Tuesday, July 18, 2023

Setting Sail With a Nautical Theme - Summer On A Tray

We gave up our sail boat decades ago, but I've never 
given up my love of sailing and all things nautical.

I'm joining Katherine @ Katherine's Corner and 13 other 
stylists today to share ideas for Summer on a Tray.  
If you popped over from Rachel's @ The Antique Journey, welcome!
I'm resetting my sails with a nautical theme 
as we move into mid-summer.

I typically leave my patriotic decor out 
from Memorial Day to Labor Day,
but with Katherine's invitation, I decided to transition 
my dining room buffet from a tray of Uncle Sam folk art figures to a large tiered tray filled with nautical inspired treasures.

My summer tray is a tad sentimental featuring a few 
special pieces I've collected through the years.
Other than the cute seagull and the rope knot balls recently 
found at Target Dollar Spot, everything on the tray is
something that was collected over time

I grew up on the Texas Gulf Coast. 
Corpus Christi, the Sparkling City By the Sea, 
held intrigue and joy for a young child ~ building sand castles on the beach, seeking sea shells and sand dollars washed ashore, sand between my toes, and my hair blown about by the sea breeze.  

In Native American lore, the seagull represents a carefree
attitude, versatility, and freedom, much like the carefree 
attitude walking on the beach offers my sensibility.  
My family often spent Sunday afternoons on the T Heads 
along the shoreline in downtown Corpus Christi, 
fascinated with boats sailing in the bay and moored in the slips.
  Sea gulls swirled over head, and dived down 
to snatch our offerings of Butter Krust sandwich bread.  

As a child I much preferred walking the beach, the soft sand squishing through my toes, the surf rushing in with a rhythm all its own, at times covering my feet with a chill and perhaps a splash.  I delighted in finding shells, sand dollars, beach glass, and drift wood.  I can close my eyes and smell the salt air of those childhood memories.

As an adult, trips to beaches on far away lands as well as our own American coastlines presented opportunities to bring home souvenirs a bit more sophisticated than the shells gathered from the sand.
My antique ivory and bone needle cases were found in various European antique markets, and my prized silver fish needle case was found in the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul, Turkey.
  The scrimshaw pieces on my tray are reproductions produced on manmade materials, but the fanciful folk art of scrimshaw 
carved into organic whale bone has long intrigued me.
I've often delighted in visits to the important scrimshaw collection displayed at The Whaling Museum on Nantucket.

Shell art boxes such as mine shown here,
are often found in souvenir shops in beach towns.
I purchased this one in Galveston, Texas many years ago.

I'm not a fan of sardines, though both my dad 
and my husband enjoyed eating sardines.
The yellow tin from a fun shop in Paris actually contains 
clever fish shaped picks one can use to eat sardines.  
The porcelain sardine box in its silver tray 
is a French antique, and I confess I use it to serve 
salmon spread, rather than a tin of oily, salty sardines.

I also included a favorite teapot on the bottom tray.
The pure white shell and coral design is lovely any time, 
but especially appropriate for a nautical theme.  
The mark simply reads ~ Coral Collection.

Trader Joe's lobster jellies are a favorite 
with a friend who stops in frequently.
The two little boxes were each found while
shopping on Nantucket many years ago.

The set of mini silver forks have been in use 
here as appetite servers for many years and are marked
The NS indicates it is plated silver, and the ALP means 
it is Alpaca silver, the same as nickel silver.

As I mentioned above, the cute little stuffed 
seagull was picked up at Target.
I knew immediately he would be part of my Summer On a Tray.

This little sugar jar, sans lid, is 
Wedgwood Georgetown Collection Flying Clouds.  
I snatched it up at a thrift store for a few dollars, 
knowing it would serve as a petite vase or planter.

I filled one of my Nantucket baskets with Crown Linen Design linen cocktail napkins that feature beautiful anchor embroidery.  
If you don't know this brand, you should.
Victoria sells both tabletop and apparel linens and a truly amazing
line of Italian pewter and handmade ceramics for the table.

Thank you for stopping by.  
I hope you are inspired to gather up a few things 
around your home to create your own 
Summer On a Tray.  
It will serve as a fun summer themed centerpiece 
while having a few things handy and ready to use.

Below is a list of participating bloggers, 
and if you are following the links, 
Nicolle @ Our Tiny Nest is your next stop.

Links to Each Tray Below
Katherines Corner
Life and Linda
Mantel and Table
Masterpieces Of My Life
Come To Dinner At 8
My Thrift Store Addiction
Everyday Edits
The Painted Apron
My Slice of Mexico
Life As A Leo Wife
The Antique Journey
Hyacinths For The Soul  (You Are Here)
Our Tiny Nest

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter
Please drop me a comment below and tell me 
what you would include on a Summer Tray.


The summer we married, my husband was in graduate school, and I was employed as a teacher. We took a portion of our savings that summer and purchased a sailboat. We christened our Catalina 22, “Hyacinths For The Soul” after Saadi’s poem. Our "Hyacinths" provided years of pleasure.


  1. What a pretty Nautical tray, Sarah! I love all those collected finds. They all go together so nicely on your tiered tray! Fun touring with you today!

  2. Sarah, what a charming nautical themed tray, Sarah. You always find the best treasures!

  3. HI Sarah Love the nautical theme tray for summer! Fun finds! laura

  4. Oh Sarah this is so cute!! It captures seashore life perfectly! I love the seagull and the nautical rope ball~ you always have wonderful treasures in your stash, the sardine tin and box are great, as are the silver shells and forks. The Crown Linens anchor napkins look wonderful in the mini Nantucket basket, and the teapot is fantastic! I loved reading about your beachside memories too. Now you can have the seashore with you in Austin! Stay cool, your summer has been brutal...

