It’s already getting lighter by the day! We are almost three weeks past the shortest day of the year and will be into double date digits tomorrow for January (which I consider practically the end of the month). Can you tell I’m anxious for spring?

I often use a black and white theme in my everyday kitchen china at the beginning of the year. It’s a visual relief from all the glitz and glamour of the Christmas season, with its heavy reliance on red and green. And thinking about that triggered this photo series and blog.

Last fall, as I was planning the Nutcracker table setting featuring Royal Stafford’s black & white toile plates, I came across the rose in the upper corner of this picture, clinging to dear life on the fence of one of our neighbours. It’s one of several David Austin rose bushes that they have growing along the fence, and I often stop to admire them as we set out on our daily walk with the dogs. I snapped the picture below earlier in the summer.

It sparked an idea on how to feature black and white throughout the year as a neutral backdrop. I clipped the rose (the neighbours have long returned to their winter residence) and created the place setting you see above, featuring the rose, a peach coloured venetian glass champagne cup and a soft chintz fabric as a napkin. 

Coaching Scene

Monarch of the Glen

Royal Stafford has six different scenes for these plates; the common theme is the fruit edging. Above you can see Coaching Scene and Monarch of the Glen. The other four are Hayride, The Blacksmith’s Forge, The Red Bull Inn, and The Herdsmen.

It was a fun project over the next few days to assemble twelve different settings. I couldn’t stop at just one for Christmas, as I was in the throes of putting those together. And I threw in the one that started the whole idea.


You may have spotted one place setting that features a different black & white pattern. 🙂

Yup – this is the one. I had purchased a bunch of Royal Stafford’s Victorian English Skull plates and bowls for my youngest daughter, Lauren (who loves all things skull) and was taking them back to Canada. I couldn’t resist throwing it in, too. The dinner plate is Jewel by  Spode, the flatware is Berry & Thread by Juliska, and the goblets are Graham clear, also by Juliska.

If anyone wants to know sources on the rest of the combinations, please just drop me a line and I’d be happy to list them. I’ve had a lot of the napkins for years and my sources include Sur la Table, HomeGoods/HomeSense, Pottery Barn, Williams Sonoma, Pier 1, and Wayfair. The flatware tends to be either my vintage canteen set, Juliska’s Berry & Thread or from World Market (they have amazing flatware at very reasonable prices). The glassware is a combination of antique, vintage, HomeSense and Pottery Barn.


I’m sharing this post with Between Naps on the Porch.