Tag Archive for Tabletop Tuesday

Dining with Butterflies

I’m dining with the butterflies~ enjoying this book~ with its beautiful illustrations by Maria Sibylla Merian (1647–1717), German-born naturalist and artist.

At a time when few women were educated or literate, and rarely travelled, Maria Sibylla Merian was a pioneer, and made history with her studies of insects in Surinam.

Trained as a copperplate engraver and watercolorist, she documented the metamorphosis of butterflies, laying the foundation for modern entomology.

 On seeing a collection of butterflies from Dutch Guiana, (modern Surinam), she decided to study tropical flora and fauna, to discover whether the moths and butterflies she saw in collections shared the same life cycle as those she had bred: the egg and caterpillar stage.

In 1699 she sailed for South America with daughter Dorothea, the first time any woman had ventured on a journey of exploration on this scale.

  Having evaluated and categorized her specimens, in 1705 she published her major work Metamorphosis Insectorum Surinamensium, in Dutch and Latin.

She made 60 copperplate engravings to illustrate the stages of insect development, arranged around the cultivated and wild plants she had encountered on her travels.

With its detailed text and imagery, the Metamorphosis is the first work on the natural history of Surinam. For 17th century Europeans it was an insight into an unknown world.

This quilted throw from HomeGoods migrated into my cart recently and was the inspiration for this table.

I thought it would be the perfect foundation for this book, with the butterflies sipping nectar from the quilted flowers~ while I sipped on tea from my Portmeirion Botanic Garden Blue Tea Set and dined among the embossed butterflies on my Lennox Butterfly Meadow Cloud plates.


Quilted throw/ HomeGoods by Ridgefield Home

Plates/ Lennox Butterfly Meadow Cloud/ HomeGoods

Trays/ HomeGoods

Bee Stems/ Sur La Table

Napoleon Bee flatware/Horchow

Napkins/Pier 1

Tea Set/ Portmeirion Botanic Blue/ Marshalls


I spread my wings with a little bow tie pasta chicken salad, recipe courtesy of Pillsbury~ to fly over and join the fun at Lynn’s Celebrity Cook-Along with Pillsbury~ and a few Pepperidge Farm butterfly crackers  served on the side.

Dried Cherry-Nut Chicken Pasta Salad, recipe can be found here.

I substituted chopped pecans for slivered almonds in the recipe and made an additional substitution with the dressing called for. Not a huge fan of poppy seed dressing, I decided to try Trader Joe’s Champagne Pear Vinaigrette that is slightly sweet, and has some gorgonzola in it, when I read a comment that suggested adding some gorgonzola to the pasta salad for additional flavor. It was a quick & tasty substitution for the poppy seed dressing that I mixed with Olive Oil Mayo and complemented with the dried cherries, nuts, chicken & bow tie pasta.

 I recently had a milestone birthday, and was gifted with my very own Poppin’ Fresh Pillsbury Dough Boy napkin holder, since the Dough Boy was introduced 5o years ago, in 1961 :-)

A metamorphosis~ from crescent rolls to sugar-sprinkled butterflies garnish a layer of berries, lemon curd & whipped cream.

“TASCHEN’s reprint of a hand-colored first edition copy, belonging to the University Library of Basel, includes the complete plates with a commentary by Katharina Schmidt-Loske. Merian accomplished a pioneering achievement of the modern age. This publication pays homage to her work and offers readers an opportunity to appreciate her sumptuous engravings.”

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Daylight & Butterflies

As a lover of green, both indoors & out,  Mikasa’s Daylight Dinnerware appealed to me when I first saw it, with its fresh, crisp design. I loved the vibrant green leaves. . . a shade that reminds of the first tender growth of spring~

 The leaves trail across the contoured plates, wind their way inside the generous soup bowls, and curve around the surface of the tea cups~ serving as a wonderful way to bring nature indoors. . .

Bud vases hold sprigs I cut from our Abelia shrubs, that attracted butterflies last summer with their pinkish-white tubular flowers. I found butterflies with adhesive backing, designed for scrapbooking, that I added to the vases for each place setting.

 I set my table outside among the butterflies, and cut one of my last peonies, along with some unknown blooming greenery at the edge of a field at the lake { ACHOO! } . . . adding some white flowers I picked up at the farmer’s market for a bouquet.

A lover of green (throughout my house, kitchen, even my laptop :-) I had lots available to me to set my table outdoors. I filled an urn from Pottery Barn purchased several years ago for centerpiece, and pulled out a quilt for a guest bedroom, to function as a tablecloth.

