Vive ‘La Cigale’ – An unlikely hero finds a spot on my Provence-inspired table for two

In 2018 I set a summer table that was loosely inspired by the colors of Provence, in France. Which is my pseudo-sophisticated way of saying that it was primarily done in blue and yellow. (Nevermind that if you Google “colors of Provence” it brings up a wide variety of colors, including vibrant shades of red, orange, fuschia, and more…. to me Provence means blue and yellow. And lavender, but that didn’t really fit with my table plan.)

(For more pretty tables set on a budget, check out my Facebook group, Thrifty Tablescapers!)

Anyway, that table has always been one of my favorites, so this year I decided to try another variation on the Provence (blue and yellow) theme, set as a table for two. I also wanted this table to have some sort of “uniquely Provencal” element, but of course had no idea what that might be. So I Googled “symbols of Provence,” and found a blog post entitled “La Cigale: Why the Cicada Became the Symbol of Provence.”

Cicadas? Ug, I HATE cicadas! They creep me out to look at them, especially their eyes and those crispy brown “shells” they leave behind when they molt!

Cicada shell, image courtesy University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee. | Vintage Floral Cottage
Cicada shell, image courtesy University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee.

Still… some French guy a long time ago adapted the story of “The Grasshopper and the Ant” to instead feature a “cigale” who produced music all summer instead of working to store up food… and you can guess how that turned out, so maybe, I thought, maybe there is something romantic and French about cicadas that I missing.

Cicada, photo courtesy West Virginia University Extension

GAAAAAA!!! Nope, still horrific.

And yet. And yet. They were long ago adopted by the good citizens of Provence as a symbol of their region so they must have some socially redeeming value… or maybe it was just that the good citizens of Provence finally realized they were never going to escape that deafening “weeer-weeer-WEEEEEERRRRrrrrrr” noise so they might as well embrace it.

In any case, who am I to argue with good citizens? “La Cigale” for the win, in the form of a beautiful brooch pin found on Amazon.

Cicada brooch pin from Amazon | Vintage Floral Cottage
Cicada brooch pin from Amazon. Now THIS is a cicada I can learn to love!

The tablecloth for this table is a flat sheet, folded to a size suitable for defining the two-person space on a four-person table.

Provence Inspired table for two | Vintage Floral Cottage

Glassware is Whitehall by Indiana Glass in a beautiful (dare I say) French blue – thrift store finds I’ve had now for many years. They are a favorite for their size and weight, and I have them in several colors.

Provence Inspired table 2020 | Vintage Floral Cottage

Sunny yellow dinner plates are marked “Hollywood Craftsmen” on the bottom, and salad plates are “Rose Bouquet” by Coventry Fine Porcelain. Also thrift store finds.

Provence Inspired table 2020 | Vintage Floral Cottage
Provence Inspired table 2020 | Vintage Floral Cottage

Flatware was a splurge… I now have four place settings of “Napoleon Bee” by Wallace, which I’ve collected over the past year via Amazon. The pretty plaid napkins were consignment store finds.

These and the pretty plaid napkins were secondhand finds.

The centerpiece features the same bunch of flowers from my 2018 Provence tablescape, just plopped down into a different container – this time a white sugar bowl by Federalist Ironstone.

Provence Inspired table 2020 | Vintage Floral Cottage

Have you spotted “la cigale” yet? Here he is, perched on a hand-painted side plate that also corrals the salt and pepper shakers.

Provence Inspired table 2020 | Vintage Floral Cottage
Provence Inspired table 2020 | Vintage Floral Cottage

I moved him around to various spots on the table just because he looked so beautiful.

Provence Inspired table 2020 | Vintage Floral Cottage
Provence Inspired table 2020 | Vintage Floral Cottage
Provence Inspired table 2020 | Vintage Floral Cottage

Also included for perusal before lunch is served: the May 2020 issue of Victoria Magazine, because it perfectly complements the color scheme and features “The Charm of French Style.” (It does not, however, mention cicadas. At all.)

Provence Inspired table 2020 | Vintage Floral Cottage

A few more views around the table.

Provence Inspired table 2020 | Vintage Floral Cottage
Provence Inspired table 2020 | Vintage Floral Cottage
Provence Inspired table 2020 | Vintage Floral Cottage

The put-away shot, because everything just looks so pretty waiting to go back into the cupboards.

