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!