Love at the Table

Love at the Table

Valentine’s Day is tied with Thanksgiving as my favorite holiday. I don’t have a particularly romantic husband and he usually doesn’t even remember when it occurs. Before I was married, I always seemed to have a breakup right before the day, or else not have a relationship at all. Therefore, for me, valentines is not about romantic love, but rather love in general. I celebrate with paper crafting and fun meals.

Love at the Table

I decorate the house accordingly, especially the mantle. I also invest in stickers, doilies, and fancy papers so we can make our own cards. Throughout the month, I buy flowers for the table from Trader Joes, especially roses because they are inexpensive, yet last a long time. Contrary to what the experts tell us, for me, food is love. I enjoy creating a special breakfast on Valentines for my school kids (these opportunities are fast running out as they get older). I have a heart shaped waffle maker which pretty much guarantees the breakfast food every year.

In the last few years, my sister and brother-in-law have come down from Charlotte for a mini-celebration dinner. It started when they had a gift card to a local restaurant that needed to be used, but quickly evolved into dinner at home. We both like to cook, and our husbands get along fairly well, so it has become a fun little tradition.

Love at the Table

I always set the table for a formal dinner, usually because we are preparing “fancy food”, but also because, what better time and for who else? I like to collect Depression glass and find that pink, red, and clear are the perfect colors for this holiday. I am also very lucky in that I have twin girls that love to polish silver. Their grandmother taught them all about silver care years ago and its become a “zen” thing for them. All I have to do is lay out the tarnished pieces and they will take care of the creating the sparkle.

Love at the Table

Ephemera is a term for saved items, usually paper, that were originally intended for short-term use before discarding. This can be ticket stubs, theater programs, postcards or letters; almost anything. There are organizations for those devoted to collecting, cataloguing, and displaying these items. I love booklets about cooking or baby care, stationary, Valentines, and name cards. I don’t have many, but I love to pull out some of these items for my table decoration. The food is plated so they are safe from spills, and they are fun to look at while we eat and talk.

Love at the Table

Dinner is usually steak or seafood, a couple of appetizers and a decadent chocolate dessert. The important thing is the company, and our time together. My sister and I are very close (after arguing like crazy while growing up), and we are fortunate to be married to easy-going guys who are willing to indulge us. We can all talk about any subject, and usually cover a wide range of topics, despite different backgrounds and viewpoints. It takes effort to coordinate schedules and even to clear time on weekends, but it is well worth it. Love comes in many forms, and should always be celebrated.

Antique linens – cotton cut work placemats, pink damask tablecloth, crochet edge cotton/pink damask layered napkins
Glass napkin rings and knife rests – department store purchase
White plates – “Claire” by Ralph Lauren/Wedgewood
Pink depression glass – Grape by Standard Glass
Heart Bowls – Williams Sonoma
Wine glasses – Lenox
Ruby glass goblets-Kings Crown Thumbprint by Indiana Glass
Flatware – Memory Hiawatha by International Silver
Ephemera – Victorian and Edwardian era valentines and name cards



  1. What a lovely table setting and posting of traditions in your family! So glad you shared.

    • Denise Altman February 9, 2017 at 7:46 pm - Reply

      Thank you! Such a fun (but no pressure) holiday for us!

  2. Jean | February 9, 2017 at 8:02 pm - Reply

    Denise, what an exceptionally beautiful table! I would feel so happy to sit down at that table. So elegant and serene a setting for a special meal with loved ones.

    • Denise Altman February 10, 2017 at 12:25 pm - Reply

      Thank you! I think you are a little far away from me, but you are certainly welcome!

  3. Sylvia D. February 10, 2017 at 7:05 pm - Reply

    Denise, I love your heart shaped bowls. It is wonderful to be able to spend time with family. I love your table setting. Thanks for sharing. Sylvia D.

    • Denise Altman February 11, 2017 at 11:02 am - Reply

      Thank you! Those bowls are precisely the right size for a pile of strawberries covered with a mound of whipped cream (in case you need real life measurements).

  4. Liz Brooks February 11, 2017 at 8:36 am - Reply

    My goodness, it was calming and warming just to see these pictures and read your text. Beautiful traditions and table.

    • Denise Altman February 11, 2017 at 11:04 am - Reply

      Thanks Liz-glad you enjoyed it. There is room for you at my table any time, and I will make it “fancy” for you as well!

  5. Sherry February 11, 2017 at 7:24 pm - Reply

    Such a pretty table. The calling cards are always a favorite. I can’t believe how formal and mannerly people used to be when they left calling cards.

    • Denise Altman February 12, 2017 at 8:35 am - Reply

      Don’t you wish we still used them? Thanks for the comment!

  6. Lidy@FrenchGardenHouse Antiques February 15, 2017 at 10:43 am - Reply

    Denise this is so beautiful. Spending time with those we love is the most important thing about all holidays, isn’t it? I love this”love comes in all forms, and should always be celebrated.” YES!

    • Denise Altman February 15, 2017 at 4:30 pm - Reply

      Agree!! Thanks for reading and commenting!

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