Wednesday, November 22, 2017


Right place, right time 
Tomorrow is the ultimate day of thanks for
most Americans. We gather to acknowledge
how truly blessed we are. This year we're
dishing it out once again. So I thought I'd
share some inspiration from tables past.
And hopefully inspire a perfect setting for
your gathering of kindred spirits. It doesn't
have to be fancy. All that's required is a bit
of creativity and a touch of extra effort. The
table shown right wasn't for Thanksgiving.
However it was an autumnal dinner and all
we did was pile some pumpkins in the center.
The result quite charming and beyond easy.

Past present 
All I do is mix and match. I often start from the
cloth up. Thanksgiving 2013 was a jacquard in
the classic blue willow pattern. Every dinner
plate was a different Spode blue/white transfer
pattern - all dishwasher safe! The salad plates
were antique Tea Leaf ironstone - once in just
about every kitchen in America. The bread and
butters - mid-century Wedgwood Countryside.
Tall stems were Heisey Old Williamsburg in
"nut brown" (you'll see them again.) And the
tumblers were handblown Italian. Candlesticks
from my Mother. Hand embroidered napkins
once part of my great grandmother's trousseau.
A la shopping cart
Thus what looks decadent  is a compilation of
bargains and family heirlooms. The Spode was
purchased by my Mother at an outlet years ago.
The silver was inherited from my Aunt Dot. The
balance of the table was purchased on e-bay at
bargain prices. The flowers all came from our
local grocer. One hue unifying a rather disparate
bunch into a cohesive whole. Take a look... it's
just mums, sunflowers, and roses! Two types of
pears pull it together along with some gourds
grown in Frank's garden. Plus a few nuts strewn
across the table to fill in the gaps. It's all easy,
affordable, and fun! Trust me - you can do it!

Tabula rasa
Thanksgiving 2014 was our first in our new
old house. While we hosted eleven that year,
our new antique table is wide enough to seat
two on each end if needed. Thus with all of
the leaves we can easily seat eighteen at one
time. The tablecloth is banquet sized damask
grabbed at a store closing sale in Dallas. The
monogrammed napkins an estate sale find.
Dinner plates are Spode Imperial D'or. Those
Cream soups - Adams Titian Ware in Royal
Ivory. The water glasses are Yeoward, Wines
Val St Lambert Gondole. Every single dish
and glass shown were purchased on e-bay.
The fruit of one's labor
As you can see, I recycled several key elements
from the year prior for this year's centerpiece.
Little is easier than going nuts. The flowers are
a mix of white and ivory grocer roses in varying
sizes. For a larger table such as this I like using
two pairs of candlesticks. By Thomas O'Brien,
they were a gift from Frank years ago. Candles
were hand dipped by a local from beeswax and
deer tallow. Once again I used pears. This time
adding grapes. Placed on a pair of repurposed
cake stands on either end. Both which I bagged
years ago at Antique Acres on the edge of town
for next to nothing! It's easier than you think!
Home plate
Our 2015 Thanksgiving table started with these
fabulous Dorothy Thorpe plates. I first spied
them at Bergdorf Goodman for a fortune. Then
oh so slowly built up a set via e-bay for a song.
Finding a tablecloth that worked with this set
took years. Finally Williams Sonoma came to
my rescue! My beloved nut brown stems made
a repeat appearance. Along with vintage fifties
Imperial Glass Provincial goblets in amber.
Aunt Dorothea's Holmes & Edwards silver is
the Century pattern. Over the years I've added
pieces at bargain prices. Now we've got enough
place settings to fork it over to a crowd!
Highs and lows
Once again I gathered grocery store roses in
varying sizes of orange hues. Somehow I've
never tired of such a classic, easy, and oh so
affordable centerpiece. On either end I used
golden toned candlesticks from all around the
house. Each a different size while holding a
mix of multi-toned and height tapers. While
perception may be reality, you needn't spend
a million to set a posh table. Consider that 24
carat Pickard leaf dish. Anyone can purchase
one at Bergdorf Goodman for four hundred
dollars. Or grab an exact match on e-bay for
thirty dollars or so. So buy two or three!

Go with the Flo
This year I wanted to use one of my favorite
Spode patterns - "Florence." My intention is
to be as autumnal as possible given our fall
foliage in New York was weak due to warm
weather. The plates pop on this dark brown
and red jacquard. Once again you'll see those
Heisey and Imperial stems back into service.
And finally, after a decade of searching I'm
able to add a second pair of Val St. Lambert
amber candlesticks to the mix. It's rather
dramatic and yet all too familiar. Just like
the comfort food on the menu this table is
all about HOME SWEET HOME!
Red alert
Frankly I'm struggling. I wanted tones of red and
gold hued posies. However our grocer had hardly
any flowers besides bad carnations. So once again
I've added some fruit to my labor. Somehow red
apples, pomegranates, and golden pears pull it all
together. However it's missing something beyond
important. Some turkey figurines passed down by
Frank's dearly departed Mother. Sadly I can't find
said reminders of how blessed we were to have
Pearl in our lives. So today I'll search the closets
and cabinets. And possibly the grocer to see if any
golden floral goodies arrived on the truck. Maybe
this Thanksgiving will be all about hunt and peck!

There's always room for more!
One can never have enough of a good thing.
While I continue to try to downsize, there
are still too many beautiful things out there.
Fortunately most of what I crave are rare
commodities. Hence while I want to set my
table with the antique Mason's ironstone
pattern shown above, it may take almost a
lifetime to assemble a set. Of course if you
have money to burn you can probably buy
a set at James Robinson on Park Avenue.
I'm currently stalking Spode "Greek" as set
upon Carolyn Roehm's table (left). Rarer
than rare - don't worry - I'm working on it.
Today, tomorrow, and forever
There is no doubt that I've got a problem. On our
right is my latest conquest. Sunday I purchased a
set for twelve of this treasure at auction. Now I
can't wait to set a table with my new best friend!
Ultimately isn't it all about friends and family?!
What better way to show you care than treating
them royally? Life is short thus those who sit at
our table come and go. Recycling their treasures
insures they join in on the fun. So as we sit down
tomorrow little touches will remind us of Ethel,
Pearl, Dot, Bessie, Sadie, and all who live on in
our hearts. Thanks for setting us up for success!
We couldn't have done it with out you!

Fortunately the grocers "perishable" truck arrived. So I was able to add some more golden tones into the arrangement. I think it looks more autumnal! Still searching for the turkeys however... GOBBLE GOBBLE!