Monday, November 29, 2010

Quick view of our sunday lunch with friends, Green table

Just another happy occasion. The table so lifts the spirit and adds a feeling of enjoyment when shared with friends.

Notice how the addition of cushions makes the whole setting so much more sumptuous when outside.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Royal blue Beauty

Today, I am just adding another quick blog, to show another table that I created just for us at dinner last night. As you would expect by now if you are a follower of my blog that I am such a complete hunter and hoarder that I had managed to purchase most of this stuff ages ago and decided to put it together for us. I really love this table! I think it is such a strong colour but feminine at the same time. It would however, still be right at home in a male environment.
Royal blue has long been a favourite colour of both me and my husband. Funnily enough we often decorate our bathrooms in royal blue but, then we seem to move. We never actually get the benefit of having it ourselves. Maybe that's why we just kept doing it. We even had a ceramic basin hand made for us with a tiny little yellow fish on it which had the scales made up from our initials. We haven't actually used it yet as we still seem so unsettled here in NZ and can't decide whether to put it into this house or not. Anyway I digress, (yes I know it's unusual for me) the table is another example of op-shop magic.
The components are, in brief, a sheet (new) as the table cloth, my own set of blue dinner ware, (for 10) an assortment of blue candles and holders etc (three at each end) and blue glasses. These are very easily available. Maybe its because they have been in fashion most recently or maybe it's because they are less desirable and people can't wait to get rid of them. Either way it suits my purpose very well. I use them at parties too. They always add a bit more interest than your usual clear glasses. I think the napkins are the best bit for me on this table as I wasn't looking for blue stuff on this particular day but I came across them and knew I just had to have them. They were brand new, unopened packs and came with 6 in each pack. I loved the pretty design on them and knew they would work very well with this table cloth. I was right. I didn't have any place mats in this colour so decided to use the napkins that I did have as place settings. By allowing them drape over the edge, it enables them to fit the table well and keep the correct balance. Not bad I think you will agree! The flowers were simply, a few taken out of my many silk stems and just placed together on the table. EASY PEASY!!
SO soft and pretty or strong and stylish? Personally I think it has all those qualities at the same time.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The Homer Laughlin China Co..Fiesta.

Another day and another wonderful moment when you realise that you have managed to get yourself a fantastic bargain at the local. No, not the pub, (which I could hear you thinking,) but, my local Op-shop of course or one of them any way.

Actually, last week I saw this particular set and liked it. I checked it over and realised that it was in great condition. "I don't have this colour" I thought, and it is for eight people. Anyone who has bothered to read my blog will know that I always like to have a setting for eight people. but, for some unknown reason to me, I decided to leave it. I know, I know a mad moment of weakness, but, I did it anyway. But it kept playing on my mind. It was embarrasingly "AFFORDABLE", which is of course how you say CHEAP in this day and age of ridiculous, political correctness. So this week I went back to see if it was still there. Well would you have guessed it? It was! I took this to be a sign. It's karma and supposed to be mine. So not wanting to upset Karma, I immediately got out my purse and ran to the lady at the desk and said, "oh excuse me" (I mean, I am well mannered and didn't want to offend the volunteers, they are old after all.) "excuse me, do you have one of your lovely gentlemen here to help me carry out that dinner set please?" "It's just that I have just had some injections in my elbow and I'm not supposed to lift anything." That was all true and it was killing me, but, it didn't dampen my resolve to buy this set. I mean come on it was supposed to be mine. Didn't you read the last bit? Karma told me! who am I to argue with karma? Anyway a very nice young man came out and placed it into a big, and I mean big box with out wrapping it. All the china would have moved all over the show chipped and smashed. Horrified like a rabbit in the headlamps, I just stared at him as he said to me, "This box isn't very strong!" Then get a bloody strong one, oh my God do I have to do everything? I thought to myself. "I have a bad arm and can't help you I'm afraid. Do you have a stronger box?" I politely enquired. "ERM DUNNO" came the response. "ok," I said while drawing in a deep breath. "I'll go and ask!" The lady at the desk was a bit more helpful and said "He knows what to do silly boy." "Go and get the lady (that's me) a stronger box." Anyway He did that and then having a load of newspaper chucked my way, I proceeded to wrap my own set up before putting into the newly acquired box. The young man then carried it to my car and away I went.

