Wednesday, December 12, 2012

A cup of Christmas Tea - Variation I

First things first...We are truly blessed to have the means to set a pretty table and invite our friends to join us for good food and fellowship. I am mindful that many are not so fortunate. My daughter has a passion for the work of the Food Bank. As a singer-songwriter, she has written and recorded a song that is the anthem for the world wide Crop Hunger Walk project. Her song, "Raise Your Voice" is featured in their video. I've included a link in the side margin of my blog. I hope that it will encourage you to support projects in your community that contribute to the effort to overcome hunger.

It's beginning to look a little more like Christmas around here.  After our trip to Christmas at the Biltmore Estate, I was a bit behind the ball.  A group of some of my dearest friends were coming for lunch yesterday, so I needed to choose to get serious about decorating for the holiday season.  I had a great time creating my tablescape for our luncheon and bringing a touch of Christmas to our home.

Come on in...

 Silver bells are ringing...

The Simpich Santa has made his list...

...And Santa Takes a Break... 

 ...To make sure that he's ready to fill all those stockings in every home!

Our halls are all decked and waiting to celebrate with friends. 

The dining room is festooned with Christmas reds and shimmering greens, but we won't be dining here today...

Our small group of four will be enjoying lunch at the games table in the living room.

 Won't you please, join me for A Cup of Christmas Tea?

      Have you had the pleasure of meeting Patricia @ PANDORA'S BOX ?  Patti is a talented New York artist who loves to paint checks!  I was blessed to meet her through Sarah @ HYACINTHS FOR THE SOUL, who also enjoys using black and white checks in her designs.  One week I spotted a delightful painted silver teapot on Sarah's sideboard, and I asked where she found it.  Ta dah!  That's how I found Patti.

 Patti searches for vintage silver tea pots from estate sales, antique stores, and auctions and then she does a beautiful job of painting them a la Mackenzie-Childs "Courtly Check".  She has a knack for locating great pieces for incredibly reasonable prices.  I knew immediately that I not only wanted a tea set for myself...I knew that I had found the perfect Christmas gift for my closest friends...And the idea for my luncheon was born!  In addition to the teapots, filled with red Sweetheart roses from Sam's and fresh holly and berries cut from the bushes in front of KC's bungalow, each of my guests received a copy of the touching book, A Cup of Christmas Tea.  Tip:  I love the idea of using gifts for my guests as my centerpiece.  I particularly love it if the gift itself can hold fresh flowers for the occasion.  Today the gifts were true multi-taskers...the gift tags also did double duty as place cards for the table.  Boy, did I have fun!

  The Mackenzie-Childs Courtly Check charger plate was an obvious choice as the foundation for each place setting.  We've used our Retroneau "Holly" flatware for more than 30 years.  Tip:  When it's time to wash "decorative" flatware, make sure that you don't leave it soaking in water.  Pieces like this often have "applied" decorations, and they take a little extra attention.  With proper care, they will last for many years.  Also avoid soaking knives.  Because they are made of two separate pieces, the adhesive can become undermined over time if they are left to soak in water or suds.

  Our dinner plate was Castleton Laurel.  This was my mother-in-love's wedding china...such classic beauty.  I'm blessed to care for it until it's time to share it with the next generation of our family.  The creamy color of the matelasse cloth was the perfect complement.

 I like for my guests to see the entire stack of plates when they are seated at the table.  The top two plates were removed for plating after everyone was seated.  The King's Crown Tiffin Thumbprint Ruby Flash Accent Plates were estate sale finds.  They held...

 ...the individual domed dessert pedestal, a generous birthday gift from my friend Marsha.  She found them at Tuesday Morning, and I've seen them in stock several times.  It is so festive filled with the Cookie Princess cupcake topped with a decorated holly leaf cookie.  The Lace edged linen napkin belonged to our dear Nana.  I used a Christmas candle ring/ornament as my napkin ring.  The darling covered butter dish that you spy up in the corner was another of Patti's works of art.

 Repeating the traditional colors, I chose to use the Waterford Simply Pink goblet and the AJKA Arabella Green goblet.  I bought both of these patterns through eBay a number of years ago ago.  They were very reasonable at that time, but their prices have escalated over the years.  With patience, you can still occasionally find a good deal on them.

 I think that I'm ready.  We'll dine "tree side" with a lunch featuring Chicken Tetrazzini, Spinach Salad, and fresh hot garlic bread.  I caught some candlelight shots to share with you...


I'm hosting another group of precious friends on Friday.  I'm going to create A Cup of Christmas Tea Variation II for them.  I'll share it with you next week...

Oh my, I do love Christmas...the most important birthday party of the year.  I am always blessed to share this most significant  of celebrations with dear friends.  I love the idea that we give gifts to commemorate the priceless, unmerited gift that God gave us in the person of His Son, Jesus Christ. I pray that your holiday season is filled with peace and blessings.

Wednesday is the 39th edition of Cuisine Kathleen's meme, "LET'S DISH".  I'm excited to be a charter member.  Pop over (pun intended for the Chef Supreme Kathleen) and join the fun!

Lots of great ideas to be gathered when you visit Yvonne at Stone Gable for TUTORIALS, TIPS, & TIDBITS.  Don't waste another moment...hurry on over!  
Thank you, yet again, to Susan at Between Naps on the Porch for hosting her magical meme, Tablescape Thursday.  I'll be linking my post to "TABLESCAPE THURSDAY."   Hop on over and check out the myriad of marvelous tablescape designs, after 10:00 AM on Thursdays.  You'll be glad that you made the's a wonderful adventure.

When I think of December, I think about the day that I married Sweet just a few weeks, we'll celebrate our 44th anniversary.  How about you?  With thankfulness for her dedication and efforts (even in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy), I'm joining the multi-talented Tablescaper for her fabulous meme SEASONAL SUNDAYS.  Hope to see you there!  

You can check out KC's music at, on iTunes, and on YouTube.  I hope that you'll take a few minutes and give her a listen.  You'll also enjoy reading back through her blog on this site.  The girl can really write!  Her latest CD is called "The Tag Hollow Sessions""  It is available on iTunes or through her website.  I hope that you'll give her music a chance.  I know that I have zero objectivity where she is concerned, but I think that you'll fall in love with her music and her!            




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