A Haven for Vee

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Thanksgiving Party

The Pilgrims came to America not to accumulate riches but to worship God, and the greatest wealth they left unborn generations was their heroic example of sacrifice that their souls might be free.
~Harry Moyle Tippett

When I think of Thanksgiving, the holiday falling on the fourth Thursday of November in the United States (and the second Monday in October in Canada), I think of the richness of its history. I love the stories of the Mayflower, the Pilgrims, the Indians, and Squanto. Thanksgiving is a celebratory holiday meaningful in its simplicity: Gratitude, Giving Thanks to God, Appreciation. It's my favorite holiday.


This is where all holiday preparations begin at my haven—in the dishpan! I'd like to be one who uses the best china all year through; unfortunately, mine stays in the china cupboard and is brought out for special occasions only. It needs a good hot bath.

Next up is preparing the table, which in my world means a table pad. This provides the foundation for the tablecloth and the table settings. If you ever find one in a flea market, nab it. Do they still sell them in stores? I have not yet found one. My mother never owned one; both grandmothers did. Perhaps it's an old-fashioned thing. I have always made a makeshift one using triple tablecloths or sheets or even a blanket. This year, I finally made my own from quilting batting, an old tablecloth and an old sheet. It works like a charm.

My! What lovely photos I'm showing. Well, let's just continue in this vein shall we? 

This was what was going on right outside the dining room bay window while I set the table. I'd love to know what he was thinking as he watched me play while he worked. Up and down that ladder again and again. (We're both thankful for the amazing weather and I am especially thankful for his knowledge and hard work.)

And it was fun to play. I think the table is too matchy-matchy, though I have time to think of ways to change it up a bit. Perhaps dig out the chargers or use different water glasses. I still love my paternal grandmother's Friendly Village set after all these years.

In our world, the food is the centerpiece, though I do hope that there'll be fresh flowers in the house.

 This simple decoration...a Jack B. Little pumpkin on a candlestick is thanks to seeing something similar at Penny's Comforts of Home.
Time ran away on me again and so I have two simple Thanksgiving/Holiday recipes to share. Simple being the operative word.

1. To dress up a pumpkin pie, make some cinnamon sugar and lightly sprinkle it on top of the pie in the last five or so minutes of baking. It will make the pie look even more festive and it tastes great.

2. These yummy little treats, kind of healthful, too, if one doesn't go overboard on the cream cheese, can be made with the above ingredients: dates, walnuts, cream cheese.

They're a holiday tradition around here. Neither John nor I minded eating a few for the cause.

Two blogs have been doing a wonderful job with Thanksgiving specifics. Specificity is not a talent I am gifted with so I really admire what these gals do.

The first is Jen at My Southern Table whose post titled Holiday Entertaining Timeline is invaluable. 

The second is Cheryl at Thinking About Home whose post titled Thanksgiving: Making It Fun for the Kids discusses a subject near and dear to my heart. (Thanksgiving hasn't always been my favorite holiday.  = )

Happy Thanksgiving planning to you...


  1. Love this post! I thought it was Friendly Village china and you confirmed my thought. My mother has a set and I love it and it's perfect for a Thanksgiving tablescape.

    Your bar divider is also perfect.

    I'll be back later to read your links.

  2. I love your Friendly Village set! How wonderful to have the set your grandmother used.

    Thanksgiving dinner is at my brother-in-law's house this year, so I have no say in how things are set up, but our family usually has the food as the centerpiece, also.

  3. Now that looks cozy. Love it.
    My favorite is the dish in the dishwater. For some reason that just looked very cool to me.

    Have a blessed day.
    Please pray for Katie.
    New post on my blog.

  4. Your table is so warm and inviting. I love your dishes!


  5. Vee,

    I am in love with the Friendly Village pattern. I saw some pieces yesterday while out shopping with my Mom and the girls. I may have to start collecting...

    I like your table too!

    This weather is amazing...I was in short sleeves yesterday even into the evening!


  6. I adore your table, Vee. Love the dishes (brown transferware makes me swoon!), love the wee pumpkin on the candlestick, love the table pad idea! My great aunt had a table pad for her table. I think hers must have been custom made. It had a stiff base (wood?) and a padded top covered with vinyl, and it folded (in half I think). Can you tell that I never paid lots of attention to the details? But it was always used when a tablecloth was required. I have never seen one anywhere else. You have come up with a clever solution to the dearth of table pads by creating your own!

    Imagine my surprise when I got to the end of your lovely post...and saw my own link. Thank you for your kind words!

    And thank you for inviting us all to your Thanksgiving party...what a treat!

