One Last Time

If you are familiar with my tablescapes, you know I like to get a lot of mileage out of centerpieces.  Planning ahead takes a few steps out of preparing a table which is especially helpful for multiple dinner gatherings.

For the last at home dinner before Christmas, a different set of dishes is the major change.  This time they will be the traditional Spode.  They remind me of my mother who started the collection and added to it over the years.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAEven the placemats are in the Spode design.  Not only that, the holly sprigs duplicate the leaves of the trees in the centerpiece.

The holiday flatware is a given as it works with all things Christmasy.

A quick trip to Joann’s provided fabric for some quickly cut and serged napkins that are tucked into Santa napkin rings.  These, too, evoke a memory as they were a gift from a long time friend.

The Spode glasses were perfect, but at the last minute I switched the water glasses for green thumbprint ones.  I wonder if the hubby remembers giving those to me before we were married.

That’s it for one last preChristmas dinner, and I hope you have seen how easy it is to have one centerpiece last through the season and work well with different accessories.  It’s just one of the little ways to avoid stress during a time so many of us find hectic.

Oh, someone asked if the trees got in the way during dinner.  The answer is a simple no because they were moved to the sideboard giving way to the candles and bells that were among them.  Easy enough!

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind

Joining

Tablescape Thursday

Coming Home

It was good news to hear that our daughter who lives away from Houston would be coming home to spend a few days with us before Christmas.  The last few months have not been easy for her, so my thought was to make her visit as warm and cozy as could be.

With its red walls, her old room is an easy one to make look season friendly.  A winter throw is tossed on the bed and Santa will watch over her.

Like so many other things I have, Santa has been around for a long time and has a wonderful memory attached.  I had gone to Oklahoma with a friend.  On the return to Houston we made a journey of several hours stretch into the night by stopping at any and every place that looked of interest.  If you guess that Santa came from one of those stops, you’d be right!

A few more little touches and the room is ready.  Greenery and berries add touches of color among the birdhouses.  

These two are part of my rather large collection but are too big to be displayed with the rest.  

That’s OK because they are right at home sitting on a quilt, one of many made by my grandmother.

Speaking of quilts, so many made by different family members have ended up with me.  Like with other textiles, I can’t bear to leave them wrapped in a closet and find ways to have them out.  Somehow I feel they are a significant part of my heritage.

Getting back to preparing the room, there is a present or two left on the bed in the hope there is something there that will brighten the daughter’s day.

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind

Joining

Diggin’ It & Dishin’ It

What’s Old is New….Again

IMG_0081My gift to friends during the holidays is having them to dinner which, of course, gives great excuse for setting the table.  Now if you’ve seen any of the recent blogs you know that a first part of decorating for me is creating a centerpiece that stays in place until the season is over.  It’s nothing fancy, just something easy around which to work.

This time I’m getting out my favorite Christmas dishes which like the other things on the table are just slightly off from the traditional reds and greens.

 

From there, the table comes together easily.  Napkins are in rings depicting a bell, Christmas tree, stocking and sled.  These were an after Christmas purchase at 75% off, a very good deal!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThen, it’s adding the fun flatware that I found a couple of years ago at Ross.  I’ve kept my eye open ever since without finding any more.

Thinking the table was finished, I went about my business humming happy Christmas tunes.  

When I walked past the table a while later I noticed something was missing.  Do you see it?

Yes, it’s the glasses and, of course, the ones that have to be added are those used only this time of year.

There’s not a thing new on this table.  In fact, some of it is years old, but used in a different way everything seems new again.

If you who have been such loyal followers were here, I’d like to have you for dinner, too.

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind

Joining

Tablescape Thursday

Share Your Cup Thursday

SaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSave

Keeping It Simple

I like the holidays as much as anyone, but for the last several years I’ve enjoyed keeping the associated decor simple. From my still sizeable array of Christmas goodies, something different is brought out each year, and I delight in choosing what to feature. This time the focus is on nativities which are among my favorite things.

Our mantel is barely more than an architectural detail, but it proved to be just right for arranging a good part of the collection.

As each one went to its place, I took a moment to recall its story.

In the days when I participated in holiday shows I always had my eye open for a new nativity to add to a growing collection so many of them came from other vendors.

I particularly liked finding sets from another country that likely had been handmade.

This was the very first nativity I bought so it is years old. I laughed at the chewed wooden legs remembering our first dog. What a character he was and he left behind much evidence of his presence!

