Wednesday, May 29, 2013

A "Shell" of a Great Table

 I started collecting dinnerware when I was in Junior High. My mother always set beautiful, elegant tables, and I wanted to move into my first home and be able to do the same. The fact that this was going to be a lengthy and expensive process never once occurred to me.  The first set I collected was Fitz and Floyd Coquilles. For a young girl who worked weekends behind the cosmetics counter at Famous-Barr (now Macy's), it took me a long time to get a full set.  My mother always preached service for twelve so that’s what I got. By the time I did I had not only graduated from High School, but college as well, and was two years into my first (ahem) marriage, at which point the completer pieces and accessories were nowhere to be found, replaced with the next exciting pattern. 

I’ve learned many things over the years.  First of all, if I can get a full set of anything I get service for four.  If I’m feeling flush, I go crazy and get service for eight.  Period.  I don’t have a table large enough to comfortably seat twelve.  Oh, I’ve done it all right, but not comfortably, so eight services are really all I am ever going to need.  Plus, over the years I have learned to layer various patterns to get a multitude of results, and find that I really much prefer this. (You’ll notice the F&F Cape Town pattern figured in here.)  So, in looking at these pictures of attractive place settings of dinnerware, I hope there’s been a lesson learned.  Never, I tell you, NEVER buy service for twelve! 

Dinnerware - Fitz & Floyd Coquilles and Cape Town

Round Wicker Placemats – Pier 1
Bamboo Flatware – Crate & Barrel
Lobster S&P – Stonewall Kitchen
Fish Pitcher – Gift, years ago
Napkins – Pottery Barn

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Sarah said...

What a beautiful and charming pattern. I've been buying dishes and table top items since I was in high school. If we went on a family trip, my souvenir was always something for the table. Still have most of those little bits and pieces. I like the look of a collected table. '-)
As for a service of 12, we do have that in our wedding china, but that's about it. Like you, our table doesn't seat 12. 8 is about the max. I also like to mix patterns for interest. In recent years I'l even buy just two of something if it speaks to me and that's all I can find. After all there are only two of us eating at our table most of the time.

Anonymous said...

You set a really beautiful table. The plates with the shells are gorgeous, and I love all the pink, especially the pink stemware. I agree about the service for 12, so few people have big dining rooms nowadays. I'd rather have three different sets of service for four! Blessings to you - Dawn @ We Call It Junkin

Linda said...

The plates are just breath-taking. Your color sense is something I could use for my quilts. ;) I love the advice and totally agree about layering patterns - how fun!

Alycia Nichols said...

Hi, Pattie! I am sitting here trying very hard to devise a way to steal that fish pitcher and those pretty shell dishes from you!!! They are all so pretty!!! You did a great job of mixing and matching the 2 patterns of dishes, too.

I like that you used the bamboo flatware with this tablescape. It really fits in! LOVE the placemats and napkins!!!!!!!

I buy in all different numbers ranging from 2 - 36! It just depends on what I'm looking to do. Of course, I used to often entertain groups of 40+ for sit-down dinners, so it was practical for me. Now that we've slowed our roll on the entertaining thing, I don't buy anything anymore!!! :-)

This is one of your best yet! Have a great weekend!!!

Janet Rudolph said...

Love, love this post.. No surprise there. As you know, I also collect tableware... will definitely add shells to the settings at the beach (and at home!)..

Jacqueline said...

Let me just say I am drooling over every single item on the table from the fabulous shell plates to the napkins. What a stunning color combination. This has to be by far the most elegant beachy table I have ever laid eyes on!

We are a family of 18 now so I have given up on full services and just get plates and salad plates in huge numbers if I can. It does limit things some. I don't have the storage space for all of the beautiful serving pieces so I stick with white for those. I loved reading of your love of dishes from a young age! I think it starts young with most of us. I adore your background page too! Now off to read about the Ham and cheddar rolls that are peeking out from under the comment page. That would be a fabulous breakfast!

Mary@mydogsmygardenandmary said...

Lovely tablescape. Everything works so well together.
Thanks so much for sharing your tips on collecting dishes.

Unknown said...

What beautiful plates! I want them!!!!! You set such a pretty table. I just love the colors and how everything just looks fabulous. I love the fish pitcher too!
I have collected dishes for a few years and found that if I buy place settings of four & two I get more use out of them. I have to justify buying a service of twelve. It does get costly dishing. I too, try and mix patterns. Thanks for sharing.
Blessings My Friend,

Savannah Granny said...

Hi, I so love your style. You had me at the word "shell".
I can see why you fell in love with those beautiful dishes. Have you tried Etsy and Ebay for the serving pieces?
I also thought I needed a service of twelve in everything. I have certainly changed my mind on that front. I agree, eight sounds just right. Besides makes for better storage and you can have more different patterns.
I am a new follower, please visit,

Marigene said...

Fabulous table, reminds me of New England...wherever did you find those lobster napkin holders? Those shell plates are gorgeous, I would use them all summer! I just love the bamboo flatware.
Have a wonderful week, Pattie... said...

I have those same Fitz & Floyd dishes! I scrimped and saved for mine too, I have 6 dinner, 6 salads, a bowl and 4 shell goblets. I still LOVE them and only pull them out several times a year. I agree 12 is too much anything, I prefer to mix and match too. I'd rather have lots of different things to choose from! Your table looks great with all the mixing and matching you have accomplished!

Cathy said...

Guess I am in the minority here, I usually try to get twelve plates. We have two different supper club groups that we are members of that meet in the homes and there are 12-18 that could attend. I usually have at least 9-10 for any special occasion (and we do not use paper). I had a older friend ask me what I was saving the GOOD stuff for and since then I use the good stuff. I love to entertain and it is always fun to see a new comer at a dinner when she see my table.

I really like your table and that fish pitcher is to die for.

Oh yes my daughter also began her dish collection way before she had a home to use them.

Cathy's Cupboard Calamity

Debbie said...

This table is just plain lovely, and I love the shell themed dishes. Wonderful!

I do have a service for 12 of my wedding china. I will say that the reason I like it more than anything is so I can set the table for a small crowd and have ready made plates waiting in the kitchen or warming for quick serving. Other than that, the only plates I want a huge bunch of (and don't have yet) are my Italian Countryside. I might use that for a buffet for a crowd.

I agree with you about four being the norm that you usually need. I need 6 for luncheon club, too.

Sorry to ramble.

GratefulPrayerThankfulHeart said...

Oh, the dishes are the prettiest color and pattern! And, your table looks beautiful with complimentary pieces!

The Quintessential Magpie said...

Pattie, this is just a wonderful pattern! Love it. I have a Fitz pattern that has shells on it, and I thought it was the same name, but maybe it's different. I need to check and see.

I hear you about the service for twelve. I love smaller sets, too, and I wish I had adhered to that more.



The Tablescaper said...

Gorgeous table!!!

I host a weekly link party called "Seasonal Sundays". This week, in honor of my fourth blog-a-versary, I'm having a giveaway of a $100.00 gift certificate to HomeGoods/TJ Maxx. I'd love to have you join the fun!

- The Tablescaper

Mary said...

SWOON! What a gorgeous collection of dishes and table! I love F&F especially from the era of its hey day! I would happily beach comb for these dishes and pick some up if I could find them. I only have two sets of dishes with service for eight. Everything else I buy to satisfy my dish addiction is sets of fours or twos.