Creative Ideas for Updating Your Place Settings

July 31, 2019, posted by Gina – My team members and I have been experimenting recently with different ways to create place settings with our china. Many of us registered for our china when we got married, others may have inherited a set from grandparents or you may not have china at all. Regardless, everyone has dinnerware and there will come a time when you would like to change up the look of your place settings.

In the shop, we’ve been having a China Challenge and it’s been a lot of fun. I asked team members to bring in their china or dinnerware and we came up with different looks using linens and accessories that we sell in the shop. It’s amazing just how different the same dishes can look simply by adding colorful linens, graphic napkins or a pretty charger. These transformations don’t have to cost a fortune and often just a small change can make a big difference. So, let’s have a look at what we’ve come up with and we hope these give you a few ideas for your place settings!

In the first photo above you see just the plate on its own. In the second photo we added one of our gold brushed chargers, a chartreuse green napkin and a set of golden figs. In the third photo we kept the gold brushed charger, added a burnt orange geometric napkin and a faux pear as an accent. In the fourth photo we went for a more casual look with the brown and white gingham charger, a two toned burlap placemat, a cream linen napkin, and a gold floral place card holder on top. 

In the first photo above is the Castle Garden pattern by Lenox brought in by a team member. In the second photo, we added an ornate gold charger, a heathered pink linen napkin and a wonderful French Majolica plate that coordinated perfectly. In the third photo we kept the same gold charger and pink linen napkin and simply added a green velvet pumpkin. 

The place settings above are a little different as they feature French blue & white plates that are for sale in the shop and not china belonging to a team member. We created two very different looks using linens and accessories that we have in the shop. Which is your favorite – the vibrant green and blue look or the more subtle look with fresh flowers? 

In the first photo above we have a wonderful Wedgewood blue pattern.  In the second photo we added a cream colored burlap table runner, a rattan charger a beautiful ceramic pumpkin with gold leaves and a striped napkin.  In the third photo we layered with a light purple placemat, a ruffle white napkin and a boxed LUX candle with a ribbon and flower to be used as a gift.

The cream colored plates pictured above are a blank canvas that can be changed up a million different ways. Here we used colorful placemats, napkins and chargers to create just a couple of different looks.

Check us out on Instagram or Facebook to see the rest of our China Challenge place settings and more of our table linens and tableware.

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A Fresh Autumn Tablescape 1 comment


September 29, 2016, posted by Gina – This is a tablescape that I created for a luncheon I recently hosted in my home. I was very pleased with the way the colors and textures came together for this one. The blue and white ginger jar pattern on the orange napkins set off the Spode Blue Italian plates perfectly. The wicker chargers and black burlap table runner added a rustic feel which was pleasantly offset by the dramatic and elegant Italian platter under the centerpiece. We will post a tutorial soon that will demonstrate how to create this particular centerpiece, so check back with us! Also, checkout the list a little further down to find out a little more about the individual pieces on this table.



Chargers – Pier 1

Plates – Blue Italian, Spode

Bowls – Annie Glass

Flatware – Southern Living at Home

Napkins – Patricia Spratt for the Home

Tortoise Stemware – Pier 1

Blue and Gold Stemware – Paul Michael

Table runner – At Home



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Reviving Vintage Linens

May 2, 2016, posted  by Gina – If you have followed our site for a while you may know that we love vintage and antique linens. Part of the fun of finding these beautiful treasures is the hunt and we work hard to find pieces which we know can be restored to their original beauty.

Our love of flowers, food and entertaining is really about our love of people and we enjoy making even the ordinary things in life pretty.  What brings people together better than a beautiful table, great conversation and friends and family?

mint green table topperRecently, I found this beautiful mint green organza and linen table topper that I believe is from the 40’s or 50’s.  This piece had been treasured and, no doubt, graced a beautiful table. Many times we find linens that are still in their original box with the tags still attached. But sometimes we find beautiful pieces that are slightly yellowed or stained.

You may be wondering how we launder these vintage linens. We use a product called Linen Wash.  In all our years of collecting vintage linens Linen Wash has worked miracles on all but a few pieces.   Many of these older linens have yellowed over the years even if they have been in their original box. Linen Wash gets this out as well as most stains and leaves the linens fresh and clean.  We soak our linens sometimes for days depending on the extent of staining or yellowing.  It is amazing to see them return to their original splendor.

Linen Wash

Searching and collecting these one of a kind linens has become a passion.  They look so beautiful mixed with modern plates, chargers, crystal or whatever pretty things you find to adorn your table … and it’s nice knowing you can bring them back to their original beauty.

