Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Colors of the Sky -- for Your Table!

I was in a blue mood when I set today's table. Fortunately, these are the blues that make people happy! I've included shades of azure, cobalt, cerulean, and indigo.

A variation of this could be used for a simple mid-day meal -- soup and/or salad, along with a nice sandwich, quiche, or casserole. The glassware is simple, a footed glass for water and a tumbler for iced tea. Coffee, hot tea, or a refreshing punch could be served in the cobalt blue cups.

Do you ever change the artwork in your dining space to suit the colors of your table? This painting, by my friend Yvonne, came to mind when I thought of setting a blue table. It's one of the paintings I rescued from the rising water downstairs a few weeks ago when West Tennessee had torrential rains and extensive flooding. It was sitting on the floor in a room where I store art supplies and paintings that aren't currently being displayed.

I've mixed dark blue glass plates with lighter blue bowls. The "chargers" are large, sturdy plates from Crate & Barrel. Everything else on the table is vintage, from estate sales, antique shops, and thrift stores.

A closer view of a place setting. The darker blue plates have a slight iridescent look. The flatware is South Seas by Oneida (1955-1965).

I like the clean lines of this mid-century flatware.

Since blue and orange are complimentary colors (opposite each other on the color wheel), they make great companions. Brown, of course, is a greyed-down version of orange. I like the effect of using blue dinnerware, linens, and glassware and leaving the table mostly uncovered. So much visual energy would have been lost if I'd used a tablecloth today.

I have a weakness for glass swans, like the little blue one below. The Duncan & Miller company was known for producing beautiful glass swans in a variety of sizes and colors. They're usually used as candy dishes, but they could hold a variety of items in a guest room or bath. Don't use them as soap dishes though! The glass can become cloudy as the soap causes metal ions to leach from the glass, leaving a permanently etched, pitted, cloudy appearance.

A closer view:

Today's flower arrangements consist of mostly hydrangeas from the garden in a variety of colors mixed with Queen Anne's Lace (from the roadside).

I added a pair of roses to the top of each arrangement as an accent.

The free-form art glass vase, below left, is marked "Jozefina, hand made in Krosno, Poland" -- more on that later.

A closer view of the fluted edges. I've floated a white candle in it to light this evening.

There are three of the Jozefina pieces on today's table. All are slightly different in color, but work beautifully as a trio.

The lightest in color is the one below.

It's a beautiful, sunny afternoon.

I used thrifted milk glass urns to hold the flowers. I cut floral oasis to fit the containers. The flowers had been cut the day before, re-cut and conditioned in water overnight, and then cut once again (at a sharp angle) and inserted in the water-soaked oasis.

Everything seems to be blooming vigorously this year, even the weeds! I consider Queen Anne's Lace to be much more than a weed, however. Daucus carota is also known as wild carrot. Its other common names are bird's nest, bishop's nest, and ... Queen Anne's Lace. Akin to parsley, fennel, dill, cumin, and hemlock, it's native to Europe and Asia, and was introduced to the New World in early colonial times.

I layered semi-formal starched white napkins (with cutwork embroidery) over blue casual fringed ones. Wired white ribbons, tied in a simple knot, serve as napkin rings.

The indigo blue placemats were purchased at Goodwill. I like their tailored appearance. They appeared never to have been used, and the set of eight cost only $7.99.

I started to use only blue and white flowers, but decided that adding pink ones would help create a harmonious feeling (taking into consideration the colors of the rug and in the paintings).

Yvonne worked from a photograph she took of one of the famous Veilleuses-theieres, (pronounced vay-uhz tay-air), or Night Light teapots on display in Trenton, Tennessee.

From the Trenton Teapot Collection website:
The idea of the veilleuse was born in the 18th century when ceramists in Europe began producing a device of use in sickrooms and nurseries. The veilleuse started out as a simple, utilitarian warming dish set atop a pedestal containing a shallow dish of oil. When the oil was lighted, the contents of the dish were heated. Artists of the period were quick to notice the flame also shone through the translucent sides of the pedestal producing a soft night-light effect. As the idea caught the public favor, artisans began producing more decorative versions designed as containers for tea and other beverages.

Read more about the collection HERE. Be sure to scroll to the bottom of the page and view examples from the collection.

A place setting from above:

Late afternoon light floods the room ...

