Looking Back & Ahead

First, thank you for all of your well wishes in response to my last post.  They have great healing power.

Valentine tableIt just dawned on me that Valentine’s is a few days away.  To escape the crowds and avoid the hassle of finding a place to eat without a reservation, I started years ago making that a special evening at home for which the hubby is most grateful.

tablescapeThis year that won’t happen as I’m not quite ready for kitchen duty, but let’s take a look back at tables that helped make the Valentine meal special.

tablescapeMost years we’ve eaten at what we call the big table.  After all, it is a special evening.

tablescapeSometimes the table has a touch of elegance, 

tablescapeand Valentine’s is a perfect time to bring out those pieces  associated with people I love.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMore often than not the table is playful with those mixed patterns and colors I so like.

Valentine tableOn those February evenings when the weather is spring like and dove songs fill the air, we take advantage and eat on the screen porch, always a treat.

tablescapeNo matter where we eat or how the table is set, flowers help make it special

Valentine rosesand none are more special than the bouquet I get each year from the hubby.

No, there won’t be a dinner at home or a special table this year, but looking ahead to next week I have other plans that will give the hubby a night off from bringing me the evening meal.  Shhhh, don’t tell!

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind

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Tablescape Thursday

How It Started

When the gourmet group heard we were going to Sicily for another Foodie Adventure, a request was made for a Sicilian meal when we next hosted.   Lucky I was warned because that made me pay attention to tables and accessories when we were there.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAt a market I found a cloth which started the thought process.

I was very attracted to ceramic heads which were a reflection of the Moorish influence in Sicily.    I finally yielded to temptation and purchased two small ones that I knew would work into whatever tablescape would eventually evolve.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWhen the time came to put a table together, I brought out the chianti bottles which have been used  many times over the years.  Now I know chianti is Tuscan, but I figured as long as I kept the Italian thing going, it would be OK.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe same thing applies to the handpainted plates which were gotten in Ravello some years ago. 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAs I looked at the table, it dawned on me that citrus was everywhere in southern Sicily, so I went outside, cut a few stems of holly fern and arranged whatever oranges, lemons and grapefruit were in the refrigerator on the table.  They actually play off some of the images on the cloth which is proving to be quite an effective inspiration.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAA dish towel doubling as a napkin and folded into a pocket for flatware

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAand an orange atop the salad plate completes a table that turns out to be very reflective of sunny Sicily.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAnd to think it all started with a request for a Sicilian dinner which I’ll share next time.

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Centerpiece Wednesday

Tablescape Thursday

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.

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind

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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

Once, Twice, Then Twice More

Holidays are for entertaining, and for me that means not reinventing the wheel for every occasion.  Knowing there would be several events here during December, it made sense to have a centerpiece that would work with whatever was going on on the table.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

This year much of my holiday decor focuses on trees, so it was a no brainer to repeat them on the dining room table.  These holly trees are my most favorite and while they are great stand alone pieces, I added a collection of finials for a bit of shine.  With nothing more than this, the table is ready to be filled with finger foods for an upcoming meeting.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAToo,  several casual meals for family and friends are planned during the month, and for each the table will take on a different look.  A brunch will feature Spode Christmas dishes set on a matching placemat that I happened to spot at TJ Maxx.  Though I swore not to buy anything new, how could I leave such a perfect accessory behind!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAlways a table  with the Spode pieces comes together very quickly and invites adding fun complements like the candy striped flatware that gets used again and again during December.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFor a dinner with friends, the Bella Ceramica pottery is featured.  While some things stay the same, different napkins and chargers give the table a whole new look.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFor Christmas dinner, the setting  is a tribute to my mother whose china and Fostoria grace the table.  I am so glad to have these remembrances of her.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFor seated meals, there is one change to the centerpiece.  The tallest tree is removed and replaced with a slender finial so that no one has to crane their neck to look at a person sitting opposite.

So, there you have it, four occasions satisfied with a single centerpiece. Thinking ahead about how your table will be used during the holidays and finding a common thread makes the rest quite easy plus it saves considerable time.  The bonus is that when the table is not set, it still looks attractive.

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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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Tablescape Thursday