Monday, March 7, 2011


One commonly accepted derivation of the word "carnival" (or carnivale) is the Latin "carne vale" or "farewell to meat." Carnival was the final hurrah as winter headed towards spring, and the long Lenten season of fasting and abstinence. It was, perhaps, not only a last chance to indulge the passions of the flesh, but an opportunity to consume any meat which had been put up for winter that might not stay fresh enough for consumption until spring brought the end of Lent and Easter. For more about Carnevale traditions and history, go HERE

I'm reminded of "Endanger it, and the Demand," a poem by Emily Dickinson:

Endanger it, and the Demand
Of tickets for a sigh
Amazes the Humility
Of Credibility --

Recover it to Nature
And that dejected Fleet
Find Consternation's Carnival
Divested of its Meat.

Since that most original of American 19th century poets expressed herself so often in similes and metaphors, I don't know whether the poem actually had a literal connection to Lent or Mardi Gras.

I was thinking of masks and of the magic of Venetian Carnivale as I set this table for two today.

Another poem by Emily Dickinson will accompany the images:

Those fair -- fictitious People

Those fair -- fictitious People --
The Women -- plucked away

From our familiar Lifetime --
The Men of Ivory --

Those Boys and Girls, in Canvas --

Who stay upon the Wall

In Everlasting Keepsake --

Can Anybody tell?

We trust -- in places perfecter --

Inheriting Delight

Beyond our faint Conjecture --

Remembering ourselves, we trust --

Yet Blesseder -- than We --

Through Knowing -- where We only hope --

Receiving -- where we -- pray --

Of Expectation -- also --

Anticipating us

With transport, that would be a pain

Except for Holiness --

Esteeming us -- as Exile --

Themself -- admitted Home --

Through easy Miracle of Death --
The Way ourself, must come –

Please join Susan of
Between Naps on the Porch this week (and every week) for Tablescape Thursday.

China - Haviland, Ladore
Crystal - Tiffin, Cherokee Rose
Flatware - Gorham, La Scala
Napkin rings - Gorham
Centerpiece - Christmas ornaments in bowl from Hobby Lobby
Platter - MacKenzie-Childs, Courtley Check
Table linens - custom
Iron easel - custom (made by my brother)
Masks, coasters, chairs - thrifted
Glass-topped table - from the deck (lit by a spotlight on bracket that normally holds a flower pot)
Charcoal drawing and pastel painting by my friend, Yvonne. Did you recognize the subject?

Thank you for stopping by today!

One of my favorite bloggers, Terri from Calgary, Canada, just gave me a sweet, thoughtful mention. Stop by HERE and read about our little shopping (dishy) "collaboration!"


  1. Beautiful and very elegant, I love them!
    Kisses dear Bill.

  2. Bill,
    Can't believe I am the first comment! Just beautiful as usual. I am working on mine but I am having a lazy spell. It is hard to come back from vacation....

    Thanks for sharing the poetry and the table.


  3. Love the whole scene Bill! The spot light was an excellent touch! Have a wonderful week!

  4. Breathtaking, Bill. Amazingly gorgeous as always.

  5. Majestic. Love the last one's lighting.
    Beckie in Brentwood, TN

  6. Wow...this is gorgeous. We all talk about how great you are with tablescapes, but we don't mention as often how great you are with the camera. The lighting in these shots is perfect, the table glows. The ornaments are a great touch, big pearls for the festive meal.

  7. Beautiful Bill. I love the glow of the purple skirt in that one photo! You are truly amazing...Looks like you were the subject of that drawing! ~~Linda

  8. This is beautiful. I love the crystal!! and the candelabra! I have a silver candelabra that was my grandmothers and it's over 100 years old! I've used it at our daughter's wedding but never for a table setting. Must do that sometime ;-) Pamela

  9. How stunning this is. Love the dramatic tablecloth. This is all so gorgeous.

  10. A contemplative pose of you...a moment of grief? The table is beautiful as always...ethereal. The easel that your brother made is magnificent...a treasure. As always, j'adore Ladore by Haviland. Thank you for sharing another of your ingenious designs. Cherry Kay

  11. Love this!

    I'll catch up soon. Please read my recent blog post to explain why I've been MIA.


  12. Bill, I've been transported to Carnivale! Your table is magical and draws one in, to be nearer, to be closer. The selections you chose are absolutely stunning as a grouping. I love your framed art! And the easel, what a lovely gift. The table covering is perfect too. Such a lovely composition. Had to go back and read the poem as I was too busy devouring the scenery the first time around. You photos merge well with the words. Symmetry.

  13. All so dramatic and mysterious and beautiful! Well done. xo Terri

  14. Ohhh what a touch of novelty and romanticism, beautiful Bill ... to say LIKE ALWAYS has no meaning for your beautiful tables... you are always with great ideas and sense of table setting ...... Lightning effect give the table a last perfection touch... Always admirable...
    Hope you will enjoy your visit if you can spare a little bit to see some napkin folds at

  15. Hello Bill,
    you always create very beautiful tables and romantic sceneries. Love the purple color for Carnivale and the opulent setting. What did you do with the eggs? Even your hens are laying pearly eggs, do they? Your friend Yvonne made a fantastic job.
    Greetings, Johanna

  16. Makes my tablescape I am going to post look pathetic!! The evening photographs with the subdued lighting are amazing, the table skirt is a wonderful colour. Jackie in Surrey

  17. Such a fitting Mardi Gras tablescape, Bill! I love it. It seems to just dance in the light. And yes, I did do a double-take when I saw the sketch. I was certain it was you!

    Lovely. Thanks for sharing with us again!

