Privilege Blog

Something Original And Beautiful For Winter Hospitality


I love a last minute holiday rush. Malls, Amazon deliveries, and late night wrapping. No early Christmas shopping for me. But I like to ready my hospitality in advance. Something about preparing for guests soothes the soul in a way that buying presents does not. You?

Last year, in preparation for and celebration of the winter holidays, I acquired a new loveseat, table, and ottoman. Needed room for everyone to sit down. This year, I’m thinking maybe lampshades for the guest room. What, you don’t like glaring naked lightbulbs either? Fine then.

As for the table, around which we might gather? Mine is, for the most part, “set.” Not as in actually set, but set as in I know what I’ll use. Now is a good time to check inventory – of things that break, like interesting glasses and white plates, or things that seem to decamp in the night to Tanzania, like that 10th berry-colored linen napkin.

Alternatively, it’s a good time to summon a crew of beautiful weirdos to table. And I don’t mean your family. I’ve been admiring the mother-of-pearl handled flatware in Pigtown Design’s Etsy shop for ages. Meg is a longtime blogger, who writes here about traditional design, Baltimore architecture, and antiqueing forays.

Look at these.


The gorgeous, intricate engraved blades. Oh the ferns! They’re silverplate over steel, do not put them into the dishwasher. This isn’t regular silverware, game for wanton washing.


The luster of the handles.


Meg has other sets, large and small. Mix them with plain spoons, butter knives, even fish knives, if you’re hosting an implement-intensive feast. In fact, I hear she’s got some fish knives on the way. These are the kind of home goods that can become a family story of their own.


Illustration courtesy Marilyn Pollack Naron, charming food illustrator.

Affiliate links may generate commissions. This does not apply to Pigtown Design or M.P. Naron. I don’t have commercial relationships with either Meg or Marilyn. But I appreciate the pleasant charm and civility of grown ups on the Internet.




47 Responses

  1. I can imagine them at Snow white’s table (maybe happily ever after,in her prince charming castle),don’t you? Or at my table mixed with plain ones? But then my guests may be thinking that I have some favorites( I am ashamed but I might have :-). And favorites would get plain forks )
    It is something about planning,dinners,events,trips,it’s my favorite part!
    And I always have something to dream about in this sector.
    Btw. I am known for very early Christmass gifts shopping

    1. @dottoressa, I think everyone could have at least one piece, some a fork, some a knife:). And I’d be very interested to hear about Christmas in your part of the world. If you don’t want to start a blog, maybe you’d write a guest post for Privilege?

    2. My dear ladies,I am deeply touched and honoured, yes,I would like to,if you are sure <3
      I couldn't know how to write a blog and am not so sure that it will be very interesting

  2. Those are fish forks and knives……………..THEY ARE BEAUTIFUL.
    I want to get your POST day by day………….HOW CAN I DO THAT?
    Are those placemats up TOP first photo?I want them!!!!
    I shop ALL the way through……………….no room for overnight guests but have HOLIDAY dinners……………..maybe I need to UP MY GAME!

    1. @LA CONTESSA, Those are regular forks and knives, the fish versions are on their way to Meg as we speak! And I only send a weekly digest – not wanting to clutter up people’s mailboxes. But maybe I should change that, you are not the first person to ask! And the first photo is an illustration by a talented artist – they would make amazing placemats though, you are RIGHT!

  3. Always stylish, and always gorgeous! I have beautiful silver that has been scatched….maybe it should be called pertained. I daren’t have those beautiful knives and forkes unless I want to spend the night polishing them myself. I fear those times have passed. A much gentler time.

  4. God, those are beautiful! I love old silverware and don’t have any. Will check out the Etsy shop.

  5. Those are amazingly beautiful. I have a set of steak knives and butter spreaders with those type of handles. However , sadly not the engraved part. Wow!

  6. Lisa, *you* are the talented artist, righto? If only I could sketch like that, I’d make a paper table runner!

  7. They truly are gorgeous and would be so much fun to use. The ferns are just beautiful. I wonder how difficult it is to clean the grooves in the leaves?
    I can begin to imagine some creative place settings they will adorn.

    1. @Candace, It’s not hard to clean them. Just soapy water and a good sponge – I like the pop-up ones from Williams-Sonoma. Occasionally, polish them with silver polish – I use the Weiman Silver Wipes, which you can find on Amazon. You don’t want to take away all of the tarnish in the grooves because that’s what gives it depth and patina.


  8. Oh my how beautiful. They would look stunning blended in with my great-grandmother’s silver. And suitable for winter fantasy always.

  9. Really beautiful and I wouldn’t worry about polishing the tarnish out of the grooves of the pattern (as others have mentioned) because it’s what makes the pattern stand out and gives it that antique look.

    Going to look at her shop on Etsy now.

  10. Oh, that flatware is stunning!

    Believe it or not, there is a lampshade shop down the street from my parent’s house. Custom and stock and they do lamps too. Charming little spot – Barfield’s.

    1. @Patsy, I do believe it. And I can imagine the way it sits on the street. Wait, I hope it sits on the street and not in a mall;).

  11. Oh, yes, the season for entertaining is upon us.

    Meg has hit the mother lode of MOP cutlery it seems. I’d have a hard time parting with these finds if I were a collector like Meg is.

  12. You are wise to assess your holiday table settings ahead of time and make sure there is nothing missing. Last minute shopping is far too stressful…I have not bought a thing for Christmas yet but will get on it soon!
    Those are beautiful MOP pieces…I have been collecting them on and off for a few years…as a lover of pearls and silver these pieces speak to me!

  13. How lovely to come here and see Meg’s unerring eye featured.

    Her finds are always fabulous and I think her prices are tres reasonable.

    This just put a smile on my face.

    It’s a delightfully small world after all!

    xo J

  14. How lovely, as I try to catch up in my blog reading, to find both you and Marilyn Pollack Naron, in one of your posts in a perfect combination of her illustration and your text! Well done you and @mpnaron, who I already follow on Instagram. I enthusiastically recommend her Instagram feed.

    This made me laugh:

    “Alternatively, it’s a good time to summon a crew of beautiful weirdos to table. And I don’t mean your family.”

    I love beautiful table settings: tablecloths, napkins, glassware, serving plates, and cutlery are all meaningful to me. I can hold each piece and remember who gave it to me, or where or why I purchased it. It makes me happy when a material object is full of meaning and precious. My mom is on my mind a lot lately, of course; yesterday was sixty days since her death. As I write this I remember how good she was at taking care of her beautiful things—suede shoes, scarves, china, silverware—but more importantly, how good she was at graciously letting go of material things. If someone, child or guest, broke a plate or spilled red wine on her linen tablecloth, or if, in my case, lost a gorgeous silk scarf of hers, which I’d asked to wear, and which blew off my head in the back of the USGS truck (the days with no seat belts and kids in constant road peril), my mom was not upset but kind. Hm… Lessons in impermanence, which I’m getting good at.

    But I Digress, which should be my personal family crest. I appreciate what you write because it makes me think.

    Happy Friday to you, my dear.

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