Do you have any tips for removing stains from vintage linens? We’d like to hear from you! Click on the title of this post and the comment form will appear at the bottom of the page.

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Setting the Scene for a Thanksgiving Luncheon

November 17, 2015, posted by Gina – A couple of weeks ago I had the wonderful pleasure of attending my cookbook club’s monthly luncheon. The theme for the day was Thanksgiving and it was a true bounty of the season’s best.

I was asked to design the flower arrangements using cream, green, brown and neutral colors. It was challenging and refreshing for me to work with this color palette for a Thanksgiving feast since it’s a departure from the traditional oranges, reds, and golds.

Birch Planters Magnolia SunflowerI found some great looking birch bark planters and chose Little Gem magnolia leaves as the backdrop because of their wonderful brown back coating. Hydrangeas, roses, hypericum berries, and white mums were the stars of the arrangements. To add interest, I removed the yellow petals from the sunflowers to create a brown and green flower.

My friend set her tables with beautiful white table linens and tied wheat to the napkins. It was a great touch and really set the mood for the harvest feast that followed.

Tablescape Thanksgiving Luncheon

CLICK HERE to go to our Recipe Page and read about all the dishes that were served.

How do you decorate your table for Thanksgiving? Do you look for new twists on the standard Thanksgiving decoration or do you like the traditional look? Let us know, we’d love to hear from you. Just click on the title of this post to and the comment form appear at the bottom of the page.


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French Garage Sales (without the garage) 2 comments

September 27, 2015, posted by Michelle – September is a big month for vide-greniers (attic sales) in France, or what we’d call garage sales. But in lieu of actually being in garages, the sidewalks of a main street become packed with tables of household items and clothes being sold by residents of the neighborhood. It was a sunny, crisp fall day today so I took advantage of it by visiting several vide-greniers. You never know what you’ll find but I always find some wonderful things and today was no exception as I picked up some beautiful vintage linens and a few other items. Enjoy the photos(click on any individual photo to enlarge it):

Let us hear about your garage sale or estate sale experiences. To leave a comment, click on the title of the post and the comment form will appear at the bottom of the post.

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Red Sunflower Tablescape

September 12, 2015, posted by Gina – For some reason I always seem to find red sunflowers this time of year. I absolutely love them and in fact they were the inspiration for this whole tablescape.

Red Sunflower, Spode Italian Collage
I was trying to create a natural, farm fresh vibe with this table and decided adding artichokes and arugula to this arrangement accomplished that look very well. The ceramic containers are a perfect fit for a regular brick of oasis. This makes creating arrangements in these containers so easy and I have used them many times for similar centerpieces. Also, the fact that they are low makes having a lovely conversation easy since you don’t have to peek over or around an arrangement.

To keep the natural, farm feel going I chose a great burlap table runner and combined it with red and white toile placemats, striped napkins, white wooden chargers, and Italian Spode china. Somehow, the pheasants just seemed to fit in with the theme so I placed a pair on each side of the table. If you run across some red sunflowers be sure to pick a few up as they will brighten up your table.

We’d love to hear your thoughts and comments. Click on the title of this post and the comment form will open at the end of the post.

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French Inspiration: Antiquing 1 comment

June 22, 2015, posted by Michelle – On a recent excursion around some of the antique shops and brocantes (second hand shops) in the 2nd arrondissement of Lyon I spotted heaps of silverware, some vintage monogrammed linens in blues and greens, a pinkish-purple side table, a never ending jumble of trinkets and a gorgeous French commode table. In an effort to take a short cut from one street to another I stumbled into a courtyard where I found a beautiful old disused fountain? pedestal? surrounded by plants and climbing vines. The small statue on top is Mary, who is found in niches on buildings all over downtown. I never know what interesting things I’ll find but I’m always inspired by the beauty of this neighborhood and all its antique shops.
silverwaretorchonscourtyardside tabletrinketstable

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How Pretty is Your Powder Room?

powder roomJune 9, 2015, posted by Gina – The word “powder room” may seem to be in same league as words like “pocket book” or “slacks”,  words that our mother still uses though they are outmoded. Yet powder room is still used today to describe a half bath and in public, women frequently ask about the whereabouts of the powder room instead of bathroom or restroom.

Since a powder room is mainly used by guests, we believe it should be a wonderfully inviting spot in your home. We will share a few tips on how to make a powder room a perfect place to extend your hospitality.

guest napkins
In this photo we see some lovely paper hand towels in a nice wicker basket made especially for them. We like offering these when we have larger parties as a typical cloth towel would get pretty wet with a number of guests visiting the powder room. Once our shop is up and running, we will offer a great variety of paper hand towels.

