Holding On

With daughters grown and creating their own traditions, the hubby and I have few left.  Thanksgiving is the one we hold on to, and when family gathers around our table my heart is full.

It wouldn’t be Thanksgiving at our table without a centerpiece featuring dryer hose pumpkins.  I don’t know how many years they’ve been used, but it’s a lot.

Every year it is a challenge to think of some different way to present them.  This year turkeys and magnolia leaves are thrown into the mix for a simple creation.

As for dishes, nothing replaces the Della Robbia pieces which now could qualify as antiques.  Thanksgiving is the only time they come out of the cabinet, and my hope is that some day they will grace a daughter’s or maybe a granddaughter’s table.

Most years I add something new, but not this one as I am working very hard to pare down rather than add anything to full to the brim cabinets and drawers.  That said there’s something special about pulling out those old familiar things.

What will make this table different from most are the people who gather round.  We are a small family which makes each person so very special.

Like the rest of you I am thankful  for family and friends.  Additionally, I am so very grateful for each of you who take time to follow my musings.  You are the reason this blog continues. Wherever you are, I wish you a most happy day.

Old Familiar Things

With the holidays over and Christmas decorations back in storage for another year, it is comfortable getting back to all those old familiar things that are part of everyday life.

img_8456The breakfast room table is void of trees and snow globes that are replaced with what is left of the flowers the hubby gave me for our anniversary.  They are arranged in an assortment of bottles which make for a simple  and colorful centerpiece.

img_8457The table runner is one I made from a scrap of my handwoven fabric bordered with another remnant.  Sometimes it pays not to throw anything away, but when I go into my studio I wonder how it will be possible to use all that is on the shelves!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWith the runner and flowers in place, it was easy to pick everything else.  The dishes are one of my favorites, Tuscany Rose from 222 Fifth.  They’ve been around for a long time, and a few pieces now have chips in them.  I’ll keep using them though until they are no longer presentable.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAdd glasses and flatware,

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAand in just a few minutes the table is done.  I wish that preparing dinner were that quick and easy!

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Tablescape Thursday

Those Special Evenings

“If you really want to make a friend, go to someone’s house and eat with him.  The people who give you their food give you their heart.”

Cesar Chavez

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThere are few things I like better than spending time with friends, especially those evenings when we gather around the table to share a meal.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI love the laughter

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAand the sometimes energetic discussions, most of which seem to evolve around politics. These days that subject can evoke a lot of emotion as well as some pretty funny comments.

Foodie Adventure Spain/fishDinner is always a treat,  and most of the time it is a meal to which we’ve all contributed.  That way no one has to spend all day in the kitchen, and everyone is comfortable having played a part in the preparation.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWhat I particularly get a kick out of is the effort made to set a lovely table.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAgain and again I see how that is opportunity for one to express their unique creativity.  Too, an inviting table always makes the food taste even better!

So, what is your favorite way to spend an evening?

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Tablescape Thursday

Favorite Things Thursday

Having a Bit of Fun

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Funny, I’m rarely at home on the days surrounding Halloween which makes it rather interesting that so many Halloween things have made it into the house.  While not everything may come out of the closet, Hildy, Henrietta and Helga always find a way to make an appearance.

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These guys, well, their smiling faces indicate they might have already had their happy hour.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis one, well he’s just content to be out of the closet!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOf course, there are some fun things for the table, too,

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAand with their lively colors, they make choosing tableware pretty easy.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOh, fold the napkins, add a few pumpkins and the table is set.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWhat I like about such a simple table is how easy it is to make a few changes and have a new look.  It should come as no surprise that I like getting as much mileage from the same things as possible.  That’s part of what takes the pain out of creating a tablescape.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAnd isn’t this just the perfect bottle for Halloween inspired tables?  I’m just hoping what’s in the bottle is as good as its outside!

Here’s hoping you are having fun with your Halloween decor!

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Tablescape Thursday

Invited or Not

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAInvited or not, these gals have a way of popping in around this time every year.

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They plop themselves right down in the middle of the table among  pumpkins and gourds as if they belong.  Nervy aren’t they?

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As if the uninvited gals are not enough, they are joined by a raven that flies in scattering leaves in every direction.  Whatever plans I had for a centerpiece have gone awry as these characters have made the table their own.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI have to give them credit for making it pretty easy to select dishes and flatware,

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAand those leaves scattered by the raven?  With a little Sharpie help, they have just become place cards.   You know, this table is turning out to be quite fun thanks to the arrival of uninvited guests.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAll in all, the unexpected result is a playful table perfect for the season that lends itself to touches of whimsey!

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind

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Tablescape Thursday

Halloween Tablescape

Once & Then Again

img_2247As hard as I try to hang on to summer, there’s no more denying that it’s fall when trees begin to look like this.

img_7514-1To reflect the changing season, warmer colors are in order and this runner brings the outside colors in.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIt is a perfect time of year to pull out the Johnson Brothers dishes and top them with napkins that pick up the subtle colors in the runner. Each napkin is held with my favorite handmade rings, each of which is a casting of an herb.  

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThanks to the tree that inspired colors for the table, a casual setting is complete in just a few minutes.

img_7507Leaving the runner, candles and chicks in place made the next table a breeze.  I seldom find it necessary to start from scratch as it is fun to see how a tweak here and there can result in a totally unique look.    Here change is a different set of dishes which I so enjoy using because they remind me of a very special friend who gave them to me.

img_7508The leaf design suggested using black for accent. Easy enough with square salad bowls and napkins folded to make a pocket for the flatware.  

img_7511There you have it….one centerpiece, two tables.  The best advice I have for preparing an inviting table is to keep it simple and whenever possible use some of the same things again. And always, always have a good time expressing your creativity.

