Sunday, February 26, 2012

Back to the Dining Room!



Not long ago, one of my friends told me that she did not have time to use her nice tableware, when her family was visiting.  I immediately blurted out that I was on a mission to get people back into the dining room!  Only then, did I realize that is why I write this blog.  The art of “dining” is becoming a lost art, indeed.

Making guests feel special by “putting on the dog” for them is truly gratifying. We do this, even for our young grandchildren.  When I was taking the photos of their birthday parties at my house in the last couple of months, I did not realize that I would be using them in a blog.  Please excuse the photography, but I am showing the photographs to make a point. We treat our children and grandchildren as honored guests, as I am sure all of you tablescapers do. 


Our grandson turned 10 in January.  He is a Star Wars enthusiast.  The Star Wars cake that I found at our local Publix was decorated with red and blue, so those were the colors for the table.

 
I used cobalt/navy chargers from Horchow and red “Louisa” Biltmore plates from Belk’s. The glass bowls for ice cream were bought at a Mikasa outlet store, before it was closed.  The sterling flatware is Gorham “Strasbourg”. I used ecru placemats and napkins that I purchased so long ago that I cannot remember where I bought them.

Here is the birthday boy blowing out his candles.



For our youngest granddaughter’s 9th birthday in February, we decided on a Fairy cake. Actually, I think the cake was a Tinker Bell cake, also, from Publix.

I managed to find a Fairy birthday card, too.  Perfect!


 
I used pink placemats from Big Lots and napkins from Dillard’s. The pink plates are Johnson Brother’s “Rose Chintz” accent dinner plates and the dessert plates are “Sunflower” by Clay Art. We used the Mikasa bowls, again, for ice cream and “Strasbourg” flatware. 

The napkin rings are from Kohl’s.

 “Ariana” iced beverage glasses from Mikasa were used for our drinks.

Since the granddaughter’s birthday is so close to Valentine’s Day, I added a small box of candy to each place setting.

Here is the birthday girl hugging her gift – a horse for her American Girl dolls.


Even though the oldest granddaughter had her last birthday in June, 2011, I decided to include pictures of the birthday party setting that she did for herself at my house.  On her birthday, I did a special birthday party for her on our porch and posted it on Tablescape Times Three. You can see that post HERE.

My granddaughter decided to set up her birthday party event as a buffet.
 

First she put down a Heritage Lace “Fancy Free” runner and used a glass cake stand, along with silverplate serving dishes.

She used J. C. Penney “Coventry” pink plates and pink flatware (no pattern name!).

The lovely rose high sherbets are “Fairfax” by Fostoria. Two more “Fairfax” pieces were used for serving, along with the silver.

The chocolate birthday cake with strawberries was a hit with her and she used it as her centerpiece.

Here is she is on her birthday – taken on my porch.

Thank you for indulging me in allowing me to show photos of my grandchildren, but the real reason I posted this blog is to encourage everyone to treat their guests, as though each one is very special. Also, to give children occasions to remember and, maybe – just maybe, when they grow up, they will spend their precious family times in the dining room!

Diane

















 





Sunday, February 19, 2012

Let the Good Times Roll!



I love New Orleans! The first glimpse I ever had of the Crescent City was in 1964.  My father drove my mother and me through New Orleans on the way to visit my sister in Texas. Eight years later, my husband and I visited during a three week trip across the country to celebrate his graduation from college.  Here is a photo I took of Jackson Square, during that stay.




Several visits later, I chose to celebrate a big birthday there.  Here is a photo of Jackson Square from that 1999 trip.




When we arrived for the birthday visit, our hotel surprised me with a bottle of champagne waiting for me in my room, along with a gift  my sister had ordered from the hotel. My husband treated me to a birthday lunch at Commander’s Palace and dinner at Begue’s Restaurant. A grand evening on Bourbon Street listening to jazz and blues was the highlight of that special day!




My one regret is that I have never made it to New Orleans for Mardi Gras, so I am bringing Mardi Gras to me this year!



Did you know that the official colors of Mardi Gras were chosen in 1872 by King Rex?
Purple for justice, green for faith and gold for power.

If you would like to know more about the history of Mardi Gras, you can follow this link to read Arthur Hardy’s history (probably more than you ever wanted to know, but so interesting!) -  http://www.neworleansonline.com/neworleans/mardigras/mardigrashistory/mghistory.html





For the tablescape, first I put down a “tablecloth”, which is actually a twin sized bed sheet that I purchased on sale at Walmart for $8.00 – it was in a set that, also, included the fitted sheet and pillow case. Quite a bargain and the perfect color of purple!



The ruffled gold napkins were bought at Florida Linens in Panama City Beach, FL.  Oh, the beautiful placemats and napkins they have!  You can order a few things online, but so many of the things have to be purchased in the store. Worth the trip!!

I bought the green flatware at World Market.

The gold and white plates are from Savinio Designs and were found at Tuesday Morning.

Pier I was the source of the purple balloon wine goblets.

The placemats and feather masks were ordered from the Mardi Gras Outlet online.





The purple centerpiece filled with Mardi Gras beads was, also, a Tuesday Morning find and the gold leaf glass plates beneath the vase were sale purchases at a Corelle outlet store. The purple votive was purchased at World Market.

The Fleur-de-lis napkin rings were, also, bought online at the Mardi Gras Outlet.




