Tell a story with your vintage mix and match plates, saucers, and cups. Plan a luncheon for a ladies get-together. Make it a tell-the-story theme.
Decorate your tablescape like this one with Fiesta plates and vintage cups. Share the story behind your vintage mix and match dishes over this apple pie recipe.
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Everyone loves a good story – or has a story to tell. Show your best hospitality offering food, hot tea, coffee – and a slice of freshly-baked golden apple pie.
Love of Vintage
Decorate your table with vintage linens you’ve stored but haven’t used in a while. Don’t give in to the temptation of giving away the vintage linens. Every old piece has a history.
Sammy Davis (not the singer), founder of the vintage fashion blog https://sammydvintage.com, expresses her view about spreading vintage love.
Though referring to wardrobes, Davis states, “But it’s not just about buying and wearing vintage, but also the discovery process of learning about the history behind the pieces….”
So it is with buying vintage pieces like these Fiesta dishes.
The history behind the pieces adds to the beauty of using them in serving guests.
Brand of Hospitality
What is the brand of hospitality that you are known for? I want my guests to think of cozy, comfortable, and inspiring when they think of my hospitality.
One of my cousins came over for a visit – and a piece of my easy apple pie, and complimented me about the tablescape I’m sharing with you. She loved the vintage mix and match table decor and mentioned that my home feels cozy and comfy.Jump to Recipe
That compliment, my reader friend, made my day. You can guess why. She expressed the feeling that I want shown in my hospitality brand. I want to hear my guests’ stories as much as I want to share mine with them. And at the end of the visit, I want them to feel relaxed and inspired.
Speak Your Brand
The way you decorate and show hospitality speaks your brand to your guests. Always offer food and drink (unless you’ve invited a group from your church that’s on a fast – water only would be appropriate for the occasion). After all, being hospitable involves giving some type of beverage and food to your guests.
Make a chicken salad and soup lunch, bake a pie or a dump cake, and serve with tea, coffee, or water. Add warm touches throughout your home to give a cozy effect. Choose ideas such as ones listed below, examples of my hospitality brand.
- add decorative pillows on the sofa
- design side tables, nooks, and shelves with a display of books
- place handy throws on a footstool
- accent a wall with vintage pieces from your travels
- set a vase of fresh flowers on the dining table
- decorate a mirrored tray with a variety of candles
What style do you want to be recognized for? I love Southwest/Vintage Cottage, sort of an eclectic look. Perhaps, you don’t care for vintage but are drawn to folk art or a farmhouse style.
Look at the seven types below. Even though your house may be dominantly decorated by one or two, incorporate the other styles as you create different tablescapes.
- bold colors
- folk art
Which of the following entertaining venues do you enjoy hosting?
- dinner party with a full meal
- luncheon for family and friends
- tea party
- ladies’ Bible study and snacks
- prayer group and snacks
- breakfast for seniors
All of the lists above play a part in revealing your personal brand of hospitality. Create a tablescape styled with things you love to make a memorable occasion.
Tablescaping with Mismatched Vintage Pieces
Allow yourself freedom to do tablescaping that you love – even when the pieces don’t match or if your vintage linens aren’t considered trendy.
The ecru eyelet linens above were previously wrapped around breakables in my buffet. I unwrapped the items and now am using the vintage cotton table runner and placemats.
The table setting was chosen with my maternal grandmother in mind. She always prepared food as though she expected guests. Often, visitors did stop by – usually one of her children or grandchildren – and she would feed them.
Inspired to create a unique tablescape, I started with a set of Fiesta plates I inherited from my parents’ kitchen. The uniqueness is that the plates aren’t a perfect match. Neither are the cups.
Folk Art Mismatched Table Settings
Apparently, I’m not the only one who sees the beauty in tablescaping with a contrast of mismatched table settings. Judith Espinar, a folk art collector, adds pottery with different designs in setting tablescapes. She also believes in setting the table with different plates, Read more about Judith’s beautiful folk art table setting at http://www.localflavormagazine.com/tablescaping-folk-art/.
Incidentally, the cups in my collection are different sizes, and they all have handles. Some folks would consider these mugs. Mugs are larger than cups. Where I grew up, we called them all cups.
My mother had displayed the plates, various colors, high on the wall around the kitchen. Instead of displaying the dinnerware like Mother did, I use them for every day serving.
