A little more blue and white

A long time ago, my idea of “decorating” was to clean off a tabletop or other flat surface and try to artfully arrange things on it. I didn’t know these little arrangements were called vignettes, but I did have fun doing them – even if they quickly got overshadowed by stacks of mail, remotes for every electronic device, toys, and other stuff.

I still enjoy creating vignettes, though I’ve managed to keep the other stuff from overtaking them as quickly as it used to. One of my favorite pieces to style is the table next to my comfy chair – here is a photo of it from a few years ago in the other house. It belonged to my grandmother Verdie and was refinished by her husband, my Grandpa Barney.

Grandma's table | Vintage Floral Cottage

“Grandma’s Table” can easily be changed out with the season, or for any reason, or for no reason. At Christmas this year it held my Precious Moments “Sugar Town” village, and now that it’s January I’ve changed it over to blue and white.

Blue and white vignette | Vintage Floral Cottage

The tablecloth was hand-stitched by my great-grandmother Metta, many decades ago. I love this piece but use it for decor instead of meals. It is too small for my current dining room table! Here’s a bit of the pretty pattern:

Blue and white vignette | Vintage Floral Cottage

Most of the other items were thrift-store finds, except for the magazine, the rooster, and the pumpkin.

Blue and white vignette | Vintage Floral Cottage

The rooster is actually a souvenir of sorts… he is marked “Portugal” on the bottom, so possibly he came home in someone’s suitcase. For me he is a souvenir of the first auction I attended with Greg – it was won in a lot purchased by a young boy, but Greg found it later in a trash bin just outside the auction hall and saved it.

Blue and white vignette | Vintage Floral Cottage

I made the velvet pumpkin last Fall along with many others, but cannot seem to put this one away. I just love the way it turned out!

Blue and white vignette | Vintage Floral Cottage

The magazine is a back issue of Bliss Victoria – their covers are decor all by themselves, and so many are seasonal that they just fit right in! This one is from 2010 – I have a storage piece just for my back issues of this and other lovely magazines.

Blue and white vignette | Vintage Floral Cottage

The beautiful glass vase is a little hard to photograph, but it is stunning in person. It’s about 10 inches tall and very heavy. It actually leans to one side a bit – a production flaw I guess! I found it at the Goodwill.

Blue and white vignette | Vintage Floral Cottage

The photo doesn’t fit the theme so much but it rarely leaves this spot. This is my little princess all decked out at around age 3 in her 50’s-themed poodle skirt. We were attending a lot of hot rod car shows all through the 1990’s and she loved to dress the part!

Blue and white vignette | Vintage Floral Cottage

The teacup is Johnson Brothers, “Devon Sprays.”

Blue and white vignette | Vintage Floral Cottage

I don’t have a lot of other blue and white set out – truth be told I still have a few Christmas items up! – but I am definitely enjoying a freshened look now that the holidays have passed.

Blue and white vignette | Vintage Floral Cottage

What’s your favorite way to decorate in January?

 

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January blue and white tablescape: Currier & Ives

Now that pink and gold Christmas has mostly passed (I still have my garlands up – lol), I’ve been freshening things up in the dollhouse with a bit of blue and white. It always seems like such a classic “new year” kind of color combination, don’t you think?

Blue and white | Vintage Floral Cottage

Blue and white | Vintage Floral Cottage
Unfortunately it has always seemed to me that when people talk about blue and white dinnerware, they usually trot out the trusty Blue Willow – which everyone seems to have had at one time or another (literally over the past 200 years!), and which is still being made today. Not to take away from this hugely popular pattern, but I’m not a big fan of chinoiserie so it’s just not really my taste. I much prefer more Western motifs, such as Johnson Brothers Devon Sprays, Coaching Scenes, and Old Britain Castles. (Although, JB was – and still is – one of many manufacturers to produce a version of Blue Willow…)

By far, though, my favorite blue and white pattern is Currier & Ives by the Royal China Company of Sebring, Ohio. So my blue-and-white tablescape features this friendly, casual pattern, featuring images from the prints of the illustrating/publishing duo of Nathaniel Currier and James Merritt Ives, who published lithographic prints from 1834-1907.

Currier & Ives | Vintage Floral Cottage

It’s no exaggeration to say this is the pattern that got me started collecting dishes – I acquired service for twelve from my grandmother Verdie, who gifted it to me back in the early 1990’s. It was the set she had for several decades… and we used it for birthdays, holidays, and Sunday dinners the whole time I was growing up.

Currier & Ives | Vintage Floral Cottage

The Royal China Co. pattern was produced beginning in about 1949, and in addition to other distribution methods was given away as premiums in grocery stores. This is how Verdie built her set, piece by piece over time.

Currier & Ives | Vintage Floral Cottage

I’ve now had these dishes for almost 30 years. They have survived two whole-house floods, but I no longer have the entire service for 12. I down-sized my collection in 2008 after the second flood, keeping only the pieces I knew I would use: dinner plates, bread/dessert plates, and serving platters. (I’ve never regretted down-sizing in general, but I am maybe a teensy bit sorry I didn’t keep the berry bowls.)