The Mardi Gras beads were collected over a number of years.


For those of you who observe Lent, now until Fat Tuesday will be your last few days to indulge.  I hope you all enjoy your celebrations - I am still hoping to celebrate in one of my favorite cities, New Orleans. Maybe, next year??

Diane












Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Bargain Shopping

One of my obsessions is trying to find tableware bargains. I live in a small city and we really do not have all that many estate sales, so I have to be creative.  One of my favorite places to shop is the Goodwill – yes, I wrote, “Goodwill”!

The nearest Goodwill store to my home is where all of the tableware in my area is sent.  More times than not, I find something wonderful there.  Usually, it is not a complete set, but sometimes it is possible to score big.



Today, I am featuring several bargains, but the stars of the blog are the Villeroy and Boch “Twist Bea” salad plates.  I own discontinued Villeroy and Boch china, so I know how costly it can be to replace.  When I spotted these four salad plates at Goodwill, I knew I had to purchase them.  They were marked a whopping $4.04 for all four.  After returning home with my treasures, I priced them on Replacements and they are asking $79.95 a piece for them! I have no idea why these cost so much, since others in the “Twist” series are much less expensive.  However, I am delighted that I was able to buy mine at the greatly reduced price.




The rattan chargers were purchased at Walmart for $6.96 a piece, which is a lot less than you can pay for comparable rattan chargers elsewhere.  The yellow dinner plates were ordered from Replacements and are “Pearl” by J. C. Penney.  I love this brand of china.  It is usually a solid color and some of the plates are large enough to use as chargers for some of the older, smaller dinner plates.  I paid $5.99 each for these plates and $3.99 for the matching salad plates.







The bamboo flatware was a Steinmart purchase and was on sale, when I bought it. The green napkins were a reduced price purchase at Kohl’s.





Last year, on a birthday trip to Replacements, I discovered their overstock room.  Oh, the bargains there!



 

I found several things and these yellow Fostoria “Moonstone” champagne/sherbets were among them.  I paid $1.99 each for them.  I so wish that all of my purchases at Replacements had been bargains, but I am afraid I splurged a little, too.  All those bargains made it possible, right???


 

The centerpiece topiary and the gorgeous napkin rings were the biggest bargains of all – gifts from two dear friends.  Thank you Sherrie and Anne!

I love finding these bargains and will be writing about many more of them in future blogs.  I hope that you will share your bargain shopping places with me.  I always enjoy discovering new places to shop!

Diane













Monday, February 6, 2012

A Gift for You?


According to History.com, Valentine’s Day is a “holiday that celebrates love by exchanging candy and gifts”.  Gifts? Who does not like gifts? What do you like to receive on Valentine’s Day?
       



                                                            A box of candy, perhaps?




                                
                                              Red  roses, the official flowers of the day?
 


                                                       
                                                       A beautiful card from your love?





                                      
                                                  Some jewelry???? Maybe, from Tiffany’s?




                                                                  
                                            Or like most of us bloggers – more tableware?

What do you like to give on Valentine’s Day?  Since my husband’s birthday falls on February 14th, I usually prepare a special meal for him.

This year, I am setting the table for six, so that some of our family members can join in the celebration. It is a big birthday year for my husband, but I do not see those big numbers - I still see the young teen-age boy with whom I fell in love (so many years ago!).




                                                             
                                                           Am I a lucky girl or what?? 




I am using my Ralph Lauren white “Peyton” tablecloth.  Next, Valentine placemats that I bought on sale at Kohl’s last year.


  
The white underplate is “Opal Innocence Carved” by Lenox. I love the romantic swirls on the rim. Next, goes a red Biltmore “Louisa” salad plate, which was purchased at Dillard’s.




On top, holding the candy is a small “Yardley” bowl by Mikasa.  I have owned “Yardley” china for many years and recently broke a dinner plate.  We use it for every day and I truly thought it was indestructible. Alas, it is not!! Fortunately, Replacements has dinner plates in stock.  Unfortunately, the plate will be pretty expensive to replace!!



For the silver, I used a fork and teaspoon in my Gorham “Strasbourg” pattern.  I tried several different silver patterns with the dishes, but I liked the way the curves in this silver mimicked the swirls in the Lenox china.  However, I decided against the “Strasbourg” knives and used George C. Shreve pearl handled dinner knives. I thought they were perfect for this feminine setting. I originally purchased these knives from Replacements to use with an older sterling flatware pattern that I own. I have never found any knives to match the pattern, which was made in 1889 and the pearl handled ones seemed like good substitutes. However, it was difficult to find pearl knives that were the correct dinner size and that were reasonably priced.  Once again, Replacements came to the rescue!



My favorite things on the table are the water glasses.  They are “Diane” by Cambridge. I think the beautiful lacy pattern is perfect for a romantic Valentine’s Day meal!



                                              The red iced tea glasses are “Iris” by Artland.



The lovely gadroon bowl holding the red foil candy hearts was the first piece of “Diane” that I ever owned and was given to me by my thoughtful daughter.  Thanks, Andrea!


                                                       The napkins were an Etsy find.



In the evening, the candles will cast a romantic glow on the table.


Oh, by the way, you probably have more than enough time left to leave hints for your sweetheart, so that you will get exactly what you want for Valentine’s Day – good luck and I hope that you all have a great one!

Diane

P. S. Happy Birthday to my husband!!




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