But we realize some people prefer linens, so we also always offer a pretty cloth hand towel. We love the fresh, crisp look of white for spring and summer months.


Here’s where the fun really gets started. We love to use trays and this lovely European tray holds a luxurious rosemary mint hand soap, a bar of soap, a candle and a delicious smelling diffuser. We love to ignite our guest’s sense of smell and this tray of goodies is certainly capable of doing just that. We plan to sell many of these items in our online shop.

coral linen towels
Creating a mood with hand towels is fun, easy and inexpensive. We change the hand towels on this rack to correspond with the current season. These linen towels with a coral motif are summery and bring the beach to mind. We can’t wait to offer unique hand towels in our shop that will help you usher in the seasons in your own home or that you can give as gifts.

Last but not least, we always put fresh flowers in our powder room when we have guests.  It is just one more way to welcome your guests into your home with a warm and comfortable vibe.

What finishing touches do you put around your home when you have guests? Do you like to change small details to reflect the changing seasons? We’d like to hear about your ideas. Click the title of this post to open the comment form and let us hear from you!


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Up Close and Personal

Floral palette
June 3, 2015, posted by Gina – Last week we gave you a tour of the table settings and general décor we created for a bridal luncheon and now we’d like to share some photos and information on the floral arrangements and a couple of other details.

Above you see the floral palette we chose for the day. Color harmony is an important aspect of floral design and by looking at a typical color wheel, you can see many formulas for creating color combinations. We chose an analogous palette which uses colors that are found next to each other on the color wheel.

footbath arrangement
If you love blue and white porcelain as much as we do then you can certainly appreciate this footbath. Many of you may wonder just why in the world it is called a footbath. Well here’s a little history:

Footbaths originated in China during the Ming Dynasty and were traditionally used only by women from the wealthiest families who practiced foot binding. In turn, this practice became popular as a means of displaying status. So how in the world did we end up using them for flowers? It turns out that in the 1980’s and exporter began shipping beautiful porcelain footbaths all over the world. Interior designers embraced them as they were as pretty as the ever popular fish bowls but were the perfect size for a dining table or sideboard. Who knew?

In this arrangement, we used a magenta kalanchoe, maidenhair fern and a bit of Spanish moss. When we open our shop, we plan to offer footbaths so you can easily create a wonderful centerpiece just like we did.

This smaller blue and white planter was used as a companion and we love how it echoed our color palette on this table.

small blue and white planter

This arrangement in a vintage rose bowl carried on our color palette and we particularly loved the fully open white roses. We will be offering new and vintage varieties of containers like this one when our shop is up and running.

Rose Bowl
Back in the day, before paper cocktail napkins were so widely available, beautiful linen cocktail napkins were used. These light blue ones are just so pretty and we think perfect for a beautiful, special event. These are vintage and we are planning on offering some of the finest vintage linens around once our shop is open.

Blue linen cocktail napkins

PlacecardThese place cards were specially created by a professional calligrapher to coordinate with the flowers for the luncheon. Place cards seem to be used mostly for larger functions but we believe it adds a special touch and truly gives a warm welcome to each person. Blank place cards can be found at most craft stores and are really fun and easy to incorporate into your event. In our case, we wanted to use place cards to insure that the bride and her bridesmaids were able to sit together and enjoy the day. After all, the luncheon was in their honor.

Do you add special touches to your tables? Do you have some favorite containers and planters that you use for special arrangements? We’d like to hear about your ideas, so please leave a comment by clicking on the title of this post to expand the comment form.

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Lunch in Lyon 2 comments

May 27, 2015, posted by Michelle – Last week I hosted a lunch at my apartment for a few ladies. I wanted the table to be very colorful and fresh so I bought some hot pink place mats, an Emile Henry yellow-green table runner with an orange stripe and some super thick lime green paper napkins. I folded the napkins into flowers and every time I’ve done this people want me to show them how. Well, I learned from this guy’s video. For the centerpiece, I put some gorgeous pink peonies in a vase which I placed on a white tray with a few tangerines and … voilà… a simple, colorful table:spring table
The menu was onion tart, chicken piccata and fresh green peas sauteed with bacon. It’s the custom here to serve cheese before the dessert so I served an Etorki Basque cheese which everyone loved. I’ve never been a great dessert maker which is just as well since, this being France, you can’t walk a block without stumbling upon a pâtisserie full of luscious tarts and cakes. I happily stumbled into one and came out with this delicious and pretty lemon and white chocolate cake:
Lemon and white chocolate cake

Do you add special touches to your table? Do you like using bright colors or do you prefer more subtle tones? We’d like to hear your thoughts so please leave any comments you may have by clicking on the title of this post and a comment form will appear at the end of the post.

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