The Fish Tale Tablescape for a Thoroughly Modern Daughter

I have been collecting dishes for my daughter for years, but she didn’t have her own place, she didn’t entertain, she didn’t cook, and she didn’t want those dishes — yet.  And then she did, and the Fish Tale Tablescape swam its way into my heart. I’ll bet you have a similar tale to tell about your daughter or your mother.

GotMyReservations -- Fish Tale Tablescape TitleIt’s not a fish tale without a story to be told that’s a little bigger than life. My story (and I’m sticking to it) is that I agreed to meet the delivery guys who were bringing my daughter’s new sofa while she was out of town on business. While I was waiting, she said that I could use the time to photograph some of the pieces she had in her own “stash” and create a tablescape or two.

She probably said yes because she felt guilty about me having to wait for the delivery truck. Whatever — I was in dish heaven because I had some new dishes to play with.

When my daughter bought her first condo, it made my heart go pitty-pat when she wanted to buy a big table with leaves that would expand to fit all of her friends and family and would last her for years. Its dark espresso finish made the perfect base for a modern tablescape.

GotMyReservations -- Fish Tale Tablescape Intro

The table story started with the fish that she had placed smack in the center of the table. It was just begging to be the star of the show. She and a friend found it online and she actually thought it was convex rather than concave. It was her intention to hang it on the wall, but it turned into the perfect centerpiece.

She was already using the cream placemats I had found in the sale bins at HomeGoods, so I kept them on the table. I think it’s always okay to mix your whites in a tablescape, by the way. There’s a place for a perfect all-white look, but it’s not a requirement for a beautiful table.

GotMyReservations -- Fish Tale Tablescape Place Setting 3

When I saw these Italian glass plates at World Market, I snapped up twelve of them and kept them in storage for her. I knew that she loved the milky glass (and I did text her a photo to get her approval). Then I saw the matching bowls at HomeGoods, and yes, I drove around to several different stores to get as many as I could. I ended up with eight.

GotMyReservations -- Fish Tale Tablescape Place SettingI have been collecting the Monax white depression glass for her in the American Sweetheart pattern, but don’t have enough for a full place setting. They are pretty hard to come by without resorting to buying them on Replacements or eBay. She will have to let me know at some point if she wants more. There are enough now for her to use as side plates, and I love how their sheer glass and delicate pattern works with the very modern place setting.

GotMyReservations -- Fish Tale Tablescape Place Setting 2

Since I was probably already skating on thin ice by rummaging through her closets — but remember, I had her approval — I did not look for her grandmother’s silver flatware set. I set the table with what she had in the drawers. Hmmm — maybe she needs a new stainless set that matches. Likewise, I didn’t find the set of twelve hotel napkins I also bought from the sale rack at HomeGoods, so there’s no fancy napkin arrangement going on here. Let’s get real; she and her friends use paper napkins that come with the takeout containers. 🙂

I grabbed her grandmother’s martini glasses because that’s what appropriate for this very modern girl’s tablescape. There’s always room for a Cosmo or two among friends!

Since I didn’t have flowers that suited this modern tablescape, I photographed without them. We went back again on the weekend for her housewarming party, and I brought her some interesting floral arrangements in Ball jars.

GotMyReservations -- Fish Tale Centerpiece

I love how the ornamental cabbage talks to the elegant roses and sweet daisies in this arrangement. Being a smart girl, she put protection on the table for the party, but I decided to include the flowers in this fish story anyway.

GotMyReservations -- Fish Tale Centerpiece 4 GotMyReservations -- Fish Tale Centerpiece 3 GotMyReservations -- Fish Tale Centerpiece 2

I loved how each arrangement was a little bit different and they were striking against the white tablecloth. Wouldn’t the white tablescape be beautiful on this white background as well?

You’re probably wanting a happy ending for that cute fish, and I’ve got one for you.  It found its way over to the coffee table and it’s holding remotes instead of flowers in Ball jars. Fish are flexible that way, you know. They’ve spent a lot of time in schools and know what’s up.

Okay, I’m done playing around with my fish tale and with my daughter’s dishes — for now. There’s another ‘scape to come; I had to wait a LONG time for those delivery guys. 🙂

I’m taking a break right now for my son’s wedding, but I encourage you to visit my regular linky parties to see some lovely photos and get some creative inspiration for your tables: Let’s Dish with Cuisine Kathleen Open House Party with No Minimalist Here, Inspire Me Tuesday at A Stroll Thru Life, and Tablescape Thursday at Between Naps on the Porch. I hope you’ll leave a comment today and let me know you were here!

Got my bags, got my reservations,
Spent each dime I could afford. 
Like a child in wild anticipation, 
I long to hear that, “All aboard!”

Music and lyrics by Bud Green, Les Brown and Ben Homer (1944)





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9 thoughts on “The Fish Tale Tablescape for a Thoroughly Modern Daughter

  1. What fun you had! I also love to tablescape with other people’s dishes, and my mother, sister, daughter, and daughter-in-law have been happy to oblige me over the years. The white and cream elements looked great on her dark table, and it’s wonderful how the vintage and new pieces played so nicely together!

    • Right now I’m on the lookout for someone who has milk glass dishes as I have a theme in mind for winter. I’m starting to branch out to other people’s collections, but I haven’t done everything there is to do with my own stash yet. Thanks for your kind comments!

  2. OK, I need to replace our everyday dishes soon. We have pretty simple tastes and a modest budget, but I want something a little fun and less conservative. Our current pattern is Pfaltzgraff Mystic. I might send you on a goose chase to find me something cute. 🙂 And dishwasher-safe. And kidproof?

  3. The napkins were totally in the linen closet. True Confession: I didn’t know I owned napkins (that you bought me napkins) until last week when I was looking for a tablecloth (which I also didn’t know how many I had…). Looks great! I think I’m going to get more shark stuff for the table. What do you think of this as a dining room table centerpiece? I think it’s hilarious:

    • I think it’s hilarious, too. Reminds me of your Order of the Engineer ceremony. I got those napkins for a steal — maybe $5.00 for twelve?

  4. White is always beautiful in my eyes. The fish plate makes a very interesting center piece. I was looking at the zebra stripes in the background (a rug I think) and thought some zebra stripe place mats would make a great contrast for the white plates.

  5. Pingback: Pretty in Pink Tablescape - Got My Reservations

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