Sunday, February 6, 2011

A Creative Table

Last night we hosted a little dinner party.

There were eight of us and our table comfortably seats six. 
We have tried using smaller chairs, smaller place setting and practicing "elbows in" but Marc and I have always felt bad about the cramped conditions imposed on our friends...

A few months back he was offered a work table, and thinking it might come in handy for me someday, he accepted. It has sat in our garage since then waiting for me to decide what to do with it and the other night I had a bright idea...
"Why can't we bring it in to the family room, move out the chair and the coffee table and have dinner there?"

We hauled it in and set it up and it was overwhelming in it's size!
I knew right away none of my tablecloths were close to big enough so I started thinking... after all, it's a plywood top and so desperately needed to be covered.

I have a fairly extensive collection of vintage table toppers and doilies, gifted to me by several people that know of my penchant for textiles, especially handmade ones. 
On my "To Do List" for the past several years is a project that would see them all sewn together in a kind of crazy quilted type of tablecloth - too bad it wasn't done yet.
But then I thought - there's really nothing that says they have to actually be sewn down...

I gathered them all up, plus an extremely large vintage cotton bed sheet, and beginning with that and then my largest and oldest embroidered linen tablecloth, I began laying out all my treasured bits of lace and cloth, creating a layered and patched work of art for the table.
Once I had the base done I realized my ivory dishes would be lost on a same colour off to the linen closet again, although I already knew there was not a hope of finding eight matching place mats. (I'm thinking our grandmothers might just have been on to something with the whole theory of hope chests and trousseau and all that - but that's a post for another day...)

I did find eight matching silvery grey napkins and thought they would work just fine.
Then I added pages torn from old French books, the potted silk flowers seen above, votive candles, old bottles filled with thyme, and little butter pots.

And two little vases of beautiful pink tulips

The original photo is above and my Photoshop version is below. I played with it for about two hours, trying various textures and layers and learned a great deal in the process. 
I spent about an hour trying to pull back some of the colour but will have to review that section as nothing I thought would work had any effect whatsoever.

Someday I will get these pretties sewn together as planned, but for now I am liking the fluidity of having them in separate pieces; I can use more or less, closer or scattered to create a beautiful look for any size table.

And yes, they went on unironed.

I never get my best ideas in time for things like that!


Brynwood Needleworks said...

Genius, Jillayne! I'm sure your table was just gorgeous and welcoming. Thanks for sharing such a great idea.
I hope you have a wonderful week.

Becca said...

That's such a great idea! I don't think I would have thought to do it, and I bet your guests were impressed too!

marie said...

Perfect! What a super solution! I think you've started a new trend!

FlowerLady said...

That was truly a lovely, inspired idea.


Anonymous said...

It has such a dreamy quality to it. So soft and pretty and perfect for this time of the year. You made me giggle...I never get my best ideas with enough time to iron either! Have a creative week my friend.

Anonymous said...

It has such a dreamy quality to it. So soft and pretty and perfect for this time of the year. You made me giggle...I never get my best ideas with enough time to iron either! Have a creative week my friend.

Suztats said...

How creative, Jillayne! Your table covering is timeless, textured, with layers of stitching history by many hands. Beautiful!

Anonymous said...

It's beautiful! And what a fun idea!
Quick, easy and you can dismantle it and still use all of these linens in other ways.

Hugs, Diane

Marj Talbot said...

Great idea - now that would have been a use for the ones I got rid of since I didn't have a table that size. Woe!!
Hope no one spilled red wine!!
tee hee

Dorthe said...

looks wonderfull, I love it, and what a great idea, for upcoming smaller parties as well, -and I will surely go with the unironed version ,too .
Just would`nt like the red wine dripping ! :)
Your flower decoration are so sweet, too.
Hugs, -Dorthe

Riki Schumacher said...

Hi Jillayne, thanks so much for stopping by! Glad you like the necklace, it was fun to make. I love your beautiful linens, what a fabulous collection you have. The dinner party sounded fun, and the flowers are so beautiful! Anyone would love to enjoy that. Take care, Riki

FredaB said...

How creative. Amazing what you can come up with when you have to.

I bet it was a great table conversation when every one sat down to dinner.

Sounded like fun.



Michelle May said...

Beautiful! I wish I could have been there for dinner too!
xx, shell

Celestina Marie Designs said...

Hi Dear Friend,
This is an incredible idea and you are incredible with your quick creations using wonderful treasures. Your table looks perfect! I bet the evening was extra special!

Enjoyed your last couple posts too and catching up here this morning. Thank you for stopping by.
Have a great day.
Celestina Marie