A Special Tablescape Filled with Memories

Welcome to the 68th Tablescape Thursday!

A Tablescaping Story

Once upon a time, long, long ago, a happy, young couple graduated from college…He from lawschool, She from undergraduate. A few days later they celebrated their 1 year wedding anniversary and as summer came to a close, the starry-eyed couple loaded up a U-haul, and along with their sweet kitty, headed off to a far-away land, all alone. He was going into the the Army Reserves but first he had to complete Officer Basic Training at the Aberdeen Proving Ground in Aberdeen, Maryland.

Upon arriving, with little time to look for an apartment before classes began, He and She rented the only apartment they could find in the city of Havre de Grace, Maryland that allowed pets. The apartment was only a block away from the scenic Chesapeake Bay on a street with a name that reminded them of New Orleans: Bourbon Street.

It was a tiny, one-room space with a very tiny bathroom. It was in the attic of an old home, a home that turned out to be owned by a mean, wicked old witch. The witch charged the young, naive couple a huge ransom to rent the unairconditioned, attic room which contained only one very small window. Fortunately, for the couple and their sweet kitty, it was September and the hot weather would soon be gone.

The tiny little room had just enough space for a small bed and a little chest-of-drawers tucked under one eve.

A make-do kitchen consisting of a hotplate, toaster oven and a small refrigerator was tucked up under the other eve.

Each time the young couple returned home and opened the door to the long, narrow stairway leading to their tiny attic room, they were greeted by their sweet kitty.

Each day, He went off to learn to be a warrior for his country and She stayed home in the tiny attic apartment dreaming of when he would return. One day She thought, she really should find something to do to pass the four months before they could return back home. She taught herself to macrame and crochet. She signed up at a local craft store to take a class in “Dip-and-Drape” which turned out to be a very messy process involving “dipping” fabric into a starchy, mixture and “draping” it to create shapes.

For Halloween, She made a dip and drape witch. (visible in first pic) Then, for Christmas, She made Dip and Drape carolers. While She took classes some evenings, He took a calligraphy class and a class learning to make stained glass pieces. He wrote beautiful calligraphy on her carolers hymn books, and made lovely stained glass birds to give as Christmas gifts to friends and family when the young couple would return home. She made macrame Santas to give.

Finally, the day came when the couple could leave to return home. They packed up their U-Haul, said good-bye to their tiny attic apartment and to the mean, wicked witch who kept their whole deposit, a small fortune to the young couple just starting out.

The couple had learned about much more than just macrame, dip & drape and stained glass. They learned that there are those who will take advantage of naive, young couples, even at Christmas. But they also learned they could survive far away from friends and family and that even mean, wicked old witches could not dampen their Christmas spirit.

Now 30 years later, the carolers find their place in a simple tablescape.


They carry many memories.


Are you surrounded by memories this Christmas as you bring out the special treasures from years past?

Tonight, I am thankful for you.

So grateful you are here sharing these special moments with me.


I truly hope this Christmas….

Finds your heart filled with many, many happy memories.

This is the season of love, hope, and joy.


Merry Christmas, Dear Friends!

If you are participating in Tablescape Thursday, please be sure to add your permalink below, and not your general blog address.

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The following blogs have beautiful tablescapes awaiting your visit:


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  1. black eyed susans kitchen says

    Susan, This is such a sweet sentiment and tablescape! I love the Santa plates and the carolers in the center of the table.

  2. Susan, May you have a very Merry Christmas!
    I luv Santas also. They mean different things to people, but I like to think of Santa as the spirit of giving.
    Have a Blessed month.
    Thanx for having Tablescape Thursday…you're the best,
    d from homehaven

  3. Christi @ A Southern Life says

    What a sweet story (except for the wicked witch!). Love your carolers. They look great and are even better because of the memories they hold!

    Christi @ A Southern Life

  4. Lori (All That Splatters) says

    Beautiful. I think I can actually hear the singing!!

  5. What a wonderful post….I'm teary eyed reading it….a beautiful love story and what a wonderful memory for you…except for the wicked witch land lady!!….I was going to wish you a wonderful Christmas but will do that in person on Friday and a big hug will come with my wishes…see you then…Sue.

  6. Lynne (lynnesgiftsfromtheheart) says

    Oh Susan, what a beautiful love story. The story of promise, hope and dreams. These are things memories are made of. The carolers are beautiful as welcome as Santa. As always thanks for making this day possible. hugs ~lynne~

  7. tales from an oc cottage says

    Whaaaaaaaat a cute story!!!! And I must know that white kitty's name???
    Those Santa plates are precious, but the "center piece" makes the whole table!!! My stars, you DO need to have your own book!!!!!

    m ^..^

  8. Styling by Coty Farquhar, Australia says

    Dearest Susan,

    I do hope you win, you should!! you should also win the prize for the most loved person in our bloggy world, the one that brings so many people together each week,

    Thank you that!

