...family, friends, home and other tidbits of a blessed life

Friday, September 11, 2020

Ready for Tech Football!

Covid-19 has affected so much this year. 
We have been partaking in social distancing since early March. 
I'm officially tired of it and ready for a bit of normalcy.
Texas Tech is supposed to play this weekend. We shall see.
 And there was a challenge to post your football tables on a Facebook group to which I belong.

As I was sitting at the dining table working this morning (I try to change venues so that it doesn't feel so much like being sent to my room), I thought of what i could do quickly. So in about 15 minutes...

I pulled out these black and white place mats that I purchased at Detours (shopping at La Fonda) in Santa Fe, my red Juliska Berry & Thread dinner plates and our Pipestone salad plates (another Santa Fe purchase from the Chile Shop) and red cutlery.

So in love with the red roses!

These silver candlesticks came home with me from my favorite antique store in Lubbock, A Beautiful Mess. 

Sadly, I think the Berry and Thread are no longer available. They are the perfect shade of red. And i don't remember the maker of this cutlery. It too is the perfect shade of red.

I flanked the flowers and candlesticks with two Texas Tech signed footballs. And other than the red and black, that is the only ode to football on the table. 

The black napkins were also a Santa Fe purchase from the Chile Shop.. They wash like a dream. Napkin rings came from World Market a long time ago. 

I paired a Mikasa French Countryside water goblet with an Ajka Arabella wine glass for a touch of glamour.

For a total of 15 minutes, this came together very quickly. It can be done!

Hope you enjoyed your visit!

Monday, August 3, 2020

Orchids on Gray

A while back I was asked to do some table settings using my favorite french jacquard tablecloths.  I purchased this gray one because I thought it'd go with my Lenox Snow Lily. But alas, no. Snow Lily is more taupish gray and this is a true gray. Sophie of Bleu d'Olive is my tablecloth purveyor (someone mentioned that is is my tablecloth crack dealer :-) ). She is French, lives in Arizona, and is in the process of getting a website up and going. When it's live, I'll share her info! You can also find her table linens at Detours inside La Fonda on the Plaza in Santa Fe, NM. I believe she has a spot in Scottsdale, Arizona as well. Sophie's website is up! https://bleudolive.com

I pulled out my Rosenthal dinner plates and topped them with a Rosenthal orchid bowl. The orchid pattern is a new one in my collection (huge eye roll). My father in law had the largest orchid greenhouse west of Dallas. He even sent cattleyas to Hawaii. He and Raymond Burr could talk orchids forever! I had purchased the Community White Orchid cutlery pattern a long time ago and was looking for dishes when these Rosenthal pieces came into view.

This tablecloth is called ABCDaire or Alphabet. Between the motifs on the drop, alphabet letters are dispersed around the table. I had the pink napkins that were purchased on Amazon.

I chose to use the Mikasa Iced Teas and Libby Rock Sharpe 2009-4 waters for wine glasses. Many of the older pattern wine glasses are quite small so I'll use waters for the wine instead.

Coalport floral placecard holders let everyone know their place. I've also seen these in multi-colors. Thee are incredibly delicate. It always surprises me to find such treasures still intact.

Remember that the goal was to highlight the tablecloth, so I left the center a bit more bare than I usually do. This way the center motif shows well. This table was set during the beginning of Covid times and I had thought I'd try to venture out and pick up some flowers. My youngest child noticed what I was doing and came back with the perfect pink roses. Not bad for a boy! I added vinca tendrils for a bit of dimension. A girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do or any port in a storm.

Unimposing vintage pressed glass candle holders. When I set this table for guests, I'll bring in some more crystal candle holders or votives and another small bouquet of roses on each end.

One of my next missions is to find some gold napkin rings that are not too heavy for delicate plates. Any suggestions? These silver ones are rimmed in gold so they worked well on this table. The cutlery is Antique Baroque by Wallace. Would you use chargers the next time?

I'm always smitten by the detail of borders. And cutlery. And linens. Let's just face it, I'm smitten with all things table.

