Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Downton Abbey Continues...

Did you watch Sunday?????
It was wonderful and the plot, as they say, thickens!!  

In the first episode, Lady Grantham's maid was bringing her breakfast on a tray.  This week, I thought I would make up a breakfast tray.  But there is a story behind my tray

Here is the footman with a beautiful handled silver tray.  Wouldn't this be wonderful set for breakfast?

This is the downstairs dining table, so practical and such contrast from the fancy dining room upstairs.  I'm sure everything was still very good quality.

This is the breakfast tray "downstairs" in my kitchen, but notice that it is wooden (it would NEVER do), not a beautiful footed silver tray with handles. 

I DID have one was beautiful, with ornate handles and little feet.  It was from the Oneida factory store.  Oneida Silver was founded in Sherrill, NY-about twenty miles from where we live.  They had fabulous buys there before the factory closed.
So what happened my tray, you ask???  Well, my husband (who has no use for these sorts of things) thinks he didn't get it out of the basement when we were moving from our old house.  We've looked everywhere here.  I believe it's gone for good.  So I am on the hunt for a replacment.  But back to the breakfast requires some imagination and think SILVER...

Perhaps just some toast with jam and a pot of tea.
 A plate for the toast that is served in a small toast rack
A small bowl for marmalade
A closer view of the jam server
with a matching tea cup
Milk and sugar for tea
A last view

I hope you enjoyed my breakfast tray.  Maybe someday there will be a post with a silver tray!!
Now for the dish on the dishes:
  • The china is "Victoriana Rose" by Paragon.  I have been collecting this for years and just love it!
  • The china teapot is from Poland, bought at Tea with Grace
  • The sugar and creamer are Hammersley and were found in an old building that my sister bought.  She gave them to me
  • The little toast rack is from ebay
  • Some of the silverplate is Reed and Barton "Rathmore" and the jam spoon and butterspreader are from ebay but I don't know the patterns
  • The white damask napkins are from ebay and the hand-crocheted placemat I have had for years
  • The embroidered napkin is actually a hankie from my husband's aunt in England.  I thought that it went well with the pink roses on the china
I hope you are enjoying PBS's Downton Abbey and I thank you for stopping by.  Please visit all of the gorgeous tables at Between Naps on the Porch (the button is up on the right of my blog)

Happy to hear from you!!!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Downton Abby

(Warning: this is a long one)

Are you watching "Downton Abbey" on Masterpiece Classics?  I have been waiting for it and am absolutely mesmerized now that it is finally on!!  I have been recording it and re-watching over and over.  There is so much to see!   I subscribe to "The English Home" and the February issue has an article on the country house that was used as Downton Abbey.   The series reminds me of "Upstairs, Downstairs" from Masterpiece in the '70s.  Does anyone remember that one?   I did not miss an episode of that series either (actually, more have been made...can't wait for that, as well).  Another amazing film that has some gorgeous dinner scenes is "The Age of Innocence" which is one of my favorite movies of all time!

Back to Downton Abbey...the writing is wonderful, the acting fabulous, and the costumes and sets-to die for!!  Can you tell I'm smitten?  In the first episode, one scene shows the family coming to breakfast.  Although there were footmen serving at lunch, tea, and dinner, breakfast was a different thing altogether.  The sideboard was set with dishes and food and everyone helped themselves because people started their days at different times depending on what individuals' plans were (of course, some of the ladies had breakfast brought up, which is a whole DIFFERENT thing). 

I am fascinated by a life so gracious and privileged (but the life of the staff was something different altogether!  That was some hard work!!)  There is a wonderful book about life of the upper classes in the 19th Century.  It's called "What Jane Austen Ate and Charles Dickens Knew" by Daniel Pool.  It's a great read and explains a lot to those of us not born to the upper class.  It's a terrific resource when reading british novels of those eras.  I don't know if it is still in print, though. didn't come here for this rambling so here is my "tablescape" for this week.  I would say this is a little fantasy (in which I play the upstairs AND downstairs parts).   I decided to set breakfast on the sideboard.  So here we go!

Our sideboard is not very large and actually didn't accomodate any FOOD!!  Just imagine that there are a few extra feet of sideboard on either side!!!
Plates for whatever you choose for breakfast from eggs to toast or maybe scones and jam...

You can have your soft-boiled egg in one of these charming egg cups.  My British husband has his childhood "eggs and soldiers" on occasion still...

Toast in the silver toast rack

This is a clever footed butter server. 
The dome of this lid slides back and rolls underneath the piece!
Let's see...marmalade in the crystal jam jar and strawberry jam in the china one?

