Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Happy Halloween!

This week's tablescape is a festive Halloween setting.
It started with these placemats, which were a gift of my mother. Cute, aren't they?
I used a plain black napkin with a black gingham ribbon for a napkin ring.
The dinner plate is Wedgwood's Nantucket Basket. The orange soup bowls were a purchase this year from Wal-Mart. The flatware is my everyday Oneida Easton, and the water goblets are plain glassware I purchased a few years ago from Wal-Mart.
The centerpiece was this Halloween lantern. It was a gift from my children for my birthday last year. My birthday is the day before Halloween!
This punched votive holder was a gift from my sister one year.

This adorable black cat was a gift from the mother of one of my students back when I was teaching.

Here is a shot with the hutch decorated.

My children's treat bags hang from the knobs of the upper cabinets.
Our candy bucket fits perfectly in the niche below.
For more festive tablescapes, visit Susan at Between Naps on the Porch.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Stratford Stage Goes Casual

Last week my new brown transferware took center-stage in a formal setting in the dining room. This setting takes it casual for another Christian Family Night dinner at the kitchen table.

I used the same centerpiece as the Autumn Family Night.

I started with gold damask-like placemats and napkins that I had picked up last year from Wal-Mart, along with the bronze maple-leaf napkin rings. I then added these gorgeous oak-leaf chargers that I picked up from there this year. I just love that burnished wood look, and I almost hate to cover them up with a dinner plate!

I was convinced, though, when I placed the Stratford Stage dinner plate on the charger.

The Stratford Stage cereal bowl (used as a salad bowl) was added to the setting, along with amber iced-tea glasses in Fostoria Jamestown and Oneida Easton stainless flatware.

Here is a shot down the table with the candles lit.

I just love the scene on this creamer, with its tudor house and an abbey tower in the background. I created a vignette for the sugar and creamer on the hutch.

I haven't been able to find the teapot in Stratford Stage, but I thought my brown betty teapot made a good substitute.

Happy Autumn Evenings!

Be sure to join Susan at Between Naps on the Porch for a ton more tablescapes!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Stratford Stage

A few months ago I got a great deal on a set of brown transferware for twelve, with dinner plates, bread plates, cereal bowls, creamer and sugar, platter, and serving bowl. The pattern is Stratford Stage by J. & G. Meakin, and it features scenes of a stagecoach among the English countryside. I have been saving it for some fall tablescapes. I have featured it in a more formal, yet still understated, autumn setting here in the dining room.

Here is a close-up of the dinner plate with its Tudor buildings, a church spire in the background, and the stage coach. The dinner plate rests on a silver beaded charger.
The base for each place setting is a white linen hem-stitched placemat. A monogrammed napkin is placed between the charger and dinner plate. The flatware is Reed & Barton Tara sterling. The glassware is Imperial Old Williamsburg iced tea and wine goblets in brown.
A butter knife rests on the bread plate. I love the charm of those Tudor buildings!

My mother gave me this wonderful pumpkin tureen a few years ago. I thought its brown stem, acorns, and vine tendrils complemented the brown of the china and crystal.
The coffee cups feature a wrap-around scene. Here you see the stagecoach.
Cows are grazing near a pond on the bucolic outskirts of a village.
This scene of the cup is my favorite of the whole set. I think that English cottage looks so cozy!

Here are the cups arranged on the buffet for some after-dinner tea. I was going to add the sterling teapot, but I didn't have time to polish it!
Please join Susan at Between Naps on the Porch for many more tablescapes.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Autumn Family Night

Tonight's tablescape is a cozy autumn setting, just perfect for staying in with family. I have designed a curriculum for Christian Family Night for my church. It is based on the idea of turning off the TV, ignoring the computers, and letting the answering machine pick up, while we reconnect with our families and our faith. Everyone chips in on creating the meal (tonight's was meatloaf, mashed potatoes and gravy, butterbeans, yeast rolls, and sliced tomatoes) and setting the table. Will helped to add ingredients and stir up the sauce for the meat loaf. Emily Anne helped to set the silverware and to arrange the fall leaves around and under the goblets/candleholders. We light candles and read a special liturgy written by our pastor. Here it is by my husband's place setting.Here is a close-up of the liturgy.
After we eat dinner, we pitch in for a quick clean-up of the kitchen and then do some family activity. It is usually a board game like Sorry! or Toy Story Yahtzee, but last night was cool, and we opted for a walk around the neighborhood. After the family activity, we light another candle in the living room and settle in for a short devotional. We use The Child's Story Bible by Catherine Vos, and we read about the father who intercedes with Jesus for his sick son and talked about intercession. We then made a family prayer list of people we wanted to pray for. We stuck this poster on our refrigerator and will use it as a reminder to include these people in our prayers this week. We also use one of the drawers in the hutch to store Christmas cards we've received. Emily Anne and Will take turns choosing a Christmas card each night before the blessing, and we pray for the people who sent us the card. Here is the hutch decorated for fall.
Now, on to the tablescape details!
The placemats and napkins were ones that I found at Christmas Tree Hill on our trip to Pennsylvania. It has been difficult to save them until fall! The plates are stoneware that my husband had before we were married, and I thought the yellows, rusts, and olives picked up the color from the placemats beautifully. The iced tea goblets are Fostoria Jamestown. I've shared before how my mother had these in pink and how they hold such great memories for me. I wish I had some in every color, but I am really enjoying the amber and the glow they give, especially in candlelight!
I found the maple-leaf napkin rings last year at Wal-Mart, which is also where I scored the pumpkin and gourd salt-and-pepper shakers.

