• Labor Day Table Top

August 27, 2018

I love Labor Day for many reasons.  It's that last holiday weekend where we get a little extra time at the lake.  One last time to feel like it's summer on the water, even though we know Fall and cooler weather is fast approaching.  One last chance for family and friends to be together at the lake in warmer weather.  And one last weekend to flaunt the patriotic bunting and flag decor.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, Labor Day, the first Monday in September, is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It is a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country.

I love the mix of fall foliage with plaid and patriotic themes for Labor Day. Last chance to enjoy the red, white and blue on a 2018 holiday (unless, of course, you are partial to an Americana Christmas tree). (Smile!!)

I love the mix of fall foliage with plaid and patriotic themes for Labor Day. Last chance to enjoy the red, white and blue on a 2018 holiday (unless, of course, you are partial to an Americana Christmas tree). (Smile!!)

In an earlier blog post, I shared the Southern tradition of hanging the red, white and blue bunting on Memorial Day and leaving it to hang through July 4th and through Labor Day weekend.  I have adopted this tradition at the lake even though we live in the Midwest, and I really enjoy it.

To celebrate both the coming of Fall and the last patriotic weekend of summer, I am sharing a tablescape that I hope you are drawn to as much as I am.  The plaid runners and napkins set the tone for the table and were purchased at Nell Hills in Kansas City, Mo.  My friend, Mary Carol Garrity is the owner of Nell Hills, and I have to say it is one of the most sought after decor destinations in the Midwest.  Customers come from all over the county to work with Mary Carol as she makes everyone feel special, as treasured friends, not just customers.

Nell Hills is indeed a magical place to visit each season of the year.  Fall is especially incredible at this two-story open air haven with its pumpkin-filled lanterns, plaid metal picnic tins, traditional urns overflowing with bittersweet and cat-tails, not to mention transitional style furniture with a fresh and sometimes vintage feel.  The second floor of the store is full of freshly made beds, each budding with beautiful puffy duvet-covered comforters, custom made shams and throw pillows finished with monograms if you like.  Lots of ready made pillows are available, but rolls of fabric fill several rooms where you can choose your own duvet or pillows as well.

Mary Carol helped me marry my cherished family heirlooms and fabrics to some of her fresh new ones at the lake house when we first bought and renovated the structure that was literally caving in after sitting abandoned for decades.  When she came over for dinner one evening to celebrate the triumph of our finished renovation, she and I literally held hands and jumped up and down, ecstatic to be surrounded by the finished project, a lake house fully of family antiques and dishes handed down, reinvented with new fabric additions and new furniture pieces here and there to make things feel just right.

She got me.  She understood how important the family connection was to lots of things in our house, and she knew the combination of those cherished items with her fresh fabrics would make our house a home.  So when I visited the store last week, I saw those plaid linens and could just picture my handed down dishes with them.  The other thing I eyed was a beautiful green charger.  These 12-inch Bordallo dishes by Ce Cory are from Portugal, and I started salivating over them a year ago, realizing how many of my own dishes I could put with them, including my Christmas Tree Spode.  If they could be this versatile to also go with a holiday like Labor Day, I was sold!  

On top of the green charger, I placed my aunt's everyday dinner plates, Earthstone Blue Reef by Trend Pacific, still available at Replacements, Ltd. online.  Next, my cherished hand painted Polish pottery salad plate complemented the look, with each plate being a different design of similar colors.  I had collected these dishes over a period of about 20 years or so, as a set that I used after Christmas dishes were put away and before summertime Fiesta Ware made its way to the table.  Little did I know at the time, that these blue and earth-toned colored dishes would be so perfect at the lake.

The crowning jewel to the Labor Day placesetting is my favorite lake mug, Ralph Lauren Home Hampton's Flag.  Hysterically, I got my first four of these on Christmas night a few years ago at our spirited extended family gift exchange.  No one knew why, but I made sure to keep trading until I got these mugs!  I knew just how perfect they would be in a lake home.  At that time, they were still sold at Macy's and I speedily completed my set of 12 after Christmas.  When my son moved to his own apartment after college, he asked where he could find a set of these.  So we both have them!

Artificial but realistic cat tails and artichoke picks were purchased at Nell Hills for the centerpiece and I actually used a spouted decanter crock of mine as the vase.  Nell Hills has some of the best artificial floral pieces in Kansas City.  Of course, we also love using Nell Hills' starry blanket during any patriotic holiday at the lake.  It goes well draped over one of our Mesquite rockers from Fort Worth's Rios Interiors on the lake-side deck.  Its blue background ties into the beautiful cobalt blue stemmed glasses owned previously by my aunt as well.

And finally, sometimes dish towels make the best napkins as these "Life Is Better at the Lake" ones do!  Sold at Nell Hills, the colors are perfect for our theme, but the main thing is they state the absolute truth.  Life really IS better at the lake.

Happy Labor Day!

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