Celebrating the Return of “Downton Abbey” 2022 with Quotes from the Dowager Countess

Celebrating the Return of “Downton Abbey” 2022 with Quotes from the Dowager Countess

OK…so you got me! Busted! I finally gave into the whole “Downton Abbey” craze after resisting for more than 10 bloody years. (Oops! I sound like a commoner!)

“Vulgarity is no substitute for wit.”

I started watching and simply could not stop!!!!!! I have now watched the entire series 3 times over, the 2019 movie twice, and am gearing up to see “Downton Abbey: A New Era” at our local theater. Satisfied?

So to celebrate the new movie, the glory of all things “Downton Abbey”, the beauty of formal table settings, and most particularly the wry humor and steadfast wisdom of the Dowager Countess, Lady Violet Crawley (quotes in her signature violet color), I’ve created a couple of tablescapes that I think capture a bit of the splendor. This is the first of two…or many…not by any means historically accurate!😉

I read somewhere that a white tablecloth was used in the series only to protect the decades-old table at Highclere Castle where “Downton Abbey” was filmed. (If I read it on the internet, then it must be true!😉) Hmmmmm…🤔 So naked formal table it is for this entry!

I don’t know, nor did I note in the series or the first movie, that gold was used very much decoratively in the 1920s. (Silver – or silver plate, nickel, or zinc for the less monied – had prominently established its place.) I’ve blatantly strayed from that with this gold leaf charger, the flatware, and gold-rimmed Royal Scotland china.

“Nothing succeeds like excess.”

Meals were always served in courses at Downton, and a cream soup bowl and saucer like these from Nell Hills in Kansas City, MO may have been a part of that.

I took notice of the elaborately folded dinner napkins and did my best to replicate a Bishop’s Hat fold. I failed miserably and settled on this one instead. As noted in an article in Victoriana Magazine, the famous Delmonico’s restaurant in New York always employed a napkin fold to hold the dinner roll. Whether or not the Dowager Countess would approve of such a change is up for debate…or not.😒

First electricity, now telephones. Sometimes I feel as if I were living in an H.G. Wells novel.”

My beloved Nell Hills (Kansas City, MO) beverage stem with Cristal d’Arques “Asheville Gold” champagne flute.

While you’ll never, ever, ever see the likes of these little dudes (they rather look like footmen, don’t they?) on a formal dining table at Downton, I felt them right at home 100 years later. I like them, so they stay…unless the Dowager Countess says otherwise, of course! (Source: The Painted Sofa, Kansas City, MO)

Don’t be defeatist, dear. It is very middle class.”

The Dowager Countess referred to Lady Grantham’s floral arrangements as being better suited for “a first Communion in Southern Italy.” Geez…that was harsh! 😒 I don’t even wanna know what she’d say about this monstrosity in heavy lead crystal! (It would, of course, be removed for real dining.)

“Why does every day involve a fight with an American?”

While multi-arm candelabra were more the fashion of the time, I don’t think anyone (except perhaps the Dowager, of course!) would sniff at these leggy gold candlesticks.

“Edith, you are a lady, not Toad of Toad Hall.”

Although one would never catch the Dowager in such “hep” fashion as this, it certainly might be found in the closet of the very fashionable Lady Mary or Lady Edith. It’s certainly found in mine!

If you like this formal tablescape and would like to see others on this site:

Powder Blue Memories on Mother’s Day

My Mom often recounted the story of how she and Daddy met back in the early 1950s. He was at work and saw her cruising past in her sleek powder blue convertible. It was love at first sight…for the car AND the lady driving it. Both of my parents are gone now, but I often think of that story. When I saw these fabulous powder blue ceramic vases at Cameron’s in downtown Lee’s Summit, MO, I knew my Mother’s Day table in Mom’s memory would have to include them along with her exquisite Royal Danish flatware. I miss you so much, Mom, and I think of you every. single. day.

Powder Blue Memories on Mother’s Day – A Tribute to Senator Mom, Yvonne S. Wilson

Each Martha Stewart for Wedgwood “Conservatory” place setting is anchored by a plain white charger.

Dinner rolls are neatly tucked into the rear side of napkins arranged in the cream soup bowls from Nell Hill’s.

Mom’s Royal Danish flatware has always been a favorite of mine, and I cherish it.

Godinger “Chelsea” iced beverage and Cristal D’Arques-Durand “Capella” wine stem.

I’m enjoying experimentation with faux flowers these days. The blue thistle here is from Petals & Potpourri
in Blue Springs, MO. The tulips are from Home Goods, and the greenery and Queen Anne’s lace from Kirkland’s.

I kept the flowers fairly soft in color to complement the color of the vases. This could easily become an Easter tablescape with a bit of tweaking.

The white glass vases with pink and yellow (faux from Nell Hill’s) ranunculus blooms tucked in are from Hobby Lobby. They complement many elements on the table.

Dessert and coffee service on the vitrine with Mom’s favorite lemon meringue pie. She couldn’t bake ’em, but she sure loved to eat ’em!

