Robin Flies South...

A blog about decorating and tablescaping with an emphasis on creativity and smart shopping over cash!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Giving Goodwill China a Good Home!

Welcome to Tablescape Thursday, graciously hosted by Susan from Between Naps on the Porch.  I am keeping my promise to myself  not to jump on the "Autumn" bandwagon until the calendar says October.  I love seeing the Fall tablescapes but I just can't do it while we are  in the 90's here.  In the mean time, I am getting all sorts of good ideas from everyone else!  But I want to go on record that I bought the fall leaves dishes at Dollar Tree before I ever saw them in Blogland.  In fact, I got back in line a second time to buy them because I didn't see them the first time! 

A few weeks ago I stopped by my Goodwill Clearance center and came across a partial set of china that I thought was so pretty.  Perfect condition, check.  Eight dinner plates, check.  Eight salad plates, not exactly, more like 4.  I thought they would be fun for a New Year's Eve table with the black and gold border.  The whole set was just $4.00!  Great, but they really don't "go" in my house at all.  I figured I would think about that tomorrow (my new attitude I adopted after a recent screening of Gone With The Wind!).

Then, on a follow up trip to the same Goodwill, I found 2 table runners with  pink and black mixed with all kinds of colors.  Now, I think I can get away with it in my Dining Room. 

I ran the runners across the table since I had two of them.  I had 6 gold chargers so I decided to set the table for 6 even though I only had 4 salad plates.  Let's just pretend two of the guests had salad for lunch! 

These dishes are made by Celebrity and I'm sure they weren't that expensive new.  I mentioned before that I'm not really a china and crystal person but I still like a "fancy" table sometimes. 

I layered black and gold napkins with a "crystal" napkin ring (Ross, 8 for $2.99). 

This is the silverware I got for my birthday last year.  Amazon had the best price and I was able to get a set for 12 with extra serving pieces for a great price because the box had been previously opened.  It's made by Gingko and has a nice heavy weight to it.  If you didn't know before that I love pineapples, you will if you follow this blog!

I received these wineglasses as a wedding gift almost 30 years ago.  The water glasses are new(from Ross $10 for 6!).

 I used the candlesticks from last week upside down for votive holders.   The other two were a recent GW purchase (I dropped one in the store and it bounced but didn't break!).

A more formal setting calls for fresh flowers so I picked these up at Fresh Market this afternoon.  My mom used to grow snapdragons.  I added greens cut from my yard to make a bigger arrangement (great money saver!).  The vase is new (Ross $5).  Aren't they beautiful?  In my perfect world, I would have fresh flowers in my house every day!

I changed up my china cabinet a little to match the table.  If you start with white dishes, it's easy to just add some color for accent.  I added the 2 extra dinner plates and some black accents including 2 black silk roses that I got for a future tablescape.

Did you notice the black tea lights?  You will see them again around the end of October! 

A few more pictures...

And because this is a "fancy" table, we have to have candlelight!

My favorite part of this tablescape has to be the flowers.  Sometimes just using your more formal pieces in a traditional way is the secret to a successful table.  Bring out all those wedding gifts, use that china that was your grandmothers and bring in some fresh flowers from the grocery store!  Life is short, use the good stuff!!!

Thanks for visiting today.  Please stop by and see what my sister Elaine has done this week at Creating Wonderful Spaces. 

Just a little information for you.  My husband didn't care for being " Mr. Flies South" so from now on he will just be "my husband".  It may have had something to do with my sister's husband being " Mr. Wonderful!"  Have a great week!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Pottery Barn Look for Less!

Welcome to my post this week for Metamorphosis Monday!  Thanks to Susan of Between Naps on the Porch for hosting this weekly event where we see what amazing transformations are going on in Blogland!

Like a lot of you, I look forward every month to the arrival of my new PB catalog to see what's new in furniture, accessories and design.  I love to look but rarely buy anything unless it's on clearance!
When I first started looking at blog entries, one of my favorite subjects was "Pottery Barn Knockoffs".   I was truly impressed with the items the bloggers were capable of "knocking off".  Whether it was wrapping jute around a jug, covering books in plain paper or building and aging a wooden box these people were GOOD!  As of now, I haven't created my own knock off but I did manage to achieve one by doing what I do best-shopping!

We have a rather large entrance way in our new home with 11' ceilings and a transom window over the double front doors.  I wanted a hanging pendant type light that could be seen from the exterior through the window.  The rooms flanking the entrance contain my Dining Room Chandelier and my Office ceiling fan.

  I feel like the only thing worse than all your light fixtures "matching" is a combination of three that are completely unrelated.  I wanted them all in the bronze to black color family.  I was looking for something simple but substantial enough to carry the room.  I came across this one at Pottery Barn and thought it would work but of course the price changed my mind.  We're talking a total of $350.28 after tax and shipping.  Below is the picture from their website.

Then I did what I always do-I Googled it!  I put in "Pottery Barn knock off" and came across a post describing this light from  I honestly can't see a difference, can you?  I have bought several items from them in the past, including a queen mattress for our guest room (no tax and $1.00 shipping!).  I have yet to be disappointed.   I read the reviews for the light (very helpful) and ordered it right away.    A week later I had this!

