Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Purple Power!

While enjoying everyone’s Mother’s Day posts, I realized that I have not done a purple table in a while. I tried to remember all of the purple tableware that I had stashed away.  Recently, I had deleted XP Professional Office from my computer, because the software program read that I had not used it, since 2007.  Alas, not true!!  I had been using it almost everyday in Microsoft Word (who knew they were connected???) and a word document that contained all of my inventory list!!!  Why did the said software tell me that I had not used it, since 2007????  Beware friends, or you will have a tragedy, too.  My son who is an IT specialist (among other things - English degree from Emory University, professional musician - but I digress!) was in Virginia at a week-long training seminar.  Bless his heart, he will right the “wrong” that I did, but he just returned and has not had time.

Anyway, if you every want to know how to set up an inventory list, my daughter did a great tutorial blog on  Tablescape Times Three. You can read about it HERE. I finally gave up trying to remember everything and went on a hunt.

I found my amethyst Pyrex plates and really wanted to us those, but they did not look very good with any of my other choices.  I did find these cute Creative Co-op lavender birds that I have had for a while and never used. I decided to use them as napkin weights, instead of using napkin rings.

I recently purchased these dark purple place mats at Tuesday morning and they actually had two packages of  four each.  Major score.  Most of the time, when I find an item I like at one of the discount places, they will have only four of something.  I was thrilled to end up with eight of these.

I have always liked the way that purple and silver look together, so I decided to use my Lenox “Solitaire” china.  This was the china that I chose, when I was married so long ago and still love it.  It goes with almost everything.

The green and lavender napkins that I used are “Paisley Fraiche” from Saffron Marigold. I do not know, if you have ever shopped at their online store, but I love their products.  I bought these napkins at least a year ago and the fabric has remained soft and beautiful. I really had to dig to find them and that inspired me to completely re-do the drawers that hold my linens! I hope that I can keep them as straight and color-coded, as they are now.

The crystal I used consisted Tiffin “Argenta” iced tea glasses (I, also, chose this pattern, when I married) and Fostoria lilac “Fascination” water glasses.

The purple centerpiece vase that I used in my Mardi Gras post now holds flowers.  Photographing purple can always be a challenge.  These flowers were lavender and almost purple.  For some reason, they look pink in most of the pictures. Sometimes, when I am shooting purple, it looks sapphire blue or brown.  I am sure there is a reason for this, but I do not understand it. I am very grateful that most of my purple did show up purple in these photos.

The silver is “Strasbourg” by Gorham.  Again, like the “Solitaire” china, “Strasbourg” goes with almost everything and I, also, selected this pattern, when I married.

Looking back at the photographs, I realized that I set out to do a purple table and, wow, I certainly did one.  It is very, very purple. Since purple represents magic, mystery and royalty, I think purple is a good color to have around.  I hope you have some purple hiding in your china cabinets and closets!


Sharing at A Stroll Thru Life for Table top Tuesday

Sharing Wednesday at Cuisine Kathleen for Let's Dish

Sharing at Between Naps on the Porch for Tablescape Thursday

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Bicycle Built for Two?

“But you’d look sweet on the seat
Of a bicycle built for two”
                     " Daisy Bell" by Harry Dacre

Ever since I found these darling napkin rings at Steinmart, that song has been playing over and over in my head.  I had always thought that the name of the song was “A Bicycle Built for Two”, but discovered that I was incorrect and the real name is “Daisy Bell”.  According to David Ewen in “American Popular Songs”, when Harry Dacre came to the United States from England, he brought a bicycle with him. After he had to pay a duty for it, his friend, songwriter William Jerome, commented that it was a good thing that Mr. Dacre had not brought a “bicycle built for two” or he would have had to pay double duty.  Mr. Dacre liked the phrase so much that in 1892, he wrote the song.

I am certainly hoping that posting this blog will help rid my head of the song, although, I do love it.  Of course, now you probably will have the tune on the radio in your head!!

Did you have a bicycle growing up?  Was it red? I am so embarrassed to write that I never had a bicycle of my own.  Being the youngest child in the family, I had a hand-my-down one from my sister.  I have no recollection of the color and I never really rode that often. I spent many more hours skating on old fashioned skates with a key, but that is for another blog!

I bought these place mats some time ago at Dollar Tree and never used them.  I thought the blue, red and white stripes would work well with the napkin rings.

I used white Mikasa Yardley dinner plates and blue salad plates that I found at Big Lots for $2.00 a piece. Even though my grandson recently used my red flatware in his Lego blog, I could not resist using it, again, here.

Fortunately, my red amaryllis lilies cooperated and bloomed at the time I was photographing this table.  I put them in a Hall China water pitcher, which was the perfect color.