Thank you for stopping by. It's been a pleasure to share this table with you and I hope it brought you joy in this time of Covid. How are you handling it?

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Pretty Little French Fishes

A table in the time of Covid. In March where nothing was in bloom and I wasn't going out.

I had purchased this French jacquard tablecloth from my friend Sophie Christian. She lives in Arizona and is my tablecloth purveyor. I have many of these French textiles. They are coated, but you can't feel it and they resist stains. Water and wine both bead up on the surface!
Edited: Sophie's website is up and running! Bleu d'Olive

I found the French Limoges fish plates at a local antique mall, A Beautiful Mess. If you are ever in Lubbock, do drop in! You won't regret it.

These have some beautiful specimens on them!
The gilding around the rims is just icing on the cake.

I finally found the much wanted pearl handled fish cutlery.

Could  you have resisted this engraving?
I could not. Period.

I paired everything with my Lenox Colonnade dinner plate on a Jay-Imports charger.

Added the Mikasa Parklane Iced Tea along side a Tiffin wine glass.

In anticipation of being able to put together a table such as this, I had eaten, soaked in clorox, boiled for 30 minutes and then dried some oyster shells. I then edged them in liquid gold leaf. Insert a sterling salt spoon and the perfect salt cellar is born.

In the center, there are Pottery Barn brass and glass hurricanes, Baldwin brass candlesticks, and a Mikasa crystal votive holder repurposed as a vase.

I hope you enjoyed your visit. I wish you'd stay for a bite. It's been quiet around here during these Covid times. I am looking forward to the day when there are jewels around the table and laughter reigns again.
Cherish your friends, they are the jewels of life.

Sunday, February 23, 2020

Organizing for a Dinner Party

How I Organize a Dinner Party

I was invited to join a FB group about dishes and beautiful tables. Oh the eye-candy!!! And it's so addicting to see everyone's pretties.

This post is a result of a comment I made to a question on how early you set your table before an event. I will admit I always do it early. But by the time of the event, I've already had it planned out far in advance; table, menu, decorations and have a detailed plan of attack in place.

Since it's spring and Easter is coming up in April, I'll just start with the beginning planning Easter 2020.

For me it's easier to work with 1) pick a theme, 2) pick the table, 3)pick the menu. I would suggest you go with what works best for you.  But I do know that melding the table decor with the menu is always a good thing. For example, your dishes look best with a white tablecloth, but do you really want to serve BBQ on your good china? Your white tablecloth?

For this Easter, I wanted to use what I had and not buy new things, but still have a fresh table. We are planning a lunch so it will be less formal and without candles.

I started auditioning the china with the 'other stuff'. Chargers and napkin rings were auditioned first.
Pier 1 Cedar placemat, Pier 1 white charger, Pier1 plaid plate, WS bunny plate and napkin, Dillard's green napkin ring. No.

Bordallo Pinheiro Charger, Pier 1 plaid plate, WS bunny plate and napkin, Dillard's green napkin ring. No.

Pier 1 Cedar placemat, Pier 1 galvanized charger, Pier 1 plaid plate, WS bunny plate and napkin, galvanized napkin ring. Yes!

Added the Tissus Tosselli tablecloth. Decide it will work and proceed to set the table. 

Minimum flatware, one glass but I am able to see how the table will look even if there will be more guests.

The galvanized center piece is 'almost' a done deal. The faux florals will be replaced with mini tulips or narcissus the day before Easter. However, i have the 'grass', the faux eggs and the bow on the chicken feeder and know it will be a fitting centerpiece.

I take a picture of the table, plan out the menu and make a detailed list of what's on the table.
Do not forget to make a note of items you want to purchase before the event. 

Then the napkins, napkin rings, place cards, ribbon, some decor items all go into a small tub. Add the lists and pictures to the tub as well. Everything is together and easily accessible later for set up and you can add items as you go. I'll add invitations to this tub when i get those.