    Memories do come back at Christmas time, we are starting a book this year for the whole family to write their memories of Christmas and it will be updated each year by each person, from the oldest to the babies, we might just get their hand print to start with.

    Happy holidays,
    xx Coty

  9. Yellow Rose Arbor says

    This is just adorable! Love the bittersweet story (hate the mean old witch! LOL!)

    Beautiful salad plates!

    Thank you for hosting TT's each week!

    Merry Christmas!


  10. vignette design says

    Love those carolers. Glad you incorporated them in to your tablescape! Thanks for hosting! –Delores

  11. What a lovely journey! My family room tree is filled with ornaments that were my parents. Each one holds a memory. Although many of them are old and not stylish or grand I wouldn't trade them for the world. I love Christmas and I love to sit in my dark house with only the Christmas tree lights on and remember all the wonderful years I was able to spend with my parents and family. Merry Christmas Susan!

  12. Beeutiful by Design says

    Susan – you've made me misty eyed as well! We too had a wicked witch landlord. Made us get rid of our dog after she allowed us to get it for one full year. I love your post and the sentiment. May the joy of Christmas be with you (and even wicked landlords too)

  13. Janie's World says

    Very cute table, love the carolers!

  14. Oh, it's so much fun to look back and remember those times, isn't it? Such a pretty table. I am sure it means even more with those carolers.

  15. Mid-Atlantic Martha says

    Oh how sweet are those carolers! Love their little round mouths singing Christmas music of love, joy and good news!

  16. Jancey Craig says

    Great idea! I never thought about putting something like that in the center of my table.

  17. Heather@PixieDust says

    what a sweet story! I love the carolers you made all those years ago – they are still beautiful

  18. Kathy @ Creative Home Expressions says

    Wow, what a horrible old witch! I love this table, Susan! The Santa dishes on top are just adorable and I love the glasses.

  19. Very lovely. & That kitty is too cute!

  20. Ah, Susan, isn't it fun to think back to those humble beginnings? I often think back to those times myself. I feel blessed to have all that I do now.

    Love your tablescape. It's so festive, with the Santa plates and pretty napkins and napkin rings.

  21. marty (A Stroll Thru Life) says

    Oh how I remember those tiny apartments and one room living. Yours looked just about like mine. Your Carolers are just gorgeous. So wonderful that you kept them so nice. Your table is just beautiful. I love the Santa dishes. I hope you and all your family are having a Blessed and Happy Christmas Season. Hugs, Marty

  22. Oh, I must comment about the Dip N Drape dolls! I too made them…back in the 1970's! I had a scarecrow, several dolls, & a Mr. & Mrs. Claus. I think I threw the Clauses away a few years ago as their snowy white hair had turned a dingy, ugly gray. Now I wish I had kept them!

    Alway love your tablescapes!!!

  23. Leigh of Bloggeritaville says

    Susan, I just adore this tablescape. Whimsical and festive. I love the Santa plates!

  24. Sue (Someone's Mom) says

    You almost had me in tears. We got married at Christmas, our junior year of college. I had just turned 20. That was long ago…we have a biggie anniversary in 3 weeks. This isn't that different from our story, we moved alone to another state as well…and it was so hard. Yet, they are some of our best memories. This was wonderful!


  25. Cindy (Applestone Cottage) says

    Oh Susan,
    Just the sweetest table of all! Maybe one of my all time faves because of the special treasures you created! Thanks for sharing this lovely creation! Cindy

  26. Sharing with Sherri says

    You've come a long way baby… What a sweet story… and a really cute white kitty, and tablescape!!

    Thanks for sharing!!


  27. Every step we take makes us who we are today. What a lovely story. Things always look so much more fun and romantic when we look back on them.

  28. Thanks for sharing these pics. Great tablescape! Oh my did the witch stand out even before you mentioned it. My grandma made my mom one just like that and we've had it up every halloween–on my dad's stereo speakers he bought in Vietnam that look just like those in the pic. It's such a sentimental thing since G-ma isn't with us anymore. 🙁

    Isn't it funny how things take us back? I felt like I was looking back at my childhood. Thanks for making me a bit sentimental 😉

  29. food with style says

    what a sweet story, except for the wicked witch… and that kitty is the cutest!

    love the santa plates, they remind me of the mugs i set out 50 plus years ago for santa's cocoa and cookies, sweet memories indeed~

  30. Love, love, loved this!!! God is so good to give us many wonderful memories- even if they didn't seem to wonderful when they were first made!

