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Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Royal Crown Derby Brittany...for the Garden Friends

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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Last Wednesday, the Garden Friends came for our final Bible study before our Summer break.  I am so blessed to call this group of women my dear, dear friends.  I was delighted to invite them to remain for lunch.  Today I set a table for eight.

 We're seated in the dining room today...


 ...Come on in and join us!

 It was time for a girly, frilly table design.

 Yet again, the Bormioli hot pink charger plate grounded my place setting atop an antique double damask pale pink placemat...

 ...Today the star of my production was the Royal Crown Derby Brittany dinner plate...

You won't be surprised that I couldn't resist the cherry motif.  I'm pretty sure that it was designed with me in mind!

 The sweet antique Madeira napkin picked up the impression of berries with its French knots.  Once again, my mother-in-love's Reed & Barton Francis I sterling flatware added a touch of elegance...besides, I hadn't put it away from our Mother's Day supper, yet.

I love the mix of red and pink in the Brittany dinner plate, so I wanted to repeat the color story with my crystal stemware...the Waterford Simply Red goblet, from eBay and Replacements, and the Stelle hot pink wine, found at a Scottsdale Home Goods.  

Yep, made me smile! :-)

The flowers are left over from Mother's Day.  I merely exchanged two tired blue Hydrangeas for two white Mophead Hydrangeas...

 ...to flank the Hartley-Leeds Creamware large Chestnut Bowl...


and a pair of Hartly-Leeds Creamware Strawberry Bowls.  An additional little folly was achieved by placing an individual MacKenzie-Childs salt and pepper at each setting.  Centerpiece complete!


It was a beautiful late Spring day...

 ...and the sun was once again in a kissing mood...

 The simple menu consisted of a trio of salads...chicken salad, tuna salad, and mixed berry fruit salad served with croissants.  Dessert included Apricot bars, Blackberry bars, and Macadamia Nut bars...low key and just right.
 
 The Garden Friends have a mutual understanding...any time one of us needs a Garden Friends "fix"...we put out the call and meet for lunch throughout our summer hiatus.  I look forward to gathering these precious friends around my table a number of times this summer...want to join us?  Just let me know you're on the way!

This week I'll be joining:

Tablescape Thursday with Susan @ Between Naps on the Porch
The Thursday Favorite Things Blog Hop @ Catherine's Corner 


Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Mother's Day, 2014

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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I had such a sweet time designing my tablescape for our family's Mother's Day dinner.  I kept thinking about the legacy of lovely dinnerware that will someday grace the tables of my grandchildren.  I found myself pulling elements that came from a number of the women who set tables for holidays throughout my life.  It was intriguing that this collection of women, separated by many decades...women with widely diverse personalities...had somehow collected tabletop items that on this day blended so beautifully for our family celebration.

 We're a small group this day.  I set a table for seven in the dining room.

 I decided that our Mother's Day table called for soft spring colors...definitely feminine.

 Lots of pink and blue for my grand babies...

 ...kissed by the sun.


The Bormioli Inca Hot Pink charger is quickly becoming a workhorse for my Spring tablescapes...


It was a lovely highlight beneath the Castleton Pearl Edged dinner plate...


...which framed Grandmama Madden's Yamaka Magnolia, Occupied Japan dinner plate.  Grandmama Madden had no wedding china.  She made the Oklahoma Land Run in 1889, with Granddaddy Madden.  They originally settled in a sod hut in what eventually became Harmon County.  Years later, Aunt Ida, a major in the WAC and an intelligence officer stationed in post-war Tokyo, brought the china home as a gift for them.  I remember many holiday meals served on the quietly elegant pattern in their Hollis, Oklahoma home.


 Sweet Nana's antique lace napkin with blue embroidery and my mother-in-love's Francis I silver flatware cozied up alongside each place setting.


My mama's Mikasa Stephanie water goblet joined my Waterford Simply Blue goblet and the  pink scroll goblet that I found at Marshall's.


A picture of the tapestry that portrays the women who make up my history...a history that I am blessed to pass on to my grandchildren.


 Fresh flowers, ...

 ...pink mercury glass candle holders from Michael's...


...and the Rosenthal Sansoucci tureen provided elements for the centerpiece.

 Beatrice Emaline was seated between her mommy and daddy.  I love the notion that she has always had her own place setting when she comes to my table.  Now, I do allow that after we're seated, her mommy chooses to remove them, if necessary.  Beatrice is in the middle of launching her food to the floor when she wants to be sure that we understand that she doesn't want any more.  Her mommy and daddy are working on that, but for now....china and crystal beware.  The day will come when Beatrice and her cousins will become the stewards of these family treasures for another generation.  I love that although they will never actually meet their great-great grandmothers or their great-grandmothers, they will have a connection to these magnificent mothers through their lovely tabletop treasures.  I hope that you had a blessed Mother's Day surrounded by family and friends.

This week I'm joining:

Let's Dish with Cuisine Kathleen
Tablescape Thursday with Susan @ Between Naps on the Porch
The Thursday Favorite Things Blog Hop @ Catherine's Corner




Thursday, May 8, 2014

French Enamelware, May, 2014

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.
                   ****************************************************************************
Our hostess for this year's Garden Friends Bible Study was out of town this week and next week. I was blessed to welcome my precious friends into our house for our Bible study yesterday, and I look forward to their presence next week, too.  I couldn't resist the opportunity to ask those who had time to remain for lunch.  There were five of us, and I set a small table in the living room.  Won't you join us?

