Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Appetite for Romance?

Hello Everyone,
I hope it's not cheating, but I'm "double dipping" this week. I've wanted to participate in "Foodie Friday" since I first saw that Gollum was hosting the event (which wasn't that long ago, since I'm only two weeks into my blogging "career"). You've probably all seen her wonderful blog, but just in case ... it's here. Check out all the Foodie Friday posts -- there are sure to be some wonderful looking and even-better-tasting dishes to be savored!!!

Kay, the Dish Diva, just paid me the nicest compliment. She created a post today for me (and for all of you to enjoy of course!). You can see it here. Thank you, Kay!

Just in case you haven't seen the wildly romantic 'table for two in the library' Susan of Between Naps on the Porch created and shared with her readers, you can check it out here. Susan's concept inspired me to set up une table pour deux personnes out on the deck. Here's the result:



Just because it’s hotter than the 4th of July, and we don’t quite feel like cooking (or eating) a heavy meal, doesn’t mean we have to settle for a simple sandwich. If it’s a beautiful sunny day and we want to eat on the deck, terrace, patio, porch, or balcony, let’s go for it!

Summer doesn’t have to mean the end of style either. Paper plates and disposable cups have their uses, but if it’s a lazy, relaxing weekend day, why shouldn’t we take a few of the beautiful things we treasure outside to enjoy?

It really doesn’t take long, with a modicum of planning and a bit of imagination, to set an outdoor table that speaks of style and reflects a life well-lived.

I prepared one of my favorite cooling appetizers for you today. Shrimp cocktail says “festive” when it's presented in tall martini glasses.


These are from Dollar Tree and cost, well … a dollar. I know purists would buy their shrimp fresh, boil it with just the perfect balance of spices, peel, devein, and …. Well, not today! Pre-cooked, frozen, peeled (tail-on), and pre-deveined works nicely for me! A few minutes soaking in cool water, and it’s ready to use.



While the shrimp thawed, I sliced lemons and chopped leaf lettuce, celery, green pepper, tops of green onions, cucumbers from my dad’s garden, and parsley. After a quick once-around-the- rim with a lemon wedge, the chopped parsley should cling to the glass (my parsley wasn’t quite dry enough to adhere to my satisfaction).

Next layer the veggies, pile on some chopped shrimp, and top with a dollop of cocktail sauce (no, I didn’t make it from scratch – I know how, but don’t see the need to bother!). Garnish with three or more whole shrimp, a lemon wedge or two, and the leafy end of a celery stick.

It always gets rave reviews at dinner parties. I make sure to have cooked chicken available to substitute for the shrimp for larger groups (in case someone is allergic to shellfish, or just can’t abide the stuff).


I selected a corner of the deck overlooking the fern/hosta garden where the fountain burbles softly in the background.


I took chairs from the breakfast nook outside to flank a glass-topped patio table. First I layered on vintage Quaker lace tablecloths from an estate/tag sale . Then I added two colorful, patchwork beaded throws I picked up at a recent garage sale. The total cost for all four layers combined amounted to under ten dollars. The napkins were $4 for 8 at a different estate sale (on the second day when most items are half price). The champagne flutes were a bargain from a consignment store that was going out of business. Fun, aren’t they?


Gold laminated chargers are from Goodwill. The Fostoria plates, water glasses, and tall sherbet (holding the lemon wedges) came from two sources. Most were from a Day 2 estate sale and averaged around fifty cents per piece. I added the water glasses and some beautiful stemmed wine glasses (not shown) from Goodwill. They were dusty, a few had slight rim chips, and they only cost 99 cents each --- I GRABBED them the second I spotted them. The cashier and another customer raved about how beautiful they were as I checked out that day. They would have cost MUCH more in an antique shop or from a replacement service. The pattern is “Laurel,” and they were manufactured from 1938-1959. One iced tea glass alone would cost $25.99 at Replacements, LTD. In an upcoming post, I’ll show you how to “rescue” chipped crystal glassware.

I served the strawberries on a silverplated bon-bon dish. I like the pedestal and the pierced braided edge. I really like the fact that it was on clearance for $3.99 at Hobby Lobby.




The tall candle holder (perfect for a citronella candle if mosquitoes are being pesky) also came from HL – and it was free, or almost free. It was in the trash in pieces. I asked for it and put it back together.

The silverplated champagne bucket and water pitcher came from (where else?) estate sales. I paid around $30 for the pitcher, but it was well worth it. It’s absolutely flawless inside and out and came with its original tarnish-resistant zippered bag.





