Monday, June 28, 2010

Thou Art More Lovely ...

It's Tablescape Thursday with Susan of Between Naps on the Porch! I'm joining Diane of A Picture Is Worth a 1,000 Words for 2nd Time Around Tuesdays (almost everything in this post has had a previous incarnation!). Since my table isn't really a traditional one for dining, I'm also participating in Marty's Tabletop Tuesday meme at A Stroll Thru Life.

The 4th of July is almost here. I considered setting an outdoor table in the traditional red, white, and blue. I wanted to. I really did!

But, after cutting the grass (with temperatures hovering perilously close to 100 degrees Fahrenheit), I decided I wanted to head back inside and enjoy the air conditioning! Before darting inside, I did notice that the crepe myrtle in front of the house was in full bloom, and I cut a handful of the flowering branches.

I sat at the desk in an upstairs bedroom waiting for inspiration to strike. I glanced up at the colorful rural scenes painted in watercolor by my friend, Mary. "OK," I thought, "I'll use lots of rich color." Then I thought of the crepe myrtles (some spell it crape) and their origins in South Asia. I decided to go for a slightly exotic, layered, textural, romantic look.

I also decided to keep it in this room, using objects around me (and in nearby storage closets).

I took large pillows from the bed and spread beaded throws at either end of the coffee table. Instead of a running commentary, I'm sharing a classic, one of the best-known and most romantic poems:

Sonnet 18

Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?

Thou art more lovely and more temperate:

Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May

And summer's lease hath all too short a date:

Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,

And often is his gold complexion dimm'd,

And every fair from fair sometime declines,

By chance or natures changing course untrimm'd:

But thy eternal summer shall not fade,

Nor lose possession of that fair thou owest,

Nor shall death brag thou wandrest in his shade,

When in eternal lines to time thou growest,

So long as men can breathe or eyes can see

So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.

-William Shakespeare (1564-1616)

Thank you for stopping by on this lovely summer's day.

China: Lenox Essex Maroon (1938 - 1978)
Silver: Gorham La Scala (1964-present)
Stemless wine glasses: Goodwill (new in box, made for Target)
Napkin rings: Goodwill (new in box)
Pink patterned candle holders: Goodwill
Angel container with lid: Goodwill
Fabric and throws: garage sales
Decanter, stemware, napkins, sterling salt & pepper shakers, silverplated trays used as chargers: various local estate sales
Additional candle holders: Hobby Lobby on clearance
Silverplated cocktail shaker: thrifted
Masks (new in packages): thrifted

We have a winner in the Affordable Accoutrements 1st anniversary giveaway! The gift, generously provided by Stan Williams of
The Elegant Thrifter, goes to Nana of Just Call Me Nana!

Thank you to everyone who entered (and left such generous comments)!

If you didn't win, but still want your Stan fix, you can get your very own copy of The Find: The Housing Works Book of Decorating with Thrift Shop Treasures, Flea Market Objects, and Vintage Details by visiting
Borders, Barnes & Noble, Amazon or Powell's.

If you haven't stopped by
Just Call Me Nana!, you owe it to yourself to pay her a visit. Nana's a frequent Tablescape Thursday participant and, while she has several sets of dishes, she often limits herself to using thrifted white Johnson Brothers Snowhite Regency ironstone china in an amazing variety of ways. I have some of the same dishes I've used in a few tablescape posts, but Nana puts me to shame!

Most of Nana's English ironstone collection was purchased for her by her sweet sister, Tammy, who also happens to be a blogger. You can check out her blog, Domestic Diva at Work
HERE. Last Friday was Nana's birthday, so I thought it was a nice coincidence that she won the giveaway. I hope you'll all stop by and wish her well. Congratulations, Nana!

Please hurry over to see Susan of
Between Naps on the Porch. It's always an entertaining and enlightening experience!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Sitting Room Table

First of all, I'm celebrating my one-year anniversary in Blogland this week! I'm hosting a fun giveaway. Actually, I've accepted a generous offer from Stan Williams, The Elegant Thrifter. He's providing your gift: a copy of his book, The Find: The Housing Works Book of Decorating With Thrift Shop Treasures, Flea Market Objects, and Vintage Details.

