Since we’re all going to be busy these next few days, I thought I’d wait until after Thanksgiving to draw the name of our lucky winner and make sure everyone has had time to sign up for our Giveaways (there are two, scroll down to next post to read about them) ~ this allows everyone to BE the actual winner for a little bit longer. Until the bitter truth is revealed by our in-house bitter-truth revealer, Vanna, when she draws the winning name. Until then, maybe a blog filled with photos of all kinds of holiday decorating? And MUSICA?
But first off, speaking of honey. Look at us, we’ve got almost 1800 comments on the last post and everyone of them is a pure jewel.♥ If you ever feel sad about the world, which is easy to do these days, read the comments on this blog and it will cheer you up. I sit here and cry when I read your words of encouragement and kindness ~ you’ll never know ~ and when I read that you’re waiting for a tornado to pass, that you’re raising three rowdy boys and a husband, that you have Chinese friends, or you are Chinese, that you are from everywhere, Mexico, Germany, England, The Netherlands, that you have tea parties for your girlfriends and read to your moms. You are true Fairy Tale girls, getting through surgery, new knees and chemotherapy; nursing, celebrating and remembering loved ones, sharing the things that make you feel grateful, cuddling your pets and your children, watching old movies for strength (Little Women makes the MOST wonderful background sounds while you are rolling out pie crust btw), laughing about how your daughters race to change the calendar page each month. You stop mopping the floor to read Willard, you love Gingerbread tea, and you send blessings to each OTHER ~ yes, you do that ~ you even talk Arf and Arfy to me now. Your Christmas cookbooks have magazine articles tucked into them, you love Louisa May Alcott, you love wearing your elf charm with the card that says: Go. Be. Love. The World Needs You. And that’s just the beginning of the beauty of YOU.♥ Thank you so so SO much. You reaffirm my forever belief that the world is filled with wonderful, good-hearted, loving people. If you need any reaffirming yourself, I encourage you to read these comments. And leave one yourself, if you haven’t already. All comments from these two posts will be entered into the drawing. Oh yes, and thank you from the bottom of my pea pickin’ heart. I wob you too.
Now, down to business Girlfriends: let’s talk about tablecloths and silverware, place cards and table settings, shall we? (Would like to Un-invent spell check, so far we have table scares and silver wipes.)
Here is my dining room on a relatively calm day. No big projects on the table, but you can see it’s the holidays because I have paperwhites on the window sills. The calm before the storm.
This was a table setting for New Year’s Eve a few years back . . . champagne corks for place cards . . . and old books, and old glassware I’ve collected over the years.
And here I am thinking about tablecloths and bread baskets . . .(for some reason I’ve been singing this song all week, now it will be your turn!)
And here is Girl Kitty trying out the tablecloth . . . Oh yes, I have lots of help! Don’t think I do any of this all by myself.
And here is the table set for Thanksgiving. I use all our mix-and-match smaller chairs in order to get more people around the table . . . two at each end, so we can serve 14 here. I like it best when people are a little bit squashed together. The party is more lively that way! Secrets can be told! And little bouquets, all the way down the table, so no one has to peer through flowers.
You all know what a china and linen fiend I am, just like so many of you! It’s the never-ending quest for beauty. I love setting the table more than I love cooking! The cooking is the support system for the table setting!
The painting is the support system for the cooking. It’s all tied together.♥
We have three “eating places” inside the house. This table is in the living room, for when it’s pouring snow and when we want to have a small cozy dinner in front of a crackling fire.
Here it is, all draped and ready, pillows on the chairs for a comfy dining experience. You’ll note that I don’t really care if everything matches perfectly. The red tablecloth on the bottom, by the way, is an old bedspread.
Here we are in the kitchen for a casual dinner and no tablecloth, with napkins that don’t have to be ironed. But the candles are lit, the cute bread basket is there, the mugs I got years ago at Dansk in Carmel, the iron candle sticks I found in an antique store, and the heavy pottery pieces I bought way back when, done by Santa Margarita (CA) artist Paula Teplitz in the 1970s. You wouldn’t believe how I would haunt craft shows looking for her work. I found everything one piece at a time. Each is different and all depict animals and nature.
Oh my! I just decided to Google her and see if she was still around. And she is! Go here and “like” Paula . . . this will be a total surprise for her! I don’t think she knows how much I loved her things and still do. ♥
I still set the table with Paula’s creations. Or bake pies in them.
Speaking of setting the table ~ This is how my grandmother taught me to do it at Thanksgiving when I was little, except in those days it was much simpler, only one fork, not two, and one glass and the one glass was for MILK (mmmm, a big glass of ice cold milk? YUM! I can hear the eeeewes from here). And the napkin goes on the left.