  31. I wait with baited breath every week and you never, ever disappoint. You really should compile all your tablescapes into a book, each with it's little story. Your adoring fans alone could put you on the best sellers list. You are talented in so many ways and I'm sure your family treasures you and your talents as much as we all do. All the best Christmas wishes back to you as well. Will wait for the book to grace my coffee table. Until then, I'll be back next Thursday (and Met Monday and all the in-between posts!)

  32. Have tried and tried to post my table but RMS is DOWN AGAIN and I can't get to my post!!!!!!!! AAAUUUGGGHHH! I will try again tomorro morning, hopefully being successful! Now, Havre de Grace????? That is very near me! Joe has relatives there….hopefully NOT the wicked witch that took advantage of you:):):) I adore the carolers! My in-laws had some similiar ones that an Aunt had made but I have no idea what happened to them:( What wonderful memories they hold for you. I love your Santa plates, you know I collect Santas so would have GRABBED them if I had seen them at Marshalls!!!!! I am so jealous right now:):) Off to see some other tables now. XO, Pinky

  33. My Feathered Nest says

    What a sweet Christmas story. We've been married for 36 years and our first landlady was mean too. She didn't overcharge, but we struggled anyway. When she found out that I was pregnant after we had lived there for about a year, she asked us to leave. She didn't want me washing out diapers in the bathroom. It drove us to buy our first place, a trailer. Love can get us through many obstacles! Lovely blog!

  34. Lana K. W. Austin says

    Oh, I loooooooooo your story, true I'm assuming because there sit the wonderful carolers "center stage" on your table.
    I remember those days, Tom off to officer school after college in Rhode Island, our first apartment then in Charleston, the Christmases that he was deployed (he's a former naval officer) and the ones he was finally at home with us. It's always special to celebrate baby Jesus and to have him home with me and the kids. I pray that your Christmas is blessed. Thank you for sharing this beautiful part of your life's history.
    Blessings, Lana

  35. What a sweet story and a lovely tablescape to go with it. I love the carolers they are so cute! The santa plates really catch the eye. Love the memories.

  36. A Little Of This And That says

    Susan, that is the sweetest story I've read in a long time. And, yes, you made me cry. This story is a testament to the importance of hanging onto things from our past.

    Merry Christmas to you and your family.

  37. Fifi Flowers says

    I ADORE those carolers on your table… truly FABULOUS!!!

  38. Hi Susan, fingers crossed for your tablescape to win over at homegoods :-). This is a beautiful post and tablescape. The little kitten is so cute. love the Santa plates too, just gorgeous. Kathy.

  39. Dining Delight says

    How wonderful to read your post and your reflections of life as a young newlywed at this time of year when memories come flooding back for all of us. Your caroler-centerpiece is terrific with the added significance. I can just hear them singing songs that touch your heart. The Santa plates are lovely as is the stemware!


  40. What a sweet story! I loved it. I am a newlywed (well just had 1st anniversary last month so maybe not newlywed anymore) and can really appreciate a story like that. I hope I look back on our first years together and cherish the memories we built- even through tough times like these. Thanks for reminding me of all that I do have and that this to shall pass 🙂

  41. Oh Susan, what a heart warming story – I really enjoyed it. I think we all have a story to tell, back when we didn't need much, just each other. Thanks for sharing yours!
    BTW, LOVE those cute as can be carolers & your Santa plates! (And your fluffy kitten is SO sweet!)

  42. Jessa Irene says

    Love the carolers. What a fun table! I especially love the red candle in front of them, reminds me of a campfire.

  43. What an awesome story! I love it. It is the memories of Christmases together that make the little doodads we pull out of the closet so special. Every year unpacking my Christmas stuff, I take a little trip down memory lane. My babies ornaments, stockings of pets who have passed, years and years of a happy life. Many Christmas blessings to you.

  44. What a sweet story..

  45. Susan, what a sweet story. Amazing how simple we all lived at one time or another in our lives. Your carolers (and the witch) are dear. Like you, I'm pulling out lots of memories with each of the Christmas decorations I unpack and place around. I've been busy doing that again tonight. Didn't get a tablescape done for this week, but I'll have fun visiting all the ones participating this week. Your table with Santa plates is adorable. Im off to vote…..Sarah

  46. Ribbons and Pigtails says

    Thank you for sharing that sweet story. I really think it is those type of things that make us able to appreciate our blessings even more!

