Hostess Hint: Setting The Table For Guests

Cherished readers, The Lady Hooper-Brackett spoke to a group of her friends about planning ahead for entertaining for guests. One easy way to take some stress off is to set the table ahead of time. Years ago a kind older lady gave me this tip and I have used it each time I’ve had guests.

Set your complete table the day before you will be entertaining. Lay out your serving dishes on the sideboard, also. Take clear shower curtains or other clear plastic sheeting and lay it over the settings and dishes. Keeps dirt and dust off and then you merely remove right before the guests arrive.

Incidentally, if you have eager young table setters, a cute way to have them remember where the silverware is to be placed on the table is thus:

Spoon and Knife….5 letters same as RIGHT

Fork…4 letters sames as LEFT.

The Lady hopes that the youth of the world will be as interested in good table settings. It is a nicety that we should all revisit in the civilized world.

Best Table Wishes,

The Lady Hooper-Brackett

Guest Towels in the Bathroom: Are They Off Limits?

Cherished readers, it is always an adventure to settle down with my cup of coffee in the morning and read through my emails to see what is concerning my darling friends. I came across an interesting problem this morning.

My friend went to a First Communion party at her niece’s house and when she used the bathroom facilities, was dumbstruck that her niece had only provided a small hand towel for the fifty or so guests that she had in her home. Her shock did not come from the fact that there was only one towel, however. The shock came from seeing others using the facilities and then discovering that the towel was perfectly dry…it had not been used! She found wet spots near the sink and the soap was wet, so hands seemed to be washed…so why not use the towel?

The Lady Hooper-Brackett can recall a time in her childhood when she was admonished by her dear mother to not use the ‘guest towels’ that were specially hung on a bar near the sink. So, I never used them. She had elevated them to sacred status in my impressionable mind. For years, even when using the facilities in other’s homes, I avoided touching the guest towels and wiped my hands on my pants! (Yes, I know…the horror of it!!!)

I believe that there can be a solution to this problem, however.

  1. Provide enough small washcloths for a couple of dozen to use. A beautiful stack right next to the sink. As the host, you use the first one…crumple it up, place it in a basket near the sink, and hope that this subtle message tells other guests…it is OK to use the towels! They are no longer sacred and off limits!
  2. Get a festive box of disposable paper towels and leave them near the sink. Perhaps guests do not want to feel that are creating more laundry for the host, but will feel free to use paper towels.
  3. Leave no towel in the guest bath at all, after all no one is using it anyway.

Best Clean Hand Wishes,

The Lady Hooper-Brackett

The Impeccable Host: Entertaining With Grace

Cherished readers, the weather is getting warmer and I am sure that everyone is ready to entertain! But, The Lady Hooper-Brackett wonders if you know all that you could know about being the host with flair and grace? Let us explore…

The Host(ess) with the Most(est) According to the Lady Hooper-Brackett

Your smiling face should be the first thing that a guest sees when they enter your home. Greet everyone warmly and promptly.

Have a serving table nearby where arrivals can take a glass or a little morsel to eat.

Be prepared if someone hands you a hostess gift. Don’t try to balance them in your hands. Decorate a small table and use for the purpose of placing the gifts.

Take coats and wraps from your guests, place them in a closet or in the bedroom. At no times should a pile of coats be visible to arriving guests.

Be sure to introduce those who are arriving to those guests who are already there and make sure that all guests are making conversation and enjoying themselves. It is also your responsibility to diffuse hot topics and turn them to acceptable topics. See my earlier post on DANGER Topics.

Keep an eye on the refreshing offerings, making sure there is enough out for everyone.

If you are serving a seated, several course meal, place cards are a wonderful touch.

Relax and enjoy the evening! Remember you set the tone for your guests.

The Lady hopes that you will be the ultimate in graciousness and ease when you welcome your own cherished friends to your abode.

Best Hostess Wishes,

The Lady Hooper-Brackett

Household Tips: Help, An Oafish Guest Spilled Wine on My Tablecloth!

Hello cherished readers, I’ve no doubt that in the course of entertaining friends and family, there has been an instance where someone with a bit of clumsiness knocked over a glass of ‘something’ onto your table linens. One hopes that it was only water…but if it was wine…here is something that may help. *

Firstly, never show by word or action that you are peeved at your esteemed guest. Though your teeth may be clenched so hard you are cracking your crowns, smile and tell your guest that all is well.

When your guests have left, you may then feel free to scream and curse and cry over your Great-Great-Great Aunt Catherine’s linen tablecloth that she sailed across the Atlantic with when she emigrated to our fine country.

This tip is for fabrics that are bit stronger, so please do not use on flimsy fabrics. Boil water, preferably in a kettle for ease of pouring. Cover the stain with salt and set your timer for five minutes. When your timer dings…fasten the stained area over a bowl with a rubber band. I would use as large a bowl as you can find. Put in sink or tub (can be messy!) and cautiously¬†pour the boiling water over stained fabric from about a foot above the bowl. Please do not burn yourself.

Best tidy wishes,

The Lady Hooper-Brackett

A word from The Lady:

*this tip has worked for The Lady Hooper-Brackett and her friends. No guarantee that it will work for you is implied. You assume all risk in trying.*