Sometimes I get so excited to take the picture, I do it before I should. Here I’ve already lit the candles (on the bedspread) while I’m trying out glasses. Ignore the napkin placement, it doesn’t stay that way . . . thank you.
See? Sooner or later I do figure out where the napkin goes! I love a romantic, old-fashioned table, one that brings back memories we’ve maybe never even had.
You’ve probably noticed, candlelight makes everything more beautiful. BTW, be sure to take photos of your table. I’m often so busy I forget, and now I wish I had them all! (See Girl Kitty, under the table?)
Candlelight puts a twinkle on everything at the table including into the eyes of the people you love. And of course, don’t forget the MUSICA.
And of course, I’m a big one for quotes, no matter where I am!
I think books make the MOST interesting table decorations and use them all the time, this is a set of Shakespeare we found in an antique store (I must sound like a broken record, but the truth is we rarely buy anything new). The corks are from other memorable parties. I’ll tell you about those leather baby shoes in my new book Martha’s Vineyard Isle of Dreams . . . I found them in my first house, they’re part of a magical mystery. You realize that I’ve told you all about what happened before I went to Martha’s Vineyard, and lots about after I got here in my books and on my blog, but not very much about the five interesting years after I first arrived on the Island in 1982, totally unprepared for pretty much everything, and until I met Joe in 1987. We’re about to change all of that. In words and pictures.
Oops, books. As decor. Yes . . .
Thanksgiving is a good time to evoke memories with cookbooks and an old recipe box. Little bowls of faux fruit and wooden spoons, why not? As I always say, shop the house for table decor.
This romantic setting was for a Valentine’s Day party.
All books work: Christmas books, old fairy tale books, garden books, books on tea, bird books, children’s books, books of poetry, wildflower books, books by favorite authors, even songbooks ~ all make wonderful companions at the dinner table.
We use this old set of Charles Dickens for Christmas (plus some of Joe’s childhood books).
Old Christmas books are perfect in front of the fire for a Christmas Tea. You can see them here, emitting comfort from their very presence.
They also fit well with my small collection of house candles . . . because ♥ home is where my heart is.♥
And now? Place cards . . . just a few little easy ideas . . . because place cards are a very nice thing to have. That way people know where to go, no bumbling around the table. Something I did once for a buffet but unfortunately did not take pictures of: I enlarged cute and funny pictures of all the guests on my copier and used them for place mats instead of place cards. When they came to the table with their filled plates, they knew just where to go.
So easy if you are a champagne-cork saver . . . This way all your past memories join with the ones you’ll be making at the dinner table.
They almost make themselves. I just used scissors with a decorative edge (from Michaels Crafts) to cut out the cards and the wires on the corks did the rest of the work.
Leaves, from the yard. Beyond easy, almost cheating. I used a whiteout pen to write Joe’s name on this nice thick rhododendron leaf.
And they can be small and simple . . . A watercolor brush and readable handwriting is all you need for this little card. I try to write the names big enough and dark enough so people can see them without their glasses!
Now of course, you need the fastest way possible to shine up the silver, right? You really don’t feel like sitting there all day polishing it piece by piece . . . so here’s what you do. (Click and be amazed.)
And maybe your wooden spoons are dried out and almost splintery looking? Can’t have that. So easy to keep them dark and buttery . . . Use a pasty brush to coat the wood with mineral oil ~ let it soak in and voila! You can read more about your wooden things HERE. P.S. My dad carved the Sue spoon.♥
Most of the time, my house is decorated rather simply, unless it’s the holidays or we are having a party. The living room, in real life, is almost naked.
I change pillows and quilts for the season and leave room for flowers. It’s a little like a movie set.
Because flowers change everything.They are really the only decoration you need. Maybe some nice votives too.
A little bouquet here and there cheers everything up, don’t you think?
My bread basket cheers me up too. I found it at a flea market, zeroed in on it, mine, so mine. It is the little things! Now, don’t think you have to do ALL of this, or even any of it. Mostly, you know, it’s just about the gravy. And having fun. And hugging the people you love. Now, a couple of last things before I go, something you should all be aware of ~ There are:
And let’s talk about Black Friday, which is the perfect day for a stroll in nature. . .and if not a stroll, then perhaps a little sit. How they ever made the day after Thanksgiving dedicated to spending money I will never understand. So, turn your Black Friday into Earth Green . . .
This is the perfect place to pray for our world because even the smallest voice can be heard from here. How can people fight over television sets in discount stores when there is this?
and this ~
XOXO With love forever from me to you . . .from this House of Creativity to yours . . . now about to celebrate its 166th Thanksgiving.♥