Thursday, December 29, 2011

New Toys to play with

A tablescape means more to me when there's some story or meaning to the pieces on my table, so I was really looking forward to using this lovely old Crown Ducal teapot and teacups on the table.  They were a gift from my dish friend, Angela in a Secret Santa exchange.  She knew the deco look would grab me, and the colors match my vintage Fiesta perfectly.  I chose vintage red Fiesta dinner plates and forest green bread plates, and a Post86 marigold buffet plate.  The cobalt Ralston all-gone bunny bowls add a whimsical touch, and these amazingly hard to find treasures showed up on eBay within a day of each other this month, and I put in one bid on each of these, never imagining I'd win them both.  They  bring happy thoughts of Becky to mind, since she had the first blue bunny bowls I had ever seen.  Usually, I see this Ralston bowl in ivory and green,  The lovely napkins were  linen treasures from another dear dish friend, Kathy and brought all the colors together so nicely on the table.  The flatware is vintage Bakelite, a gift from Dori.  All these ladies are scattered coast to coast, but it's almost like getting to sit down with them, having them represented at the table.  You can't beat a good meal, surrounded by old (and new) friends.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Flamingo Holidays

I'm a sucker for flamingos... there's just something cheerful and quirky and elegant about them.  Naturally, I couldn't resist the chance to put them on my holiday table.  A friend gave me the tablecloth this summer, and I've been struggling to find just the right dinnerware to put on it.

I was astonished when I found these Homer Laughlin  Eggshell Nautilus pieces on eBay recently, because they have a gorgeous flamingo decoration that's normally seen on HALL China...not HLC!
My surprise quickly turned to delight when I realized that these plates were perfect for my summer linen gift...

I chose to mix Fiesta (both vintage and P86), as well as the matching Fiesta flatware by Cambridge.  Be sure and take a look at the new Fiesta latte mugs...they're exclusive to Kohl's for now and have only been available for about a month.  The little vintage shrimp boats by Cardinal China will be perfect for holding dipping sauce.  The napkins are Tammis Keefe, and while they actually match some different place mats, I thought they worked fine with this grouping.  The spiral candle holder is Metlox,   and the flamingos have migrated to my house from a number of different places...and I'm always looking to increase the flock!

Happy Holidays!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Holiday Table

Today's table features a vintage California Hand Prints Deco Reindeer cloth in green.  A mix of vintage and Post 86 Fiesta dinnerware and flatware were used, along with a mix of decorative trees in shades of silver and ivory. 

Friday, October 21, 2011


I love this vintage Martex linen cloth... and thought I'd post at least one Halloweenscape before I head out of town.  The dishes are of course vintage and P86 Fiesta, the flatware is Bakelite, and the glassware is Anchor Hocking Banded Rings.  My sneaky pumpkin is an old Hallmark friend, and the napkin rings are from Kohl's last year. 


Monday, October 17, 2011

On the table today... Ken Scott

The vintage cloth on today's table is a Ken Scott "Bouillabaisse" by Leacock in a Red colorway.  I had such fun choosing Fiesta colors for this table, since in my mind, none of those colors "go" together!  Where else can you see lilac and plum cavorting with scarlet,persimmon, marigold, tangerine, and sunflower?

My camera battery pooped out after four pics, so I am going to post one photo now, and maybe I can add a few more once the battery is all recharged!

My friend Daphne, at Tabletop Time has this same cloth, but in a beautiful blue,chartreuse, purple colorway.  Have a peek at her Bouillabaisse table .

Sunday, October 16, 2011

A milestone achieved

Recently, my friend Kari helped me complete one of my collecting goals: acquiring a vintage Fiesta figure 8 tray in turquoise.  She attended an auction where one was to be sold, and agreed to bid on it for me!  Usually the vintage figure 8 tray was dipped in cobalt, and both cream and sugar bowls and lid were yellow, and they are fairly easy to find,  but there was also a more unusual color combination:  turquoise tray, red creamer, and yellow sugar bowl and lid.

I really loved the more unusual set, of course.  I knew from the beginning that it would be somewhat difficult to assemble, but that was part of the appeal for me.  I love the hunt! I didn't have much trouble at all finding the cream and sugar bowl in great condition, but the figure 8 tray proved elusive.  I've seen them sell for quite a bit more than my budget allows.  I've seen damaged pieces out there, but I wanted to wait for the right piece.  When Kari called to tell me that we had won it in the auction, I was delighted!  Best of all, she delivered it in person when we got together at the Homer Laughlin tent sale this past week.  Thanks, Kari!  Dish friends really ARE the best!

