Monday, November 30, 2009

A Cactus on the Table??? And a Giveaway!

An online dictionary offers "trappings" as a synonym for accoutrements and gives the following examples: cathedral ceilings, heated swimming pools, and other accoutrements signaling great wealth. Items I've shared through posts to Affordable Accoutrements definitely don't relate to "great wealth," but I hope readers have found them interesting and helpful in some way. Estate sales have been the primary source for tabletop items I've featured ... along with thrift stores and online auctions.

Today I've set a table for four in the breakfast nook. This particular setting will definitely rank among the most affordable I've shared with you to date. We'll start with the centerpiece. The holiday cactus in the solarium is in bloom. In case you're interested in Latin names of plants, holiday cacti, commonly knows as the Thanksgiving Cactus, Christmas Cactus, and Easter Cactus, comprise several closely related species in the genus
Schlumbergera and the species Hatiora gaertneri. I always find it fascinating when any type of cactus blooms. It seems somehow incongruous that something so colorful, delicate, and beautiful can burst forth from a plant that's normally harsh, spiny, and tough looking. And the cactus was free, a gift from a friend! She was about to throw it away ... I'm glad she didn't!

I folded a wet paper towel and placed it in the bottom of a silverplated Revere bowl (to minimize chances of the bowl being scratched by the clay pot) and camouflaged the pot by filling the space between the bowl and pot with greenery from the garden. The roses from last week's tablescape still appeared to have some life in them, so I cut the stems short and inserted them into the moist soil to provide additional color and act as a filler flower. The Revere bowl was a recent Goodwill purchase. At $1.99, I didn't hesitate. It was tarnished, but the plating appeared smooth and intact (no rough or green spots to indicate plate loss). It polished up beautifully with my favorite silver polish, Wright's Silver Cream.

In setting the table, I used mostly silverplated items, along with a few sterling silver pieces. The candlesticks are plated. They were on sale at a local antique mall, reduced from $24.50 to $4.50 for the pair. They're a nice heavy weight and in perfect condition. The creamer, open sugar, tongs, and salt & pepper shakers are sterling, estate sale bargains (the vintage creamer and open sugar totaled only $15).

The glassware is vintage.

When I poured milk (not cream) into the cream pitcher, it formed a few bubbles. I thought it might be fun to capture them in a photograph.

I think there's something very appealing about using old-fashioned sugar cubes. It seems to make sweetening coffee or tea feel more special than when one simply pours in a spoonful or two of the basic granulated kind. Do you agree?

The tall stemmed water glasses are from Goodwill and cost 99 cents each. The etched wine stems are from a local estate sale. It was the second day of the sale, when small items were half price. A set of six totaled $4.00.

Another view of the glasses. This segment of the holiday cactus resembles (to my eye at least) a holly leaf and serves as a reminder of Christmas and the spirit of giving.

I added mismatched chairs to the usual pair that flank the antique table.

Here's a closer view of the flowers.

The placemats and napkins are a linen/cotton blend accented with Battenburg lace. I purchased a boxful of them at a garage sale for $1.

The delicate pink flowers juxtaposed with the stylized etched floral pattern of the vintage stemware ...

A closer view of the weighted base of the candlestick ...

The vintage plated silverware came from a variety of sources, including a bagful of flatware purchased at very little cost from Goodwill. Read about it HERE. I used four different patterns, alternating simple designs with more ornate ones. I always dig through boxes of flatware at antique malls and thrift stores. It's amazing what you can find!

The china is "Royal Lace" by Johann Haviland, four six-piece place settings.

I like the fact that each place setting includes a soup/salad bowl and a berry bowl. Typical place settings of china include a salad plate, and bowls usually sell separately.

A closer view of the subtle floral pattern. The set is in like-new condition and ... the price is ... FREE to a lucky reader of Affordable Accoutrements. If you leave a comment, your name will be entered into a drawing to be held on December 15, 2009. If you let me know you're a follower, your name will be entered twice. If you mention that you subscribe via e-mail, I'll put your name in a third time. Due to the weight and size of the package, I'll have to ask that only readers who reside in the continental US be considered eligible for this particular giveaway. Other drawings (for lighter weight items!) will follow.

