If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.

Monday, November 21, 2011

A Weekend of Birthday Celebration

My fabulous husband really knows how to make me feel special on my birthday! 

First, he sent me flowers to enjoy at work last Friday.  You can see images of those HERE.
Then, on Saturday evening, he had his son and my son and their wives to coordinate an impromptu surprise party for me.  I had begun to vacuum the floors and straighten the house and set the table for a family luncheon on Sunday.  So, that was half-done and the vacuum was in the middle of the den floor.  The kitchen and our bedroom floors looked like we were planning to grow a crop there with all the dirt.  Yet, nobody even cared.

Sweet Bonnie was one of the first to arrive and stowed the vacuum in the closet to get it out of the middle of the floor.  Who knows what other things were hidden and slid behind the closet doors? 

Bryan and Jessica picked up pizza, bread sticks, and sweet tea.  Mike even had one of his co-workers in on the surprise to call him as we were headed to a restaurant to eat dinner (or so I thought) and request that he go in to work.  That was so plausible that I fell for it and we turned around to go back and get Mike's pass-key.  Then, when we got home, I saw all the cars and the cat was out of the bag.  My friends Kathy and JoAnn popped in as did Mike's nephews.  We sat around and chatted and really enjoyed the evening. I was totally surprised and taken off guard by the entire thing. 

I must be really oblivious and foolish.  This is the second time in the past three years that they have worked to give me a big surprise on my birthday. 

Then, on Sunday, even though he found out he had to work at the last minute, Mike coordinated a family luncheon for me.  On his way home from work Saturday, he picked up Bar-B-Q, corn lightbread, and slaw.  He asked Mom to bring macaroni-and-cheese and his mother to bring potato salad.  Jessica brought the fixin's for baked beans and Bridgette brought chocolate cake. 

Bryan and Jessica spent Saturday night here with us and while Bryan was out hunting, sweet Jess vacuumed the kitchen and bedroom and we set up nice tables for folks to have places to sit, eat, and fellowship. 

While I was showering, Jessica made photos of our tablescapes.  I think she may have a future in blogging and photo-sharing!

I wanted to use my new Pilgrims I picked up at 40% off at Hobby Lobby.  The details on this couple are wonderful and make a table feel special without making it too formal.  We used some soft buttery yellow and tan linen table runners that my Great Aunt Mae gave me years ago.  I ran a hot iron over them but didn't starch them up stiff like I have in the past.  We criss-crossed them on the table and put the Pilgrims right in the center.

I have used these for Thanksgiving and autumn tables before but usually I add brass and warm golds, oranges, and reds.  This time I decided to dive into my favorite blues and keep the silver tones.  I had fallen in love with a look created by Susan at Twiggy and Gus which is a cute little shop which just opened down the road from me in Triune.  If you are in the area, I recommend stopping by.  She has a terrific selection of unique gifts, jewelry, accessories, and decor.  Susan is also a master with floral arrangements and delivered them personally to my daughter-in-law and Mike's daughter for their respective birthdays. 

Susan does a wonderful job of mixing elegant and rustic to make both feel comfortable.  She had an inexpensive silver plate basket filled with acorns and I wanted that same look.  I picked up the little silvery cream/syrup pitcher at the local Presbyterian bazaar a couple of weeks ago.  So, I weathered the high winds and picked up a few acorns to plop inside it for my table.  The adorable turkey transferware bowl was a find years ago at another thrifting escapade.  The long pewter tray was a Steinmart bargain several years ago and seemed like the perfect serving piece for some corn light bread. 

The silver-plate candelabra was a similar bargain find as well.  The transferware plates were bargains that I snapped up five or six years ago in a couple of Bell Buckle antique consignment shops.  I got five for $3 and five for $5 each.  I thought I would put them in my china cabinet when I was using my Adagio china to eat upon but so far I have simply used them and left the china in the cabinet.  The glasses are my everyday use glasses because they are Dollar Tree purchases and easy to replace when one gets broken. 

The plates are really two different styles - one is a darker blue and the other features more of a fish-scale edging but they work well together at the same table as does my mismatched flatware.  The napkins were a gift to me and crafted by my talented daughter, Bridgette.  They feature an appliqued O monogram in a cheerful print that coordinates with almost any placemat or table cloth. 

We decided to stay informal and set up a card table and use placemats on the island for the other place settings.  I had picked up a blue gingham tablecloth at Goodwill back in the summer knowing that it would work well on the card table and with most all of my dishes and napkins and such.  So, it became the base for the card table. 

On this table (Yes, we did forget to put knives on the table when they came out of the dishwasher!) we used Pfaltzgraff white ironstone plates and some napkins I made from my recent fall fabric search.  The glasses were some Mike had and I wish I had six or eight more! 

The silver-plate candle stick is one of a pair that was bought with the candlabra. The pumpkin dish was a Dollar General purchase this year for $2 and I wish I had gotten several of these, too.  We used a Longaberger tea basket for the cornbread on this table. 

The last seating area was at the island.  We used the same plates and napkins and even the same silver napkin rings that I have had for years and years. 

In keeping with the tan and blue color scheme, we slid rattan placemats underneath and added some Williamsburg blue glasses that my mother-in-law gave me.  She said her brother and father had given them to her as a gift when she was a new bride. 

As a simple centerpiece for this table, we used a pretty little ceramic pumpkin that I've had for years and pretty little blue transferware plate that was a gift from Jessica's mother as the candy dish.  The sprinklings of Indian corn candy on each table was another way we tied all three together.  A plaid Longaberger napkin became a table scarf and a medium fruit basket held the cornbread.  The other half of the pair of silver candlesticks was perched here. 

I think the children's table needs to be special when we have a special event.  So, I found the perfect piece of gingham fabric to fit their table and sprinkled some little ceramic pumpkins, a votive candle and a little pot of Indian corn down the center.  By simply rolling the napkins and folding them across the plate, they don't have to figure out what to do with the napkin rings while they eat. 

We belatedly celebrated Bryan and Jessica's birthdays as well.  Opening the gifts are Lydia's specialty and it looks like Uncle Bryan and Aunt Jessica don't mind indulging her at all. 

The fare was delicious. The fellowship was fabulous.   I don't think anybody was overworked to put on the celebration and we all enjoyed it.  I do so appreciate everybody pitching in and helping Mike to make my fifty-second birthday a special one.  I enjoyed it all and I think almost everybody else was glad tp be surrounded by all the love there in the kitchen.  We are truly blessed.