One of my favorite birthday parties celebrating my Mom’s 85th…

Mom and me…and yes, we both just happened to show up in blue!

There are a few Mother’s Day celebrations featured on my blog including:

There are also a few other posts that would be perfectly suitable for a Mother’s Day celebration:

I wish each and every one of you Moms out there a fabulous Mother’s Day. If your Mom is gone from this world like mine is, I wish you peace.

Splendiforous Forsythia & Thinking Of Ukraine

I’m trying to stay upbeat, but it’s hard to do when so many are needlessly and through no fault of their own suffering so much. I’ve felt this way regarding many people targeted by bullies, and today (as in the weeks since the vicious and unwarranted attack began) I’m thinking more than ever about the people of Ukraine.🇺🇦 I began pulling together a tablescape meant to be a joyous representation of Spring and ended up in tears. I’m going to post this without a lot of further commentary because I’m otherwise going to start cussing…and crying again.🤬😢

The blue-rimmed chargers are from Hobby Lobby, the “Mirandela” pattern dinner plates (last featured here in August of 2021) and cobalt blue stemware from Pier 1, the J.A. Henckels “Bellaserra” flatware and Cristal d’Arques “Capella” wine stems from Macy’s, and the cream soup sets from Nell Hills in Kansas City, MO. The “Opera” Royal Crystal Rock glasses were an estate sale find.

While these are faux greenery (Kirkland’s) and flowers (Kirkland’s and a wholesale outlet), fresh ones on your table would be glorious. I found the curvy cobalt vase at Z Gallerie some years ago.

I often take liberties with candlesticks and employ them as finials.

Lighting candles of hope.

This is by no means the definition of “art imitating life”, but the people of Ukraine are on my mind and in my heart, and their plight is burning a hole into my very soul. May God bless them all. 🇺🇦

There are a couple of other blue and yellow tablescapes on this blog you might like to see that incorporated these same Pier 1 dishes:

Other tablescapes that use forsythia:

And finally, other tablescapes using cobalt blue tableware:

Home for the Thanksgiving Holiday 2021

Thanksgiving will once again this year be a sparsely attended event at our home. While I’m a firm believer in “the more, the merrier”, I know that’s not possible and can appreciate and embrace a smaller group. So “bountiful simplicity” will be the name of the game for 2021.

This tablescape concept began with the purchase of the white pumpkin-embossed runner from Home Goods I bought a few weeks ago. The pickings are slim this year, so I felt fortunate to find something I liked. The centerpiece is created with a long, narrow wooden “trough” from Nell Hill’s filled with a variety of pumpkins, gourds, fruits, faux acorns, greenery, and leaves topped off with a pair of antlers. A six-pack of 24″ metal case candles in clear glass holders runs along both sides. With such a low centerpiece, I felt it necessary to add height but still be mindful of being able to see across the table.

I was SO excited to find these great leather look chargers at Hobby Lobby this season!!! I used them once already this season for “Hey, Pumpkin!“, and they will come in handy for lots of future fall and winter tablescapes. The mustard yellow dinner plates, oak leaf/acorn plates, and plaid salad plates are all from Pier 1, purchased over the last 10+ years. The delicate cream soup bowl with saucer (having homemade mushroom soup for a starter!) is from Nell Hill’s in Kansas City, MO. Hampton Silversmith “Patriot” flatware, napkins from LinenTablecloth.com, and amber bubble glass stemware from TJ Maxx round out the place settings. Lithe seed pearl wreaths add texture, color, form, and a little fun.

I was determined this year to reuse, recycle and reduce waste when it came to decorating. While I bought LOTS of pumpkins and gourds at the start of the fall season, I’ve made sure to use them in various ways inside and out. A quick dip in a weak Clorox bath when I first brought them home has kept them going strong. See how I first used these pumpkins as the backdrop for my 2021 Halloween entry, “The Spider & the Fly“. Deep six the spiders and flies, do a little artful rearranging, add some wheat sheaves, and it’s all ready for Thanksgiving! (PSA: If you know someone nearby who has a farm, ask them if they’d like to have your pumpkins after the season to feed their livestock. If not, consider chopping them up and scattering them in an uninhabited wooded area for wildlife such as foxes, deer, squirrels, and other animals who often find it difficult to source food in the winter. Full circle use!)

The small china cabinet is all decked out with its usual aluminum wine and champagne coolers that are further embellished with berry branches, pumpkins, and a big moss ball.

If you would care to check out other Thanksgiving-inspired tablescapes on this blog:

I’m pleased as apple cider punch to be joining a talented group of ladies from across the globe in Blog Land for a Thanksgiving Tablescape Blog Hop! I hope you will click on their links to check out their Thanksgiving tables! (NOTE: Set to go live Tuesday, November 9 at 7 a.m. EST, although some posts may be up now.)

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!!

Autumn Chinoiserie – Classic Blue & White

I recently did a “Better Kansas City” show segment on using unexpected colors and patterns for fall decorating. I’ll publish that clip next week. Meanwhile, here’s a taste of that decorating style that I have come to embrace with great enthusiasm: incorporating autumn touches into existing chinoiserie decor.