Jean Haviland (later changed to John/Johann) was the grandson of David Haviland of New York, the founder of Haviland & Company, in Limoges, France. Jean started his own company in Germany in 1907. World War I took a toll on the company; it was sold, and later sold again to Rosenthal.

According to the Replacements, LTD website:

"Following the Second World War, Rosenthal began to heavily market Johann Haviland china in the United States. Many of the patterns produced during the second half of the century were sold or given away as premiums with groceries. Many families acquired their Haviland China pattern by acquiring one piece at a time, when the family’s grocery shopping was done. The people of the United States favored Johann Haviland’s designs because they resembled the elegant Limoges designs for which the Haviland name became popular. To meet the demand for these designs, the Haviland Waldershof factory remained open through the late 1980’s. "

Replacements, LTD offers "Royal Lace" for approximately $65 per place setting. Now you KNOW I didn't pay quite that much! I certainly hope the lucky recipient of the china will find it useful and attractive.

I thought you'd want to see the table, and the china of course, by candlelight.

A wider view ...

The view from above ...

With the tripod (and me!) precariously perched on the kitchen island, I took this "aerial" shot for you ...

I wonder who will win the giveaway ... I hope it's YOU! Thank you for your visits, your kindness, and your support.

Don't forget to visit Susan of Between Naps on the Porch for Tablescape Thursdays! It's always a fantastic party, with the most gracious hostess imaginable!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Appreciation Dinner, with Coronation!

It's Thanksgiving and, in considering the things for which I am thankful, I thought of how kind and generous people have been since Affordable Accoutrements began. Rather than a traditional Thanksgiving meal, I decided to host a (virtual) appreciation dinner ... with coronation (more on that later).

If the tablescaping community has a queen (and we know that we do ... Susan of Between Naps on the Porch!), perhaps we should also have a patron saint. My recommendation would be Hyacinth Bucket of the classic British situation comedy, "Keeping Up Appearances." Mrs. Bucket insisted her surname should be pronounced bou-quet. "It's French," she would say "but not TOO French." She had her faults, certainly, including being a social climber and a bit of a snob (particularly with regard to certain of her less upwardly-mobile relatives). However, the lady knew the importance of setting a proper table. Not just a proper table, but a spectacular one!

I think of her sometimes as I'm preparing for Tablescape Thursdays ... remembering the episode in which Hyacinth explained to her henpecked husband, Richard, and to her long-suffering neighbor, Elizabeth, the reaction she expected of guests at her "executive candlelight suppers" (for which she was legendary ... in her own mind). She hoped ... expected ... no, demanded that guests, upon seeing her lavish table settings exclaim, "Oh, Hyacinth!" and stagger backward a step or two. Now isn't that the sort of reaction we all secretly desire???

What does Hyacinth Bucket have to do with this post? I thought of a coronation ... then of British royalty (since we Americans have none to call our own) ... and then of Royal Doulton ... and of Mrs. Bucket, who was forever rhapsodizing about her "Royal Doulton, with the hand painted periwinkles."

I'm using Royal Doulton china this evening, but not with periwinkles. The pattern is "Prelude," and it was produced from 1940-1960. It was recently acquired at a local estate sale.

Now that the leaves have fallen, light pours into the dining room in late afternoon.

The silverplated water pitcher is another estate sale purchase.

Here's a closer view of the china pattern. The reflection in the cup is from the chandelier above.

The sterling flatware is by Gorham, and the pattern is "La Scala." It's from an estate sale (supplemented by various extra pieces purchased on eBay). It was introduced in 1964 and is still in production.

The crystal is from a recent estate sale (is this becoming redundant?). If you've visited before, you'll know I don't often say "pattern unknown." I think it's probably by Bryce Brothers, based on the shape of the hand-blown bowl and of the stem. You can read about the company here. If you happen to recognize this pattern, please let me know!

I layered cotton lace placemats over a Quaker lace tablecloth, placed diagonally over a larger beige tablecloth. The napkins, placemats, and lace cloth came from estate sales. The other cloth is from Ross (I do buy new items ... once in a while!).

