Wednesday, March 21, 2012

"Here Comes Peter Cottontail"

"Here comes Peter Cottontail
Hoppin' down the bunny trail,
Hippity hoppity,
Easter's on its way

Bringin' ev'ry girl and boy
A basketful of Easter joy
Things to make your Easter
Bright and gay

He's got jelly beans for Tommy

Colored eggs for sister Sue

There's an orchid for your mommy

And an Easter bonnet too. Oh!

Here comes Peter Cottontail
Hoppin' down the bunny trail
Hippity hoppity
Happy Easter Day"

I hope that everyone is getting ready for Easter.  I am working on my Easter table already, how about you?   Many thanks to Steve Nelson and Jack Rollins who wrote the song, "Here Comes Peter Cottontail", in 1950.

Diane

Easter 2011
 
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Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Time to Think Pink!!


It is already spring in the South and in my city that means one thing – Cherry Blossom time! This year is the 30th anniversary of our Cherry Blossom Festival and everything is starting to look pink!  The festival calls itself “The Pinkest Party on Earth” and I do believe that it true. Some of you might have seen the cherry trees in Washington, DC – did you know that we have more?

The Yoshino cherry trees are just starting to bloom – all 300,000 of them! It is perfect timing, because the Festival begins on March 16th this year. You should join us for all of the fun activities!  You can find the calendar Here.

I have set a table for dessert and coffee for four and pink is the color of the day! I began with a white Battenburg tablecloth with pink placemats layered on top.

 

Next, I placed a pink “Miss America” dinner plate.  This stunning pattern was made by the Hocking Glass Company from 1935-1938. It constantly amazes me that other women lovingly took care of these pieces, so that some of them made it all these years with no chips on these edges!



A pink “Block Optic” pattern salad plate was set on top of the “Miss America” plate.  The “Block Optic” depression glass plate was, also, made by the Hocking Glass Company from 1929-1933.



On top, I put a salad plate in the “Mountain Cherry” pattern made by Narumi, which was one of the china manufacturers that Mikasa used.  It is my understanding that Mikasa never manufactured any china – they merely sold it under their name.  This is one of my favorite patterns by Narumi.  Of course, I would love the cherry blossoms on it!



I used matching cups and saucers with the covered sugar and creamer.



The special flatware is sterling by Blackinton. It was made in 1903 and it is called “Cherry Blossom” – perfect!!   I am using forks that I have seen identified as old pickle forks and as pastry forks.  I am definitely using them as pastry forks for this dessert party.



Also, I am using gold washed “Cherry Blossom” teaspoons, pie server, sugar spoon and sauce ladle.



The pearl handle dessert (or breakfast) knives are by Gorham.



The Fostoria crystal is actually identified as the color Rose.  This pattern was used as the blank for the etching on other patterns, such as Fostoria “Versailles”, “June” and “Berry”.  Some of the pieces are named Fostoria “Fairfax” and some are simply called pattern #5098/5298.  I had to learn the hard way that you can more easily find the stemware under the #5098/5298 identification. I had been looking under Fostoria “Fairfax” and I could find mostly items that were not stemware.  The pieces on my table consist of a water goblet and high sherbet, which will hold cherry ice cream of course!



Here is a photo of the underside of the optic bowl on the sherbet.  It is the petal shape (six petals) that helps me identify this pattern, along with the single knob on the stem that has six “cuts” in it.



Speaking of cherry ice cream – if you come to our festival, free ice cream is served daily in one of the downtown parks! 

I am using another Fostoria “Fairfax” piece, which is a mayonnaise bowl.  It is holding a pink cherry sauce to make the cake even more decadent!



I chose pink napkins with white overlays.  If you saw my Mardi Gras blog, you might have noticed the gold sheer napkins that I used on that table.  I purchased the gold and the white ones from Florida Linens in Panama City Beach, Florida.



The napkin rings were a recent purchase from Steinmart.



If you decide to join us for the festival, be sure and pick up this year’s poster.  Some of you might recognize the name of the artist, Steve Penley, a native of this Cherry Blossom city! The posters, also, are available online  Here.

For those of you who cannot join us, I so wish you could see our beautiful trees in full bloom.  It is a sight to behold, especially, if you love pink!

Diane




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Saturday, March 10, 2012

Forty Shades of Green

 
“I close  my eyes and picture
The emerald of the sea
From the fishing boats at Dingle
To the shores of Donaghadea

I miss the river Shannon
The folks of Skibbereen
The moorlands and the meadows
And the forty shades of green”

              Attributed to Johnny Cash


Oh, those forty shades of green!  When I visited Ireland in 2000, I was amazed at all of the variations of green in the landscape.  The most amazing part of it was that I was there in November and everything was still green.

Here is a photo of the Dingle peninsula that we took on our trip.  You can see all of the beautiful shades across the hill. I always get nostalgic, when I begin setting my St. Patrick’s Day table.  I have very happy memories of that trip and exploring the western side of the island.


This year, I am using an ecru Vera Bradley tablecloth and matching napkins. Layered over the tablecloth are shamrock placemats from Kohl’s.


The green dinner plate is made by Syracuse and I have no idea what the pattern is.  My daughter found a similar one, but it did not have the scalloped edge.  If anyone recognizes this pattern, please let me know. They were an eBay purchase and I really love them.  


Oh top is a salad plate by the Irish manufacturer, Belleek. Last year, I ordered these plates a very long time, before St. Patrick’s Day.  You can read about the problems that I had on Tablescape Times Three Here, but I will tell you that they did not arrive in time for my St. Pat’s tablescape!

