Do You Set The Table?

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

In the 1950's most homemakers set the table properly for each and every meal. A set of every day dishes was used for the weekly meals, while the special china was reserved for Sundays and celebrations.  Even the most modest of homes had a set of china.

The collection of china was a must for the new wife and homemaker. Sadly, the tradition of china has fallen by the wayside! Yet, the hunt for vintage china and day dishes seems to be on the rise. The popularity of the 1950's and 1960's day dishes are quite sought after.

The 1950's homemaker of Donna Reed's time took great pride and accomplishment in setting a lovely table, not only for holidays and celebrations, but for every day. And often, the evening  meal was served in the dining room, while breakfast and lunch were dined on in more of a nook or smaller table, not so fancy.

Keeping ones dishes and glassware sparkling was indeed a priority. I remember my Nana washing all her serving pieces in piping hot water. No dishwasher back then. 

I fondly remember a dining set like the one in red, but my Nana had one in black. By the time I came along it was relegated to the basement, where the summer kitchen was. Did you know these are being manufactured again? Yes, if your in love with all things vintage you can indeed purchase one for your retro kitchen!

This table setting is a bit more my taste. I love the old book pages used as place mats. I think I may have found a way to laminate them, so as to not throw them away. The use of the old blue canning jar adds a vintage chic flair don't you think?  Love the cocktail cups by each plate. I wonder if fruit cocktail would be served, or perhaps a scoop of sherbet.

I don't save my blue willow china for holidays and celebrations. I will often set our table with it to change things up. For some reason everyone seems to sit up a bit straighter and be a bit more careful with manners when the blue willow makes an appearance.

My thoughts have turned to all things Spring, like daffodils and hot cross buns. Easter is upon us and I love planning a menu for this special dinner. The blue willow is set amid sprays of flowers in season. Little chicks and bunnies made of plaster adorn the table as a whimsical decoration.

At Easter I do wish the wearing of hats were back in fashion. Nothing too fancy, but a little adornment to complement a special outfit would be nice. In the 1950's a woman wouldn't leave the home without her hat and gloves. Now they shop in polar fleece pants with Tweety on them! Disgraceful in my opinion. Taking a bit more pride in one's appearance does seem to be a vintage idea.

Ladies, may I suggest if you have strayed from setting the table, that you give it a good effort to set a pretty table a few times during the next week. No paper plates or plastic silver! Buy or sew a few cloth napkins and use those instead of paper. Your family will be raising eyebrows and questions if their not used to this! 

But I guarantee your meal may not seem so rushed. Perhaps family members may linger a little longer together, chat a bit more, share hearts and laughs. Do try it and see.


Saturday, July 21, 2012

I really love this little handbag from Amy and her book "Bend The Rules Sewing".  This has been the go to project for the last minute gift , several times , which I really like to make handmade whenever possible.   It really is an easy sew, truly, I promise.  I did make a  couple of changes this time , I made it larger and I added a magnetic closure. I was thinking of a zipper and I just might do that to the next one.  Also, I picked up a light blue velvet ribbon , but in the end went with the richer burgundy color, again.  The fabric is from Amy Butler, gorgeous stuff I tell you.

Well, Lydia has claimed the purse!  So in order to try and get it from her grasp I have negotiated a trade. 

This messenger bag is adorable, is it not?  I think it will do the trick. Especially in this gorgeous fabric. You can purchase a pattern of this bag from this etsy shop, if your interested.  The directions are clear and it is an easy sew even for a beginner. I am not receiving any compensation for the recommendations, just sharing;-)


Friday, July 20, 2012

This is one of those posts that some may walk away from reading saying, she is way off! She has lost her marbles, totally nuts. Now that I have your attention,let me explain....

This post now at Blueberry Cottage, come on over!


Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Yesterday was thee perfect day for blueberry picking. Cool and windy--I just loved it!  I picked 10 lbs of beautifully ripe blueberries, so I can start canning my blueberry/maple preserves.  Lydia ended up making a couple of pals so all she picked was 2 little baskets of raspberries, and I think she ate more than she picked!

I originally shared this fruit dip over at my other blog Blueberry Cottage, but I switched it up a bit and thought I would give you the improved version (in my humble opinion, of course).
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1-8 oz package cream cheese
7 oz marshmallow fluff
1-8 oz container *Greek* fruit yogurt (strawberry & raspberry work really well)

Mix up all the ingredients using the whisk attachment of your mixer and keep chilled until ready to serve. Serve with bite sized fruit chunks.  Enjoy!

This post is linked up to Janelle at Comfy in the Kitchen--pay her a visit:-)


Tuesday, June 26, 2012

This is a favorite chicken salad around here. I think the hint of lemon makes it. I originally posted this on my other blog awhile ago, so it is aptly named after our Blueberry Cottage, which is still what we affectionately call our little farmette.