I add the tub to the stack in the office. If I need to purchase something, a sticky note goes on the outside of the tub. Always viewable and accessible. 

Back to when do you set your table? I usually set it about 3-4 days early. Minus flowers. Cover it with the cheap plastic drop cloths available at any home improvement store and proceed with the rest of the preparations. Since I still work, I have to parse out the planning and preparation so that nobody is exhausted before company arrives! So yes, Christmas 2020 was planned last year and I actually have Christmas 2021 in its tub as well!  Happy Entertaining!!

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Christmas Village 2018

I hadn't planned on posting my 2018 Alpine Christmas Village, yet here we are!
The first picture is a video that I took before I let it snow on the village. Wish I had thought to make another video.

I had The Dept 56 Dickens Village which I started with Scrooge's house when it first came out. Scrooge was the winner from all the pieces because my husband sees $$$ at Christmas and i just see the joy. Then in 1999, we lost our house to a fire and with it the Dickens village went up in smoke. 
I tried to get back into it, even when the boys gifted me new pieces, but it just wasn't there. 

Then fast forward 12 or so years and the son arrives at the house in his pickup and the bed it full. Dad had sent my mother's village pieces and all the accessories with him to make this special delivery. At first I was hugely overwhelmed. I found so many doubles, pieces from different villages, and a massive amount of trees along with mountains, trains and people. 

I did have the perfect spot to set it up, although it is not without it's limitations. In our long hallway, which is full of built-ins that house most of the china, linens and table accoutrements, there is a nice shelf. If placed there, I thought it wouldn't get in the way of living. No need to rearrange furniture! And our cat is pretty good about not getting on anything on which something is. The first year i set it up was nothing as it is now. I used snow looking batting as a base.

 While the depth is shallow, just shy of 22", the length is substantial at more than 18 feet. 
The window is a challenge, and I 'll show why in a bit.  This is the year I lost my marbles and decided I wanted a layout that had realistic scenery. Think of the big train layouts, but in snow and with houses.

The first task is to unbox the houses and accessories and decide on placement. I chose to have farmland on the right, merging to old town, the train station, town center, on to a section that I've dubbed Vail and finishing off in the mountains.  Once the placement is decided then you can venture along this abyss and start the design of the landscape. It did take 4 months to complete the village. The next time i put it up, if I don't change it too much, it should be rather quick. Well, less than 4 months anyway.

And what could i do to add some more light on the subject (there are no lights over the shelf and I am pretty sure even today, my husband wasn't going to bring in an electrician! So I went with white garland and this beautiful snowflake strands. They were at both Hobby Lobby and Lowe's Home Improvement, but the price was better at HL and with a coupon, they were reasonable. 
The window proved challenging. What worked on the inside looked horrible on the outside. And then I bought sheet insulation and a "hotwire" tool to mold the mountains! I already had the Hotwire knife which cuts styrofoam into straight or curved lines, but it would not have worked for the face of the mountains. 

 I ended up watching a lot of youtube videos for lessons, ideas and implementation ideas.  I built mountains (not the brown snow caps as those are Dept 56), purchased additional pieces and figured out the wiring (the hardest part!). Which meant purchasing some pieces that condensed 12 lighted houses to one cord.

 Above all, the process was a lot of fun.  This section is the farm on the far left and the older pieces for "old town".  The mountain climbers were stuck to the mountain with museum putty.

 And throughout the process some things moved or got replaced. Insert huge eye-roll.

The sheepherders house was a new addition.  

One of the 3 churches in the village.

An overview of the farm. So many pieces to put in that section!

Old Town.

I also replaced the well with this bell and children at some point. 

From Old Town moving to the right, is a section with another church and in the background is the train station. I long ago gave up on the Dept 56 train as it's in HO gauge and this village is more of an O gauge which is slightly larger. I needed to be able to wind up the little chapel in the front left so accessibility dictated it's position.

Can you  spot the guy on a bench reading the times? Mine is very cosmopolitan alpine village. The train brings in news from around the globe. 
 We are now entering into town center. There is a toy store and restaurant and a beer vendor in this area.