And the price?  $151.99, no tax and $1.00 shipping!  I'll do the math for you, a savings of $197.28!  My husband borrowed a ladder (that ceiling is tall!) to hang it and we couldn't be happier.   Here is the light hanging in my entrance.

I highly recommend the lighting at and Ebay as well.  The items are new, brands that you know and the shipping is usually free or very reasonable ($1.00, really?).  I always read the reviews and try to google the product so that I can see that I am really getting a deal.

Sorry about the reflection in this shot but you get the idea, right?

While I was getting all my facts together for this post I couldn't help doing a little browsing on and came up with these beautiful light fixtures I thought you might want to see.




Aren't these great?  I am not associated with in any way, just passing along what I think is a great deal.  And who doesn't love having things delivered right to their front door?

I hope everyone has a great week!  Please stop by and see what my sister's blogging about at Creating Wonderful Spaces.  Have you created or purchased a Pottery Barn knock off?  I would love to hear about it!   Leave me a comment!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Celebrate Apple Month(s)!

Welcome to the best party of the week, Tablescape Thursday, hosted by Susan of Between Naps on the Porch.  Be sure to visit her site and see all the participants this week.  Last week I noticed alot of great tables with sunflower dishes and they were all different!  How many different sunflower dishes are there? (you will be seeing mine in the next week or two!)

 I am trying to hold off  doing a "fall" table since it's still summer here in Florida where everything is green and the temperatures are still in the low 90's everyday.  So I came up with a compromise and it gave me a chance to use these cute apple plates. I got them at the thrift store near me, located in a little cottage and run by the wonderful people of the Presbyterian Church. They take 50% off everything in stock on the last Saturday of the month which make the prices even more reasonable.  What makes it special to me, though, is that all the price tags are written by hand and the handwriting is identical to my mother's.  She was always very involved in our Church in NJ and helped run a Holiday Bazaar that was second to none.  She would love seeing my sister and me tablescape (probably be a little shocked to see me doing it!). 

Did you know that there are almost a dozen day-long apple holidays scattered throughout the year? There is also a National Apple Week and to top it off, National Apple Month actually spans September, October and November!  They certainly give us enough time to celebrate.   Apparently, the Apple's public relations staff is doing something right!

I decided to set the table in my Dining Room where the wood table would be an attractive backdrop for my place settings and centerpiece.  As tempting as it was to pick up every apple "item" I have seen lately, I tried to use things I had on hand.  Since there were only 4 of the plates, I removed the leaf from the table and  used 4 chairs.

Do you remember when I said I rarely have an original idea and "take" ideas from others?  I admit to googling "apple tablescape" just to see what others have done.  I was very impressed!  One of my favorites was this one by Alycia Nichols at Table Twenty- One.  I love what she did with  green apples.

Ok, I did pick up a few inexpensive items after I bought the dishes.  These placemats are from Ross and I've seen them used by bloggers before.

The gold stoneware plates are from Ross.  They are a great neutral color, nice and heavy.   No chargers today since the placemat is on the small side. 

These copper napkin rings are from Ross.  The double layered napkins are from Burlington Coat Factory . I used my teak flatware that had been my mom's. 

The glasses were a recent purchase from Home Goods.  They have a slight yellow tint to them and they seem to go with everything!  Thanks to Michelle for helping me pick them out.

These little apple dishes are also from my favorite thrift store.   I added some stones, a stick bundle and a candle.  These would look great with some red shiny candies (red hots, maybe?)

Someone had donated a collection of salt and pepper shakers to the thrift store and I couldn't resist these apple ones (or the watermelon ones or the lighthouse ones! $1 each set!) They were all in perfect condition so I'm sure they were treasured by someone. I like to imagine what the previous owner would think of her beautiful salt and pepper shakers being photographed and seen by hundreds of people. 

My favorite part of this table is the centerpiece.  I bought the wreath on clearance at Tuesday Morning  last winter before I even dreamed of tablescaping.  I layed it on it's side and added a few faux apples in between the flowers and leaves. Then I filled a hurricane vase with a combination of red and green apples to stick in the middle.  How easy (lazy) is that? 

The candle holder and the candle are also from the thrift store.  Someone had donated a few dozen Kirkland candles and they were half off!

I lit the candles and tried several times to capture the blue hour.  No luck this time!  You do get our view outside our Dining Room window. 

I love what candlelight does to a table.

I want to finish by saying how this tablescape was made possible (and affordable) because of one of the many Church sponsored thrift stores we are lucky enough to have throughout this country.  All the items are  donated and the stores are staffed by volunteers.  As great as Goodwill is, it is after all, a very profitable business.  Next time you have goods to donate, please consider your local non-profit thrift store, too.

Thank you for stopping by.  Please check out Creating Wonderful Spaces and see my sister, Elaine's tablescape for this week.  I always appreciate your comments and if you become a follower you will be sure to never miss a post!  Some of you have said you have had trouble commenting but please try again!

Did you notice I got through this whole post without one apple cliche (it wasn't easy, believe me!)?