Flat surfaces are not abundant in our house, but there are enough to have a nativity on every one.

As each one came out of its box, I began to see a common thread.

Most are handmade and tend toward folk art.

The last to find a place is my favorite. I found these pieces a couple of years ago when we took a boat trip from Maine to Nova Scotia. I was blown away by their detail and the wonderful use of color. No matter where or how the set is displayed, it tells a wonderful story and I am so grateful to the hands that created it.

So there you have most of my holiday decorating and by keeping it simple, each and every one of these nativities invites a look.

I so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind

Getting It On

I stubbornly wait until early December to begin decorating for the holidays.

ChandeliersNow I don’t have a chandelier to embellish

Christmas decoror a mantle to drape with greenery

IMG_1457or a bannister to festoon.

So, what is a girl to do?  First, I go to the closet and pull out the wreaths that I use year after year.  They suit the house, and as long as they hang together I see no reason to change them.   Looking at them, can you guess that the traditional reds and greens are not what you’ll find inside?  No, here the palette is slightly off but still reflective of the season.

Next is my favorite thing: creating a centerpiece for the dining room table.  I should tell you that these days I don’t buy much new but use favorite familiar pieces in different ways.  These metal holly leafed trees are a good place to start, and the cranberry table runner is a perfect background.  

What makes the runner special are the details at the ends.  I’m a sucker for tucks.

I was delighted to find the same color candles at Michael’s when I went there to pick up some gift boxes.  They are in brass candlesticks that were given us as a wedding present so many years ago. It took a little Brasso to get them gleaming again.  The ribbons were an afterthought, and not being able to decide which to use, I used them both.  How’s that for not being able to make up your mind?

I look for any opportunity to use bells from my extensive collection.  Most are clear glass and crystal with a few colored ones thrown in.  While the ones here are not the same color, they are close enough and I like their differing textures.

IMG_0081Well, this is the beginning.  Next I will choose a few more favorite things to sprinkle through the house.  I like the picking and choosing which makes everything seem new again.

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind

 

Looking Back & Ahead

First, thank you for all of your well wishes in response to my last post.  They have great healing power.

Valentine tableIt just dawned on me that Valentine’s is a few days away.  To escape the crowds and avoid the hassle of finding a place to eat without a reservation, I started years ago making that a special evening at home for which the hubby is most grateful.

tablescapeThis year that won’t happen as I’m not quite ready for kitchen duty, but let’s take a look back at tables that helped make the Valentine meal special.

tablescapeMost years we’ve eaten at what we call the big table.  After all, it is a special evening.

tablescapeSometimes the table has a touch of elegance, 

tablescapeand Valentine’s is a perfect time to bring out those pieces  associated with people I love.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMore often than not the table is playful with those mixed patterns and colors I so like.

Valentine tableOn those February evenings when the weather is spring like and dove songs fill the air, we take advantage and eat on the screen porch, always a treat.

tablescapeNo matter where we eat or how the table is set, flowers help make it special

Valentine rosesand none are more special than the bouquet I get each year from the hubby.

No, there won’t be a dinner at home or a special table this year, but looking ahead to next week I have other plans that will give the hubby a night off from bringing me the evening meal.  Shhhh, don’t tell!

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind

Joining

Tablescape Thursday

Thinking Ahead

OK, I know we haven’t even gotten through Christmas, but it doesn’t hurt to be thinking ahead to next year knowing that holiday goodies will soon be on sale.  I always like to have a little something new and there’s no better time to buy it than when it is marked down.

Luckily Crate and Barrel, Pottery Barn and Williams Sonoma are in the area where I was doing some last minute buying, and here’re some of the things that caught my eye.

Believe me when I tell you I don’t need any more dishes, but it doesn’t hurt to look and, perhaps, get an idea for a table setting as well.  Williams Sonoma has several patterns that are sure to tempt some of you.  Plaid is very in and if these settings are any indication, it is very versatile as well as timeless.

Pottery Barn is always a great source for cute accessories like these napkin rings.

3111914_14Each one has that little touch of whimsey that so many of us are drawn to.

berry-place-card-holder-set-of-4-oThe same is true of these adorable place card holders also at Williams Sonoma.

holly-embroidered-table-runner

I’m a sucker for table runners, and I have my eye on this one at Crate & Barrel as it would go well with both sets of my Christmas dishes.  I’m envisioning the table already!