Here's a peek at my treasure:

Monday, August 29, 2011

Nasturtiums for the Lady in Red

My friend Becky and I bonded over dishes and linens.  We cheered each other's "finds", and enabled each other constantly.  Our dishes and linens travelled between Virginia and Alabama, and we enjoyed visiting via message board, phone, and in person too.

This hard to find vintage cloth  was made by Prints Charming and features Nasturtiums on a trellis.  Becky and I both loved this cloth, and we had hoped to add other colorways to our collections. Since my cloth was primarily turquoise,  I chose scarlet, turquoise and red stripe Fiesta, vintage Tiffin goblets, and contemporary Martha Stewart polka dot napkins to accent the colors in the cloth.


Here's a bit closer peek: 

Today would have been Becky's birthday, and I just couldn't resist sharing one of our favorites with you. 

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

A very happy un-birthday to Daphne!

Last week, my friend Daphne had a birthday, and I missed it!! I had every intention of doing a tablescape on the big day, but somehow it just slipped in there and before I knew it, the day had arrived. (I did manage to get her card and a little gift in the mail on time, though!)   So, Rebecca and I decided that we'd just do unbirthday tablescapes celebrating Daphne today!

Be sure and stop in at Rebecca's blog for her unbirthday tribute to diva Daphne!

For some reason, one of the colors I always associate with Daphne is yellow.    She collects Homer Laughlin Harlequin in yellow.  Her living room is a beautiful rich marigold yellow, so it seemed appropriate to do a table for her in lots of shades of yellow.  The cloth is vintage, with Hummel children around the edge.  The flatware is Cambridge Fiesta in marigold and sunflower.  There are wonderful smelling Peace roses in an 8" Fiesta vase in Marigold, and the pyramid candleholders are Marigold, too.  Other Fiesta colors are vintage yellow and antique gold, and P86 sunflower, pale yellow, and marigold.  The 22 oz pitcher and tiny nut dishes holding votives are from Homer Laughlin's Harlequin line.

Happy unbirthday, Daphne... we love you!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Belated HLCCA Conference Report

I look forward each year to attending the  Homer Laughlin China Collectors Association (HLCCA) conference in July.  It is held in Pittsburgh, PA every other year, because the Homer Laughlin factory is within a 30 minute drive and members can tour the factory and shop in the outlet there.  On the alternating years, the conference travels to other cities in the U.S.    This year was a Pittsburgh year, and our host hotel was the Embassy Suites in Coraopolis.  Super nice facility, and the staff there made all the dish folks feel right at home.

There are always lots of activities:  a mixer,exhibits, a show and sale,  a couple of auctions, a business meeting, seminars,  tours, shopping, and a banquet.  Usually, I participate by  doing a floral display in that competition, or a table setting in the tablescape competition.  This year, I got a little deeper into things:  I helped during the mixer, did my usual tablesetting for that competition, AND did an actual  exhibit with Jerry Lefever,  one of the other members who shares my passion for the Clematis aka Red Beauty decoration.
 My Clematis is usually displayed in the china cabinet on the right, and it's pretty full...

We both brought pieces from our personal collections, and combined them into one BIG exhibit.   I packed up and travelled with SIX TOTES of dishes and Jerry had as many boxes as I did!   In fact, there were so many dishes, that I made a trip up there in June just to take my totes of Clematis and stored them at Sid and Maryann's warehouse because I wasn't sure that I could bring all the dishes in the same load as three women and their luggage for a week at conference time!  I was a total ditz because I didn't take a SINGLE picture during the exhibits, nor during the banquet that night!!! 

The banquet is always held on Saturday night, and the centerpieces this year were spectacular:  75th anniversary soup tureens and limited edition pyramid candleholders!  My friend, Susan won the tureen at our table, and I was lucky enough to bring home the candleholders!

I got a bit of a shock this year at the banquet... Each year there are awards presented and I was honored to have been chosen for a very special award.  It's called the Homer and Shakespeare Award and the member who won the preceding year chooses the winner for that year.  It's given to someone "who works behind the scenes, creatively furthering the efforts of collecting Homer Laughlin dinnerware".  Saarin Schwartz was last year's winner, and I was speechless when she called my name!
The award was beautiful...a shamrock green carafe decorated in gold, with Homer and Shakespeare Award on it.  Saarin also gave me my very own Dish Fairy, holding a tiny green carafe!   I was touched and stunned...and totally, totally, delighted!

and then, the night got even BETTER!!  There's an award called The Raspberry Award, given to a member with an innate sense of fun.  I was absolutely thrilled to bring that home with me as well.  The actual award for that is something made especially for the winner. It's always something one of a kind.  In my case, it was a disk pitcher with a very, very special decal. David Schaefer, the editor of the Dish collaborated with  Judi Noble, the art director at HLC (and a truly wonderful lady!!) and they really outdid themselves this year!!  Remember my post from a few months ago about tattoos, linens, and odd coincidences?   well... check out the artwork on my pitcher!!!!!  How wonderful is that????