  5. Hi, Sarah! I love your nautical theme, and the stories attached to it; your attention to detail is amazing, from large decorative pieces, down to the jelly lobsters!

  6. I love your nautical tiered tray!! So many fabulous treasures with great stories attached. Those are the best. I love nautical touches so my eye was drawn to your picture. Great hopping with you today. XO- MaryJo

  7. Your tiered tray is fantastic, and I love the nautical theme. Of course I'm always fascinated by your amazing collections. :D

  8. Sarah, I love all of your collections from far and wide. Each one has a memory attached and holds a special place in your heart. You do a fabulous job mixing high end antiques with a stuffed seagull from Target. I have always admired your attention to detail and impeccable style.
    It is always a pleasure to visit your home. Take care and stay cool!

  9. Fabulous theme! I miss being close to the ocean and definitely have to return a few times a year - the sand between my toes is also a delightful feeling for me!

  10. What a great tray! The teapot made me squeal out loud..oh it is so wonderful!! The little fish forks too, such great finds. Your tray is lovely and filled with things that make me want to play in the sand and surf. Thank you for joining in the fun xo

    1. Thank you, Katherine. You are a fun, encouraging leader!

  11. Sarah this is beautiful! You must have so many wonderful memories of sailing! Being on the water is so magical! Loved hopping with you today

    1. Thank you, Nicolle! Yes, I treasure the memories of our days sailing. Sailing is magical!

  12. Sarah, I so enjoy seeing your collections! My heart beats red, white and blue so I love your tray of Uncle Sam figurines with your baskets filled with flowers. What beautiful nautical mementos and pieces you have pulled together on your tiered tray. Your needle cases, porcelain sardine box in its silver tray and scrimshaw pieces are all worthy of place of prominence. Love your shell and coral-topped teapot too! I hope you’re managing to stay cool in the heat. Happy Tuesday ♥

    1. Thank you, Mary! Only way to stay cool here this summer is inside in the AC. I rarely leave the house. Water the containers early in the morning! Don't know how any of my plants are surviving this ongoing intense heat.
      Sometimes I think I have way too many interests and collections, but I've collected things since childhood. Being an elementary teacher intensified my collecting because it was fun to share themed collections that went along with units of study. That's the main reason I have so many patriotic things! US symbols was a fun and interesting topic!

  13. Sarah,
    Love your Nautical tray and that you used items from your collections !!! I love that darling tea pot!! So pretty and delicate!! Thanks so much for sharing....Great touring with you today!!

    1. Thank you, Debbie. I enjoyed your post and all your summer decor. Stay cool!

  14. Sarah, you always have the best collections. The tray is so lovely. The nautical shelled top teapot is darling. I have always admired your shell box.
    The stuffed seagull is the perfect addition. Your patriotic tray is gorgeous. Love the Uncle Sams with beautiful flowers. You are a whiz at creating lovely vignettes with your prized collections. Always a pleasure joining you Sarah.

    1. Thank you, Linda. I enjoyed your watermelon tray. We all need this sweet, refreshing treat this summer!
      You know I love to collect, so it's fun to group a collection on a tray. Thinking I need recreate a tiered tray with a bee theme. I did one years ago for garden club when we visited a beekeeper. It was a fun one!

  15. Oh Sarah, this is just enchanting. I dearly love the summer look of shells and you have organized them all so beautifully -- but that doesn't surprise me a bit! I just love how you can find something in the Dollar bin and make it look like a million bucks! Your stuffed seagull is a gem. As you might know if you saw my recent post, I'm a seagull fan myself and have been enjoying watching them regularly here on the lake. I love how they interact and their white streaks across the sky are always a welcome sign of summer. It's simply lovely.

    1. Thank you, Jeanie. As a child I remember seagulls as being very aggressive, but that was likely because people would feed them. In current times, I think we know better. They don't need to be eating white bread!

  16. Sarah, this is such an elegant presentation of your special nautical items! I was intrigued by the antique needle cases and the shell box. I loved that you used items that held memories for you -- and that you added cute accents from Target. A number of years ago we visited the Whalers Village Museum on Maui (now sadly closed) which housed historic 19th-century whaling era artifacts, including a large collection of scrimshaw. It's great to tour with you again!

    1. Sandra, thank you for these kind words. Memories are priceless to me these days! I've been a stitcher since a young child, and when we started traveling in Europe, I discovered antique sewing items. I was taken with the needle cases because I would use them, and still do. I also enjoy giving my stitching friends antique needle cases from my collection. It's fun to share something special with those that truly appreciate such treasures. The one from Turkey was so exciting because a needle case was the last thing I ever expected to find on that trip. The ivory or bone fish is from England. The sterling ones are from England and France. It's fun to have a collecting purpose when at these markets. I would have enjoyed the museum on Maui. Scrimshaw is such an interesting folk art with a rich history.

  17. What a beautiful tray Sarah! I grew up on the Gulf Coast as well (still live here), and summers were spent taking our boat out the barrier islands to camp. Such great memories are held there, wading out to dig my toes in the sand to find sand dollars. When I found out they were alive I would never take them out of the ocean, I just wanted to find and hold them. It was great to find those that had already washed up and take them home though! I loved seeing your beautiful collection of nautical decor! Pinned. It was great touring with you!
    Niki | Life as a LEO Wife

  18. Sarah your description of walking on the beach made me feel like I've taken a little relaxing vacmoment in time! How wonderful to revisit those summer memories with your tray! Your seagull is adorable, and I love all the souveniers you've collected from your travels. Sounds like you've had fabulous trips! Thanks for shaing your beautiful treasures!

  19. you have so many beautiful, sentimental pieces, Sarah. I love your nautical tray; it's a beautiful way to display all the lovely keepsakes!


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