Friday, December 02, 2011

More From Your Tableware

by Alfred Godchaux 1835-1895, France

Table setting from Pinterest

Chargers are round plates usually made of wood or plastic, which are designed to hold china plates and protect the table.  They used to be quite expensive, and sometimes cost even more than the plates themselves, but lately, they are found at dollar stores and discount stores.  I got some of mine at Walmart for only 95 cents, and some were 50c each after the Christmas season was over.  The Dollar Tree has some with the pretty beaded edges. Chargers are a great substitute for place mats, and they do not take up so much room on the table. They look very elegant when combined with matching napkins and other accessories. 

Here is a sample of how you can use one dish in several different settings and give your table setting a new look. I've linked to a few blogs which feature table settings, which show the endless ways to use dishes, place mats, chargers, centerpieces, napkins, napkin rings, and tablecloths.  Today I spent some time preparing tables for guests, using the same plates with different chargers. 

The name of the plate is "Enchanted" by Corelle Livingware, and the plates are available at discount stores like Walmart, on open stock. This means you can buy a plate to add to your supply, whenever you like. This dinnerware is lightweight and feels like china, and is unbreakable. I've used it here in three different settings, to share how you can get more use out of one set of dishes and enjoy them in different ways.

For a centerpiece to match the green chargers, use green ornaments, green apples, limes or fresh cut greenery from outside. Anything from laurel to cedar makes a lovely centerpiece. The round ornaments here are shatterproof, as many are made of styrofoam or unbreakable materials these days.

This is what the chargers look like. They are very lightweight, and I like them better than place mats.

Here is the plate with green chargers, matching napkins and green glass punch cups. 

These green chargers were available at Walmart this year for less than a dollar each.

A variety of things from the dollar store that could be used to brighten up a table when used with your ordinary, every day dishes.

This is the same plate used on a bright red charger from the dollar store, the ones with the beaded edges, also available in gold and silver.  A sparkled bow ornament is looped around a napkin, to match.  If you have guests for a tea or luncheon, you can let them take home the ornament as a party favor.  They come 5 in a box for a dollar. Roll up the napkins tightly and slip the thread hanger over them, showing off the pretty bow by laying it on the front of the napkin. 
Here is a gold charger with gold cutlery. One of the bird and pine branch clip-ornaments is used for a napkin holder. These birds come in glittered red, gold and silver, at dollars stores, and slightly cheaper at Walmart.

If you eat at home most of the time, it is always nice to have a change by using chargers and colored napkins and accessories and exchanging them.  Try a snowflake ornament on a red napkin, as you see here on the left, which can also become a gift to send home with a guest. These usually come in a package of 6 for a dollar or less. Tie jingle bells around the napkin for a delightful touch.  All kinds of things are available at the dollar stores that could be used for this purpose, for centerpieces, or for table decor in general. 

If you have no colored goblets, just fill clear glass stemware with cranberry juice to match your setting, as shown above.

Look through your fabric supply for prints that match your chargers and table settings. I have used a piece of clear plastic (available by the yard), and can insert any kind of fabric under it that I'm not using, and it will remain undamaged in case I ever get around to sewing with it. 

Hand make ornamental napkin rings by cutting similar shapes as these ornamental bows,  from heavy scrapbook papers. Cut out  houses, trees, bells, candle shapes or candy canes, and attach a strip of paper to wrap around the napkin.

Someone just told me that pink chargers are available, and has a picture of them here  

If you want to make ornaments with styrofoam balls, there are instructional videos available on you tube, including this one:


Kimberline said...

What pretty pictures and wonderful ideas. I was looking at charger plates when I was at Michael's yesterday. My violin teacher was using a gold charger plate as a watering tray under her poinsettia and it worked very nicely and was a pretty place to lay a couple of pine cones and ornaments.

I just love how you did up these place settings and made them all so different. Thanks for sharing, Lydia!

I have a few pictures of decorating to share with you, but it will be a couple of days before I get the pictures onto the computer so I can send them along to you.

Have you done any different Christmas tree ideas this year?



Lydia said...

One thing I really like about the times we live in, is the unbreakable ornaments. I like the balls made of stryrofoam and I think they have a better sparkle to them, too. I remember as a child a lot of broken glass each year when the ornaments were taken out. It is so nice not to be concerned about such things, and these new ornaments pack away so nicely, without too much pampering.

Kimber, and others: if you would like pictures of my home this season, I would be glad to send them. Just email me: I am trying to figure out how to make a slide show to send out to email recipients.

Lydia said...

In smaller houses without much storage space, using fruit and natural green branches means you do not have to store something. One reason I prefer to make paper decorations for my tree each year in a different color or style, is that they can be discarded afterwards. A person can get so many boxes of decorations after awhile and it gets a bet crowded. I find the natural centerpieces and homemade paper things keep me from collecting too much.

amulbunny's random thoughts said...

Very lovely. I got my Mandarin Flower Corelle in open stock at the Corning Ware outlet at one of the outlet malls near me. I'm going up in a week or so and get 3 more settings.

You can also order corningware and pyrex from this website which is the corningware site:

If you don't want to share my comment that's okay, but share the website. They have great deals. I got a set of pyrex measuring cups 4c, 2c, 1c for less than 15$. And some nice pyrex casserole dishes for $3 on sale.

Lydia said...

