Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Playing King & Queen of the Castle!

Today's post is dedicated to Anita of Far Above Rubies. The multi-talented Anita sets beautiful tables! I particularly enjoy it when she uses her Franciscan "Ivy" dishes, the pattern used on "I Love Lucy" throughout the entire run of the ever-popular 1950s show. I thought of Anita, because I'm using ivy patterned dishes today (not the same ones though). Anita often refers to living next door to her mother, who shares Anita's interest in setting lovely tables. In fact, Anita's mom often lends beautiful items from her china, silver, and glassware collections to Anita for tablescape posts.

I wrote a little story for today's post. It's about a mother and daughter. The daughter's name is Anita, and I'm certain the resemblance stops there. I have no doubt that Anita of Far Above Rubies is far sweeter to her mom than the inquisitive young lady you're about to meet.

Read on. I hope you enjoy:

"King and Queen"

Just as Emily was putting the finishing touches on her table, she heard a little tap-tap at the mudroom door. Anita entered, as usual, without waiting to be invited. “What’s all this, Mom?” she asked, as her eyes focused on the table in the sunroom.

“Well, what does it look like? I’m just setting a simple table for two for your daddy and me.” “Simple?” Anita exclaimed. “And where’d you get these dishes? Have you been shopping again?”

“No, I haven’t been shopping – this time. I was cleaning out the guest room closet and found them in a box on the top shelf.

They were my mama’s. Pope Gosser ‘American Ivy.’ She got them when she married in the late 40s. She loved them -- used them every single day for years.

Quite a few of the serving pieces are still in good shape, but most of the dinner plates were chipped or broken, or the gold was rubbed off from all those years of hand-washing and drying. “

“Why’d you drag out all that old silver? Nobody uses silver anymore – too much trouble to polish it!”

“Well I still like silver and, as you can see, I didn’t polish it. A little tarnish here and there gives it character,” Emily laughed.

“Why are you sitting so far apart? Did you and Dad have a fight or something?”

“No, Miss Smarty Pants, we did not have a fight!

Once in a while, we used to sit at opposite ends of this long table. It was before you were born. We thought it was fun to imagine we’d be rich someday and have a maid serving us dinner.”

“And why are you using that ratty old lace thing?”

“It is not ‘ratty!’ It’s just old. It was Mama’s mama’s only lace tablecloth. I love it because of the holes and the stains. It’s earned every single one of them. Besides, it’s perfect for something like this – no need to worry about messing it up. I cut ivy and Vinca minor to decorate on the table. And the crepe myrtle in the centerpiece is shedding already. “

“OK, that makes sense. I hate to sound negative, but should I be worried? There are two decanters of rosé and two bottles of white on the table! Unless that’s pink Kool-Aid, I have to ask -- are you and Dad alcoholics now or something?”

“No, silly, I’m going to chill the white for later. That sweet young couple next door is coming over. I just wanted an excuse to use the silver champagne buckets. Your daddy’s going to feed their dog while they’re on vacation, and they’re coming over to bring the key and the instructions.

Before you ask, there are two coffee carafes, because there’s regular after-dinner coffee for me and decaf for your daddy. His doctor told him to cut back on caffeine.”

“What are you serving?”

“It’s a one-dish meal. I’m making Mama’s famous chicken casserole, and I’ll keep it warm in the chafing dish. We’ll have a salad first, and I’ve made Cousin Clevie’s lemon icebox pie for dessert.”

Cousin Clevie?”

“Yes, Mama’s cousin, Clevie Delilah from Louisville, sent all of us the recipe years ago. She always wrote little notes on the recipe cards. This one said, ‘This is the pie I ate a whole one by myself. Nearly laid myself out, too!’ You know it has to be good, with a recommendation like that!”

“How can you and Dad see each other over those flowers and candles?” You even put the flowers up on a little pedestal!”

