Recently we had some dinner guests, it was time to prepare a magical transformation of our dining room table. The first thing I had to do was remove all my papers, paints and brushes, etc. because my favorite place to work is at the dining room table. (I felt better about this after seeing Susan Branch works at a similar table.)
It was now time to use my imagination and come up with ideas for the table using readily available items I already owned. I had a morning of memories. It was amazing how all my objects had such stories. The old damask tablecloth had come from an estate sale from my hometown in Clinton, Tennessee. How well I remembered the morning: My mother, sister daughter and I were on our way to one of our favorite places...the Keeneland horse races in beautiful Lexington, Kentucky. There were all in agreement when I suggested as we pulled out for the races, "Do we have a minute to stop by the estate sale over on Eagle Bend?" I remember we bought quite a few beautiful items at this sale including several damask tablecloths.
Thinking of fall colors, I had recently seen a burnt orange scarf somewhere in the region of my closet...a scarf I had never worn and still had the sale price tag of 99c on it. Perfect for a little table runner in an October color. Prowling in some lower kitchen cabinets I found some Myott's Bouquet dinner plates made in Staffordshire, England, once again there were some autumn colors in the floral designs. These I had found at a garage sale and they had been in my antique booth several years ago. I placed these on top of gold chargers which matched the 1950s gold tumblers that my mother-in-law gave me. The filigree Morroccan gold design on the tumblers added some elegance. Lennox Eternal saucers, salad plates, cups and saucers blended in better than I had expected with the Myott's Bouquet plates. The Lennox dinnerware was a gift from my mother, a retirement gift she had received.
Our wine glasses were gifts from my brother-in-law and make beautiful "music" when used in completing a toast. It must be their large size, they always bring comments about their size and there special ringing sounds. I prefer my damask napkins but decided to use orange paper napkins, printed designs on the napkins would have been too busy. The "silver" came from a yard sale in the 1980s, a set of silverplated 1847 Rogers Brothers. I remember getting the entire shoebox full of silverware for $5.00.
Real candles won out over some little orange battery-operated flickering Halloween candles. Real candle light can't be duplicated. Some roses gathered from our patio area completed the centerpiece. A few fake autumn leaves (Goodwill) scattered over the orange runner and I was finished.
As I was photographing the table, I was getting the table's reflection in the gold leafed mirror over the buffet. Once again, a rummage find at our church in Atlanta...$5.00. It was very heavy and old, I restored the missing gesso and completely gold leafed it again. I slightly grimiced when I remembered it cost over $100 to move this $5 mirror!
Don't be afraid to use your imagination, you never know what you might create.