Monday, January 12, 2009

Francais et Chic ` Catherine's Intro to Tablescape Tuesday!

Bonjour~ With much excitement I share my very first "Francais et Chic" Tablescape Tuesday with all of you. Merci Susan for creating the weekly event!

It was easy to know which Tablescape I'd share with you first, because it's the one I enjoy using the most, my Cobalt Blues & Italian Spode Blue/White china. Having had the opportunity of traveling to the country of France where my ancestors hailed from, I soon learned why I was passionate about the color combination of rich blues, yellows, and white. Please, sit with me as I take you on my first Tablescape tour...I've got a very relaxed evening planned. As Louis Armstrong's La Vie En Rose plays in the background, you'll want to sip slowly on your glass of wine. You won't want to miss a thing...
I'm a sentimental soul that seems to have a deep connection to most of the things I collect or enjoy. I'm also easily influenced by those dear to me, I fall in love with the things they love...and find myself wanting to incorporate some items because it reminds me of a friend or family member. The cobalt blue stemware (or anything cobalt blue) reminds me of my Aunt Fran's passion. For years we enjoyed holiday dinners in her lovely home and she'd always break out her cobalt blue stemware for the occasion. Her passion rubbed off on both my husband and I, and eventually we began our own. The Italian Spode china came a few years later (my very first real china) when my son's fiancee decided to give me a gift, subsequently all my children have decided to use holidays and birthday celebrations to build my collection. I now have nearly a complete set for 12, and I've only been collecting for two years.
The Antique Chandelier is more easily seen on the banner of this blog, isn't it absolutely gorgeous? Again, my girlfriend Kathleen (captivated herself by chandeliers) enticed me to buy just one...and now I've got two and am searching for more. The small tables to the far right in the photo above are set for after dinner tea and dessert. The less I have to leave you and my other guests, the more relaxed the evening will go. Notice the Cobalt glassware below, it's a pedestal style cake plate that I'm using to showcase the Spode Teapot on. It's sitting on the tallest side table and actually has an Ostrich Feather fan spread on the top of it to just add that little bit of romantic softness. I love this fan and have found countless ways over the years to use it in displays, teas, dinners... If you like the pedestal cake plate, it comes in varied colors and I can give you the name of the shop I purchased it in, I'm sure they do mail order.
It's all in the details, and I've been told I've got that illness. (wink`wink) On the smallest table next to the Teapot and cups you'll see a small Shabby Chic petite table with the accoutrement's for tea and a small display of desserts. The small pedestal mini cake plate holds home made Almond Scones and European Cinnamon Rugalahs and one Strawberry featured for color, so save room for dessert! I've placed crocheted gloves underneath the dessert for effect, don't you just love them? The After Eight dinner mints are placed in a three section "Made in France" antique glass dish. I love using this little dish, the third section easily holds the delicate sugar cubes where I have a set of tongs for your easy pick up. One lump or two?
At each place setting there are personal salt and pepper shakers. I've been fortunate enough to pick up a few sets at antique and consignment stores, such as the ones below. I also received a set of four pair for a Christmas Gift from my daughter, so this is the first time I've had enough for all my guests! Aren't they so cute?
Here's a pic of the desserts a bit closer so you can make up your mind on what you'd like to try! The red and white peppermint flavored candied spoons turned right side up in the glass container are also for flavoring your tea, so...plan on more than one cup so you can try these!
Now, the photo below is is your place setting, please...take a seat. I wanted to create an inviting setting and candles always soothe me, so...decided to share one for you too. Actually, each of my guests will enjoy one of these multipurpose glass dishes at your seat. These can be used for salads or dessert, tonight...I decided to once again use them for effect. I found these in the same store I found the pedestal blue cake plate in for a super reasonable price. I've only had them for about two months and have used them four times already. They are so much fun and versatile! So, what do you think so far, feelin the love? =)
The napkins are white damask fabric, (only the best for you my friend) I thought I'd do something extravagant for the napkin rings and created them using heirloom brooches I have. This very first one is the first piece of jewelry my Grandmother Dessie ever gave me. It's iridescent and the color of light yellow blends so well with this tablescape. Since you were my first guest, you get to sit at this place setting! If you're interested in how I created these for easy on and off, just ask...I love sharing my secrets with friends!
This napkin brooch is for my place setting, it's been a favorite of mine for years and it's a really neat costume jewelry brooch I picked up for myself many years ago and I wear it often. This Parisian brooch adds that special touch to whatever it finds itself attached to! Since I'm the hostess, I get to hand pick my brooch, sorry. =) Maybe I'll let you have it the next time you come for dinner. (smile)
This brooch was a gift to me. I love has a pewter and pearl look and looks "perfecto" on a gray suit. Very royal and regal, it will make any of my guests feel special when they sit at their chair.
This napkin brooch was purchased by myself at an Antique Gallery. Once upon a time I purchased a custom fan shaped romantic wood baroque frame. Thinking I'd create this outstanding unique piece of art, I started by collecting varied pieces of jeweled buttons and jewelry to somehow create a jeweled fan affect. Well, I still have the frame and the jewelry; they're just not together yet. The fans loss, your gain because you get to enjoy this cool brooch!
