Tablescapes

Seeing Red

This is one of my favorite table runners made by the hands of a Vietnamese person with disabilities working in a state run workshop. Funny how it has been used dozens of times and I’ve never paid much attention to the red.  Usually, it is the blue and orange tones that dominate my thinking.

Not today!  Red has totally grabbed my eye which was reason enough to pull out the crocheted placemats made by my mother-in-law.  I smile as I think of her trying to teach me how to crochet.  My hands were so awkward with a crochet hook, and I didn’t get much farther than casting on with a chain stitch.  Red is not a color I use much on a table, and I’m not sure why because it is one of my favorites.

Maybe it was the flowers on the runner that drew my eye and made the red seem more important.  Whatever the influence, it made for a very happy table.

There was no need to add more color, so white dishes provided the finishing touch.

Later, when chili was dished up, I had to laugh when even it had traces of red.  On this day, red was meant to be.

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Tablescapes

International Flair

You never know what is going to inspire a tablescape.  This one started with orchids which were thoughtful gifts deserving  special attention. 

Orchids made me think of Thailand where the markets literally had bags stuffed full with purple, pink and white blooms.  That thought led me to choose this beautiful handwoven silk table runner that was made in Bangkok.  Thanks to Jim Thompson, the weaving as a cottage industry is alive and well there.

The runner paired nicely with placemats purchased from a street vendor in that same city.  I love finding things for the table that are light and take little suitcase space when I travel.

Because it is spring, a season of gardens bursting with color,  these dishes that once belonged to my mother-in-law seemed a nice complement all the pink tones.  According to the writing on the back, they were handpainted by a woman named Ernestine in Salerno, Italy. I believe they were sent home by a soldier husband during World War II.  I would love to know the whole story.

OK, Thailand and Italy are covered, so let’s go with napkins from a Saigon market.  Each little flower is hand embroidered.  In addition to this table showcasing pieces gathered from my travels, it also confirms my attraction to all things hand done.

All that is left to complete the table is glasses, and they, too, have a story.  I don’t know where they are from, but they belonged to a special friend’s grandmother.  My friend thought I would use them more than she and gave them to me.  She was not wrong, and the glasses with their wonderful texture are much used.

So many of my tables are filled with special memories of people and places.  This one, with its international flair, is especially so as with each piece my mind wandered to another place and the experiences had there.  

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Tablescape Thursday

ramblings

Resisting Temptation

Forgetting that yesterday was a holiday, I headed out as usual on a Monday.  My first clue that things were different was that there were no flashing lights in school zones and traffic was lighter.  Finally, it dawned on me the reason why.  While for some Monday was a day off, retail stores were open and it seemed a good opportunity to do a little browsing.  As luck would have it, the first place that caught my attention was World Market, always a fun place to take a peek.

Greeting me upon entering was a big welcome to the Year of the Dog.  People born in this year are said to be affectionate, faithful, straightforward, courageous, smart, inspirational, loyal, honest, trustworthy and warm hearted.  That’s quite a list of admirable characteristics.

There were shelves of goodies perfect for a Chinese New Year celebration.

IMG_0153Combined with the red and white dishes, they would make a very fun table.

Speaking of tables, all I could do was imagine the ones that could be created with collections from Portugal, Morocco, Fez as I have sworn not to buy any more dishes.

IMG_0158The handcrafted Thai  pottery lends itself to a tasty meal concocted of dishes selected from a beautiful book of recipes and stories of Thailand.  That kept me looking for several minutes as the place and the food are among my favorite.

IMG_0180As its name suggests, World Market has goods from all over the globe.

IMG_0173Having recently visited Jaipur, it made me happy to see hand stitched quilts from there.  As I looked at the neat rows of stitching, I could not help but think of the women who I had seen doing this kind of work and were probably paid so little for their effort.

IMG_0174Moving on to the food section where there is such a varied selection made me hungry so it seemed a good time to finish browsing.

IMG_0177I didn’t get past the beverages though as these bottles are great for serving water once they are empty.        

IMG_0166Moving on to the checkout counter, I passed by a display of teapots and cosies that were so cute I was sorely tempted, but I just kept walking.  Resisting temptation is a continual challenge!

