Then I remembered "unbirthdays" and a wonderful Lewis Carroll quote from Through the Looking Glass, "There are three hundred and sixty-four days when you might get un-birthday presents ... and only one for birthday presents, you know."
From a quick online search for "unvalentines/un-valentines," I learned about cynical celebrations that feature dead flowers, defaced Valentine's Day cards, eating "bleeding heart" cookies, while watching horror movies, and listening to heavy metal music -- oh MY! Well, that certainly wasn't what I had in mind!
Couldn't the "unbirthday" principle apply to Valentine's Day? Why not celebrate love, beauty, romance, (and hospitality) every day of the year? For today's table, I started with roses from the supermarket. Last week's table (you can see it HERE) was a formal one that featured vintage lace, tulle, cream soup bowls, and lots of sparkle and shine.
The oval table from the sunroom was still in the paneled den. I removed the black upholstery fabric and the lace tablecloths I used last week and reunited the table with its matching blonde wood side chairs. It seemed to me that the mid-century styling of the table and chairs called for a simpler table setting -- a semi-formal one perhaps.
The jury's still out on how long the table will remain in this room. It's certainly nice being able to have meals by the fire. There's a frequently-used high def television in the armoire (which is both a plus and a minus). I know most people seem to prefer flat screens above fireplaces these days, but I suppose I'm old fashioned -- I like paintings and mirrors above mantels (and televisions behind closed doors).
I started setting the table in the early afternoon of what had been a cold, very cloudy day. I had planned to take my time and do the photography phase the following day. Suddenly, the sun appeared! I hurridly arranged the flowers and grabbed the camera and tripod.
Normally I do a final walk around the table to check for spacing of flatware, glasses, napkins, etc. There was no time for that today. I'm not even certain I was finished setting the table. I would have certainly added more candles on the mantel and perhaps brought in a few serving pieces.
It was an easy decision to skip all that and try to take pictures of the table bathed in natural light.
The china is Shelton by Theodore Haviland (1952-1985).
I used Dollar Tree placemats and vintage napkins from a local estate sale.
At first I had planned to use just roses in a tall, slender glass vase. It looked a little sparse, so I had gone back to Kroger to look for some sort of filler flowers.
I bought two large bunches of white hydrangeas. They had just been reduced -- the nice lady in the floral department saw me with them and said, "This is your lucky day. We just marked those down." From $9.99 to 99 cents! After I arranged the centerpiece, I had three stems left over. I used those for a bouquet on the breakfast table.
I used Claudia Bohemian crystal (some of which I've had for a very long time ... some came from Goodwill ... the ones on the bar came from my friend, Lori E. of Family Trees May Contain Nuts -- ask her to tell you her Claudia story!).
The tall water glasses I'm using for (faux) wine are from a thrift shop in Cape Girardeau, Mo. I haven't spent much time researching the pattern. Does anyone recognize it?
Flatware is Gorham's La Scala.
The sherbets are from a local antiques mall. The color looks like Depression Glass, but I feel certain they're probably not old at all. I think a French company makes some that look similar.
If I were using the centerpiece for an actual dinner party, I'd have cut the stems very short and arranged the flowers in a silver or crystal bowl. Since the hydrangeas are so top-heavy, it would probably have been necessary to make a grid with tape over the top of the bowl to hold them upright.
I've found that roses don't like wet floral foam very much. The hydrangeas serve the purpose of oasis by holding the roses in place. I put some of the roses between the "mopheads" and inserted others directly through them. I didn't try to space anything perfectly evenly, but it turned out to be a fairly symmetrical arrangement.
More late afternoon photos:
Candle time ...
The fireplace adds warmth ...
For an unplanned arrangement, I like the effect. It reminds me of some sort of frothy confection. And total cost was only $7!
The heavy, silverplated candlesticks were a Goodwill find. I polished one, being careful to leave some tarnish/patina in recessed areas. I polished the second one last night (unfortunately, I had already taken the pictures).
Through the windows, the cool blues of early evening, with lights on ...
And off ...
There you have it -- my unvalentine's table.
And here are the flowers the morning after. The roses have opened further, beginning to take on the look of lush summer blossoms.
I hope you all have a very happy Valentine's Day! May the other 364 days of your year be filled with love and laughter!
Please join Susan of Between Naps on the Porch for Tablescape Thursday!