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Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Someday daughter, all this will be yours!

Have you ever seen Monty Python and the Holy Grail? There's a scene where a king has his arm around his son, points out the window at his lands, and says in an amazing Cockney accent, "Someday son, aaaaallll this will be yours." And the son replies, "What? The curtains?"

That son has his mind in the right place! Land is very nice of course, but decorative arts are worth passing down as well!

My sweet Emma is 13 today. The lovely antique Royal Cauldon plates on this table are part of her birthday present from me. She loves gray. She doesn't always love gray on plates, though. I found these on eBay a few months ago and inquired if she liked them. She said she loved them, but alas, they were no longer available, (because I had already bought them!)

She also really loves my pink glassware. I put this tablescape together to present her plates as a surprise. It probably isn't as great as some of her other birthday presents, but she was very happy with this gift. Bless her heart, where will she put all of this as a young college graduate in her first house!


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Monday, June 27, 2011

Birthday Cake for Breakfast!

My oldest grandchild and fellow blogger, Emma, turns 13 in a this week. What a remarkable and centered person she is. Her parents have done an incredible job of raising her and I cannot possibly put into words the joy that she has brought into my life. From the moment that she was born and made me a grandmother, we have had a wonderful bond.

We all should have guessed that she would eventually be a tablescaper. In this photo, she has just reached out and grabbed this Waterford “Lismore” goblet. I had returned from a trip to Bermuda and brought the glass to her mother, as a gift. Emma, obviously, appreciated the finer things from a very young age!

We have had some fun times together on Emma’s birthday. Two years ago, she and I spent the night at a fancy hotel in Atlanta and shopped, until we dropped at Lenox Square. Last year, we were in London with her mother and two siblings. She celebrated on her birthday with a party at the London Hard Rock Cafe. This photo was taken the same day, when we were shopping at Harrod’s.
On the eve of many of her birthdays, Emma has chosen to spend the night with me and we have a great tradition of eating birthday cake for breakfast! Once, again, this year we will enjoy a spend-the-night party and enjoy that special treat.
We usually cook breakfast together and Emma wants to eat her first birthday meal of the day on my screened-in porch. She loves to experiment with food coloring and our food always ends up looking very different, than when we start.

In this photo of her 7th birthday morning breakfast, you might wonder what that dark glob is on our plates – purple colored grits, of course! Immediately, after blowing out the candles, she wanted to head for the porch.

Since, this birthday is such an important one, I decided to make it even more special by dressing up the table with a few elegant touches.

Flintridge “San Marino” china in her favorite color, gray

Pearl napkin rings in honor of her birth stone

I used flatware that was passed down from my grandmother. The birthday girl and I both got the Emma in our names from her. All three of us have June birthdays and Emma and my grandmother share the same birthday.

A dessert fork for the birthday cake, after our meal

The Syracuse “Wayne” coffee cups will be used for coffee and hot chocolate. The hot chocolate, topped with lots of marshmallows (yes, even in the summer!), is an essential part of this annual meal.
After many, many months of being ill, Emma has been pronounce “well”. How wonderful to be feeling so much better in time to experience the beginning of the magical teen-age years!
Happy Birthday, dear girl – I am so blessed to have you in my life.

Three generations of tablescapers on Emma’s second birthday.

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Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Blog Disasters

Have you ever had the perfect table setting in your head and thought you had everything you needed to set the table only to realize that you did not? This happens to me frequently and napkins are usually my nemeses! I have lots of different napkins and always think that I can just pull some out at the last minute. However, I have been wrong so many times that you would think that I would learn to plan ahead much better!

This blog is a prime example. I have been planning it for quite a while. I had these interesting Mikasa “Coq D’Oro” plates and thought that I could make a cute breakfast table setting with them.

A green tablecloth went on the table first.

I have ruffled green and gold placemats, so I knew that I could use one of those colors with the plates. I decided on the gold ones.

Green glassware was no problem. I have lots of Fostoria “Mesa” in an olive green color that I chose for my everyday glasses, when I married.

I recently bought these small glasses that I will use for juice on one of my shopping trips to the Goodwill thrift store. I would just like to say that I love shopping there! I always find something interesting to buy.