To enter, leave a comment on Stan's June 16th post,
HERE. Let him know you stopped by, OK? Come back and leave a quick comment for me on this post, making sure I have an e-mail address I can use to reach you when you win Stan's wonderful book!

That's it -- a comment for Stan and one for me and you're IN the competition! The winner's autographed and personalized copy of The Find will be shipped directly from Stan.You have through the end of the day on June 25th to enter.

You don't even have to follow Affordable Accoutrements, subscribe, or have a blog of your own --- not that I don't want you to follow -- I appreciate all the great people who've visited and been so supportive of my efforts!

Now on to something many of us celebrate every week of the year -- Tablescape Thursday with Susan of
Between Naps on the Porch! As many of you who stop by regularly know, I like to make Affordable Accoutrements a moveable feast ... or at least I like to use a variety of locations where one MIGHT actually have a feast. Today we're in the sitting room just as the sun's rising.

The table's set for four. I removed the coffee table and brought in a glass-topped table from the deck (it needed cleaning anyway). The armchairs live in this room, and I brought in two side chairs from the dining room.

I challenged myself to create a mix-and-match table setting, including pieces I might not ordinarily use together. Some of the items are available in my brand new Etsy shop (click the Etsy logo in the sidebar!). I'll be adding additional listings as time allows (in rare moments when I can force myself to part with beautiful vintage tabletop items!).

This room faces east, so if I wanted to take advantage of the natural lighting, it needed to happen early in the day.

I love the elegance of a table where everything is in perfect harmony. I also, however, enjoy eclectic table settings such as this one. They're several degrees less formal and infinitely more challenging and unique.

The flowers are, once again, from the garden -- a few of these and a handful of those, casually arranged.

There are, among others, gooseneck loosestrife (more about those HERE), cone flowers, Autumn sedum, lacecap hydrangeas, blooms from a butterfly bush, and plumes from purple fountain grass.

There are four each of champagne/tall sherbets, iced tea/water glasses, and wine glasses -- all from antiques shops/malls.

The painting of a mother and child was a gift from the artist, my friend, Kate. The medium is gouache, an opaque version of watercolor. She saw the subjects of her painting in a crowd and was fascinated by their hats and by the universal pose of a young mother balancing a child on her hip.

There's quite a bit of blue on this table -- patterns of the dinner plates and cups & saucers, the napkins, the compote holding flowers, and the band of color on the creamer & sugar bowl. None of the above match in terms of hue, value, or intensity. Is that wrong? I suppose it's up to the individual to decide.

The tall sherbets are Candlewick by Imperial. Dinner plates, eggplant-colored glass bread & butter plates/underplates, and the glass chargers are all thrifted. The charger plates were new-in-the-box, made in China for Costco. They're labeled "gold," but appear to me to be more of a bronze shade.

The cups & saucers are "Royale" by Colclough China. They're English bone china, and the backstamp indicates that they're from the 1960s. From a local estate sale, they're currently available in my Etsy shop. Do you think you might enjoy sipping your morning coffee or afternoon tea from one of these?

In reality, I set this table the previous afternoon. I took evening shots, refrigerated the flowers for the night, returned them the next morning, and took photographs of the room bathed in the early light of day.

I always enjoy seeing the effect of backlighting on crystal stemware! The downside is that it reveals any specks of dust or water spots from less-than-meticulous hand drying. The iced tea glasses are Wavecrest by Fostoria (1935-43). The loop optic design creates the effect of cascading water. It's similar to Cambridge Caprice, and I occasionally mix the two patterns on the same table.

I often dig through boxes of silver flatware in antique malls. I didn't take close-up shots of each place setting, but all the cocktail forks or butter spreaders are different patterns. They usually sell for around $1 per piece. I enjoy bringing the blackened utensils home. As I polish them, I think of the original owners of the silverware and wonder about their lives, homes, families, hopes, dreams, losses ...

