Monday, February 13, 2012

A Valentine's Table: Roses, Romance & Peacocks!

When it's time to set a table for a Valentine's Day dinner party, certain obvious symbols come to mind: hearts, flowers, candy, cards ...

Since this is a table for eight, rather than an intimate setting for two, I took a slightly different approach. There had to be flowers, of course -- preferably roses, the quintessential choice for Valentine's Day.

There are flowers on the vintage Theodore Haviland china, a recent local estate sale find (reduced on the final day of the sale to only $50 for eight place settings, including cups and saucers, creamer & sugar, platter, and vegetable bowl). The gold-colored glass chargers (a Goodwill purchase) visually separate the china from the cotton lace placemats and add "weight" to offset the tall centerpiece.

The stemware is one of my favorite patterns, "Marquis" by Towle. These are actually water glasses, but they work well for wine. Since they're larger, they don't have to be refilled as often during dinner.

So far, I've mentioned flowers and lace. Peacock feathers could be seen as another romantic symbol, at least for peafowl! The males display their colorful, iridescent "trains," during courtship rituals, lifting and fanning them out in an attempt to attract a harem. I found these in the floral department of a local Kroger supermarket (only $8.99 per dozen, and I can re-use them for future projects).

Rather than covering the table with a cloth, I decided it might be more interesting to drape a soft, cotton lace tablecloth down the center of the table as a runner. I ended up using three vintage Quaker Lace cloths, letting them "flow" down the center of the table, spilling off the ends of opposite diagonal corners.

The flowers are in a clear, crisp-edged, lucite container (actually a wine cooler, but it does double duty as a vase). The peacock plumes are in vintage Fostoria "American" footed vases. The pattern was intoduced in 1915, but I think of it as a modern design, with its sparkling, cubist motif.

I thought of using elegant silver candelebra, but went with two very different pairs of thrifted candleholders instead. Mixing patterns, styles, and colors in unexpected ways can be challenging, but the results (I think) can be vastly more interesting.

It's mid-afternoon, and the sun is beginning to flow into the room ...

Causing the Fostoria vases to take on a diamond-like effect ....

Two days before Valentine's, I certainly didn't expect to find fresh, long-stemmed roses at a bargain price. However ... these were at Dollar Tree. So, yes, only $1 per stem!

I love the dramatic shadows late afternoon sunlight creates, don't you?

Estate sales provided the napkins and napkin rings. I found 4 each of the napkin rings (new in their boxes) at two separate sales.

I use these tealight holders frequently. They're lead crystal, but quite inexpensive and easy to find at thrift stores.

Below, the sun "projects" the color of the faux wine. The candles are made by Patrician, and the color is "quince."

I added a few feathers to the bouquet of roses to visually connect the flowers to the vases of plumes on either side. I used curly sticks in all three containers. I'm sure they have a name, but I'm not sure what it is.

A few more afternoon shots -- different heights and various views:

I've never seen roses and feathers combined before, but I think I like the look. Why not challenge ourselves and do the unexpected, right?

Time to, yes, light the candles!

And have a fire to make things nice and cozy ...

I wasn't trying, but a couple of the shots were borderline "blue hour" images.

I hope you've enjoyed your visit.

And I hope that you and your loved ones have a very happy Valentine's Day!

Until next time.

Please join Susan of
Between Naps on the Porch this week and every week for Tablescape Thursdays!

I also accepted the kind invitation of Beverly of How Sweet the Sound to participate in Pink Saturday this week. Thank you, Beverly!