“Honey,” Emily said smiling, “after 35 years together, your daddy and I both know what the other looks like. It’s been established! It’ll be nice. I’ll put on some soft, relaxing instrumental music.”

“How will you hear each other, sitting so far away?” “Anita, you’ll understand someday. It’s called ‘companionable silence.’ When you’ve been married to someone for 35 years, you’ve used up all your best material. It’s a pleasure to just relax and enjoy the quiet companionship. I know it’s a foreign concept to you at this point in your life.”

“Hey, I’m quiet sometimes. I often suffer in silence!” Emily gave her one of those “I’m your mother; don’t try to kid me” looks, and they both burst into mirthful laughter.

“Well, it’s pretty. I do like those dishes. Wait, two gravy boats? Are you putting gravy on the casserole?”

“No, honey, it’s for the salad dressing. It’s the same principle as putting inexpensive wine in pretty decanters to make it look more festive. I’ll put bottled balsamic vinaigrette for the salads in the gravy boats, and your daddy will think it’s homemade!”

“I know it’ll look nice when you light the candles. I sort of wish I didn’t already have dinner plans.”

“You run along. This is a table for two, remember? I’ll have you and Clint over for dinner one night next week. We’ll use Aunt Sally’s dishes. They were in the closet too! This is her wedding crystal, Fostoria ‘Laurel.’ It’ll be yours someday.”

“Bye, Mom. Love you!” And, with a quick hug and a kiss on her mother’s cheek, she was out the door …

Emily returned to the task at hand. It was almost time to put the casserole in the oven.

She began singing softly to herself, thinking of Adam and what he'll say when he sees the seating arrangement. He'll know I'm playing "King and Queen of the Castle."

It'll be like when we were newlyweds.

She felt tears of happiness welling up as she whispered, "Only better."

Please join Susan of Between Naps on the Porch for Tablescape Thursday. It's her 100th consecutive Tablescape Thursday! Happy anniversary, Susan! Thank you for the inspiration, the endless array of "eye candy," the creativity, and the camaraderie your delightful meme always provides!

My table this week began with a suggestion from Susan. I told her my new/old set of ivy dishes was missing a few dinner plates. I was thinking in terms of mixing & matching. She asked, "Why don't you just set a table for two?" And so I did!

Thank you, Susan, and thank you to everyone who visits and takes a moment to leave a comment. I appreciate you more than I can say!

Warmest regards,


  1. Oh Bill. We just returned from 3 weeks of job and house hunting and I'm greeted with one of your posts- the very best kind of welcome home. Just beautiful. I love how you (like me) don't mind using something old and worn- the very best kinds of pieces. More beautiful for the love they've known
    xoxo Pattie

  2. I just love how you created this story for your setting! That was so imaginative and entertaining! I was even picturing these two ladies in my mind hovering around the table the whole time. Great job! I know Anita will be thrilled you dedicated this to her, she is such a sweet and talented woman too! I love your Ivy dishs as well! I may have to pull out my old ratty lace table clothes now! LOL! Very pretty table!

  3. Hi Bill
    A wonderful post, I love the humour you have added about the flower height, the distance from each other at the table and the sauce jugs!! Phil and I have a round dining room table so we don't have that problem!! Although it does extend to an large oval when we have guests and I am always aware of candle and flower heights then. Although saying that I keep the table fairly simple.

    The ivy china is great and I love the way you have added the fresh greenery.

    Hope you have had your tooth sorted and all is ok.

    My daughter's holiday is nearly over in USA, she has had a great time.

    I am going to have another look at your post to make sure I haven't missed anything out.
    Best wishes, Jackie in UK.

  4. Stunning photography and a story, now you really are spoiling us, Bill.
    Mr B & I are coming up to 31 years wed this October, and we still have so much to talk to each other about, despite being together 24/7!
    Have we only 4 years left until all the best stuff is gone??
    I really hope not.
    a bientot,

  5. Bill, what a cute story to go along with that gorgeous table. The ivied china looks so nice with all the silver. You have the most wonderful collection of silver! I love how you have the ivy and vinca meandering throughout the table. As always your flowers are just beautiful.

