Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Texas Independence Day

My good friend Michele reminded me that it was time to set a table to celebrate Texas Independence Day on March 2nd, so I got busy.  For you non-Texans, that date marks the 177th anniversary of Texas' declaration of independence from Mexico.  March 2nd was also Sam Houston's birthdate, and it is celebrated along with independence as a state holiday.  Some state workers get the day off, I understand, and there are festivals in many towns and cities.  As I've mentioned before, I'm a native of Arkansas, but we have lived here longer than in any other state, so I guess I can claim to be a Texan now, too.

The table began with the same melamine salad plates I used for my table two years ago, found on sale at HEB, our beloved Texas grocery chain.  I wonder if other states sell similar plates, or if this is a Texas thing.  Things ARE different here!  I layered the salad plate with a white dinner plate and red luncheon plate.
I chose a blue and white tablecloth as a backdrop for the placesetting. 
I tried red glassware and a different blue pattern, but I decided this one looked best.  The four goblets were a gift from Marigene who blogs In the Middle of Nowhere.  After I admired her set, she insisted they were "everywhere" in thrift stores in her area and very kindly sent me some.  Thanks again, Marigene! 
Alas, it's too early for our bluebonnets to bloom, but a Texas table needs them, so I made do with some faux ones in my bud vase napkin rings.  Here you can also see the pattern on the tablecloth -- I'm calling the little critters Texas mosquitoes. 
 I had just polished my silver, so decided to use it, even with melamine plates. 
More faux bluebonnets in a chippy pitcher served as an easy centerpiece. 
Here's a table view:
To carry out the theme, I made shortbread cookies from Yvonne of StoneGable's recipe in Texas shapes.  (The little ones are ten-gallon hats, if you don't recognize them!)  I wonder if the other states all have their own cookie cutters?  I know Louisiana does, because I have a set from the time we lived there.  The cookies turned out to be easy to make and delicious -- not too sweet!  I served them with Texas' own Blue Bell ice cream in cherry vanilla flavor.  Yum!
Thanks for stopping by to celebrate Texas Independence Day with me!  I will be linking to Let's Dish at Cuisine Kathleen and Tablescape Thursday at Between Naps on the Porch.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

A Silver Keepsake

While visiting blogs a couple of days ago, I ran across ANTIQUECHASE's post on succulents and silver.  I had seen this idea before -- maybe on that same blog -- but I wanted to give it a try.  I knew I had some old tarnished pieces, so went in search of a few.  The first piece I spotted was black with tarnish, so I decided to shine it up a bit.  I had tried polishing this double vegetable dish without success a year or so ago.  At one point, it had apparently been wrapped in plastic wrap -- a big no-no for silver -- and small bits were adhered to it, seemingly permanently.  BUT!  I recently discovered a great blog called Silver Magpies that gives tips for caring for silver.  As recommended, I soaked the dish in very hot water -- three times -- then used silver polish and a lot of elbow grease.  The polish recommended on Silver Magpies is Goddards, and now I can also recommend it highly!  Anyway, here is a "before" photo.
On the bottom of the dish I noticed some hallmarks, so I copied them and looked them up online.  I found an interesting website with information about hallmarks on silver holloware.  I learned that Reed and Barton used small symbols in their hallmarks to indicate which year pieces were made.  Mine had a tiny bell on it, indicating it was made in 1951. 
Engraved on the bottom is my birthdate, because the dish was a thank-you gift from my paternal grandparents to the nurse who assisted Dr. Jake (my great-uncle) and Dr. Charles (my second cousin), who presided over my birth.  (My grandfather was a jeweler and did the engraving himself.) Years later, when she was clearing out her house, she gave the dish to my parents, who passed it along to me.  Now I realize this lets everyone know EXACTLY how old I am, but it's such a great story I don't mind (much). 
 Here's an "after" photo.  Goddards worked miracles!
 I caught a panoramic view of my kitchen in the reflection -- as well as the photographer.
 Here's the dish right-side up with the lid.  Now that it's so nice and shiny -- not to mention the sentimental value -- I think I'd better find something else for my succulents!
I have two more similar dishes, both in need of polishing, so stay tuned!

