Christmas tablescape with Old Country Roses

Check out my new FREE napkin folding tutorial, “5 Fun, Easy Napkin Folds.” It’s an easy-to-follow PDF file and includes the Christmas Tree napkin fold featured on this table!

I’ve been collecting vintage dinnerware for over 25 years, but Old Country Roses by Royal Albert remains my all-time favorite pattern. It’s the pattern I wish I had added to my wedding registry, but didn’t have the guts because of the price. It’s also the pattern I’ve painstakingly collected via Ebay over the years, adding only pieces I knew I would use (dinner, salad, and bread/dessert plates) and only those with the oldest backstamp. “OCR” came out the year I was born (1962), and it is Royal Albert’s best-selling pattern in company history. I especially love to use it at Christmas time because, while it isn’t overtly a “holiday pattern,” it definitely reflects a Christmas color scheme and to me is just holiday special.

This year I’ve set my Christmas table using OCR dinner and bread plates, with a Fire King salad plate and brushed gold bead-edge chargers. The OCR, of course, I’ve collected over time. The salad plates and chargers are thrift store finds. I mean really, it just says “Christmas” to me!

The flatware is also extra-special in this setting. It is my grandmother’s silverplate from the 1950’s – it’s called “Flair,” by 1847 Rogers Brothers. I love the little flip at the top, and how the slight curve at the bottom frames the plate when set on the correct side. (Perhaps a little nudge to hostesses like myself who need a gentle reminder about which side of the plate to use for which pieces…? Those Rogers Brothers kind of knew what they were doing, me-thinks!)

Glassware is Longchamps and King’s Crown Coin Dot.

The centerpiece is a simple ceramic swan/sleigh, filled with faux pine greenery, clip-on white velvet poinsettias, and a couple of beautiful silk roses that mimic the color and style of the roses in the dinnerware.

A close-up of the napkin fold. (Don’t forget to grab your free PDF guide to “5 Fun, Easy Napkin Folds” – including the Christmas tree!)

A few more views around the table…

The “birds-eye view” of the entire table:

And the put-away shot, my after-the-fact “mood board” showing how pretty everything looks even if just waiting to go back into the cupboards:

And finally, an image to Pin if you’d like to save this post for future ideas:

For more budget-friendly holiday (and year-round) tablescaping ideas, please come join my Facebook group, Thrifty Tablescapers!

I’m sharing this post for Tablescape Thursday over at Between Naps on the Porch! Be sure to click through for much more holiday tablescape inspiration!

Posted in Holidays, Tablescapes | 4 Comments

Simple and fun Christmas project: Make a Pop Tart “gingerbread” house!

This is one of those projects you nearly scroll past on Pinterest because you don’t have little kids anymore and you think it isn’t grown up enough or doesn’t fit your decorating style or this year’s theme or nine other reasons. But then you pause just long enough to sort of fall in love with the picture, and you realize your inner child might not have grown completely up yet, and the project is cute and looks easy so why not give it a try? Especially when toaster pastries, a few kinds of colorful (and Christmasy) candy, and even a little faux silver tray can all be found at the Dollar Tree? Suddenly, a Pop Tart gingerbread house doesn’t seem so far-fetched, does it?

Here’s what I used:

1 pkg of 6 toaster pastries
Assorted colorful candies (Dots, candy canes, Christmas lollipops, and hard candy)
About 2 cups confectioner’s sugar (I had this on hand)
Small silver serving tray

This project was really simple. Basically, you cut two of the pastries to form the gables at each end of the house, and mix a tiny bit of water with confectioner’s sugar to make “mortar” for holding the pastries together and for attaching candy pieces to the pastries and the base.

The trickiest part was getting the right consistency of the confectioner’s sugar to use as mortar. You add just the tiniest bit of water… I mixed mine about a half-cup of sugar at a time, starting with 1 teaspoon of water and then only adding more if it seemed too thick. The directions I had said to make it the consistency of “craft glue,” but they really should have said “school paste.” It has to be thick, so it doesn’t run before it has a chance to set up.

Frosted toaster pastries served as the house itself. I used Dots candy as the shrubbery and flowers around the base of the house, candy canes for the fence along the sidewalk, crushed hard candy for the sidewalk gravel, more hard candy for the windows, and gingerbread/tree lollipops for my homeowner and his Christmas tree.

Another Dot for the chimney, and a couple pretzel sticks for the back door. For items that were to be stuck to the sides of the house, it worked best to apply some mortar to the backside of the candy, let it set up a bit, then press it against the house. I had to prop up most of these items (using toothpicks or whatever was at hand) to keep them in place while the mortar set.

My little house is completely edible, except of course for the tray. But here’s the thing: most of this candy tastes terrible, and adding watered down confectioner’s sugar to it does nothing to improve it. So I don’t recommend eating it (or even licking your fingers) during the construction process. I mean it – it’s truly awful. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

This adorable little house (or a bunch of them!) would be fun to do with kids, or even as a grown-up activity at a crafting party. (There may have been adult beverages involved at my house.)

