Southern is Your Lifestyle: Set the Table Please

Mar 09, 2020 at 10:21 am by adminjen

Welcome (almost) spring! Of course, this is middle Tennessee. We will probably have one more hard frost some time in April, but that doesn't stop me from starting to get out of the house to do more estate sale and thrift shopping.

If you know anything about me, you know I'm a good southern girl from Mississippi, who lives in a house filled with antiques. I think if you are raised that way, as I was, you can go one of two ways: You either reject it completely as an adult or you embrace it fully.

I'm the latter. I love old things. Essentially, I think: “Why would I buy something new when something old will do?" Old things, either vintage or antique, layer in character into a home and life. Certainly, you can find home decor at big box retailers but then your tables-capes and rooms look just like everyone else's... and I never want to look like everyone else.

One of my favorite things to shop for is tabletop decor. I can't help it. I have a compulsion. In my defense, however, I really do use it. I cook most nights and I love to celebrate an occasion. My late mother instilled that in me. There is always a reason to celebrate something. A birthday, a promotion, a season... celebrate them all!

So I'm always on the hunt for more tabletop to cram into my overstuffed china closet. Recently, I bought this set of seven stemmed glasses at a precious little local charity thrift shop. They were marked a dollar each, but they were half off that day, so I only paid fifty cents each. How could I resist? My policy is to buy whatever I'm drawn to, especially when I can pay for them with pocket change.

But you might be thinking... what can I do with them? Are they waters or wines? What's the protocol? For what occasion would I use them? Well, first of all, I say, serve whatever you choose from them. Want to make dessert, like Eton Mess? Use these. Want to use them for water at a lady’s lunch? Fine! Mix and match them with other glasses for wine, be it white or red. These green glasses really have more flexibility than you think.

Don't think so? Let's look at them used two ways

This first setting is obviously a fall-inspired table. The chinoiserie tablecloth was made from one drapery panel I bought from a thrift store. The yellow napkins were from an estate sale and the Spode Copeland china in the Buttercup pattern was bought at an antique shop that was going out of business ages ago. It feels very 1930's as well. I paid about $100 for what must be seventy five pieces. It is perfect here.

Now for setting two. Spring. I've brought over the same yellow napkin, julep cup and green goblet. All I did here was to swap out to another tablecloth from Goodwill drapery scraps. I think those green goblet bases play along so nicely with the tablecloth and the Herend Indian Basket Green soup plates.

Are you picking up on a theme here? Literally everything at these two tables is vintage or antique, either inherited or purchased from the "aftermarket" thrift/antique shops, estate sales, etc. The Herend soup plates are more modern, but even they were a score from an online auction, and they went for a song. It takes persistence, though, to get there. You have to be aware of prices and you have to get out to the estate sales, tag sales, thrift stores and antique malls to score your finds. Look all over. Draperies can be tablecloths. Don't be constrained by whatever you think the rules are. Forge your own path and celebrate those occasions!


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