Thursday, August 31, 2017

Dish Season

I have to admit that I haven't thought very much about laying a pretty table over the summer. But the minute we stop running around, and especially when the weather changes, my heart turns toward homey things and the comforts of gathering with friends and family around a hearty dinner table.

I especially like simple and informal dining with the emphasis on a good visit rather than a lot of preparation and clean up after. We have all been so busy this summer! So one pot dishes or a savory soup with a nice crusty bread to go with it make up my favorite kinds of meals.

I have reached for the dressier dishes this time rather than our standard plain but pleasing sturdy ironstone soup bowls. I just wanted to get out my transferware again for the first time this season.

I'm using some of my heavier textured linens that have been set aside for awhile. A nice big drop cloth cotton tablecloth underneath, a nubby thick runner down the middle, and my favorite striped napkins that are so large and absorbent and practical (from a few past seasons ago from Potterybarn). They don't even need to be ironed.

The mark on these dishes says "Fenton Faience from Surrey, England." I haven't had them for all that long, and just about had a fit when I found a set of them a few years ago.

I also wanted to show you the beautiful hand thrown beakers we got from Wolff Pottery in Bantam, CT over the summer. (I have been binge watching Poldark from PBS on Netflix lately, and the pub scenes are full of these handsome tumblers in many different styles. The third season starts up in October.) The pretty cards are from a museum shop. They make nice favors or place cards to dress up an otherwise fairly plain table. 

The ironstone tureen was the first of only a few that I have collected.

I also keep a small collection of brown transferware biscuit jars. They make good sugar bowls or flower vases. Sometimes just for decoration on the table.

The matching teacups are bigger than usual and also nice for a big cup of coffee.

The summer runaround isn't quite finished for us, but I'm already starting to feel more settled!

 The lovely postcard illustrations are from Model Book of Calligraphy. Inscribed by Georg Bocksay, 1561-62. Illuminated by Joris Hoefnagel for Emperor Rudolf II, c. 1590-96. (Getty Museum.)

When I pulled out my bowls, I was surprised to find an odd match in the mix. But that's how nicely the different patterns can blend together!

The large plates underneath are vintage American Traditional Ironstone by Cannonsburg Pottery Co. I think that I love embossed white china more than anything.

Are you gearing up for the changes ahead too?

Welcome back to dish season!


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Monday, August 28, 2017

Taking Stock

It seems that I have a collected a lot in my travels over the summer. It all gets plopped down somewhere between trips. So my rooms heave a sigh when I finally get the time to organize, clear things away, and do some deliberate arranging for a change.

It's also time to bring out old favorites, like this antique woven cloth that I only use in fall.

It's nice and thick, with a wonderful weave and texture. And I guess I think of autumn as being more textured than other seasons.

More layered as well. I like a cleaner and sparer look for our rooms in summer, but our spaces take on layers, just like we do, as the summer comes to a close.

I added a couple of wooden spoons and utensils to the mix this season.

I don't know what took me so long!

I also fell in love with this transferware platter that I found in New England in July.

Those sweet looking cows had everything to do with it. But then the creamy color won me over too. It is an old Copeland pattern.

My collection of ironstone wash basins has grown too. I will pass some along eventually, but they are so useful for holding and displaying things, and are so easy to stack.

It seems the summer foraging has brought an abundance to mimic that of nature herself.

This tawny water pitcher seems to have been made for fall. It even seems fatter than most to me.

I have had this terry tablecloth for decades now, and use it mostly as an under layer on the table. It's nice and large, and can help absorb the inevitable spills of a family gathering. . . .

But there are always comforting stacks of tablecloths waiting in the wings in this room. 

The blue glass is helping me cross over from one season to the next. Keeping things light just yet.

But it's time for gathering up dried herb-y bundles, and interesting acorns.

I always fight with the light when trying to take pictures, but we love the big windows in here in any season. 

Baskets and weeds are just made for each other.

The dresser has gotten loaded down with this and that over the past few months too. Over time you find out what belongs and what doesn't. What was merely a passing fancy, and what will be invited to stay.

The hen house is also getting pretty full. But so cheery!

Even the silver has taken on an amber glow. But that little tray will soon get a seasonal polishing up! The pewter just holds its own.

Saying goodbye to another August.

Thankful for a safe home, and mindful of our friends and loved ones in harms way.


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Monday, August 21, 2017

Late Summer Changes

I've started a few changes to the mantel with the change in the weather. It will probably get too hot again, but for now the days are cooler with our afternoon rains. Low 80's are a rarity for us in August, and it leaves me feeling just a suggestion of fall.

I go fishing around for my favorite linens this time of year too. The rooms can take a little more accessorizing as I think a few more cozy thoughts.

But I also thought that the cloudy day and the eclipse might give me a better chance at taking pictures of the hardest room in the house to photograph. I think I was wrong! It was just as hard as ever.

Nothing stays put on my hearth for long. I like a change up here too often, and it's one of those handy spots to lay something while I'm thinking about its future.

The new Wolff pots found a place on top of the cupboard for now.

The living room is usually much too casual for taking pictures anyway. It is a hard use room. Full of plump and clutter.

But since I find myself here so often I want to be looking at something soothing. We keep the collections down, and color and pattern to a minimum. That's where a little texture comes in with linens. It's a way to add something interesting without fussiness.

The heavy linen underneath often gets laid on the coffee table where we sometimes eat. The one in the middle was on the mantel covering the dark wood all summer. The one on top will get featured on a chair or table at some point.

The inset lace is fashioned from rickrack.

A throw with a pale tan color and stripe is new to the room. Since it is all cotton it's a good between season weight. Wool will come much later.

I also love this heavy crochet throw that puts me in a French Nordic mood.

Maybe a tad early for the sheepskin, but the light color still works for late summer. We mostly use it to pad the bench nearby for extra seating. 

We still have short end-of-summer jaunts planned in the coming weeks, but it feels like time for settling in. I need to catch up on some reading, and the new shows will be starting on Netflix! This spot has us all ready for action.

So what did you do for the eclipse? I watched it on the weather channel while I did my tweaking and shooting. Ready for the next big thing...

Hope it's a great new week for you!

Happy Days!