The rooster centerpiece was a find on the shopping website “Joss & Main”. The first one that I purchased arrived broken and the customer service was incredible! Dealing with Karen there was such a pleasure and it was no time before she had a replacement sent, which arrived in perfect condition.

I searched for a while for rooster napkin rings. I found these awesome ones online at Bed, Bath and Beyond.
All of the pieces were ready. As I added the different layers, I was feeling really good about how the table was beginning to take shape.

Then, it happened! After pulling out napkin, after napkin, I realized that nothing looked just right! My yellow ones were too yellow. The green ones were not olive enough. The red ones did not have enough pink in them. The rose ones were too pink. The white ones did not look right with the centerpiece, which has cream on it. Noooooooo, not again!!!
I was in a hurry and did not have time to spend all afternoon shopping for the perfect napkins, so I settled for ecru ones. They are definitely not what I wanted, but sometimes we just have to settle for what we already have. “The real world” is what my husband calls it – facing the reality that we cannot always have or even find exactly what we want.
Good lesson to learn, but next time I think I will buy the napkins first and plan the whole table setting around them!!

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Thursday, June 16, 2011

"Brothers in Clay"

On Father’s Day this year, I am honoring my father’s love of history. I developed a love of genealogy, travel, and anything handmade by listening to him talk about his love of these things. Traveling for him was always about the historical significance of any place that he visited. We would stop and read historical markers and traipse through cemeteries reading headstones wherever we went.

Today, I am featuring two of his prize possessions – pottery jugs.

I have set the table by using the jugs as the centerpieces.

The first jug was made for him in Cartersville, Georgia in 1940 by William Joseph (W.J.) Gordy at his Georgia Art Pottery studio. It may be the only one of its kind in existence, since my father insisted on having a top made for the jug.

My father grew up in the mountains of northern Alabama and I always smile, when I look at the second jug. It is a stoneware whiskey jug that was probably used for “moonshine”. Since my dad had at least one older relative that made such concoctions, he was probably familiar with these jugs in his youth. I do not remember where he acquired this jug, but I think it was in an old house, possibly in Georgia. It is not marked and is glazed only on the top, because the contents stayed cooler in an unglazed jug.

The third piece of pottery in the center of the table is a contemporary one. It was made by my niece-in-law’s husband. He gave it to me, since he knew that I loved pottery. I have been collecting, since the 1970s. I love this piece and I think it looks wonderful with the older pieces. Thanks, Matt!
Two of the other pieces of pottery on the table are part of my collection.

This one was made by Jim Sockwell in the ‘70s. I purchased it at The Signature Shop in Atlanta, Georgia, which is still in business today.

The other one is a more recent piece made by the potters-in-residence at Westville near Lumpkin, Georgia. Westville is the re-creation of an 1850s town where demonstrations of crafts and cooking are usually happening, when you visit. My husband gave me this bowl as a gift.

For the table setting, I have used Oneida “Adriatic” plates, because they remind me of the look of pottery. I placed them on brown and ecru variegated placemats. Next, brown bamboo flatware was added.

Elrene “Carmella” napkins were place in copper beaded napkin rings (for just a bit of bling!).
Sweet iced tea (my husband’s favorite) is being served in my Mikasa “Ariana” iced beverage glasses.

The four adult coffee drinkers will drink their after dinner coffee from pottery mugs made by W.J. Gordy’s brother, D. X. Gordy, who worked in Primrose, Georgia. Primrose is in very close to where I lived as a young child. These mugs were given to me by my mother-in-law. I am fortunate to have many generous people in my life!

If you would like to know more about the rich tradition of pottery making in Georgia, including the Gordy family and many of the other family potters, you can read Brothers in Clay by John A. Burrison. I gave this copy to my dad many years ago and my sister in an incredible act of generosity gave it back to me, along with the two jugs that I have used in this blog. Thank you, sis, from the bottom of my heart!!

I will leave you with a few more pieces of pottery that have been hand made by friends of mine, Huey and Anne Wheeler of Dawson, Georgia. They no longer have a website, but are listed on Facebook under “Folk Pottery by Huey and Anne Wheeler”. They make wonderful face jugs and sculpted lamp bases, among other pieces.

I hope all of you fathers have a wonderful Father’s Day this year and I hope that you realize the influence that you have on your children. I know my father did!

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