Dear Angelene,

Your mom's band goes on tour this week, so we had a family dinner to hold us over until we all come together again.

My idea for our table came from Kathleen at Yellow Rose Arbor.  Last week, she chose an inspiration item for her table setting -- a cute little bluebird teapot wearing even cuter red tennies.  Her table grew from her inspiration.  So this week, I decided to try the same thing -- find some inspiration.  A watering can at TJ Maxx caught my eye.  I love black and white stripes and bright colors, and the watering can had them all!

Then serendipity!  I found three black and white mugs. at TJ Maxx.  They were on sale for $2 each.  The rest of the table was easy.  The flowers are recycled from Easter.  I peeled away the outer petals from old roses,  put them in small votives, and added some baby's breath and recycled yellow ribbon.  Then, to make the votives seem more important, I put them in hurricanes.  Presto!

Here's my place setting and yours.  Finding sippy cups to match the tablescape has become a wonderful challenge!

Many of these items are from around my house.  The black and white tray was one of my first home decorating acquisitions -- back when your dad was just a bit older than you are now and we lived in a tiny in-law unit in Berkeley, California.  I felt extremely grown-up buying that tray!  It's a quarter-century old now, and I love it every bit as much as I always did (and might explain my attraction to the zebra mugs).

If ever trapped on a desert island and allowed only one set of dishes, it will be my Spode (there will be tablescaping on my desert island)!  The black and white polka-dot casserole dish is the real deal -- Spode.  Everything else I got at wonderful discount stores, without which I could not pursue my dish hobby.

Here's a photo for you of the entire table (I got to sit next to you this time)!

What's this blurry photo?  Your booster seat was forgotten at home, so we set you up on two law books.  They first belonged to my dad (your Great Grandpa Jackson, whom you never had the pleasure of meeting), and then the books became mine.

See the spot on the top book, Corpus Juris Vol. 63?  When I was cleaning up after dinner, I stepped on something moist and squishy!  Yuck!  It reminded me of stepping on a slug.  Slugs used to get into our Berkeley in-law unit, which was part of a very beautiful garden.  But this time, the squishy thing was a beet!  The beet fell from your plate, to your lap, to Corpus Juris Vol. 63, to the floor.  And forever more, Volume 63 is imprinted with your beet from yesterday's dinner.

I don't know whose law books these will become someday -- maybe yours?  But now you know the story of the purple spot on Volume 63.

One of my wishes for you, Angelene, is to seek and find inspiration in your life.  My dad's stories about the law and his books -- which I used to dust in his office on the weekend -- inspired me.  Our wonderful table last night grew from the inspiration someone shared about her own creative process.  Each moment of inspiration is a gift.

Inspiration might arrive in the form of music.  We already know that your mama's music charms you beyond words. 

Inspiration also might come from books that you dust with love, stories that people tell you, or little bluebirds wearing red tennies!  Be on the lookout, Angelene!

All my love,

Grandma J

 P.S.  Special thanks to Katherine at Yellow Rose Arbor for inspiring this message to my granddaughter and for the cutest bluebird I've seen!

Table Artists

Dear Angelene,

Your Grandma J (me) loves dishes, as did your great-great-grandmothers, Maggie Lambert Jackson and Gertrude "Tudie" Pierson.  A few months ago, I found out there's other people like me who love to set tables.  And we have a name -- tablescapers.  I like to think of us as table artists.

As you grow up, Angelene, look for a way to express the artist inside of you.  Someday you may encounter a wall that prevents you from going forward.  But you can craft passage to the other side by using your creativity.

Angelene, these photos are for you -- so you can remember Easter 2010 -- and for my fellow tablescapers (not a few of whom are moms and grandmas, too)! 

The silver candlesticks belonged to one of my grandmas (either Maggie or Tudie -- I can't remember).  I took the ribbon off my Easter Lily from the grocery store and tied bows around the candlesticks.  The bows repeated the yellow in the chargers, which were from Crate and Barrel -- only $14.95 for four.   Grandma Jackson -- Maggie -- gave me the Buttercup silverware, which I treasure.  And the white dinner plates and Franciscan salad plates are not only from TJ Maxx, but TJ Maxx on clearance!!

I only had eight of everything -- and Angelene, you made nine.  So you had your own special place setting!  I hope you'll use it every Easter!  I found the bib at Fresh Vintage Shop on Etsy, another gathering place for creative souls.  They have wonderful handmade clothing and accessories for children:


In its real life, the rabbit is a casserole dish, not a vase for bright pink roses!

Some eggs on the table were real, some plastic, some paper mache, and some cloth -- whatever was on sale!

The bird's nest came with fake eggs, and I placed some real eggs on top that we dyed the weekend before Easter.  The real eggs jazzed up the nest a bit!!  The green polka-dot pitcher held maple syrup for the french toast casserole.  The pitcher came from pre-Easter foray to Marshall's on Saturday, when I should have been cooking!

The bunny mugs held the fruit salad.  And each guest received a favor with candy and a memo clip.  I cut up Easter cards (the chicks with sunglasses) to put on the clip and add some whimsy.


Here's a birds-eye view of a setting.

And here's the entire table:

Your mom (my wonderful daughter-in-law, Stefanie) took many of these photos.  Your dad helped me cook up a storm.  And my brother gave me a camera for Christmas so I could start taking pictures.  This really was a family affair. 

Easter was pretty successful!  Here you are on your way home from Grandma J's!

Many thanks to Susan of  "Between Naps on the Porch" for hosting Tablescape Thursdays.  I've been enjoying Thursdays for months now and am pleased to contribute my Easter table.

All my love to Angelene,
Grandma J