 Do you feel like you're in the midst of a deja vue moment?

 After choosing my dinnerware, I started the process of selecting a tablecloth.  No matter how many cloths I pulled for consideration,  I kept going back to the striped cloth that I used last week.  It just provided the right balance with all the other elements in my design.  So stripes it is...again.  Good enough!

 Time has been sparse since I was sick with that icky respiratory infection week before last.  Shopping for and arranging floral centerpieces just wasn't going to be a part of the program, so this was another "centerpiece in moments" opportunity...


The funky pair of Italian reticulated urns were an eBay purchase a number of years ago.  A young woman in Australia was selling some items that she had inherited from her great-aunt.  I think that at some point her little old aunt decided that she wanted the embossed roses to be pink because I'm virtually certain that she painted them herself, after the fact.  They make me giggle, and I always enjoy using them.
 A selection of  Hartley-Leeds creamware plates has long been on my "someday" list.  To date I don't have the plates, but I was thrilled to find the large "Chestnut Bowl" tureen and a pair of the "Strawberry Bowls and under plates.  I started to fill them with fresh strawberries for our luncheon, but I ended up placing a Hydrangea topiary ball in each one. 

 Now...on to the meat of the design...

 Such a versatile color of green...the MacKenzie-Childs enamelware charger plate brought a nice touch of Spring to the table.

 For a spot of texture, I chose to use the Wedgwood Countryware dinner plate.


 ...and the marquis topper for the show....this enchanting enamelware dinner plate was manufactured in France.  There is an inscription on the back of the plate that indicates that it was a Christmas gift from the owner of the company that made the plates to his employees.  I found a set of 12 on eBay.


 Completing the place setting, I used pink flatware and a soft green hemstitched napkin held by the Coalport Countryware napkin ring.  The crystal salt cellar was a gift from my friend Debbi....

 ....the finishing touch was found in the Tiffin Optic Green wine and the Waterford Simply Lilac goblet.  Both were acquired through eBay.

 I always like to preview my tables from the "guest's eye view."

 Yep, it works for me.

A simple lunch included Strawberry Chicken salad, hot garlic bread, and a triple-berry pie for dessert. I'm so blessed to gather my Garden Friends around my table as we draw to the end of another year of wonderful Bible study, prayer, and fellowship.  Next week is our last lesson before a summer break, and I'm thrilled to be able to prepare another table for them.  Passing our way?  You're more than welcome to join us!

This week I'll be joining:




Thursday, May 1, 2014

Gaudy Welsh for Lunch, 2014

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.
                   ****************************************************************************
Gaudy Welsh pottery pretends to be something it is not...inexpensive pottery trying to pass itself off as china.  It was produced for working class families from the late 1820's until the 1860's, and it originally sold for pennies.  The name Gaudy Welsh was actually coined by an American professor who wrote about it in the 1970's.  The Welsh preferred to call it Swansea Cottage, cottage ware, Welsh Lustre, or peasant enamel. It was collected by more Americans than Brits.  At that time, a growing middle class could suddenly afford finer things.  The working class couldn't afford the same fine things, but they could furnish their homes with inexpensive items like Gaudy Welsh.

Some time ago, I found a set of 12 English Gaudy Welsh luncheon plates, identified as English Gaudy Welsh by Adams on eBay. I haven't tried to authenticate them, and I don't know if mine are considered highly collectable or not.  I just know that I like them, and they were in pretty amazing condition....

...Today I set a table for 4 in the living room.

The red and white stripe tablecloth added some interest without overwhelming the dinnerware.

The Pottery Barn navy linen hemstitch napkins are held by the Coalport Countryware napkin rings.  I used my everyday stainless steel flatware, Towle, Antique Bead.

Ready for the details?

 The Bormioli red glass charger plate, found at Gordman's, provided a pop of red...


...to frame the cornflower blue of the Spode Blue Room Collection, Warwick Vase, dinner plate...


...placed beneath the cheerful and friendly Adam's Gaudy Welsh luncheon plate...perfect for a May Day luncheon with friends.

 A quartet of antique blue and white miniature plates were called to duty as salt cellars for today's meal.  They were a birthday gift from a friend many years ago.


I wanted to keep it rather light and airy, so I paired the Godinger Crystal, Sutton Place, goblet with my AJKA Arabella cobalt wine goblet.

 more. lovely. details.



 A quartet of cobalt depression glass candlesticks...


...and four Michael's reticulated jardinieres, holding faux evergreen topiary balls...


allowed me to create a centerpiece in a matter of moments!

 I'll bet that you all have spent a lot more time lately potting flower containers for your porches, patios, and gardens.

 Blue and white....

 ...with important pops of red to draw my quests focus to the florals in the Gaudy Welsh plates.


 All done...

 ...ready for my guests...

...and an afternoon of food, fun, and fellowship!

This week I'm joining:

Tablescape Thursday with Susan @ Between Naps on the Porch