This also makes a great luncheon for guests--they'll be so impressed! If your into that sort of thing;-)

Blueberry Cottage Chicken Salad

2 cooked chicken breasts, chilled and cut 
into bite sized pieces
10-15 green grapes, halved
1/4 cup chopped walnuts,pecans or almonds 
two stalks celery diced, diced
1/4 cup dried cranberries
mayo ( I only use Cain's) to taste
8 0z container Lemon chiffon low fat yogurt
pinch of salt

Mix all of the above in a bowl (save some nuts and cranberries for the top)  and present on a bed of greens. I used some iceburg on the bottom and mixed herb salad on top of that. Sprinkle a few extra nuts and berries on top and voila!

My husband had his on whole wheat bread that I make and he loved it this way. So , whatever suits your fancy. You could also pack this for a school lunch with a cool pack to keep the salad chilled. Totally yummy, I promise!


Monday, June 25, 2012

The Summer Solstice has ushered in some lovely weather here in New England. Perfect for a bit of summer nature study.  I have no agenda whatsoever in regards to the natural world and the observance of it. What I do is simply supply plenty of heavy drawing and watercolor paper, paints, colored pencils and a selection of journals and nature themed books. Most times these items are just haphazardly left on the end of the old pine farm table, other times left outside on the decking where a child, or myself, can quickly grab paper and pencil and sketch at a moments whim.  Most days, visitors of the natural world present themselves unannounced and our inclination is to run and grab binoculars, camera or sketching materials, often startling our visitors into flight! This is why I keep these things within reach and handy, to allow for a gentler retrieval of the needed items, thus allowing our visitors to linger undisturbed so we may capture their beauty.  A bit of "messiness" is worth it to further the observation of our natural world.  Below is some pictures my husband captured of one such visitor to our cottage. This luna moth visited most of the day while we went about our outside activities. I think he felt quite at home.  At the end of this post is a giveaway so make sure you get to the bottom of the post to enter!

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A Luna Moth
The delicate, exquisite green of the luna's wings is set off by the rose-purple, velvet border of the front wings, and the white fur on the body and inner edge of the hind wings. Little wonder that it has been called "The Empress of the Night". The long swallow tail of the hind wings gives the moth a most graceful shape, and at the same time probably affords it protection from observation. During the daytime the moth hangs, wings down, beneath the green leaves, and these long protections of the hind wings folded together resemble a petiole, making the insect look very much like a large leaf.
~Handbook of Nature Study, Anna Botsford Comstock, pg. 297

Of the teaching of Natural Philosophy, I will only remind the reader of what was said in an earlier chapter- that there is no part of a child's education more important than that he should lay, by his own observation, a wide basis of facts towards scientific knowledge in the future. He must live hours daily in the open air, and, as far as possible, in the country; must look and touch and listen; must be quick to note, consciously, every peculiarity of habit or structure, in beast, bird, or insect; the manner of growth and fructification of every plant. He must be accustomed to ask why- Why does the wind blow? Why does the river flow? Why is a lef-bud sticky? And do not hurry to answer his questions for him; let him think his difficulties out so far as his small experience will carry him. Above all, when you come to the rescue, let it not be in the 'cut and dried' formula of some miserable little text book;...   To get this sort of instruction for himself is simply the nature of a child: the business of the parent is to afford him abundant and varied opportunities, and to direct his observations, so that knowing little of the principles of scientific classification, he is, unconsciously, furnishing himself with the materials for such classification.~Charlotte Mason

"We are all meant to be naturalists, each in his own degree, and it is inexcusable to live in a world so full of the marvels of plant and animal life and to care for none of these things."
~Charlotte Mason, British educator

I have an extra copy of Anna Botsford Comstock's classic book, Handbook of Nature Study that I would love to give to another nature study enthusiast. Just leave a comment telling me what how you incorporate nature study into your seasons and your entered. Comments will close Friday, June 29th, and the winner will be announced within this post.

Diane from North Carolina won the copy of Handbook of Nature Study! Contact me at Thanks to all who entered:-)


Friday, June 22, 2012

Hello there! How hot is it in your neck of the woods!? Well, here in New England we are enjoying ( I use that term loosely) record high 90's. One thing I have learned is that when sweatin'weather comes around, you lay low. This is not the  time to clean the house, let the dust bunnies rule I say! This is not the time to put the oven on and cook gourmet meals. This is not the time to get zealous in the garden--hello weeds!

 What it is time for:

:: Have pool, will be most popular friend around--your invited!
:: Watch dogs pant and enjoy getting sprayed from huge water soakers.
:: Tell kids, yes , you can swim again. Did you even get out of the pool? Check fingers for grape-like appearance.
:: Sit in lounge chair all day and gaze at the glorious sky and thank God for all your blessings.
::  Swim.
::  Swim.
::  I said swim , right?
:: Resolve that cooking is not gonna happen and happily enjoy finger foods. Call it a party!
:: Tell husband more than a few times to cease yard work and relax!
:: Enjoy all the smiles and giggles from those little kiddo's.
:: Kids who have moved out now come for swimming and have Mum watch their dogs...hmmm. Um... I did mention the lounge chair is where I will be all day, didn't I?
:: Enjoy smiles and giggles from big kids.
:: I did say thank God for all His blessings, right? Cause there is a whole lot to be thankful for, even in 90 degree heat.