Sunday, April 30, 2017

Farewell, Downton Abbey, February 29, 2016

On February 28, 2016, many of us found ourselves drawn to the television screen as we said goodbye to Lord Grantham's family and Downton Abbey.  On Monday, February 29, 54 women joined together for tea to commemorate the moment and to raise money for City Care, a Christ-based organization that works to make life more bearable for the many homeless men, women, and children here in our city.  We were blessed to be able to hold the tea in the home of Mo Anderson, an amazing and incredibly generous woman...WOW...what a woman...what a role model...what a home!

Each guest received a hand delivered invitation.

 Notice that the actual invitation is held in a fabric lace envelope and tucked under a double sided satin ribbon tied around a moirĂ© hatbox.  Each hatbox held an antique fine china cup and saucer, an HRH (His Royal Highness) tea bag, and a beautiful custom made iced cookie in the shape of a fully detailed teapot.  We had a blast putting them together! They were very well received, and the acceptances were amazing!  Only two people declined.  Won't you join us for our tea?  (Warning:  This is a long post and photo intensive.  Just want you to be prepared!)

Our own version of Carson, proper British accent and all, was there to greet our lovely guests at the front door and to oversee the...

  perfectly attired...

never miss a detail...

 always hard working...

well-loved, if never appropriately appreciated...

"downstairs" staff as they attended to the last minute details for our tea.

Now if you are a true "Downton Abbey" detailphile (That's a word, right?  Sure it is.  Francophile, Anglophile, detailphile!), you might remember this dinner plate from the opening credits each week as the newest episode was introduced...the dinner plate that the Granthams supposedly used for many of their numerous elaborate dinners.

Who knew!?  This is my mother-in-love's 1940's wedding china by Castleton, and I just happened to have more than enough to recreate the Downton setting for each guest.  I chose to set each dinner plate on one of an assortment of my blue chargers for further continuity.  Interestingly, Castleton is an American china.  I don't know if Masterpiece Theatre chose the plate in the post production studio or if there is an actual English pattern after which the Castleton was later modeled.  Pretty good question, I think.

The first course was, but of course, an assortment of scones served with lemon curd and jams.  These were served from tiered hostess trays set on each table, then put on assorted sets of luncheon plates already in place at each table.  Here, the Royal Doulton Orient is flanked by my mother-in-love's Reed & Barton Francis I silver flatware.  The charger is Spode Vermichelli.  I used this set-up on two of the eight tables in the living room.

The Waterford Simply Blue goblet is filled with a delicious Pear Lemonade, and the Tiffin Chrysanthemum (my invented name for the pattern) is our water goblet.  The sterling cream and sugar is a part of my Grandmother Madden's tea service.

The lovely young lady who provided the chairs, tables, etc., also provided all these darling yellow and gold tea cups and perfect for a Downton Abbey Tea.  Not to mention, I was thrilled not to need to wrap, pack, and convey 54 cups and saucers from my house, in addition to all the china, crystal, and silver.

Three tables featured the Coalport Exotic Bird luncheon plate.  The charger is Mottahedeh Blue Lace.  The lemonade is served in the Waterford Simply Pink goblet, and water is held by the Lalique Trèves goblet, part of my wedding crystal.

  The tablecloths and chairs came from the same rental company that supplied the cups and saucers.  Mo had used them once before for her daughter's wedding reception in their home.  She knew that they would work perfectly in her beautiful living room.

Two more tables were set with this charming Copeland Spode luncheon plate.  It is not marked with a name.  I found 12 of them  on eBay, and I couldn't resist.  It is one of those patterns that works in so many different situations.  I like it a lot!  The charger is Zrike cobalt. 

Two other tables were assembled using the Schumann Empress Dresden Flowers.  The charger is Steelite cobalt.    Here I chose to use my wedding silver flatware, the Reed & Barton Grande Renaissance.  It's hard to believe that I've been using this silver for almost 49 years!  I'd choose it again. 

Have you taken a look at the floral centerpieces?  The florist, New Leaf Florist, researched to learn how centerpieces during the time period would have looked.  They found the size, the shape, and the assortment of flowers that would have been used.  They were absolutely beautiful.

Several of our guests arrived a bit early to take a peek at the tables.

In addition to the 8 tables in the living room, the dining room table was used to seat an additional 6 guests.  As with the other tables, an authentic Downton Abbey tea towel was draped over each chair as a party favor for each attendee.

I hope that you are soaking up all the details in this dining room.  It is absolutely magnificent!

The amazing tablecloth was custom made for this table.  It is a beautiful piece.  Here I chose the Coalport Exotic Bird luncheon plate with the pink rim and the Anna Weatherly scalloped blue charger.  The setting is accented by the AJKA King Louis XIV cobalt goblet and the Tiffin Chrysanthemum goblet.  

 After the plates for the first course were removed, the second course of tea sandwiches and Blue Corn Blinis with avocado cream sauce were served plated from the kitchen on the Coalport Sevres Group luncheon plate.  By the time the plates were presented with the second course for all the tables, I was no longer taking photos.  I was acting as a table hostess.  This photo is from my archives.  The desserts were served on the Castleton dinner plates.

The floral centerpiece for the dining room was presented in Mo's amazing silver epergne.  Wow.  Just.  Wow.

It was a delightful way to spend an afternoon, and...

...we were blessed to raise more than $50,000.00 for the work carried out by City Care.  God was definitely in the details on this day, in this place.  Thanks for stopping by for a visit.