Queen Anne's Lace is so called because the flower resembles lace; the red flower in the center represents a blood droplet where Queen Anne pricked herself with a needle when she was making the lace. The function of the tiny flower, coloured by anthocyanin, is to attract insects.

I couldn't wait any longer to light the floating candles and observe their effect!

Even in daylight, they create a shimmer in the art glass vases.

If I had to pick a favorite of the three, it might be the one below.

Well, this one's beautiful too. I love the way the candles illuminate the shadow side of the flower arrangements, as the vases cast a pattern of light and shadow on the surface of the table.

Maybe this is the prettiest one. What do you think?

I can imagine the vases holding short-stemmed, single color flower arrangements. White, yellow, or peach colored flowers would look beautiful in them, wouldn't they?

An overall view:

Uplighting the flowers creates a dramatic effect, doesn't it?

Someday soon, I'll serve you tea on the the little white wrought iron set nestled among the towering hollies.

Almost time to serve dinner ...

Additional views of the table by candlelight:

Now it's time for a brief commercial announcement:

I've been considering setting up an Etsy shop (as so many others in Blogland have done). I've never attempted to sell anything via Affordable Accoutrements before. For me, blogging, particularly doing tablescapes, has been in the category of "art for art's sake."

Perhaps it's time to re-consider.

To test the waters, I've decided to offer readers of Affordable Accoutrements an opportunity to purchase the Jozefina art glass vases. They were purchased at an estate sale and, while I think they're very beautiful, I hadn't used them and they'd ended up for sale in a local antique mall, priced at $19.99 each. I'd like to sell them as a set of 3, for $50. I should be able to ship them to anywhere in the U.S. via Priority Mail for around $10. So, a total of $60 for the set.

If you're interested, send an e-mail and we can arrange payment by check, money order, or Paypal.

Update goes here -- the vases sold just a few minutes after I posted this. Thank you to the discriminating buyer! I'm thinking an Etsy shop might just be a good idea!

The cobalt blue dishes are now wrapped and ready to go to the antique mall. If you live within driving distance of Jackson, Tennessee, you might want to stop by and take a look. They're priced at only $37.99 for 44 pieces. There are 8 plates, salad plates, cups, and saucers. There are also 6 salad bowls, and 6 dessert bowls (not shown on today's table) included in the price. If you're interested in those, send an e-mail and I'll give you directions to the mall and the location of the case where they'll be displayed.

It seems that I just can't keep EVERYTHING (although I much prefer acquiring to deassessioning!). If you have an Etsy shop, I'd love to hear about it. If you have a dish addiction, I always love hearing from kindred spirits!

Please visit Susan of Between Naps on the Porch for Tablescape Thursday. It's always fun and inspiring!


  1. Dear Bill, thanks for giving us a detailed peek at your gorgeous tablescape. I just love all those shades of blues. The hydrangeas are so delicate-looking :o) I wish you all the very best in your new venture; you do have some terrific find.

    Have a great day, my blogging friend :o)

  2. As a person who has a serious addiction to cobalt blue, I am really loving your gorgeous tablescape! I wish I was close to Jackson, because I would love to purchase the cobalt blue dishes.

    Good luck with your new Etsy adventure!

    ~ Tracy

  3. Another work of art! Cobalt is my favorite shade of blue. I love hydrangeas and your arrangements are beautiful. I wish you much success.
    hope you are having a great week.

  4. How DO you do it, Sir William????
    Week after week, you continue to know my socks off, widen my horizons, educated & enthrall me.
    The art glass with the candles lit make such an ethereal vision. Beautifully photographed & I loved learning about them. (DH being of Polish descent). I'd love to snatch them up if someone hasn't already done so.

  5. Hi Bill

    I don't have much glass but I do have some lovely cobalt blue desert bowls which would look lovely on your table, but they are staying on mine!!

    Have a cup of tea in a glass cup.........tea HAS to be served in a bone china cup or mug!!

    The table and the flowers are all wonderful, and the "going down of the sun" photographs are tremendous.

    I have bought small lightweight items from Etsy, postage would be too high to the UK for anything heavy, it seems a great idea. I have been buying a few things off Ebay UK today, eg some silver sugar tongs. Maybe if you ever have any napkins or similar to sell I might be one of your buyers, good luck with setting it up.