Provence Inspired table 2020 | Vintage Floral Cottage

And an image to Pin if you would like to save my Provence 2020 table for future ideas!

I’m linking this tablescape to Tablescape Thursday over at Susan’s blog, Between Naps on the Porch. Be sure to click through for many more wonderful table-setting ideas!

Vive La Cigale!

Cicada brooch pin from Amazon | Vintage Floral Cottage
‘La Cigale’ Cicada brooch/pin from Amazon.

Please share on your favorite sites!
Posted in Dishes, Tablescapes | Leave a comment

Wild Irish Rose St. Patrick’s Day Table

Last year I had the opportunity to meet a woman whose parents had collected thousands of pieces of Haviland Limoges in hundreds of different patterns, including many large and full sets. She had spent several years helping them sell the pieces individually on Ebay, but when I met her, they had both passed away and she was undergoing a massive effort to liquidate the collection. They owned a small house with three 2-car garages all connected to each other, insulated and finished inside, and lined with industrial shelving, which contained the massive collection.  I visited her three times over several months, and did my part to help lighten her load 🙂

Part of my haul was a few pieces of this pretty pattern featuring gold edging and a shamrock border – I purchased four dinner plates and four salad plates, and have waited for this week to use them, just in time for St. Patrick’s Day. I decided to set the table with a theme of “Wild Irish Rose,” since these fun silk napkin rings brought such happy color to the scheme.

Wild Irish Rose St. Patrick's Day tablescape | Vintage Floral Cottage

Wild Irish Rose St. Patrick's Day tablescape | Vintage Floral Cottage

Wild Irish Rose St. Patrick's Day tablescape | Vintage Floral Cottage

The solid green dinner plate is by Home Trends, which I think was originally a Target or WalMart house brand – mine of course came from the Goodwill.

The gold flatware and white cutwork tablecloth were also secondhand finds, as was the crystal glassware. The green glassware is from Dollar Tree.

Wild Irish Rose St. Patrick's Day tablescape | Vintage Floral Cottage

Wild Irish Rose St. Patrick's Day tablescape | Vintage Floral Cottage

Wild Irish Rose St. Patrick's Day tablescape | Vintage Floral Cottage

The centerpiece is a thrifted collection of pretty silk florals rounded up into an antique biscuit jar – an auction find.

Wild Irish Rose St. Patrick's Day tablescape | Vintage Floral Cottage

I just love these pretty edges!

Wild Irish Rose St. Patrick's Day tablescape | Vintage Floral Cottage

Here are a few more views around the table.

Wild Irish Rose St. Patrick's Day tablescape | Vintage Floral Cottage

Wild Irish Rose St. Patrick's Day tablescape | Vintage Floral Cottage

Wild Irish Rose St. Patrick's Day tablescape | Vintage Floral Cottage

Wild Irish Rose St. Patrick's Day tablescape | Vintage Floral Cottage

… and here is the “put-away shot” – all gathered up and ready to be put away.

Wild Irish Rose St. Patrick's Day tablescape | Vintage Floral Cottage

Finally, here’s an image to Pin if you’d like to save this table for future ideas –

Wild Irish Rose St. Patrick's Day tablescape | Vintage Floral Cottage

I’m linking my Wild Irish Rose tablescape to the 600th edition of Tablescape Thursday over on Susan’s lovely blog, Between Naps on the Porch! Check it out for more inspiration!

 

Please share on your favorite sites!
Posted in Dishes, Tablescapes | Leave a comment

The Valentine’s table that wasn’t

There are so many wonderful ways to celebrate Valentine’s Day… as a couple, as a group of “gal pals,” as a family, as friends at school… I don’t exactly gush over the day, but I do love my sweetheart Greg even though we cannot always spend the holiday together. This year I was delighted that we would get almost an entire weekend to celebrate, including both Friday and Saturday nights. We thought it would be lovely to go out for a nice dinner on Friday evening, and I was thinking about a homemade dinner for Saturday night complete with a romantic table-for-two. I had even decided on “the stack,” and previewed it over on Instagram:

Valentine's Day Table 2020 | Vintage Floral Cottage

But alas, the best-laid plans sometimes go awry. We did not call ahead early enough on Friday to get a table at our chosen restaurant, and because we had no groceries bought for the home-cooked alternative, we decided to enjoy our Valentine’s meal at a more casual (but still top-ten favorite) restaurant and save the “nice dinner out” for Saturday. Both meals – and the entire weekend – were wonderful and the company of course was delightful.

