Thursday, June 5, 2014

Spring Fling at Church

Well - my kitchen and butler's pantry renovation is progressing, but I still don't have my dining room back. This is really driving my inner tablescaper crazy!!! To keep in practice and keep my blog alive, I am going to share pictures of an event from my church that was held in April.

We have a luncheon to honor the older members of our church each spring which we call the Spring Fling. This year I was the chairman of the event. Our committee decided our theme would be "Old Fashioned Southern Dinner." We prepared ten tables for eight.

We chose the pretty Springy yellow tablecloths that the church had and colorful paper place mats at each seat. I got a mixture of colorful napkins with white stripes from Target and made faux daffodil napkin rings. I bought stems of daffodils from Michaels and used a wire cutter to take them apart. Then I wrapped each mini-stem around my finger to make a napkin ring.

For a touch of whimsy, we put a colorful pattered drink straw (also from Target) at each place. Since it was Spring, we had lots of flowers from our yards, which I supplemented with a few grocery store bouquets. One of the officers of our church is a wonderfully talented floral arranger and she did our centerpieces. We surrounded each centerpiece with magnolia leaves, of course! We used the church's porcelain plates and stainless. Some on my committee wanted to use paper and plastic, but two of us insisted on using "real" plates and flatware and honestly, the clean-up was not that bad!

Here is the centerpiece for our dessert table.

  Our menu was fried chicken, butter beans, sweet potato casserole, fresh baked biscuits served with butter and strawberry jam and grape jelly. All of the officers of the church made either deviled eggs or dessert and some of us made both!

We had enough deviled egg plates to have one at each table. Here are two of mine. When I was in college and moved to an apartment, my grandmother made sure we had a deviled egg plate. A few months later, she gave me another deviled egg plate for my apartment. I told her that was sweet, but that we already had one plate. I'll never forget her pearl of wisdom - "You can NEVER have too many deviled egg plates!"  Words I have lived by!!!

The Spring Fling was a BIG success! Everyone had a good time - the tables looked pretty, the food was delicious, but the fun and fellowship was the best part!

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Eat in the Street - Old West Style

My dining room is still out of commision (along with the kitchen, butler's pantry and sunroom), but I'm beginning to see some light at the end of the tunnel! Meanwhile, here is a table I helped decorate with two of my friends!

Our Arts Council has a fundraiser where they blocked off a street and you could literally "Eat in the Street." Every table picked a theme and ours was The Old West.

We used a red and white checked tablecloth and red and blue bandanas for napkins and, of course, mason jars for our glasses.

One of my friends cut daisies from her yard and put a vase in a boot for our centerpiece. We used horseshoes and a branding iron to continue the theme.

We dressed to match the Western Theme and had Barbeque, Texas Caviar and Cornbread among other treats. It was really a fun event! Can't wait until next year!

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Happy Royal Anniversary!

In honor of The Duke and Duchess of  Cambridge's 3rd Anniversary, I am sharing the table my daughter Emily and I did in honor of their wedding. I will be sharing it on Between Naps on the Porch for Tablescape Thursday.


Since we couldn't find a sapphire blue tablecloth, we started with a white tablecloth and used blue fabric to make a runner. Then we added red and white ribbons to form a Union Jack design. For the centerpiece, we pulled out the "crown jewels" and put them in an apothecary jar which we topped with a tiara.



Then we surrounded the jar with various British and Royal Wedding symbols.




For each place setting, we used a red place mat with a golden charger topped with a Spode Blue Italian (which is really very British) dinner plate. I used Oneida Wordsworth flatware and three different types of stemware.



On each white napkin with a gold napkin ring, I put a Royal Wedding pin. There are several different styles.






Here is the whole table.




Happy Anniversary William and Kate!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Spode Blue Italian

When I started blogging in 2009, I didn't have any blue and white china. I drooled over my blogging friends blue and white dishes for a year until I couldn't stand it! For my birthday in 2010, I started collecting Spode Blue Italian.

The Italian Pattern was introduced by Spode in 1816 and was an immediate success. It has remained popular for almost 200 years! The scene in the middle is a bit of a mystery, but it definitely has classical origins. The border has a Chinese influence.

I found a wonderful offer for 4 dinner plates, 4 salad plates and 4 mugs when I started this pattern. 

Then I started getting bowls next.

I want to get the tea cups and saucers next - and of course the tea pot!

I love the historical look and the easy care/microwave-safe properties!

I've combined this with my Spode Tower Pink for a Patriotic Look HERE.

And it got the ROYAL (wedding) treatment HERE.

And it even looks good in autumn HERE!

