Sunday, August 29, 2010

Tabletop Thoughts of New Orleans

If you were following my blog in December, you read about my wonderful adventures in New Orleans. Today the city has been on my mind as the nation marks the fifth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. I've had this vintage souvenir tablecloth for some time, and today seemed like the perfect day to put it into use on the tabletop. I had a hard time, however, deciding how to set the table. New Orleans is a place to be celebrated, but today's remembrance is of course bittersweet. Many lives were lost to the storm, and many victims were treated with far less dignity than the minimum standard that our society should demand for all of our members. I settled on a tablescape for one.

The HLCCA polka dot plates are festive in the best tradition of a New Orleans celebration.

Manhattan Depression glass, vintage Oneida Deauville silver plate flatware and post-86 Fiesta dinnerware in pearl gray, scarlet and evergreen compliment the dots.

The paper flowers were made in New Orleans by my friend David for the HLCCA conference.

I decided that a placesetting for one was most appropriate, because this partially full table reflects the current state of the city. A lot has been done to recover, but many residents have not yet returned. We can drink a toast to what has been accomplished, but let's not pause too long, because much remains to be done!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

My Kind of Activist

Do you know the significance of August 26? Why it's the day that the 19th Amendment to the United States Constitution became law in 1920, allowing women to vote! This week's Tablescape Thursday at Between Naps On The Porch is the perfect time to pay homage to a suffragette who really knew how to tablescape for the sake of her cause.

Does this tea for one look inviting to you? Imagine an entire table set with these special "Votes for Women" dishes. Mrs. Alva Belmont commissioned these dishes for an awareness raising luncheon she held at her Newport, RI mansion.

Reproductions of the dishes as well as the little ornaments featured here can be found at the shop of the Preservation Society of Newport County.

I paired the ornaments with a sterling demitasse spoon that belonged to my great grandmother.

Her monogram is on the back.

I wonder what she thought about on August 26, 1920? Did she drink a cup of tea in celebration of the vote for women?

She was probably very occupied with her young family that would eventually include 12 children. Perhaps she did not have time to reflect on that day, but she certainly raised strong women who continued her tradition of leadership in their family and in their communities.

I hope this tabletop in miniature gave you a pleasant pause in the day to think about the women in your life and this important milestone in our history. Thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

A Table Full of Veggies!

What a wonderful time of year for the tabletop! An abundance of fresh vegetables is pouring in from the garden and the farm stand. This vintage victory garden tablecloth sets a perfect stage for enjoying summer's bounty!

These cloths were popular during the World War II years to promote and celebrate home gardening for the war effort. I think this cloth can still inspire a green thumb and whet your appetite for a fresh-picked feast.

Anthropomorphic veggie salt and peppershakers from the 50's and 60's make sure that you are cleaning your plate...

Your plates are post-86 Fiesta dinnerware in cinnabar and vintage Riviera pieces in green, red, ivory and yellow.

Your napkin is a modern vegetable print paired with a Crate and Barrel napkin ring that's reminiscent of Bakelite.

Your glassware is vintage Anchor Hocking Rainbow.

Bakelite flatware completes the table.

A lid-less Riviera syrup pitcher serves as a creamer.

I hope you're ready to eat your veggies!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Fish Three Ways

Many of us vintage tablecloth collectors just can't get enough of this fishy cloth. I enjoyed setting yesterday's tabletop so much that I decided to get out the other two colorways in my collection and spend a little time with them. I enjoy collecting sea-themed accessories in my travels. I don't always have a specific use in mind when I purchase a beachy piece. Here's how it all came together for this tabletop time.

Yesterday's coral/green/gray 'scape~

This colorway is rectangular and larger than the other cloths featured here, which are square.

Today's red/turquoise/tan table~

This colorway features HLCCA retro red stripe, polka dot, peacock and scarlet P86 Fiesta dinnerware and flatware, Mariposa coral salad servers and shell napkin rings, Crate & Barrel cocktail glasses, a sea-themed cocktail shaker, aluminum tidbit dishes and Pier One napkins.

I've been waiting to make this marigold/turquoise/pink tabletop for a very long time. The individual fish-shaped casseroles are vintage Chicken of the Sea premiums. It's challening to find a set in four colors with the metal holders...hence the wait! I was thrilled to add this set to my pottery collection earlier this summer.

This tabletop is less elaborate than the others, but I wanted to keep the emphasis on the individual casseroles. The Harlequin relish tray and candleholders make a strong centerpiece. The relish tray rests on a Crate & Barrel ruffled cake server. This piece has chipped over the years, but I still enjoy it.

Other items on this table include Libbey striped glasses, Oneida Deauville flatware, Harlequin plates, Chicken of the Sea salt & pepper shakers and Ikea napkins.

This tablecloth also comes in a lilac/chartreuse and pink/gray versions. Please do post a comment if you have seen this cloth in another colorway or have any information about the manufacturer.

Which fishy tabletop do you like best? Thanks for going on this little journey under the sea with me!

I'm also sharing these fish with all the good folks enjoying Tablescape Thursday at Between Naps on the Porch.