The china is “Monroe” by Lenox and the sterling flatware is Gorham’s La Scala. The former was purchased in an antique shop in Hazel, Kentucky. It was from a California estate. It wasn’t cheap, but it was a large set with serving pieces, in immaculate condition. I think it was a very good value.




The sterling came from an estate sale – Day 2. Again, somewhat pricey, but a fraction of the cost of brand new flatware. I think it worked out to around $15 per piece, and it’s a current Gorham pattern.

When a small table has this much happening on it, I think flowers should be kept minimal – today I selected a single (perfect) “Peace” rose from the garden, presented in a simple etched glass bud vase.



As I snapped away with the camera, the ice melted, the “bubbly” went flat, the shrimp became decidedly un-perky-looking …. and a fly landed on the lemon. That’s life, right?



We strive for perfection, or near-perfection, or not-totally-crappy … and then a fly (or something worse) comes in for a landing. On the bright side, he didn’t eat much, and I’d bought a whole bag of lemons at the farmers market!



I hope you’ll let me know how you and your guests like the shrimp cocktail. Please tell me all about your favorite vintage finds. Can’t wait to hear from you!

Bill
P. S. Don't forget to visit Between Naps on the Porch to see all the wonderful tablescapes Susan's friends have posted!

77 comments:

  1. Well make mine chicken because shellfish makes me gak.
    Your table looks so rich and luxurious. Were you serving Prosecco?
    I have some of the same gold chargers but was considering painting them black. You make them look good to me again.

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  2. Bill, this is fabulous! We love dining outdoors, for most of the year!

    You've set a gorgeous table! I'm going to steal your idea and bring my chairs out from the breakfast room and dining room!

    I like shrimp cocktail and will try this!

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  3. oops I commented on the wrong one -- oh well - this is fabulous! I'm going to try that shrimp -- I can see why the rave reviews. And your table is just stunning!

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  4. Oh my Bill! This is such a fabulous inviting table on the deck. That shrimp dish looks like the perfect treat for a hotter than the 4th of July day! I love the rims on those dishes and I like how you layered the table with the purple velvety pieces and the lace. Ooo la la I'm in love with this table for two :0)

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  5. It's all perfection!! I love each of your choices, even the shrimp! And I have a question for you....can I have those chairs???? :)
    I sure do love those!!!!

    Suzanne

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  6. Fabulous! A perfect bite for a beautiful, hot, summer evening. I love the peace rose. It is one of my favorites. I have grown it in the past and absolutely loved it. Don't have it where I live now and I really miss it. Your table is beautiful, simple, elegance. Perfect!

    Christi @ A Southern Life
    http://asouthernlife.com

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  8. Bill, it is perfectly gorgeous. And that setting! Perfection all!

    Don't you love the Dollar Tree? My husband gets so excited when we go there. He cheerfully spends money. LOL!

    This is a table fit for a king for sure. Very romantic. Very pretty. Very elegant.

    Happy Tablescape Tuesday!

    XO,

    Sheila :-)

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  9. What a gorgeous tablescape. I LOVE it all. You have put together so many wonderful vintage finds and some at really fantastic prices. Everything is beautifully presented. Hugs, Marty

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  10. Wow!! What a beautiful tablescape. Very elegant!!

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  11. Bill, Bill, Bill...*head shaking*
    I knew when I clicked your follow button, I would not regret it!!! This is totally awesome! I really like how you've put everything together and the thrifty finds!
    It takes a lot of guts to post a picture with a Fly!! :) LOL

    I strive to be "not-totally-crappy" too!
    Happy TT!
    Michelle

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  12. What a lovely, story-book effect you have created here. It is just magnificent! Very nice, indeed.

    And...your cute personality is priceless !!
    xo bj

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  13. Strawberries, shrimp and a rose. Oh my goodness...this IS my kind of tablescape....Beautiful...Happy TT!

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  14. Oh, Bill! What a beautiful outdoors table you've set! I love hearing how your acquired all of your lovely things! Your dishes, glassware, tablecloth, napkins, oh just everything is wonderful! Oh, I do love shrimp cocktail and will have to try this. We live on the Gulf Coast of Texas and have marvelous fresh shrimp! Now don't be too angry at the little fly, he just wanted a small bite! :)
    Guess what? The fabric on the backs of your lovely chairs? We have two chairs in our den covered in the same fabric. I love it!
    Oh, thank you for sharing your loveliness with us!
    Be a sweetie,
    Shelia ;)

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  15. Wow Bill!! What a Magnificent tablescape and setting. Fabulous & Perfect .. course shrimp is my all time fav food. I agree with one of your other commentors.. A Perfect Romantic setting!
    Debbie

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  16. So Elegant!! Everything looks rich and delicious!
    Thanks for sharing!