Meet Willie, my Angel brooch. I named her Willie because about 10 years ago my friends mother was in a coma and not expected to live. I loved my friends mom and just felt for sure she would make it if I prayed hard enough. I purchased this angel pin, named her Willie and wore her everywhere I went. When someone commented on Willie, I asked them to pray with me for her healing and total recovery. I wrote notes to Willie and my friend would read them to her in hopes she could hear and they would encourage her. Willie had promised me before the accident that I could have a Red Bud tree from her home, so every time I wrote her I reminded her that she promised to walk through her gardens with me so I could pick out my Red Bud tree. Willie woke up one day and recovered, against all odds, and I walked through her garden the next summer and we found the perfect tree for me! She is a walking miracle...and whichever guest gets Willie will really feel like an Angel has visited them tonight. Willie now visits churches everywhere to share the miracle God gave her in bringing her back to share her story of hope and faith. You are a special guest to sit at this seat! =)
Last, but as you can see, certainly not least! This one is saved for my most flamboyant personality joining us tonight...Kathleen, my sweet friend, I've saved her for you! You know how you love glitter and glam...she exudes everything that I think of when I think of you. Every facet creates a new light, and just like you are constantly surprising me with your creations...this brooch is exactly the same way in the way the light dances 100% of the time! I know you two are going to be great companions~ Now, the catch is, in order for you to enjoy her after tonight, you have to come to all my dinner parties! Promise? =)
This is an up close look of the two little side tables I've converted to assist me in serving tea and dessert after dinner convenes. You can see the Ostrich Feather fan in this pic a bit better. The taller piece is a newly purchased item that I have had my eye on for over a year, the store recently announced it was closing and I saved $100 by waiting for the "right" time to get it. I'm going to use it for my first Metamorphosis Monday makeover item and convert it to the Shabby Chic look. I can't wait to see how it will match the smaller side table next to it. I promise I'll invite you back over once I get it done! =)
Serving bread from both ends of a large dining room table always makes it a bit easier to serve with less of a hassle. Using my very own little b/w french bunny accent dishes, I've decided to serve little french rolls so it's easier for you to reach in and get them without having to pass the dish around. Eat as many as you like, I've got plenty! Why french rolls? Why not? What do you think of the little silver beads strewn around the table, I love those? They match the little silver beads that outline each of the cobalt blue chargers. I picked these up with the after Christmas items since they also have little jingles on them, but they really do not look that holiday like, so I plan on using them throughout the year. Like em?
The Cobalt Blue stemware is worthy of a solo pic, don't you think? The Wine glasses were a gift from my sister one year for Christmas from a Bombay store, before they went out of business. I constantly get wonderful comments on them and they really set the table off perfectly. The water goblets were purchased at a little place called "Garden Ridge" and they are made by Anchor Hocking, so...they were very reasonable. So reasonable that I purchased 24 of them! Now, the Wine glass holds probably a good 8-10 oz, so, be careful how many refills you get! =)
Here is a closer look at the rim of one of the chargers. These were a gift for our Wedding Anniversary to celebrate our 25th from my daughter and her husband! These were also a Bombay find....and she got me 12, thank goodness since I can't add anymore to my collection. These have to be hand washed, but they are totally worthy of hand washing. =)
I wanted you to see a close up of the centerpiece! Are those Yellow Roses not gorgeous? I brought them all the way home from Chicago on the plane about 7 years ago. Yes, seven years ago! They are the best silk flowers you'll ever see that are very realistic~ I have them arranged using real greenery and baby's breath left over from another arrangement I'd put together for the holidays. Really, can you tell these are not real? And, you're sitting right here...if anyone could tell, you could!
The Milk Glass Flower Vase is another heirloom, it belonged to my husband's grandmother. I added a little bling bling to the lower neck of the vase by taking a bracelet of mine and sliding it up over the base. (it's got an elastic type stretch to it) It was one of those last minute hunches to put a little pizazz on the vase and it "totally" works! Next to the brooch napkin rings, I think it's my favorite item on the tablescape tonight. What do you think? Be honest~
And for the final "Francais et Chic " item, these are customized photo name place cards I created by taking the jeweled buttons and jewelry I told you the Ostrich Feather fan and had fun taking pics one afternoon just goofing off. Well, the goof became a great gift, I created these using Microsoft Powerpoint and then saved them as jpeg pics. It was so easy, you should try this! If I wanted to tonight, I could have even had your picture on the placecards...
The placecard holders were something I had seen online, I think it may have been a Martha Stewart posting when I was searching for ideas on placecard holders back in the fall. I created my own and they were a hit for a banquet I participated in. I then found where you can purchase them through a company called "Uncommon Goods". Now, the placecard holders are such a cinch to make...they are wine corks cut in half., and then you take and score the top of the rounded part about 1/8" deep to slide the card into. The wooden corks work best...but I've also used the plastic type ones and they work too.
Well, I didn't think I was ever going to get done........I'm really hungry, how about you? Oh, don't forget, once we get done with dinner and dessert...don't forget you need to head on over to visit Susan's blog at to enjoy the other Tablescapes!
Hold me close and hold me fast
The magic spell you cast
This is la vie en rose
When you kiss me heaven sighs
And tho I close my eyes
I see la vie en rose
When you press me to your heart
I'm in a world apart
A world where roses bloom
And when you speak...angels sing from above
Everyday words turn into love songs
Give your heart and soul to me
And life will always be
La vie en rose
Au revoir~ Till next weeks Tablescape!
~CC Catherine