I tried several different goblets with this place setting, but nothing looked right.  Exasperated, I finally pulled out our every day drinking glasses and they looked fine with it.  I have had these glasses so long that I really have no idea where I bought them.

Looking out of my breakfast room window and seeing the roses blooming, I could feel myself being pulled outside in this wonderful warm spring weather.  Perhaps I should consider a bicycle ride, but I think I would choose one of the new electric ones that you do not have to pedal!


Monday, May 21, 2012

Kreativ Blogger Award

Many thanks are in order to Pam of Virginia Retro for bestowing upon me the Kreativ Blogger award. It is such an honor and I gratefully accept! Pam is an extremely creative blogger and owns a couple of hundred vintage tablecloths.  Visit her blog and you can see how she incorporates them into her tablescapes - you can visit her HERE.

With this award, there are two responsibilities.  First, I have to tell seven things about myself that bloggers might find interesting - so here goes:

1.  I love polishing silver - so much more rewarding, than cleaning bathrooms!!!

 2.  I have been lucky enough to travel extensively and have brought back many
      treasures from my trips.

 3.  I love everything Scottish, including plaid/tartan  fabrics.

 4.  I secretly would love to be a professional photographer - I am working on
      improving every day!

 5. I own at least a piece or two of sixty-six (I think, unless I forgot one) patterns of
    china, including twenty place setting of Lenox Solitaire and almost that many of
    Spode Christmas Tree! Space to keep them all is getting scarce!

 6. My husband, like Pam’s at Virginia Retro, is supportive!  He is such a keeper -
     I knew at age 14, he was the one for me!

 7. My daughter, oldest granddaughter and I used to have a blog named Tablescape
     Times Three.  It was so much fun, when we would all do posts using the same
     china patterns in different ways!

The second responsibility is that I have to nominate seven other bloggers for the award.  This is the hard one - limiting myself to just seven.  Here they are, but there are so many other creative bloggers in blogland!!

Marlis at Creative Journeys

Judy at JBiggs Little Pieces

Kim at Savvy Southern Style

Ellen at Scribbler Unfocused

Priscilla at Letter from the Northwest

Lisabeth at Infuse with Liz

Susan and Bentley at Ash Tree Cottage

Please visit these wonderful blogs - creativity unleashed!!!  Thanks, again, Pam at Virginia Retro for getting me involved in this pass-it-on reward project!!



Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Fish Dinner on the Porch

I have waited a long time to do this blog.  I found gorgeous fish plates on eBay over a year ago, but I needed to work on the table setting.  At long last, I am ready!

Since I live on a lake, I thought it would be nice to serve this dinner on our screened-in porch, which overlooks the lake.  I hope that I am not making the fish in the lake nervous!

With the swing on our porch, which is an absolute necessity for our family, we really do not have room to leave a dining table out there all of the time – Susan from Between Naps of the Porch, I am totally jealous of your huge porch!! When I serve meals on my porch, I pull out a folding table and use the wicker chairs that do “live” on the porch.

The tablecloth that I used was made by Heritage Lace and is the “Chablis” pattern.  I bought this cloth at Tuesday morning, after “Chablis” had been discontinued.  I, also, bought two place mats – oh, how I wish I had more.  I am obsessed with white-on-white embroidery and the grape pattern on the pieces is stunning.

The white napkins were an Etsy purchase.

I had several choices of dinner plates to use with the fish plates, but these Anna Weatherley “Colors” plates were by far the best. I bought four of these plates and matching six salad plates for a ridiculously low price – one of the best bargains of all time.  For those of you who are not familiar with Anna Weatherley, her china is hand painted in Czech Republic and Hungary.  Most of the pieces have wonderful designs on them and cost hundreds of dollars.  The “Colors” line is not as expensive and is made to coordinate with the decorated ones. This plate is the older shape plate, but I like the old style much better than the new one.  However, if any of you would like to give me some of the new ones, I will gladly take them – lol!!

On top of the Weatherley plates are the fabulous hand painted fish plates that are Bawo & Dotter “Limoges Elite”.  Bawo and Dotter was a firm that was established in the 1860s in New York City to import Limoges china from France.  The “Elite” line was established in 1870s to decorate china made by other factories.  There are two marks on the backs of my plates – a red one, which was used from 1896-1932 and a green one, which was used from 1896-1920, so I guess my plates were decorated prior to 1920. The red mark uses a drawing of St. Martial from the seal of the city of Limoges. All four of the plates are signed with the name of the painter “Lea”.

The table on the porch is not very large, so instead of using a real centerpiece, I used the sauce boat that came with the plates, when I purchased them.