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  17. Your shrimp cocktail looks divine! Thanks for sharing the how-to's with us! very elegant table!

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  18. Bill, the table is fab! Thank you for sharing Such Elegance. But, most importantly, how and when can I go estate saling with you?! You have an amazing eye for a deal!
    Have a Tea-rific Day!

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  19. Everything looks splendid and quite tempting. And, don't give it a second thought because I ate my shrimp before the fly landing.

    I have been craving my boiled shrimp with avocado and lemon lately.

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  20. Love it! My mouth is watering for those shrimp. The many layered "tablecloth" is so regal. I can't believe the price of those Forstoria plates.An absolute delight! - The Tablescaper

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  21. This looks divine I want to come! You did a wonderful job putting everything together. I hope you enjoyed your work with someone wonderful.

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  22. Bill. That table is fit for a king!!! Chairs are georgeous...Table dressings...royalty! Love how you really get into explaining your craft here, excellent job! Keep up the good work. I stole a piece of shrimp....Delightful!!! Thank You! xoxo~Kathy~@ Sweet Up-North Mornings...

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  23. Bill, this is wildly romantic and festive at the same time. I'm so in love with all your finds. Love the fly landing on the lemon had quite the giggle.. that is life isn't it? I'm so glad you pointed out I was "always" saying gals.. yes definetly I love when you gents stop in as well and are definetly welcome. I'll correct that from here on out... and take a stawberry as I go... love, love, love your tablescape..
    hugs ~lynne~

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  24. Bill, I love this tablescape...it is completly enchanting...fly and all! :-) The nerve of that fly! The colors are so rich...love the layering!And I love how you tell us where you find all your treasures...I really need to start hitting the estate sales. Your china and crystal are beautiful...the single rose is just perfect.
    Susan
    P.S. I was just in Dollar Tree today and bought some glassware that made me smile. And shockingly, it was even made right here in the USA...not China, for once!

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  25. Oh Bill this is just awesome my friend...A table fit for a king with all the royal colors you used...and I thought the fly was too funny...thats the s@&% that happens to me...so glad to know I'm not alone...Just beautiful..now pass me a shrimp ha ha!! Hugs and smiles Gl♥ria

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  26. I think I need to take you shopping with me-I never find a thing (reasonably priced)! Your tablesetting is gorgeous--I could almost hear the fountain :)

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  27. This is all gorgeous! Great job!

    I love shrimp cocktail!

    Katherine

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  28. An amazing table -- love all of your estate sale finds -- MY favorite shopping as well!

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  29. OMG this is fantastic, so theatrical, love it

    happy tablescaping

    Sarah

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  30. Bill, Where do I begin. First, thank you for the recipe. The colors alone in the shrimp cocktail are fabulous. Who cares if you didn't boil, peel, devein, etc. I won't tell! The purple throws are exquisite and certainly give the table a royal touch. Don't you just love Replacements,Ltd! Your fly cracked me up! The things that happen behind the scenes of our blogs! Your table looks like a million bucks. Thanks for the inspiration!

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  31. Wow, this is so elegant. I keep scolling up to look again. It is all so fabulous. The shrimp sounds so good right now.

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  32. This looks like a table fit for a king and his queen set in the garden,beautiful!!!!

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  33. Beautiful! You definitely have a gift, Bill. Not only is your tablescape beautiful but the presentation of the food makes me drool all over my keyboard. Will you take me shopping? You find the best bargains!

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  34. Hi Bill, it is lovely! The purple in the fabric just reaches out and grabs your attention and really makes everything on the table just 'pop!' It is absolutely gorgeous and yes, very romantic.

    Barb

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  35. Beautiful table! I love the purple tablecloth. Its so rich-looking.

    Your shrimp cocktail made my mouth water and reminded me of one I just had at a restaurant. It was served similarly with a chopped tomato salsa and the best were the avocados in it. So good!

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  36. Wow, Bill you are a pro at this already, your table looks great, and your pictures are awesome! You crack me up with the fly picture. I was drooling away, until I saw the fly and then I had to laugh! Good job. . .

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  37. OMG where have you been hiding? This one is my favorite so far. I may just stop while I am in heaven. Great masterpiece!
    DishDiva...K

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  38. * WOW!!! How F*U*N!!! How DRAMATIC!!! How UTTTTERLY and CREATIVELY D*E*L*I*C*I*O*U*S!!!!