Happy Fall, y'all, and be sure to visit Susan at Between Naps on the Porch for more autumn inspiration!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Apple Picking

Although the mornings are beginning to feel quite cool, and the afternoons are not as oppressively hot as they have been, I am not quite ready to indulge in the autumn decorating that I love. As a prelude to the beautiful golds, crimsons, oranges, and browns of fall, I thought an apple tablescape was in order.

Back when I was in teaching in public school, I received a plethora of apple-themed gifts. One of my favorites has always been this apple candelabra that my sister gave me. I love the dark russet colors of the apples dangling from the boughs.
Anchoring the candelabra is a linen tea towel printed with apples that echo the dangling fruit.

The china used is this setting is one of Franciscan's most famous patterns: Apple. My mother's mother was one of three sisters. My mother and one great-aunt had the Desert Rose pattern, while the other great-aunt opted for the Apple pattern. For some reason, my grandmother did not jump on the Franciscan bandwagon. I recently found these four Apple dinner plates and hope to add to this pattern.

The iced beverage goblets are Noritake Perspective.

An Apple teapot, awaiting a creamer and sugar and cups and saucers, graces the hutch.

The flatware is Reed and Barton Tara.

The cotton napkins echo the leaves on the china. The oft used straw placemats pick up the dark reds of the apples.

Be sure to visit Susan at Between Naps on the Porch for more tablescape inspiration.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

A Birthday Tea Party

My daughter turned 7 on Monday. She wanted to have a tea party for all of her friends and their dolls. We started with invitations and adapted one that a friend had made for one of my wedding showers. My friend had hand-painted rosebuds onto tea-dyed paper, but we opted for card stock and colored pencils. I drew a template for a tea cup and cut them out. I typed up the wording on the computer and let Emily Anne cut those words out and glue them into place on the invitations.

The outside hinted at the type of party we were throwing.

The inside contained a tea bag along with the details about the party.

Emily Anne customized different "china patterns" for each of her friends, depending on their interests and personalities.
Emily Anne requested that I make matching dresses for her and her doll Julia, and she picked out the material. When the girls first arrived, they decorated straw hats for their dolls. Then, they placed their dolls around the dolly tea table, which was the living room coffee table draped with an old lace tablecloth and set with my daughter's toy tea set and some violet demitasse cups and saucers. Up next was a game of Pin the Lid on the Teapot, followed by a treasure hunt that led the girls from clue to clue until they found a teapot filled with strands of pink pearls and fancy rings for their own tea party. A couple of kind mothers who had stayed helped lead the girls on the treasure hunt while my mother and I plated the tea treats and brewed the tea.
We plated the tea sandwiches, cheese wafers, and fruit kabobs on clear plastic plates that could be quickly disposed of once the girls had finished. I made the tea sandwiches (PB&J cut in the shape of stars, PB & Honey in the shape of flowers, and Strawberry Cream Cheese in the shape of hearts) and the fruit kabobs, while my mom picked up the cheese wafers at a local bakery. The teacup cupcakes (also from a bakery) and ice cream were served on the violet salad plates. Harney & Sons Chocolate Mint Tea was served, along with pink lemonade. I had a table set buffet-style for the mothers, too, but I forgot to get a picture. Several of the mothers wanted to know where to get the tea, and I told them to order it from here.

One of the girls' mothers was commenting on how brave I was to use my china and silver with the girls, but they were so well mannered. No one spilled a drop, much less a tea cup! Even if a cup had been broken, it would have been worth it to have captured this sweet seven-year-old smile!

Tablescape Details:
  • Violet Teapot, with matching creamer and sugar: Royal Crownford, Staffordshire
  • Violet Teapot with violet finial, dessert plates, and cups & saucers: Crown Trent, Staffordshire
  • Other dessert plates and cups & saucers and cream & sugar, Noritake Lila
  • Silver: Tara by Reed & Barton

Visit Susan for more tablescape inspiration!