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Holiday Decor, Tablescapes

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.

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Tablescape Thursday

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Tablescapes

One Last Time

As you may know, I spend roughly half the year in Rockport, Maine, and half in Houston. This is the time of year when we start thinking about the return to Texas, and this is done with some regret. It is always hard to leave friends with whom we enjoy so many good summer times. This week we have shared meals, a last one at our house so I could use up whatever edibles were left.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASetting the table is always the first thing that happens when folks are coming for dinner. Ordinarily that is the easy part, but this one had me going in all different directions. I wanted to use the pumpkins and gourds that have been part of every table for the last month. To change them up a bit, they were worked in around a piece gotten some years ago from TJ Maxx.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThat was the easy part. For some reason I couldn’t decide where to go from there. I tried this and that and finally decided to let the centerpiece be the star of this last table.
Playing off the colors in the runner, black plates were used on brown placemats. That’s pretty subtle for me!
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFrom there, I added the harlequin patterned plates that are favorites.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFor whatever reason, they just didn’t strike me right so it was back to the cabinet for more black. Additional color would have to come from the salad that would be served on them.
I liked the coppery tone of the flatware with the darker ones, but having it lay alongside the plate didn’t satisfy me. Are you beginning to feel my struggle?
Ultimately, copper and silver were combined and after several arrangements contained in a napkin.

There’s nothing left to do but add a mix of stemware
pa194660.jpgand sweet little cordials for the remainder of the puffball soup that had been in the freezer.

After so many tries, it was time to walk away and be satisfied with the result.
pa194675.jpgConsidering the changes, it’s a good thing I started early preparing the table otherwise dinner may never have happened. Later in the day the sun hit just right on the pumpkins and gourds, and I knew it had been the right decision to let them be the star. Now if I can just figure out how to get them to Houston…….


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Tablescape Thursday

Tablescapes

Simply Fall

shades of fall

When leaves begin wearing their rich fall colors, they inspire many a table setting at our house.

No dishes with their deep red orange tone and  leaf outlines are better complements to fall than these. They are right not only because of their color but because they always make me think of the sweet friend who gave them to me.

Playing off the black, these plates are chosen for salad,  

and for a first course of soup they are topped with cups that are companion pieces to the larger plates. The contrasting shapes of all the pieces are playful and interesting.

Add to the place setting a napkin tucked into a simple black napkin ring, and all is done, and I’m liking the way the setting brings out the richness of the table’s wood tones.

Several years ago, a daughter gave me candle holders that fit into bottles.  Somewhere along the line I put them away so well I forgot where they were.  Something made me think of them, and after searching high and low, they reappeared to become part of a fun centerpiece.

Laugh if you will, but I buy many wines because of their label.  It was fun going through the empty bottles and finding ones that would add a playful touch to the table.

Except for the time it took to recover the candle holders, this table went together in a matter of minutes which leaves plenty of time to play in the kitchen.  That’s the way I like it!

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Tablescape Thursday

Tablescapes

Same But Different

It’s no secret that I like setting tables, but that doesn’t mean every one has to be completely different. It’s not unusual for me to leave a centerpiece in place for days, and with a few simple changes give a table an entirely different look.

This time of year I’m crazy about using pumpkin and gourds. Last week’s table showed them mixed with twigs for a natural fall look.

This time around, a couple of pumpkins were removed, a black raven and candles added.

The candle holders are in my trusty green bottles which blend right in. I’m chuckling as I remember how the candle holders came to be. A friend’s husband came home with an antique Bingo set so she decided to have a Bingo party. Everyone brought a white elephant gift that went into a basket of prizes for lucky winners. When it came my time to choose, I took the candle holders from a guy who seemed very happy to have a chance at another prize!

Back to the table. It was simple to add yellow plates that picked up the tone in the runner and the gourds and patterned napkins in the same fall colors.

The napkin fold couldn’t be easier….quarter, fold on the diagonal, turn back the corners.

pa044451.jpgFor fun, I put a little cauldron with a miniature fake pomegranate on the plate and called the table setting done.

Next day, late afternoon sun gave the centerpiece a dramatic glow which set me to thinking about the next change.  Suggestions?

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Tablescape Thursday