Sunday, November 12, 2006

Of Madeira cutwork, filet lace and stained perfection

AH soo.. I have noticed a soupçon of incredulity (and a few hints of glutonous greed) amongst some of my so-called friends, who have the temerity to doubt the outcome of this most excellent dinner-party venture. One of them even mentioned something about midterm diversionary tactics (aka procrastination), or some such nonsense. Pftt!, I say to you, faithless non-invitees. Yep, you'll have to labour long and hard to get back into that gold-trimmed, hand-scripted, Martha-approved seating plan.

But enough about those ingrates. Today Cat and I went to a vintage clothing show at the local Chateau Frontenac and I took the opportunity to look for a vintage, hand-made tablecloth, some beautiful (yet practical) wisp of diaphanous (yet sturdy) fabric that would set off the Limoges (or Rosenthal, I haven't decided yet -- in fact, depending on the numbers, Lenox Aristocrat may be de rigueur. Take that, you Globe and Mail ersatz hostess! No el-cheapo italian stoneware here!). Some may call me obsessive (ok, many already do so -- frequently) but I think good food deserves great china. But where was I, ah yes, the tablecloth.

See, here's the thing. I have some gorgeous ones already. Most are family heirlooms -- beautiful linen, intricate embroidery, French filet lace or Madeira cutwork (the genuine articles, too), but these are way way too good to eat on. Not like you can rub padded stitching with salt and soda to remove those inevitable wine stains. I mean, I already have to suffer through the utensil scratches on the Limoges ok? But I digress. The vintage clothing show: Some of the vendors had gorgeous cloths for sale, but they were expensive (as they should be) and ...pristine. Aack. I already have pristine, what I need is almost-but- less-than-perfect! I despaired. I sighed. I walked around with a heavy heart and even heavier purse (inadvertently brought all my keys with me). And then...

...there it was! Filet lace! Handmade! No tears, breaks, frayed ends, nothing but a couple of gorgeous near-invisible yellow stains near the centre. Marked down to ten bucks! Yes! Canadian! Dollars! TEN! Someone make a movie! (Miracle on Rideau street..?). So now my friends can eat, drink, be merry and be pigs, too! Am I the perfect hostess or what?

Ok, so there is the small problem of matching this rectangular jewel to my very round table, but what the heck... I need new furniture... and there's this leetle darling antique store going outta business on Wellington st...

I've yet to decide whether I'll be going for art nouveau sleek (matching service, Rosenthal) or for mix-and-match rococo elegance (pretty much everything else). I put a few plates together and took pictures (because I'm a china nerd), so I'll be uploading them soon. I'll also include a picture of my feline china-breaking bandit (aka, 200-year-old Pouyat bites the dust) and I'm still begging my hyper-talented hubby to let me publish one of his famous Droid Life cartoons. Please honey??

Next week: Decisions on the plates, choosing the chargers and embryonic thoughts on, what else, food. Ah yes, the wine. I'm still working on that. Turns out there's ... ahem... a rather abundant set of data on wine out there. Not all of it clear. Or concise. Or rational, but that's another story, for another time.

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