My friend Daphne, from Tabletop Time instituted a policy long ago, that you must take a picture when you get home from any event, documenting what you got there.  She trained me well when Rebecca and I visited her for Brimfield last year, so naturally I had to take a photo of all my treasures from this year's HLCCA conference.  Some were gifts, some were prizes, and some pieces were purchased  treasures from shopping jaunts during the trip:

As much fun as all the activities are, the real draw for me is the chance to see and visit with dish friends I've gotten to know over the years, and get to know other new folks who share the dish fever.  It's like a massive family reunion.   I end up getting up early, staying up late, and talking pretty much non-stop!  It's no wonder that I'm already looking forward to Kansas City next year!


Friday, August 5, 2011

Remembering Becky

There is often comfort in doing familiar setting a table.   Today's table is in memory of my friend Becky, who passed away last week. I wanted to share how much she meant to me, but I've written, erased, and rewritten, and I suppose its all too new, because nothing sounds right to me.  I just don't have words.  Maybe that's ok.  Sometimes there just aren't words.    Instead, I cleaned off the dining room table, opened up the linen cabinet, and got to work. 

I chose a vintage cloth, edged in her favorite shade of blue. (She always called it Harlequin blue, others call it mauve blue.  For me, it's just "Becky blue".)  The flowers decorating the cloth are pansies, which Victorians used in their bouquets to signify remembrance.   On the table is a mix of Fiesta:  vintage cobalt, contemporary scarlet and marigold, and Becky's beloved Homer Laughlin Harlequin in "her" hue. The flatware was a gift from a dish fairy.   A Hall coffeelator pot is serving as an ice bucket for Becky's Prosecco.  We spent some happy times, chatting  and sipping Prosecco.  

The wine glasses are etched with the Fiesta Dancing Lady and the Homer Laughlin China Collectors Association logos, in honor of Fiesta's 75th birthday, and the little marigold demitasse cups and saucers are special items given to those of us attending the HLCCA conference week before last. The marigold pyramid candle holders were part of the centerpiece on the banquet tables at conference, and I was delighted to win the set on my table. 

I won't pretend to have any skill at arranging flowers.  My "method" is to jam flowers into the vase until I can't get more in there, but in this arrangement the five red roses tucked into the bouquet represent each of the tablescape divas:  Becky, Daphne, Candy, Rebecca, and myself.  I've enjoyed all our tablescape collaborations so much, and it's hard, knowing that our Deco Lady isn't here to join in the fun this time.   I'm linking with others' tributes to Becky, via Daphne's Tabletop Time 

Love and good thoughts to Mike, Abbey and Donnie, Tori, and all of Becky's family and friends.
I miss her, too.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Happy Dots

We finally got a bit of a break from the HEAT in southwestern Virginia today.  The sky is overcast and I have a wonderfully nice breeze fluttering the curtains.  It was a good morning to play with dishes.  I had been working on something special the last few days, to be shared here on Friday morning, and that's all set, so I wanted to see something simple but cheery on the table.  Here's what I chose:

The tablecloth is vintage, the dinnerware is contemporary Fiesta (the polka dot salad plates are limited edition HLCCA  exclusives) and the  bowl is the brand new rice bowl, exclusive to Dillard's .  The tumblers are Tervis, officially licensed Fiesta, and the flatware is Cambridge Masquerade, another Fiesta go-along).  I'll be joining Between Naps on The Porch for Tablescape  Thursday. Do stop in there! 

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Welcome Summer!!

I've been a bit of a slacker the last week or so.  I haven't posted anything, and have been really busy trying to get packed for the Homer Laughlin China Collectors Conference I'll be attending next month.  Those of you who know me well are probably re-reading right now to be sure that I said I was packing now.  I am a chronic last-minute packer, except that this time, I really can't be, because I am doing an exhibit, and am taking my dishes up early, so...  that means I am, indeed, packing NOW.     No worries, I'll be back to my old habits when it comes to packing my clothing and sundries!  I have a few other surprises and hopefully some new treasures to share this week, so do peek back in!

