Yesterday was the Christmas Luncheon of the Thomas Rodney Chapter of the Mississippi State Society Daughters of the American Revolution, and my mother and I were responsible for the tablecloths, china, silverware and beverage.
Since I've never outgrown the playhouse phase, I look forward to trying to come up with a different look each year. Compare yesterday's luncheon to last year's Christmas luncheon. and the May luncheon earlier this year.
We are not like one Dallas Socialite Ive read about who keeps a 10,000 square foot warehouse to store and organize her party decorations and table settings. It would be a blast to have that much stuff with which to decorate!
Part of the fun is to put dishes we have used before in a different setting to give them a totally different look.
Sometimes, though, I do have a little trouble finding our stuff tucked in every closet in the house. Ya think Unc would let me have one of the barns on the farm to convert into storage for decorations? HA!
So, I started two months ago putting together the pieces for yesterday's Christmas Luncheon. I don't have the energy yet to wrestle with big Irish linen tablecloths. Miss Dollie is out for six months with shoulder surgery, and she usually is the one who wrestles those big things.
Then I could not find the red damask restaurant-caliber tablecloths we used years ago for some Valentine teas for DAR. We had bought the fabric for a dollar a yard from the factory outlet store in Westpoint. We have enough of that fabric in numerous colors to last us a life time...so, of course I had to store it somewhere in the family farmhouse where even I cannot find it at the moment. It will show up when I am looking for something else.
SO, I had the bright idea to buy some lengths of cheater cloth. My reasoning was that we could use the cheater cloth in a quilt backing for some future quilt, or if it worked well, we could keep them as tablecloths for a decade or so. I love pictures of quilts used as tablecloths, but if you get a tenacious food stain on a family quilt, stain removal might be disastrous.
You would think cheater cloth would be easy to find. NOT necessarily! And I'm a pretty good hunter and finder on the Internet! But then, it is the chase, the Easter Egg Hunt, that excites me.
First, I found the Moda Christmas-themed fabric that you see in the first picture. I bought eight yards, expecting to make two tablecloths out of the eight yards. As it turned out, I did not have the time or energy to hem anything, so we used the entire eight yards on three joined six foot folding tables. I liked the smoothness of the one long length of fabric, enough so that I think we will just hem that into one very long tablecloth for some future events.
The MODA cheater cloth was 50 inches wide, if memory serves me. That was OK for standard folding tables. The Bear Claw cheater cloth at the head table was a delicious 90 inches wide, and that is what I wanted to find for all the tables.
We pulled from a nook in the attic some pale blue, pale green and pale aqua glass Christmas balls to drizzle along the table and put on the little candelabras, but as we were driving to the Montgomery County Pubic Library in Winona to set up early Saturday morning, I had a moment to look closely at our old glass balls in the sunshine to discover scratches and discoloration.
After unloading at the library, I sent Unc and Gordon to the local Walmart to find ANY glass balls. They did well, and I am proud of them.
The pale blue, pale green and pale aqua would have been better, and larger quantities of drizzled Christmas balls of different sizes would have been even better, but those two options were not available to us yesterday.
The designs of the mixed cheater cloth was so strong that I did not feel even simple greenery would work on the tables. We needed something simple with clean lines like the glass balls.
I'm sharing these could-have-been-improved options in the event you want to use cheater cloth as tablecloths. Please don't think I am unhappy with how the decorations turned out yesterday.
This is my usual after-action evaluation that I mentally process on EVERYTHING from dog baths to business dealings. At 46 years of age, I've finally learned that nothing goes as planned, regardless of how hard you work to plan and prepare. The real life lesson is to learn to be flexible and understanding.
Photo three shows a remnant of cheater cloth I had bought long ago, a bit over 3 yards, barely enough for an eight foot folding table. It was not even 45 inches wide, but I would recommend you buy 50 inch wide fabric at a minimum. The applique design was in keeping with the Christmas and quilt theme.
See the plate of cookies? Unc made them. Yep, you remembered correctly. He is 82 years old. When Miss Dollie had surgery last month, Unc decided to make some cookies. He did a great job, and he has been making cookies every few days since. He even took some to Miss Dollie after surgery.
He had made some cookies with the walnuts he has been shelling, but Friday night, he started to think that some of the ladies might not be able to eat nuts, so he made another batch of cookies without nuts! I was so impressed with his thoughtfulness!
There he is in the fourth picture peeping over shoulders to see who picked up one of his cookies. He kept up with who tried his cookie and who said something to him about his culinary achievement! It was cute.
The ladies came dressed to the nines in Christmas reds and Christmas sweaters. Here are three I asked permission to share on this blog.
Our chapter regent, Rose Anne Miller of Duck Hill, MS, wore an adorable sweater with embellishments. Santa's beard and the snow on the chimney were given extra dimension from iridescent milky white sequins.
Shirley Dance of Winona may have developed a complex because I really was following her around the library, trying to study her jacket... about as inconspicuously as an elephant in gold ballet slippers. Shirley is a a soon-to-be member of the chapter, and we had not met. Finally, she came up and introduced herself, probably to find out the identity of this strange woman who was fixated on her quilted jacket. It is ok, Shirley. the other members can tell you that I am not dangerous, just insatiably curious about some things, like patchwork and quilted clothing!
I saved a place for Faye Pearson of Kilmichael, MS, to sit next to me because I knew that she and I would chatter about china. You may remember her as the very thoughtful friend who found the one missing plate of my Lenox Colonial Wreath plate set and surprised me with it at Christmas one year.
I ran out of time to go chase Elizabeth Eldridge around to study her sweater. She knows me, so she would not have been unnerved. Gordon grabbed a shot for me, and I'd say the redbirds were applique with broad-stroke crewel embroidery for the greenery and stems. The berries must be little beads, and it looks like some sequins on the red wings?
The pretty little human songbird in the last picture is Anna Greenlee, age 14, of Kilmichael, MS. Her mother Rebecca Hodges, M.D., came with her, and I overheard her telling the ladies that much of her free time is spent driving her talented daughter to singing engagements.
Anna has extraordinary poise, especially for a 14 year old. The first two songs that she sang in a lower range (think contralto) truly showcased the richness of her voice.
I was sitting there, enjoying the beautiful Christmas songs, trying to think of words to convey the timbre of this young voice. "Mink" and "Sable" came to mind.
Rosemary Clooney (deceased) and Diana Krawl (actively recording) came to mind.
I hope the rest of the world will one day know the name Anna Greenlee of Kilmichael, MS. Don't forget that Mississippi continues to bless the world with some amazing musical talent!