(or a peek at Maria's tortured mind)
I have learned (the hard way - always the hard way) that when preparing a tablescape, it's really useful to photograph the design as it unfolds. The camera captures things that are missed by the naked eye. I have become extremely spoiled by digital photography and its instant gratification. These images are not great, but they gave me a sense of where the setting was going so I could discard, or commit portions of the tablescape and proceed to the next step.
I wanted to showcase the design of my new love, Delamere Woodland Brown by Spode, with its myriad flowers and scroll work. I thought, at first, to keep everthing else very simple and understated, so as not to distract from the beautiful pattern.
I also knew that I really, really liked how the check pattern on these napkins worked as a counterpoint to the floral. Further, the brown matched the floral border on the dishes perfectly. Color is the bane of my decorating existence. I agonize over it constantly and doubt myself frequently. But this time, it just clicked.
At this point, I showed what I had to my friend Patti C., but it can be confusing to show your work-in-progress to another talented tablescaper with her own unique vision. Patti, however, did verbalize what I myself was feeling: The table setting looked a little flat, so it was back to the drawing board.
Should I keep the napkin ring, with its wonderful scrolls and acanthus leaves that mimic the ones on the dishes . . . ?
Too much, perhaps? Should I tuck the napkin under the salad plate and forgo the napkin ring?
This is pretty! But then I'd have to give up on the brown checked napkins . . . and I really like those napkins . . . What if I had a gold placemat instead . . . ? I folded the gold napkin as a placemat, just for kicks . . .
Oh, wow! I really like this! Gold placemats are the way to go . . . but NOT this gold; it's a different shade than the goblets . . . Oh, and this wine glass is sooo wrong! Pointy gothic arches don't seem to go with the flowery pattern on the plates . . .
I ordered the Sferra placemats online, and the color seemed like it would work, but you never know when you order things without seeing them in person . . . When I clicked on the "Checkout" button I crossed my fingers . . . Whew! What a relief when I saw that the color was just what I hoped for!
The placemat and goblet are playing together beautifully! Now to press the napkins . . . Should I fold them wider . . . ?
Or narrower . . . ?
Why didn't I think to photograph the two options next to each other so I could compare them??? Go back and take more pictures . . .
Narrower, I think . . . Well, all that's left now is for the flowers to arrive . . .
Yikes! This arrangement is NOT right! I told the florist I wanted white roses, and I also wanted pheasant feathers . . . and I did tell him not to put in bright oranges or yellows . . . But somehow, I thought there would be some gold . . . and, although this arrangement is quite beautiful, it's a little too contemporary-looking for this particular table . . .
I ran to the grocery store, and picked up a pre-made arrangement to take apart. In order to tone down the yellow of the mums, the grocery store florist spray painted them with metallic gold. I exchanged the garishly orange candle for a white one, and, after some fooling around, came up with a traditional, round arrangement, better suited to the table and the occasion . . . with some gold flowers that added a third gold element to the design . . .
As a matter of fact, it turned out even better than I could have hoped. The soft red, dendrobium orchids added a wonderful pop of color . . . And my mother's crystal wine glasses, with their floral pattern, worked really well, too!
It's done. Now, about the food . . . Is ordering a pizza out of the question . . . ?