In mid-January, I set a table for you that featured dishes made in a Central European (former) sovereign state, Czechoslovakia. The pattern featured a bird of paradise pattern. You can see it HERE. The china I'm using today is also marked "Epiag," and has a backstamp that indicates production sometime between 1922 and 1945.
I purchased these at an estate sale two years ago. To be perfectly honest, I didn't find the pattern particularly appealing. I did like the number of serving pieces, the shape of the cups, the near-mint condition of the pieces, and the soft pastel colors. In fact, the pattern is called "Pastelle."
The asking price for the set was a reasonable $125. By close of business on the last day of the sale, the dishes were still unsold. I was able to negotiate the purchase price down to an affordable $30. For that price, they seemed far lovelier. Still, the china remained wrapped and stored away in a closet.
They've finally been given a nice bath, and they've made their way to the dining room ... where they're anxiously awaiting your visit. As I often do when hosting an actual dinner party, I set the table the day before. Here's Czech 2, Pastelle by Epiag, revealed by the morning light.
The table linens are in a narrow range of warm, pale pinks.
To soften the look of the potted plant, I wrapped the clay pot in fabric (actually an old wine-colored pillowcase).
Here's a closer view of the china pattern. They remind me of Oriental Poppies, but some of you avid gardeners can probably tell me exactly what sort of flowers the design represents.
The pale pink placemats are from Dollar Tree. The set of 8 damask napkins was reduced to $2 on day two of an estate sale. So ... placemats and napkins total $10 for a table set for eight. How affordable is that?
The vintage flatware is by International Silver. The 1939 deco-inspired pattern is called Starlight. The long handles of the forks and knives indicate that it's a "Viande" version of the pattern. Other American silver manufacturers in the 30s called the style "Grille." Gorham, however, called theirs "Vogue." The Grille/Viande style was quite popular in the 1930s and 40s, but only in silverplated flatware. It never made the transition to sterling, and the look had faded away by the 50s. Some collectors today prize the look and purchase pieces to serve as luncheon sets or fish knives and forks.
I decided to use contemporary glassware for today's table. The tall water/wine glasses are "Marquis" by Towle. They're from an antique mall. The champagne flutes were thrift store purchases (approximately 50 cents per stem).
The soft pinks on the table echo shades found in the rug below.
Looking upward at the blooms ...
The flowing shapes and muted pinks and soft grays of the pattern seem soothing to me ...
From above ... in the light of day.
I was anxious to light the candles for you. The tapers were quite affordable. A package of 8 had been pre-priced at $14. The discounted price was $7.99. The TJ Maxx clearance price was even better ... only $2 for the package! Upon closer examination, I observed that the candles are covered in a light dusting of gold glitter. For this price, I can live with a little extra sparkle!
I like the fact that the blooms are above eye-level of seated guests. They won't, therefore, interfere with across-the-table views and conversations.
The angled corners of the placemats help the settings fit together like pieces in a jigsaw puzzle.
The candlelight warms the cool, red violet tones of the orchids.
The covered casserole (upper left) is in perfect condition; it's one of my favorite pieces on today's table.
The graceful curve of the orchids ...
The gravy boat is another of the serving pieces I like. If you're not inclined to serve heavy, old-fashioned gravies and sauces these days, a gravy boat/bowl is a stylish way to serve flavorful, fat-free salad dressings.
A closer view of the glassware ...
Overview of the table ...
The candles add warmth, even before the sun goes down.
The extra-large platter couldn't find a home on the table, but it can be passed as needed and returned to the sideboard.
Flowers by candlelight ...
It's finally dark; first guests should arrive soon.
Faceted glass sparkles prettily in the light of the candles.
If we should have to postpone our engagement ...
We'll blow out the candles and try again tomorrow ....