We set out light refreshments at my ladies’ study club meetings. Yesterday was my turn to host.
We learned about Diana Vreeland.
Our topic this year has been “Legendary Ladies of Style.”
It was also our topic last year, we just loved it so much we kept going!
Babe Paley, Dorothy Draper, Gloria Vanderbilt, Marella Agnelli, Lee Radziwill to name a few.
Someone said, Ellen, you should take pictures of the table.
(There were a few tarts and berries already gone by this point.)
I thought you would enjoy these photos of the offerings:
chicken salad and pimiento cheese finger sandwiches
mini-cheesecake bites topped with fresh blackberries (top photo)
Mrs. Vreeland would have approved of the huge strawberries.
She absolutely adored the color red.
Fascinating life, fascinating woman.
She “discovered” Lauren Bacall. Now, that was a discovery!
Nothing says “Party” like a martini, and a pretty martini is a favorite drink during the holidays.
Place a (dry) crystal martini glass in the freezer for 10 to 15 minutes to chill.
Here is a good shaker which works better than any we have tried.
With its high-style shape, it also looks great on your bar.
If you follow this blog, you know how much I like chargers.
No, I don’t mean teenage daughters who want to go to Forever 21 with my credit card.
I am talking about the service plate kind of charger, as in dinnerware.
I just had to share my latest find, above, pictured with my Spode Christmas china.
I found this on sale at Bed Bath & Beyond (online).
Green-rimmed bone china chargers.
About 12 1/4″ in diameter.
$6.99 plus free shipping. Yes, $6.99. Whoo-hoo.
The best part of this, is, it looks good with my other china as well.
My Lenox Autumn
And it even looks nice with my set of Hunt Scene china (not sure of the pattern name) by Royal Doulton:
I just had to share my good luck in finding this great deal!
I think the quality is amazing for the price (there was a $24.99 sticker underneath the label).
Clearly, this is a very versatile piece of dinnerware.
You can check it out here. I received my charger plates within a week of ordering them!
the Fresh Air Fund of Independent Presbyterian Church, a very worthy cause.
This home belongs to one of my dearest friends.
She has the most gorgeous collection of antique English bone china
you have ever seen.
(The dining table looks straight out of Downton Abbey, with six gold-and-crystal Art Nouveau goblets per place setting!)
I had to dodge some photographers from “Southern Lady” magazine,
who were there photographing for their 2013 Christmas issue, but you’ll get the idea.
The decorations are the work of the fabulous Leah Hazzard,
another friend, and flower arranger extraordinaire .
Have you ever heard the advice, “If you want everyone to have a good time, crowd the table!”? Recently, a round dinner table set for 9 had to be turned quickly into seating for 11. The maître d’ did not think it could be done, but our host stayed with it. All eleven of us, at a 60″ round table! It was fun to be crowded. Conversation flowed. I can’t remember such laughter. Can you think of ways to crowd your table?
Here are my tips for an quick-and-easy-to-assemble cheese board:
You need a nice large platter. I think oval ones look great for cheese. I happened to find this beautiful ceramic one, handmade in Italy, for $8 at my church’s thrift shop. It is 22″ in length.
Green grapes and red grapes, seedless.
One small package of dates (see them right in the middle, to the left of the brie wedge?) You could also beautifully use halved figs if they are in season.
A selection of cheeses.
Cheese knives of several sizes and types.
Here is what the cheese experts say, “a goat cheese, a soft cheese, a hard cheese, a washed rind, and a blue cheese.” For more information on the cheeses to use to build a nice platter, a great article can be found by the ever-stylish Gwyneth Paltrow here. I did not use a washed rind cheese, but from a style perspective, an odd number (5, in this case) is more eye-catching than the four I used.
Do you see my secret in the photo above?
My secret is to build height. My secret is to use packaged Italian thin breadsticks. See how pretty the extra height is? People love a small bite like this with their glass of wine because they are easy to hold, they have a nice crunch, and they are easy and dainty to eat.
I have also read that a chopped “KIND” bar or two make a lovely ingredient on a cheese tray. It gives a touch of nutty crunch and sweetness. I’ll have to try that next time.