Monday, September 30, 2013

Pumpkin Picking Time!

Have you ever picked a pumpkin off of a vine or is your idea of "picking pumpkins" selecting one or more at the supermarket? Well, this year I picked my pumpkins at Pier I - lol!!

I have been wanting some cute pumpkin soup bowls for the longest time and I found some reasonably priced ones this year.

Pier I, also, had a matching pumpkin tureen with a lovely green ceramic ladle, so you know how this story ends - yep, I had to buy it, too!

I decided that I needed to have my "breakfast bunch" friends (we meet once a week) over for a meal, so I thought a pumpkin table would be great for Fall.

The wonderful placemats, under the dishes came from Walmart!  I love the colors on them. The pumpkin orange and dark red leaves are perfect for this season.

Brown plates from Oneida and green-rimmed plates from Old Time Pottery went under the lidded soup bowls. You may have noticed the place card for my friend, Tricia, on the bowl in the previous photo.  I punched holes in Crane calling cards and slipped a sliver of aspen wood through each hole.  The pieces of wood were purchased in a pack and I moistened each one, so that it would be easier to tie around the pumpkin stem.  Each person had a personalized card:

I used green Ralph Lauren napkins and napkin rings from Steinmart.  I was thrilled that the napkin rings had the little touch of red in them, as did the placemats.

I decided to use Gorham "Strasbourg" flatware, since it goes with everything. While creating this post,  I realized that most of my other silver has designs meant more for spring or summer.  I guess I need to work on that!

As usual, I had fun selecting the glassware.  It is amazing how many times I use the green Fostoria "Mesa" glasses.  They are some of the ones that I chose, when I married, and they still work with so many tables!  The wine glass is "Delilah" by Schott Zwiesel.

Of course, the tureen is the main part of the centerpiece, but I added scattered Fall leaves and small ceramic pumpkins and gourds.

I am sure that my friends may be shocked, if they see this table. I have not invited them to lunch, yet - I wanted it to be a surprise. You won't tell them, will you???

Hope you are planning some fun Fall events - don't you just love this weather and the turning leaves??


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Sunday, September 22, 2013

Falling for Apples

It is time for another challenge from Kathleen at Cuisine Kathleen.  This week, we were supposed to incorporate apples into our posts.  Not a problem!  I am always ready to discuss apples, especially the ones that were carved by a late friend of mine - but more, about that later!

I was excited to find these cute plates on eBay.  They are made by China Pearl Fine China and, amazingly enough, the pattern is called "Apples"! Replacements, also, has tons of this china with many serving pieces and glassware to match. I ran into a little difficulty deciding what to use with them, because the color of the rim is teal!

I finally decided to use pale apple (!) green placemats and rattan chargers.  The pewter- look flatware is from Steinmart and the stemware is from Mikasa.

Recently, my husband and I took our oldest granddaughter back to school and my sweet husband planned a trip to Replacements on the way.  He stayed at the hotel, while my granddaughter and I had a fabulous time shopping at that wonderful heaven for tableware lovers. It was my granddaughter's first time visiting the store and we had the most fun in the overstock area, where the real bargains are.  My granddaughter fell in love with these cute apple bowls:

She asked me to keep them for her, along with the other pieces that I purchased for her, but told me that I could use them for blogging, if I wanted.  How lucky that I had them for Kathleen's challenge!  I think they should be used for dessert bowls with individual apple pies in them, don't you?

The real stars of the table, however, are the apples in this basket!  They are some of my most prized possessions and were hand carved by a very special artisan named, Sara E. Finney.  "Miss" Sara, as I used to call her lived at Hard Twist Ranch near Milledgeville, Georgia with her brother, Tut, and sister, Martha Lou. Sara made apples (don't you just love the apple core that she carved, too!) and red pepper swags.  She briefly made peaches and I totally regret that I never made it out to the ranch to purchase some of those. Going there was always a treat - Sara was a character and Tut collected toy trains, which always fascinated my son and me.

One of my favorite stories about Sara is that a very famous artist, Elaine de Kooning, once visited the college in Milledgeville and was taken to Hard Twist Ranch to meet Sara and see her work.  Ms. de Kooning (wife of the artist, Willem de Kooning) was so taken with Sara that she sent Sara an invitation to the opening of every exhibit that Ms. de Kooning had the rest of her life.  When I knew Sara, she was still so unimpressed with Elaine de Kooning and her artwork that she gave me one of the invitations - I still have it. Sara was a simple person with an incredible self-taught talent. Her apples were sold throughout the United States and abroad. A real Sara Finney apple always has the letters "S" and "F" carved on them.