Currier & Ives | Vintage Floral Cottage

Although this table setting is far from being a duplicate of a typical table at Verdie’s house, it nonetheless brings back to my memory all those tables and the warm, wonderful family events that took place in her home.

Currier & Ives | Vintage Floral Cottage

The place setting consists of a Currier & Ives dinner plate, plain white scalloped-edge salad plate by Johnson Brothers, and a CI dessert/bread plate.

Currier & Ives | Vintage Floral Cottage

Currier & Ives | Vintage Floral Cottage

Currier & Ives | Vintage Floral Cottage

Flatware is my treasured Oneida Chandelier, which Verdie also gave to me. It belonged to her sister, my great-Aunt Hazel… in whose home we also enjoyed dozens of family gatherings.

Currier & Ives | Vintage Floral Cottage

The pretty cutwork tablecloth and napkins are my own thrift-store and eBay finds from the past year.

Currier & Ives | Vintage Floral Cottage

The blue Fostoria drinkware is perfect with the CI dinnerware, and is also a thrift-store find.

Currier & Ives | Vintage Floral Cottage

I just love the details in these stacked edges, and the crisp color combination.

Currier & Ives | Vintage Floral Cottage

Currier & Ives | Vintage Floral Cottage

Currier & Ives | Vintage Floral Cottage

Currier & Ives | Vintage Floral Cottage

I’ve also used a couple of my serving platters in the Currier & Ives pattern – this pretty oval…

Currier & Ives | Vintage Floral Cottage

and the unique tab-handled version.

Currier & Ives | Vintage Floral Cottage

Other serving pieces are these simple white basket-weave bowls, a thrift-store find. We’ll use these for the mashed potatoes and for Aunt Hazel’s favorite canned vegetable, peas and carrots. She’d bring out a bowl full, set it on the table, and say, “Here are the peas and carrots – I want you to eat every carrot and pea in the dish.” (Aunt Hazel also taught us the “Beans, beans the musical fruit” song.)

Currier & Ives | Vintage Floral Cottage

Now Verdie and Hazel never – to my memory – used a floral centerpiece… it was always the platter, brimming with turkey, roast chicken, or even zesty little mini-meatloaves they referred to as pigs-in-a-blanket… although there were always a few for us kids without the blanket, which was cabbage – yuck!

But I do love pretty flowers on the table, even if they are silk and not center-stage.

Currier & Ives | Vintage Floral Cottage

Currier & Ives | Vintage Floral Cottage

One thing they did use, though, was salt cellars – also called open salts. And do you know what we used them for? Radishes! Despite whatever other vegetable was being served, there were always thinly-sliced radishes in a bowl, and we’d dip them in the open salt. I love them to this day!

Currier & Ives | Vintage Floral Cottage

Currier & Ives | Vintage Floral Cottage

A few more views around the table…

Currier & Ives | Vintage Floral Cottage

Currier & Ives | Vintage Floral Cottage

Currier & Ives | Vintage Floral Cottage

Currier & Ives | Vintage Floral Cottage

Everything hand-washed and ready to be put away… no automatic dishwasher at Grandma’s house!

Currier & Ives | Vintage Floral Cottage

… and time to go sit in the living room to play some cribbage, or Yahtzee, or practice on the sewing cards while the women chat and the men take naps!

Of course, I’m sharing my blue and white table for Tablescape Thursday on Susan’s lovely blog, Between Naps on the Porch, as well as Feathered Nest Friday at the amazing French Country Cottage blog.

Here is a pinnable image in case you’d like to save this table for future ideas!

Currier & Ives Table | Vintage Floral Cottage

And finally, a funny side-story about Currier & Ives. Do you know the ice cream company, Schwan’s? In the mid-90’s after I was married, we had a “Schwan man” who used to come around and sell us a variety of their frozen products. Every year at Christmas, Schwan’s came out with a large tin of French Vanilla ice cream – the only time of year they sold that flavor. And the tin was always a different color, with a different Currier & Ives print on the lid. I collected those tins for several years, and one year while chatting with the Schwan man, he expressed surprise at how popular the tins were, year after year. I asked him if he knew who Currier & Ives were – I guess I just wanted to make sure he knew the history of these long-beloved American designs dating back to the Victorian era. I’ll never forget his reply: “Not really, just a couple of guys who work for Schwann’s, I think.” Oh. My. Goodness.

 

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DIY: a new skirt for my cottage kitchen sink

Happy new year, friends! I hope your transition to 2018 was a good one. Mine definitely was – I was quite content to spend NYE and NYD at home, because of the absolute frigid temperatures here. It has been below zero for a few days now, and that makes me so much less likely to venture out when I don’t have to!