Between pictures I added the Russian wooden tree. It's
very similar to the Russian matryoshka dolls as it is nesting and has pieces inside. If I remember a toy and a snowman? It was purchased in Santa Fe, NM at The Shop, A Christmas Store. 

At the back of Town Center is a row of houses on a riser. The front looks like stacked rocks and the top has a walkway and concrete/ The fence is attached with museum putty and at this point, I had the daunting task of figuring out what to do with the wiring for the lights! Styrofoam is great, poke a hole and stuff it in!

 Depending on the time of the picture, some of these houses might have morphed. Been removed and a new one put in it's spot. The fence is from Michael's as I didn't think Dept 56 had one that would not obstruct the view.

I also purchased the tree from Michael's, it's lit and I added the red balls. 

 I had purchased all the market stalls for a Christkindle Markt and I knew I wanted the Christmas market to be front and center. It's the one Christmas tradition I miss the most from Germany. 

 There is always a main entrance to the market and I really wanted to make something since I could not find anything that would work. Two spools and some greenery and lights later, the entrance came to life. In this picture the entrance still has a tree, in the next the tree was traded for a fountain.

The fountain lights up, but since it was a later addition, it missed getting power. 

 Still moving right, there is a beer hall with an outdoor seating area. In Europe, you will find people sitting outside throughout the year.  Just passed the beergarden you get a glimpse of the trolley that is in H gauge and much better suited to the village pieces. I needed to choose something that didn't need a circle track but instead would go back and forth. This fit the bill. 
I could not find a Dept 56 one, so I searched for other options. Lionel makes one. The one I chose is a Bachman. One day I might get the Lionel because you can give station calls that you record.

I made the umbrellas out of party umbrellas. These had a longer stem so they worked fine. I covered the tops with fabric. Perfect spot for the beer drinker and barmaid!


I found the dog digging in the trashcan at Michael's and added a new label in German. 

We are now entering one of my favorite parts of the village. The first trip my husband and I went on together was to Vail. Although I was disappointed as everyone had hyped it to be a little Germany, it was obvious these poor souls had never been. I do so love Vail, but a little Germany it is not. This section reminds of Vail with it's covered bridge, stream and timbered buildings.

 Here you can see the pattern of the cobblestone. It was all punched into the styrofoam insulation sheets with the eraser end of a pencil (eraser removed) after the shape was bent into the eraser holder. I then painted and aged with craft paints.

 I found the Kiosk (round thing with placards on it between the fence and bench) and created some German placards and glued them on for a more authentic touch. 

Towards the back is the Grist mill.

After many youtube videos and lots of debating, I did go ahead and carve out the river bed. Luckily I practiced first as you must line the carved out shell with a plaster compound, otherwise the liquid resin for the river will seep right through your hole-y styrofoam! Food coloring provides the color in the resin. 

Man-made river in the front which goes under the covered bridge and emerged on the back side to a
Dept 56 stream in which a man is fishing in the middle of winter! Obviously he doesn't know that trout aren't biting at this time. But we are fisherpeople so that piece went in as well.

 Moving past the river to the right are the mountains, with a ranger station, a castle , yet one more church, and some more fun accessories. There are several levels in this section. The big brown mountain is Dept 56 but the remainder are all me-made.

 Deer, skateboarders and skiers are all represented here. The people sitting around the bonfire are not Dept 56 (I mix freely) and remind me of the best Christmas Eve ever at our mountain cabin with friends)

 Our son Michael gave me this Old Michael's church soon after our house fire. I use it every Christmas and although it was a bit out of place in this setting, I left it until....

 Couldn't resist the bears in the trashcan!

And then the church morphed! Dept 56 came out with this one and I love it. So it had to be placed into the village. Old Michael's church was on display in the entry.

I apologize for all the pictures, but I wanted to make sure that each section got it's due process and was well represented. I hope you enjoyed the time you spent here and have been inspired to take our your village and bring it to life.


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