I will be linking to Metamorphosis Monday at Between Naps on the Porch.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Mama's Ma Lin

Every time I go to Little Rock to visit my parents, I look forward to playing with Mama's dishes.  I have blogged about at least two different tables set with Mama's beautiful Castleton Ma Lin china, but this time I wanted to try yet another color scheme.  Here's a photo of the pattern from
I have set a spring table highlighting the yellow in the pattern . . .
and a fall table highlighting the "cinnamon" color, as Castleton described it:
This time, though, I wanted to try a spring table to bring out the pretty greens in the pattern.  I knew Mama didn't have any green table linens, so I stuffed some in my roll-aboard suitcase.  (The section designed to hold a carefully folded man's suit is perfect for placemats and napkins, if you ever need to know!)

Here's how the placesetting looked with green linens:
The placesetting included Mama's sterling, Reed and Barton's French Renaissance.  I love the shape of the salad fork's tines -- perfect for cutting through lettuce ribs or a firm pie crust.  I also included the iced tea spoon, since I'm using her iced tea glasses.
 Mama's crystal is Fostoria's Navarre, a beautiful etched pattern with the prettiest stem design.
Mama already had the perfect centerpiece on her table to go along with the blue in the Ma Lin design -- blue candles in her pair of double-light candlesticks and an arrangement of silk hydrangeas.
Here's a closer look at one of the candlesticks.  If anyone can identify the pattern, I would love to know it!  (Oops, you can see my striped shirt in the mirror as I take the photo!)
Here's one more look at the placesetting:
And one view of the table.  By the way, the mirror over the table used to hang in my grandfather's jewelry store in a small Arkansas town.  He used it to see who had entered the store as he sat at his workbench, repairing watches.
Thank you for visiting!  I will be linking to Let's Dish at Cuisine Kathleen and Tablescape Thursday at Between Naps on the Porch.

Monday, February 18, 2013

President's Day Collage

This collage is from photos taken two years ago for a President's Day table, using commemorative plates from my in-laws' collection.  Best wishes to those of you who have today off from work!  (Such is not the case for me, alas.)
Click here to see the original post.
I am linking to Mosaic Monday for the first time. 

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Pretty Primroses

When I spotted these bright primroses in Home Depot's garden area, I had to bring some home with me.  Their vivid colors and textured leaves are so appealing, especially in wintertime. 
 I particularly love the two-color varieties -- so cheery!
 Set into matching pots, the plants made an instant centerpiece for a simple Sunday lunch table.
Most Sundays my father-in-law joins my husband and me for lunch after church, so the table is set for three.  The menu is simple -- broccoli cheese soup and grilled ham and cheese sandwiches this week -- so we only needed soup bowls and bread plates.
A place set with our everyday dishes (Dansk Kristina and Florencia), glasses and flatware.
I failed to get a picture of dessert -- heart-shaped tart shells filled with a lemon curd-whipped cream mixture and topped with fresh strawberries.  We are ready for spring!
Thank you for visiting my table today! I will be linking to Let's Dish at Cuisine Kathleen this week.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Red and White

White tulips inspired this table.  They were nearly on their last legs by the time Saturday rolled around and I had some time to set a table in the breakfast area.
 I love the thin pink stripes revealed when the tulips fully opened.
It was a very gray day -- and weekend, as it turned out -- so I had to turn on the lights to take pictures.
For the placesettings I used Royal Doulton Fireglow dinner plates -- the first everyday pattern I chose back in 1972.  I topped them with plain red salad plates and added white napkins.  Little girls' bead bracelets for Valentine's Day served as napkin rings.  (I found the bracelets at Joann's and plan to give them to my granddaughter to share with her friends.) 
I found these little doily-inspired containers at Ikea and thought they'd work nicely holding votive candles.  They also had them in larger sizes, for holding potted plants, and I wish I'd bought a few of those, too!
Here's a closer look at the Fireglow pattern, which I still love today, as well as my silver, Lunt Belvedere.  We brides of the seventies were lucky that silver was relatively inexpensive back then.  I think my forks are listed at Replacements for $119 each these days! 
 One last artsy shot!
Thank you for visiting my table today!  I will be linking to:
Cuisine Kathleen's Let's Dish
Between Naps on the Porch's Tablescape Thursday