Tuesday, September 20, 2011

A Few of My Favorite Things

"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.

Each September, after a summer hiatus, the Garden Friends, my beloved Bible study group, convene for another year of study, praise and prayer, and the most precious fellowship I've known.  Last week, my sweet sisters gathered at my house for a luncheon to celebrate the beginning of our 24th year together.  As is our habit, everyone brought food to share, so my task was primarily to create a special tablescape that would make each of them feel like the guest of honor.  FAIR WARNING: Enter at your own risk...this is a photo intense journey.

I've often been asked, "What is your favorite pattern?"  Although I have many patterns that I adore, today I decided to use a plate that always makes my heart beat a little faster...

Once I chose to work with the Coalport, "Exotic Bird, Z3137" luncheon plates, I knew that today's table was going to feature a few of my "favorite things."  

  I searched for this plate for more than five years.  I originally saw it in one of my favorite books, AT HOME WITH CAROLYNE ROEHM, and fell in love with it. (I know, I know...that's really sad to 'love' a piece of porcelain.)  I eventually found and bought 1 dinner plate and some of the same pattern in the pink border through eBay...but I was beginning to think that I would never find any more of the apple green rim.  Then, in a two week period of time this past spring, I found two separate eBay auctions with a total of 16 luncheon plates.  Score!  eBay Tip:  Don't give up!  Use the saved search feature, so eBay will notify you when new items that you are seeking are listed.

The Exotic Bird was happily seated on my mother-in-love's wedding china, Castleton, "Laurel".  Castleton was one of the American companies that came to prominence with the onset of World War II.  Young brides were no longer able to obtain the designs produced by the European manufacturers.  Entertaining Tip:  Today, I seated 12 at the dining table.  When I have 12 at the table, I usually think that it overcrowds the table to use a full-size charger plate.  By using a luncheon plate, I am able to select a dinner plate as a service plate and achieve the desired layering effect.

Another of my favorite things, the Reed & Barton, "Francis I" sterling flatware was my mother-in-love's sterling flatware.  Did you know that "Francis I" is the most popular silver pattern made?  I love that it is so elegant, elaborate, and yet, timeless.  My daughter also chose this pattern when she married, and someday she will become the third generation to use these gorgeous pieces.  She already borrows them when she needs extra, of course. 

When I opened the doors to the linen closet for the dining table cloths, my eyes kept drifting to this wonderful old linen and organdy cloth.  This cloth was part of my mother-in-love's trousseau, and it was made for this very dining table.  It's at least a fine Madeira, and I've often wondered if it might be Marghab.  If you happen to have any expertise about Marghab, I would really like to know what you think.  It no longer has any labels.  When it came to live with us, it was rolled on a large tube in layers of acid free tissue...we no longer have the original box.  I almost didn't use it because the cloth is a dusty peach, and the plates feature a hot, rosy pink...but something kept bringing me back to it.  I was determined to make it work...

...because I adore the design of the scallops on the drop of the cloth...

...and I am in awe of the cutwork design in the center field of this wonderful old linen.  Today I placed it over a soft piece of fabric that I sometimes use as an undercloth for my table.  The organdy is actually close to the same color as the linen and not white, but I thought that the undercloth highlighted the intricate design nicely...

 ...The made-to-match napkins give you a better idea of the true color of the organdy.

Once I decided on the Exotic Bird plate, the choice of goblets was a no-brainer...at least in my mind...

The Waterford, "Simply Green", was an eBay find.  I bought them several years ago for about $20.00 per stem.  They are still available on eBay, but sadly the prices have skyrocketed.  I consider myself quite lucky to have bought them when I did.  Today I filled this hefty goblet with water or tea.

The Tiffin, "Optic Swirl", with the green stem was used for wine today.  I've been able to find two sets of 8 in this neat old goblet on eBay.  I've come to appreciate the reflective value of the optic design in crystal.  I think that it makes the light dance across the table.

I never know exactly what my centerpiece is going to be until I make a run to my custom boutique florists...Sam's Wholesale Club and Homeland Grocery.  For this table, I knew that I wanted to find a way to blend the peach of the tablecloth and the hot/rosy pink in the Exotic Bird plates...

...and I knew that I wanted to center the design with the Rosenthal, "Sansoucci" tureen, bought during the last hour of an estate sale for $35.00.  Yipeeeee!!  I also knew that the Val St. Lambert crystal candlesticks would add a nice quotient of shine and sparkle.  Flanking the tureen are...

... two pair of Verlys crystal pedestal bowls...