The gold encrusted glasses are “Andover”, which are part of my Fostoria collection.  I plan on doing another “Obsession” blog on Fostoria in the near future.  I love their glassware!

The silver that I used on the table is a collection of different pieces.   

The decorated fish forks and knives are marked “Mappin Brothers”, but after extensive research I cannot find the same mark attributed to them. My pieces do have the “sun” mark that appears on all of their pieces, but the way that “Mappin Brothers” is written is different. Apparently, the firm with this name was only in existence from 1846 to 1902 and did have several marks.  I believe that these pieces are Sheffield plate.

The pearl handle knives were made by Shreve & Company, which is engraved on the silverplate blades.  The bolsters are marked “Sterling”

I need to use the pearl knives, because I do not have knives that match my very old (1889) Towle “Diane” sterling. I chose this flatware, because of the wonderful wave-like decorations on the pieces, along with the artful references to the sea (waves, shells, etc.). Silver decorated this way was made during a brief period from about 1885, until around 1900.  Some other patterns that are similarly decorated are “Dresden” by Watrous (1898), “Earle” by Frank Smith (1890), and “Douglas” by Gorham (1899).  I am no silver expert, but these heavily decorated patterns seem to be a bridge between Victorian and Art Nouveau styles. They really are impressionistic in nature, but I have no idea, if that art movement influenced the designers of this style. I suspect that the decorations fall into the "Aesthetic Movement (1870-1900)" category, but I have no verification of that. George P. Tilton created “Diane” for Towle and, also, designed several other patterns for the company.

I am using a “Diane” fish slice, along with a gravy ladle, a serving spoon, dinner forks and ice cream spoons.  I know – what are the ice cream spoons doing here? I have no “Diane” teaspoons and these smaller ice cream spoons stand in for the teaspoons. Most of these pieces were purchased from Replacements and I would just like to thank Bob Page one more time for preserving all of the antique china, crystal and silver that he has done for all of these years. Where would we all be without Replacements?

I hope I have not bored you with the history of some of my treasures.  I am somewhat of a nerd, when it comes to research and I love history! Preserving these beautiful things for the following generations is very important to me.  I am thankful for all of those who came before me and lovingly cherished these pieces, so that I could have the privilege of owning them and, then, passing them along.

I think I will light the candles and ponder all of this, while swinging in my porch swing and having a glass of wine, before dinner.  Wish you were here!


Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Mother's 100th Birthday (reprise)

For Mother's Day this year, I thought I would share a post that I did for Tablescape Times Three in April, 2011 for my mother's 100th birthday.  Happy Mother's Day, all!

Dear Mom,
So wish you were here. I am having a little celebration to honor your 100th birthday.

I am serving strawberries and chocolate cake – your favorite. It reminds me of the stories that you used to tell about World War II and how all of the neighborhood ladies would pool their sugar rationing cards to buy sugar, so you could make fudge for everyone. I can certainly understand. Your fudge was wonderful!

I know how much you loved flowers, so I am using plates with flowers and a big bouquet on the table. I remember how you loved to dress in clothes with bright colors and flowers on them and the arguments we had, because I would wear only plain clothes. Guess what? I still wear plain clothes, but I always think of you, when I see the flowered ones.

I put the flowers in the Niloak winged victory vase that you gave me. I am really sorry that my friend broke your matching one, when we were in the seventh grade. These green vases show up on eBay sometimes and I immediately think that I should buy you a replacement. Then, I realize that you are not here to enjoy it.

I am using salad forks from the silver that I chose, when I married. I apologize for giving you only a month to plan that wedding. However, you will be glad to know that the marriage is still going strong. We just celebrated our 43rd anniversary!

I am inviting Andrea and her two girls to celebrate with me. I wish you could know my three grandchildren. You really would love them. They all are such interesting people and all three are voracious readers like you and I. Thank you for giving me your love of books and all of the arts. Those gifts have made my life so much richer, than it would have been without them.

About those grandchildren – did you know that on the day of your memorial service, Andrea told me on the steps of the church that she was expecting our first grandchild? What a bittersweet moment that was! However, it was such a wonderful blessing! You will also be thrilled that the baby was born on your mother’s birthday and she was named “Emma” like your mother.

I am showing a photo of you, when you were young. It is appropriate that you are sitting in the middle, since you were definitely the middle child. Your older brother and sister are not in this photo, but it must have been interesting to grow up with three older and three younger siblings.

Well, I guess that I had better close for now, but I wanted to let you know that I did not forget this important day. I, also, wanted to tell you that I love you and miss you, but most of all – Happy 100th Birthday!


Your daughter, Diane