Here’s an image to Pin if you’d like to save this idea for future use!

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Thanksgiving 2020 tablescape with Currier & Ives

My Thanksgiving celebration – like everyone else’s, undoubtedly – looked a little different this year but was still fun and memorable. My daughter, her boyfriend, and my own special guy came to lunch on the Sunday following the holiday. I served apricot glazed pork loin, garlic mashed potatoes, and green bean casserole, and Stephanie brought a pumpkin pie for dessert. After lunch we spent a little time just visiting… very simple, but a very special day, since “guests for luncheon” have been few and far between this year!

Here’s the table I set for the four of us —

Dinnerware is my handed down Currier & Ives by Royal China. This set really says “Thanksgiving” to me because it is the set we used for holidays and Sunday dinners at my grandmother Verdie’s house the entire time I was growing up. I remember so fondly gathering around her table, so this china to me IS Thanksgiving.

There are many, many pieces to the Currier & Ives set, and each one has a different CI image on it. I kept it simple for this meal and just used the dinner plate featuring “The Old Grist Mill” plus one oval serving platter featuring “The Old Inn – Winter.” Flatware is my handed down Oneida Chandelier, which was given to me after my great-aunt passed away around 1990. It’s also a set we used as I was growing up, for holidays not spent at Grandma Verdie’s house were spent a few blocks away at her sister’s, my beloved “Auntie Hazel.” The napkins, blue stemware, ivory damask tablecloth, and beaded garland were Goodwill/consignment store finds.

The centerpiece is a mixture of soft blue pumpkins – a tiny velvet one made by me and a beautiful crocheted one made by Stephanie and gifted to me. The crystal spooner holding the silk flowers belonged to Stephanie’s paternal grandmother Betty, my former mother-in-law.

Our soft-hued table wasn’t the usual Thanksgiving color scheme, perhaps, but it showcased the Currier & Ives perfectly and the fellowship of these special people meant the world to me.

I hope you enjoyed your Thanksgiving holiday in spite of the pandemic!

Here’s an image to Pin if you’d like to save this tablescape for future ideas.

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Happy Thanksgiving 2020!

Wishing a safe and blessed Thanksgiving to all my friends in the U.S., and a heartfelt “Thank you” for being part of this community, wherever you may be in the world!

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What will your holidays look like?

What will “the holidays” look like for you this year? Are you scaling back or forging ahead as usual? I’m sure this blasted Coronavirus is factoring into nearly everyone’s plans in one way or another.

As for me, I’m planning to “carry on” as close to normal as possible, with some adjustments, of course. I’m hoping that by doing a few things just as I’ve always done it will help the holidays seem less disrupted.

Decorating – My home will be bedecked and bejeweled as always! In fact, I’m planning extra sparkle at Christmas just to help keep spirits bright. Tablescapes will also be part of the decor, even if they are just for fun this year.

Food – I scuttled plans for my annual Christmas Cookie Exchange party, so as kind of a consolation prize for myself I’m watching a lot of cooking shows and trying some new recipes. Any actual holiday cooking will be strictly traditional favorites. (Speaking of cooking shows… I’m amazed and delighted that my daughter has launched her own cooking channel over on YouTube! She’s adorable, y’all, so give her a quick thumbs-up and a comment if you like – I know she’d appreciate it!)

Gifts – I’ll probably do a lot of my shopping online this year, but make no mistake: there is still shopping to be done, and I love choosing gifts for others! In case you’ve got hostesses and tablescapers on your list, I’ve chosen a few things via Amazon that you will LOVE to give! Check out my Holiday Gift Guide here!

Gratitude, Reflection, and Resolving – Like every year, I’m taking full stock of the many blessings in my life and I’ll be looking ahead to finding the things I can do better in 2021. These activities aren’t just “mind exercises,” they’re part of the way we mark the passage of time – traditions, in and of themselves.

I haven’t really talked much about “the virus” here on the blog. I just hate it, as a topic of conversation and for the impact it has had. Of course I recognize the need to be cautious, but in my opinion things have been blown way out of proportion in terms of our reaction to it. I’m distressed over what we have done to our economy (national and local) because of it. I’m distressed over the way it has divided us. I wholly reject phrases such as “the new normal” – there is NOTHING normal about not being able to hug each other, not being able to attend weddings and funerals, or sit with dying relatives, or patronize struggling small businesses. And don’t even get me started on the hypocrisy I’ve witnessed in all of these areas.

My approach has been to essentially keep living my life as normally as possible, but even then I have become hyper-aware of potentially “unclean” situations and I now have a certain level of anxiety about being in crowds that I’ve never really had before.

Suffice to say that like everyone I remain very concerned about the virus’s ongoing impact on our public health, the economy, and of course individual friends and family members. It is distressing and disheartening, to say the least. Which I think is why I’m determined to “keep calm and holiday on” this year!

How about you? Whatever you are planning for your holidays, I wish you good health and happiness!

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