My Thrifty Table

When Audley and I picked out dishes years ago, we settled for plain, white dishes that we had found on sale at Pottery Barn.  We had saved and saved making these dishes very special to us.  In a world of color, white can be very dull and boring, but that was one of the reasons I picked these out!
Having white dishes in the kitchen is like having a blank canvas in front of you to paint any way you would like!   I can dress them up formally or keep them casual.  There are no restrictions.  When it comes to stocking my kitchen with dining accessories, I haven’t always bought new.  Nothing is prettier than a vintage piece of silver serving appetizers when company arrives, or glasses from the 1960’s to spark conversation at the table.
I love this wedgewood Jeanette glassware!

When I have the opportunity (which is very rare these days), I love to take a quick stroll through our local Goodwill, looking for that perfect piece to add to my kitchen.  Usually I come up empty handed, but last week, with the help of a phone call from my mother-in-law, I happened upon a box filled with FireKing Jadeite dishes.  For $30 I ended up with several dinner plates, bowls, saucers, mugs, bowls and serving platters.

{Audley thinks they are ugly, but I just love them!}

 

While having company over last week, I set the table with my plain white dishes and accessorized the the beautiful Jadeite pieces.  I loved the look, and as I looked at my table, I realized with the exception of the basics (plates, glasses, silverware), everything on my table was a thrifty find.
.25 vase from a yard sale for simple arrangements.
Vintage salt/pepper shakers handed down from my grandmother
Cruet picked up at Scott Antique Market in Atlanta for $3. (It is filled with Soy Sauce)
And of course the simple Jadeite dishes that I mixed with my dinnerware.
And if you are looking for something delicious for dinner tonight, you must try this easy Honey-Chili Chicken.  Serve it up with rice and a salad for supper in no time!

How do you set a lovely table?

Just for fun this week I am linking up with Rhoda’s Thrifty Treasures at Southern Hospitality.

 

Creative Entertaining

Last summer Audley & I enjoyed a whirlwind spin through Scott’s Antique Market in Atlanta with lifestyle blogger & friend,  Eddie Ross.  As we ventured through the market, Eddie shared so many fabulous ideas for adding personality to your home or entertaining projects that my head was spinning with inspiration as we departed!

 

One of Eddie’s ideas that stuck out the most in my mind was his idea using the unexpected to serve the ordinary when entertaining guests for the evening.
One example?  Using an old tobacco basket to serve up chips and salsa or some other delicious dish at your gathering.
Eddie sharing all of his wonderful knowledge on utilizing the unique
As Audley and I walked around shopping later on, I kept going back to look at the baskets.  I was a woman on a mission this particular shopping trip, so the $125 price tag kept me from purchasing a basket that day.
A month later as we were out and about on the “World’s Largest Yard Sale” trail, I about caused Audley to have a wreck as I yelled “STOP” as we passed a house off by itself on Highway 27.
Leaned up against a tree was an old tobacco basket.
I walked away from that lonely house carrying a lovely basket that I paid $20 for!
{I love a good deal!}
That basket has stayed on my mind since August as I have waited for the perfect event to bring it out and use it.  As I was making plans for our Samantha’s engagement party I knew this would be the perfect event to pull it out.   After careful thought and planning I decided what I would serve from it and talked with Eddie searching for a few tips on displaying chips and salsa or maybe a variety of cheese.  He was so wonderful, and once again filled my head with much inspiration!
As the day of the party drew close, we made a few menu changes and I had my own vision for the basket.  More often than not I have serious crises of poor self-esteem when it comes to my ideas, but this time, I felt quite confident of my decision.
As we were setting up for the party on Thursday, I took my cue from Eddie Ross and created a perfectly unique serving piece for our buffet table.

 

 

I had another centerpiece for the table, so my basket was to be the anchor.  We set it up so that it was raised a little from behind, and then lined it with burlap.  We were using burlap in much of our decorating, so this was a good way to incorporate it in.

 

On top of the burlap we added fern and magnolia leaves that were freshly washed and dried, then we loaded the basket with a variety of colorful, fresh veggies, cheese, grapes, strawberries, and cheese crisps to create a beautiful and appetizing “dish”.

 

 

 

The tobacco basket was the perfect anchor to our tables, and was a conversation piece for many of our guests!

 

 

Who would’ve ever thought something so out of the ordinary would make the most perfect accessory to the dinner table?!

 

I can’t thank Eddie enough for the time he took to inspire me, both last summer and then again in conversation just a couple of weeks ago.
If you have not met Eddie yet, you must take the time to visit his blog and get to know him!  I am sure he will inspire you as well!
And take a look around your home.  See what unique piece you might have that might be the talk of  your next dinner party!

English Rose

Last weekend, Audley & I had the opportunity to slip away for an afternoon of some relaxing, kid-free activities.  This particular afternoon we found ourselves in downtown Chattanooga where we checked out a local antiques mall and then enjoyed a late lunch at a local tea room.
Yes, I am fully aware that this is not the most ideal afternoon for a man, but I am one lucky wife!
 
 
Chattanooga is not known for as a shopping destination, but over the last 15-20 years it has become known as being a city of revitalization.   On both sides of the Tennessee River, old warehouses and empty buildings have been restored and now lovely shops and galleries fill many of the spaces.  Other buildings have been converted into loft apartments, restaurants, a perfectly calming spa, and a gym.  Chattanooga is known for the beautiful Tennessee Aquarium, a fabulous children’s museum, and the first environmentally friendly “green” movie theater.
Southside Antiques fills one of those old warehouses and is filled with beautiful pieces from the 18th, 19th & early 20th Century.  Oh the delights we found while shopping!
ivory handled cocktail set I purchased
While the antiques store is located in an updated warehouse, the English Rose tea room can be found in the lobby of the old Grand Hotel (which was converted into apartments), just across the street from the historic Chattanooga Choo Choo.
The English Rose is a unique place to visit.  While most tea rooms follow the traditions of Victorian tea, The English Rose allows you to enjoy tea in a traditional English way.  The staff and the menu all reflect this.
Lovely china tea cups and tea pots fill shelves as you enter the tea room.
We visited later in the afternoon, so the crowds from lunch were leaving as we arrived.  I just love the old “royal guard”  at the base of the old grand staircase.
And nothing is more English than a picture of the Queen herself hanging over the fireplace.
The lace covered tables with the mismatched chairs just add to the charm of the tea room.

We started off our meal with a wonderfully fresh scone served up with lemon curd and Devon cream.  Delicious English tea with milk was the perfect accompaniment.

 

Audley ordered Cottage pie for his lunch which is a “casserole” type dish of ground sirloin, mixed veggies and gravy, topped with creamy mashed potatoes and baked together.  He also had a large bowl of creamy leek & potato soup.

I enjoyed the Ploughman’s lunch which consisted of a yummy green salad topped with a rich “salad cream”,  a selection of British cheeses, pickled onions, crusty rolls and a small cup of leek & potato soup.

Everything was so flavorful and quite satisfying, and even though we were full, Audley and I just had to have dessert.  We shared Profiteroles which are small cream puffs topped with fresh whipped cream and drizzled with melted chocolate.

Simple and absolutely fabulous!

Audley really enjoyed his lunch at the tearoom and was quite relived to see a few other men dining as well.  The English Rose would make the ideal place for a bridal tea, bridesmaids luncheon, baby shower, or just a casual girl’s day out.  It is well worth checking out if you are ever in Chattanooga.

After such an enjoyable and relaxing afternoon, I am really looking forward to our next afternoon out!