  47. The Wired Angel says

    Hi Susan.. I've been a follower for a few weeks now.. just love your tablescapes. I did get to the blog to vote and looked through EVERY table setting. OMG.. hands-down your is the most phenomenal! You go girl! I'm looking forward to hearing the results. I think you are a shoe-in. Fingers crossed! Hugs, Peggy

  48. Susan,
    Another AWESOME tablescape…you do such an outstanding job…thanks soooo much for sharing all your talent with us! Hope you have a FUN Thursday!


  49. laurie @ bargain hunting says

    Susan, what a sweet story. I do love the way you told us about your precious carolers. You brought back a lot of memories of our first place and my husband being in the military. Great story and great table. laurie

  50. Those carolers are priceless! As soon as I saw them, I thought "I want those!" You are such a great story teller! 🙂

  51. Great story! Merry Christmas!

  52. I'm mostly known as 'MA' says

    I have been viewing your tablescapes for some time now and this is by far my favorite. Your story was so touching and hopefully there are many others out there too that will come home again and have such happy memories. This time of year is very hard on our service men and women.

  53. Greetings and thank you for allowing me to participate in your Tablescape Thursday … my first !! I just joined the world of blogging a few days ago (having silently followed many, including yours, for a long time) and am blown away by the talent, thought and creativity that goes into your beautiful spaces !! Thanks for stopping by my dining room dressed for the holidays. Take care, Becca (adventuresindecorating1.blogpost.com)

  54. amariaf2000 says

    Lovely post!! Merry Christmas to you!

    ~angela @ peonypatch

  55. What a great story and how sweet that you still have them all these years later — they make for a great centerpiece!

  56. Susan, What a great story. You – like me keep things for years. I can look at something I have decorated with over the years and there is always a story behind it.
    Beautiful tablesetting.

  57. Debbie Pearson says

    The story behind the caroler's was magnificent. What a beautiful story and BEAUTIFUL tablescape. Happy Hollidays dear Susan!

  58. Susan,
    You are very talented. The Carolers look like they took some work. They look great! Thanks for hosting this post.

  59. Brenda @Cozy Little House says

    Reminds me of that song: "You've come a long way, baby. To get where you got to today." Merry Christmas, Susan!

  60. My husband was also in the military (AF), so your story hit close to my heart.

    As always, this week's tablescape did not disappoint.

    Thanks for sharing and may you and your family have peace and joy this holiday season.


  61. Suzann @ The Olive Cottage says

    WOW. This is the first Christmas of my life where I won't have family. I've been feeling kinda icky about it, but I think perhaps I should start my own traditions and memories.
    Love your story and your table-scape

  62. Really Rainey says

    Hi Susan! That is such a sweet story! I read every word and was taken back and felt the love and struggle HE and SHE had. Thanks so much for sharing that story.


  63. 9405018--Pat says

    Susan, what a very sweet story. I'm teary eyes reading it. thanks for sharing…Another beautiful tablescape…..Pat H

  64. ♥Georgie♥ says

    I have a set of very similar carolers

  65. Dear Susan, I reread your early days story and it is one you can for sure cherish! The things we learned in the early days is subject for sweet memories…huh.
    I really like that you shared pictures of your sweet little attic apartment.
    Merry Christmas,

  66. Very sweet Susan! Thanks so much for sharing the gift you have of creativity and creating fun and whimsical tablescapes each week. You are a jewel!

  67. Glenda/MidSouth says

    What great memories attached to your carolers – with the exception of the witch part. 🙂
    Drop by – having a giveaway.

  68. Wow, what a great story, and those carolers are AMAZING!!! Thanks for sharing your talents with us each week.

  69. It is great that your centerpieces held up so well through the years.

    Does your husband still do calligraphy?

  70. Susan….I loved your story and the carolers are just precious.


  71. It's always great to look back at where we began so we can appreciate where we are today.
    I love your post and I'm glad the carolers have stayed with you.
    Lovely tablescape.

  72. Beverly @ My Sew Sweet Studio says

    Loved the story of your first home and the carolers (never heard of draping, but I used starch and fabric to cover one wall in my youngest sons nursery…so messy)
    It's great you have so many pictures. I don't think I do.
    You made a great tablescape for your carolers. They look right at home so many years later. You tell a good story.