  6. utterly delightful! The table is exquisite as always and the story was fascinating! I have been married 35 years.. omg i just said that out loud! However 36 is looming on the near horizon. Thanks for the lovely memories!

  7. Hi Bill,
    what a lovely entertainment is it always, to visit your blog. Yes, Anita sets very nice tables. Your little story is so charming and explains at the same time all that whys and hows. The table is gorgeous as usual. I love this American Ivy pattern but was wondering if it is truly Ivy. At the first moment I thought, could be also leaves of Vitis (grapevine). But then I discovered the Ivy leaves on the table and truly, your American Ivy looks a bit different than European Ivy. Do you know that the German flatware manufacturer WMF produced 1903-1914 a flatware with Ivy pattern? It had the pattern No. 29.
    It is so nice to think about, what Adam said, when he discovered this nice table. I am sure it was precisely that day, as he bought a huge bunch of roses for his wife.
    Greetings, Johanna

  8. What fun!
    And once again -- shedding crepe myrtle! We need to get you some hydrangeas, my man.

    Actually the bit of shed looks quite artistic; what is it they say? that there must be some imperfection for it to be truly beautiful? Well, that's yours for this table, b/c everything else is just perfect.

    (BTW that companionable silence? We've been married almost 32 years, and Howard still hasn't gotten that memo.)

  9. This story and the table had me smiling the whole way through. I love those dishes and the memories older things evoke. King and Queen of the Castle! Just a winner all the way around! I'm getting out some fun china this week and doing a special table myself!!

  10. I am so glad to finally see crepe myrtle! My aunt in Dallas had some and would let me have the seed pods for dried arrangements/crafting, but I was never there when it was in bloom. That is a memory from 40 years ago when I was in high school!

    The story is delightful! During a class this summer the instructor shared some clips from "I Love Lucy", but none were scenes with those beautiful dishes.

    Thanks for sharing! ♥♫

  11. Another beautiful table (as always) and a great story, too!

    Your tables are just the best!

  12. Bill,

    Once again you have outdone yourself. Such a beautiful setting and sweet story.


  13. Great job, Bill. I am in the midst of planning a sunroom and thought I had made a decision on the floor tile, until I saw yours. It just gives it a warm feeling. Now, I have to rethink my present choice!

  14. Layer upon layer of delicate old lace paired with American Ivy & oodles of decadent silver pieces...I'm in HEAVEN!!!

    Then you top it off with "lemon icebox pie for dessert”...I am on my way!

    Your story was enchanting, Bill but the tablescape is even more so. BRAVO!! ♫ ♫ ~Encore-Encore~ ♫ ♫

  15. Oh Bill I am just honored that you would even mention me!! You certainly set the standard that I *attempt* to achieve. And yet again, you surprise and take me on journey that always leaves me wanting to know what happens next! I love the beautiful china, and of course anything Fostoria gets my heart pumping. It is just gorgeous, everything, and presented in the most engaging way. Only you! I will admit also, that I frequently use a gravy boat or creamer for salad dressing:-) Take care, Anita

  16. Bill, you are full of delightful ideas. I was totally enchanted with this table. I love the idea of dining at a long table in front of that wall of windows. Add the beautiful china, silver, and glassware and it's total perfection. Lemon pie ~ even better! Enjoyed the story along the way. You are really clever. Now I'm off to see what Anita might have for this week. ~ sarah
    My husband and I celebrate 35 years of marriage this summer. Quiet companship is something we do well. :-)

  17. Such a beautiful table. I actually have been married 35 years and I'm sitting here laughing, trying to imagine what my husband would say if he came in and saw a table setting like yours...that we would actually use! Considering he is the one who cleans up the kitchen (I cook), he might be a bit overwhelmed with the after dinner tasks! This was fun.

