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My dish collection is growing

I reached critical mass in the china cabinet recently… I was adding some new acquisitions to the middle shelf and realized that I could feel the shelf straining under the weight of those pretty stacks. I stepped back to look and sure enough, the shelf was starting to bow in the middle.

Cue the “BWOOOOP BWOOOP BWOOOP” submarine alarm noise, time to do some re-organizing!

I have a bit of a love-hate relationship with my built-in hutch. I’m absolutely grateful for the storage space it brings to my dining room, but in no way does it look “cottagey.” I would have to paint it, and I haven’t yet talked my hubby into making that change.

Here is the best I’ve got for a “before” picture – taken in 2012. It shows that in the previous arrangement my dishes were all in four stacks, on the first and second shelves on the right-hand side. (There are also a lot fewer of them in this picture – sagging in the middle wasn’t an issue!)

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Because the  middle shelf was now starting to sag, I moved all the pink-themed glass from the lower left to the  middle-right, and moved the dishes from the middle-right to the lower left. Now I’ve got a nice row along the sturdiest shelf – across the bottom – of five stacks. I even see some room for growth in a couple of them in the new arrangement:

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I tried to take a shot of the pink shelf, now on the middle-right – in person, the pink items all grouped together are really lovely. It was hard to get a shot showing the true color.

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I’m sort of thinking now about ways other than painting to make the hutch look a little less mid-century and a little more cottagey. I’m thinking of maybe lining it with something that could later be removed. Contact paper maybe? Muslin? Your ideas would be much appreciated!

More soon,

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Fabulous Ebay finds

I am usually a very careful Ebay shopper. I say “usually” because occasionally, I do get caught up in a bidding war or end up hitting the wrong button and committing myself to buy something  before I’ve had a chance to thoroughly investigate.

But usually, I’m super-cautious and surprisingly patient – and end up getting some great deals.  Lately, I’ve been lucky enough to find and win some lovely bargains in the world of dishes. Here are some recent acquisitions:

First up, a second look at my bee-YOO-tiful Limoges plate which now looks stunning – STUNNING, I tell you! – on the wall of my mom-cave, right under the colorized photo of my mother as a child (whose cheesy grin looks a lot like my own!).

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Four purported dinner plates in Homer Laughlin Nautilus Countess… I say “purported” because the dinner plates in Georgian Countess (of which I have seven) are just a bit larger than Nautilus. (Nautilus and Georgian have slightly different borders around the edge of the pieces.) These are larger than a salad plate, but smaller than dinner plates in most other patterns. But no less lovely. Which is good, because this is that “push the wrong button/not thoroughly investigated” thing I mentioned earlier. LOL

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I also have to note that it was SUCH fun to receive the box of Nautilus from this particular seller. Everything was not only lovingly and carefully packed, it was a delight to open such a pretty box! See what I mean:

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Next up, four salad plates, brand-new-in-the-box, of Rosemead by Mikasa. Positively lustrous, and came with the original beautiful box!

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Finally, not one – but TWO pieces of Dresden Schumann Empress, which by the backstamps appear to be from around 1900-1920. These babies can be sooo expensive – I was really lucky to find a deal. I purchased a dinner plate and a bread plate. I might get one more of each, someday. For now it appears I’ve missed the boat, because the seller who had these for such a good price has now sold the remaining thirteen that he had! They are absolutely gorgeous.

 

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I hope you are having similar luck wherever it is you are scoring your latest thrifty finds!

More soon,

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Luscious Limoges

I’m a little late to the party, but I was so pleased with my recent Ebay purchase that I wanted to share it for Vintage Thingie Thursday over at Suzanne’s blog, ColoradoLady!

 

I’ve made several good buys on Ebay recently, but this week my favorite is this lovely porcelain plate. It is real Limoges, about 8-1/4 inches across, and based on the marks was apparently made sometime around 1900-1920.

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The design appears to be a transfer of lavender florals, with hand-painted gold accents.

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It is interesting to note that the plate has a very detailed embossed border around its scalloped edges, but the gold has been daubed around and over that edge instead of it being precisely painted.

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My pretty plate is not in the best condition (a couple of chips and cracks, which I expected) but boy was it a bargain – just $5.50, which included the shipping! Just the type of thing that if I found it in a booth at the antique mall and it was marked $5.50, I’d snap it up just because it’s soooo pretty – and Limoges!

I’ve been reading up a bit on Limoges and learned that the name Limoges refers to the region in France where dozens of manufacturers produced beautiful fine white porcelain beginning in the late 1700’s, when the substance of kaolin was first discovered in the soil of the region.  Prior to 1842, companies produced mainly white blanks – which were then shipped around the world for hobbyists and professionals alike to decorate them with elaborate hand-painted designs. Then in 1842, an American named David Haviland opened a factory in the Limoges region to produce dinnerware for the U.S. market – which caused quite a stir among the French decorative painters who were hired to paint the pieces, because they did NOT want to paint the designs that Haviland knew Americans would love. Haviland further fine-tuned and pioneered in-house firing and decorating techniques that ensured beauty and uniformity in his pieces, and soon Haviland China became the must-have dinnerware for American brides.