It just meant I wouldn’t get to set my table-for-two. Which I decided to do anyway, just for fun if not for a meal, and I liked it so well I think I will use it for another occasion soon!

Valentines Day 2020 table | Vintage Floral Cottage

The stack consists of beaded-look plastic chargers in a burnished gold finish – I think these may have originally been Hobby Lobby or Pier 1, but mine of course came from the Goodwill — topped with Rose Chintz dinner plates by Johnson Brothers of England and Fire King gold-rimmed dessert plates. The napkins are Pier 1 in a “rolled rose” fold.

Valentines Day 2020 table | Vintage Floral Cottage

Valentines Day 2020 table | Vintage Floral Cottage

Valentines Day 2020 table | Vintage Floral Cottage

Valentines Day 2020 table | Vintage Floral Cottage

Valentines Day 2020 table | Vintage Floral Cottage

I don’t know the brand or pattern of the glassware but these pink-almost-purple goblets are generously sized and pulled the pink from the dinner plates. They were also a Goodwill find.

Valentines Day 2020 table | Vintage Floral Cottage

Flatware is my treasured Oneida “Chandelier,” given to me by my grandmother almost 30 years ago from the estate of her sister, my great-Aunt Hazel. The tablecloth is a flat bed sheet, folded into a panel like this one so it defines the territory of the table-for-two.

Valentine's table 2020 | Vintage Floral Cottage

And the centerpiece is none other than that romantic French dandy, Lafayette, standing atop a vintage metal lamp base covered in a hand-stitched doily made decades ago by my great-grandmother Metta.  Silk flowers, tealight holders, and an elegant salt-and-pepper set complete the centerpiece, all from my existing stash.

Valentine's Day 2020 | Vintage Floral Cottage

Valentine's Day 2020 | Vintage Floral Cottage

I think this table would would work for any romantic occasion! For more pretty tables set on a budget, join my Facebook Group, Thrifty Tablescapers.

I’m also sharing this table for Tablescape Thursday over at Susan’s blog, Between Naps on the Porch.

Here is an image to Pin if you would like to save this post for future ideas!

Valentine's Day table for two | Vintage Floral Cottage

 

 

 

 

Please share on your favorite sites!
Posted in Tablescapes | Leave a comment

Invite friends to lunch – it’s fun!

I can probably count on one hand the number of times I’ve made a purposeful effort to invite friends over for a meal. I thought that 2019 might shape up to be the year I started entertaining more, but then I got a new job that was mentally exhausting and I moved to a new home that took literally everything I had physically and financially.  So my thoughts about “having friends over for lunch” didn’t really pan out. I did host my annual Christmas cookie exchange in December – which was (and always is) so much fun – but that was really it for “entertaining.”

But the thing is, I really want to do this! I want to welcome friends (and family) into my home and share meals and set pretty tables that people actually enjoy for dining, and so finally I decided to stop wishing and just do it. So a few weeks ago I contacted two friends and invited them to lunch, and wouldn’t you know it, they both accepted – for the same date! This past Sunday I served a simple but lovely “ladies luncheon” for my long-time dear friends Shirley and Kathy. We enjoyed Lemon Herb Chicken Ring (a Pampered Chef recipe) and a guilty-pleasure favorite, Jell-O Cheesecake, for dessert.

January Ladies Luncheon | Vintage Floral Cottage

The table was a slightly pared-down version of a Spring table I set last year… I really loved these dishes together in that table setting and knew I wanted to use them again. The dinner plates are Martha Stewart Everyday – I call this the boxpleat pattern, but I’m sure it has another name. Dessert plates are Homer Laughlin Eggshell Georgian “Marilyn” in pink and blue.

January Ladies Luncheon | Vintage Floral Cottage

January Ladies Luncheon | Vintage Floral Cottage

January Ladies Luncheon | Vintage Floral Cottage

Flatware is “Napoleon Bee” by Wallace – available on Amazon! Glassware is “Whitehall” by Indiana Glass, in crystal, though I also have them in pink and blue.

January Ladies Luncheon | Vintage Floral Cottage

And my serving piece is a yellow Depression Glass cake stand – I think it’s by Heisey Glass.