I spent some time taking down most of the Christmas decor, and I have to say that as much as I loved all the fru-fru, I also like the fresh feeling once it’s all put away. I work a regular 9-5 job so I had Monday off (actually on the 2nd I start a brand new job!), and I took the opportunity to complete the first DIY project of the year: I sewed a new skirt for the opening under my kitchen sink!

Here is the old one – nothing really wrong with it, as you can see, but I was just ready for a change.

sink skirt before | Vintage Floral Cottage

I had a bit of fabric all picked out but as I was putting laundry away I came upon this pair of sweet thrifted pillowcases.

New Sink Skirt | Vintage Floral Cottage

They have wonderful details, including a wide white border and the prettiest blue checked piping between the border and the main fabric. (They were a thrift-store find, two for $1.99; the brand is Liz Claiborne.)

New Sink Skirt | Vintage Floral Cottage

I realized that one of them, if opened up flat, would be just the right amount of fabric for a new sink skirt! The one I decided to use also had some sort of red stain on the border – I knew I could fold that part under to make a casing at the top, so it would never be seen.

New Sink Skirt | Vintage Floral Cottage

I started by cutting carefully down the side, eliminating the sewn side seam but not cutting away too much fabric. I opened up the bottom the same way so that I had a flat piece of fabric. Then I just hemmed up the two sides and bottom, and folded some over at the top to make the casing for the tension rod that is used for hanging.

So yes, it was just that easy, and took me less than an hour! Here’s the finished skirt!  Isn’t that piping pretty?

New Sink Skirt | Vintage Floral Cottage

New Sink Skirt | Vintage Floral Cottage

New Sink Skirt | Vintage Floral Cottage

What a great kick-off to the year, to have one small project already done! How did you celebrate New Year’s Day?

I’m sharing my cottage kitchen sink skirt at Feathered Nest Friday over at Courtney’s beautiful blog, French Country Cottage, and The Vintage Charm Party at Cecilia’s My Thrift Store Addiction.

 

 

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Happy New Year 2018!

Wishing you and yours the best of all good things in 2018!

Happy New Year | Vintage Floral Cottage

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Tablescape round-up 2017

Earlier this year Greg built a beautiful new top for my curb-find kitchen table, in the harvest style I had been envisioning.

Harvest style table top | Vintage Floral Cottage
With plenty of tabletop “real estate” to work with, I was finally able to begin styling some fun tablescapes using the many dinnerware patterns and vintage items I had acquired. Here’s a quick peek (with links back to the original posts) of the pretty tables I had fun creating this year!

In May I featured square dishes called Serape for a fun and festive Cinco de Mayo table.

Cinco de Mayo table | Vintage Floral Cottage
I also shared a pretty table for Mother’s Day featuring “Butler’s Pantry Gourmet” by Lenox.

Mother's Day Table | Vintage Floral Cottage
I had purchased these cute Pier 1 “sliced orange” plates (featured in August) because of their bright citrus color. I re-donated them a few months later, and recently I saw them on the shelf at the same Goodwill where I’d donated them. It took all I had NOT to re-purchase them!

Sliced Orange Plate | Vintage Floral Cottage

Then in September, not quite ready to let go of Summer, I set a couple of late-summer tables that helped transition into Fall with faded floral colors and Autumn textures.  This one featured Norway Rose platters by Cunningham & Pickett

Norway Rose platter table | Vintage Floral Cottage

…and this one featured “Florence” by the Pope Gosser Company, and the green “Soreno” by Anchor Hocking.

Late Summer Table | Vintage Floral cottage

I had given in to Fall by the time Thanksgiving rolled around, so I styled this holiday table using both Harvest Time and Windsor Fruit by Johnson Brothers, and a most interesting tablecloth!

Thanksgiving Table 2017 | Vintage Floral Cottage

Finally, in December, I shared two wonderful tables that (hopefully) captured the magic and majesty of Christmas. This one featured World Bazaar’s “Christmas Ribbon” in a table with a natural woodland feel:

Christmas ribbon table | Vintage Floral Cottage

… And this one was all a-shimmer with a set of stunning gold-rimmed dinner plates (maker unknown), my newly acquired gold-tone flatware, and lots of golden touches around the table.

Golden Christmas | Vintage Floral Cottage
Throughout the year, my tablescaping experience evolved such that one of my favorite shots of each table was taken at the very end, when items were gathered up to be put back into the cupboards. I like the “put-away shots” as much as the actual table settings!

Golden put away shot | Vintage Floral Cottage

Ribbon Put Away Shot | Vintage Floral Cottage

Pretty Plaid Put-Away | Vintage Floral Cottage

Faded Roses Put-Away | Vintage Floral Cottage
I’ll be creating and styling more pretty tables in 2018; I have two already planned for January! Hope you’ll pop back in to check them out!

PS – As this blog grows, you’ll always be able to get links to all the tablescapes by clicking on the category called “tablescapes” in the right-hand column of the blog. Easy, right?

I’m sharing my tablescape round-up at Tablescape Thursday, over on Susan’s blog “Between Naps on the Porch.”

 

 

 

 

 

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