    Great post, great guy, thanks again, Jackie in UK

  6. I have picked up on a repeating style that you do ... the simple napkin ring created out of wired ribbon ... sometimes plain and sometimes with an adornment of some kind. It stays true to your blog name Affordable Accoutrements. The possibilities are limitless. I like that.

    Your table, bathed in sunlight, is the best.

  7. Hi Bill, This is one of your most beautiful tables yet! I just adore it. I love blue, and this is stunning. Your flowers are gorgeous! Hydrangeas are a great flower. At one time I had transplanted some Queen Ann's lace into my garden. While it is very lacy, and beautiful, it does tend to be invasive. Good luck on your new venture! I think you'll do wonderfully!

  8. Just breathtaking as always. Your eye for detail inspires me to look for things I never thought of! Love everything especially the beautiful floral arrangements. Thanks so much for trying to id the lilac plates for me. Even at replacements, they are not sure what they are. But I love them!

  9. Bill, this is one of my all time favorites you've done. And that's saying a LOT! We're considering a move and I may just have to add TN to the possibilities if it means getting closer to where you sell. An Etsy shop would be WONDERFUL!
    xoxo Pattie

  10. Oh, Bill, AGAIN, EVERYTHING is just out-of-this-world gorgeous! And your flower arrangements? Outstanding, as usual. I love the way you made the row down the center of the table with the Jozefina vase, flowers, Jozefina vase, flowers, etc. I loved this because my mother would have gone crazy seeing this, her favorite color was blue. Wish my finances were better, in order for me to purchase the Jozefina! And I think it is a fabulous idea for you to open an Etsy shop! You can include your tablescape pictures in the little pics on the right hand side of the big pic of whatever you are selling. Well, I wish you luck in the Etsy shop - you deserve good luck and good Karma!
    Best regards,

  11. Hi Dear Bill!
    Your table is so pretty with all your blue and pastel flowers! Again, your dishes and glass ware is so lovely! I have some pieces like the little glass bowls you have in the middle of your plates! The swans bowls are just glorious!
    You always set the most beautiful table!
    Be a sweetie,
    Shelia ;)

  12. Bill, you've outdone yourself AGAIN! I love all the photographs, particularly the close ups of the flowers and the art glass, but that one shot you took of Yvonne's painting and the chest underneath it with the silver candelabra, the vase of flowers, and the pitcher of water with the painting in shadow is a still life unto itself. Thank you for always going to such trouble to do these beautiful tablescapes for all of us to enjoy. You bring a lot of pleasure to a lot of people, me being one of many!



  13. Bill, your table is beautiful. I love blue and this one is stunning. I have recently opened an ETSY shop and while I finally had one sale I can't say I am selling much. It takes time and some advertisement I've been told. Your table settings alone would attract sales I would think. Good Luck!

  14. You always creating so beautiful tablescape. The cobalt blue makes this table so special!


  15. If I lived close by I WOULD definitly buy those gorgeous dishes!!!! Such a wonderful price too! Darn:) I am a true dishaholic (thanks to Susan of BNOTP:):):). I want more and more but am truly running out of room....sad. Your table is magnificent, as always. It is always such a pleasure to see what you do. It IS truly art. XO, Pinky

  16. Hi Bill,
    What an awesome table. How exciting that you are going to open an etsy shop. Can't wait to hear more about it.

  17. Bill, I am really speachless. What a great effect make those blue shades on your table. The single pink flowers are just enough to make the whole scenerie warm and cozy. Cobalt glass is one of my favours because its very deep blue reflexes. Reminds me to the blue windows of the Cathedral of Chartres. This Oneida flatware is gorgeous, too. I wish you luck for your etsy shop. I would love to buy sometimes some (not to heavy) things.
    Greetings, Johanna

  18. Oh my Bill. you've taken sky blue and all blues to a new level of elegance.. I keep repeating myself when I post here but how can I not say- STUNNING..
    I just did a post yesterday of BLUES from my inspiration folder.. Maybe BLUE is in the air all over blogland..
    I sure enjoyed my visit here and seeing all your pretties.. you never fail to make Beauty..

    Happy thoughts

  19. Your tables are an art and this is really pretty and I love how it ties in with the painting. I always enjoy your tablescapes!