    Angelic Accents

  18. Hi Bill,
    Very beautiful and dramatic post. That tablecloth is stunning and works so well with your theme. Gorgeous pieces! Hey, I'd love for you to take a look at my post, I found a sugar and creamer and thought you might could tell me if it's silver overlay? Not sure if you can tell from the photograph. I love your setting, I remember another post in that same setting, a melancholy-type one, if I remember correctly?? All very dramatic and wonderful!

  19. Sitting here "Speechless" which isn't the norm for me...What a celebration which replicates the colors and festivities of Mardi Gras in all its' oppulence.

    Carol from
    Good "Ol Texas

  20. When I saw the painting on the wall on the very first picture, I thought, "Hmmmm...that looks kinda like Bill. Naaaaaaah!" Your profile photo was right next to it, so I glanced again and thought, "That IS Bill! It HAS to be!!!) Wow! Way cool! And if you tell me you sewed that table covering yourself, I am THROUGH with you, Mr.! :-) It is a GROGEOUS sight to behold!!! Just beautiful! YoORcaptured its glory just right in your photos! The place settings are fabulous...those dishes made me shriek! The indentations on the rim are incredible! You packed a whole lot of whallop into that small table! Breathtakingly beautiful!!! Have a great Mardi Gras celebration, and I'll see you after I sober...uh, I mean WAKE up! Enjoy!!!

  21. Terrific Bill! Such drama... since we just got back from the beach after Carnaval vacation! 4 delicious days! I guess most Latin Amrican's have some kind of Carnaval...besides the fantastic Rio one. Back to you and the I know you made that....and your brother with the Iron Easel, well, talent is latent in your family. I love ED's Poem, I enjoyed reading at loud. I like your friends Ivonne job too. I was at a party last sat. and we used Venitian masks, like yours. The whole thing is just fantastic!!! Thank you for sharing your endless talent.

  22. I DID recognize the painting! The table is dark, mysterious, even sexy! You didn't mention the source for the silver chargers???? Are they trays? LOVE them!

  23. Bill,
    This is going to be an all time favorite for me. It would be in appropriate to say "I love this" as many times as I would like! The emotion created from seeing your portrait in such a pose, and the intimate setting for two...I wrote a story in my head immediately! The purple with the harlequin is perfect, the masque sets the stage...the poetry adds to the romantic feeling and the elegance of the silver, china and crystal are perfect. I would anticipate the most wonderful night I've ever had if I was seated here! You've made this a true event table!

  24. Beautiful, mysterious, the silver chargers.

  25. I had been following you silently for some time, before I went "public!" Your posts are always spectacular and mesmerizing. You inspire me on a regular basis, especially now that I have decided to take the plunge and try my hand at the art of tablescaping.

    It means the world to me that you stopped by my new little blog and left such an encouraging comment!

  26. Hi, I'm new here and I'm so glad I found your wonderful blog and enormous source for inspiration. Your table settings are supurb.

  27. Beautiful! I love the harlequin plate and the tablecloth. Funny cause I used that color on my last week's tablescape too....Christine

  28. What a stunning table! The charcoal is wonderful. Lots of talent in this post art, literature and decoration!

  29. What an amazing and fun setting Bill! Spectacular table covering-enjoy:@)

  30. Bill, your table is simply gorgeous. From the stemware to the chargers, the whole setting is very elegant. It's always a pleasure to see your tables.

  31. Bill...this is stunning. I love the dish pattern and your crystal is gorgeous. Thank you for the poetry as well.


  32. Wow, I have never seen such a stunningly, gorgeous table as this! I'm not sure if you are a party designer...but you definately should be!
    I'm going to keep this in mind when my husband and I celebrate our 50th birthdays!
    Well done!!!

  33. I love your style. I think I went through your entire blog to look at every table scape. So beautiful. Your crystal collection is amazing! I wish I knew where to find some of the beautiful glasses you have. Love it all.

  34. Absolutely stunning!!!!!! So rich and elegant. I enjoy looking over every little detail; you have such beautiful things. The light under the table cast such a gorgeous glow --- you're so talented!!!

  35. Lovely! I adore the table cloth and the charcoal. Great lighting too~ Have a happy week - Jennifer

  36. I am a little late this week....forgive, please. Your table is so interesting as always......I am never surpised that I love it, just amazed at your selections. Today's table is lovely.....adore the custom cloth with the checked huge rope cording at the unusual!! Of course, the purple is perfection with your "carnival" theme.....and the china is one of my favorites. I have Haviland "Bergere" and have loved it for 47 years.....the shape is one of the things I love the most.....and yours is just like mine. Your love and talent of tablescaping definitely shows through each one of your creations, and I am always so eager to see what you have done.

  37. This post is another masterpiece! It's wonderful! Have you ever considered making a coffee table book about your blog?

  38. Your posts are always so wonderful, Bill. I'm not sure how you have the time to do all that you do! I love the purple must have made it or had it made. It is beautiful! Your talent, elegance, creativity and love for what you do shows up in your blog! Thank you for sharing such a special tablescape.
    Blessings My Friend,

  39. Well, better late than never, huh, my friend! Lent is almost over but I'm just now catching up on this wonderfully over-the-top Carnivale tablescape! Glorious colors & extravagant pieces create such a festive air & speak of lavish parties & exuberant fun. Having never been to Mardi Gras, I wouldn't know about such stuff. *wink* LOL

    I'm looking forward to seeing what you come up with for Easter. I'm sure it will be just as entertaining.


  40. Bill, this is beautiful! I love how the mask is sort of reflected in the candelabra and the crystal. Lovely and magical, my friend!

  41. Oh, I had missed this one. So glad I found it. True drama - Bill at his best!

    - The Tablescaper