28 April, 2013

Props and Tablescapes

This is one of the tablescapes I set up for Hubby's 50th birthday Jeeves & Wooster/Downton Abbey Party. One of the games I planned was for guests to find as many nods to the books/shows as they could and write them down on a card. These are all things we already had, with the exception of the round cigar box, which was one of Hubby's presents.

There are artifacts from my husbands great-grandfather, which fit the time period perfectly, so I included them in the tablescapes. I could have gotten even more detailed, but I simply ran out of time and found that most people could just take in what I'd already set up! Lesson learned, there! Simplicity is a good thing! I think any show enthusiast would have loved spending extra time pouring over the possibilities. The globes and trunk are a nod to Jeeves & Wooster's trip to America (Season Three). The banjo, well, is the closest thing I could get to the banjolele, which makes its appearance in several J & W episodes.

We have the complete set of Jeeves & Wooster done by Hugh Laurie and Stephen Fry. One Christmas, Hubby and I each got the other this set. Our own version of "The Gift of the Magi!" :-)
The toy car was Hubby's Grandfathers. The old photo is of Hubby's great grandfather.

Below, I included another family toy car and great grandfather's cufflinks, cufflink container, and compass. The "W" hanky is a nod to Bertie Wooster. No 1910-1920's British tablescape is complete without some vintage British tomes.


More: Around the Tea Table, Tennyson's complete works, and Charles Kingsley's Westward, Ho! (Illustrated by N.C. Wyeth)

Kiplings poems, Georg Eliot's Romola, two by Lamb, Samuel Johnson's Rasselas, Lord Byron, another Charles Kingsley, a book of minor Victorian poets, and a book of selected British essays. To the far right, you can see The Gentleman's Companion, which is a two-volume set for gentlemen about culinary arts and spirits.

It's a little dark, but I placed a copy of turn-of-the-century sheet music on an old music stand that belonged to hubby's Grandmother. It is a nod to the banjo-playing minstrels in some of the Jeeves & Wooster episodes.
 Here was another nod to the era and the costumes: Leslie Thrasher was a rival of Norman Rockwell, and this is in the collection titled The Rivals of (Norman) Rockwell. Interesting book!


In my next post, I'll show and explain some of the decorations that are nods to Downton Abbey.

I hope you have enjoyed our interpretation of the era for a very special birthday celebration!

Cheerio, Jeeves!


26 April, 2013

A Jeeves & Wooster meets Downton Abbey Garden Birthday Party

We've been a bit busy. Not only have we entered that "end-of-schoolyear" craziness, BUT we also have multiple family birthdays to celebrate. This includes hubby's big 50th.

I decided to throw a Jeeves & Wooster meets Downton Abbey garden party. Both British shows overlap a historic time period AND some sets. Highclere castle is Downton Abbey and Totleigh Towers in Jeeves & Wooster. I love to see the differences in lighting choices between the two shows.

But, more about the party...

There had to be bunting/banners ~

I used my rotary cutter, jute twine, and some felt that I already had onhand from Christmas crafts.

My daughter and I wore dresses made by my mother in the early 80's. They were perfect for the party!
We also added ribbons and homemade felt flowers to attach to our hats.
 My shoes were from modcloth online. They shipped quickly, and I added soft insoles to help make them more comfy.

We made sure to serve finger sandwiches, both cucumber (added dill and left out the garlic) and chicken salad (basic recipe with chopped sweet onions added). We also served orange marmalade on artisan bread, fruit trifle, grapes, and British cheeses of farmhouse cheddar, apricot stilton, and some brie. No garden party menu is complete without tea and biscuits!

Notice the finer details of the table decor. The toy period car was Hubs's grandfather's toy. The phone was Hubs's grandmother's phone. Tea tins were used to hold toothpicks. You can also see a close-up of the felt flowers the girls and I made.

Helping Hubs cut the birthday cake. I made sure to use our good china at the serving table, along with our coffee/tea cups and saucers (how often do we do that, ladies and gents??) for this special occasion.

Outdoors ~

We set up a cricket court, bocce ball, and a coconut shy

Hubs made the bat himself, as well as the wickets.

The second birthday boy - our youngest is 18 now.
The Coconut Shy was a big hit!

Bocce ball

We took some time to get group shots
Old-timey fun
The family

The whole party group of "viewers" and Jeeves & Wooster or Downton Abbey folks

candids of our friends at the garden party

There were a few modern conveniences at the party ~ everyone was taking photos.

Hubs n me
 and a funny pose ~

 Lady Mary and Lady Lisa :-)

Our oldest two ~

The drinks table: plenty of peach tea, water, port and sherry, and coffee in a carafe.

I found "battenburg lace" vinyl tablecloths at our local grocery store for the outdoor tables. They worked great!