Let’s go to France this week and see the tulips. 

Wait … that’s wrong … tulips are Holland. And they’re supposed to come in the spring. But these tulips arrived last summer, at Trader Joe’s. It’s a mixed-up world right now. 

French Menu by Sabatier is the pattern. I don’t know anything about the origin or when it was produced, but it comes up from time-to-time on eBay. (In fact, there are eight salad plates listed right now for $16.00. And one set of four dinners and four salad plates for $69. Giddy up, anyone who is interested!) The dinner plate depicts a handwritten accounting of the meal partaken of by Madame Perrin Doit.

Do you think she’s the lady in the irresistibly elegant hat? So chic!

There are four different salad/dessert plates, all featuring diners enjoying their meals.

It was not my intention to set a table with these plates last summer. I had managed to purchase eight of the dessert plates, but had only four of the dinner and was waiting for another four to present themselves. I had thoughts of preparing a French meal and perhaps throwing a tres elegant dinner party.

But then, I was not expecting to find tulips in July, either. Not one to look a gift flower in the petal, so to speak, home they came, along with the tiny plums you see in the compote.

A very happy combination, in just the right plummy, rusty shade.

They were a new variety, a Cherry Plum. They were smaller than traditional plums, and a touch sweeter.

A lovely colour, no?

So I set a table for four, instead.

I’ve had these napkins for at least a decade. I’ve used them before with Merletto Aqua plates and peach Depression Glass (called June Pink, but actually peach-coloured).

The rusty background was a natural fit, and I was inspired to draw out the pale blue accents by using blue Depression glass goblets and small compotes.

The blue Depression glass pattern is Cleo by Cambridge. It’s a tough one to track down, and I’ve been accumulating it a couple of pieces at a time. It was another good reason to set a table for four. 

I have five of each of the water glasses (used as wine) and the iced tea glasses (used as water). 

The footed compotes holding the plums are the champagne/tall sherbet. I also have octagonal salad plates in the pattern and look forward to using those in another setting.

What do you think? A crazy seasonal hodgepodge, but I think it works.

Update: I was lucky enough to snag another four of the dinner plates over the winter, and plan to host an elegant dinner party for eight once things return to normal. Can’t wait…

A lovely dinner, complete with menus.

Though not invoices. 🙂 

The tulips had beautifully variegated petals; I believe they’re called “painted tulips” and I can see why. It’s almost like they’ve had brushstrokes of paint applied to the petals.

Oh, warmer weather, please hurry and arrive. It’s easier to be cheerful when the sun is shining and coats can remain in the closet.

How is everyone holding up? Are you finding that it’s taking a lot of discipline and effort to stay positive? As one of my clients put it, the pandemic is one thing – the info-demic is almost worse. I’m limiting my consumption to a few minutes a day, morning and night, and trying to stay busy and focused in between. We have carried on walking the dogs an hour a day, but have severely limited any other beyond the house activity, such as grocery shopping. That’s taken me back to when the kids were all home and I planned meals a week in advance. Servez, indeed.


I’ve also dug out the jigsaw puzzles, finding them to be very absorbing, and I also like the low-tech aspect. I tend to read on the Kindle app on my iPad, and it’s all too easy to be seduced into checking out the news sites. Susan, over at Between Naps on the Porch has written a blog or two on jigsaw puzzles she likes. I’m a fan of the Cobble Hill, White Mountain, and Ravensberger varieties and loved doing these two:

Amazon is having trouble keeping puzzles in stock, and I’ve had good luck with both Herrschners and SeriousPuzzles.com. I’ve just ordered this one to do next. Do you notice a theme here? Books, flowers, and pets. Yup.

The only downside to puzzles is they can be backbreaking. A couple of years ago I invested in a jigsaw table. I see they’re still available on Amazon.com, though they have gone up a bit in price. What I like about this one is the adjustable angle, and the fact it’s mounted on wheels, so it can be easily moved out of the way. I purchased the board as well, which comes with a Dundee-proof and Moxie-proof cover. No more missing pieces (one of my absolute pet-est of pet peeves). 


Ha! I finished this puzzle on Sunday. No pieces missing. I had a few bad moments when we were getting down to the last few, but my alarm was unfounded. Human 1, Cats 0. 

I also came across this article rating various jigsaw puzzle tables; it provides some other options. The links are mostly to Amazon.co.uk, but if you just change out the co.uk to .com in your browser, it will often take you to the same product in the US.

We can finish up dreaming about future dinner parties.

And tulips.

Stay safe, everyone!

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