January Ladies Luncheon | Vintage Floral Cottage

Of course the real treasures at this table were the three of us… we’ve known each other for a very long time, and “back in the day” our families used to go to classic car shows together all over the country. Hobbies and interests evolved over the years and we haven’t kept up with the car shows – in fact even though we live fairly close to one another it had been about 10 years since we all three had been together… until this happy little luncheon!  I’m so glad I got to see these special ladies!

 

I’m sharing this sweet “ladies luncheon” tablescape for Tablescape Thursday over on Susan’s blog, Between Naps on the Porch. If you would like to see more pretty tables set on a budget, please join my Facebook Group, Thrifty Tablescapers. It’s chock-full of inspiring, budget-friendly table settings! 

 

 

 

Please share on your favorite sites!
Posted in Entertaining, Tablescapes | Leave a comment

Top 10 sources for secondhand home decor

Outdoor flea market | Vintage Floral CottageIf you love to buy secondhand home décor but find yourself always defaulting to the same charity shop, don’t despair! There are several options you can explore that will help you re-ignite the thrill of the hunt and increase your odds of finding great stuff at great prices.

Here are my ten favorite second-hand venues for finding all the goodies!

Outdoor flea/antique markets – I love, Love, LOVE outdoor market season! There is just something about walking in the gate of an outdoor market that fills me with optimism and anticipation! I never go away empty-handed!

Auctions – Don’t be shy, just go! There’s bound to be an estate auction near you on almost any weekend, so don’t fear the fast-talking auctioneer. If you pay attention as the first few items sell, you’ll soon catch on to the auctioneer’s rhythm. I’ve scored amazing deals at auctions, including service for 12 of a very popular Haviland china pattern for $11 and a whole pile of picture frames for just $1.

Consignment shops – Remember that consignment stores are a little different from thrift stores in that the business and the item’s previous owner are splitting the proceeds from the sale. In my experience, this has meant that consignment prices are higher than in the thrift stores. But they’re still below new-item pricing and can save you significant money.

Online marketplaces – I’ve had huge success buying and selling vintage items on the online marketplaces such as Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist, eBay, OfferUp, and LetGo. There are also vintage shops on Etsy and even Instagram. These work best for me if I know at least generally what I’m looking for, instead of just browsing like I would at an outdoor market.

Network with friends or family – Looking for a specific type of piece? Put the word out to family and friends, and see who has what. Maybe you can even arrange a creative barter or trade!

Garage/yard/estate sales – Get in the habit of checking out the local sales each weekend or even one weekend a month. The latest variation on this seems to be the highway sale, where properties all along a particular highway or within a specified geographic region host sales on the same weekend. The World’s Longest Yard Sale was the first of these that I had heard of, and here in Iowa we have the Central Iowa Junk Jaunt, the Highway 141 Sale, and others. Be sure to also check listings for local church bazaars, because trust me: church ladies know how to price to sell! (And if you’re looking to host a garage or yard sale, check out my e-book… it’ll help you have an EPIC sale!)

Antique shops & malls – Antique stores, of course, have been around forever. They run the gamut from tiny hole-in-the-wall shops to large indoor malls featuring dozens of individual vendors.

Antique shop | Vintage Floral Cottage

Curb picking – Keep your eyes peeled as you drive around your town, because you never know when you’re going to spot a bit of treasure that someone else has put out with the trash. Some of my favorite items both inside and outside my home were curb finds!

Your own house – If there’s a specific item you’re needing for a space in your home, you might try shopping your own rooms to see if you already have something that will work. For example, I was recently needing a table in my spare bedroom to use as a printer stand. I thought it was going to be hard to find because it had to be a specific size, and also had to offer a way to store the scoop and plastic bags I use to clean my cat’s litter box. As it turns out, I had the perfect piece right under my nose in the kitchen!

And of course, thrift stores/charity shops – The venerable thrift store is always going to be a mainstay in the vintage-shopping toolkit. From Goodwill to Salvation Army, from hospital auxiliaries to animal shelters, there are shops everywhere that offer used merchandise at great prices and work to support the local community in some way.

Even if you live in a very small community, there are bound to be some of these options available to you either locally or within a short drive. And if there aren’t – well, you might consider initiating something because chances are there are others nearby who are also seeking options!

What are your favorite venues for scoping out the goods?

 

Just for Pinning!

 

Top 10 Sources for Secondhand Home Decor | Vintage Floral Cottage

Please share on your favorite sites!
Posted in Secondhand Lifestyle, Thrift Store Maven | Leave a comment