For the younger set, Target has the perfect melamine plates.  No danger of these getting broken!

Well, there you have it, a little something for everyone.  By the way, I stopped at Michael’s on the way home and found their chargers  in red, green and plaid marked down 70%.  None were more than $1.35, a very good deal for sure.

Happy shopping!

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind

Once, Twice, Then Twice More

Holidays are for entertaining, and for me that means not reinventing the wheel for every occasion.  Knowing there would be several events here during December, it made sense to have a centerpiece that would work with whatever was going on on the table.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

This year much of my holiday decor focuses on trees, so it was a no brainer to repeat them on the dining room table.  These holly trees are my most favorite and while they are great stand alone pieces, I added a collection of finials for a bit of shine.  With nothing more than this, the table is ready to be filled with finger foods for an upcoming meeting.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAToo,  several casual meals for family and friends are planned during the month, and for each the table will take on a different look.  A brunch will feature Spode Christmas dishes set on a matching placemat that I happened to spot at TJ Maxx.  Though I swore not to buy anything new, how could I leave such a perfect accessory behind!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAlways a table  with the Spode pieces comes together very quickly and invites adding fun complements like the candy striped flatware that gets used again and again during December.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFor a dinner with friends, the Bella Ceramica pottery is featured.  While some things stay the same, different napkins and chargers give the table a whole new look.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFor Christmas dinner, the setting  is a tribute to my mother whose china and Fostoria grace the table.  I am so glad to have these remembrances of her.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFor seated meals, there is one change to the centerpiece.  The tallest tree is removed and replaced with a slender finial so that no one has to crane their neck to look at a person sitting opposite.

So, there you have it, four occasions satisfied with a single centerpiece. Thinking ahead about how your table will be used during the holidays and finding a common thread makes the rest quite easy plus it saves considerable time.  The bonus is that when the table is not set, it still looks attractive.

Joining

Tablescape Thursday

Touches Here and There

The hubby has never been very interested in helping with holiday decor, and with no kids in the house some of my enthusiasm has waned.  These days less is more and the touches here and there are ever so simple.  For sure, not everything comes out of storage which makes whatever is used seem new again.

Christmas decorSo, come on in, take a look at this year’s simple touches.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAYou’ll not find a Christmas tree loaded with ornaments, but inside

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAand out there will be one or two or maybe three trees on a tabletop.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASanta may play a holiday tune

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

while his buddies dance to the rhythm.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERANot all Santas are alike

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAwhich is what makes each one special.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFor the season there are touches of red, some new  and some borrowed from another room.  

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAEvery room has simple touches,

some adding gaiety and sparkle,

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAsome reminding of the meaning of Christmas.

As each piece is put in place I pause to remember its history.  Each one has a story, and it’s fun to remember the where and when.  While what you see here are this year’s favorite things, I’m sure that something different will catch my eye next time.  Or maybe some of the same things will be used differently.  You’ll have to come back next year to see!

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind.

Joining

Make It Pretty Monday

Getting Ready

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFor the hubby and me, Thanksgiving is our favorite holiday.  Maybe that’s because it’s the only one where the family still gathers at our house, and each year we hope that all of our small brood will be at the table.

img_8283Most things stay the same from the table setting to the menu. Out come the dryer hose pumpkins that have been a centerpiece mainstay for oh so many years.  

img_8280The trick is to create a little different look each time they appear.  At some point, I may have to start repeating!OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

No question the Della Robbia ironstone will come out of the cabinet for its annual appearance.  It is the first set of dishes I bought so they have real sentimental value, and given that only one piece has been broken they are indestructible.  For sure the color way is reminiscent of the 70’s, but for Thanksgiving it is perfect.

Like with the pumpkins, the challenge is to change things up each year, and that is getting harder.  It’s likely that that no one notices whether anything is different,  but for me its’s  what makes setting the table fun.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMost years a little something new is added.  It may be a placemat

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAor glasses or napkin rings.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASome months ago I purchased this inexpensive flatware thinking the colors and shape were fun.  It never occurred to me that it would be a great match for the Thanksgiving dishes, but here it is. Carson of Downton Abbey probably wouldn’t approve of the arrangement, but it adds a bit of jauntiness.

The something new this year are the place holders that I recently found in a cute shop in Franklin, Tennessee.  You can bet they will be part of tables to come.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

With the table ready, I’d best get thinking about a grocery store list!

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind

Joining

Tablescape Thursday