    "WOW" again... that's all I can say!!! "SIMPLY STUNNING"!!!

    Thanks for sharing this with us!
    Linda in AZ *

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  39. That is so divine! I would like my shrimp right there...just like you fixed it please. How inspiring. Thank you for sharing your talent. Blessings to you!

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  40. OH ~ MY ~ GOSH!!! This is STUNNING!! I LOVE IT! So elegant! I have just scrolled up and down just studying all of the wonderful details! Beautfiul!

    I have told you I am in the South ~ Easily within driving distance ~ Don't be surprised if I just drive up one day and ask for a shrimp cocktail~

    Lou Cinda :)

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  41. I feel underdressed to even be looking at the pictures of your table :). It's regal and lovely!

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  42. Your tablescape is so elegant and romantic! I love the china and silverware. You've motivated me to start checking our local paper for estate sales. The shrimp cocktail looks delicious!

    Jane

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  43. Ooooh perfect setting... hand me a shrimp cocktail please!

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  44. Bill, you have such refinement and elegance I don't even know where to start. I don't much about know where to put what, truth me told, so I'm just all over the place with my tablescapes. But I can certainly appreciate "the real deal." Unfortunately I was standing in the wrong line when they handed out true table etiquette. But I sure enjoy yours!
    Brenda

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  45. What a great table setting. The shrimp cocktail looks so good - what time is dinner. :) Gotta love Hobby Lobby and Dollar Tree. Hazel, KY - I use to go there a couple times a year, especially when I decorated with the country look, but have not been in years. When it became so popular, the store owners started going up on their prices. I love the way you shop! :-) I had to laugh at the picture with the fly on the lemon - that is "real Life"!
    Glenda

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  46. Who cares about a fly stopping by the table as he could not resist it:) So lovely. Motivates me to toss out the paper plates here at the beach this week and use one step up to plastic. I can't wait to get home so I can use some of your ideas. Thanks for sharing your amazing tablescape with me.
    Joyce

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  47. This is the most romantic tablesetting I have ever seen! Could be the purple... could be the chairs... could be the shrimp coctail... could be the champaign flutes... could be the lovely al fresco setting... Who am I kiddin.. its the whole setting... Lovely and thank you for creating it!
    ~Really Rainey

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  48. I don't know why my first comment did not show?? Oh well, again a great presentation!

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  49. What a beautiful tablesetting!! It all works together so beautifully. I shall have to try my hand at that, you have truly inspired me.
    Thank you for stopping by my blog and for leaving a comment about my garden bicycle. I have a new pic of it up today if you want to see it. I will check yours out again! Hugs, ~cindy s~

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  50. Bill, Bill, I know you are in there. Come and answer this door. Shoot now, the shrimp have shrunk and there's a fly on my lemon. What's a girl to do? Beautiful tablescape, just absolutely beautiful. You definitely have an eye for this. Keep shopping and popping out your hints to us, we absolutely love it. Just devine darling, just devine. Thanks again Bill for opening your door today. Lovely post. Country Hugs, Sherry

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  51. Bill, I just saw that you stopped by Playing Dishes. I hope you join us for the CIJ Tablescape Party. Remember that it is a multi-week event and will be held each Saturday in July. I hope you make it.

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  52. Bill 52 comments!! You are a hit. I did a little post ,check it out. 52 wow

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  53. Everything looks divinly elegant. Wish I had an outdoor space to set up such a wonderful meal. Love the Shrimp Cocktail..wish I could eat it now!
    Blessings,Lorena

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  54. Ooops sorry Bill, I wanted to add something to my comment and deleted it by mistake! Typical for me! I'm still a bit of a newbie stumbling around and making a dope of myself.

    Your tablescape is gorgeous. Very dramatic, sophisticated and welcoming. I love the layered tablecloth and the outdoor setting is beautiful. Alfresco dining is the best!

    Sorry again about being such a bozo.

    Great first TT post!

    Tina

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  55. Hi Bill! I'm back just to tell you, my chairs are by Lazy Boy and they look a little olden to me. They are recliners and we love them.
    Oh, I hope I'm the sweetest sweetie! :P You know I'm kidding!
    You be a sweetie now,
    Shelia ;)

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  56. i love the glasses, i have done that too, BUT YOUR TABLE IS FAB! gorgeous post~

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  57. Bill, I'm dropping back by to wish you a Happy Foodie Friday! I hope you are wining and dining some lucky person at that beautiful table this evening. It's GORGEOUS!