...with frosted love birds on each side.  These four pieces are yet another of the many items that once belonged to our precious Nana.  Verlys was located near Rouen, France.  In 1920, the Societe Holophane Francais was set up near Rouen as a subsidiary of the USA Holophane Company, to make vehicle headlights.  By 1925, they had expanded into making art glass vases and bowls.  They created a separate department and named it "Verlys".  By the 50's, Verlys was no longer made and the molds were sold to other companies, including Fenton who produced this bowl in colors.  I checked eBay just now, and there is quite a bit of Verlys up for auction, including some of the lovebird vases.

Green hydrangeas were mixed with a peachy pink and creamy white roses.  I also tucked in a few
carnations in a creamy yellow edged in hot pink.  I think that the carnation made the whole look work.  The D & Co. Limoges open salts once belonged to Nana.  I adore these little Art Deco jewels.

The silver butter dome also once graced Nana's table.  We are blessed to care for it until it goes on to yet another generation of family.  After some candlelight shots and an attempt at a blue hour moment...


 ...The next morning, as the prairie sun danced across my table...

 ...I gave thanks that all the details were in place...

...and that I would soon be blessed to have the Garden Friends gathered around my table again.  You're welcome to join us any Wednesday morning for our Bible study!  We'll have a special luncheon to celebrate that you're here!

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 HERE and check out the myriad of marvelous tablescape designs, after 9:00 pm on Wednesdays.  You'll be glad that you made the trip...it's a wonderful adventure.

When I think of Fall, I think sunlit mornings when the Garden Friends will once again sit at my table.  How about you?  With thankfulness for her dedication and efforts, I'm joining the multi-talented Tablescaper for her meme Seasonal Sundays.  Don't miss out on this marvelous blog party.  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 "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!  


Entertaining Women
Entertaining Women

Hello, I'm Cherry Kay I was 40 before I realized that I am an artist. I love to paint, work in clay, rubber stamping, design tablescapes, entertain, and share ideas. I'm an interior designer wanna-be...no credentials, but lots of experience.


  1. Hello,
    this is an outstanding table. I love the Coalport, "Exotic Bird, Z3137" with the green stem glasses. Really amazing. That looks like a big event like a wedding. Very elegant and sophisticated.
    Thank you for your helpful tipps.
    Best greetings, Johanna

  2. This is the most beautifully appointed table I have ever seen. Simply gorgeous. The floral arrangements, that amazing tablecloth to all of the china and stemware. I love the color of those roses and the green hydrangeas pick up the use of the other greens so perfectly. I have a friend who has that same Castleton pattern that was given to her by her Dad when her mother passed. I have always admired it, it is such a simple but yet so elegant pattern. I love the way you used it also.

    I have a folder on my computer of table setting ideas. I would never use them for any purpose but for inspiration. Do you mind if I copy a couple of them to my inspiration folder. I would only do so with your consent.

    WOW, you have definitely raised the bar for TT. An amazing table for sure.

    Carolyn/A Southerners Notebook

  3. Cherry Kay, you didn't miss a single detail! I think your use of the peach tablecloth (yes, very possibly Marghab) was brilliant. The dancing sunlight pics are my favorites. They just seem to say, "Come on in. We're celebrating the Son!" I pray God's richest blessings on your Bible study group as you begin another year together.

  4. Wow, this has to be one the prettiest tables I have seen this year! The luncheon plates are beautiful...I am so happy you were able to find the amount you needed. The table linens are lovely and really do look nice with the china. Your centerpieces are always beautiful...

  5. What an amazing table you have set for the ladies of your Bible study. I'm sure they loved being pampered with such a beautiful table to dine at!
    Your dishes, flowers and stemware are lovely!

  6. I accidentally deleted the following lovely comment from PONDSIDE with my big fat finger.

    Beautiful. I first saw that Coalport pattern in the 70's on a trip to Manhattan with my landlady - the Strawbridge in the Philadelphia Strawbridge and Clothier department store. I fell in love with it - it was one of her dinner services and she was buying a few replacement plates. I don't see it often up here. Your post brought back lovely memories.

  7. Love it, Love it,Love it. The green china is so wonderful, looks like it came from a palace. The flowers are perfect. The table cloth divine and the little salts are just wonderful. I sure wish I could have been invited. Just special. Richard from My Old Historic House.

  8. Just beautiful! I love the mix of elegant ebay finds and family treasures to make a stunning table! Your colors are perfect together and very complimentary. What a treat, I'm sure, for your study to be together for 24 years...that says a LOT about God's love and good friendships! blessings to your study this year.

