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Thursday, January 31, 2013

Ready for Some Blue and White

Join me, as I repost this at a new linky party that the wonderful Jennifer at
is offering called the Blue and White Bash.  If you don't already follow her, you'll want to!
I know I've been MIA for a long time, but travel is done for a while, Mr. Pressed Pants is feeling better, and I'm feeling more like a member of the human race.  Between sickness and "stuff", we haven't entertained hardly at all since before Christmas.  But today I feel the urge to set a cheerful table and celebrate our good fortune.  (More later.)  Out came my favorite blue and white dishes to dance with three little pots of tete-a-tete daffodils.

I'll serve breakfast here tomorrow, but since I can't photograph that early, I set this up today.  As you can see, blue does not exactly complement my breakfast room furnishings, so it sits on the shelf most of the time. Since Mom is visiting and she's a blue and white girl, this is the time to give it a whirl.  

This little wood and wicker stand holds three terra cotta pots perfectly.  I added a ribbon of yellow and white gingham.

I further used yellow in the rick-rack edged napkin and the straw coaster.  That's enough.  Just a hint of sunshine here.  The dishes closely resemble Royal Copanhagen's Blue Fluted dinnerware, but they are much heavier and much less precious.  They are actually vintage and made by Shenago Pottery.  I've been collecting it for years. The blue flatware is so old that I can't remember where I got it.  I didn't get a good picture of the napkin rings.  They have a blue willow pattern on them.  I used a mixture of delft, blue willow, and transferware with these dishes.  They all like each other!!!!!  

Here's a close-up of the individual salt and pepper shakers taken frrom a post of a Labor Day table.  You can see it here.

The juice glasses are just a generic blue glass.  Maybe from Pier One???

I have not been able to find the matching saucers for the coffee cups, but I did find the plain blue line saucers, and they are working just fine.

Since I'm serving fruit, I am using these Delft handled fruit knives.  We won't need all six, but they look so nice in the holder that they all get to come to the party.

Don't you love them?

I'll serve milk in this sweet French reproduction milk bottle.  I found it at World Market at Christmas time and gifted myself with it!  It came in red, too, and I'm very proud of myself for not buying the red as well.  (yet)

Here's a special little treasure.  You have no doubt seen lots of old wooden boards that are carved with "bread".  There are also old wooden handled bread knives with "bread" carved into the handle.  This was designed to go with them, but for some reason, very few of them survived.  Probably because the little tiny transferware plate broke and they were thrown away.  I'm very careful with it, because I'd probably never find the right size plate to replace it.  The mother-of-pearl handled butter knife got to join us just because it has a white handle! 

Not far from us, there was a horrific tornado yesterday that did a huge amount of damage.  Some of our friends were impacted, but not physically hurt.  There was a death, and I'll hold that person's family and friends in my prayers.  Although the rest of the loss was material, I am aware that some of that "stuff" was precious and irreplaceable and I'm so sorry for anyone who has to put the pieces back together from this storm.  The flooding is now another issue and it can only add to the misery.  This awful situation has snapped me out of my inertia and reminded me that I should celebrate every day!

I'm joining:

Tabletop Tuesday

Wow Us Wednesday

Open House Thursday

Tablescape Thursday

Inspiration Friday

Feathered Nest Friday

Fridays Unfold

Seasonal Sundays

Let's Dish

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Making a Christrmas Eve Memory

Doesn't she look like she has a secret?  This is Tammy (or Tinsel),  She is a registered Percheron belonging to Derek and Rebecca Smith.

Here's what she had planned for us on Christmas eve day!  A surprise horse-drawn toboggan ride!  (That's me....that black lump in the cart beside Driver Derek.)

Here's the cast of characters: Owen, our youngest grandchild; Lizzie, his cousin, who is Rebecca and Derek's daughter; and Teddy, our middle grandson.  Adam, our oldest, was invited, too, but he had a date with Mr. Pressed Pants.  We missed them both.  That little guy over Teddy's shoulder is not related to me! 

Derek takes the gang down to the paddock area.  Rebecca and Derek recently bought this wonderful old farm called Valley High.  You can see a canine and an equestrian tablescape I did at her house just after she moved in here and here.

This photo of the Smith's herd was taken a few days earlier, before the snow.  The little pony, Licorice, seems to be in charge here!  She's leading 6,000 pounds of Percheron, bless her heart!

Well, this majestic girl was picked to be our playmate. Tammy, aka Tinsel, is a registered Percheron, a draft breed that originated in Perch, France. (That is probably why I like her!).  This is the breed that built America. The were important in farming, coaches, taxis and hauling, and most well known as the horses that pulled up the tents for Ringling Bros circus.  They almost went extinct after the war, when the tractor took over.

Into the barn she went to get all geared up for us.  There were even brass sleigh bells for her, but she was a little new to this, so after we all admired her bells, they were hung back up.  Man, this is WORK getting this done!  That's a lot of horse to manage and a lot of hooks and stuff!

Here's Rebecca getting her hooked up to the pretty, red forecart.

And off she goes for a little spin without kids first!

How much fun is this????????  A horsedrawn tobaggan ride!  How cool!

Look at those smiles!

The Smiths have a large front yard, which will have lots of hoof prints in it come spring, since the ground was not yet frozen.

Just look!

It's a good thing Derek knows what he's doing, because that's a big animal to control!

There were a few dumps, but they could run to catch up.  And I'm surprised to say that I didn't see anyone intentionally pushing someone off.  Real surprised!

Here's Rebecca thanking Tammy for all of her work.  And I want to thank them for all of their generosity.  It was a very special moment in the holiday.  Our daughter, Susie, was especially grateful, as Christmas eve day is a time when she needed the boys to have an activity.....out of the house.  Know what I mean?

And afterwards, I suggested the boys hop into the old sleigh for a photo op.  See what's in both guy's hands?  What do you think happened just after the camera snapped?  That's right folks!  I got two snowballs in the head.  I still love them dearly and was so very, very, very glad to be able to spend the most special time of the year with them and the rest of my precious family.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

An Epiphany on Paperwhites

For many years, I have planted paperwhites to use for my Christmas decor, and then again throughout the winter to have a fresh spot in a dreary time of year.  I plant them in some small, black Japanese river rocks in place of potting soil, and I re-use the rocks for years.  Some folks do not like the smell of paperwhites, so I am cautious where I place them.  

This is the look I am always wanting, with stong, straight foliage.

But here's what often happens.  The stems flop and look messy and sad.

I've often resorted to this!  Or, sometimes I plant them in the bottom of a tall, straight-sided clear glass vase, so that they are sort of confined, and that makes them look neater.

One day late fall, I was at a wonderful decorating seminar at ADAC, and Kathryn Greeley was the featured speaker. Afterward, I was chatting with her (while eyeing the buffet line at the luncheon), and somehow we talked about paperwhites.  She said that she heard that if you add gin to the water for them, that they did not get leggy, but she didn't know what the proportions were.

Well, sweet Tony Conway (caterer extrordinaire from A Legendary Event) overheard us and piped up, "one cup of gin to a gallon of water"!!!!!  

And there you have it!!!!  I used this "recipe" for my bulbs this year and I had the best, straightest, healthiest, prettiest blooms and foilage, EVER!
Thank you Tony and Kathryn!
This hint didn't get my gifts purchased, my cards printed, my entertaining planned, or my airline reservations made.  It didn't sweep up piles and piles of dry pine needles afterward, or sort my decorations into perfectly labled bins, but it did solve one irksome little holiday detail and it made me happy, happy, happy!!!!!
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