Saturday, January 24, 2009

Preserving the shine and gold of your fine china and crystal.

My Antique Rose Medallion from the 1800's goes in the dishwasher. Yes. I put old china, and my grandmother's' sterling flat silver and antique crystal with the wide gold rim in the dishwasher. Shocked? Why? Because, who wants to hand wash all the dishes and glasses after a dinner party for 18 persons?

Here are some industry secrets:

1. Load and unload the dishwasher nicely. Spacing is key. Do not crowd. Do not put pots and pans in with the sterling, or gold rim (it's a metallurgy thing). I do not put pots or pans ever in the dish washer.

2. Use only 1 teaspoon of plain dish washing detergent. Do not use the detergent with the lemon. The plain detergent is hard to find. Hunt it out anyway.

Lemon is for pots and pans. Lemon is acidic. Lemon eats the glaze and the gold off of your china and crystal. Hand washing and soaking, or not soaking and running through the dishwasher, lemon detergent any where near your china and crystal will eat the glaze off of it and ruin your beautiful, fine wedding china. Lemon will also ruin every day china too. Over time the acid from the lemon ruins the glaze. Lemon also will eat the color and design off of your china whether it is hand painted or transfer ware.

3. Always, always, always use the gentle cycle and never, ever turn on the heat. Always air dry. Air dry, then wipe dry the china and sterling flatware if needed. The heat will weaken your china and crystal and will eventually melt off all the gold. Your home is not a hospital. The dishes do not need to be sterilized. It is your families' normal flora (familial, shared, good bacteria).

By using air dry and running the dishwasher (and washing machine/dryer) at night, you are also saving energy.

Tell your friends. They will, once again, think you are thrifty and smart !! Enjoy!

Tabletop Tip for the Week - Crisp Napkins

Dining at a very fancy traditional dinner party this weekend, I noticed very crisp, lovely linen, monogrammed dinner napkins. I have not seen linen napkins this crisp and able to stand upright, by themselves in a corner since I was a child.

As a child, I'd go the fridge for something to eat, and while standing with the door open, and my Mother saying "Get what you want out of the fridge and shut the door," I would then weed through all the rolled linen tablecloths and napkins in separate plastic bags to find a descent snack. I always knew when we were getting ready to have company or a party.

In order to have perfectly pressed linens without using spray starch, which breaks down the fibers, wash them in a gentle soap, (baby soap) then gently wring, lay the linen out flat, fold, and roll. Place the rolled up linen in a plastic bag and cool in the fridge overnight. The fridge cools and drys out the linen. Take out of the fridge the next day, (or soon after) unroll, and iron with a hot iron. The linen will sizzle and steam. Don't fret. It will iron out so nicely and so utterly crisp without damaging the threads. No starch ever necessary. Saves lots of money on Dry cleaning too.

Tell your friends, and they will think you are thrifty and smart. Try it and enjoy!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Forget-Me-Not Quote for the Week and Dining Like A Diplomat

Quote of the week

"May you through life be blessed,
With friends selected from the best,
And in return may you extend,
That gem of love to every friend."

Minnie Hannah Schaefer
December 26, 1905

From the book: Forget-Me-Not, Forget-Me-Never, Remember the Fun We Had Together: Reminiscences and Memories of New York, collected by Katherine Barrett Baker

Dine Like a Diplomat, please!

Friday night, my husband and I went out for a casual dinner at a small, long time restaurant in Richmond. Charming old mahogany bar, mahogany booths, and the best fried chicken livers one has ever tasted. The place was packed. We were invited by the hostess to wait at the bar for our table ans asked if we wanted a drink. My husband nodded "yes", and we sat down at the bar.
The woman seated next to me, clearly on a first date, had her huge, overnight sized, duffel bag style black leather "purse" plopped all over the bar. It took up my whole place. We said nothing, and waited. When the busy waitress served our drinks 5-10 minutes later, my husband finally had to interrupt this woman, still consumed talking at her date, and ask her to please move her purse. She looked up as if there was no one else in the bar and we were interrupting her and invading her space. She then begrudgingly placed her bag at her feet.
Tip: Please ladies, mind your purse. If you can "clutch" it in one hand, it may be placed in front of you at the bar or on a table. If it is the size of a small suitcase, please place it at your feet or on your lap. Try also to be aware of others, and what is going on around you, especially in a crowded bar.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Meditation Quote for the Week

Meditation Quote for the Day

"People are often unreliable, illogical and self-centered; forgive them anyway. If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives; be kind anyway. If you are successful, you will win some false friends and true enemies; succeed anyway. If you are honest and frank, people may cheat you; be honest and frank anyway. What you spend your years building, someone may destroy overnight; build it anyway. The good you do today, people will often forget tomorrow; do good anyway. Give the world the best you have and it may never be enough; give the world the best you've got anyway. You see, in the final analysis, it is between you and God. It never was between you and them anyway."

-----Mother Theresa

Monday, January 19, 2009

Definition of Listening

The definition of "Listening" is: "Someone who clears his head and has no planned response until the speaker finishes speaking."

The true meaning of listening is not just pausing and waiting for the other person to finish as you plan your response. It is clearing your mind and having nothing to say at all until after the other person finishes speaking, then you quickly plan and execute your response.

Listening attentively is always harder than spewing opinions.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Definition of a Diplomat

The definition of a diplomat is:

"Doing nothing and saying nothing nicely."

A proficient Diplomat stands his or her own ground without ever making someone else feel inadequate. A good diplomat knows when to speak up and when to stand down.
Diplomats speak to everyone at the party. They know how to "work the room." Talking to each person for 5 minutes, then smoothly excusing oneself from the conversation and moving on to begin a conversation with the next person (or group of people) is a skill. Most people have to learn in their own style how to do it, then practice it until it is effortless.
Eye contact, handshaking, listening, being positive, appeasing and pleasing yet strong, beginning then ending a conversation are key skills in "working the room."
Practice this skill at your next party. Talk to people you do not know. You never know, you may make a new BFF. Enjoy!