I Ate, I Ate, From A Locally Important Plate

One of the great things about living in Wheeling is that there are so many friends and family members nearby for entertaining with parties. Everyone loves a party, but my wife, “Wallis,” takes it to another level. She plans and executes every minute detail and then documents the result with hundreds of pictures. Here are some shots from the recent Alice In Wonderland- themed first birthday party for our daughter “Pickles,” along with some tips on how it all came together.



 The invitations, this one seen through a looking glass, were designed by an Etsy seller and printed at Rich and Shirley’s Quickprint on 16th St.


The table decorations are based on our “good” table settings, which mainly just get used for parties:

  • Warwick (made in Wheeling) china. We originally found some pieces at Tom’s Antiques in Centre Market and then completed the set via eBay.
  • Dirilyte antique gold-tone flatware, bought at Antiques on the Market.
  • Fostoria (made in Moundsville) glassware. Introduced to us by Mary Beth Hughes of Hughes Design, bought on eBay.
  • The gold teapot in the top of the photo is from Wheeling Decorating Co., purchased at the Barnesville Antique Mall.

To make for an eclectic appearance, our basic pieces were augmented with other pieces from relatives’ houses as well as from Sibs and the Society of St. Vincent dePaul Thrift Store. Then she threw in some mirrors, clocks, butterflies, and other trinkets.


Warwick China was made in Centre Wheeling from 1887-1951.


Sometimes you find pieces that were made somewhere else but sold in Wheeling. These Haviland plates came from Limoges, France, to be sold at the H.C. Franzheim Co.

Franzheim Building M

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Franzheim built his handsome store at 1126 Main St. in 1910 and specialized in housewares.

Many years after he originally sold the dishes, we found them on the other side of Wheeling Hill at Sibs.


The mismatched china makes for an interesting setting.


The potion bottles came from a box in the basement and the Drink Me signs were printed from the Internet.


The teacup cookies came from a recipe found online. They consist of ice cream cones, pretzels, Reese’s cups, and vanilla sandwich cookies. They’re filled with chocolate ganache, which also glues the handles on.


The cattails are pink marshmallows from Kroger, alternately dipped in purple chocolate from Michael’s.


The purple macaroons are from V Bakery & Bistro in St. Clairsville.


The guardsmen are made from Little Debbie cakes from Riesbeck’s and some red icing.


The older kids stayed occupied by painting real roses with acrylic paint from Michael’s.


The teapot cake, beyond our skills to make, came from Pastries a la Carte in Pleasant Hills, Pa.

The most important thing of all is that the birthday girl thoroughly enjoyed herself. She probably didn’t appreciate the decorations, having never read the book, but she loved having extra attention lavished upon her on her special day. Our family party planner must have been happy with the results, too — the dining room is still decorated as it was the day of the party.

photos by Wallis.