Thank you for finding That Old House amidst the chaos of the Internet. We are delighted that you are here.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Tablescape Thrift in a Riot of Flowers

One cannot have too many flowers!

Too many flowers? No such thing!

That is an iron-clad, time-honored decorating dictum, that I just now made up.

It joins my short but growing list of classic, time-honored decorating rules that I made up:
1. Dust is a protective covering on fine antiques.
2. All greens go together.
3. All blues go together.
4. Duct tape, staples, push pins, Velcro and hot glue are essential decorating tools.
5. Paint covers a multitude of sins. ("Repaint, and thin no more!")
6. Dumpster diving is good exercise.
7. All-white works . . . but not for me.
8. One cannot have too many flowers.

So today, although I am late with posting because of having to travel to pick up a free chair for Annie's apartment, here goes . . . a Tablescape Thursday and Thrifty Thursday post. (Check below for easy links to more fanciful tablescapes, and beautiful thrifty finds!)


Last week my mother-in-law packed up some old table linens and sent them to me. Did I mention I have a fabulous mother-in-law?

One of the pieces is a bridge cloth, old smooth linen, and embroidered with a complex and very fine cross-stitch design:

Yes, all that color and design are tiny, tiny stitches.

This was probably made by Howard's grandmother, great-grandmother, and their sisters. They used to pass around pieces of handwork, like a round-robin. Once upon a time, I taught embroidery and needlepoint at the old Gimbel's department store in NYC, and I am awed by this delicate work:

The piece needs a good soaking in Biz or Oxy-Clean, as it has some stains from long storage, but I couldn't resist putting together an old-fashioned table for two, with plenty of flowers!

Let's break it down . . . and at the end, there's a quiz.
What did I forget?


The dinner plates are Mikasa Ribbon Pink; they are actually Anne's, and I got them on Ebay. Cheap.

On top of them, a couple of old flower-printed plates, 2 different designs, but both with lovely borders:

Clearly they are meant to be under-plates for something;

They were also gifts from my mother-in-law.

(She must have been awfully glad to have me take Howard off her hands.)

Topping that, little delicate French Limoges bouillon cups, part of a larger
collection I have of this pattern -- but no matching today:

The crystal flutes were gifts, nearly 30 years ago, from my in-laws, from the Chestnut Hill Bloomingdale's in Massachusetts. The wine glasses are Irish; don't remember the name. I bought them two years ago at Macy's in a shopping frenzy with my friend Betsy.

(We have matching dogs; we had to have matching wine glasses.)

We have fresh flowers, of course, in an old toothbrush holder
from an extensive printed ironstone toilette set of my Mom's.
And a candle in a floral cloisonne holder, with a little silver-and-transferware condiment set (garage sale!):

The old Georgian pattern flatware (Ebay) is called into play yet again, and the napkins are heavy ecru linen,
hand embroidered in taupe. They match a large banquet table cloth. Ebay also.
The little bread plates are Wedgwood, and belonged to my Mom.


And about that free chair?
Would you have passed this up if you saw it on Craigslist and it needed a home?

Isn't it darling? Love the carved crest:

Dig those sexy legs:

It is in excellent condition, too. Clean, no funky stains or smells, always a good thing!

Anne found the apartment she will be living in this year, with another first-year graduate student.

Now, I get to cruise Craigslist and Ebay for more things for her first nest, and she gets to cruise the house asking, "Can I have this?"


Thanks to Susan at Between Naps On The Porch for hosting the wildly popular Tablescape Thursday; we all do love playing with our dishes, don't we? Click here for more.

And thanks to Leigh of Tales From Bloggeritaville (love that blog name!), who hosts Thrifty Thursday, giving us the chance to brag about our favorite thrifty treasures. Click here for more from Leigh and friends!


Happy Thursday! -- Cass
P.S. What did I forget? Did you notice?
I have put out bouillon cups. . . and no soup spoons! Ack. Too lazy to re-shoot the pictures.


  1. ~Beautifully done table Cass!
    I adore your elegant flowered china. It is so detailed.

    The chair is pretty and traditional. A nice mix.
    I love the dark wood legs. :)

  2. I was so busy playing Where's Waldo, I had to go back and re~read the post!!

    Love all your hand~me~downs! Died laughing when you said MIL must have been happy you took Howard off her hands!! LOL! The tablecloth IS gorgeous. That is a lot of work...and I really like the flowers and the texture of the china.

    Anne's chair is very nice. You know, the last issue of Ballard's I received had a few chairs that resembled that style very much. Even dining chairs. Maybe they are making a comeback...then you got an even sweeter deal!!

    Great post as usual, Cass!