  7. Oh, how fun to get a glimpse of your pre-Thanksgiving planning. Like you, my first step is dragging the table pads out of the closet. Mine are probably 28 years old, but they still serve the purpose very well.
    I love everything about your china ... the name, the beauty and especially the fact that they came from your grandmother. Your table looks so warm and welcoming.
    Thanks for the recipe ideas. Those dates look delicious. Must try them ... soon :).

  8. Your New England china is gorgeous!
    Those dates look yummy and I will remember your suggestion for the pumpkin pie, thanks!

  9. I love your place settings...lucky you to be the one that inherited them! My mother-in-law introduced me to "table pads" about 20 yrs ago. My husband and I had purchased an antique dining set with a table top in very poor condition (we still have the same table). One day she arrived with a vinyl table covering with a foamy back to it, it worked well at keeping my tablecloths from snagging. To this day I have only had to purchase a new table pad once. I found mine at...where else...WalMart. Certainly not as lovely as yours, but it works. That would be a neat thing to make up and sell if you so had the inkling to do so! A great piece to hand down in the family....a lost treasure so to speak, as are the cloth handkerchiefs!
    Lovely pictures too. I enjoyed your post!

  10. Oh Vee, the date snacks sound so good, I'm going to try them!

    I love your China, it's so perfect for the holidays..

    Thunderstorms here this morning in our dry Texas....I'm doing a silly rain dance!

  11. Lucky people to be invited to your table on Thanksgiving. While we also celebrate the holiday (as you mentioned, in October) I believe that people in the USA take more time with their decorations and table settings than we do up here. I thoroughly enjoyed this!

  12. Great post and I'm 'envious' of your vintage Friendly Village. I wish I had gotten some before it started being made "somewhere else" and not in England.
    I had to laugh at your centerpiece being the food...same at our house. Sometimes when I have a centerpiece, it gets moved to make room for food. :)
    Thanks for visiting,

  13. I love the Friendly Village pattern, it looks wonderful on your Thanksgiving table.

    I do remember my mom using table pads for special dinners under the tablecloth. It was to protect the table from the hot dishes.

    Thanks for the mention :-)! Your little pumpkin looks grand!

  14. Such pretty dishes...

    It seems a shame, that they aren't in use, more...

    Perhaps you could "ease-into-more-use", by bringing them out, every Sunday? :-)

    Enjoy your preparations!!!

    Gentle hugs,
    "I am excessively fond of a cottage;
    there is always so much comfort,
    so much elegance about them."

    ~Jane Austin

  15. Very pretty tablescape, Vee. The dishes are just perfect. My grandmother always had the Thanksgiving dinner at her house until she got too old to do it and then it was my job. She would just use a folded sheet over a folded thin blanket for her table pad. It worked! She was a good seamstress so I'm not sure why she never made one.
    I'll be back later to check out the links.

  16. Love your China. I don't use mine at all. When we have the family over for Christmas dinner, there isn't enough place settings for everyone so I leave it in the cabinet. Your home is so cozy! Thanks for sharing these great ideas.

  17. Dates Walnuts and Cream Cheese. ..my favorite things in one mouthful. So simple. I will most certainly be trying that myself.. .in celebration of your Thanskgiving.

    I love your dishes. .so beautiful.

    I have table protector. My mom always had one and I have one too. Mine was purchased though. It is foam backed and plastic on top so it is waterproof to boot. .and with our family. ..that is a good thing.

  18. I love Friendly Village. I've always been drawn to dishes with lovely scenes on them. I've got to snap to it and get my dishes washed for the table. Have a great week Vee!

  19. Vee
    I can see that you are not one to wait until the last minute to prepare for Thanksgiving!
    You tablesetting is beautiful. I didn't realize that the Friendly Village dishes included glasses and pitchers. How blessed you are to have such a tangible gift from the past.
    I'm going to have to try your date recipe. I like all of the ingredients!

  20. Hi Vee!

    Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday too!

    Your dishes are beautiful - and I love your idea for the table pad. Why is it that we only bring our best out on holidays?!

    The appetizers look so simple and delicious, my husband is allergic to tree nuts . . . but I'm not!

    What a fun post! And the pictures were all so lovely!


  21. Your dishes are so pretty, Vee. And I like the name - Friendly Village. It will be a friendly table that you sit down to on Thanksgiving Day.

    I'm pinning those date/cream cheese/nut goodies for future reference. They look scrumptious!

  22. Those are my all time favorite dishes. I with I'd bought some years ago.

  23. I love Thanksgiving, too! I'm hosting again this year, and haven't thought a thing about it yet. Better get busy on that. I'll have to pop over and check out the other links, and hope for a little inspiration!

    - Leah

  24. I love Friendly Village - I think they are perfect winter holiday dishes. The photo of the dish in the sudsy water is so great, I love it. xo

  25. What a lovely post!! The table pad is a great idea and thanks to YOU I am going to make me one! I also use my dining table as an art table on art nights. I DID use a cardboard cutting board to cover the table and then layered newspapers. The cutting board bit the dust after 25 short years!! A table pad would be perfect!!

