Beasts, Birds & Fish

I never know what is going to inspire a table setting.  This one, I think started with seeing a red, red robin bob, bob, bobbing in the fountain.  That made me think of bird topped cloches and birdhouses, all sitting on a bright orange silk runner from Vietnam that repeats the colors of spring flowers.

From here, everything takes on a life of its own. Placemats from Thailand trimmed in orange and green provide a neutral background for whatever dishes are chosen.

Though I have little bird napkin rings, I chose these carved wooden ones from Kenya. After all, beasts and birds do one another no harm.

As I’m putting this table together, my mind is thinking about what food to serve.  I decided on fish, salmon in fact because it fits right in with the color scheme.  With that decision made, choosing plates was very easy.  

As an afterthought, I changed the wine glasses from the etched ones to the orange globed ones that I seem never to think about except at Thanksgiving.  They add just the right amount of color and are a nice contrast to the textured Fostoria water glasses.

The beasts, birds and fish have no trouble coexisting, and for me the table represents some of what I like best about spring as well as brings back memories of places I’ve traveled.  It will be fun to share with the friends who are coming.

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Tablescape Thursday

Having a Bit of Fun

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Funny, I’m rarely at home on the days surrounding Halloween which makes it rather interesting that so many Halloween things have made it into the house.  While not everything may come out of the closet, Hildy, Henrietta and Helga always find a way to make an appearance.

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These guys, well, their smiling faces indicate they might have already had their happy hour.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis one, well he’s just content to be out of the closet!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOf course, there are some fun things for the table, too,

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAand with their lively colors, they make choosing tableware pretty easy.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOh, fold the napkins, add a few pumpkins and the table is set.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWhat I like about such a simple table is how easy it is to make a few changes and have a new look.  It should come as no surprise that I like getting as much mileage from the same things as possible.  That’s part of what takes the pain out of creating a tablescape.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAnd isn’t this just the perfect bottle for Halloween inspired tables?  I’m just hoping what’s in the bottle is as good as its outside!

Here’s hoping you are having fun with your Halloween decor!

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Tablescape Thursday

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!

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Tablescape Thursday

Halloween Tablescape

Secrets Revealed

For me, nothing is a greater gift than being invited to someone’s home for dinner.  It is a treat not only because of the companionship and yummy food but because the table always tells me something about the host.

This one is no exception starting with the table linens, all hand stitched by a loved German grandmother, that communicate a fondness for tradition and family heirlooms.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe simplicity of the linens is complemented by the accompanying accessories, small vases of flowers

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAand candlesticks filled with seaglass that the hostess collected on walks along the shore. That tells me she pays attention to what is around her.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe wooden chargers are indicative of an appreciation for handcrafted items

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAand dishes of different colors show an artistic flair.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAPut it all together and there is a table that not only has character but is warm and inviting.

Next time you go to dinner at a friend’s home, pay attention to the details and see what you learn that may be new. There might be a surprise in store.

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Tablescape Thursday

For the Birds!

birdhousesCan you tell I like birdhouses?  There are more than 20 sitting above the cabinets, each one different and most created by a talented artisan.  Every day I look at them and get a kick out of remembering the story that goes with each one.  

Now you’d think with so many fun and interesting shapes and sizes some of those birdhouses would have been used on the table.  Not so, but today that’s going to change!

birdhouse tableI just got these bird topped cloches and my daughter game me the little bird vases, and  they seemed perfect matches for the birdhouses.  Oh, this is going to be fun!

birdhouse tableSince it is spring, at least in Houston, these placemats and napkins from World Market were an easy choice.

birdhouse tableWith the pattern seeming so right for birds and birdhouses, I chose simple glass plates that allowed its boldness to show through.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAYou’ll notice that once again the textured pink glasses make their way to the table.  When my friend gave these to me from her grandmother’s collection of glassware, she had no idea how often they would be used!  You just don’t see anything like them today which makes them all the more special.

birdhouse tableAll done, this table brings a great big smile to my face because it shows off some of my favorite things.  

Usually a table suggests a menu to me, but I’m having a little trouble with this one.  Bird seed doesn’t sound too appetizing, but what about something embellished with berries?  I better get to the kitchen and start studying some of those cookbooks!  If you have a suggestion, send it right on.

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Easy Does It

tablescapeIt’s easy to prepare a table when a beautiful woven silk runner and tulips left from Valentine’s are already there to inspire.

tablescapeLooking in the cupboard for dishes, the fake Fiesta ones offered the most possibility.

tablescapeThe lavender was an obvious choice, but looking again at the runner I saw hints of orange in the stripes where color had merged to create a new tint.

tablescapeThat made the coral plate an interesting addition.

napkinsMixing patterns and textures is something I enjoy, so the multicolored/patterned napkins from Anthropologie were an easy choice.  That store is such a great place to find fun accents and sometimes there’s even something special on the sale rack!

tablescapeI love using these textured pink glasses at every opportunity.  There’s no telling how old they are as they once belonged to my very good friend’s grandmother who would be well past 100.  Needless to say, they are very special treasures. 

bellsFinally, just for fun I added a little bell to each place.  I have such a collection , and I like finding ways to get them off display shelves. 

tablescapeSimple though it is, the table has what for me makes a happy table: color, texture, pattern, whimsy.  Now, if I can just decide what to fix for dinner all will be well!  Any ideas?

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There’s a Story Here

The book club gathered this week at a charming Maine cottage for a spirited discussion of Desperate Characters by Paula Fox as we enjoyed a tasty lunch.  As always, I am delighted by the effort of a hostess to make dining a special pleasure.

This table combined touches of elegance with the simplicity that to me is characteristic of Maine.

The dishes were old, I think, reminiscent of another time.  They lend themselves to a formal setting, but today complemented with casual table linens, they had a just right feeling of comfort.

Taking comfort one step further were the vases simply arranged with a few colorful stems from right outside the cottage.  Access to blooming things, be they wild or cultivated, is another of the things I love about Maine.  No home ever need be without them!

As lovely as the table setting was, it was the table itself that absolutely blew me away when everything was removed from it.  It was long and narrow, well worn, much used.  From where had it come?

Was it from a ship bearing the name Achilles

and was this the ship?

Was the table in the gun room?

Who were the midshipmen who sat at each numbered place?

The hostess did not know the answers.  She and her husband saw the table some years ago, liked it, made it theirs.  What an absolute find!

 My mind is reeling with images of voyages on the open sea and the sailors aboard the good ship Achilles.  There is surely a story here that would tell of their conflicts, their homesickness, their adventure.  Oh, if that table could talk and if the story could be written!  

Should we give it a try?

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