Now when I got home, my lovely son very kindly carried it in for me and I started to look it over. It was in perfect condition. Fan-bloody-tastic! It had made the journey home in one piece. Next thing to do is research it. (something I always do with my new purchases). Imagine my jump up and down, happy hormone releaseing moment when I found that it was another collectable dinner set. YIPPEE!!! It is called "FIESTA" by HOMER LAUGHLIN CHINA Co. Made in the United States. I love it when I find something of interest to others.

The company was started in 1871 in east Liverpool, Ohio. They started making Fiesta in the early part of the last century. It soon became the fastest growing ceramic company in the world and in the year 1917, Mr wells (the owner) wrote to the Woolworth company stating "I think that I may safely say that this is the first time in history that the purchases of any one concern from any one pottery firm have reached the one million dollar mark in one year." It meant that a total of 16.7 million pieces were made just for the one company, Woolworth! It just goes to show how popular they were for the average families in America.

During the war however, like so many companies the HLC co' found it very difficult to compete with all the foreign imports and had to stop production of Fiesta. However, In the early 1980's they once again decided to reinstate Fiesta, it was an immediate success, especially as so many Middle aged Americans remembered the china of their Grandparents. It is a design made in different colours and they can all be mixed and matched. Different colours dictate different years of manufacture .

The name of the colour of the set I have is Called "Cinnabar." It comes in many different colours, but always with the same concentric circles.

Here's the deal for me....I managed to buy it for 30 (yes 30) New Zealand dollars and it is being sold on specialist websites for between 480 and 850 NZ dollars. I love it when one of my table decorations comes into its own by way of good investment! OOH I am such a happy camper!!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Glass set (lunch for 14 guests)

I was just looking through my photos and came across this one. It was one I took just before we had hoards of friends coming round for a sit down lunch. I always like to do sit down meals as there is something nice about the formality of eating at a table together. Here in New Zealand very few people do that. The order of the day is BBQ, BBQ ,BBQ and even on the odd occasion that you might be offered a Roast it is very rarely to a sit down meal. The strange thing about that is that most people who come to my house are really pleased at the sight of such a well laid out offering and tend to enjoy it. I don't know why therefore, people don't do it for themselves. I mean, is this not the purpose of the blog to show how easy it is too achieve a grand fayre at a well laid out table and with out incurring crippling, mortgage requiring funds. Everything on this table (well virtually) has been purchased at an op shop. I think that you will agree...well I hope that you do anyway... that it doesn't look too shabby and in fact looks quite elegant!

It is my mission in life to help people overcome their fears of entertaining well. I mean it's not like it's cost prohibitive is it? This glass table ware is a collection of sets that I bought over a period of time. Go and look at the "glass evening table" blog to read all about my exciting finds, and let me tell you it was exciting, but, I am very sad and do tend to get excited at such finds in the op shops. All I need to get now for this set is 4 more glass desert dishes and it is complete for 14 people. Every time I go "hunting" I look for the little bowls and several other bits that I need to complete dinner services which I bought as partial sets.

There is no doubt about it that a well laid out table adds so much to the elegance of any kind of meal from casual to extremely formal. No one should be intimidated by formal entertaining as its just not that hard. Fear is so much worse than reality I always find. Forgive me while I digress for a moment, a short while ago while out dining at a restaurant one of my friends started to make comments about how one of us should be having another party. The look was aimed straight at me. I politely stated that I would be up for a good party any time that they cared to invite me! I was met with the response that, They couldn't do it as I was the goddess at entertaining and there fore I should do it. I held my ground and said "why should it always be me?" "Because you are a Goddess when it comes to entertaining" came the response and "We can't compete with you!" "Nonsense" said I, and then said "'It's not a competition, anyone can do it. it's just a case of organising yourself". It did make me realise however, that what I do works and therefore if I can do it then so can anyone. I have yet to find anyone who doesn't like to be entertained and fed well at a gorgeous table.

Anyway here it is the big Sunday lunch. For 14 people if I remember rightly. I know that the chairs at the end are odd and kind of thrown together, but, that's ok. The table at the end has been added too. In my experience the kids like to sit away from the adults, so, I let them sit at one end. The table I use to extend my dinning table is very slightly lower, so therefore suits the littlies. They get to sit at a grown up table but without Mum and Dad watching their every move. The older kids tend to keep an eye on them too. The Mums and Dads get to be grown up at a family table. So win, win all round. If odd chairs bother you, then you can always get the covers that go over each chair and add a uniformity to the table. I might do that in the future but, so far I haven't needed to.