I was already sold on the versatility of this pattern, having seen and admired Alycia’s creativity with two different tables, at Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One. One, a garden-inspired table accenting the crisp apple green color, with a sprinkling of violets along with a decorative birdcage, and the other~  Zen-like, a setting both modern and tranquil. I had also admired a table at Creative Journeys~  Easter in theme, Marlis celebrated with a nest of eggs, bunnies, and tulips~ with the daylight filtering in, reflecting off her dinnerware & stems, particularly appropriate for this pattern!

Daylight’s 5 piece place setting includes an 11″ dinner plate, an 8 1/2″ salad plate, a 9″ soup, and a teacup with saucer. I alternated views of my table, using soup bowls with their generous shape that broaden from base to rim, and the salad plates with their sloped rims and raised interiors, on top of the dinner plates.

The Mikasa Daylight collection also includes a 50 oz. Tea Server.

Smooth and fluid in shape with a loop handle that results in a functional design that is durable and modern. Perfect for pouring tea, or an elegant way to serve a broth or bisque soup in the 10 oz. cups!

There are more butterflies to be found~ on my Portmeirion Botanic Garden flatware~ sipping nectar at this table from the flowers on the handles & quilted table covering.

A ceramic garden stool that normally functions as an end table in a bedroom, purchased at HomeGoods years ago, is serving up a tray for tea~

 And more butterflies from Pottery Barn, have fluttered by to light on & hold napkins~

Dishwasher and microwave safe, the Mikasa Daylight collection also includes other serving pieces to further enhance the tabletop including:  a coffee server, a sugar bowl, a creamer, a round platter, a bread and butter plate, a cereal bowl, a mug, a charger, a large rice bowl, a small rice bowl, a small salad bowl, a pasta serving bowl, an oval vegetable bowl and an oval platter.

I removed the chargers from under the plates, so the pattern of the leafy vines appear as if they might be growing from the tablecloth onto the plates~

 And it only seemed appropriate that there were a few tea sandwiches for this table. . .

Open face cucumber sandwiches~  Peel strips of English cucumber and drain on a paper towels. Layer cucumber strips, slightly overlapping, on top of  Pepperidge Farm very thin sandwich bread spread with cream cheese. Use a cookie cutter to cut your shapes, season with salt & pepper, and garnish with parsley or sweet basil leaves.

Thank you to Lifetime Brands and Mikasa~ I enjoyed creating a table with this versatile dinnerware!

 *I am neither an employee nor affiliate of Lifetime Brands, Inc. and received this product from Lifetime Brands at no cost for my review. The opinions expressed here are mine and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Lifetime.*

Daylight & Butterfly Table details:

Dishes/ Mikasa Daylight Dinnerware

Contoured chargers/ World Market

Flat woven chargers/Pier 1

Flatware/Portmeirion Botanic Garden/HomeGoods

Green Goblets/HomeGoods

Napkins/Stein Mart

Butterfly Napkin Rings, Green Urn, Green Cake Pedestal/ Pottery Barn

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Flowers for Easter

 My Bridal Wreath Spirea has been blooming with abandon despite a couple of years of drought & sheer neglect~ and was the inspiration for an Easter Basket.

Its fountainlike growth, with arching branches that curve to the ground seem to beg to be woven along a basket handle~

So I set an Easter table for two, lakeside, with a floral Easter Basket~ filled with some annuals that can be repotted after Easter, along with a few eggs, butterflies, and a bunny tucked in as surprises~

My bunnies normally sit on my bookshelves and are happy to be outdoors~

 A twin size quilt is the right size to cover my 42 inch round table and be turned so our legs aren’t hitting the cloth :-)

  Lenox Butterfly Meadow Cloud is one of my favorite patterns.  .  .the embossed Butterflies are hard to see in the outdoor light but an appropriate symbol for the holiday. . .

 I’m drawn to the simplicity of the white and the subtle pattern of the embossing and scalloped edges. I’ve picked up plates, one & two at a time, at Marshall’s & HomeGoods when I run across them~for three to six dollars a plate~ a price equivalent to my former Starbucks habit that I have traded for a dish habit instead :-) It’s doubly hard to resist since it’s listed at Replacements for $18 – $20 a plate.

The ends of the spirea branches are tucked in a plastic water bottle, for maximum water intake instead of tiny water picks, and anchored inside the basket with wire~ concealed with flowers & moss.

 Flowers are spilling over from the basket, onto the quilt, and climbing up my Tracy Porter glasses~ a HomeGoods find several years ago. . .

A butterfly shaped egg dish is also from HomeGoods in Lenox Butterfly Meadow.