The red-tipped yellow roses are from the supermarket. Full price this time! It's a special occasion ... but they only set me back $12.99. I wanted them to open quickly, so I blew into the partially-closed buds and pulled them apart slightly with my fingers (roses are tougher than they look!).

The first guest is Rettabug of The Gazebo House. Rett was kind enough to link one of my posts to Tablescape Thursday for me while I was out of town. She linked mine first ... before she added her own. Now that's friendship! Thank you, Rett.

And here's Lori, of Family Trees May Contain Nuts. When I mentioned in a post that I collect "Claudia" crystal, she sent me some adorable cordial glasses. More importantly, Lori figured out why my new posts weren't appearing in reading lists of my followers and helped me correct the problem. Thank you, Lori!

A place is set for Carol of
Serendipity. Carol sent me extra cups from the Lenox "Essex Maroon" china she'd selected as a bride. She noticed I'd used "Essex" in a post and wanted the beautiful cups "to have a good home." Thank you, Carol, for your kind generosity.

All the way from Australia, we have Coty from Styling by Coty Farquhar! If you haven't visited Coty's blog, you really must do so right away. Her work is stunningly beautiful! I was deeply honored when she suggested that her readers in Australia needed to check out Affordable Accoutrements, alongside two California bloggers, Julio's Beaux Monde Designs and Once in a Blue Moon. Thank you, Coty, for placing me in such excellent company!

A place is also set for Marty of A Stroll Thru Life, one of the very nicest people around. Marty invited me to participate in a cloche party. HERE's the post I did for it. Prior to that I thought a cloche was a hat! Thank you for the education, Marty, and for being so thoughtful and affirming in your comments to everyone in the tablescaping community. Marty's next cloche party is December 4th.
What's that I see in the upper right corner of the photograph below? Could it be a tiara?

Or two ... and a robe befitting a royal personage?

View from the "throne" ...

The flowers practically arrange themselves in this vintage carnation vase (yes, from an estate sale). In case you're wondering, I'd keep the flowers much lower if this were an actual dinner party ... or very high in a tall, tall container. These would definitely interfere with one's view of the other dinner guests.

I polished some silverplated serving pieces in honor of the occasion. These can often be found for very reasonable prices at estate sales and thrift stores. I find polishing silver relaxing and enjoy the instant gratification. It seems that I'm in the minority ... what about you? Do you find it fun? Or an unpleasant chore?

More of the shiny things ....

We have to have candlelight, don't we?

Thank you, Coty, for traveling so far ...

I couldn't forget Sherry of Country Wings in Phoenix. She gave me my very first blogging award. I reluctantly decided to go "award free" due to having limited time for blogging, but that first one was such a thrill! Thank you, Sherry. Your "country hugs and love" mean so much!

We can retire to the sitting room after dinner ...

The placecard holders were an estate sale bargain, but they're not old. They're probably the type available online from wedding suppliers. I think they're set with real diamonds, don't you? After all, they cost me fifty cents apiece!

I do like the way Royal Doulton looks by candlelight. That Hyacinth knew a thing or two about selecting suitable "ingredients" for tablescaping (long before we had a word for it!).

At Queen Susan's right hand is her friend, Kathleen of
Cuisine Kathleen

I was one of the bloggers she included in her Halloween poem, "Witches' Flyby"
HERE. What fun! Thank you, Kathleen!

A last look at Queen Susan's place setting ...

And her tiara ... perhaps she'll pass it around the table, giving everyone a turn ...

And of more china and crystal waiting to be part of an upcoming Tablescape Thursday.

I hope no one interprets this as a request for gifts! In fact, I'm making plans for my first giveaway (coming soon!). If you liked this concept, let me know. I'll start working on the next guest list. I've already thought of several of you who have mentioned Affordable Accoutrements in posts and encouraged your readers to stop by for a visit. Many of you always leave thoughtful, encouraging (sometimes hilarious) comments. I know you'd make delightful dinner guests.

Don't forget to stop by Between Naps on the Porch for Tablescape Thursday!

Happy Thanksgiving!