Monday, March 10, 2014

Mount Vernon Love Story...The Wrap Up

Last Saturday, I hosted the UCC (and friends) Ladies' Book Club in my home.  It was an absolutely beautiful day and one that enticed you to spend it outside, but luckily, my fellow members chose to spend it with me!

The book we discussed was Mount Vernon Love Story by Mary Higgins Clark.  Referring both to George and Martha's relationship as well as to George's lifelong love affair with his beloved home, Mount Vernon Love Story, was Clark's first novel.  It was written in 1969 and was originally titled Aspire to the Heavens, which was the Washington family motto.

I planned the menu and decorations to reflect the novel and to invite my fellow club members back to the time of Washington.  I began by setting a buffet in my dining room.


You will quickly notice a yellow and blue theme.  When Washington took over Mount Vernon after his brother, Lawrence, passed away, he immediately began to order "necessities" for his home including a set of blue and white porcelain dishes from China.  That's where I began my color scheme for the party.

My dear friend, Nancy Itson, generously allowed me to use her prized "Blue Danube" china.  I'm sure it looks very similar to that which the Washingtons used.  Family records reflect that the Washingtons reordered the china several times as pieces were surely lost due to use and the extensive entertaining they did.  Unfortunately, Nancy had a piece to break in transit, as well!  Imagine transporting these delicate dishes in boats, wagons and buggies.  I'm sure breakage was a common thing back then.  A combination of my mother's and great-grandmother's silverware patterns complemented the delicate china. 
One of my weaknesses (and I have many) is collecting china and crystal.  I have a large collection of colored stemware, primarily by Fostoria, but other makers as well.  I am no respecter of manufacturers!  I pulled out my blue (Fostoria "Virginia" - aptly named!) and yellow stems (Noritake's "Provincial") to add to the bright table setting.  I found the blue set on eBay.  (Ah, eBay, how I love thee!)  I happened to spy the yellow set on a table out in front of a house that regularly has yard sales.  I think I got the whole box for about $35!
Several years ago, Mama gave me a pair of good-quality, white hemstitched tablecloths which always serve as a perfect base to build on.  I found the blue Jacobean print and the yellow-striped fabric at Hancock Fabrics.  I purchase 1.5 yards of the blue, which I used to make a square scarf, and about a yard of the yellow, which I cut into two runners.  I used my pinking shears on each and then finished them with a half-inch hem.  They look absolutely beautiful under the vintage bowls full of pepper jelly and honey from my Daddy's bee hives. 

The silver spoon in the picture above is by Reed and Barton and is called "Jewel".  It was made in 1912, and I am in the process of collecting this antique pattern for my daughter, Jewell.  I think it will make a beautiful and meaningful gift when she marries one day!
A side note - My Aunt Dale started my collection of Fostoria glasses when Gerald and I married.  She graciously went into her own collection of china and serving pieces and pulled out several vintage beauties that had belonged to my grandmother, great-grandmother and great-aunts.  I love using these pieces and thank her often for this thoughtful gift!  Many of the pieces I used for the party, including the sugar and honey bowls (above) came from her.
I'm sure you can't help but notice the yellow jonquils that decorate the table.  These were growing wild in my parents front pasture!  Gerald and the kids went early Saturday morning to pick them for me.  They came back with a tub full of them (literally hundreds of blooms)!  The smell was absolutely intoxicating!  Mama and I keep saying each Spring that we are going to dig them up and move them to our yards so we can better enjoy them.  It's yet to happen, but I do look forward to seeing them poke their heads up through the ground each Spring!  I placed the bouquets in pewter tankards that I had purchased on eBay a couple of years ago for another period book club I helped to host.  I had intended to resell them, but never got around to it.  They were just perfect for holding all these old-fashioned blossoms.  I think when the jonquils finally die, I'll just stick the tankards back in storage.  You never know...
I hope you've enjoyed a peak at my table setting.  Later this week, I'll tell you about the menu and the actual book club discussion.  Just wanted to whet your appetite!
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I'm so glad you stopped by my neck of the woods!
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