Something Original And Beautiful For Winter Hospitality


I love a last minute holiday rush. Malls, Amazon deliveries, and late night wrapping. No early Christmas shopping for me. But I like to ready my hospitality in advance. Something about preparing for guests soothes the soul in a way that buying presents does not. You?

Last year, in preparation for and celebration of the winter holidays, I acquired a new loveseat, table, and ottoman. Needed room for everyone to sit down. This year, I’m thinking maybe lampshades for the guest room. What, you don’t like glaring naked lightbulbs either? Fine then.

As for the table, around which we might gather? Mine is, for the most part, “set.” Not as in actually set, but set as in I know what I’ll use. Now is a good time to check inventory – of things that break, like interesting glasses and white plates, or things that seem to decamp in the night to Tanzania, like that 10th berry-colored linen napkin.

Alternatively, it’s a good time to summon a crew of beautiful weirdos to table. And I don’t mean your family. I’ve been admiring the mother-of-pearl handled flatware in Pigtown Design’s Etsy shop for ages. Meg is a longtime blogger, who writes here about traditional design, Baltimore architecture, and antiqueing forays.

Look at these.


The gorgeous, intricate engraved blades. Oh the ferns! They’re silverplate over steel, do not put them into the dishwasher. This isn’t regular silverware, game for wanton washing.


The luster of the handles.


Meg has other sets, large and small. Mix them with plain spoons, butter knives, even fish knives, if you’re hosting an implement-intensive feast. In fact, I hear she’s got some fish knives on the way. These are the kind of home goods that can become a family story of their own.


Illustration courtesy Marilyn Pollack Naron, charming food illustrator.

Affiliate links may generate commissions. This does not apply to Pigtown Design or M.P. Naron. I don’t have commercial relationships with either Meg or Marilyn. But I appreciate the pleasant charm and civility of grown ups on the Internet.




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  • Thank you so much! I am totally in love with this MOP (mother of pearl) silver and knew that if I loved it, so would a lot of other people!


    8:56 am
    Lisa said...

    @pigtown*design, You were right and you are welcome!

  • I can imagine them at Snow white’s table (maybe happily ever after,in her prince charming castle),don’t you? Or at my table mixed with plain ones? But then my guests may be thinking that I have some favorites( I am ashamed but I might have :-). And favorites would get plain forks )
    It is something about planning,dinners,events,trips,it’s my favorite part!
    And I always have something to dream about in this sector.
    Btw. I am known for very early Christmass gifts shopping

    8:57 am
    Lisa said...

    @dottoressa, I think everyone could have at least one piece, some a fork, some a knife:). And I’d be very interested to hear about Christmas in your part of the world. If you don’t want to start a blog, maybe you’d write a guest post for Privilege?

    10:49 am
    Frances/Materfamilias said...

    Ooh, this is a lovely idea — when you’re done here, come write one for me as well. . . I know you’d write something my readers would love!

    12:06 pm
    dottoressa said...

    My dear ladies,I am deeply touched and honoured, yes,I would like to,if you are sure <3
    I couldn't know how to write a blog and am not so sure that it will be very interesting

  • I’ve been drooling over Meg’s MOP for quite some time now.

    8:57 am
    Lisa said...

    @Linda @ a design snack, In good company then;).

  • Oh my goodness, but you are in trouble, woman!

    Those are gorgeous.

    8:58 am
    Lisa said...

    @Jean S, Gorgeous. But not, in context of things so beautiful one gasps, outrageously expensive.

  • Those are fish forks and knives……………..THEY ARE BEAUTIFUL.
    I want to get your POST day by day………….HOW CAN I DO THAT?
    Are those placemats up TOP first photo?I want them!!!!
    I shop ALL the way through……………….no room for overnight guests but have HOLIDAY dinners……………..maybe I need to UP MY GAME!

    9:03 am
    Lisa said...

    @LA CONTESSA, Those are regular forks and knives, the fish versions are on their way to Meg as we speak! And I only send a weekly digest – not wanting to clutter up people’s mailboxes. But maybe I should change that, you are not the first person to ask! And the first photo is an illustration by a talented artist – they would make amazing placemats though, you are RIGHT!


  • damn it! AMAZON. which is anything but AMAZIN.

    10:00 am
    Lisa said...

    @lauren, I know.

  • Always stylish, and always gorgeous! I have beautiful silver that has been scatched….maybe it should be called pertained. I daren’t have those beautiful knives and forkes unless I want to spend the night polishing them myself. I fear those times have passed. A much gentler time.

    10:01 am
    Lisa said...

    @Sandra Sallin, The polishing…:)

  • God, those are beautiful! I love old silverware and don’t have any. Will check out the Etsy shop.

    1:36 pm
    Lisa said...

    @Marie, I think you’ll love it and would be well served by some old silverware.

  • I’ll be interested to see what you turn up on lampshades.

    I just cleaned my local Target out of this shade as I try to unify some random lamps under matching shades.

    My peeve is when lampshades I like at modest prices aren’t made to go on a harp. Lamp connections haven’t been one of my stunning DIY successes.

    1:54 pm
    Lisa said...