  18. Very nice. I like the shots from the darkened room into the dining area. And she is right--it gets better with time!

  19. What a beautiful table! I love the china. I think I have the same cloth that was my mom's Quaker Lace?
    So nice of you to do such a special table for Susan's 100th TThursday!

  20. Another beautiful tablescape, Bill. I enjoyed the story too, very appropriate :o)

    All the very best to you.

  21. Wonderful story, beautiful table ~ thank you!

  22. Words escape me. Every table you do is a shining example of what we all could achieve - if only we had your eye for beauty and your talent for putting things together.

    I could barely wait to get finished with work (oh, to be retired!!) so I could come and visit your beautiful home.

    Thank you.


  23. Hi Bill,

    Wonderful photos and story.
    This table for two is fabulous and made me smile. It is a treat to come to see what you have created ~ you are so talented.


  24. Beautiful as always. I'm fond of ivy patterns.

    Nice way to use your Fostoria Laurel stemware too.

  25. The narrative drew me into the vignette from the first moment. Extremely well conceived! I smiled at the sight of the silver and crystal coffee servers. I received two as wedding gifts many years ago...and the martini pitcher. We don't drink coffee or martinis, and I find that I often use the bases as pedestals for assorted centerpieces. They work very well. Your design was intricately layered along with the story...it was seamless, actually. Thank you for a beautiful presentation filled with glorious appointments for your table. Cherry Kay

  26. Beautiful table and photos Bill! I love that "Ivy" china set so much!

  27. What a stunning table Bill and the storyline is so charming! How neat for you to dedicate this to a fellow blogger, wonderful job!

  28. That was absolutely delightful. The table is so beautiful and romantic, and the STORY! I am so glad to have stumbled across your blog!

  29. Bill,
    Love following the story of mother and daughter! As always you have all my favorite things. Vintage silver and I love ivy anywhere...my husband says it's taking over but that's OK. What did catch my attention are the watercolors on the walls! Are they by chance by the same artist? How wonderful!
    Thank you for this!

  30. Thanks Bill, you always take us into a fantasy world. The pictures are beautiful!

  31. Oh Bill, you are not only an excellent tablescaper but are a great story teller too It's beautiful and elegant and I will definitely feel like a queen eating there....Christine

  32. Bill, this is just exquisite. I love all of your wonderful silver and crystal. You always do the most fabulous tablesettings and your story was delightful. Your photos are stunning too. Always so perfect. Hugs, Marty

  33. Oh how fun! And as beautiful as everything is, when you light the candles it's magical-enjoy!

  34. I love it, Bill! What a beautiful tablescape, and I loved the conversation. I wish Mr. Magpie and I could have enjoyed our dinner out in companionable silence, but a loudmouth (buzz saw) sitting next to us was yacking at the top of her lungs. By the time dinner was over, I could have told you all about her partnership in business and what the man across the table paid into the partnership for his office, too. I mean, really! LOL!

    Back to your table. It's perfect. Love the flowers, silver, crystal, and china. And I like to use gravy boats for dressing, too.

    Loved this, Bill!

    Happy Tablescape Thursday...


    Sheila :-)

  35. Bill...

    You are amazing...this table is amazing!!! I love your stories. Will we be seeing more of Mrs. Rivard, as well???

    Love the silver and the dishes are beautiful. What a romantic table for the King and Queen!


  36. It is so much fun to visit your blog and read your stories. What a great mind you have. I think it would so fun to be a guest at one of your dinners and listen to you tell one of your stories around the table. You're so talented. The table is, as they always are from you, a vision of perfection.

    Thank you Bill,


  37. Bill, you are the most delightful man! This was a lovely story. The table is gorgeous. As usual, each detail is so lovingly placed with purpose and beauty. I bet it is really something to watch you put this altogether. As one who has been married to the love of my life for 35 years, this makes me smile beyond measure. Thank you. I always look forward to your posts.