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Tablescape Thursday

Hydrangea Inspiration

hydrangea_macrophylla_-_hortensia_hydrangeaI am amazed by how the colors on this one hydrangea bush change from first blooms to last.  They start out pink, change to blue and by now they become a showcase for a plethora of wonderful hues.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIt was impossible to resist cutting some of the blooms and arranging them in square vases lined with hosta leaves.  

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThey were perfect backdrops for a few of my cranberry bells and on the table they, of course, became inspiration for a tablescape.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIt started with  lovely Johnson Brothers plates, but there was something that just wasn’t right which is a sure signal to look in cabinets for something else that will work.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThese square cranberry plates provided the answer and fit perfectly in the middle of the patterned ones.  You just never know how different pieces become complements.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERALaundered napkins from last week’s table were laying on the counter, and it hit me they had the same colors as the hydrangeas.    On the table they go!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASo far this table defined itself in a nontraditional manner so it made sense that the flatware placement not follow rules either.  With the addition of cranberry side dishes and King’s Crown thumbprint glasses, a table setting was created, a very fun one for sure.  Then the question became will it be just the hubby and me who gather here or should I issue one of my last minute invites for someone to join us so that we all might enjoy what the hydrangeas inspired.  Guess the decision!

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Tablescape Thursday

Share Your Cup Thursday

What’s With Delphiniums?

IMG_6797So many plants grow easily in Maine.  My problem is not being very expert about any of them.  Take delphiniums.  They are beautiful, but little did I know about how tall they grow.  As I watched them mature, I thought it possible that I’d planted one of Jack’s beans!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe taller they g0t the more top heavy they became meaning they bent and broke no matter how carefully they were staked.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWell, I thought, I’ll just cut these beauties and take them inside.  As soon as they were disconnected from their stem the blue ones began raining petals, but the lighter colors proved to be long lasting on table tops throughout the house.  On this table runner, they were also the inspiration for a casual table.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIt was one of those nights for a house favorite, fish chowder.  Playing off the yellow in the  runner, these plates served as a charger for varied colored bowls.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFor salad, I chose these harlequin patterned dishes.  I never tire of using them as they are so versatile and add interesting pattern.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERANapkins are one of my favorite table accessories as they are not only functional but add a little artistic flair to any setting.  This one is a simple accordion fold which when spread becomes a standing fan.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAs this understated table shows, it doesn’t take much to make the ordinary special.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERANow, about those delphiniums.  I felt so defeated by their unruliness that I cut them down to the ground, but they are a very determined flower.  Here it is September and they have come back ready to bloom and still growing!  We’ll see if I’m any luckier controlling them the second time around.

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind

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Tablescape Thursday

Inspiration Thursday

Thursday Favorite Things

Last Minute Doings

Planning ahead is not one of my long suits.  No, last minute spontaneity is my game, and more often than not it works pretty well.  Sometimes it takes a couple of phone calls to make something happen, but rarely does last minute not work out particularly when the invite includes food!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWhile dinner is cooking away,  I prepare the table, and there is usually something on it  that gets me started.  Here, it’s some of my trusty  bottles filled with flowers from the garden.  What would I do without them as they make a centerpiece so very easy. These are left from San Pellegrino beverages, and I find them perfect for grouping.

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My table settings are generally simple and defined by color, pattern and a touch of whimsey, all combined here in the placemats and napkins.  

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASubtle hued dishes, one of my many sets gotten at TJ Maxx, are tonight’s choice.

Now, I could have stopped here, but I couldn’t resist adding these salad plates, each one different and suggestive of something that could have been created by Picasso!  As I think about them, I can’t help but smile remembering the unexpected snowy day in Provence where an artist kindly opened his shop and let my daughter and me have a look.  He definitely came out ahead!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAJust as I was finishing the table, the placemats made me think of the little monkey bells sitting on a bathroom shelf.  How could they not become part of what is turning out to be a very fun table!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWell, that’s it.  Everything is about ready, and in a few minutes the doorbell will ring announcing the friends who we are lucky to have join us.  I do love these last minute gatherings!

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind

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Inspiration Thursday

Tablescape Thursday

Thanks to the Rain

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAA tablescape can begin in unexpected ways. This one is thanks to three days of  drenching rain which is hard on top heavy blooming plants.  It made me sad to see all of a tall columbine’s beautiful  flowers flattened on the ground.  I staked as many as possible, but most I cut and filled bottles and vases with them. It’s no surprise that some became part of a centerpiece.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIt was a wonderful surprise to discover how sculptural the flower was.  I don’t know whether that’s normal or whether the shape was in part due to the rain.  No matter,  it’s  lovely!

The  beautifully designed woven textile from Italy became the influence for an Italian themed tablescape.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAA collection of large plates with scenes reminiscent of Tuscany served as chargers,

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAperfect backdrops for new square black bowls from Ikea. The flatware from TJ Maxx was a great accent color, far more interesting than the silver I first put on the table.

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I couldn’t resist once more using these napkin rings, also from Italy.  Without question, they will show up again and again on one or another table as they are among my favorite things. 

IMG_6786Preparing this table brought back so many memories of time in Italy, a place that, like Maine, has a piece of my heart.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAll that is missing now are the friends who will join us for a dinner of risotto with Italian sausage and caprese salad. 

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind

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Inspiration Thursday

Tablescape Thursday