Of course, there were many companies producing Limoges pieces besides Haviland. My piece is from the factory of Elite, which was established around 1890 by the American importer Bawo & Dotter of New York. Fine Limoges porcelain continued to be made and exported until around 1930, when international economies and tastes began to shift.

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More soon!

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Swooning over Johnson Brothers Rose Chintz

Remember my happy little tale about acquiring Old Country Roses last Fall? Well I am SO excited to report that today I had a similar experience with Rose Chintz by Johnson Brothers!

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Here’s what happened: This morning, while procrastinating during “get ready for work time,” I noticed an Ebay auction for dinner plates in Rose Chintz, another pattern I have been really in love with but slow to collect. The auction showed three dinner plates available for a reasonable price per piece. The downfall, as always, was the additional shipping cost, which made the total more than I wanted to spend.

But I did wonder what the combined shipping would for all three pieces together, so I set out to “ask seller a question.” In doing that – SURPRISE! I learned that the seller was actually local – so, I quickly messaged her to see if she would allow me to pick the plates up in person and avoid the shipping charges, and she said yes! Suddenly, the price for all three plates was well within my budget AND I could make arrangements to meet up with her and get them this very day!

I completed the purchase through Ebay, but didn’t pay right away. Instead, I met this delightful gal in a grocery store parking lot and traded cash-for-plates. (I wonder if any law enforcement officials took photographs? LOL) So now I have three dinner plates and four dessert plates in this classic Johnson Brothers pattern.

It’s probably kind of silly to get this excited over dishes… but here was the message I posted on Twitter just before I set out to pick up my treasure:

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Squeeee indeed!

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Hydrangea dessert plates – swwoooon!!!

Oh! And did I ever show you these blossoming beauties?

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I picked these up on a visit to my favorite antique mall a few weeks ago… they cost more than I normally like to pay for plates, but they were soooo pretty… and I only bought four of the 8, and when I got home immediately wished I’d bought all eight of them.

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Aren’t they beautiful? They would be dessert plates, I think – too small for luncheon plates…
I was NOT going to buy them, at $4 each… but my enabler husband said, “Do they make you happy to look at them?” Of course they do! And he bought them for me… so, maybe I can ease my guilt by saying they were a gift!

More soon,

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Christmas with Old Country Roses

Okay I am sort of not really thinking of my table settings as “tablescapes,” because honestly, all I do really is set the table. But you have to understand, using a tablecloth and clearing the table of electronics before eating is really special in our house and only happens maybe twice a year. So it feels monumental, like a major tablescaping effort has occurred, even when most people would say it’s just a centerpiece and tablecloth.

Still, because such a monumental effort did occur, I feel compelled to share. :) So here is my Christmas table, set for our little family of three. I was able to use my new-to-me Old Country Roses dinner plates and many other thrifty bargains to set a lovely little table for Christmas lunch.
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The place settings are made up of a sparkly gold round placemat, Old Country Roses dinner plate, Anchor Hocking gold-rimmed bread plate, and cloth (gasp!) napkins with a gold-tone deer motif ring.

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My sweet daughter, not realizing I had purchased the gold charger mats, gave me a set of four pretty red sequined placemats for Christmas. The photo doesn’t capture the scarlet color – they look more orange-red in the picture, but they are a beautiful deep red, a close match to the tablecloth.

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I used the gold as planned under the plates, but I did use one of hers to anchor my centerpiece. The centerpiece incorporates the free greenery I found at a tree lot, my faux mercury glass attempts, and two pretty, heavy crystal votive holders I found on a recent thrifting expedition.

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Drinkware is vintage from my grandmother Verdie, flatware is vintage Oneida Chandelier from my great-Aunt Hazel, and the S&P set is vintage from my mother-in-law. All of these delightful ladies have passed on, but I love using pieces from their collections.

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Finally, here are the OCR pieces I used on the table, all (hand-) washed up after lunch and dried with a cheerful vintage dishcloth.

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I have a hard time explaining why it is that having family dinner on Old Country Roses seemed so special to me – I suppose because it took me a long time to get enough pieces together to be able to do it. At any rate, our lunch was delicious and certainly this was the prettiest table we’d enjoyed together for quite a long time.

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I’ll be sharing my sweet Christmas table at Tablescape Thursday (even though this is really just a table setting – LOL) at Between Naps on the Porch, as well as Let’s Dish over at Cuisine Kathleen.

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I hope your Christmas was as lovely as mine!
More soon,

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Swooning over Old Country Roses

I promise to stop talking about dishes real soon… maybe… but right now I just have to SQUEAL with delight over Old Country Roses. Why? Because I recently completed a “Buy It Now” listing on Ebay for four dinner plates, and they arrived on my doorstep yesterday, just as described (perfect!) and for a great price. With the purchase of these plates, I can now serve dinner for six and am only one plate away from dinner for eight!  