  38. So fun to read the story you created as I scrolled my way down savouring your pictures, each one more gorgeous than the last! The story was terrific!

    Happy 100th week of TT to you!


  39. Bill, I hang on every word of your posts! But tonight I keep wiping the tears away so I could read this touching post. So beautifully written and sentimental.
    I love the phrase "companionable silence". So true! I know how it feels to just love the presence of someone next to you that it is like good conversation, but no words need to be spoken.
    Your table is exquisite, fit for a king... and queen! And every part of your table is a fairy tale, but it pales in comparison to the depth and beauty of your story!
    A true gift to us tonight. I was deeply touched. You are quite the gentleman!

  40. Your table is exquisite. The vintage china and the silver are a beautiful combination. I loved reading your post as well. Great pictures and wonderful words!

  41. Well, Buddy, you did it again! You turned me green with envy. Sure wish I could set a table like yours. Oh well, I hear it is fashionable to be green these days! Another exqusite tablescape.

  42. I had to come back for a second dose. I've toyed with collecting Wedgwood's Napoleon Ivy for quite a while. I think that the tables have now been tilted, and I can no longer resist. Thanks again for sharing your elegant design. Cherry Kay

  43. It's always entertaining to visit your blog! I really adore this table; I love all the silver serving pieces and how the table just glows...even before the candles are lit!

  44. Love your story and elegant table. I think you should write a book.

  45. Hi Bill, What a cute story, thank you so much for sharing it with us, I truly enjoyed every bit of it! Your table surely looks fit for a Queen and her King! I hope you have a wonderful evening!

  46. I love the ivy china! Everything is fantastic, as usual! I like the story as well. At first I wanted to pop that Anita for being disrespectful, but she redeemed herself at the end! ;-)

    I have a re-run due to being on antibiotics and feeling lousy, if you have seen it before, scroll down and see the cloche designs, I think you missed them last week!

    Enjoyed your designs, and the story!


  47. HI Bill, I have been scrolling over your table several times, as usual! You can put so much detail in without making it look fussy. I love the lace tablecloth and the silverware! I have been married for 30 years, and when we were newlyweds we had a teeny tiny table-nothing like this! Its beautiful! Linda

  48. Love it Bill...and I love the story!! I used my mother's tablecloth in my tablescape today too!!

  49. Bill,
    I had to re examine your table after I read the story. I thought, Oh there is no way that is a table for two. And, it was. It sorta of reminds me of a fairytale. Maybe Beauty and the Beast at the castle. Just beautiful!

  50. This was really fun. I love the romance and elegance you put together, especially with the story and one at each end of the table. Everything was just perfect. I love the decor in the middle of the table, might as well have something to look at as you can't do much talking!

  51. Love the beautiful tablescape, it seems to me they gave been just coming alive lately with all them wonderful colors and styles, love all the mixture of things on the table, so elegant and inviting...I also love the little stories, so entertaining,great job Bill.....

  52. I could actually hear the conversation Bill! Great story, gorgeous table, wonderful photos and oh my, that candlelight!

  53. Oh sweet Bill...you never cease to amaze me. This is the BEST post yet! Of course I think that everytime I come over here.
    You are sooooo talented!

  54. Truely a table fit for a King and Queen! I love your posts, Bill. Thank you so much for sharing.....

  55. you have so many gorgeous pieces... i adore your lighting, makes the table ethereal. i am amazed you know the dishes from the lucy show, i think being b&w i missed those details, i am such a color girl~ beautiful table, england has nothing over you!

  56. What a fun story. The photos are beautiful. Thanks for sharing today. A true delight!

  57. A beautiful tribute to Susan and her 100th TT. As always your table is beautiful, with the added element of a love story. I always love my visits here.

  58. Bill, I got such a kick out of your clever post! I know Anita is thrilled and honored to be cast in your wonderful story, and her mother probably is, too! The table itself is exquisite, as always. What pretty china! Your silver and crystal always add delight. I'll be smiling about this post for a while!