  20. Gorgeous, just gorgeous, Bill!

  21. Interesting post and love those blues that certainly do not make you feel blue but so happy!

  22. I've been out of the loop lately due to some family health issues, but I'm glad I dropped by today because I see that you have the South Seas silverplate set. I have just one little South Seas demitasse spoon from my childhood. Mother used it as a little spoon for the sugar bowl.

    Your centerpiece flowers are always so beautiful! Thanks for taking the time to brighten my day.

    Talk to you soon ;)
    Bunny Jean

  23. My eyes were really feasting on this post, Bill. I love blue and you have put all the shades together. The table is really very pretty with all those beautiful dishes and glasses.....Christine

  24. I don't know if I love it best with the sunlight or when the sun is going down and all the candles are lit! The blue colors are so vivid and all the different shades make the dishes really stand out from one another. A stunning feast for the eyes!

  25. I usually say "I'm not a blue person" because I love greens but I am changing my mind. All the shades of blue are stunning. Your tablescape, as always, inspires me to have a good eye at the thrift stores. All of us that love to do tablescapes have the same problem of collecting way too many treasures so I encourage you to open an Etsy shop. What is there to lose? And those of us that love dishes will be glad to take them off your hands...lol. Beautiful post.

  26. It is always pure joy to see what you are going to show us. This is one of those tables that made me catch my breath. All the beautiful blue shades and the flowers...perfection. As much as I love dishes...I really love flowers even more. A few years helping a friend who was a florist on holidays and I was hooked. As for changing the artwork to match the table...nope. I have no walls in my dining room (all one space with the kitchen and great/living room) and no extra paintings hanging around in my basement anyway:)

  27. I'm so very glad you were able to save your friends artwork from the rising flood waters. It would have been a shame and true waste to lose it. I so wish I could buy both the dishes and the Fenton but can't do so at this time. I collect Fenton and cobalt blue of the dishes is one of my favorite colors. I'm sure it will go to a very good home all the same.

  28. Please forgive my ignorance, I was thinking the Josefina was Fenton glass. It beautiful in spite of my not knowing what I'm talking about.

  29. Such a diversion from your usual table settings. I love the flowers. Queen Ann's lace is considered a week in the Shenandoah Valley, but it makes a wonderful filler. Are your hydrangeas naturally blue or do you have to doctor them?

  30. What a gorgeous tablescape, just stunning from start to finish.I adore hydrangeas and the soft blues in your arrangement especially.
    Good luck with the Etsy shop, I just wish I lived in Tennesee.
    a bientot from Normandy

  31. Wonderful eye candy in your post! LOVE your photography skills, too. And I was glad to learn about the glass swans, as I recently received one when my father-in-law downsized into a retirement apartment. I didn't know what to do with it, but it was too pretty to sell or donate! Mine is clear glass, though.

  32. There can never be enough blue for me. The close up flower shots -- spectacular. And I loved seeing the reflection of the pink hydrangeas in the knives!

  33. Fantastic blues! I agree about the Queen Anne's Lace. Always should be thought of as a flower, not a weed. Thank you for sharing this wonderful table.

  34. I love hydrangeas..therefore I love your table...So pretty, all the blues...just delightful!

  35. Dearest Bill,
    This tablesetting makes my heart sing, it is heavenly!!!

    I'm coming for lunch and dinner. Look at this amazing setting, what is it about blue that is so warming? I love it!!

    It is freezing here today in Australia, I think it may even snow. The ski season opens this weekend and all the cars are arriving in our town for a stop over with the skis on the roof as they head south to the mountains. I'm sure it's much warmer in your town Bill?

    Sending you (my dear friend) lots of hugs,
    Have a wonderful week,
    and good luck with your new shop,
    xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx Coty

  36. Such pretty blues. Your flowers are just perfect too. Everything glows so winderfully when you light the candles -- and what pretty blue hour photography so perfect for your blue tablescape.

  37. Bill, Of course I love this table since it is set in my favorite color. The vases and floral arrangements are gorgeous.
    xo, Sherry

  38. Bill, the blues of this table sent me sailing across cool blue waters. What a stunning table! The white cutwork over the blue picks up the texture of the Queen Ann's Lace. Beautiful combination! Love the drama that the candles provide as you go into evening. It's always fun to see your tables taken from sunshine into evening candlelight. ~ Sarah

  39. Oh...my...goodness....Bill!!! This is so beautiful! LOVE all the blues, and your floral arrangements are gorgeous!!!

  40. Everything is just so lovely! Love everything on this table.

  41. Bill, this table is awesome. So beautiful! Those flowers are gorgeous too! Wish I had some place to store those blue dishes. I love them!

