I'm sorry it's been so long since my last post. Several blogging friends have been kind enough to write and ask if I've been affected by the flooding that's caused so much damage in Tennessee. Recent reports have begun calling it a "1000 year flood." I don't have a great deal to report. During the heaviest of the rains, a storm drain stopped up from the debris. It created what looked like a waterfall over a retaining wall onto the terrace. Water started coming into the walk-out basement (under the French doors and, it appears, under the outside walls). We had to move furniture, rugs, etc. Thank goodness the floors are stained concrete now and not carpeted.
I can't say I was pleased when the tornado sirens started going off at 4am, but if they hadn't, we wouldn't have noticed the water coming in, and the damage could have been far more serious. There was an inch or so of water standing in my "art storage" room and, unfortunately, I had lots of things sitting on the floor. My priority was grabbing the framed paintings that were leaned against the wall (along with a few nice empty frames) and the mat cutters. I decided not to worry about a huge box of suede matboard that I plan to use for pastel painting surfaces "someday." I'll just see what can be saved after it dries out completely. I went outside in the rain and stood in ankle-deep water clearing off the top of the drain. Then the water started going where it was supposed to be directed. The next-door neighbors weren't so lucky. Their basement (which was finished and furnished like a second house) was completely flooded. There was little they could save. They've had to take it back to bare wall studs and concrete floors. And their insurance doesn't cover flooding ....
A large plum tree fell across the driveway. The ground was saturated, and the tree was very one-sided (leaning toward the sunny side). We'll miss the color and the privacy it provided. All in all, however, it could have been far, far worse.
Well, this is supposed to be a tablescape post, so I'd better focus on the subject at hand. I ended up taking a LOT of photographs. I'll never be one of those hugely successful bloggers who post daily -- just a sentence or two and (perhaps) include one photograph. These table posts, as those of you know who've done them know, take a while to set up and photograph. It seems a waste to take dozens of pictures and then only post three or four.
Feel free to scroll through them quickly or, if you're so inclined, have a nice cup of tea and take your time. We're in the dining room today, and the table is set for eight.
The china and crystal are recent estate sale purchases. Flowers are from the garden.
The vintage etched crystal is Rose Point by Cambridge (1934-1958).
Rose Point was patterned after an imported and very expensive hand-made lace. Below is the tall sherbet/champagne. I used Cambridge Caprice bread plates as underplates for the sherbet glasses.
This is the "tall water," which can be used as a wine glass.
I thought the underplates would add a bit of extra sparkle.
The china pattern is Mignonette by Haviland (France, 1951). I wasn't in the market for yet another set of china, but the number of serving pieces, and the reasonable price, helped me decide to offer it a good home. The gravy boat is below. The ladle is also a recent estate sale purchase. It's sterling, and it was reduced to only $15. I can't quite read the monogram, but I'm almost certain it's my great-grandmother's initials! ;)
And the sugar bowl ...
Since I was combining busily patterned dishes and stemware, I decided to keep the table covering simple. It's a poly/cotton drapery panel, casually arranged. It serves a dual purpose. It adds softness to the overall look and is easily laundered if pollen and flower petals drop from the centerpiece.
In the shot below, you can see the reflective quality and translucency of the china. I think the cups' handles have an appealing shape.
I decided to use 1847 Rogers Brothers flatware, Eternally Yours (1941-1973). It echoes the floral patterns of the china and crystal, but features clean, simple lines. The large dinner napkins appear vintage (but aren't). They're from an estate sale, but it was obvious they'd never been used. They're a brand Macy's carries, Charter Club, made in the Czech Republic. I like the goes-with-everything color, and the cost was only $10 for 8 (reduced on Day 2).
A closer view of the cup and saucer.
The centerpiece is my version of an English garden flower arrangement. I cut them the day before, re-cut the stems and conditioned in water overnight. Then I cut the stems yet again (angled cuts) and arranged them in a silverplated champagne bucket containing a block of floral oasis I'd soaked in water.
The peonies have been especially beautiful this year. I was afraid the heavy rains would damage them, but they seem to have come through just fine. I also included iris blossoms, shrub roses, hydrangeas that are just beginning to bloom, and Virginia Sweet-Spire from a neighbor's shrub. She told me to cut all I wanted; it's huge! I thought the long, creamy-white blooms would add a nice "spiller" to the arrangement.
I consider it an English garden style arrangement because it's unstructured and contains little in the way of filler flowers. It features a wide variety of colors and types of flowers, and it's nice and full. I even included some "roadside" flowers. Below you'll see red clover ...
A closer view ...
And intoxicatingly sweet-smelling pink honeysuckle (less prevalent here then the ubiquitous yellow variety).
I stripped away any leaves that would have ended up below the water line, but left some near the blossoms to add color and interest.
Isn't it nice to be able to cut flowers from your own garden for dinner parties? They generally don't last as long as flowers from the florist, but I think their freshness and fragrance are unrivaled.
One more close-up. I find the jagged edges of the peony petals fascinating, don't you?
Rain was predicted, but it turned out to be a sunny afternoon.
Viewed from the kitchen ...
From the sitting room ...
Freshly-cut rosebuds under a painting of roses.
My friend, Cary, did this oil painting. The subject was the roses his sister grows.
A silverplated ice bucket flanked by two Rose Point pieces, a compote (or comport) and a bud vase -- both from local estate sales. The bud vase was free! The estate sale director included it when I bought the stemware on today's table (which was half price on Day 2 of the sale).
I rolled a single hosta leaf into a cylinder to line the vase.
The set of china included a medium-sized platter with a well to collect gravy or juices from the meat.
A simple bouquet of Sweet Spire, a candleabra, a small stack of Haviland bowls, silverplated pitchers, and a coffee pot sit atop the chest where table linens are stored.
A closer view of the pitchers and coffee pot (from various estate sales).
If you look through the latticework, you'll get a glimpse of the raised rose bed (the source for many of the flowers I'm using today).
In the late afternoon sun ...
I could hardly wait to light the candles for you!
You can clearly see the etched design in the photograph below.
I love the way Rose Point sparkes by candlelight!
This is stem #3121. Cambridge used the Rose Point etched design on many of their different shapes and colors. 3121 is probably the most widely available. It also happens to be my favorite of the stem shapes Cambridge produced.
Even in an antique shop, Rose Point is no more expensive than good quality department store crystal. Why not purchase something that's no longer being produced and has quality that can't be reproduced by modern manufacturing methods?
The etching really sparkles in this lighting situation, doesn't it? I think it's my favorite of all the glassware I've shown you on Affordable Accoutrements.
I suppose it's time for a disclaimer. If this were an actual dinner party, I wouldn't use this type of arrangement as a centerpiece. I'd have either created a very low, narrow arrangement or had individual bouquets in julep cups or small vases at each place setting. The one below would be perfect for a large sideboard, on a reception table, or in an entry hall.
Darkness has fallen and the candles glow brighter ...
Almost time to say good night ...
A last look at the May flowers. I hope you enjoyed your visit.
For inspiration (and lots of eye candy), be sure to join Susan of Between Naps on the Porch for Tablescape Thursdays! Click HERE to see all the wonderful tables Susan's devoted TT participants have created. See you soon ....