Kathleen Ellis said...

WOW! what a beautiful tablescape you've created for your first TT! Great job! I LOVE those napkin rings, of course you know I want to know how to make them!
Love that little bunny cracker dish, too! Everything looks lovely, Catherine!

Dixie's Whimsey said...

What a beautiful and inviting tablescape... I adore blue and white together, and you've added so many eclectic little pieces of bling! georgous!
blissfully, Dixie

Anonymous said...

Wow!!! What an intro! I love everything! Wow! I love the blue the bunnies, your glasswear! Oh my and your Chandy is to die for!

Donna Marie

Cami @ Creating Myself said...

WONDERFUL table! There's so much eye candy, I don't even know where to begin. I'll just keep it short & say that I love everything. Every single thing!

ellen b said...

How nice to meet you Catherine! Your table makes me want to run right over and crash the party. What a great idea for napkin rings. I love everything blue and white and how wonderful that you've collected so much of your china! What nice gifts and a very thoughtful DIL who got it started...
The little tables on the edges to keep other goodies close is another great idea.
The cobalt blue added to the scape is such a good choice. Sounds like you are a well loved mom and friend to receive such thoughtful gifts. Enjoy. ummm when's your next dinner party??? :0)

Susan said...

GORGEOUS!! I love blue and I love EVERYTHING about your table!

