While I greatly enjoy setting full-scale tables throughout the year, I get almost equal pleasure from the daily use of seasonal mugs and plates.

That first cup of coffee in the morning, in particular, is a ritual of comfort and joy. Must Have Coffee.

Our daughter Kirsten and her husband Mike have an Old English Sheepdog named Winston. They acquired him six years ago, at the same time we got Churchill, and they grew up together. When he was a puppy, the kids used to bring Winston over in the morning to spend the day with Churchill. So when I spotted these mugs and plates at Pier 1, it was no contest. They had to come home.

Old English Sheepdog puppies start out black and white and only gradually fade to grey as they get older. Here is a (not very good) shot of Winston and Churchill around this time of year, six years ago. I love Winston’s round face and snuffly expression.

In this picture, Churchill is about the same size Clementine is now. And look at the woolly coat on Winston! 

Winston now clocks in at about 90 pounds and outweighs Churchill by 50%. He is a big, friendly goofball, just like the Sheepdog on the mug.

It was a mild day on the Cape when I took these shots. We really enjoy sitting on our front porch, sipping a cup of tea, a latte or glass of wine and watching the world go by. Often the dogs just curl up in front of us, or at least they dd until the advent of the new pup, Clementine. We’ll have to see how that works out this coming summer!

I assembled a bit of greenery and some pine cones for a festive note to the breakfast tray.

The pillow with the red berries and the red throw are from Pottery Barn many years ago. Adirondack chairs are very practical, but they do cause Numb Bum after a while, so a cushion is a must.

We got these two chairs from Nautique in Brewster, the same place we bought a lot of the furnishings for the Cape house. Nautique’s owner, Marsha Malone, has excellent taste and was an invaluable resource for soft furnishings and custom-made pieces in reclaimed wood, such as the hutch and dining room table you see so often in my tablescapes. We’ve had these chairs for nine years and they’re as good as new. They sit out all year, unprotected except for the roof of the porch.

Besides the scarf, I think my favourite part of this plate is the holly hairclip for the Sheepdog’s topknot. 

There won’t be many idle moments in the next few weeks as we gear up for the holidays. I’ve done almost all the shopping, but the wrapping lies before me. A concentrated session with a few favourite movies such as Little Women and The Holiday should deal with the bulk of it.  Meanwhile, I shall remember relaxing on the porch with the Sheepdog mugs and plates. 

As I write this, Clementine and Dundee are chasing each other through the house at top speed, pausing only to engage in a vigorous wrestling match from time to time. Clemmie put on quite a bit of weight while we were in England and Dundee is looking more and more like a full grown cat. I’ll update with pictures soon.

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