    @RoseAG, Oh I am so glad you reminded me about the harp! I probably would have bought some that didn’t work…

  • Those are amazingly beautiful. I have a set of steak knives and butter spreaders with those type of handles. However , sadly not the engraved part. Wow!

    2:05 pm
    Lisa said...

    @Mary anne, At least you get the luster. However, adding in some engraved knives would be pretty tempting.

  • Lisa, *you* are the talented artist, righto? If only I could sketch like that, I’d make a paper table runner!

    2:07 pm
    Lisa said...

    @Jane S., No, I wish! It’s @mpnaron, you’ll find her on Instagram!

  • I’m really regretting selling my late mother-in-law’s silver at this moment.

  • LOVE MOP pieces. Hoping to discover some long-forgotten set of them somewhere in my family’s collection…

  • They truly are gorgeous and would be so much fun to use. The ferns are just beautiful. I wonder how difficult it is to clean the grooves in the leaves?
    I can begin to imagine some creative place settings they will adorn.

    6:37 am
    pigtown*design said...

    @Candace, It’s not hard to clean them. Just soapy water and a good sponge – I like the pop-up ones from Williams-Sonoma. Occasionally, polish them with silver polish – I use the Weiman Silver Wipes, which you can find on Amazon. You don’t want to take away all of the tarnish in the grooves because that’s what gives it depth and patina.


    2:25 pm
    Candace said...

    @Candace, Thank you so much, Meg!

  • Beautiful cutlery – did you see that Amazon have now created their own version of an Etsy marketplace (?) *groans*

    1:40 pm
    Lisa said...

    @That’s Not My Age, Enh, they tried to be Gilt too until Gilt died. I don’t think they are doing to do much harm to Etsy, luckily.

  • Oh my how beautiful. They would look stunning blended in with my great-grandmother’s silver. And suitable for winter fantasy always.

    1:41 pm
    Lisa said...

    @Mardel, I think it’s perfect to work with all the silver of all the grandmothers;).

  • Really beautiful and I wouldn’t worry about polishing the tarnish out of the grooves of the pattern (as others have mentioned) because it’s what makes the pattern stand out and gives it that antique look.

    Going to look at her shop on Etsy now.

    1:45 pm
    Lisa said...

    @Kathy, I’m glad you like it!

  • Oh, that flatware is stunning!

    Believe it or not, there is a lampshade shop down the street from my parent’s house. Custom and stock and they do lamps too. Charming little spot – Barfield’s.

    1:59 pm
    Lisa said...

    @Patsy, I do believe it. And I can imagine the way it sits on the street. Wait, I hope it sits on the street and not in a mall;).

    10:27 am
    Patsy said...

    @lisa, Right on the street, pretty far from the mall :)

  • Oh, yes, the season for entertaining is upon us.

    Meg has hit the mother lode of MOP cutlery it seems. I’d have a hard time parting with these finds if I were a collector like Meg is.

    2:00 pm
    Lisa said...

    @Chronica Domus, You and Meg are my beacons;).

    6:22 am
    pigtown*design said...

    @Chronica Domus, Honestly, CD, I realized a few years ago that I am more of a hunter than a collector. I love the thrill of the hunt, but in the end, stuff is stuff… a lesson learned after two international moves in two years.

  • You are wise to assess your holiday table settings ahead of time and make sure there is nothing missing. Last minute shopping is far too stressful…I have not bought a thing for Christmas yet but will get on it soon!
    Those are beautiful MOP pieces…I have been collecting them on and off for a few years…as a lover of pearls and silver these pieces speak to me!

    7:36 am
    Lisa said...

    @Bungalow Hostess, Oh, I hadn’t noted your MOP, have you blogged any pieces? I can see they’d do well in your bungalow.

  • How lovely to come here and see Meg’s unerring eye featured.

    Her finds are always fabulous and I think her prices are tres reasonable.

    This just put a smile on my face.

    It’s a delightfully small world after all!

    xo J

    7:37 am
    Lisa said...

    @flwjane, Delightfully small. <3

  • How lovely, as I try to catch up in my blog reading, to find both you and Marilyn Pollack Naron, in one of your posts in a perfect combination of her illustration and your text! Well done you and @mpnaron, who I already follow on Instagram. I enthusiastically recommend her Instagram feed.

    This made me laugh:

    “Alternatively, it’s a good time to summon a crew of beautiful weirdos to table. And I don’t mean your family.”

    I love beautiful table settings: tablecloths, napkins, glassware, serving plates, and cutlery are all meaningful to me. I can hold each piece and remember who gave it to me, or where or why I purchased it. It makes me happy when a material object is full of meaning and precious. My mom is on my mind a lot lately, of course; yesterday was sixty days since her death. As I write this I remember how good she was at taking care of her beautiful things—suede shoes, scarves, china, silverware—but more importantly, how good she was at graciously letting go of material things. If someone, child or guest, broke a plate or spilled red wine on her linen tablecloth, or if, in my case, lost a gorgeous silk scarf of hers, which I’d asked to wear, and which blew off my head in the back of the USGS truck (the days with no seat belts and kids in constant road peril), my mom was not upset but kind. Hm… Lessons in impermanence, which I’m getting good at.

    But I Digress, which should be my personal family crest. I appreciate what you write because it makes me think.

    Happy Friday to you, my dear.