This week I'm joining:

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Lunch for Four, May, 2016

 It was May, 2016, and I invited a few friends for a spur of the moment lunch...a trio of chicken salad, tuna salad, egg salad...which I always have available in the refrigerator.  It was time for a 30 minute time for a floral centerpiece.  Short and of those K.I.S.S. moments.  I set a table for four at the games table in living room.  Come on in...

 My inspiration was the tureen, and I chose the Williams-Sonoma blue linen hem stitched tablecloth to set it off.

The tureen is marked only with a painted B followed by a series of 4 numbers.  I bought it on eBay, and I have no idea who made it.  I don't really care.  I love it, and it works with so many different patterns.

 The L'Argent Blue Sophia flanked one of my favorite chargers, the Mottahedeh Blue Lace.

It had been a while since I had used the Mottahedeh Sacred Bird and Butterfly dinner plate, maybe my all time best "get" at a wonderful estate sale. It's subtle, but the background of the plate is actually a pale blue.

 Continuing the color story for my design, I chose the AJKA Louis XIV Cobalt goblet and the BAVARIAN Orange wine stem.  Both of these goblets have been really hard to acquire.  I have recently completed the cobalt, but I am still searching for additional orange stems.

The finishing touch for the place setting was the Williams-Sonoma flax linen hem-stitched napkin, my favorite napkin.  Sometimes, like this day, I choose to use it whether it has anything to do with my design or not, just because I like it so much.

 And that's a all I need are my three friends seated around the table sharing food, fun, and fellowship once more.  It's my favorite way to spend a day.

 Remember to let me know if you are going to be passing my way.  I'd love to set a table just for you!

Before I go...
 Just before my lung surgery, I was surprised and thrilled to learn that I had won Marsha's, of Splendorosa, give away of this amazing purse.  After my surgery, I was limited to carrying no more than 7 pounds at any one time.  My beautiful new bag has been perfect.  I can't begin to tell you how many compliments I have received on my gorgeous prize.  Thank you so much, Marsha!

This week I'm joining:
Tablescape Thursday with Susan @ Between Naps on the Porch

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Easter Delight, April 16. 2017

Oh my, I've missed you all so much!  I am pleased to report that I feel better than I have felt in years. My doctors tell me that I'm recovering from my lung surgery faster than they expected.  Works for me!  I was ready to roll when the time came to design my tablescape for our family's Easter dinner.  This past year, I have been collecting small figurines from Royal Doulton's Beatrix Potter Collection.  I knew that I wanted these charming little characters to become the focus of my centerpiece for this year's Easter table.  I could hardly wait for Beatrice Emaline and Hollis Harper to see it when they came to the table for our dinner to celebrate Resurrection Sunday.  I wasn't disappointed; they were fascinated by all the little characters.  I'm eager to know what you think about our table.  I've set a table for ten in the dining room.  Come on in...Fair warning, this is a photo intensive journey.

Beatrice's favorite colors are pink, purple, and blue.  I was determined to get a WOW from her...and the table did not disappoint.  The light lavender Williams-Sonoma hemstitched linen tablecloth set the mood for my design.

I allowed myself to run freely when it came to the color choices for our Easter table.
I chose this resin charger because 4 year old Beatrice gave them to me for my Christmas gift.  When I opened my gift, she said, "Mo, I chose these just for you.  I knew they would be perfect because they are unbreakable!"

The Copeland Spode Irene dinner plate pulled all the assorted colors together.  It was just what I wanted for this day.  Pay attention to the outside edge of the design.  It's actually a blue, but it plays as a blue violet against the tablecloth.  It is such a delightful pattern.  My wedding silver, Reed & Barton Grande Renaissance added just a touch of elegance to the whimsical tablescape.

If you are one my faithful returning readers, you recognize the Waterford Simply Blue goblet.  Today I've paired it with a new addition, an Italian pink wine goblet by Stelle.  The Stelle was an eBay find, and it was very inexpensive.  I've seen more of this design on eBay in several different colors.  One of them might be perfect for you.  Take a look! 

I pulled the minute Schumann Empress reticulated bowl to use as a butter dish for our dinner.  It made a lovely companion for...

the antique Madeira napkin.  Once again, the embroidery is blue, but against the tablecloth, my guests all thought it was lavender.

I always enjoy incorporating the tiny blown glass salt and peppers in an assortment of designs.

My goal was a place setting perfect for kids from 2 to 92!

I was grateful that I had left the vases on the buffet empty because one of our guests appeared carrying an armful of beautiful lilies...the perfect addition!

Now that you're positioned with a guest's eye view, maybe we can take a spot of time to examine the centerpiece.

On any other day, the antique Luneville tureen would be the crown jewel of my centerpiece,...

...on this day, the tureen had to be satisfied with a cameo role, along with the Hobby Lobby egg trees and Easter Egg garlands and the Pottery Barn topiary baskets.

There can be no doubt.  The stars of this Beatrix Potter Easter Parade were the Royal Doulton figurines.  Take a scroll  stroll and see which ones are your favorites...

Did you discover any old childhood friends?

As much as my guests enjoyed the whimsical Easter Parade set for their delight and pleasure...

It is my fervent prayer, that we will all keep the incredible gift that is Christ's resurrection in the front of our minds each and every day as we move through the coming year.  May our loving mighty God equip each of you for the journey that stretches ahead of you, and may He fill you with His peace each day.

And remember to let me know if you are passing my way.  I'd love to set a special table just for you!

This week I'm joining:

Tablescape Thursday with Susan @ Between Naps on the Porch

Follow Me on Instagram