As you’ll read in the article about Judith Espinar’s love for mismatched table designs, there was a rural farmhouse custom in Europe of hanging the plates on the wall and taking them down for meals. That was not my mother’s custom. Her plates were strictly used for display. However, it’s not a bad idea. Imagine…at meal time, everyone goes to his/her plate on the wall (and I assume at least rinses it off) and fills the plate with food. After dinner, the plates get washed, dried, and hung back on the wall. It would save cabinet storage space.
Choose Plates, Bowls, and Cups that Inspire You
My husband gave me the pink and white cup in the photo above to use in an office I used to work in. I always loved its colors and the words “inspiring” on the inside of the cup.
For this tablescape, I chose cups my husband and I have collected on our travels. We store the cups on an old chair spring that he upcycled into a cup holder. The type of springs we used (ours are painted red as you can see in the photo) are like these you can find on Amazon:
The holder has become quite a conversational topic in our home when we have guests.
I chose the particular mix and match cups because of the unique stories they tell.
Angie Cup – my first cup collected
My husband Greg purchased this gift for me when he moved to Texas, six months before our wedding in 1978. It’s part of a matching pair. The other cup has Greg’s name. When I served sandwiches and dessert to my cousins after setting the tablescape, I introduced my mix and match idea to them by beginning with the Angie cup story.
Arizona Saguaro Cup
Greg brought me the saguaro (his favorite cactus) cup from one of his big rig travels. You know how coffee cups often become our favorites because of things like the way they fit into our hand? That’s the way I feel about this cup. I love the saguaro and the feel of the cup.
When I travel and see a cup that intrigues me, it’s certainly not that I need another cup. But I do occasionally buy a cup if I think it’s unique. Likewise, when I saw this Christmas saguaro cup on Amazon, for example, it caught my eye because I love Christmas and saguaros. Will it end up in my collection? Maybe. Maybe not (it is tempting, though).
Arizona is beautiful. Greg and I have enjoyed some fun Arizona trips together. This cup below represents fun memories.
New Mexico Cup
This is another big rig trip gift from my hubby. I also go on big rig road trips with him occasionally. One of my favorite New Mexico cities is Albuquerque. So beautiful. We loved visiting the city’s Old Town. The New Mexico cup has a good feel to it. I love the color of it. The cup lists New Mexico cities.
I’ve seen some beautiful New Mexico cups. Check these out:
There are plenty more, but I love those three mugs.
Teacup from Catalina Island, CA
I purchased two teacups with a spoon attached while on a blogging/writing workshop trip with writer lady friends. The other cup is identical except the color is different. And what a fun trip with my writer friends!
I looked for other Catalina Island, CA teacups with spoons like the ones I purchased. Though I haven’t found any, this cup is made like the ones I have:
Ima’s Home for Children
Ima’s Home is a children’s orphanage in the Philippines. The purchase of this cup helped support the orphanage. Incidentally, I noticed the guys in my family tend to choose this cup for coffee. This cup is shorter than many of my other ones but wide – a great coffee cup.
Mixing up the plates and cups is a fun way to decorate a tablescape. Combining the different Fiesta plates adds dramatic contrast in designing the vintage pieces.
Invite guests over for lunch, and ask them to choose a place setting where they would like to sit. Ask them to share the reason they chose the particular settings, what it meant to them.
Don’t have time to read “I Love to Tell the Story” below? Skip to the apple pie recipe I served my cousins.Jump to Recipe
“I Love to Tell the Story”
Who doesn’t love to tell the story about sentimental pieces passed down through generations?!
After your guests have told their stories of why they chose each setting, explain why you chose each mix and match place setting.
Share why the plates, saucers, or cups are special to you. What is the story behind each piece?
Add a Candle to the Tablescape
Light candles that fit in with the vintage setting. For example, this Fresh Milk candle reminded me of the dairy cow that provided the milk for my mother’s family (there’s a story about the dairy cow, too).
While writing this blog post, the tell-a-story theme reminded me of an old spiritual hymn I’ve always loved, “I Love to Tell the Story”, written by Katherine Hanley, an English evangelist, in 1866 as a poem.
William G. Fischer later composed music to certain parts of the poem. Evangelist Hanley had experienced a sick spell on a missions trip to Africa.
Inspired by my Grandmother
The story about Hanley reminds me of my grandmother. Times were often hard. She came close to losing an old sow once because of a debt my grandfather owed. MaMa was strong, though, and didn’t give in easily. She refused to let that sow go and won that battle.
She lost her young husband who died due to an auto accident. She raised their ten children alone.
