When Life Gives You Lemons, Set a Lemon Table

When Life Gives You Lemons, Set a Lemon Table

Stuck at home, after mom and I came home from Philadelphia with mild cases of COVID, we set a summer lemon table for a nice outdoor brunch before she flew back to Charleston.

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Instead of being out and about, visiting with friends and family during mom’s visit to Pittsburgh, we spent the ten days isolating at home. Since breaking my right-hand, ring finger, I’m also contending with the awkwardness and restrictions of wearing a splint for six long weeks.

After all being fully vaccinated and double boosted, this was not how we planned spending our summer visit. COVID continues to mutate and spread. Life = lemons, sometimes.

Don’t get me wrong, I know that the vaccines and five-day course of therapeutic pills protected us from severe illness or worse. I experienced feeling like I had a severe cold. But, I was nervous about my elderly mom, and felt badly that she caught the virus while on “my watch.”

My finger, well that is indeed frustrating! Accidently broken by Mr. Buzz during a new card game with friends, I have another month wearing a splint And, of course it had to be my right hand — geez! Usually when I need a mood lifter I craft, but that’s not an option presently. Instead, mom helped me to set a sunny yellow lemon table, with tableware and linens already in the house. I even managed a new napkin fold!

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Botanic Garden Dishes: Floral & Butterfly Summer Table

Botanic Garden Dishes: Floral & Butterfly Summer Table

Today, I’ve set a summer table with beautiful Portmeirion Botanic Garden dishes. Each piece is hand painted — in exquisite detail — with blossoms and butterflies, and an iconic border of green laurel leaves. Some are also decorated with the occasional garden insect, and my personal favorite — a bee!

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A true British classic, Botanic Garden was designed by celebrated ceramicist and designer Susan Williams-Ellis. In 1960, she took over the business from her father, Sir Clough Williams-Ellis, an architect and creator of Portmeirion Village in North Wales.

While looking through rare books, Williams-Ellis discovered a volume of beautiful, meticulously drawn floral illustrations. In 1972, Portmeirion‘s launch of Botanic Garden tableware included 28 different flowers. It was an immediate success, and is still an active pattern.

This year, the company is celebrating the fiftieth anniversary of the collection with a special edition, 18 piece dinnerware set. Inspired by classic English picnic hampers, the 2022 Botanic Garden exclusive comes in a willow basket lined with removable fabric. Bee still my heart!

Alas, the Botanic Garden dishes currently in full bloom on the kitchen table are only on a short flowering season. My neighbor, L, generously and enthusiastically agreed to lend the tableware so that I could style a new setting for June’s Summer Tablescape Blog Hop. For those coming from Mary’s nautical table on Home is Where the Boat Is, welcome aboard!

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12 Ways to Welcome Spring & Celebrate Easter

12 Ways to Welcome Spring & Celebrate Easter

After over four and a half years of blogging, I’ve shared a wide selection of seasonal tables, napkin folds, decorations, wreaths, crafts, and activities that welcome spring and celebrate Easter.

Here in Pittsburgh, spring seldom really arrives before mid to late April. Even then, we’ve been known to have the occasional snowfall! There’s nothing worse than having to bundle up in a winter coat to go to church on Palm Sunday or Easter. And, since the holiday can occur between March 22 and April 25, there can be years we’ve barely finished enjoying Easy, Hearty Irish Stew for St. Patrick’s Day, before its time to regroup for Easter.

But this year, they are predicting warm weather for Easter, and the forsythia, bulbs, and flowering trees will be in blooming.

Today, I’ve assembled a roundup of 12 ways to celebrate Easter and change of seasons — all in one place! Simply click on a photo or title to see each post or DIY tutorial in their entirety.

Hoping one or more will inspire you!

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Traveling Irish Shamrock Cloth Tablescape

Traveling Irish Shamrock Cloth Tablescape

March has arrived and I’ve already set the kitchen table with a “new” Irish shamrock cloth in anticipation of St. Patrick’s Day.

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I’m actually the 12th Keeper of the Cloth to incorporate and style the Irish linen into a holiday table top.

My blogger friend, Linda of Life and Linda, bestowed me with the honor for 2022. See her Keeper of the Shamrock Cloth post for the origin and complete history of the tradition that began in 2010. There’s also a listing and pictures of all the previous posts as the shamrock cloth passed from one blogger to the next.

Six of those ladies are among a wonderful group of stylists who I regularly join in seasonal and holiday tablescape blog hops. Although I’ve never met any in person, they are all part of a supportive and talented community of acquaintances with shared interests. Sadly, we lost two fellow bloggers and bright lights recently; dear Paula of Virginia Sweet Pea, and Michelle of The Unpainted Hinge.

Lovely Linda sent me the Irish shamrock cloth — and it’s traveling leprechaun companion — all the way across the country from California to Pittsburgh. I’ve waited months for my opportunity to style the St. Patrick’s Day table, and hope you enjoy the results.

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Fold a Heart-Shape Napkin for Valentines Day

Fold a Heart-Shape Napkin for Valentines Day

Looking for a quick and easy way to set a Valentines Day table without investing in specialty holiday dishes? Then, learn how to make a draped, heart-shape napkin.

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It’s one of 20 different Napkin Folds for All Seasons, Holidays & Occasions that I’ve included in numerous tablescapes over the past few years. I’m a big proponent of using napkin folds to enhance a setting and raise the bar in terms of table styling. Not only that, but if you already have the fabric napkins, there is no additional cost.

Another major benefit is that fabric napkins are reusable and easy to store — taking up little space. And, they aren’t breakable like dishes and glassware. That’s a big part of the appeal for me. As a life-long dish addict, I have an extensive tableware collection, and am maxed out on storage space. Incorporating unique folds (or by changing the napkin color and pattern) allows me to continually update the styling of table settings.

Since sharing the Romance & Red Roses Reign on Sweetheart Table, I’ve had numerous requests on how I folded the soft draped heart. Let me show you how to do the moderate difficulty heart-shape napkin in five illustrated steps.

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Puttin’ on the Ritz for Romantic Table

Puttin’ on the Ritz for Romantic Table

As part of this year’s Valentines Tablescape Blog Hop, I’ve pulled out my West Elm Dapper Animal plates to set a romantic table.

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Depicted on the whimsical plates are either a gentleman owl sporting a monocle and top hat, or lady penguin wearing a dazzling diamond necklace. It’s perfect Puttin’ on the Ritz attire for an evening out on the town to celebrate Valentines Day.

Originally, I purchased six plates for a New Year’s Eve dinner party. To ring in 2022 with our sons and eldest’s girl, I used them to serve five a meal of surf (crab cakes) and turf (filet mignon fondue), while sipping champagne.

It was the first time we’ve all been together for New Year’s Eve in a very long time. As a result, the ‘kids’ had never seen the plates before. That’s when it dawned on me that I was only getting use of the awesome dishes once a year! Right then and there, I decided to build a romantic table setting around them for Valentines Day.

Please pull up a virtual seat at my Puttin’ on the Ritz little soiree — formal attire is not required!

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