I like dishes and find Corelle stacks thin enough not to take up much space, so I can have several sets. I also like the new white plate that is available with the wide brim. It also does not make a lot of clanging noise when I stack it, unlike stoneware, which is so heavy, and which chips.

Far Above Rubies said...

Such wonderful ideas, Lady Lydia. Thank you. I hope to use the chargers this year.

Karen said...

I think you gave some excellent ideas here. Everything looks so pretty! Thank you for sharing this.

Karen said...

I just saw the comment about styrofoam ornaments and I have an idea to share for making nice ones for those that have not hear of it. If you get some styrofoam balls, common pins and sequins, you can make pretty ornaments by sticking a sequin on a pin, then sticking the pin in the styrofoam ball. Do this all around the ornament. You can also use a sequin then a pearl or other kind of bead. We used to make these when I was a child. You can also make a decorative Christmas tree for your table top this way, using the styrofoam cone shapes.

Kimberline said...


I have the same Corelle pattern with the shell like border that you have. I've had it for "years" and it has held up so well and works blended with other pieces because it is white and simple yet elegant. Recently I did take some of the pieces out of the cabinet and moved them into the garage on my potting table and now use them under plants as a pretty under-the-pot protection for my wood floors or to protect the wood on my front steps. That same pattern can still be had, so of course, I replaced it.

I agree with you about stoneware. While it comes in some wonderful and colorful patterns, it takes so much room to store it. My husband gave me a 20 piece place setting along with extra side pieces of a blue on white pattern. While I love it, it is heavy and completely filled up the top area of my china cabinet. I could have had two or three 8 to 12 piece settings of the corelle dishes in that same space.

Now that it is in the cabinet and is not "seasonal" I find I'm not using it very much. After Christmas I am going to move it into my kitchen cabinets and encourage people to use it daily. Yes, it will get broken! It is stoneware! But I don't want to have something that I'm not using because it is more fragile. I'm not sure that I need a full 20 place settings anyway!

I just love this new addition to your tableware. The pattern is feminine and decorative without being overly ornate. It lends itself well to so many different looks, too.

I'll email you. I'd love to see what you did for your home decorating this year. Sometimes I wish we could visit one another to share ideas. I don't have any friends around me who care for decorating their homes. I've been just so content and pleased these past few days as I have cleaned my home and put out decorations. These women have no idea what satisfaction they are missing!

happy momma said...

Pretty table scapes. I know what you mean about having to store your christmas decor, I have collected for years and now I don't know what to do with all the clutter it creates. I'll think about getting rid of some of it, but then I don't want to part with it. There is one good thing about collecting, as the children grow and move into their own homes, I can pass along some of my treasure with each of them. (smile)

Anonymous said...

Great post! I love pretty dishes too...and setting an attractive table each night for supper gives me a lot of pleasure. Even if the meal is very plain (or maybe especially!) I like to have the table look appealing. I have different patterns that I switch out during the year. Some of my napkins & tablecloths are looking a little tired....maybe time to replace them? But at the same time, the comfort of continuity is a good feeling. :o)


Anonymous said...

Is that Richelieu china? I have an enormous set that my grandmother purchased in England, probably in the late 50s or early 60s. I adore it for its beauty and its sentiment!

Anonymous said...

Enjoyed this post, I love Corelle dinnerware also. Easily stored and easy for the dishwasher as well.....some heavier plates are hard to stack properly in the dishwasher. I have 3 sets of Corelle! One is a Christmas pattern (Holly Days) which they discontinued, much to my disappointment. I was adding to that each year from the outlet, just buying a few pieces at a time. Would have bought more if I knew it was going away :o( Thanks so much for your blog postings, it is like a visit with a dear friend.

Anonymous said...

Lydia, they say that a picture is worth a thousand words and this post by you demonstrates so well, the huge difference it makes to a home when a woman's touch is truly present. A woman who is working outside the home, rushing in, throwing a meal together and barely having time to get the plates on to the table is missing out on so much. As of course is her family. Proper table settings make such a difference and it's a wonderful way for a woman to do something creative each day.

Lydia said...

I need to give a tip about the care of Corelle, formerly Corningware: in the dishwasher, don't let plates rub against anything metal--your cutlery or a metal pan can put metal on the plates that you can't remove. When washing by hand, do not stack the plates on top the silverware, or keep the silverware separate as it puts marks on the corningware that can't be removed. Corelle will develop rust spots from contact with metal.

For care of your stainless steel forks, knives and spoons, do not wash them in the same pan with real silver or anything silver plated. Silver tarnishes stainless steel and vice versa. If you have any silver, like a tea pot, do not wash it in a stainless steel sink. Use a plastic dishpan inside your sink.

It is also important not to us a brillo pad or a steel scrubber on your Corelle plates and bowls as it can rub off the finish and leave metal marks.

Lydia said...

Yes it is Richelieu and I have only a few pieces. They are extremely difficult to find and I do not even look for them. Someone gave these to me. She got them at an estate sale

Kimberline said...

for the poster who lamented not getting all of the corelle dishes in the Holly Days pattern she would have wanted to have. I have been able to get replacements for broken dishes in a blue and white pattern and extra pieces for discontinued china patterns through They have all kinds of things including little ceramic animals and manger scenes. I looked to see if they have corelle and they do have Holly Days. The prices are higher than what we would have paid when the items were for sale in stores, but I think they are reasonable if you are just trying to fill out a beloved collection. Here is a link to the Holly Days pattern. :)