Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Setting the Mood

For this dinner party, I wanted to create a formal atmosphere with a bit of an Edwardian feel.  Luckily, my dining room is perfect!  My huge antique china closet actually came from England, from a furniture maker on Tottenham Court Road, the same area Sherlock Holmes purchased his famous violin!

Starting at the entryway, I created a clock.  The face is paper, and I found it in the scrapbooking section of my local craft store.  I added the hands, pointing to 11:40, the time the Titanic hit the iceberg.  The hands came from a clock I found at Goodwill, and fit perfectly.

Walter P. donned a deerstalker for the occasion.  Walter P. dresses for all my parties.  I’ll devote an entire post to him later, he’s quite a character!

We started with appetizers in the living room.  I kept things simple, but elegant.  A vase of white roses on the coffee table, and the wine glasses and plates on a silver platter.  I must confess, I love my dishes!  The pattern is Noritake Goldette, and it dates back to the 1930’s.  It is opulent, rich and perfect for formal dinner parties.  I have twelve place settings, including cream soup bowls and the square luncheon plates.  I usually limit my parties to six people, and I can run out of dishes.  So I bought two other coordinating dish sets, Noritake Penelope and Noritake Bancroft to fill in.  So now I have 36 place settings of dishes and serving pieces to store, but it’s worth it to me!  I found all three sets on Craigslist, for a reasonable investment.  The champagne flutes are Waterford Lismore Nouveau, which I have collected over the years. 

Then we moved to the dining room, as you can see here.

The tablecloth and napkins came from Goodwill.  A quick wash and a press in my Ironrite and they were as good as new, and I didn’t worry about anyone spilling food or wine on them.  In the case of accessories, I try to buy in sets of six, if they are available.  I never buy less than four.  If I have to mix two sets for one course, I give the ladies one style, and the men another.   
You can see this in the napkin rings, the salt cellars and other accoutrements.  You go through lots of utensils during a formal meal, so I have two sets of silverplate flatware that I mix and match.

Crystal glasses, again, acquisitions from Goodwill and estate sales.

For the flowers, I found an oval tin at Goodwill, which I spray painted black.  I used green floral foam to hold the flowers and candles.  I chose to use four candles, to simulate the four funnels on the Titanic.  The flowers are a mix of greenery from my garden, roses and carnations.  I wanted the colors to echo the colors of my wallpaper, and the arrangement to look Victorian.  I really have no skills at floral arrangements, but they didn't look too bad, and my guests thought I'd purchased them from a florist.  So try it, it's not hard to do it yourself!

Tomorrow I will share the first course, with recipes!

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