Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Violet Valentine's Tea

Inspiration for today's tablescape came from these vintage valentine postcards. Knowing how I loved violets, my husband gave me these postcards while we were dating. Wasn't that sweet?

My love for collecting violet china began with spotting this tea set in an antique booth in the Charleston Market. It caught my eye because violets were my sorority flower. Did you know that the Victorians attributed modesty and faithfulness to violets?

Here is another violet teapot that I was given. It has the same pattern of the violets bound with a white ribbon as are on the dessert plates and cups and saucers. All of these pieces were found at different times and are stamped with different manufacturers. To the left of the tea pot is a violet tea strainer I was given. I love loose tea and like having these as not all tea pots have built in strainers. Two tea pots makes it possible to offer two varieties of tea. Would you prefer Harney & Sons' Valentine's Blend (with chocolate and rose petals) or their Indian Spice?
The lace tablecloth reminded me of doilies pasted on homemade Valentines.

The dessert plates looked a little lost on their own. I tried my formal dinner plates underneath them, but the platinum trim clashed with the gold trim on the violet plates. I pulled out some antique violet handkerchiefs and draped them over the dinner plates.

The different handkerchiefs add a certain charm, don't they?

I added a Waterford Araglin Traditions iced beverage glass for those who might like some iced water. I had to substitute wine glasses at two of the place settings (because of the Great Thanksgiving Smash-up of 2008), but since this is a mix-and-match tablescape, I think it works.

The violet cake plate was a birthday gift several years ago from the great-aunt whose china I inherited (You can see the tablescape I created with that china here.). I think it makes a great pedestal for the vintage Valentines.

For more tabletop inspiration, be sure to visit our hostess Susan.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Toile & Checks

Today's tablescape is on the breakfast table in the kitchen. I used my Blue Willow china along with a piece of toile material for a runner and blue checked napkins.
I used Blue Willow bowls placed on top of my everyday wedding china: Nantucket Basket by Wedgwood. This pattern is so versatile! I had picked out Nantucket Basket even before I was engaged. Why wait to eat on nice dishes until you're married? My family members were kind enough to give me pieces for my birthday and Christmas until I was able to finish out place settings for twelve with wedding gifts.
I've really enjoyed my Blue Willow pieces, too. You can read about my find here.

The stainless flatware is Easton by Oneida. It is our everyday flatware. I like the simplicity of the design and how the notches echo the wicker rim of Nantucket Basket.

A January meal calls for a warm cup of tea after dinner, don't you think? What about Harney & Sons chocolate mint?

The covered casserole I've used as the centerpiece of this setting is usually displayed in the hutch. I'll be using it today to keep chili warm. A Blue Willow serving bowl temporarily has taken its place in the hutch.

I love checks with the toile. It has such a French Country feel.

Dinner Plates: Nantucket Basket by Wedgwood

Cereal Bowls, Cups & Saucers, Butter Dish, Covered Vegetable Bowl: Blue Willow by Churchill

Water Goblets: ?, a boxed set from WalMart

Flatware: Easton by Oneida

Be sure to join in on more tablescape fun at Susan's!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Sunday Family Dinner

This Christmas I received a wonderful gift: a set of my great-aunt's china. When I was a girl, Aunt Dotsie always hosted my mom's side of the family on Thanksgiving. These dishes bring back pleasant family memories.

The pattern is Noritake Lila, and it has feminine and delicate pink roses and green ferns. It was produced from 1964 to 1973. They have silver trim and will mix and match beautifully with my Lenox Fedral Platinum.

I love having a formal dining room but with young children, we don't use it that much. I thought it would be nice to have a formal Sunday dinner with my new family china.
For the centerpiece, I layered a platter and an oval vegetable bowl in the middle of the table. I had seen a couple of flowers on my camellia bushes and envisioned a bouquet of pink camellias anchored in oasis in the vegetable bowl, but the two blossoms I had seen had turned brown. There were no more flowers, but there are plenty of buds, so I hope to have some in a few weeks. Look for them in another tablescape!

The linens that I used for this tablescape were a gift from my mother last Christmas. She gave me a tablerunner and twelve napkins embroidered with an H for our monogram. I have two other sets of white linen placemats, but I thought that I would turn four of these napkins on the diagonal to highlight the initial.

The crystal candleholders were a wedding gift. They were recently used in our advent wreath. The sterling salt and pepper shakers belonged to my grandmother.

The crystal clarets are Araglin by Waterford. While replacing my crystal in the china cabinet after Thanksgiving dinner in 2008, a glass shelf fell, and all but three of my Araglin goblets shattered. I am slowly replacing them.
The sterling pattern is Tara by Reed and Barton. This is also my mother's pattern, and I knew that I wanted to register it, as well. While I was still working, I found a great buy on place settings for twelve on Ebay, and I bought it. I have never regretted it!

For more creative tablescapes, visit Susan at

Friday, January 8, 2010

It Skipped a Generation

I am reading through the Bible for the third time this year. For the most part, I look forward to the truths that God reveals to me through His Word. However, when I see that my chapters for the day include genealogies, I am ashamed to say that I tend to dread my Bible reading. All the repetition of those "begets," seems boring. I came across one of those chapters in my reading this week, and I was none too excited about Chapter 5 of Genesis, which lists the generations from Adam to Noah.

This time, though, something different struck me in this list of fathers and sons. This is how the pattern normally works in this chapter:

Seth lived one hundred and five years, and became the father of Enosh. Then Seth lived eight hundred and seven years after he became the father of Enosh, and he had other sons and daughters. So all the days of Seth were nine hundred and twelve years, and he died. Genesis 5: 6-8

For six generations, these men's lives were written to the same pattern: they were born; they grew up and had children; and they died. In the seventh generation written, though, there is an aberration in the pattern:

Enoch lived sixty-five years, and became the father of Methuselah. Then Enoch walked with God three hundred years after he became the father of Methuselah, and he had other sons and daughters. So all the days of Enoch were three hundred and sixty-five years. Enoch walked with God and he was not, for God took him. Genesis 5:21-24

Enoch breaks the pattern. He doesn't just live; he walks with God! In fact, he is so in tune with God that God doesn't allow him to die. God simply takes him to heaven. Wow! I wondered in the midst of this lineage what impact Enoch had on his descendants. What must he have taught his sons and grandsons about walking with God?

His son Methuselah had a l-o-n-g life span, but the verses describing his life don't describe him as particularly God-fearing; they pick up the same old pattern, as do the verses describing his son Lamech. Lamech's son, however, was Noah, and do you know what the next chapter says about Noah? I won't hold you in suspense:

But Noah found favor in the eyes of the LORD. These are the records of the generations of Noah. Noah was a righteous man, blameless in his time; Noah walked with God. Genesis 6: 8-9

When I saw the same words used of Enoch to describe Noah, I was awestruck with wonder at the way God uses God-fearing people to influence future generations. I also wondered what happened to Noah's father Lamech and grandfather Methuselah. They had to have witnessed Enoch's walk with God and his righteousness. Why didn't they also walk with God?

Despite not being described as "walking with God," Methuselah and Lamech must have talked about Enoch. What family stories were passed down about Enoch's character, his beliefs, his good deeds? I would love to hear the story that was shared about his being taken by God. In any case, as I read this list of generations, I saw a great-grandson influenced by his great-grandfather's righteousness. That great-grandson then went on to obey God against his common sense and was found to be the only man worthy of saving in the flood.

These "boring" genealogies this week have inspired me to be a legacy to future generations, to not merely live, but to walk with God.