  9. You have a true talent for doing these spectacular tables! I couldn't make a table look that beautiful even if I had all your lovely things to work with! The table cloth is very special and I'm sure you really love it.------- shannon

  10. Not my few things fave but million things fave §:-)

    Love all the the romantic details. I guess, I inherited my taste from you, "LoL again"

    I just came back from a long travelling and now back to basic.


  11. This opulent table is so beautifully appointed. YOur china is gorgeous! No wonder you decided to track it down and collect it over the years. The romantic roses make me swoon!They are perfect with the peach linen and organdy table linens! Oh what beauty in this post!
    I feel so honored to see all your precious and special pieces!!!
    Your long time Bible Study girls must have felt so special!

  12. What a beautiful setting for The Garden Friends Bible study group. You are very blessed with talent, and it's wonderful that you share it with your group and us.

  13. Linens, flatware, dinnerware, centerpiece and colors, absolutely gorgeous!!

  14. i always enjoy pink and green and your centerpieces are so pretty~

  15. I love and adore your GORGEOUS table, and I think it is wonderful that you are gathering together to praise the Lord in such a beautiful setting. I know the girls must all love going to your house. And the Coalport? FABULOUS! Loved the whole tablescape. My MIL has Francis I, too, and I wish I had selected it. I picked my mother's pattern which is Chantilly, but I have two other patterns I love that are a bit more ornate... Hyperion by Whiting and Frontenac by International. But that Francis I makes my heart go pitter patter!

    Happy Tablescape Thursday to you...



  16. This is a beautiful table. I'm sure you and your Bible study group had a wonderful celebration which just added to the overall beauty of this day. Thank you for sharing your gorgeous china and elegant table setting.

  17. That is such an amazing table... The centerpieces are over the top! LOVELY!

    Please stop by and enter my Goodbye to Summer~Hammock Giveaway!

  18. Wow! Simply spectacular. My heart skipped a beat when I saw your table. Your guests must have been so impressed. I love the story of how you collected the plates. They are very special.

    - The Tablescaper

  19. This is indeed beautiful - every detail. I'm sure your friends always enjoy dining with you!


  20. Absolutely stunning table...and for so many people! It's so wonderful that you have your ladies group and have been together for so long. Love the entire table and it's to lovely to hear about all of the family heirlooms. The flowers are gorgeous too!

  21. Wow! I dare say you have outdone yourself this time. Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful! I especially love the Waterford.

  22. I WANT TO BE A GARDEN FRIEND!!!! What a spectacular table. You have set one of the most beautiful tables, truly EXOTIC! I just love those plates, so unusual. We have the same florists! Isn't it wonderful. I love your florals. You always make the table so special with your florals. What lucky ladies.

  23. THIS...is a table after my own heart. The linens are absolutely gorgeous. I hope someone responds to your questions about the tablecloth, because I have one that is very, very similar, including the scalloped edge. Every detail is wonderful, but what I love most about your posts is the love you have for your mother-in-love and how you cherish her pieces that you now care for. She must have been a very special lady, but YOU are extra special to love her so much, when our society plants seeds for DILs and MILs to not get along. Thank you for sharing.

  24. Your table is so beautiful and so elegant, Cherry Kay. I love the plates and the tablecloth and of course your flowers are gorgeous. Your friends will feel so special eating at this table....Christine

  25. 24 years, how wonderful! I bet they love coming to lunch there. What an elegant table, every detail attended to. I love the respect you pay to the beautiful treasures of your mil. I had that pattern of silver too, but it was stolen when we were away.
    Thank you for sharing your work of art!

  26. Stunning! Your friends must love coming to your home for any occasion and what a tribute to them that you go to such lengths to make the experience so special.

  27. This is breathtaking! Gorgeous! Love that china -- I can so see an obsession with finding that. You've put together a stunning table. Our Bible study has started this month as well. Blessings to you and all who gather around the table.

  28. I received this lovely note from our friend Cornelia, who shares such beautiful tables with us from her home in Switzerland, via Susan ar BNOTP. Cherry Kay

    Dear Cherry Kay
    I wanted to post a comment in your blog but I am not able to do it. So I send my comment to you directly:
    Congratulations: Your table is just perfect. I adore your scheme of colours. All the different shades of soft colours are in perfect harmony. I also love your wonderful tablecloth and the matching napkins. The plates by Coalport are just to die for. The Val St. Lambert candlesticks are outstanding and spend a very special light.

    Greetings from Switzerland!

