"Dining with ones friends and beloved family is certainly one of life's primal and most innocent delights, one that is both soul-satisfying and eternal." - Julia Child
What a delight indeed! To have beauty present whilst dining is surely one of life's many gifts!
When I was a very little girl, old enough to take directions, I would help my grandmother with setting the table for dinner, lunch and breakfast. Setting the table in my Ouma's house would start with dusting the surface, laying a piece of felt, the exact shape of the table, (my Ouma had a big round table, which had a fold out centerpiece for extra diners) followed by a clear soft plastic, an under-cloth and then the tablecloth. My young inquisitive mind was educated to the understanding that the felt would prevent dents and dumps from harming the tables surface, whilst the plastic would prevent spills. Makes sense!
What did I do here?
I didn't even use a table cloth! Ouma would be doing somersaults in her grave! But here's why;
I love my wooden table top. I love the dents and scratches and stains and all things that give it that oh-so-rustic appearance! When it gets a bits much, I give it a bit of a sand and a wax and we're good to go!
I did this table setting with the french-ticking table runner that has a permanent place on my table, usually with the fruit bowl in the center...
I did a little research for this challenge and found out some interesting historical 'facts' on the use of a table cloth. It seems that the ancient Roman's first commercialized the use of table linen, using it to wipe their mouths, even though there is evidence of the ancient Chinese using beautiful and ornately handwoven cloths on their tables as well. The explanation of tables cloths as defining the fine dining experience is that of the stark white, crisply pressed, good quality linen that would have expressed your wealth to your guests in aristocratic Europe. Today, it's still a show of wealth through new acquisition or through inheritance to have beautiful linens in your home and that is why traditional linen closets have glass doors.
I could have taken out the beautiful Irish linen (I inherited from my mom who inherited from my grandmother) for this shoot; and brought out the Presidential Collection dinner set, but I chose to go the casual, vibrant, mix-n-match jewel tone route instead.
I've used a heavy ornate goblet (Renaissance Collection from Checkers) as my water glass. I used a finer amethyst colored red wine glass (from P E P boutique) and took down the white wine glasses from the Presidential Collection.
The charger plate I've had for years and was silver, I spray-painted it matt white as it just goes better in most settings.
The gorgeous sapphire blue rough glaze dinner plates I also got from Checkers. The almost emerald green side plates I was given by my father-in-law when my mother-in-law passed last year and are used daily. The hand embroidered linen napkins are heirlooms and deeply treasured.
I bought a big bunch of mixed flowers from our local flower market; looking through a few stalls before finding the perfect mix of jewel tones and educating one of the workers in the process (she didn't know what i meant when I asked if they had anything with jewel tones, pinks being most prevalent). I love Daisies and Chrysanthemums are right up there with them. The Inca Lilies are just precious, they last long and have such character! The Caspia (filler flowers) make me think of fields of wildflowers!
You may have noticed a bit of a confusing mix of cutlery and crockery in my table setting. I admit, I was going for the more casual approach, but couldn't resist displaying the spoon! It's not in the correct position (nor is it the correct size) to be a desert spoon, but in this case, it's what it's meant to be used for...
The correct use of this spoon would be for soup. Except, that in a traditional sense, a soup spoon is round. I've most often seen a spoon this size used for dessert, but my preference is a smaller spoon, or teaspoon (that way you get to have smaller bits and savor what is served). In a traditional formal setting, one would have a salad fork, fish fork and dinner fork on the left of the plate, with soup spoon, a salad knife, fish knife and dinner knife on the right.
The top left would house your bread plate with it's own butter knife. On the right would be your three glasses, depending on the occasion; it must have a water glass, a large wine glass and smaller glass, which could be a champagne flute or white wine glass. In between the bread plate and glasses, above your plate, would be your dessert spoon and fork. In a casual setting, you would lose about half the that cutlery. You should try to set to accommodate what you plan on serving, else it could end up being nothing but clutter.
A serious no-no in dinner table setting is a floral arrangement which would interfere with conversation, something that obstructs the diners view of one another. This applies to candles as well. I remember many an outing to restaurants with my mom where she would blow out the candle on the table because it would throw reflections onto her glasses and she would be blinded. As a person who wears glasses full-time myself, I can totally understand that now. Back to the flowers, they are all in glass decanters, a collection I've built up over a few years, in my household, with the little people sitting in a row on the other side of the table, the glass still enables a certain amount of filtered vision and the flowers gave hubby and I a little privacy...who knew!?
Don't forget to go check out what the other ladies of #romancingthehome have put together for your information and inspiration!
Thank you for reading! Check in again next week to see what we have in store for you!