In the background you'll see a few pieces of Fostoria American (1915-82) displayed. Somewhere (wrapped and boxed) I have a set of American Lady claret glasses (1934-71). The base and stem are faceted in a cubist pattern like American, but the bowls of the glasses are smooth, hand-blown glass. When I find them, I'll set an American table for you!

The vintage tablecloth is from a local estate sale. A solid white cloth beneath it provides "underclothing" and conceals the true nature of the table.

I did the magnolia painting years ago, and an instructor I studied with did the small abstract on the right.

The oak secretary holds my Fostoria "Holly" collection (1942-1980). OK, it holds PART of the Holly collection. It's probably my favorite stemware. The clock on the mantel was a gift to my father when I was a child (although it's older than I am by a few decades).

The abstract oil painting over the sofa was created with a palette knife by a friend. I saw it in a show and told him how much I liked it, saying "someone could decorate a room around it." When the show ended, he left it at the gallery as a gift for me with a note instructing me to "start decorating." The American Indian on the left was a painting I did using soft pastels (call the medium "colored chalk" if you want pastelists to bristle with indignation!). This is turning into as much a gallery tour as tablescape post, isn't it?

As I said, the flatware is mis-matched. Some of it I used in last week's Tablescape Thursday post. The salad forks and the knives have bakelite handles.

I brought the floor lamp up from downstairs to provide additional lighting for this post. The farm scene above the secretary is one I did in a watercolor workshop. I liked aspects of the painting, but didn't like the way the bottom half looked, so I chopped it off and made it a narrow horizontal.

A closer view of the "Annapolis Blue" creamer and sugar bowl. They're Oxford by Lenox (1980-90). Now available to distinguished patrons of my little Etsy shop. ;)

I forgot to mention that I used hosta blooms in the arrangement. This is a very sweet-smelling centerpiece, mostly thanks to the butterfly bush. A few hosta varieties are fragrant; most are not.

The silverplated coffee pot is from a local estate sale. It's one of my favorite pieces.

It's late afternoon now ...

Time to (you already know!) light the candles!

The three-light candleholders on the mantel are Caprice by Cambridge (1936-58). The mantel itself was recycled from an old home by the builder of this house. The mirror shows it's age in various places, but I think that adds to the charm.
The watercolor painting of a little girl is one I did in a workshop. It was a helpful exercise in terms of practice, and I learned a great deal from the instructor. The reference material was a photograph someone else had taken so, even though I was fairly pleased with how it turned out and I had verbal permission to work from the photograph, I wouldn't ever try to sell it or consider it my own original work of art. Here's what says on the subject:

The photographer usually holds the copyright to the photo and, unless they've expressly given permission for its use, making a painting based on a photo would infringe the photographer's copyright. In terms of US copyright law: "Only the owner of copyright in a work has the right to prepare, or to authorize someone else to create, a new version of that work." You may be able to obtain permission to use a photo for a derivative work from the photographer, or if you're using a photo library buy the right to use it.

Just thought you'd want to know ... it's obvious that the "borrowing" of photographs online is an issue these days. I've noticed that many bloggers now "watermark" their photos and make a point of asking visitors to the site not to use their images without written permission. It pays to ask rather than assume, doesn't it?

Vintage utensils on a plate. I especially like the little monogrammed butter/cheese knife.

The view from the dining room. I'll have to remember this seating option the next time there are too many guests at dinner to fit comfortably around the dining table.

Another (shameless) commercial announcement. The set of four etched wine glasses was listed in the Etsy shop today. I bought them at a local antique mall. I didn't (and don't) know the maker or the pattern, but I found them appealing. I just haven't remembered to use them, so I thought I'd give you a chance to give them a new home.

Closer view of the Candlewick stem. I've noticed that several TT participants have similar glasses (only with cobalt blue stems) from Dollar Tree! Susan and Marty come to mind. It's just as well that I didn't see them at DT when they were available. The last thing I need is more glassware ... unless I find some I really, really like!

Time to light all the candles!

A closer view ...
Another view by candlelight ...

And a final look ...