Placesettings: After the feast

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Thanksgiving: the Day After edition!

After the turkey, after the mashed, after the marvelous pies, after the dishes (LOTS of dishes!), after the sitting around watching Bringing Up Baby with Katherine Hepburn and Cary Grant (the kids’ choice—clearly we’ve done at least one parenting thing right), it finally dawned on me that I’d never snapped a photo of the table. Rats!

So here’s the day after.

The dishes are vintage Pyrex in a pattern I have never seen anywhere else. It’s officially called “Scallop Burgundy.” I call it “My Favorite Cranberry Scallop-Border Pyrex Holiday Dishes.” I have a complete set for 8 plus a couple serving pieces.

They turned up years ago in a vintage shop, and the dealer was asking what at the time I considered an exorbitant price. I visited them weekly for a couple months, fingering the teacups and putting them back down. Then one day I went in the shop and the dealer had marked them down 50%.

Mine! Mine! All mine!

And there’s my lone butterscotch Bakelite knife, since all the rest of the pieces are still packed away somewhere in this almost-finished house renovation.

The tablecloth is cranberry-colored leaves on sky blue, an unusual color combo. The texture is unusual too: tiny honeycombs instead of plain weave.

And there’s all that’s left of the cranberry & dried cherry relish! If you like the taste of sweet and tart together, you will love this. The super-easy recipe is here. Yum!


This is my house . . .

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This is what’s over my kitchen range, smack in the center of the house. Hard to miss, that is.

I found this plate a long time ago. It was already broken and mended by a previous owner who perhaps loved the sentiment as much as I do.

You can find these plates pretty easily. Janeray has one at This Old Row House, too, with a much cuter design than mine. (Post a picture, Jane!) The saying must have been popular in the ’50s and ’60s, maybe as a way to shrug off your sink full of dirty dishes or your piles of unfolded laundry or your neatnik mother-in-law’s raised eyebrows.

For me, though, this plate is a sassy retort to all the lifestyle “experts” out there. Why do they get to say which colors are hot this season, what clothes are in style, what projects are worth making? I don’t know those people and they don’t know me. Why should their opinions carry so much as the weight of a raisin in MY house?

They say pale neutrals are fashionable. I paint my rooms sunny yellow and deep green and hot peach. This is my house, I’ll do as I darn please.

They say the “in” color is emerald. I’m wearing my favorite pale aqua cardigan, with battered jeans and a vintage Vera scarf. This is my house, I’ll do as I darn please.

They say vintage china should be perfect, or don’t bother buying it. I’m totally keeping that broken-and-mended plate over my stove. This is my house, I’ll do as I darn please!

What are you doing at your house to proclaim your independence from other people’s taste?


Placesettings: birthday dinner!

Somebody at Lurayville turned 15 last week! But because of tech week and performances for a theater production she’s in, we didn’t get to properly celebrate the occasion till the weekend.

And because of all the theater hoopla, we kept it low-key.

I pulled out a big vintage tablecloth, one of the few I own that fits my table with both its leaves in. It’s a heavy cotton strewn with flowers. A celebration all by itself!

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I pulled out a stack of azurite-blue Russel Wright “Iroquois” plates. It’s the only RW I own. Love the sculptural modern style!

I pulled out some yellow napkins. Not vintage. But . . . yellow! Yellow is a happy color.

Flatware is our everyday Reed & Barton, glassware is the French Duralit we got for wedding presents long ago.

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Add some beeswax candles in a pair of vintage handmade aluminum candlesticks, plus some amazing foil flowers that Janeray gave me, in a vintage blue ceramic vase. We’re ready for cake!

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(Just don’t look at the renovation-ravaged kitchen in the background. Ugh!)

Happy 15th birthday, Scooter!


Month of Makeovers Day 4: And there was light! Um, sorta.

Hard to believe, but we’ve been renovating LurayVille for nearly a year now. The foundation for the addition was poured early last November. We’ve had the plans for eight years, drawn up after many many back & forths with an architect friend, so it’s been a long time coming.  And a long time getting built!

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That’s our builder there. We’ll call him Mr. Darcy, because he’s British and good-looking and single. I don’t know about the “income of 10,000 pounds a year” part.

As Mr. Darcy set up the framing for the addition, the first impact it had on our old living space was in the stairhall to the second floor. Read the rest of this entry »