  59. What an amazing and beautiful story to go along with your gorgeous and exquisite tablescape! It is without a doubt a table fit for a King and Queen!

    Happy I found my way to your blog, aren't Susan's parties awesome?


  60. Oh my, absolutely stunning. I always enjoy your stories which are the perfect companion to your beautiful tablescapes.

    I just bought three gravy boats on clearance about a month ago and I plan to use them for salad dressing, too. I hardly make gravy. I was just thrilled to see you use your gravy boat for salad dressing, too.

  61. Many of life's stages call for a "table for two." What a nice story. Beautiful photography. ...And your "light" post before -- oh, my! Thank you for sharing those fabulous pics!

  62. Hi Bill, you create a fabulous story, and the table goes perfect with it!


  63. Bill, I love the way you put all of the tablescape details into your very entertaining story. Your table looks gorgeous, and your story made it such a fun visit. laurie

  64. This is beyond beautiful! I love ivy (& holly) - guess what's one of my favorite Christmas tunes? Anyway, I'm amazed that I've never gotten any dishes with ivy (do have the holly though LOL)-- these are gorgeous and of course, you display them to perfection!

  65. Hi Bill! What a sweet story to go with an exquisite table. You are an inspiration.

  66. Bill...what a fun story! I think everyone loves to feel spoiled and special now and then...this table would certainly do it! I just love seeing all the pretty silver...and there must be something wrong with me because I actually enjoy polishing it. LOL
    Happy 100th TT, my friend.

  67. I'm awed by all your detail and creativity! I love your use of lighting~ I love all your shadows & reflections~ What an inspirational table!

  68. Ah, Bill! We wioll celebrate our 43rd this coming Nov. and you have TOTALLY inspired me to do a table for 2 like this! I will break out all the beautiful things I can find and use them just for US! This was beautiful and I loved the story! I just got home from a vacation and couldn't wait to see what you were up to! You never disappoint. Thanks for this great story to go along with the gorgeous table!!! Pinky

  69. Beautiful table brother and I loved your story! You are so clever and talented!
    Love Lilly

  70. What a gorgeous table!!! I love the ivy china. Most ivy patterns seem to be more pottery like and not a fine china. This is truly lovely. Thanks for sharing your talents!

    I'd love to see you at "Summer Sundays". It's all about what summer means to YOU - perhaps a few shots of your latest aquistions?

    - The Tablescaper

  71. Beautiful Bill,

    Will you ever excuse me for being so late to visit you. I have just today finished my work in Sydney, unpacked the truck, taken half the left over decorations to the tip and the other half I have stuffed into storage. I have just sat down in front of my computer with a cup of coffee and I had to come straight over to you.

    Wow oh wow what a lovely story you tell Bill. It's true you know, after that many years of marriage you really don't need to see each other's faces.

    I just love your sunroom and you know what I would do if I had set this table. I would leave it up for a week or so and just replace the cleaned dishes each night, it all looks so beautiful and it's such a shame to take it down.

    Wishing you a wonderful week ahead.
    xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx Coty

  72. What a delightful story you have woven for this tablescape, Bill. The ivy patterned china, the crystal, and the silver are lovely. Truly fit for a queen and king....
    ~ Sue

  73. My goodness, how lovely! I stumbled upon your blog through a comment posted on a baking blog. It's really something, I must say. Such care and love went into this, along with glorious photos. (And, I am so curious about Cousin Clevie's lemon icebox pie!)

  74. Bill I loved this story! What a great way to create a story with a tablescape! I look forward to another episode! I love the china...who would of known that was used on the Lucy show? All that black and white sure didn't give it much notice!
    Looking forward to more about Anita and Emily!

  75. Oh, honey, you are a romantic at heart. Don't ever stop being that! That has to go right along with love for our Heavenly Father!!

    I have a sister and a neighbor like you!! And that is a good thing!

    God Bless You.