Your choice of tea or coffee...
Milk and sugar, so pick up a cup for the beverage of your choice...
Here is a last look....

I hope you are enjoying "Downton Abbey".  There is a VERY good chance that there will be more about it on my blog!  Thank you for enduring this long and rambling blog!!  Oh, there is the drawing room bell; I'd better run!!

Now for the dish on the dishes:
  • All of the china is "Old Country Roses".  Much of it was wedding gifts from Peter's family in England (this pattern was not available at the time of Downton Abbey because it wasn't made until 1962)
  • The silver plate flatware pieces are Reed and Barton "Rathmore" and a few random patterns of which I have only individual pieces
  • The crystal jam jar is an ebay find
I love to hear from you.  Thank you for stopping by!!!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Snowy Day, Snowy Tablescape

Our backyard this morning

I know that all of you southern ladies are having a terrible weather time right now!  I hope everyone is safe and warm.  Up here in upstate New York, this is normal and we have the equipment to deal with it (though some schools are closed today).  I am also lucky that, for the most part, I work at home.  So it is snowing and quite lovely.  A snowy white table seemed appropriate for the day.

There is nothing I love more in winter than being in my own cozy home, with the snow coming down.  Here is a winter white table for two

Wintery silver, glass, lace, and candles

Etched crystal glasses in two different patterns

A closer look at the frosty etched iced beverage glass

After dinner, maybe a nice fire in the living room?

Thank you for coming out in this snowy weather (though I'm sure it's warm and sunny somewhere!!). 

Now for the dish on the dishes:
  • All of the white china is Royal Albert Val D'Or which I have been collecting for years from ebay
  • The sterling is my Oneida Damask Rose
  • The cotton lace tablecloth I have had for years
  • White napkins were purchased on ebay
  • For the centerpiece, I used an oblong silver tray and a silver stemmed dish with candles and pearls
  • The etched iced beverage glasses are from ebay and the wine glasses from a dear friend
I hope you leave me a message because I love to read your comments!!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

The Dinner That Wasn't

The Dinner That Wasn't was planned for New Year's Day 2011.  Unfortunately, I started out the new year with a strained back and all of my plans for a lovely turkey dinner with my sister P. and friends didn't happen.  We had a twenty pound turkey and lots of other food for dinner but I spent part of New Year's day in the E.R.

I'm feeling better now and decided to set out at least one place setting and a few accompanying pieces just to give an idea of what might have been :-(   Oh...and there is a blooper on here too...made AFTER Susan's blooper day-so I really have no excuse!

I wanted a poinsettia theme for a few reasons which I will explain later...

I put this place setting on my tea cart...still using my Christmas dishes.
Here is the first view of my blooper.  I don't know what I was thinking, but I put the forks backwards!!!!  But my poinsetta napkin ring shows up nicely
This beautiful table runner is from my husband's cousin in England.  The set also included eight matching placemats!!!  I LOVE them!  This is my poinsettia inspiration and the main reason for the poinsettia theme
Here is a candlelight view.  That is my same Christmas centerpiece but I used white candles instead of the red I had at Christmas
This placement is part of the set from England.  This is my sterling.  Those little cookies were still available for a photoshoot, but they won't be around for long!!
 Another view.  This was all set on my teacart which is in front of one of our built-in cabinets in the dining can imagine what is in there!!!  I could use about one hundred more!!!
In keeping with the "pointsettia" theme, I made new placecards
Here is my blooper close-up and staring right at you.  But this photo does show off the placemat.  I also had live pointsettia to put on the buffet where the desserts would have been
Since we didn't get to have our company for dinner, I am happy to at least share with you a vignette of the table that was supposed to be.   Oh well...the best laid plans!!
(My husband ended up cooking the 20 pound turkey the our freeze has LOTS of turkey in it!)
Wishing everyone a very Happy and Healthy New Year!!!
Now for the dish on the dishes:
  • Poinsettia tablerunner and placemats are a Christmas gift from my husband's cousin in England
  • Christmas dishes are Gibson from Winterthur catalogue several years ago
  • Cream soup bowl is Royal Albert "Val D'Or
  • Sterling is Oneida's  "Damask Rose" that I have started to collect
  • The cream soup spoon (silverplate) are from ebay and I have no idea what the pattern is
  • Poinsetta silver napkin ring is a Marshall's find MANY years ago
  • Red hemstitches napkins were found on the internet for next to nothing (less than $2 each)...don't know which site
  • The candle holders are from the dollar store...I bought several so I would have matching ones
Thank you for stopping by...I look forward to your comments!!  Love to hear from you!!