Today I thought I'd set a table for eight in the dining room. I used some of the "good stuff," but kept it relatively simple. I gave the table a quick going over with a dust cloth and decided to leave it exposed ... no tablecloth or placemats.
So what's the first thing you notice when you view the picture below?
Yes, I can sense your horror. "What on earth is Bill thinking ... using mis-matched glassware for a dinner party???" But, if you look again, you'll see that there's a common denominator. All the crystal stemware is gold-rimmed.
Whenever I see a gold-rimmed glass I like ... at what I think is a reasonable price point .... I add it to the collection. There are a lot of famous names represented: Lenox, Oneida, Mikasa, Royal Doulton, Goodwill. Goodwill? Of course! I've happily mixed in thrifted items with crystal from department stores and gift shops.
A few are place settings in the same pattern. I kept these together because I like the the "optic" pattern (the effect that looks like panels in the glass, gently refracting the light passing through). It's created by the shape of the molds into which the molten glass is blown during manufacturing.
These two don't match, but I like the way they look together.
These both curve outward at the rim and are etched with floral patterns.
The china is Haviland "Ladore," made in France from 1962-1988. Replacements, LTD sells it for $119.99 per place setting. I purchased the entire set for $70 at an estate sale last year! I normally wouldn't include cups and saucers for a dinner place setting (and would bring them in when the dessert was served), but I wanted you to see the shape of the cups.
The flatware is Gorham's LaScala, still a current pattern, also purchased at an estate sale. The cocktail forks are a similar Gorham pattern in silverplate. I found these on eBay at a fraction of the cost of sterling. I didn't think I'd use them often enough to justify the expense of the "real thing." They're not where I would place them if a seafood appetizer were being served ... but again ... I wanted to show them to you.
I used my standby silverplated candleabra. The watercolor painting on the wall is one I did a few years ago. I cut the mats and framed it myself.
The flowers are from the supermarket. I showed you the marked-down bouquet in my last Today's Thrifty Treasures post. They were reduced from $25 to $3.99. When there's not much blooming in the garden, grocery store flowers are the next best thing. I supplemented these with roses, pink geraniums, and daisies from the garden.
The arrangement was actually much prettier the next day. The rosebuds had opened completely, creating a full, lush effect. They're casually (very quickly) arranged in floral oasis I soaked in water.
As sundown approached, I added some votive candles.
You've seen the creamer and open sugar before. The pair is sterling, purchased at an estate sale for under $20.
As evening approaches, the candles create a nice glow.
Flowers, candlelight ...
We just need relaxing dinner music ... and perhaps some chocolate ... and the mood would be perfect!
Do you see the play of light created by the crystal stemware on the corner of the table?
The glow is really intensifying. The red and green alternating panes of glass above the front door are based on a look that was popular in houses like the one that inspired the design of this one. The sidelights are old wavy glass recycled by the builder (along with much of the rest of the materials ... including the bricks, doors from England, the sitting room mantel, and the beams in the lower level).
The view from the head of the table (dishes!).
Looking upward ...
Who dusts the chandelier you ask? Well, no one ... but I did recently cover the table and spray on lots of an instant crystal and fixture cleaning product. The brand is Portfolio, and it's available at Lowes. It really does seem to eliminate dust and bring back the shine!
Hmmm, the table is set. Now what should I serve the guests?
It's not necessary to coordinate flowers with the rug ... but it seemed to work out this evening!
Almost time to pour the wine. The coaster is a crystal ashtray from Goodwill ... only 99 cents! For now, it's holding a serving fork and spoon.
I really like mixing the glassware. It's much more interesting than matching, isn't it? A bonus is that, if guests keep their wine glasses after dinner, it's easier to know which glass is theirs.
As the room becomes darker, the light from the candles seems ever more golden.
It turns the snow white plates a warm, creamy shade.
The silver really glows in these lighting conditions. I like stainless for everyday, but silver makes an evening seem special.
A close up view of the flowers. Why did I listen to a friend who said she snips the stamens off lilies when the pollen starts to shed??? I won't do that again!
Silk flowers certainly have their place, but I love using real flowers. They're so appealing in their "naturalness" ... interesting as they go from bud to mature blossom. Some even dry beautifully and can be used for long periods of time.
One more look at the variety of blooms in the centerpiece. I like mixed bouquets. Using one type of flowers in arrangements is probably more fashionable these days. I'm not particularly into following trends ... ;)
That's it. Now one last look. So what do you think? Is mixing patterns appropriate?