I have always wanted to own Belleek china, especially after studying the history of Lenox china. I discovered that some of the first china that was produced by that company was Lenox Belleek, which was part of the American Belleek china made by several different manufacturers in the late nineteenth century.


The flatware is my grandmother’s Oneida "Jasmine" silverplate.


Also, in silverplate are the tall salt and pepper shakers.  They are antique reproductions made by Towle.


The place setting does not have forty shades of green, but I do love mixing greens for this occasion, as it always reminds me of Ireland.


I cheated a little on the crystal this year.  Instead of using crystal goblets, actually made in Ireland, I am using an old Tiffin pattern that is “Killarney” green.  This color crystal was made with several different stems and this one is #17453.


I did use a Waterford “Lismore” spirits decanter on the table.  Perhaps, some Irish whiskey will be brought to the table to mix up a little after-dinner Irish coffee! Visiting the old Waterford factory was a major highlight of our trip to Ireland. However, the company has very recently moved into a new modern building in Waterford. 


The tall sherbet/champagne glasses are “Longford” made by Galway Crystal in Ireland.


The little shamrock teapot is Bordallo Pinheiro in the “St. Patrick” pattern. This was another major score from Goodwill!


Once again, for the centerpiece, I am using the Irish flag for inspiration. When I taught pre-school, every year on St. Patrick’s Day, we would help the children make Irish flags.  I think about those memories and always like to incorporate some orange into the tablescape.


The guests will receive lucky gold coins on their plates.  I hope it brings all of us the luck of the Irish, in case you were not born there.  Apparently the Irish do not need any help. As this little plate says –



Diane











 








Monday, March 5, 2012

Obsession Number Three


I am a reader. I am obsessed with books. Ever since I learn to read, I have almost always had a book in my hand.  However, I am finding as I get older, I have gotten more particular about what I read.  I do not finish every book I start, for instance. In the past, finishing books was a badge of honor for me.  Now, if I start a book and I feel like I have read it before (actually, read one almost like it!), I stop.  I guess I have decided  that I do not have as much time to waste, anymore!


When I was a child, Heidi, was my very favorite book.  I, also, loved the Pippi Longstockings series.  There were so many books that I adored.  However, once I discovered Nancy Drew, I was obsessed with the books about her. I had to read all of them and help her solve those intriguing mysteries!

Of course, I introduced my daughter to Nancy Drew, when she was old enough to read the series and I think that she liked them, but I have to admit that my daughter was more interested in reading non-fiction, like books on World War II or travel books. She was reading those at a very young age.  However, my oldest granddaughter took to the Nance Drew books, like I did.


For my granddaughter’s seventh birthday, her mother and I put our heads together and decided to go all out with a “Nancy Drew, Girl Detective” birthday party. We hired a teen-aged girl to play Nancy. When the attendees arrived, our “Nancy” gave each one a “Girl Detective” workbook and taught them how to be real detectives.We held the first part of the party in our garage and took all of the presents inside. Our mystery was that the birthday party had been stolen – the cake and all of the presents had disappeared, when the girls finally made it inside. We hid clues all over the house and even video-taped the The Birthday Bandit (my son) being captured, which we showed on the television and appeared to be a real news report.


The birthday party was saved – the criminal, A.K.A “Jumping Jeff”, had just moved the cake and presents to the terrace outside our basement.  It was a fantastic day and the little girls had so much fun.  Of course, they all went home with Nancy Drew books and other fun prizes, like magnifying glasses and flashlights.



I could not write about Nancy Drew without doing a small tablescape.  The tablecloth is a piece of fabric that I had left over from the party. We gave each young girl a canvas tote bag for their detective books and prizes. I made decorative ties for each bag out of this fabric. It shows pictures of  Nancy and cute sayings from the books.



I used Mikasa “Yardley” white dinner plates, blue Elite china (no pattern name) salad plates, and yellow JC Penney “Pearl” salad plates.  The white flatware is from Walmart and the small glasses are are Spiegelau juice glasses.  The centerpiece is a blue Hall china water pitcher, which was included with the purchase of some refrigerators around 1939. The pitcher belonged to my mother and, alas, the lid was broken many years ago. The first Nancy book was published in 1930, so the pitcher is certainly age appropriate.



Reprints of the first two Nancy Drew books are on the table, as well as a wonderful book about the different authors (they all claimed the pseudonym of Carolyn Keene!) of the Nancy Drew series.  This book  was written by Melanie Rehak and is a fun read for anyone who loved Nancy Drew and her sleuthing!

Since I had to grow up, eventually, and move on from the Nancy Drew books (I am quite sure that I read them all!), I will leave you with just a few of my favorite “grown-up” books.  I have pretty eclectic taste in literature and these books might not be for everyone, but I am writing about my obsessions – lol!!

My favorite all time book – Tell No Man by Adela Rogers St. John
  A few years ago, my sweet daughter surprised me with a first edition, signed copy.    
  What a gift!

Other favorites – The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand

                            A Son of the Circus by John Irving

                            Of Human Bondage by W. Somerset Maugham

                            Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides (I actually hugged this book, when I finished it!)
   
                            Sweet Everlasting by Judson Mitcham

                            Shalimar the Clown by Salman Rushdie

                            Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See

                            An American Tragedy by Theodore Dreiser

Oh, there are so many more and on any given day, these might change!  I would love to read the names of your favorite books.  If you comment, please mention them!

Diane