Thursday, April 4, 2013

My Turn To Host Dinner Club, A Vision in Pink..

   I belong to a wonderful group of friends and we call ourselves the ,"Hill Group." Mainly because they all, except me, live on a hill, in the next town up from me ,here in Clarksville,Mo.. That little town is Louisiana, Mo., sometimes referred as,"Natchez of the North." This is because this little town of less that 4000 people, on the Mississippi River, has an abundance of beautiful old mansions and Ante Bellum homes. One of my friends, lives on that  hill and is single. I guess,I  was pared up with her, as I am single too and we are both antique dealers and great friends.  Well. what ever, I am so thrilled to be part of this group. We meet once a month to celebrate birthdays. Who's ever it might be that month. Some times we dine out, but usually, we meet at one of the members house in Louisiana. She is such a gracious host, loves doing it and has the room for us all to gather. This month is her birthday, so I wanted to do something special for her.  So I have offered to host the party. Having her  numerous parties to live up to, I wanted to go all out.

My dining room ready for the party. A vision in pink.

A collection of Victorian Lusters and art glass tumblers with fresh flowers make the centerpiece.

    I wanted it to feel like spring, as we have had a long and drawn out winter. I wanted the table to be extra special ,so I have put some effort into that. I did not want it to look like a child's birthday party with the usual hats and streamers. I wanted it to be upscale, fun, different, colorful and unusual. I tried many things I have around the house. I have a few collections to pick from. I first wanted to use my bisque figures. I love them most of all. My family called them ,"The Others," as they are all over the house. One great niece calls them the little people. I have been known more than once to gather them in groups under the  Christmas Trees and on the piano. I carried  a few to the dining room table and they just didn't seem to work. The big ones were too big and the small ones did not get the effect I was after.I wanted to use some candle light. What dinner party is not perfect with out candles? I then had the ideal to use my Lusters. A Victorian Luster, is a name given to a glass  vase like, candle holder with prisms. I have always loved anything with prisms. I guess it is a Polly Anna thing?! Well I love Lusters and have a few. A walk about the house and they were gathered and placed on the table. I knew in an instant, this was the effect I was after.

   Having a formal dinner party is a lot of work. First I had to bring the table leaves down from the second floor closet. 5 were needed and that meant 5 trips up and down the stairs. Have you ever tried to open and close a big old dining room table all by yourself? Well I had to lay on the floor, under the table, and use my arms and legs to push it apart. When the leaves were in, I had to push it up against the buffet to close it. Next came the table cover. Did you know the Victorians called the dining room table a board? And thus the the name we have given to the sideboard, buffet or side table. Just a little Victorian history in there. I used a pink sheet us an underlay. It was wrinkled, so I washed and ironed it. That was not so easy either, as I have no ironing board. Don't ask. I don't often use my wonderful old hand made linen table cloths. They are so hard to do up, so delicate and well, you know. But I just knew a pink sheet would never do. So off the roll it came and I spot ironed it on the table. I know, I used a bath town underneath, so I would not hurt the table.
   The lusters were placed. I loved it. But I still wanted a little more. The solution was some flowers. If I filled the lusters with flowers, where would the candles go. I thought the lusters would best do for the candles as the light would hit the prisms and throw lusters of color about the room. Yes, that is why lusters are called lusters. My flower solution was solved by using a collection of art glass water tumblers as vases. I looked the table and luster arrangement over and felt that 6 was needed. Having a pink theme in mind , I chose lusters and tumblers in pinks, red and white. The flowers would follow suite. It is not always easy living in a small town in the middle of now where. It is 9 miles to the nearest bigger town. I had to go there to find a florist. Of course there is no grocery store in my town or that town, so I had to go 13 miles, one way, the other direction, to shop for food. Can you see what is involved in this dinner party.

The jonquils are from my garden. I know the color is off, but it added a little spring to the setting.

Makes me feel like spring is in the air. 

Cranberry  hob nail tumbler

Hand pained cranberry tumbler.

    I have to work in my shop on Saturday, the day of the party. So things have to be done and arranged in the days before the party. I started a couple of weeks before, cleaning the house, getting out china that has not been used in years, washing it, ironing napkins and so on and so forth. I make a list and mark things off as they get done. I shop for flowers several days in advance, make the arrangements and place them in the ice box to keep them fresh till needed. I turn the water  glasses upside down till used, this keeps them from getting dust in them. The plates and all dishes needed are counted and put on the kitchen island and covered. The food is all done the night before, I only have to prepare the main dish. I am having chicken breast with rice and a three cheese sauce. It can be made all the night before and put in the oven one hour before serving time.

I chose this china called"Rose Meade"  , pink   napkins and burgundy  flat ware.

Hand made antique linen table cloth has baskets of flowers and fruit and lovers all hand stitched .
Imagine the work that went into this.

Mary Todd Lincoln used this same pattern of antique cut glass goblets at the White House.

    I am trying something new this time. It seems that every time I host a party, everyone is in the kitchen. It makes it a little hard to work. I want every one to enjoy my beautiful parlors. So, I am shutting the dining room and kitchen doors until time to eat. When my guest arrive with there dishes, I will take them into the kitchen and shut the door behind me. The beautiful dining room table will be kept a surprise, till time to eat. The glasses will be full, flowers in place and the candles lite.
   I can see why in the last century people had many servants to help run there house holds. There is a lot of work in having a party like this. This one is one a rather small scale, only 12 people. I can see why it is not done often. I love doing it, but the work, I forget from time to time. It does make it all worth while when you see your guest faces as they enter the beautifully decorated dinning room. I hope this is the fact, coming in just 2 days. And then, when the guest are gone, all the work starts all over again, cleaning up and putting it all away.
   I wanted to share this experience with you. I know most of you can not be here in person, I so wish you could. I'd love to throw beautiful party for you. Just give me a few weeks warning. The lights will always be on and Sissy dog will be at the door with a jump and a kiss. From My Blog to  Yours, I send you best party wishes.Richard

My guest will not only enjoy a beautiful table but other beautiful pieces as well in my dining room.