Monday, November 20, 2017

Vintage Silver Plate for the Holidays (and some polishing tips)

Silver adds just the right amount of sparkle to your holiday entertaining.  The flatware pieces are always fun.  I like to mix and match patterns of forks and spoons, sugar shells, iced tea spoons, pickle/olive forks, individual butter knives and unique serving pieces.  They're conversation starters too.  I decided to include some pieces in our holiday sale at Buckeystown Design Co-Op.

A MIX OF VINTAGE FLATWARE AT OUR HOLIDAY SALE 

You can see that I mixed greenery and ornaments with the serving pieces.  Yes, that's a faux fur throw tablecloth.  I do love fur.  In the background is my vintage silver tree.  I'm considering using it this year at my home.  I'm not sure if I'll be able to break my "only a real tree" tradition.  We'll see.  It certainly will be easier.
VINTAGE SIVER PLATE AND ORNAMENTS

Check out the branches on my vintage tree.
THE WONDERFUL BRANCHES ON MY VINTAGE TREE

Back to topic.  Besides the flatware, I absolutely love vintage handled pedestal compotes.  I fill them with cookies or appetizers.  They are all different and add varying heights to your tablescape.
VINTAGE PEDESTAL COMPOTES

Champagne buckets can chill your wine or hold serving pieces.
CHAMPAGNE BUCKET WITH VINTAGE SERVING PIECES

Here's a better view of the large compote.  In the foreground is another handled basket.  It has "feet" instead of a pedestal.  In the center you can see a toast holder.  I tucked some ornaments inside, but in everyday life I use a toast holder for mail.
MORE SILVER PLATE

I also have a vintage martini shaker.
MARTINI SHAKER

And, just to push it over the top, I added some vintage jewelry to a small white tree.
VINTAGE SILVER JEWELRY ON A TREE 

I put some of my costume jewelry on another tree.
COSTUME JEWELRY ON A SILVER TREE

Setting your holiday table does involve some effort if your pieces have tarnished.  I have some good news and some bad news about polishing silver.  The bad news is that you have to polish the large serving pieces the old way with silver polish and a cloth.  The good news is I have a fast way to clean the flatware.  The recipe follows.  Make sure you also take a look at my comments about what I learned when I was cleaning the flatware.

What You Need

Materials: 
• Aluminum foil 
• Glass dish or aluminum baking dish
• 1 cup boiling water
• 1 tablespoon baking soda
• 1 tablespoon sea salt
• 1/2 cup white vinegar
• Rag for polishing
• Tongs to remove silverware from boiling water
Instructions:
1. Bring water to a boil. When combined with the other ingredients the water will activate the baking soda and start the process of transferring the tarnish to the foil.
2. Add the dry ingredients into the pan and slowly pour in the vinegar. You will cause a slight reaction, so pour carefully! It is possible to clean your silver without adding vinegar, but the vinegar will dramatically speed up the process.
3. Pour in the boiling water and then place the silver into your pan, making sure each piece is touching the foil. Try not to let any of the pieces overlap. This should only take about 30 seconds but if you have heavily tarnished pieces you may need to let them soak a few minutes longer.
4. Use tongs to remove the silverware and work off any remaining spots by buffing with a rag. Then, look deep into your shiny silver and admire the smartypants that brought it back to its original glory!

WHAT I LEARNED

1.  The one cup of liquid was enough to cover my knives but didn't completely cover my other non-flat pieces.  Maybe I should have used a smaller pan, but I had too much to clean.  I ended up tripling the recipe.

2.  When you add the vinegar, you create quite a bubbling science experiment.  Use a large container for the mixture and stir while you're adding the vinegar to keep it from bubbling over the edge.

3.  It worked quickly.  I rinsed off the pieces and was able to get them clean with a soft cloth.  There were only a few heavily-tarnished pieces that I had to spot clean with the silver polish.



Let me know if you tried it and liked it.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Goodbye Fall

While I'm in full swing at the store for the upcoming holidays, my porch and I are still holding on to Fall.  Also, my current decor approach is:  Why have just one pumpkin on your porch?




The pumpkins are all different shapes, sizes and colors.  Have you ever seen a mottled one like this?




Here's what it looks like from the front of the house.








Are you holding on to Fall or have you moved on to the holidays?

FYI, the pumpkin collection was a gift from one of my favorite selling partners, 
Monica, @ Gatehouse Designs.
Please check out her style here.