  29. I'm doing one of those Happy Dances I reserve for tables that really speak to me! Cherry Kay! This is beautiful!!! Oh, my goodness! You did a marvelous job with the floral arrangements, and I agree that the carnations gave them verve. I also am glad you stuck with the table linen. It's just a softer version of your predominant color of pink. I am such a fan of repeated elements down the center of a table, and you have pulled it off fabulously here!!! The plates are gorgeous...well worth the wait! I wish our dining room was big enough to accommodate 12 guests. They make them so teensy here...it's like an afterthought room. :-( Pretty photography, too! Have a wonderful weekend!

  30. Hi lovely lady.
    This Tablescape is Gorgeous with your China! your firends must feel so special eating at this table.
    I also love your ceterpiece with all your beautiful flowers... You did a wonderful job putting your party together!!
    Thanks so much for your sweet comments on my new Tablescape. I hope you have a great week.
    XXOO Diane

  31. Beautiful -- this looks great!


  32. Hello Cherry Kay...

    My friend, this lovely table is one of the prettiest that I've ever laid my eyes on! Of course, I have had a love affair going with this beautiful shade of apple green over at my place for the last few months...I just adore this color! Sooo...when I seen your gorgeous table with shades of apple green, I just swooned! Ohhh my...the exotic bird china is GORGEOUS!!! I love the apple green colored bands! What a beautiful pattern!!! I'm so happy for you, that you were able to add to your collection last spring. I love the your MIL's sweet china and it really does make the perfect charger plate for the exotic bird plates. I think that using a dinner sized plate as the charger, when setting such a large table is a GREAT idea! Thank you for sharing that tip with us. I also just adore your floral centerpieces...perfection!!! Thank you so much for sharing this gorgeous table with us, dear lady! I bet that your Bible Study group of friends just ooohed and aaahed when they seen the special table that you set in their honor..sooo sweet!

    Warmest autumn wishes,
    Chari @Happy To Design

  33. Oh, WOW! Your group really got a treat with this tablescape. Would look great for a bridal party also. So much to love here, the Coalport green bird plates, Waterford green stemware, French vases with gorgeous pink roses. Very stunning! Also want to say how nice it is that you use the term Mother in Love and that you both shared the creativity of setting a lovely table.

  34. Very pretty AND feminine! I love the green stemware and the contrast with the pink roses. But, I'd have to say the pedestal bowls with love birds are my favorite. And, the effect of the candlelight? Spectacular!

  35. Exquisite! The green stemware is so beautiful and the floral arrangements are perfect!


  36. Cherry Kay, this is just fabulous as always. And you always have something different that I haven't seen!! I love luncheon plates and for the same reason. I wish newer patterns came in a luncheon plate, because the size is much "healthier" also. I of course love your sterling too...who wouldn't!! Gorgeous as always!! Thanks for stopping by and what a great idea you gave me with the doors. Definitely a great way to try something!

  37. Your table for Bible group is nothing less than stunning! It's being a while since you posted your Bible lunch tables and this one is got me drooling for each fabulous and elegant elements you've used to stage such an amazing setting. Your china is gorgeous, your sterling is stunning and your crystal is amazing! The centerpieces are fabulous, I love the crystal vases. Everything is fabulous, wish I was a member of your Bible group. Have a fun weekend. I couldn't visit earlier because I had issues with google, now it's finally ok. Hugs,

  38. Oh my goodness your table is absolutely gorgeous!! I am sure that each and everyone of them felt like the guest of honor!!

  39. Wow, what a stunning table...anyone would feel special to be a guest. Every detail is perfect and a first sight it took my breath away.

  40. How wonderful that you have enjoyed 24 years of fellowship with the same group of ladies! They must be like sisters now! Your tablescape is lovely and the exotic bird luncheon plates are absolutely stunning! I love that you have so many heirloom pieces that you are using! I am sure that your Mom-in-love is smiling in heaven that you love and use her things. I love the sterling silver domed butter dish...those were a standard wedding gift at the turn of the century...I have one from my great grandmother as well! Thank you for sharing such a beautiful table...a feast for the eyes for sure! Angie xo

  41. Cherry Kay, I've been by and drooled over your table numerous times, but just as I'm about to comment, whoops I get swept away by the time fairies.. Mean little creatures.. Anyway. I adore your Madeira tablecloth.. It's a fabulous piece with the matching napkins and steps respectively backwards so that the wonderful Coalport dishes can shine. They are magnificent pieces. I love your flowers dancing down the table. An elegant touch surrounding by so much beauty. A truly gorgeous table. xo marlis


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