Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Weeds and Wild Things: A November Tablescape

I'd planned to eat lunch outside, but the weather turned blustery. As I set the kitchen table, I longed for a tall, lacy floral arrangement, but my old pottery rooster would have to do, unless I could find something in the yard. I put on a ratty sweater, grabbed a basket, and walked outside. 

Leaning into the wind, I picked my way across the messy yard. It was a sunless day, and my garden looked like a battlefield--typical for this time of year. I turned in a circle, my boots shuffling through leaves, wondering if I had time to drive to Publix and buy hydrangeas. Or maybe I should keep looking. Surely I could find a branch with scarlet leaves or a bit of lavender, which was still blooming here and there. 

One of my greatest joys is gardening, a hobby that I acquired late in life.
Last summer I declared a war on weeds. I worked relentlessly in the flower beds, 
digging up thorny vines and clover. 
Now it was late fall, and cold night-time temperatures had claimed my flowers,
but somehow the weeds had survived. They grew in untidy heaps, impervious to the wind, their tendrils curved, rising into the air like question marks.

What are you waiting for? they seemed to ask. 

Suddenly, I was charmed by these survivors. I put them in my basket and hurried inside.

I've been cooking all week for a forest-themed Novel Baker project (coming November 17 with the girls: Home Is Where the Boat Is  and ...a quiet life), and my pantry was overflowing with goodies. 
I grabbed key limes, chestnuts, mushrooms. Five minutes later, my rooster was embellished with wild things. But it felt too calm, too structured.

This was not the time for restraint--I needed more wildness.

I went into the attic to find grapevine wreaths. In the past, I've used them as plate chargers.

The napkin rings have changeable designs--today I used bees. The bowls are from Pfaltzgraff's Pistoulet collection, designed by Jana Kolpen. 
The white dishes are part of a set from American Atelier.

Trembly sunlight came out for an instant, then it was gone. Oh, it was lovely, one of those fleeting, unexpected joys that nature gives us. Soon we will be entering The Dark Season, when the days are short, reminding me of a skimpy meal that leaves us hungry. From December till March, I will crave sunlight as if it were a lemon tart. I will look in seed catalogs and dream about long, sunny days. But I will try not to complain about the icy temperatures or the raw-boned Tennessee hills. I will try to find the beauty in a stark, winter landscape.

Whether you're creating a tablescape or just trying to get through the day, whimsy is a vital ingredient. I was delighted when a sweet, little honey pot found its way to my kitchen.

So there you have it: A quick centerpiece, provided by Mother Nature. 
However, it comes with a caveat: a weedy tabletop can drive men a little crazy--at least, my men are affected. Where are they supposed to put their elbows? Where are the mashed potatoes? 
Why would someone put invasive vines on the table?

Because they're pretty.
Because they represent the last bit of summer. 
Because when a killing frost arrived, they wouldn't give up.

While I'll never be a connoisseur of flowers, I'm wild about weeds and wild things.
No matter the season, a whole tabletop can be found outdoors--in forests, pastures, and backyards.
To find it, all we have to do is open our eyes.


White Dishes: American Atelier
Bowls: Pfaltzgraff's "Pistoulet"
Glassware: Colonial Williamsburg Winter's Garland, Reed and Barton
Gourd Tablecloth and napkins: Williams-Sonoma
Green Plaid Napkins: DII
Napkin Rings: Table Transformations
Flatware: Cambridge 
Honey Pot:Old Tupton Ware (UKM Gifts)
Rooster Centerpiece: Bought at a local store many years ago--and I carried
him home on my lap!

Shared at Tablescape Thursday

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  1. You do the most amazing & creative tablescapes. They make we want to rush out the door to see what I can find too. I believe I spotted a green depression glass sherbet in the hotos.

    1. Yes, that's Depression glassware. It makes me smile every time I use it. Hope you found some wild things for your table!

  2. Oh I love your sense of fun and wonderful words to accompany your summer survivors at the table, you make weeds look so good! I love your beautiful cloth and rooster with your table highlighted by "trembly sunlight"... a novelist at work and play.Your sweet wee honey pot...broken nuts and pieces, ferns fronds. I can see you're in the spirit of the forest and I'm inspired. We've had gale force winds here and it's that time of year when the sun that is here is at the angle where it is harsh and unkind to photos. Love your men's comments to the weeds on the table ♥

    1. I started early for a change, and it's a good thing, because I haven't seen sunlight in days. I still have one more recipe (don't you adore that book?!) to make. I hope your winds have abated and the cold weather misses you. Happy cooking!

  3. Reading your words make me fell as if I am there, lovely table as always!!

    Mary L

  4. I love that you have used the rooster as the star of the table and surrounded him with so many natural elements. Beautiful tablecloth.
    Have a great week, ML!

    1. So glad to see you, Marigene! Hope you have a great week, too!

  5. oh i think your table is so beautiful! so many gorgeous shots i plan on snitching. i have not played with dishes in eons, i look at you and mary fondly, like aliens from a beautiful serene life style i no longer particapate in... whats happened to me! you get my creative juices flowing, but i am in my own little microscopic advent world, not to emerge until jan! tomorrow i am trying for 6 ff recipes, wish me luck, i seem to lose steam every third project completed :-(

    1. That cookbook was a find. It's not every day that I find easy recipes that are delicious and memorable. Have fun in the kitchen! Looking forward to next week.

  6. ps, sp glad you added your pin button, is that easy to do on blogspot?

    1. I added it years ago to the template, and now part of the buttons won't work, and I have to manually delete them for every post. Now, I can't even find the code in the template, and I'm too frightened to mess with it. I think you can grab a button from Pinterest, and the "P" will appear over each photo.

  7. Your novelist description made me smile with delight. I think your weeds look right at home on this table. Clever idea! As they say, "a weed is a flower growing in the wrong place." or better yet, "A weed is a plant that has mastered every survival skill except to grow in rows."
    Eagerly anticipating your Forest Feast.

    1. Thanks for your sweet words, Sarah. It will be interesting to see if the weeds survive the cold wave!

  8. It's lovely, M.L.! My garden is taking its last breath tonight, the first frost is expected. I went out today to take cuttings of the Swedish Bridal Veil. I love putting it in with other flowers, the white flower and dark green tiny leaves just lightens everything up. I had a Bundt Challenge tonight, so I will have something for Foodie Friday this week.
    You and Mary are planning another extravaganza? Where do you get the time?
    As for weeds, I don't understand why the deer don't eat them! Really, they have to be better than my thorny roses.
    Hope you are well!

    1. I was wondering if the weather would reach your neck of the woods. I'm looking forward to your Bundt Challenge!
      As for time, well, you should see my house! Weeds everywhere! LOL

  9. LOL, I must have the same brain as your men do. Love your table, but it would have to cleared off before I could eat so I have a place for my elbows. I have that delightful book - A Forest Feast. I'm looking forward to seeing what you share with us.

    1. Did you have a favorite recipe in FF? The book just bowled me over.

  10. Beautiful table! I'm sorry about the weeds in your garden beds, it seems we have that in common. I swear if there was an apocalypse they would survive. But I am very glad to see that you got the last word by using them as a great addition to your table, so pretty!

    1. So funny about the weeds surviving an apocalypse! lol This year, my garden was invaded by brown recluse spiders and poison ivy. I had to "weed" in a homemade Hazmat suit. :-)

  11. Who needs mashed potatoes? Fabulous! I look forward to the Novel Bakers next week~

  12. I need a little wildness in my life and this post fit the bill perfectly!