  3. FORGET OXY & BIZ!! We are antique dealers that have vintage feedsacks & fabrics galore. They arrive in heavily stained & storage spots ... I am sharing with you, & the world, this wonderful product that we use that will remove in one fell swoop (sometimes a couple of attempts needed) all the stains/storage marks.


    TTFN ~Marydon

  4. What a fabulous post! Wonderful tablescape! I agree, you can never have too many flowers or too much embroidery!
    I am in awe that you taught at Gimbels! How interesting! Have you posted about it?!

    Love the chair! Love the detail!
    Love your sense of humor (mother-in-law wanting you to take Howard)!
    This was great, I really enjoyed myself!
    All the best,

  5. What a pretty table setting. Oh my - the work put into that tablecloth. Love your set of decorators' rules.
    Thanks for visiting. Yes - the piggy is getting a makeover as I type (waiting for the glue to dry). :-)

  6. The table setting is SO pretty! I really like the S&P! And that chair! I would've totally taken that. Funny, how does a person discretely smell something BEFORE they bring it in their house. (I mean when it's free). Actually I can get a funny vision of me doing that!

  7. Look at your pretty blog header!! I love that old house!! :)
    And your table setting looks gorgeous....and whoa what a chair! I love it, too!


  8. Love that embossing on the plates. The tablescape is gorgeous

  9. Your dishes and the cross-stitch tablecloth are beautiful.

    Love the chair!

  10. Just beautiful that table cloth that hours it tooks to make that WOW!! Love the china and how great that Anne is getting her own place for school...I know you will miss her...Great job on the chair my friend...May you have a Great weekend and I'll see you when I get back...Hugs and smiles Gl♥ria

  11. Beautiful table setting! I especially love the embroidered lines, and who would deny that chair a good home? Jackie

  12. You're right, there is no such thing as too many flowers. All of your floral dishes and table linens are just gorgeous! Great job and happy TT to you!

  13. Beautiful. There is nothing more to be said. Beautiful.

  14. That chair is divine and yes I would have drop my tablescape and grabbed it too. But please don't drop those gorgeous dishes. I really do like them and the table cloth, and the...well everything.

    Better late than never, I always say.

  15. Isn't it great when our kids move out and give us a chance to "help" them decorate? Have lots of fun :)

  16. So pretty! Love the china and the flowers in the "toothbrush holder"! Your tablescape looks vintage and goes well with your home. Good job!


  17. The little bridge cloth is beautiful, a lot of work went into that. Your table is lovely, no, never too many flowers! That chair was a great find, I'm glad she has her apartment now and a chair to go in it!

  18. Beautiful table. Great find on the chair. I love your house.

  19. absolutely agree with all your made up philosophies. ;-)

    Absolutely love all things flowers on dishes too. great treasure trove of dishes and I too have a few wonderful cross-stitched pieces from my grandparents from Massachusetts, including napkins I'll have to use in a scape soon.

    thanks for sharing all your lovelies. denisemarie-bloomin'

  20. What a beautiful table with such fine china. The cross stitched tablecloth is so elegant.

  21. I can't believe that chair was free! It's great. It would do any grad student proud. Thanks for stopping by my blog. :)

  22. Just so we're clear, that chair is going with me to school! The Mikasa plates can hang out here for a while, though.

    See? I do read your blog.

  23. Cass...this is so lovely!!! Your china is so pretty and romantic!!!

    Your chairs are wonderful!!! I love the curve of the legs!!!

    Wonderful post!!!


  24. Cass, for some reason I thought I had commented earlier. I'm in the twilight zone or something! LOL! But I love your tablescape. Great job! Happy Tablescape Thursday to you...


    Sheila :-)

  25. That chair is a great find! I can't belive the price!

    Thanks for coming by my blog! And you figured out what my mystery Craigslist furniture is! Although, it is going to have a bit of a different function, when I'm done. I'll be posting about that soon.

  26. BEAUTIFUL table, are the LARGE plates actually chargers??? They are gorgeous! I ahve plate envy:):) Please stop over to see my table if you can! OH! And I REMEMBER Gimble's stores! I grew up in Phila., haven't heard Gimble's mentioned in YEARS!!!:):)

  27. I do so covet your boullion cups! i have wanted some for years! I'm going to be on the hunt, they just add so much daintiness to a tablescape! Thanks for sharing! ~Katy

  28. um... Cass.... that chair is one expensive find! I have the sister chair to it and my mom said she paid a fortune for it many years ago. It's a little different but it has the same carvings. Just thought you should know you got a great deal LOL


Thank you for visiting That Old House; it's always exciting to find new comments -- they are treasured! Because of increasing spam, I have reluctantly eliminated "Anonymous" commenting. Legitimate anonymous commenters, please forgive me! You might try using "Open ID" instead. Blogger's spam software worked for a good long time, but, sadly, no longer.