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Evesham Gold - My Wedding China

Last week I mentioned that I already had a full service for 12 of Formal China before I got married. You can see that china HERE. So when I got engaged, my mother and I went to Wagoner's Jewelry Store to pick my patterns. She told me not to pick another formal pattern, but just pick a nice everyday pattern. I chose Royal Worcester Evesham and my fiancé approved.

Royal Worcester introduced the Evesham pattern in 1961. My mother started getting pieces of this in the late 60's/early 70's, so it was a pattern I was very familiar with. The pieces are covered with fruits and vegetables, and it is named after a town and township in central England which is known for market farming.

In 1982, I thought this would be a great everyday pattern - pretty, but not too fussy or fancy. But, notice the gold rim? I had no idea what was about to hit kitchens all over America!

That's right - Microwaves!

And as we all know, you can't microwave plates or mugs with gold on them! Once I got a microwave, I used plastic or glass dishes to microwave on and put the food on the Evesham plates. My girls grew up knowing these rules and we never had a problem. 
Royal Worcester introduced a new type of Evesham called Evesham Vale which had a green, mircrowave-safe rim. So, the Evesham I had was renamed Evesham Gold.

One of the things I have always loved about this pattern is that it was available on lots of serving pieces. And since I was from a small town and had a big wedding I got LOTS of serving pieces which have graced my corner cabinets through the years! 

Here is a picture of several serving pieces on my buffet. Notice the ears of corn on the Bean Pot.

And here is the smaller quiche dish

I love that each piece has a different combination of fruits and vegetables.

After 20 years of marriage, I picked a new microwave-safe everyday pattern, Pink Tower, which I blogged about HERE. But my older daughter tells me it always makes her happy to eat on Evesham since it reminds her of her childhood!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Royal Doulton Canton - my "good" china

This week I will tell you about my connection to Royal Doulton Canton, which I call my "good" china. When I was a Senior in college my grandmother told me to pick out a "good" china pattern, so she wouldn't just be buying my "junk" for birthdays and Christmas. I went to Wagoner's Jewelry Store in my hometown and just fell in love with this pattern. I've always been a pink loving, girly-girl and I didn't have to think about tablecloths or wallpaper or would my husband like it.

True to the name Canton, the Oriental influence is clear with the peonies and twisted branches and asymmetrical design. According to Replacements, this pattern was made from 1978 to 1996.

I picked this pattern out when I was 20 and by the time I got married at 24 I already had a full set of 12, so I didn't register this as my formal china at the jewelry store. But I didn't use this china until I got married, so I still consider it my wedding china as you can see from this earlier blog post, 30th Anniversary Party.

Here are some closeup views.

When I consider that I chose this in about 10 minutes YEARS ago with no thought to practicality, it is amazing that I still love it! I ended up having two daughters and we had pink birthday and tea parties on this. My dining room now has an Oriental theme with cherry blossoms on crooked branches and various shades of pink and red, so this china looks right at home! You can see photos of my dining room wallpaper HERE.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Spode Pink Tower China and the Carmen Connection

Since my dining room is still out of commission because of a burst water pipe and probably will be for 2 or 3 months longer, I have decided to do a series of blog posts about my various china patterns.

Today I just want to share a little about one of my favorite china patterns, Spode Pink Tower. It is sometimes called Spode Tower Pink, which, I think, is because originally it was offered in different colors. The pattern name was Spode Tower and the descriptive color name came after. But the name on the back of my plates says Pink Tower, so that's what I am calling it!

The design in the center is the Bridge of Salaro, near Rome as it was depicted in Views of Rome and its Vicinity, published c. 1796-1798. Spode first introduced the Tower pattern in 1814. In 1894, it was printed on the Gadroon Shape. According to the Spode History site, a pink version of the Tower pattern was released for American markets about 1923. 

It must have been around this time that it caught my grandmother Carmen's eye. She was married in 1915 and this was her china pattern. My mother Carmen did not inherit any of it from her mother, so she started collecting this pattern for herself. Then in 2002 for my 20th anniversary, I started collecting this pattern. My full name is Carmen Jewel, although I have always just gone by Jewel. 

I love the special details like the gadrooned (which means ornamentally notched) edge.

I also love the subtly scalloped shape of the plates and the creamy color with the red/pink designs. The border also features cherry blossoms, which are also in my dining room wallpaper. 

Unfortunately, Spode's factory at Stokes-on-Trent closed in 2009 and this pattern was was discontinued,  but it is still available on eBay and at Replacements.

So who knows, maybe sometime in the future my daughter Carmen will start collecting it. History has been known to repeat itself!

More of the history is on this wonderful blog by the former curator of the Spode Museum. SPODE TOWER

I will be sharing this with Tablescape Thursday at Between Naps on the Porch.