This beautiful pattern by Royal Albert of England is the fairest in all the land as far as I’m concerned. It is  the Holy Grail of dishes for me. It was launched in 1962 (the same year as me!), and is still in production today. It is the most popular pattern ever produced by the Royal Albert company. Yet I cannot remember the last time I saw an individual piece in a thrift or antique store, let alone at a bargain price. And on Ebay, individual dinner plates generally range from $10-16 each, plus an additional $10-12 for shipping. I am just too cheap, and too impatient, to pay that much and wait for reasonable auctions to come along, so my OCR journey has been long and frustrating. 

This past week, however, a few stars aligned. I found an Ebay auction for FOUR dinner plates, with a “Buy It Now” price of $45 – that was only $11.25 per plate, and that included shipping! After carefully reading the listing and consulting a Royal Albert web page devoted to Old Country Roses and its various backstamps, I determined that the plates shown online were actually made in England (not Indonesia, as has been the case more recently) and were at least purported – by a seller with 100% positive feedback – to be in excellent condition. I even had (arguably) a spare $45 to spend. 

After thinking it over for… oh, maybe 30 seconds, I realized that if I were at the antique mall where shipping is not a consideration, and I spotted four OCR dinner plates in excellent condition for $11.25 each, I would snap them up. So I did the “Buy It Now” and then waited anxiously for my plates to arrive intact. Yesterday, they did – and they’re beautiful!  

I tell you, I almost cried. For now, after a dozen years of collecting, I think I will finally serve Christmas dinner on Old Country Roses! 


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New dish acquisition

I am apparently really drawn to some of the patterns of Martha Stewart Everyday! After stumbling upon these lovely pastel yellow plates, and then later these almost-Irish “Garland” salad plates, I’ve once again found a great little MSE bargain at a local thrift store. 

Today my acquisition was a trio of these soft blue salad plates with a “weave and pleat” design – I am not sure of the pattern name, but they were a steal at 99 cents for all three. 



I brought these little beauties home and washed them up, and immediately tried them in a couple of different stacks to see how I might use them. Here’s one sandwiched between a bright white Corning “Tulip” dinner plate and an unmarked mid-century bread plate. 



Here it is with a Royal China Currier & Ives bread plate: 


And here it is with no bread plate at all –  


These would’ve looked super cute on my Easter table with the “crazy daisies”! Can’t wait to use them! Have you found any special treasures lately while thrifting? 

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More OCR coming my way… I hope!


Haven’t been around here for awhile but I am soooooo excited about an upcoming change in my Old Country Roses ownership status. I am about to go from having “a few stray pieces” to having SEVEN beautiful dinner plates. I seriously just want to squeal! More soon… I will tell the whole story when I know it’s finally true. Fingers crossed! 


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Sweet and simple Easter dinner

We had a very quiet but lovely Easter Sunday – just the three of us celebrating – which included a visit from the Easter Bunny (he brought Scripture-themed t-shirts and a “God Is Love” necklace, plus Peanut Butter Eggs, for our daughter) and a very yummy dinner served on a pretty table. Yes, I actually broke out a tablecloth – this is unique because our dining room table usually has computers sitting on it so normally we just shove them out of the way!

It was hard to get a good overall picture, but it sure looked pretty in person. Since there are only three of us and the table normally sits against a wall, I put the centerpiece to the back of the table.

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The “Crazy Daizies” really looked bright and cheery in my white ironstone pitcher. The white runner is actually a pillow sham (thrift-store find).

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The plate, dish and relish spoon are for the butter and jelly that accompanied the dinner rolls. The jelly dish is a vintage piece of Depression Glass; I believe the pattern is called Swirl.

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I haven’t done too much in my table settings with lots of accessories yet; I tend to keep things simple so we have plenty of room to pass the dishes. We are of course using my beautiful everyday stainless flatware, “Chandelier” by Oneida.

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I liked how the sun was coming in through the dining room window for most of these pictures.

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Here are the plates at each setting – just 2 layers. The gold-rimmed plates (from Pier 1 many years ago) were for bread…

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… and of course the Corning Centura “Tulip” plates were for the main meal.

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Here is the detail on the dinner plates – so pretty! I recently got a set of sixteen of these (8 dinner and 8 salad) at the Goodwill, in pristine condition, for $2.99!!

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Our meal consisted of “grilled favorites” (bacon-wrapped sirloin filets for my daughter and I, and a rib-eye for hubby), cheesy scalloped potatoes, a giant crab-stuffed portabello mushroom (split three ways – it was HUGE), and dinner rolls. And, after our tummies had settled, dessert was served: strawberries and ice cream served on homemade shortcake – yum!!

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Hope your Easter celebration was delightful!

More soon!
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