My cousin, Sherry Nell, daughter of my mother’s oldest brother, told me a story about our grandmother’s dairy cow. Our Uncle Tot (his nickname) was drinking milk. She asked him how could he stand to drink it because the cow had eaten some bitter weed (which made the milk taste sour). He told her, “When you’re hungry or thirsty enough, you’ll eat and drink anything.”
Ladies’ Bible Study
Show hospitality by hosting a ladies’ Bible study or a prayer group in your home. The focus is on studying the Word and prayer. However, showing hospitality includes offering food or beverages.
No doubt, my interest in showing hospitality by hosting a ladies’ Bible study comes from my heritage. I was born into a preacher’s family. My dad was a preacher. And my mother’s mother taught (or preached).
If you like stories about women preachers in the old days and have time, keep reading. Don’t have time to read more? Skip to the apple pie recipe.Jump to Recipe
Back in the day, there were circuit preachers who ministered at multiple churches. My grandmother, “Mama”, was asked to fill in for her circuit preacher and was issued a minister’s license. Most people that knew her, even family, wasn’t aware of that knowledge. Women preachers were frowned upon back then.
My grandmother believed in showing hospitality to people in her community and her church family. She would bake at least three meringue pies for special occasions – chocolate (my favorite), coconut, and lemon.
Of course, Mama baked other types of pies, but I personally watched her do this. Bringing one pie to a community or church function wasn’t enough. She baked all three pies for an event at the church one day when I was staying with her.
When I was a newlywed, Mama taught me on the phone one day how to bake her chocolate meringue pie. Hers was the best.
Trying to get my pie to turn out just like hers was a challenge. “A little bit” or “a pinch” of this and that ingredient didn’t measure exactly like my new set of teaspoons. But I finally learned how to make the delicious chocolate meringue pies.
Chocolate meringue pie is my favorite kind of pie, but I do enjoy other pies like hot apple pie or cobbler topped with Blue Bell Homemade Vanilla ice cream. However, I couldn’t find many apple pie recipes in any of my cookbooks the last time I searched. I was wanting to make an apple pie one day and was surprised at how few recipes I found. But I wanted one without nutmeg and one that was easy.
Finally, I saw a recipe in an old favorite cookbook I have of my mother’s. It was the easiest pie recipe I ever made, and not much change had to be made to it. My version of the recipe is as follows:
Easy Apple Pie
Easiest apple pie recipe made with different types of apples
- 1 box Pillsbury Pie Crusts (2 in box)
- 6-7 Apples
- 3/4 cup Sugar
- 1 tablespoon Flour
- 1 teaspoon Cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon Butter
Bring the refrigerated two pastries to room temperature.
Or defrost in the microwave according to the pastry box directions.
Line the pie plate with the first pastry.
Pare and slice the apples.
Fill the pastry with the sliced apples.
Mix the sugar, flour, and cinnamon.
Sprinkle the sugar mixture over the apples.
Dot with butter.
Top with the second pastry.
Seal edges and flute.
Bake at 425° for 50 minutes.
Cooking apples for apple pie:
- Golden Delicious
- Pink Lady
If you have six or seven apples on hand and they are different varieties, use them.
If you prefer a more buttery flavor in your pies, double the portion to two tablespoons instead of one.
I hope you enjoy this easy apple pie. It’s nothing fancy like lattice crusts and other decorative pie crusts, but it is delicious and simple to make. Actually, I almost attempted to make the apple pie for my cousins with a lattice crust. Honestly, though, I wanted to make a simple apple pie as quickly as possible.
What about you? Do you love to bake pies? What’s your favorite? If you’re like many of my friends and relatives, it’s easier to pick up a pie at a bakery than to bake your own. And the cost isn’t always that expensive. For instance, I took my little granddaughter to eat breakfast at Cracker Barrel and asked how much a whole pie was (I happened to see a chocolate pecan pie on the menu, and I love those pies.) I was surprised – $9.95. Not bad at all. (I’m not receiving any commission or payment of any kind to promote Cracker Barrel’s pies – just thought you might like to know if you need pies for Thanksgiving or Christmas.)
If you much prefer cakes instead of pies and you love chocolate – and you want the easiest kind to make, bake a dump cake. One of my recipes is a chocolate dump cake that tastes like brownies. Easy. Simple. Delicious.
Thank you so much for visiting Kitchen Southern Hospitality and reading about vintage and mix and max tablescapes.