All this talk, about apples has made me want to take a trip to the north Georgia mountains where we can buy the best ones, ever.  Kathleen,  thanks for giving me the opportunity to write about "Miss" Sara and reminding me, about those fabulous north Georgia apples!


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Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Breakfast with the Hummingbirds!

A couple of week-ends ago, I was trying get ready to have breakfast on the porch, when I  noticed a cute shot of my husband's wheelbarrow.  He had already gotten out the wheelbarrow and the rake, so that he could get busy in the yard, as soon as we had finished eating.  Since, I was already using my camera for this post, I walked out of the screened-in porch to our small deck to shoot the picture.

This is what I saw:

As I was standing there with my camera in hand, I heard the crazy noise of hummingbirds at our feeder, which was just a few feet away.  I turned very quietly and started photographing those dear, tiny birds and I wanted to share a few of the picture with you.

First, one of the birds was standing guard on the feeder.  He was making that adorable warning sound that hummingbirds make.

Next, an interloper showed up and things really started to get wild.  They chased each other all over the yard, but continuously returned to the feeder.

Can you see them?  One on each side of the feeder fighting for territory!!

I hope you can make out both birds in this shot - one was sitting on the edge of the feeder with his back to the camera, while the other little bird came zooming in to chase the first one away!  Can you see the look in the eye of the second bird - wow! That one looks angry!!

This shot certainly looks like the two hummingbirds had made peace, but I am afraid that they had not! The fighting continued the entire time that we ate breakfast!  Oops!  I got so carried away with these little birds that I forgot that I am supposed to be writing, about dishes!  

This was our setting on the porch - not much planning here!  I just threw together a few things and carried them out there.

The plates, bowls and mugs are "Fanny's Garden" by Tabletops Unlimited.  The back of the china reads "Tabletops Avenue", but I think that brand is a part of Tabletops Unlimited - Replacements lists this pattern, under Tabletops Unlimited.  The napkins were purchased at a Lenox Outlet store on clearance a few years ago and the flatware is an Oneida stainless pattern, "Cantata".

I bought the green ruffled placemat at Steinmart. At one time, Steinmart carried green ones and gold ones.  I bought a supply of both.  I though they were so adorable, but it is very difficult to place flatware on them.  That is why the soup spoon and teaspoon are not in the usual place at the place setting!

Orange juice, sugar and cream were placed on the rattan server.  Coffee and the food were added to the server last to make sure everything was hot, when we were ready to eat.

This wonderful pot, which lives on the server, always, is very precious to me.  It was made by some very close friends, Huey and Anne Wheeler of Dawson, Georgia.  They are fabulous potters and, if you are on Facebook, you might want to look them up.  They are listed as: Folk Pottery by Huey and Anne.

Well, that is all I have to write, about the table setting in this post. However - getting back to the bird story - guess who won???


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Monday, September 9, 2013

Transitional Table

I almost did not post this table this week. I very rarely use the same glassware two weeks in a row, but I just could not resist setting this table with my Colony "Whitehall" footed ice tea glasses.

I have had this table in my mind ever since I purchased these great plates from Old Time Pottery (I should be getting a fee from them, since I mention them so often - lol!!). I adore the carved shapes on them and the huge size.  They can be used as chargers or large plates - win, win!

I knew that I wanted to use them with my Fitz and Floyd "Carissa Paisley" plates. I have used the blue dinner plates previously on an Easter table seen HERE, but I have never used the beige salad plates in a tablescape. The gold in the salad plates just begged to be used with the carved plates! One note here - when I purchased the Fitz and Floyd plates, there were two color choices - blue and beige. I did not think the salad plates that were supposed to go with the blue plates looked exactly right with them, so I bought the beige salad plates, instead.  I am much happier with them.

Since this was supposed to be a transitional table from summer to fall, I decided to use bamboo flatware with the dishes.

I used light aqua napkins, which reminded me of summer, too.

Of course, I had to follow the summer/fall theme in the glassware. I chose a azure blue goblet from Pier I to represent summer and my favorite fall glassware,"Whitehall", iced tea glasses.  I used "Whitehall" juice glasses, as little vases for some of the gold mums on the table.

Mums in a basket, along with the flowers in the juice glasses and silver candlesticks, were used as the centerpiece.

I think that I am having a little trouble giving up summer, because we have been having some of the hottest and most humid weather of the year! Our summer in Georgia was not terrible this year, because of all of the rain. However, right now, it is difficult for me to believe that cooler weather will ever be coming.  I hope that for the rest of you have an easier "transition" into fall weather!!


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