I did manage to slip outside and take a few photos in the yard to share as I join Candy at TLRT for This Week in My Garden.

The flowers in bloom are a nice mix of old friends like the butterfly bush, Joe Pye weed and coreopsis and newcomers Echinacea 'Hot Papaya' and coreopsis 'Lightning Flash'. 'Lightning Flash' is a little different than other coreopsis, because its known more for it's bright upper foliage than for the bloom.    The other echinaceas haven't opened up, although I think several will be blooming by next week.   The real "star" blossoming this week though isn't one of my flowers!  It's the giant pumpkin in my son's garden, and the bloom is BIGGER than my entire hand!

Buddleia (Butterfly Bush)  'Royal Red'

Joe Pye Weed

Coreopsis 'Zagreb'

Coreopsis 'Lightning Flash'

Echinacea 'Hot Papaya'

Massive Pumpkin blossom in my son's veggie garden!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Estate Auctions are all kinds of HOT fun!

One of my guilty pleasures is attending estate/personal property auctions.  I absolutely love spending the day out in the country, listening to the cadence of the auctioneers, watching the people around me, and seeing what treasures are unearthed. I don't even have to buy anything to have fun.  Of course, part of the fun IS The Hunt.  There is a huge adrenalin rush when I spot something interesting, and there's a delicate balance in looking very carefully for flaws and trying to avoid having dealers or others be able to tell that there's something I want.   The auctioneers in my part of the country are pretty well-informed, but they're not infallible.  Lots of times they'll point out as they sell that something is Roseville or Fostoria or a particular type of wood, or that it's a rare antique toy or collector's item.  After all, they make money depending on how much money an item brings.   Often, there's no rhyme or reason for what brings big money, and what sells for a dollar.

The weather was scorching hot, but thankfully the auctioneers had put up a giant tent with lots of folding chairs.  I always keep a folding chair in the back of my SUV, because sometimes you have to bring your own chair if you want seating.  Over time, I've gotten to know several of the "regular" auction attendees.  Some, like me, are individual collectors, looking for specific items.  Others have stores, or booths in antique malls.  There are always new or different people that attend, too. Lots of times there will be friends/family members of the sellers  (so, I'd be very quiet about any comments about the "stuff" you see.  You never know who will be sitting near you!)  or sometimes people come to bid on one specific thing.

Even watching the way people bid can be entertaining.  Some are very direct and shove their bid card HIGH in the air (remember that kid in 2nd grade that always knew the answer when the teacher asked?  THAT's exactly how it looks.  Some flap their arm around, like they're on a float in the Rose Parade.  Some barely flick their head.  Others point or tap their hat brim. Sometimes they're so subtle, I can't tell from where I'm sitting who actually bid.   One gentleman says, "HUP!"  very loudly on his first bid and then waggles a finger when he raises the bid.   Me?  I sorta flick my bid card forward on the first bid and either nod or shake my head after that.  

I had the pleasure of attending a huge sale this week...  I've never ever seen so many items in a single estate.  I can't even begin to fathom where they kept all the stuff.  I came  home with a few treasures:  some silverplate, a couple of McCoy pieces, a box of linens, and an antique end chair that MATCHES my dining room chairs!  The needlepoint seat is different, but I don't mind that!

There are all sorts of sales, too.  I've attended everything from very high-end antique sales with glossy catalogs to truck overstocks to plain old country estate auctions.  I have to admit, though... I really do love the old country estate sales most of all .  There's a HUGE mix of items, literally anything someone could have in their house, and the mix of people is just as wide.   I took a couple of quick pictures with my phone and meant to take more, but well...I got distracted looking at "stuff".  These photos are from one side of the house, and there were three more sides, just as full as this! 

Friday, June 10, 2011

This week in the garden, better late than never!

I've had some trouble getting out into the garden to take pictures this week, but finally weather is cooperating, and I'm home to take photos!  The oak leaf hydrangea is putting on a show, and the little peachy threadleaf coreopsis (Sienna sunset) is full of blooms as well.   My excitement comes from something else in the garden: my berries are starting to ripen!  Nothing in the world tastes like black raspberries, right off the bush,  warm from the sunshine!  My red currants look like tiny rubies, shining in the morning light.  It has been so very unseasonably HOT, I'm really surprised to have much of anything looking good.   We did finally get some rain last night, albeit accompanied by a hailstorm, but I guess beggars can't be choosers, right?   

I'm joining Candy at The Little Round Table for This Week in the Garden.  I hope she doesn't mind that I'm a little late to the party!