Holiday and Crafts Editorial Director Marcie McGoldrick's table
I make ceramics and I also have a collection of vintage dinnerware, so I use Thanksgiving to display both. The old and new pieces are all shades of creamy white, which makes them easy to mix. I worked with a golden-yellow palette and anchored the look with a table runner made with metallic glazed linen. I like the look of the linen's selvage, so I incorporated that fringy edge into the table runner and napkins. To add some more intense bursts of the golden color, I placed a few spider mums and Craspedia globosa in shallow bowls and porcelain cups. My niece usually makes our family's place cards, so she drew spider mums to match those in the centerpiece.
Start at Neutral
Modern dinnerware easily mixes with classic pieces when they're in neutral colors such as white or cream. They're also a good backdrop for when you bring in bright splashes of color.
Add Handmade Touches
Basic projects like place cards are a good way to let kids put their imprint on the setting.
Slowly Build a Collection
You don't have to invest in a set of silverware all at once. Find a style you like, and then periodically check online auction sites, or set up an eBay alert for new listings. (That's how Marcie got a lot of her Community Plate pieces in Patrician pattern.)
Classic Century dinnerware, 20-piece set; and Classic Century sauce boat; crateandbarrel.com (all similar to shown). Flat porcelain platters, marciemcgoldrick.com. Thatcher chairs, in solid maple, roomandboard.com.
Selvage Napkin and Runner How-To
Give your table an unfussy decorative detail by making napkins and a runner that show linen's selvage. To make napkins, cut 20-inch squares, making sure to include the selvage. Hem the three cut sides of the squares, and leave the selvage sides intact. For a runner, measure the width and length of the table. Cut two pieces to half the width and the full length, making sure to include the selvage along the lengths. Sew the pieces together lengthwise, so selvage runs down the long sides of the table. Hem the short sides.