Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Swept Away, the Fair Trade Way

One of the many duties of a volunteer at Ten Thousand Villages is unpacking merchandise.  If you are particularly lucky, your volunteer day coincides with the shipment of that month's new merchandise.  For me, this event is analogous to opening birthday presents...lots and lots and lots of birthday presents. Each box, packed tightly with shredded paper, contains another surprise. One item is prettier than the next...and this event goes on for hours.  Well, the February New Items arrived recently, and I was immediately swept away to another place...

...a warm, tropical, dreamy place...colors of beach glass and the seaside.  I could not wait to give you a sneak peek at some of these gorgeous pieces.  Three new tablecloths are part of the new collection, and I chose to feature this beautiful Lake Dreams tablecloth.

Handmade in India, the cloth is printed overall in shades of pale lime green, blues and grey.  Also available are matching napkins.  

I've tucked them into these darling mother of pearl napkin rings, an item previously available at Ten Thousand Villages. 

To show these linens off...

...I paired them with some of my own dishes and placemats.  I was very excited to see these new Highlands goblets.

Made in Cochabamba Bolivia from recycled glass, they are the perfect size and shape for water, wine, iced tea or just about any beverage.  

The matching Highlands carafe is equally lovely and very versatile.  Crafting beauty from reused material is again demonstrated in these tiny bud vases.  

Cleverly named Blossom, Posy and Petal, these vases can be used time and time again as recycled glass looks fabulous in so many settings.

I think they would make the perfect party favor for your luncheon guests!  My favorite item in the new collection has to be this Evening Lights candleholder.  

Made in India from shesham wood, it has a charming whitewash finish and holds 5 tea lights...

...a perfect centerpiece that reminds me of driftwood and puts me in a beach mood.  Who wouldn't love these adorable little..., green and aqua ceramic songbirds, carefully made by artisans from Chulucanas, Peru.  I've perched them all around my tablescape.  For a final touch,

I wove this garland of jute dragonflies throughout my setting.  Made in Viet Nam,

I have used them as part of many tables and they are always a charming addition.  Please follow the links that I have provided to find much more information about the products I have featured today and the artisans whose work is supported by Ten Thousand Villages. 

With stores all over the country, you might have a store near you, but if not, every item is available on at the store's website,

I hope this table gave you a chance to dig your toes in the sand and dream of a place far away from Winter's dreary days.  This week, I'll be visiting the following parties.  Why don't you join me!

Centerpiece Wednesday (The Style Sisters)
Tabletop Thursday (Between Naps on the Porch)
Feathered Nest Friday (French Country Cottage)
Home Sweet Home Friday  (The Charm of Home)
Seasonal Sundays (The Tablescaper)
Let's Dish (Cuisine Kathleen)
Open House Party (No Minimalist Here)

Loving the dragonflies???  Take another look...

The Big Comfy Quilt
A Bad Case of Spring Fever

Wednesday, January 23, 2013


To my friends and followers...for those of you who thought I was perhaps in some way "unwell", I am very happy to report that I am just fine.  My absence can best be described as a holiday overdose...a few too many dishes to wash, an overwhelming pile of napkins to iron, and all those holiday plates to safely pack away.  I just wasn't feeling creative or inspired and needed a little break.  And after weeks of looking at my bare dining room table, I knew it was time to return.  With no imminent holidays, I opted to simply set a table with things on hand.

As you know, there is always some element of my table that is the inspiration for the entire setting.  This time it was some beautiful floral fabric, a warm smoky grey background covered with coral and plum and gold mums.  So I...

...whipped up a set of napkins.  Then magically, the rest of the tablescape fell into place, one piece at a time.  I remembered these peachy-coral salad plates from West Elm.  Haven't used those in awhile.

I think they'd look perfect atop my shiny grey Hayes dinner plates from Crate & Barrel, which I layer with my gold leaf(ish) ruffly chargers, all sitting on these lacy paper placemats.

Who can't use a little more gold, so I added these chunky metallic napkin rings (Ten Thousand Villages), turning my napkin into a handsome bow tie.

Never, ever walk through a store without checking out the scarf department...because the scarf department should really be renamed the table runner department!  See what I found at Target...

...grey and gold and pink and cream and fringy and perfect!  Speaking of grey...look what I got for Christmas from my husband.  He found this fabulous smoky vintage barware at a shop in the city.  You should see the martini pitcher that came along with it!

Today I am using them as candle holders, because I have other plans for my beverages.  I found these amazing tumblers at a darling little vintage shop.  How I wished I had paid better attention when the shop owner told me the maker.  If anyone knows the answer, please share it with me.  I'd love to find out more about them.

Mid-century, I'm quite sure, they are so much fun with pink and gold fruits and leaves, all on a smoky grey background.  Quite a find.  My table still needed a centerpiece, so I took a peek at my stash.  This Rosenthal vase will be perfect...


...a tablesetters dream come true, with flowers of just the right colors.  It might be frigid outside, but tonight I'll be dining here... my smokin' hot table.  Well, that was fun...and it's good to be back.  Please join me this week at the following parties.

Centerpiece Wednesday (The Style Sisters)
Tabletop Thursday (Between Naps on the Porch)
Feathered Nest Friday (French Country Cottage)
Home Sweet Home Friday  (The Charm of Home)
Seasonal Sundays (The Tablescaper)
Let's Dish (Cuisine Kathleen)
Open House Party (No Minimalist Here)