Old Familiar Things

With the holidays over and Christmas decorations back in storage for another year, it is comfortable getting back to all those old familiar things that are part of everyday life.

img_8456The breakfast room table is void of trees and snow globes that are replaced with what is left of the flowers the hubby gave me for our anniversary.  They are arranged in an assortment of bottles which make for a simple  and colorful centerpiece.

img_8457The table runner is one I made from a scrap of my handwoven fabric bordered with another remnant.  Sometimes it pays not to throw anything away, but when I go into my studio I wonder how it will be possible to use all that is on the shelves!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWith the runner and flowers in place, it was easy to pick everything else.  The dishes are one of my favorites, Tuscany Rose from 222 Fifth.  They’ve been around for a long time, and a few pieces now have chips in them.  I’ll keep using them though until they are no longer presentable.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAdd glasses and flatware,

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAand in just a few minutes the table is done.  I wish that preparing dinner were that quick and easy!

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind

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Tablescape Thursday

Wait, There’s More!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFor sure there is more to this New Year’s Eve table other than it being created around the centerpiece of holly trees and finials that has inspired  each of my December tables.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERANo, this one begins with the china that is one of the few things I have that belonged to my mother.  It is not likely what I would have picked, but it is dear to me because of the memories it evokes.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI don’t remember ever having seen her use the little salt cellars.  I found them in a cabinet after she died and have no idea of their origin, but I held on to them without thinking about how their gold trim was a perfect complement to the china.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe Fostoria glasses were also Mother’s, and the soup spoons came from my  mother-in-law’s kitchen.  From her I have even fewer things than from my mother, but she left me with a heart full of love.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe wine glasses have a story starting with the one in the middle. Years ago I was with my parents in an antique shop in North Carolina where they were then living.  For whatever reason the glasses caught my eye and when Daddy saw me holding one and turning it this way and that he said, “Sis, if you like those, why don’t we get them?”  Done, and so began my collection of mismatched etched stemware.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAEven the napkin rings hold their own story and remind me of the time when a daughter and I were to meet in London and go on to the Cotswolds.  At the last minute, her trip was cancelled thanks to an unexpected business decision, but I went on since my ticket was nonrefundable.  It turned out to be a wonderful solo adventure, and the napkin rings were a purchase at a small shop in the middle of nowhere filled with handmade items.  That explains the attraction!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWell, that’s the story of the table, and for me remembering the people and places that each piece represents makes it a great way to end the year.

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Tablescape Thursday

Done!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThere is still some last minute shopping to do and presents to be wrapped, but the table is set for Christmas dinner.  I’m not sure what that says about my priorities!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIt was easy to get this one ready  because, as shown last week, one centerpiece is common to all the tables prepared for the holidays.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAll that has to be done is exchanging one set of dishes for another.  This time the tableware is the traditional Spode Christmas tree pattern sitting on chargers on sale at Michael’s for 70 cents each.  If you have a store nearby, the Christmas chargers are a great buy!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI did change out the napkins for some hastily made ones from fabric that had been in my studio for some time.  The edges are serged with gold metallic thread that matches the stitching on the table runner.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWith the pronounced holly berry pattern in the napkin, this napkin ring is perfect.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAs with all the holiday tables, stemware repeating the Christmas tree pattern is used and for water my favorite cranberry thumbprint glasses that seem to go with most everything I have.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASo, there it is, a table full of Christmas cheer.  The only thing missing is you, and I do hope you enjoy your table wherever you are.

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind

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Tablescape Thursday

Burlap and Candy Canes

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI so look forward to the arrival of December as it means once more having a Christmas table every day for a month.  The seasonal dishes stay in the cabinet all year so it is their time to shine.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFor years this very fun set of pottery by Bella Ceramica has been my favorite.  Every piece has either a smiling Santa or a Christmas tree, each of which appeals to me because of its slightly irregular design.  

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThey lend themselves to adding fun accents like this flatware and to using traditional reds and greens as well as their variations.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFor napkins, Santa’s smiling face is the perfect way to hold them in place.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWhat I especially like about these dishes is they work well with a variety of looks.  Here they are paired with burlap and an antique wooden mold for something of an old timey feel.  Thanks to inspiration from the flatware, candy canes with candles to match are part of the centerpiece.  When the kids are here what do you bet the candy canes will disappear?

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERANot all meals will be at the big table.  Lucky for us in Houston, there are still nights when the hubby and I can eat on the porch, and the Christmas pottery works as well outside as in.   Nothing could be simpler than this table with the main attraction being a quilt made oh so many years ago by my grandmother and great aunt. I can close my eyes and see them sitting in front of the fireplace that heated the room stitching and watching The Guiding Light!  They probably never gave thought to the notion that one of their quilts someday would be on my table rather than a bed or that it would be so special to me.  It is such memory that makes the Christmas season so special.

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind

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Those Special Evenings

“If you really want to make a friend, go to someone’s house and eat with him.  The people who give you their food give you their heart.”

Cesar Chavez

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThere are few things I like better than spending time with friends, especially those evenings when we gather around the table to share a meal.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI love the laughter

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAand the sometimes energetic discussions, most of which seem to evolve around politics. These days that subject can evoke a lot of emotion as well as some pretty funny comments.

Foodie Adventure Spain/fishDinner is always a treat,  and most of the time it is a meal to which we’ve all contributed.  That way no one has to spend all day in the kitchen, and everyone is comfortable having played a part in the preparation.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWhat I particularly get a kick out of is the effort made to set a lovely table.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAgain and again I see how that is opportunity for one to express their unique creativity.  Too, an inviting table always makes the food taste even better!

So, what is your favorite way to spend an evening?

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Favorite Things Thursday

Never Too Many!

Beth's/pumpkinsNo question about it, I’m crazy about using pumpkins and gourds this time of year, and there’s no such thing as too many.

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Wherever they are used, they add such color and texture, two of my favorite things  when it comes to setting a table.

img_7671Those elements make it very easy to put everything else together,

img_7676especially during this season when the colors are so rich and warm.

img_7668As important as anything on the table is the humble napkin.    For me, it’s always the final touch that keeps any table from being ordinary and there are lots of options.  The above fold is one you might want to try.img_7662With the napkin laid flat, fold it on the diagonal.  

img_7663Fold from left to right to make a smaller triangle.  Repeat.

img_7665Fold each side accordion style, starting at the middle.

img_7666Hold the napkin tightly about 1 1/2″ from the bottom and tie with twine or ribbon.  Adjust the folds.

Folding the napkin is not difficult.  Where it gets a little sticky is holding it with one hand and tying it with the other.  That’s when an extra pair of hands come in handy!  Next time I do this fold, I’m going to add a leaf or a herb sprig or a flower or a cinnamon stick….well, you get the picture.  Napkins are just another way to express your creative self.  Have fun!

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Invited or Not

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAInvited or not, these gals have a way of popping in around this time every year.

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They plop themselves right down in the middle of the table among  pumpkins and gourds as if they belong.  Nervy aren’t they?

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As if the uninvited gals are not enough, they are joined by a raven that flies in scattering leaves in every direction.  Whatever plans I had for a centerpiece have gone awry as these characters have made the table their own.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI have to give them credit for making it pretty easy to select dishes and flatware,

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAand those leaves scattered by the raven?  With a little Sharpie help, they have just become place cards.   You know, this table is turning out to be quite fun thanks to the arrival of uninvited guests.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAll in all, the unexpected result is a playful table perfect for the season that lends itself to touches of whimsey!

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind

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Halloween Tablescape