  42. Oh Bill, the blue so becomes you!


    I'm hosting a new meme and would love to have you come and participate. It's called "Summer Sundays" and it's all about what summer means to YOU. Perhaps some beautiful flowers? Hope you'll come and join us.

    - The Tablescaper

  43. The blues are so beautiful all puleld together like that. I love the combination. The flowers are gorgeous.

  44. Hello Fred, What a stunning table! Your collection of blue glassware is gorgeous! I love how the light is playing in all the glass. Of course... I adore your mixed flower bouquet:-)

  45. Dear Bill, This table is beautiful. I love blue! If your ever decide to sell that delightful little swan you be sure to send me an email before you list it in your etsy shop!! I have learned so much from you. Good luck with the shop if you decide to do it!

  46. What a serene elegant setting! Especially under candlelight! Appreciate the tip not to use soap. Will file it away in my memory!
    Love the blues,

  47. Hello Bill~ ~Another beautiful table although I'm not such a fan of blue I must say this would turn me around!
    ~ ~Ahrisha~ ~

  48. Lovely as always. I was wondering how you keep all your dishes and other items for your tables. Enjoy your day!

  49. Wow, that was just gorgeous, all the shades of blue with the light coming through and the pops of pink. You must have a gorgeous garden. I just did my first tablescape today and didn't even know this world existed two months ago. How fun.

  50. Have I passed on and landed in Blue Heaven??? I so want to stay! Awesome blues and even a cast of the blue hour.

  51. Once again you've thought of every detail. I appreciate all the "FYI" tidbits in your posts. If blogging is a learning experience then it's even better, right?
    My favorite today was the Oneida South Seas flatware. Onieda has left quite a legacy in the retail world but I do purchasing for a restaurant supply store and have to deal with the foodservice side. Too bad they are not the company they used to be.

  52. Absolutely stunning. I was blown away. Your collection is divine..

  53. Hi Bill, Your tablescape is so beautiful, I had to go back and look at all of your gorgeous pictures again and again. Good luck with your Etsy shop, I'm sure you will do very well.

  54. I think I also prefer this table in sunlight! This is just beautiful! Love your flowers and love those pretty scalloped bowls!

  55. Dear Bill,
    I enjoyed every picture of this post. I must confess, I'm not a blue person, but this table is a feast for the eyes. I like how you introduced the pink hydrangeas in the color scheme. Everything is just perfection. I also love how you take the reader all the way into the evening with the candles lit. I just love that! I try to do it too sometime just because I love how romantic it all looks in the photo. Hope you have a fabulous weekend my friend!

  56. PS: You definitely should set up an Etsy shop. You would do well selling your vintage finds. I set up an Etsy, but didn't really "work" it, so it sits with nothing for sale! Eventually I will get motivated. Good Luck!

  57. Oh, Georgeous tablescape Bill. I do love blue and all these blues together at night with candlelight...quite romantic! Thanks for sharing again.

  58. Bill, a delightful tablescape as always, your artful combination of blues is inspiring and particularly that you promote finding treasures from thrift shops. Who knew recyling could be so pretty.

  59. Amazing blue table! So artfully photographed too! Just beautiful Bill! I especially loved the butterscotch in the cobalt bowl. It just really caught my eye!

    Have a great week end

  60. Amazing table -I loved the candlelight reflecting up toward the flowers. The added touch of the pick roses was just the icing on the cake--I can not wait to see your etsy shop -

  61. Another wonderful table, Bill; I'm so glad to have found your blog. The reflections of the flowers in the knife blades are lovely little surprises that I didn't notice until the second time I looked at the pictures! And, I love that Oneida pattern! Best to you,

    Sherry in Little Rock

  62. Beautiful Post! Love the day to evening photos, great idea.

  63. What a beautiful tablescape. It makes me want to get up right now, drag out all my dishes and play. I love the play of light on polished wood. I'm glad you photographed it.

  64. Amazing tablescape with all those shades of blue. I would love to have some glass but I don't, except for a few accessories, here and there, of course I have the clear crystal more. Maybe I should buy something to put them with some of my china. Your awesome Bill, you surprise me everytime!