 

 

 

Ralph Lauren “Mandarin” dinner and salad plates rest upon a stark white ceramic charger from Old Time Pottery.

 

 

I found these lovely cream soup bowls at Nell Hill’s in Parkville, Mo., about 40 minutes away from our home and only 5 minutes from my orthopedic surgeon’s office. (Best place to regroup after bad news!)  I LOVE that place!!! I never spend less than an hour when I visit. A crisp white cotton napkin is fashioned into a variation on the classic crown fold. A sprig of autumn berries brings color and additional texture to the place setting.

 

 

Faux bamboo flatware is perfect for this setting.

 

I bought scads of this sturdy cobalt blue stemware at Pier 1 some years ago, and it has served me well.

 

A very autumn-y pattern of plaid in the table runner with shades of russet, orange, amber, burgundy, cobalt and white is a perfect contrast to dishes. The riot of color contributes to and enhances the overall  boldness of the tablescape. The runner is from TJ Maxx.

 

 

 

 

Ginger jars from Nell Hill’s and temple jars from Home Goods make up the main part of the centerpiece.

 

 

 

 

The length of the centerpiece is punctuated with deep orange mini pumpkins, real and faux acorns, and a meandering garland of berries. Latticed white ceramic planters hold mounded arborvitae.

 

 

The buffet behind the dining table holds its fair share of chinoiserie pieces including a pitcher, an octagonal bowl filled with oversized acorns, and Victorian foot baths mixed with silver candlesticks. The white foo dogs are a nod to the chinoiserie style and add a little unexpected touch.

The bar cart in the corner extends the touches of chinoiserie including the bowls filled with acorns.

Other tablescapes integrating chinoiserie on this blog include:
Mandarin Bling
Mother’s Day Brunch
Blue & White Family Picnic
Blue & White 30th Birthday

Peony Power

I’m joining Susan at Between Naps on the Porch for her 471st Tablescape Thursday! I’m seeing lots of fall and Halloween tablescapes over there today, so drop on in to get inspired!

 

 

 

 

 

Honey Bee Tea

Switching gears from last week’s casual and blindingly colorful post

 

The deck is set for a ladies tea in lavender and white, starting with a full length round lavender tablecloth from LinenTablecloth.com.

 

 

The inspiration for this tablescape came from these cool Mary Lake-Thompson flour sack towels I found at Home Finishings in Lee’s Summit, MO. I’ve often used towels as napkins, and these were perfect!

 

White lacy chargers from Michaels, lavender embossed lace dinner plates by Matceramica, and Pier 1 “Doily” salad plate are joined by “Royal Danish” sterling silver.

 

Each guest has a lovely take home favor of tea in a lavender organza bag with a an Austrian crystal-tipped silver spoon attached.

 

 

Austere white teacups and saucers are from Old Time Pottery. A decorated sugar cube and a splash of color from a lemon slice dress it up a bit.

 

 

 

 

A silver beaded edge 4-tier server filled with a variety of sweets and savories is the primary part of the centerpiece.

 

Plump, luscious blueberries in a lacy white jardiniere from Hobby Lobby. (Seems I like to use this jardiniere for blueberries. You can also see it used this way in “Blue & White Family Picnic“!)

 

 

To mimic the design of the napkins, a small pot of lavender sits atop a delicate lacy white doily. Honestly…when else are you going to use a doily???

 

 

The tea/bar cart from our dining room made its way out onto the deck. A cherry wood tea caddy from Bombay Company holds a variety of teabags on the lower shelf.

 

 

I stacked silver cake plateaus to display more sweets on the tea cart. Brownies on bottom, petit fours on top with another tiny pot of lavender.

 

 

 

Almost on cue, a tiny butterfly took a rest on top of the white teapot! Rock sugar stirrers are presented in a cream soup cup from Nell Hills. The bee skep honey pot is from Home Goods.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The conversation area is set up to encourage mingling while nibbling and sipping. The coffee table is topped with a vintage white cotton lace-edged runner. Another silver 4-tier dessert tower serves up desserts. It’s not often that I use paper napkins, but for this occasion I wrapped white doily-like paper cocktails napkins around lavender ones for a peekaboo effect.

 

 

 

The shabby chic side table between the settee and arm chairs is set up with crystal sherry service and a few more sweets served up on a silver pedestal.

Other teatime tablescapes on this site include:
Tea Roses
Coming Up Roses
Hello, Dahlia!
Tee Mit Hans Dresden

Other posts on this site using towels as napkins include:
Popsicle Party
Black & White Barnyard Breakfast

Most Egg-cellent Fall Breakfast
Grill It Up!
Italian Honeysuckle
Picnic Ants

Other lavender posts on this site include:
Clematis & Hyacinth – A Purple & Grey Tablescape
Purple & Pastel
Pink & Purple Chocolate Christmas
Luscious Layers of Lavender

Want to see some great tablescapes by talent from all around the world? Join me for Susan’s Tablescape Thursday!