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The Secret of the Sea Tablescape

The Secret of the Sea 
~ Henry Wadsworth Longfellow~

Ah!  what pleasant visions haunt me
As I gaze upon the sea!

All the old romantic legends,
All my dreams, come back to me.

Sails of silk and ropes of sandal,
Such as gleam in ancient lore;

And the singing of the sailors,
And the answer from the shore!

Most of all, the Spanish ballad
Haunts me oft, and tarries long,

Of the noble Count Arnaldos
And the sailor's mystic song.

Like the long waves on a sea-beach,
Where the sand as silver shines,

With a soft, monotonous cadence,
Flow its unrhymed lyric lines;-

Telling how the Count Arnaldos,
With his hawk upon his hand,

Saw a fair and stately galley,
Steering onward to the land;-

How he heard the ancient helmsman
Chant a song so wild and clear,

That the sailing sea-bird slowly
Poised upon the mast to hear,

Till his sould was full of longing,
And he cried, with impulse strong,-

"Helmsman! for the love of heaven,
Teach me, too, that wondrous song!"

"Wouldst thou,"- so the helmsman answered,
"Learn the secret of the sea?

Only those who brave its dangers
Comprehend its mystery!"

In each sail that skims the horizon,
In each landward-blowing breeze,

I behold that stately galley,
Hear those mournful melodies;

Till my soul is full of longing
For the secret of the sea,

And the heart of the great ocean
Sends a thrilling pulse through me.

My table is an old spool for cable wire.  I just flipped it on its side and now we've got an outdoor table! ;-)  It's got a hole in the center so I can add an umbrella! 

Last night we celebrated two of my kiddos birthdays.  Ethan and Trevor, though 5 years apart, share the same birthday.  Ethan turned 23 and Trevor turned 18.  I wanted to show you all a picture of them together because I don't get to take pictures with them all in one spot very often.  I love them all so much and feel so blessed that God chose me to be their Mom!
From left to right is Jonah, Ethan, Kalyn, Ashton, Trevor and Michael…oh and random guy =). 

Brown transferware ship plates available in my shop, HERE

Napkin rings:  Fashioned from shower curtain hooks.  I tied a knot around each of the hooks.

Wine bucket:  is a waste bucket

Side plates:  are soap dishes

Shell Candle holders:  I fashioned these from wine bottle stoppers adorned with sea shell napkin rings and small votives.

Centerpiece:  Shell Pillar Holder lined with a blue Mercury glass votive holder.  I placed this in a vintage glass compote and around the shell base scattered tonal blue, aqua and clear glass beads.

Aqua goblets:  Park Design

Pineapple Cake...yummy and came from a local bakery! 

Linking to

Savvy Southern Style
Centerpiece Wednesdays
Tablescape   Thursdays
Show and Tell Friday 
French Country Cottage
A Delightsome Life


  1. Beautiful! I've always wondered: Where on earth do you find all that transfer ware?

  2. a very lovely table setting! thank you for doing it.

  3. Well done, Nancy. It's always a pleasure when you weave poetry in with your posts. The table is full of wonderful details. Love the dishes! If I had a house by the shore I'd want a set of these! Actually I'd like a set for our inland abode. Ha!

  4. This is one of the greatest sea tablescapes ever seen in blogland. the runner was so real with the shells at the end I was going to ask how did you get the shells to stay on the runner till I looked closely and saw it was on the pattern. the little piece of material on the stool is so gauzy and lite just a beautiful table. thank you for this.Susie

    1. Oh, thank you so much for the compliments. You made my day! I'm so glad you liked it and said so!

  5. What a creative, beautiful, enchanting and inspirational tablescape!

  6. What??!?!??! A cable wire spool??!?! What on earth??? Now THAT is creativity at its height! I have seen those a million-and-one times on the back of 18-wheelers while driving on the highway or past construction sites, but I NEVER would have thought to make a table out of one of them!!! AMAZING!!! This is a real lesson in recycling!

    I love the inspiration of the plates and how you turned that into something with such a fun edge! And what a cool cake!!! Really inspired!!!

    Such a wonderful picture of your kids all together! That's one for the ages. Years from now when they all have children of their own, they'll look back on this photo and really get a kick out of it.

  7. Beautiful table and beautiful family.
    ~ ~Ahrisha~ ~

  8. Oh, Nancy. I echo all the comments above. This was a lovely, extremely creative tablescape. I'm so glad to see you posting regularly again. I love your tablescapes, vignettes and decorating!

    1. Hi Joanie, Thank you for the kind words. I'm glad you enjoyed the table setting! It is good to be posting regularly again, or as regular as I can!

  9. Lovely! The ship plates are beautiful.

  10. This is my favorite "sea" tablescape of the season. I love the "Fair Winds" Brown transferware and the "seaweed" and the fish nets. The aqua glasses complement the brown transferware beautifully. Great job of bringing Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's poem to life.

  11. What a beautiful sea tables cape you made and perfect for summer! I hope you had a nice dinner using your nice china. Have a Happy Monday.

  12. Beautiful! Thank you for sharing this post at City of Creative Dream's City of Links last Friday! I appreciate you taking the time to party with me. Hope to see you again this week :)


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