Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Joyous Garden!

Inspiration for table settings can come from a variety of sources. I didn't decide which dishes to use today until after I'd taken a stroll through the garden with secateurs in hand. I returned with a bucket filled with colorful cut flowers.

The loosely-structured arrangement of oak leaf hydrangeas, roses, Anthony Waterer spirea (pink bridal wreath), Stella d'Oro daylilies, Japanese painted fern, Jacobaea maritima (common name, dusty miller), and variegated vinca reminded me of my new set of "Joyus Garden" dishes (pattern J5946) by Emerald Collection. No, the flowers aren't the same, but they seemed to me to share a colorful exuberance.

I think there's a risk of creating a chaotic effect, a sort of visual overload, when combining bold, busy china patterns with mixed floral/"English Garden" style centerpieces. To create a simple background, I covered the table with layers of white cotton battenburg cloths.

I decided against adding formal silver or crystal candelabra. The pair of single candleholders I used have a stylized, tropical look. They're metal with a dark patina. Small stainless sherbet dishes hold floating, faux-flower candles. Again, to offset the busy patterns of the dishes and centerpiece, I opted to leave what would be considered "white space" if this table setting were the layout of a printed page.

The stemware could be used for wine or water. The pattern is Marquis by Towle. The simple cotton napkins are casually presented in the glasses. I'll admit that I've never actually offered guests their napkins in drinking glasses. I've certainly seen it done in restaurants, and I don't dislike the effect; I just don't do it. It seemed appropriate today, because I wanted the dishes and the tablecloth to remain as uncluttered as possible.

For people who like things more structured, there are beautiful napkin folds for tucking neatly into glasses. I wanted these to look spontaneous (the same approach I used while arranging the flowers).

The vintage, silverplated flatware is by Wm. Rogers, "Triumph" (1941).

Another affordable table setting:

Emerald "Joyus Garden" china - 80 pcs., new in box at local thrift store - $12
Garden flowers - free
Towle "Marquis" stemware - gift (but I think they were around $4 ea. at an antiques mall)
Wm. Rogers "Triumph" flatware - local antiques mall - reg. $69.95, but 1/2 price
Candlesticks, sherbets, candles - Goodwill - total under $5
Ceramic centerpiece container - local thrift shop - $1
Tablecloths - gift from a friend who planned to throw them away
Napkins - local estate sale - $2 for set of 8

Please join Susan of Between Naps on the Porch for Tablescape Thursdays! It's a great place to enjoy friendly fun, wonderful cameraderie, and divine inspiration!