    XO,

    Sheila :-)

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  58. Your blog is fabulous!!!! The shrimp looks wonderful. Have a great weekend.

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  59. Hi Bill!
    I have left something for you at my BLOG. When you get a chance please stop by and pick it up. You have so touched my life. I believe you to be a very caring, giving person of yourself. I feel your smile in your work that you share with us. Thanks for sharing. Country Hugs, Sherry

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  60. Wow, what a beautiful table for a garden party. So royal and lush, and just right for some berries and your gorgeous shrimp cocktail. I have been craving shrimp c. and between you and Simply recipes blog posts, I might just have to make a trip to the market.

    Love that you showed us the fly on the lemon. Life is not perfect and I can certainly handle a fly better than misquitoes. ; )

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  61. I think your photography of the table was fabulous! You gave me many good ideas on how to shoot a table from many perspectives.

    The whole tablescape was gorgeous. I didn't realize exactly how many layers were on the table until you started describing the tablecloths, the chargers, the plates, etc. - it all just seemed to flow together. It was also so nice that you included the uninvited guest - funny!

    One last thing - about the French that you slipped in there. The first thing I thought was - "oh whatever that means" and skipped over it. Then thought...OK, look at the words and see if you can figure it out. Well, it was easy - a table for two people. Thanks for giving me a little lesson in Thinking!!

    Kristin - the Goat
    (a Thrifty Thursday participant)

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  62. What a splendid baroque table! It's fit for royalty!

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  63. Hi!
    What a beautiful site you have here!
    This table in particular is truly stunning- those chairs remind me of some from Horchow that I have been dreaming of for awhile. (I can't afford Horchow, but thank goodness for antique stores! Beautiful things with a history, to boot!)
    Thank you for sharing all your lovely things, and the stories behind them and their rescue with us!
    - Meg

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  64. ...and the winner he is Bill! What a charming post. Your photos just go to prove that "living well is the best revenge." The shrimp cocktail looks and sounds delicious. Have a wonderful day.

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  65. The table is gorgeous and the food looks delicious.

    Thank you for sharing where you found all the treasures; I'm always looking at blogs wondering how and where they found everything! Such a big help!

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  66. Bill, re your comment on my site...you poured out wine? Did you know the grapes cry little cabernet tears when we do this. Oh yes they do.
    Any way you are a clever guy. I look forward to more and more.

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  67. Bill!
    I am about 4 weeks into blogging myself, and I know a winner when I see one. You are so open and kind, and sharing. You have a beautiful blog, that you so openly share with all of us. I love coming here. I feel like I have just stepped into a breath of fresh air. You are very deserving of this award. You in turn can share it with several of your bloggers that you feel are deserving, just follow the wording on my blog if you want and then post it. I am sure there are some blogs out that you really have enjoyed, and appreciate. Bloggers love to be acknowledged and appreciated. Congrats my friend, Country Hugs, Sherry

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  68. Gorgeous table -- love the pairing of Dollar Tree and sterling --that's what it is all about. That fly knew what he was doing when he came for a visit!

    Frozen thawed shrimp sounds good to me! Add Crosse & Blackwell sauce, lemons... ummm... this is a great tablescape, thanks!

    Cass

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  69. Wow, I just left a whole long comment and POOF, it disappeared. Suffice it to say I love your tablescape. You have inspired me to use my martini glasses for our shrimp cocktail this evening. Great job - again!

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  70. Bill, what a feast for the eyes! I love all the beautiful pieces and layers you used, and the stories behind them all. That shrimp cocktail looks and sounds delish!

    Welcome to Tablescape Thursday and Foodie Friday! Have a great weekend!

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  71. How gorgeous, Bill. This would be a perfect post for my Garden Party next weekend! What a lovely and elegant setting.

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  72. Bill, your tablescape is very pretty, every little detail of it. No wonder Kay paid you a very nice compliment....Christine

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  73. Bill,
    I have come back to your TT to drool once again. I am normally not a fan of purple, but it's so "right" with your Tablescape. Paired with the silver is pure oppulance. It is truly a feast for the eyes! The outdoor setting is wonderful...all those lovely plants and flowers surrounding the table takes it over the top. Great job!!!

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  74. Ok you do attend TT and glad you do because you are one talented table artist! Lovely pieces and just plain gorgeous all those layers. I love the purples, so romantic!

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  75. I saw your strawberries and bubbly over at Fifi's and had to get a closer look. With the addition of the shrimp cocktail and the perfect peace rose, you can't miss with this one. Beautiful!

    Christi @ A Southern Life
    http://asouthernlife.com

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