  26. What a beautiful post!
    I love those dishes Vee!


  27. What a lovely post Vee. I was looking so forward to the party day and coming here. You have done a wonderful job. And what I wouldn't give for those beautiful dishes! Home, hearth, and family.... Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!

  28. Love the dish in the soapy water photo! I've never seen a table pad like that before. I have several protectors that I've cut from padded vinyl to fit my table. Just in case someone tips over a glass!

  29. You set a beautiful table! Lucky gal to have those dishes. I've always wanted a set like that.

    As a table pad I use an old mattress pad cut to fit the table top...it works!

    Thanks for linking up to the party! :>)

  30. Friendly Village, I love that pattern :)
    Your table looks beautiful, as always. I've only just begun to give it some thought. I don't really have any special tableware, and my everyday red and white looks a bit out of place for such an autumnal theme.
    I shall turn to the trusty internet for help, and the links that you have so kindly suggested :)
    We too are enjoying beautiful weather, that should change by the weekend.....bring it on!

  31. Vee,
    The Friendly Village dishes look great, and the recipes yummy!
    It's fun to tinker, edit and tweak around the house....

  32. Of course you know I love your china! I just read an article about brown transferware in one of the old Victoria issues.

    It said at one time it was the least popular of all transferware china. Then it became very popular in America when it became fashionable to decorate with "earth colors". This was written in the 1990s.

    Your table looks beautiful. My MIL always used a table pad. I had one at one time but I think my husband used it for padding in a move and it was shredded... men.

  33. Thanks for stopping by my blog! Did ya have any luck with the dictionary pages?

  34. Thanks for putting a positive spin on my white world Vee. i enjoyed catching up on your last few posts. Your best china is wonderful and it's interesting to see the preparations you're making for Thanksgiving. I hope that you have a wonderful day with your family.

  35. Oh, I have always adored that pattern! Now I want to go out and buy some! We decided a couple of years ago to use our "good" dinnerware regularly. I am so happy that we have! It is the Villroy and Boch Naif pattern. We also use some white dishes now and then for variety.

  36. Yum, wish I could come! I like your plates. I love washing all the "good" plates to get ready for a party. :)

    I always use a table underpad - mine is store bought, not great. I never thought about getting an older better one from the good old days. I need to go to more yard sales.

    It is very cold here today. Hope you have a nice weekend for Thanksgiving.

    I am giving thanks a lot lately. It seems I have absorbed so many stories lately of loss, that I am thankful for small things some days - hands that can fill a cup with hot water for tea, thankful to have a job, thankful for a warm coat. It is so easy to take everything for granted, but every day I find things to think about being thankful for - there are so many, even though I have headaches and feel bad for myself some days, I am just happy some days that I can see, walk, talk. Did you see Gabby Giffords on TV? Amazing...we have much to be thankful for.

    Babbling now.

    Big hug, Terri xo

  37. I love, love, love your table. The dishes and decorations are very special for such a lovely New England Thanksgiving. My aunt had transfer-ware dishes in a some kind of brown pattern. Hmmm such wonderful memories of days gone past.

    Your home looks so cozy and inviting with such a special glow of lighting and the spirit behind it =) Your touch shows through in so many ways.

    John is a blessed man =)

  38. Vee,

    What a wonderful post, I love how you start out washing your dishes in that first photo. Your dishes, by the way are gorgeous. I love how you set the table and the centerpiece. Your Thanksgiving table looks amazing, and your home is lovely.


  39. We have such great taste Vee! My Thanksgiving china is Friendly Village too :)
    We are busy with Christmas around here, and I should be making fruit cakes right now...


  40. Your table is very inviting and I share the same centerpiece as you, all that glorious food has to go somewhere and as we all know, Thanksgiving is all about the food, so why not give it center stage. I used to do the dinner years ago but lately, it is not the same.

  41. Love your village china! It's perfect for Thanksgiving. I will set our table on Sunday and then cover it with another table cloth to keep out the dust and cat hair that always seems to float by.

    I found a table pad at JC Penney's one year.

    Thanks for the links!


  42. Beautiful china, Vee! This is the first time in many years I am not hosting Thanksgiving for my extended family. I'll be happy to be a guest and not have all the before and after clean up, but I will miss the leftovers!

  43. I've used a table pad all my married life...NOT THE SAME ONE...goodness, no. :)) I have no idea if they are still being sold but I think they are.

    We are having so many share Thanksgiving with us this year, we are using paper plates and I feel so blessed...family and friends.

  44. The quote you shared by Harry Moyle Tippett is incredible. So true!

    The way you decorate and set the table is so inspiring. It is lovely! Thank you!