  73. A beautiful table and a sweet story.
    Thanks for sharing the photos and story with us.

  74. Darling tablescape Susan. Love those Santa plates!

  75. What a sweet story you have shared with us. You have such a special gift to capitvate your readers. I know that the little apartment has many memories for you and your hubby.
    Happy Holidays!!!
    Katherine S.

  76. What a darling story! Thanks for sharing it with us!

  77. Your tablescape is bautiful as always. . . and I think this TT post is my favorite.

    We were very fortunate all those years ago. . . we were able to live in married students' housing. . . 500 square feet, linoleum tile floor, cinder block walls. But that little apartment was filled with love. And now we're celebrating our 25th Christmas together.

    Thanks for this wonderful trip down Memory Lane.

  78. This is just the sweetest story! That wicked old witch could not 'put out' the creative fires of this young, vibrant couple! And you have these beautiful carolers to remind you of those days (we all remember our own wicked landlords who kept our deposits that we so desperately needed)!
    Such a beautiful tablescape – but it is the story that I LOVED the most!

  79. I loved hearing about your memories and seeing the link to your life today with the things you've made. Very nice.

  80. Susan, I was right in your story having married a little before you. I took macrame lessons along with cake decorating, quilted homemade Christmas aprons,ornaments, etc. as a military wife. I still have many of our decorations but am sad that I got rid of some I now regret. Those are sweet memories. I am new to the blog scene but your blog has meant so much to me. I love all your blogs and I hope to learn how to link to the Tablescape Thursday and others soon.

  81. Michael Lee West says

    Hi, Susan,
    Just popping by to say I LOVE your Santa plates and the tender story.

  82. Oh my that brought back memories. My sister and I did dip and drape and made very similar carolers and also each of our 7 children (hers and mine together) had a Trick or Treat bucket made from the drape. It was messy but fun, I didn't save them and am so mad at myself. Anyway thanks for sharing your precious memories.

  83. Thank you for sharing your precious memories and the darling carolers you made when you were first married. Your sweet story reminds me of the felt Christmas mice ornaments I made the first Christmas I was married, 41 years ago. I still put them on the tree each year and they always make me smile.
    Christmas blessings you and your family.

  84. Lady Katherine says

    Oh, Susan I love C Bay, but not the wicked witch, except for the one you made. I love you took classes and learn to do so many things. I adore the carolers! Oh, you need to make more they are wonderful.So when you do I first on the list. lol The Santa salad plate is wonderful. No wonder your car just drove you there. lol
    I do recognize the Pier One napkins, I bought the apron that matches. lol The table is lovely as you! You know I think the girl Caroler favors a young Susan. I adore the white Kitty I always wanted one just like her. Your so sweet and giving! I know those hard days were tough as all young couples. Yet they help turn us into the wonderful people we are today, Just like YOU!

  85. Rose Broadway (Rosie) says

    Totally LOVED your story of long, long ago! It brought back memories of my own "long, long ago," including the mean old witch who kept our rent deposit!!

    We encountered a second mean old witch who took our rent deposit, then decided we couldn't move in because her nephew wanted the place. When we asked for our deposit she said we needed to contact an attorney because she had already spent it! Needless to say, we didn't have the money for an attorney. Oh, I could write a book.

    I enjoy your blog so much and you have a gorgeous home.

  86. ~ ~ Ahrisha ~ ~ says

    Dear Susan~ ~Thanks for sharing some of your personal life with us. I often wonder about the details in the lives of some of my blog friends. I appreciate your story and I gladly thank you for the prayers. Your blog is amazing and I love stopping by to visit. We've come a long way baby, haven't we?
    Please stop by for a look at my little tree if you get the chance. I have a new technique for a tree topper and I love the way it turned out!
    I appreciate you~ ~Ahrisha~ ~

  87. What a sweet story, Susan..
    That mean old witch!
    It is true that ornaments and other Cmas decos remind of of the past.

    My dad was buried on Christmas Eve at 50, and I was a teenager..I don't think I will ever forget that Christmas as long as I live!

    That is why it is so hard to stick to a theme, it means leaving off all the old memories..

    Lovely table..
    I hope you are enjoying this busy season!

  88. Thanks for helping bringing back so memories of my early days–I was 18 and my husband 21 with two years of college to go when we married. But, here we are 42 years and four children later, having just returned from a year living in Paris for his work–who would have ever thought we'd have such a life! Our Christmas decorations reflect much of our life together and I'm happy to know you still have things from the early days too. Objects help keep memories alive. I discovered your tablescapes last summer and get a great deal of enjoyment–and ideas– from them. Thank you so much! Best wishes for many happy holidays to come!

  89. I love the story of your Carolers. It made me teary.

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