine, Simple Salad, mixed berries, hot bread, and chocolate cake balls and cookies for dessert.

  May the details of your Christmas come together for you just the way that you've visualized them!  Merry Christmas, my dear blogging friends and readers.  You've made my year shimmer and sparkle!

This week I'll be joining the following parties:

Let's Dish with Cuisine Kathleen

Tablescape Thursday with Susan @ Between Naps on the Porch


Monday, December 16, 2013

Bells Will Be Ringing

"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.
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I've missed you all so much!  I can't believe that it's been more than a month since I've been able to post.  So....where have I been?  Sweet Mister had hip replacement surgery in November.  On the day that he had his surgery KC and David closed on a new/old home in one of our city's historical preservation districts. There's a neat story to go with the purchase of their new home, but I'll tell you about that a little later.  Sweet Mister came home from the hospital on the 23rd, KC and David made their move on the day before Thanksgiving, and we hosted Thanksgiving for the family.  I could have slept for a week, but no time for that!  

I've been dancing as fast as I can.  It's been a blessing to care for Sweet Mister, and I have often thought about those of you who are sole caregivers.  You have every ounce of respect and admiration that I can muster.  My mama was my daddy's sole caregiver for 25 years, after he became a paraplegic.  My esteem for her has always been great, and it has grown even more during the last month.  My Sweet Mister is doing quite well, and this evening some of his friends took him to one of their hunting leases for a hunt tomorrow morning.  He was ecstatic!

Today I was thrilled to once again entertain a small group of my friends.  Come on in.  We'll be seated in the dining room...

Whoa, Nelly!  What's going on?  Where are the dining room table and chairs?  That would be part of the story about KC and David's new home.  They just bought Sweet Mister's childhood home!  We are so excited about it.  It's the only home that Sweet Mister lived in, from the time he was born until we were married 45 years ago this week.  His mom sold the house in November, 1971, while Sweet Mister was in Viet Nam.  He never had the opportunity to say goodbye to the home, and now it's back in the family.  Shortly after KC and David closed on the house, Sweet Mister asked me if I would be willing to find new dining room furniture, so we could return the table and chairs to the home for which the suite was originally purchased.  I thought it was a grand idea, and immediately said "Yes!"  I found 12 Karges chairs in a wonderful local consignment shop, and the same night, I found the dining table that goes with them on....wait for it....you know the answer...yep...eBay.  It is currently at an antique store in Pennsylvania, waiting to be loaded onto a truck that was already preparing to make a trip out here to the prairie.  In the meantime, we are improvising for the Christmas season.  Never a dull moment!

Today's tablescape was all about...
Cranberry bells!  I first saw cranberry bells used on a tablescape in  A PASSION FOR FLOWERS by Carolyne Roehm.  I've never forgotten the idea, and I was inspired to collect my own grouping of bells...on eBay, of course.  Thanks for the idea, Carolyne!  I knew that I wanted to create a Christmas table with the bells, and I planned to give each of my guests a cranberry bell for their Christmas gift.  The bells also worked perfectly as place cards for the table.  The azaleas are in an old cranberry bowl that belonged to my dear Aunt Ida.

I love them!  Aren't they pretty!?  I placed the large "Whimsy" bells on festive, glittery candle rings.

 The Bormioli red glass charger plate kept with the cranberry color story.  I've had the Retroneau gold Holly flatware for many years; I always enjoy using them during the Christmas holiday.

 The texture and creamy white color of the Copeland Spode Jewel dinner plate was elegant...
 ...paired with the thumbprint ruby glass accent plate, used later for a dessert of individual sized red velvet bundt cake.

 The stack was crowned with each guest's cranberry bell.


I'm smiling...I love the way that it all came together.

I was really committed to all things cranberry for this design.  I paired the AJKA Arabella wine goblet with the Waterford Simply Red goblet.  Tip:  The Waterford goblet is actually the Glendora pattern, but you can usually find it on eBay and Replacements listed as Waterford Simply Red.

I purchased the cranberry and white Fenton splatter ware pitcher at an auction during my birthday week in early November.  It will always be a special reminder of the first time that I got to meet sweet and wonderful...

Sarah @ Hyacinths for the Soul.  She came with her friend Susan, who was helping with the auction which featured an abundance of antique Quimper.  We had a great time, I bought some wonderful treasures, and I can hardly wait for us to get together again!  It was a superb birthday treat!  But I digress...

Because we were a small group of 4 at a 60" table, I used an assortment of other cranberry glass pieces to act as "filler."  Smaller containers held posy arrangements of flowers.

We had such a wonderful time today.  I prepared Quiche Lorraine, a simple salad, mixed berries, and hot garlic bread.  I felt so blessed to have time to gather friends around my table once again.  Matter of fact, I'm hosting two more luncheons this week!  I can hardly wait!

This week I'll be joining: