Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Glads Make Me Happy Table!

Today's table began with a vintage champagne glass, one that might also have been used as a tall sherbet dish. The pattern is Laurel Wreath, manufactured by Duncan & Miller sometime between 1943 and 1955. I purchased 7 of them at a local antiques mall recently. I started to buy them last year, when they were priced at $24 for the set. I was drawn to them from a distance by the way they sparkled in the light but, on closer examination, noticed that several of them had rim chips (also called fleabites). I decided to pass.

A week or so ago I was back in the store. The glasses were still there, and they'd been reduced to $20, $16 ... $10. For $6, I couldn't resist! I knew I could file the chips, but my first impulse was to view them as decorative objects. "Floating candles," I thought. "Floating in colored water!"

Glads were on sale at Kroger this week. I wrote, "glads," because I couldn't decide whether to call them gladioluses, gladioli, or gladiolas. Whatever the plural is, I think they're beautiful! I love the lush, colorful flowers, and their sculptural quality provides instant drama.

They can last a long time if you change the water as it becomes cloudy (re-cutting stems) and remove faded blooms to encourage the higher buds to open. The first time I saw them sold in supermarkets was in Florida years ago. I couldn't believe how little they cost. I was definitely pleased to see them at Kroger for $2.99 per bunch. I bought 2 bunches. The next morning I went back (to purchase food this time) and noticed they were only 99 cents! Naturally I realized I needed a few more bunches to share with you today.

Here's the result:

Even though I used quite a few vintage pieces, my goal was a modern-looking table setting. I combined shades of peach, pink, mauve, maroon, and rust -- tints and shades of reddish colors that are near each other on the color wheel (analogous colors). Since reds and greens are opposites on the wheel, the green stems provide a complement to the warm and cool reds.

It's been a while since I've used the flamingo figurines, but some of you might recall them from previous tables. I think of them when I want to add a touch of whimsy or further a tropical mood.

To keep the table relatively uncluttered, I skipped the placemats today and only used one glass per place setting (not counting the "candle champagnes").

The china pattern is Monroe by Lenox (1983-2003). The flatware is Beloved by International Silver (introduced in 1940).

The taper candles I usually select are basic colors (white, ivory, and sometimes burgundy). Susan of
Between Naps on the Porch often recommends Colonial Candles, so I decided to purchase some. The colors are rich, saturated, and beautiful. You can check out their color selection online HERE. They have a great deal for new customers, and you can sign up for their e-mail newsletter while you're there.

I overlaid new cotton dinner napkins with vintage damask (luncheon size) ones and tucked them into stainless steel rings (from Goodwill!).

The center vase is from a local thrift shop -- $1.

The tall stems are Marquis by Towle (circa 1982). I like their fan & dot design, and they have a nice substantial weight.

The late afternoon light creates interesting effects ...

The usual disclaimer: This table setting incorporates a heavy dose of fantasy. For an actual dinner party, I'd keep the centerpiece low. This would be ideal, however, if you detested the person across from you and wanted to interact ONLY with the people seated on either side! (That was supposed to be amusing, by the way!)

I used simple glass candleholders for the Colonial tapers. They're widely, very inexpensively, available at thrift stores, and work equally well as tealight holders.

It's not dark yet, but let's light the candles ...

I hope you've enjoyed your visit today.

Please join Susan of
Between Naps on the Porch for Tablescape Thursdays!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Royal Doulton & Tiaras!

I first posted this table in November, 2009. It was Thanksgiving, and I'd decided to host a (virtual) appreciation dinner ... along with a "coronation."

In honor of this being the 150th week of Tablescape Thursdays, hosted by the inimitable Susan of Between Naps on the Porch!), I thought I'd share it again.

If the tablescaping community has a queen (Susan of course!), perhaps we should also have a patron saint. My recommendation would be Hyacinth Bucket of the classic British situation comedy, "Keeping Up Appearances." Mrs. Bucket insisted her surname should be pronounced bou-quet. "It's French," she would say "but not TOO French." She had her faults, certainly, including being a social climber and a bit of a snob (particularly with regard to certain of her less upwardly-mobile relatives). However, the lady knew the importance of setting a proper table. Not just a proper table, but a spectacular one!

I think of her sometimes as I'm preparing for Tablescape Thursdays ... remembering the episode in which Hyacinth explained to her henpecked husband, Richard, and to her long-suffering neighbor, Elizabeth, the reaction she expected of guests at her "executive candlelight suppers" (for which she was legendary ... in her own mind). She hoped ... expected ... no, demanded that guests, upon seeing her lavish table settings exclaim, "Oh, Hyacinth!" and stagger backward a step or two. Now isn't that the sort of reaction we all secretly desire???

What does Hyacinth Bucket have to do with this post? I thought of a coronation ... then of British royalty (since we Americans have none to call our own) ... and then of Royal Doulton ... and of Mrs. Bucket, who was forever rhapsodizing about her "Royal Doulton, with the hand painted periwinkles."

I'm using Royal Doulton china this evening, but not with periwinkles. The pattern is "Prelude," and it was produced from 1940-1960. It was recently acquired at a local estate sale.

Now that the leaves have fallen, light pours into the dining room in late afternoon.

The silverplated water pitcher is another estate sale purchase.

Here's a closer view of the china pattern. The reflection in the cup is from the chandelier above.

The sterling flatware is by Gorham, and the pattern is "La Scala." It's from an estate sale (supplemented by various extra pieces purchased on eBay). It was introduced in 1964 and is still in production.

The crystal is from a recent estate sale (is this becoming redundant?). If you've visited before, you'll know I don't often say "pattern unknown." I think it's probably by Bryce Brothers, based on the shape of the hand-blown bowl and of the stem. You can read about the company here. If you happen to recognize this pattern, please let me know!

I layered cotton lace placemats over a Quaker lace tablecloth, placed diagonally over a larger beige tablecloth. The napkins, placemats, and lace cloth came from estate sales. The other cloth is from Ross (I do buy new items ... once in a while!).

The red-tipped yellow roses are from the supermarket. Full price this time! It's a special occasion ... but they only set me back $12.99. I wanted them to open quickly, so I blew into the partially-closed buds and pulled them apart slightly with my fingers (roses are tougher than they look!).

The first guest is Rettabug of The Gazebo House. Rett was kind enough to link one of my posts to Tablescape Thursday for me while I was out of town. She linked mine first ... before she added her own. Now that's friendship! Thank you, Rett.

And here's Lori, of Family Trees May Contain Nuts. When I mentioned in a post that I collect "Claudia" crystal, she sent me some adorable cordial glasses. More importantly, Lori figured out why my new posts weren't appearing in reading lists of my followers and helped me correct the problem. Thank you, Lori!

A place is set for Carol of
Serendipity. Carol sent me extra cups from the Lenox "Essex Maroon" china she'd selected as a bride. She noticed I'd used "Essex" in a post and wanted the beautiful cups "to have a good home." Thank you, Carol, for your kind generosity.

All the way from Australia, we have Coty from Styling by Coty Farquhar! If you haven't visited Coty's blog, you really must do so right away. Her work is stunningly beautiful! I was deeply honored when she suggested that her readers in Australia needed to check out Affordable Accoutrements, alongside two California bloggers, Julio's Beaux Monde Designs and Once in a Blue Moon. Thank you, Coty, for placing me in such excellent company!

A place is also set for Marty of A Stroll Thru Life, one of the very nicest people around. Marty invited me to participate in a cloche party. HERE's the post I did for it. Prior to that I thought a cloche was a hat! Thank you for the education, Marty, and for being so thoughtful and affirming in your comments to everyone in the tablescaping community.

What's that I see in the upper right corner of the photograph below? Could it be a tiara?

Or two ... and a robe befitting a royal personage?

View from the "throne" ...

The flowers practically arrange themselves in this vintage carnation vase (yes, from an estate sale). In case you're wondering, I'd keep the flowers much lower if this were an actual dinner party ... or very high in a tall, tall container. These would definitely interfere with one's view of the other dinner guests.

I polished some silverplated serving pieces in honor of the occasion. These can often be found for very reasonable prices at estate sales and thrift stores. I find polishing silver relaxing and enjoy the instant gratification. It seems that I'm in the minority ... what about you? Do you find it fun? Or an unpleasant chore?

More of the shiny things ....

We have to have candlelight, don't we?

Thank you, Coty, for traveling so far ...

I couldn't forget Sherry of Country Wings in Phoenix. She gave me my very first blogging award. I reluctantly decided to go "award free" due to having limited time for blogging, but that first one was such a thrill! Thank you, Sherry. Your "country hugs and love" mean so much!

We can retire to the sitting room after dinner ...

The placecard holders were an estate sale bargain, but they're not old. They're probably the type available online from wedding suppliers. I think they're set with real diamonds, don't you? After all, they cost me fifty cents apiece!

I do like the way Royal Doulton looks by candlelight. That Hyacinth knew a thing or two about selecting suitable "ingredients" for tablescaping (long before we had a word for it!).

At Queen Susan's right hand is her friend, Kathleen of
Cuisine Kathleen

I was one of the bloggers she included in her Halloween poem, "Witches' Flyby"
HERE. What fun! Thank you, Kathleen!

A last look at Queen Susan's place setting ...

And her tiara ... perhaps she'll pass it around the table, giving everyone a turn ...

And of more china and crystal waiting to be part of an upcoming Tablescape Thursday.

Don't forget to stop by Between Naps on the Porch for Tablescape Thursdays, Metamorphosis Mondays, and so much more!