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!