Tag Archives: Tablescaping

Academic Tablescaping


  • 1 cup of tea
  • 1 primary text
  • 1 sheet of paper for mindmapping
  • 1 table

The Result:

I spent the afternoon planning my paper for the Manchester conference (for some reason, they want the papers well in advance) (no finishing the paper on the evening before the day you’re going to present it for this conference – drat!). As you can just about see, my mindmap looks … eh … interesting – I hope I’ll still be able to read my own handwriting tomorrow morning!
In case you’re wondering: the topic of my paper is “‘It is only with one’s heart that one can see clearly’: The Loss of Sight in Teresa Medeiros’s The Bride and the Beast and Yours Until Dawn“.

Tablescaping with Books & Kitteh

You will need:

one pile of books

one kitteh.

Artfully arrange both on the dining table. Like this:

Try different angles.

With kitteh looking left …

… looking right …

… looking embarrassed.

(Do we have to continue with this? asks the kitteh. I feel a little bit stupid. – Yes, I say. – Ah, well, says the kitteh.)



Hmmmm hmmmm hmmmmmmmmmmm

Hmm – ooops!

Invitation to Tea, Part II: Tablescape in Red

Come in and have a seat. Would you like to sit on the couch, next to the flowery pillow? The tea cakes are already waiting for you.

This is what the tables look like when you’re not wearing your glasses:

Don’t you just love the cow milk jug?

I don’t think the cat is too happy about the cow milk jug, though. For one thing, it’s bigger than the cat. And heavier. Life as a wooden cat is tough. It’s so easy to fall off the edge.

(Hmm. What did I do with the background in the next picture? The frame looks rather different than in the other pictures…)
Don’t be shy. Take a cookie. Or a tea cake. Or a Lindor egg. (You can’t eat the rose buds, though. They’re artificial, and plastic doesn’t taste nice.)

You can put an astonishing amount of cookies into these Chinese bowls – and they still look only half full. Good thing I bought so many cookies, eh? (Ooops, now the secret is out. Yes, I did indeed buy those cookies. Originally the plan was to bake them, but after the not-quite pleasing results with the oat cookie recipe, I decided I wouldn’t take any more chances with stupid recipes from stupid cook books which apparently don’t include any truly wonderful recipes. And I couldn’t really bake any Christmas cookies, could I?)

Anyways, that’s what the cake stand looks from above:

I love the placemats. They’re perfect for spring!
Well, now you just have to decide what kind of tea you’d like. And after we’ve eaten all the cookies and tea cakes, we could go for a walk at the river. And if we’re very, very, very lucky it might start raining cats and dogs (which is what happened yesterday when my friends were visiting), so we could go drip-drip-dripping back home and console ourselves with the rest of the cookies. ๐Ÿ™‚
For now though, I have to go back to the dragons. I plan to finish the chapter on medieval and Renaissance dragons today, and have to take a look at Spenser’s Faerie Queene. (Why aren’t there any dragons in Heyer’s mysteries??? Very inconsiderate of her!)

‘Nother Tablescape (no kitteh this time)

Would you like to have a cup of tea while I go and slay medieval dragons? Then come in and take a seat (and be sure not to sit on the kitteh!). Look, there’s even a little brown birdie to welcome you.

This is my first tea set, which I got from my parents several years ago. Can you see the rice worked into the china? The tea spoon was a recent thrift store find.

Unfortunately I don’t have any freshly baked cookies at the moment (on account of all the time-consuming dragonslaying), but I hope you’ll like the little chocolates. And if you insist, I might even fetch the misshapen Butterkeks-cinnamon-cream-cheese truffels from the fridge. ๐Ÿ™‚

While I’m busy slaying dragons, you could listen to the audio sample from Georgette Heyer’s SYLVESTER, read by Richard Armitage. You can find a ten-minute snippet on RichardArmitageOnline.com (scroll down to the middle of the front page). Enjoy!

Collecting Ideas …

… for the perfect sitting room tablescape. ๐Ÿ™‚

For Saturday next week I’ve invited a few people for tea. It’s been ages since I did some entertaining. Last year and the year before were so utterly horrible that most of the time I simply didn’t have the strength for any kind of entertaining. Heck, some days I didn’t even have the strength to go to other people’s parties. And before things became so very awful, I generally felt rather self-conscious about my flat when I invited people. I mean, I had two cats and thus there was the problem of cat hair, the smell of fresh cat food as well as the smell of fresh cat poop. (Dinner parties or movie nights inevitably clashed with the cats’ dinner and potty time.) (They still do, btw.) In addition, I felt that my flat needed to look perfect before I could let other people step through the door. As a result I got a reputation of being very tidy. (Ha! If only they knew!) As you can imagine, entertaining became something rather stressful, and I usually couldn’t even relax after my friends had arrived.

I’m not quite sure what had happened between living in Hofheim and moving to the new house to make me so uptight about entertaining. Back at the old house, I was usually much more relaxed when friends were coming over. (Or at least, I remember it that way.) But perhaps that’s no big surprise, given that the people I invited were usually very, very close friends, whom I had known for years.

Now fast forward to 2009. As you might remember, one of the reasons for buying lots of tea sets was to make me force to entertain more (after all, you can’t really justify buying china if you don’t plan to use it, can you?) (the other reason, of course, was that I fell in love with that tea set and then that tea seat – Wiesengrund & Bergeshรถh’n, sweet! -, and then – oh my gosh! – the Burleigh tea set). In addition, I (re-)discovered my love for home decorating magazines and blogs (the “re-” refers to the former) like Little Red House, The Nesting Place, Southern Hospitality and 4 Reluctant Entertainers. While reading these blogs I had a major epiphany. Or perhaps it was more of a slow dawning, a prolonged a-ha! moment: Entertaining is not about making your home look perfect, it’s not about making it squeaky clean, it’s not about impressing people with either your decorating or your culinary skills. It’s about, well, people. It’s about having a good time with friends.

Of course, I will vaccum my flat, clean the bathroom and remove cat hair from the couch next Saturday. But I will not worry about stray litter tray stones in the bathroom after I’ve vaccumed it. I will not worry about the state of my sitting room windows which I ought to have cleaned … uhm … months ago. I will not worry about Cara joining us on the couch during tea. (If people don’t like my cat, well, that’s their problem, not mine.) And I will not worry about whether the bit and pieces sitting on my library shelves make the room look like a child’s place. (More or less all of the decorations in there have been presents from family and friends, and they always make me smile when I walk into that room. So who cares about what other people might think?)

Instead I will enjoy making lovely coconut-and-cranberry cookies and itty-bitty tea cakes, creating a beautiful tablescape in red in my sitting room, and then I will enjoy using my beautiful Burleigh china for the first time and visiting with my new friends. (I will also enjoy the cookies and the tea cakes, of course.) And I will have a great time and I hope my friends will, too.

I’ve already started planning the tablescape, and when I went food-shopping earlier today, I had another (tablescape-related) epiphany: It’s almost Easter! There are Lindor easter eggs! Red Lindor easter eggs! Which would look rather fine on the white, 3-tier cake plate next to the itty-bitty tea cakes. And so the cake plate with the red eggs in turn would look extremely fine next to the Red Calico and Red Prunus Burleigh china. ๐Ÿ™‚


And now I need to get back to that horrible chapter I have to proofread. Argh! Hate proofreading!