 Flowers on the flatware, courtesy Portmeirion Botanic Garden~

And bunny napkins from Pottery Barn, that I had talked myself out of. . . until I discovered them on sale :-)


Wishing you a flower-filled, Happy Easter~

Thank you for your visit, I’m joining:

 A Stroll Thru Life for Tabletop Tuesday~

  Tablescape Thursday at Between Naps on the Porch~

The Tablescaper for Seasonal Sundays~

Rose Vignettes for Fresh-Cut Fridays~

Gardening Rules

I’m Yearning for Spring & reading about Gardening. . .

Well~ more accurately, dreaming through pictures. . .

   Introducing a little Garden Style to the Porch. . .

Quenching my Thirst for Flowers. . .

Making plans. . .



Keeping the rules in mind for optimum planting results~


Waiting for the frost dangers to pass. . .

. . . anxiously awaiting the Bloom!

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Let Love Bloom

 Love is Blooming at my table in honor of

Valentine’s Day ~

  Roses are blooming on my china, napkins, and in my soup tureen I filled courtesy of Trader Joe’s.

I’m the happy recipient of my Great Aunt’s china, marked Avenir China, Limoges France. Since at one point in the 1920′s as many as 48 companies were producing wares marked Limoges, it’s been as difficult to identify as a box of unmarked chocolates, which I can’t determine the content of without a “pinch” test. . .

After some googling and visiting Replacements, I was able to narrow it down to a pattern by G. Demartine & Cie, which produced and decorated porcelain from the late 1800′s to early 1900′s, but only as far as a pattern number and ‘manufacturer status unknown’.


 I’m happy to use it for a Valentine’s Day Tea and offer up some sweet treats. . .

 My silver filigree footed dish was a consignment store find and echoes the edge of my runner I found last year from Home Goods.

It’s serving up some cocoa meringue cookies. . .

Pink roses have a rich history that comes with being one of the longest existing roses known. When roses began to be cultivated, the majority of them existed in various shades, from the palest pink to the deepest crimson, and were the dominant species among wild roses and likely among the earliest roses to evolve.

 As a symbol of grace and elegance, the pink rose is often given as an expression of admiration. They can also convey appreciation as well as joyfulness. Pink rose bouquets often impart a gentler meaning than their red counterparts.

 These demitasse spoons are part of another Great Aunt’s silver pattern by S. Kirk & Son. . . I got them by default since they were monogrammed with W’s,  and look like an M upside-down :-)

This tray belonged to my grandmother and was given to her for her years of service as church secretary, and is serving tea on my table :-)

 My grandmother’s pressed glass compote is serving up jam-filled shortbread hearts. . .

Second only to red roses in popularity, white roses symbolize truth and innocence. They also represent silence, secrecy, reverence, humility, youthfulness and charm. You can use them to say, “You’re heavenly”, “I miss you” and “I’m worthy of you”. . .

 A white rosebud symbolizes girlhood, representing purity and are traditionally associated with marriages and new beginnings. The white rose is also a symbol of honor and reverence, and white rose arrangements are often used as an expression of remembrance.

The name for cocoa is theobroma, which means ‘food of the gods’.  We know that chocolate is meant for us, because the melting point for good chocolate just happens to be the temperature within your mouth :-)

In the 1800’s physicians commonly advised their lovelorn patients to eat chocolate to calm their pining~ and as an elixir for love, chocolate has been believed throughout history to bring smiles to the broken-hearted and to prompt amorous feelings in both men and women.


It is believed that Madame Du Barry served it to all her suitors;  Montezuma, the king of the ancient Aztecs, believed chocolate would make him virile; and Casanova consumed chocolate instead of champagne to induce romance. Personally, I would rather not have to choose between chocolate & champagne :-)

“Our skin has been hibernating in layers of clothes for months; we are accustomed to gray. We can start to think that this is how it always will be. And then, there’s Valentine’s Day. A day to look in your lover’s eyes and see color. To eat something that plays with your taste buds and to remember romance.  But here’s the thing. If you live in your senses, slowly, with attention, if you use your eyes and fingertips and your taste buds, then romance is something you’ll never need a greeting card to make you remember.”  ~ Erica Bauermeister, The School of Essential Ingredients

 Napkins & Teapots ~ Home Goods

Thank you for your visit, I’m joining:

 A Stroll Thru Life for Tabletop Tuesday

  Tablescape Thursday at Between Naps on the Porch~

French Country Cottage for Feathered Nest Friday~

The Tablescaper for Seasonal Sundays~

  Rose Chintz Cottage for Valentine’s Day Tea ~

 Common Ground ~Vintage Valentine Party~


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