Beautiful table!

Anonymous said...

Love your tablescape! I can't believe your chandy---I one just like it in my bedroom!! Don't you just love it. I got mine off of ebay, it came from New York. Yes chandeliers become an addiction, the same as dishes and chairs! LOL. Keep up the beautiful tablesdcapes. M. Ann

Lady Katherine said...

Just beautiful! That's all I can say! lol I love we get to sat down, and I love the mints, and I love all the blue and just all. Come do my blue table! I have so many blue dishes!

Pat@Back Porch Musings said...

Absolutely gorgeous tablescape! I love the chargers...and everything else! Thanks so much for the inspiration.

laurie @ bargain hunting said...

I also love blue and white, and your tablescape is wonderful! I do want to know about how to do those stunning napkin rings. laurie

Linda said...

Great job , welcome for the first time. I am not a blue person, but this sure is pretty pretty and making me want blue dishes!

Ma'dame French said...

Bonjour;) This looks lovely I am loving all the blue! The napkin rings are divine! French;)

Cynthia said...

I love the blue and white and just say that the little bunny bread holder was the best!! Cindy

Kathleen Ellis said...

YES! We'll be around Valentine's weekend...can you come up?!
Let me know asap...yippee!
did you get my e-zine today?!

salmagundi said...

That is one of the most beautiful of the blue and white dish patterns, I think. How lucky your children are giving it to you as gifts. The cobalt glassware compliments it perfectly. Sally

ceekay said...

You have some beautiful pieces. I love all the brooches for napkins, the cobalt blue...beautiful. Thanks for visiting me...hope to see you again!

Susan (Between Naps on the Porch) said...

Catherine...this tablescape is stunning! I love EVERY little detail! Those are the best napkin rings EVER! I love the story of each one! Your Spode china and cobalt blue glasses are soooo beautiful. I love Spode and this pattern is wonderful! Thanks for such a magnificent tablescape! Susan

Kathleen said...

Catherine, you set a beautiful table! I am a big blue and white fan, and all you touches are just lovely!
And thanks for the visit to my blog...

Shelia said...

Oh, Catherine! What a treat to visit your beautiful table. I just posted yesterday about the Blue Italian Salt & Peppers. I don't have the dishes, just the s & p! Your dishes are devine and the blue stemware is too! I love your stories about the beautiufl napkin rings and especially about little Willie! Thanks for popping in to see me today!
Be a sweetie,
shelia ;)

Dixie's Whimsey said...

well, all that yackin' and I forgot to say that I absolutely adore that chandelier! Magnificent!

come visit me in French Lique any time! come see tomorrow's Wordless Wednesday (and join if you like!), and my somewhat out of the ordinary 100th post!

blissfully... Dixie

LdyDy Loves Cake said...

Oh my gosh! Where do I start! Your tablescape is so beautiful. So many lovely details, the broach napkin holders, nameplace holders, the china, the bunny bread plates..oh..and that chandelier, and of course the stunning cobalt blue goblets. I will be back to visit often. Thank you for stopping by my blog too! Au revoir

~CC Catherine said...

Ladies, Thanks to everyone who made my first week of participating with TT a very welcomed event! You all are great! Love the comments...they are encouraging to make me want to continue to share some of the ideas that swirl through my brain from time to time. I do know one thing, I have to manage my excitement better... Ever since I started planning for this and all day yesterday, I could not relax...wanted to see EVERYONE elses Tablescape and leave an encouraging word. I'm finding that is very much how the Blog community is working, very supportive of one another! Au Revoir till next TT! ~CC Catherine PS: A kind "Merci" to Susan for hosting TT! 8=)

Cathy said...

Beautiful tablescape! Thanks for stopping by my blog.


Gypsy aka Tam said...

What an absolutly beatiful table and your dishes are stunning.
Thank you so much for visiting my blog and your kind comment. To answer your question I use to add frames and effects to my pictures. Even with the basic free features you can have a lot of fun. Let me know when you gave it a try, I'd like to know if what you think.
Have a wonderful day,