February 18, 2009

China, My China {Part II}

There's an interesting article in the Washington Post about brides not asking for formal china for wedding presents. Many think it's either too formal or to fragile. They have china from Crate & Barrel or Pottery Barn that they have picked out for themselves and don't feel they need any more. It's also been a big discussion on the Thursday on-line chats that the Terri Sapienza and Jura Koncius host.
I have two sets of china. The first is the bits and pieces of Blue Willow that I randomly collected when I moved back to the States. Since it's just me, I could pick up a piece or two at a time. It's all made by different manufacturers and all looks slightly different.
This summer, I was given a large set of formal china, pieces of which I use to supplement the Blue Willow. It's Royal Copenhagen Blue Fluted Half Lace and luckily, it works perfectly with the Blue Willow and I can mix and match.
I've decided that life's too short to keep it boxed up and in a cabinet somewhere, and that I am going to use it everyday. If it breaks, I will be sad, but why not use what I've got. After all, that's what it's for.

What about you... Do you use your good stuff? Why or why not?


  1. I use it daily!!! Like you said, life is too short. The fun part is that if it does break, thats sad, but then you can replace it! lol

  2. Use it everyday! Yes Yes Yes!
    I like to mix and match and then you don't worry too much.
    In talking to friends that have been brides they almost feel guilt in asking people to buy such expensive china sets- so they normally opt for something simple.
    I always try to help them find good deals at flea markets or antique stores (you can find such deals out there if you are patient!)

  3. I'll be the third . . . I use the 'good' china everyday for proper dinners, early breakfasts, and even re-heated pizza. I guess the good part is (because of my tiny, antiquated kitchen) I have to hand-wash all the china anyway. lol.

    I'd much rather break a well-loved, much-used piece of china every once in a while than eat every meal on china that I didn't LOVE.

  4. I lieu of registering for China I've decided that I'd like to collect vintage pieces for a mix and match look that is unique (not to mention green)... but getting started has been the hard part, would love your advice on how you've collected! I'm 100% agree, why wait to bring out the good stuff, when its just so pretty and fun?!

  5. I like to use what I have and as often as I can but still I sometimes become lazy and choose those pieces that require less looking after. Your blue and white is lovely and must look so pretty mixed in with the old Willow pieces, xv.

  6. Excellent question Meg. It takes so long, really, to assemble a 5-piece place setting for 8 or 10 or 12 -- so why not mix and match? But you're right, younger people aren't registering for it anymore. Let alone shopping for eclectic bits. Why not bring it back -- even if you don't have room in your cabinets. I love looking at all the different patterns from over the years.

  7. blue fluted half lace is quite beautiful.

    we use the good stuff everyday. i haven't given it much thought until tonight! ... i think if i'm in a blah mood or have a case of the mean reds ... the good stuff cheers me up. if i'm feeling happy, it helps me feel even more so ... kinda silly but true!

    i think the good stuff is enjoyed more when approached with the least amount of anxiety.

  8. When I got married I received a set of my grandmother's beautiful and very fancy china - I love it and use it on special occasions only because it requires hand washing due to the gold on the china - Since the china was so fancy I choose a plain white wedgewood china for my "everyday" - I just love it.

  9. I had to buy another set of dishes last year (in England) when we had company coming. They're red Staffordshire ironware and I use them every day. One, because I love them and two because they fit better in my mini (cough) dishwasher. One plate has a tiny chip on the underside, but I don't care. I know I will treasure these so much more when we go back to the States because we used them everyday.

    PS Do you think fewer people register for China these days because they are marrying later in life? We registered for sort of medium-end stuff when we got married because my mother gave one set of her China. I think she has four or more sets!!

  10. Even the good stuff is just STUFF!! So if you break it, who cares? I'm glad you use it. I only have Spode so it's not that expensive but I use it everyday (Apilco is my everyday everyday). But I also set a table with candles every night.

    I love the half lace!! Love it!! It all looks so great mixed together.

    Btw, does C&B and P. Barn have "china"? Probably made in...

  11. I have no children to pass things to.

    Is there anything sadder than an estate sale with untouched china-linens-silver decades old?

    Antique ironstone-china-silver-linen used daily in my home. And it goes into the dishwasher.

    Assembling dishes-silver-linens to use at meals is more fun than cooking to me.

  12. Tara... I don't have children, either, but do have a number of nieces and nephews, so I will leave it to them... But if they choose to have an estate sale of my things, then it's one I'd want to attend!

  13. We eat off of Allerton's Blue Willow every day, and it's getting chips here and there, but I don't care. We have placesettings for 16 for our service we chose when we got married, Royal Doulton Avignon, and I just inherited my Mother's Wedgewood Kunari Crane service for eight, so I am rotating both services around Winter/Summer and depending how many are sitting down. We use my hubby's Grandma's silverplate Old Rose's silverware everyday (she would not like that! It was her good stuff) and we use our sterling when we we use the good stuff, Wallace Grand Colonial. My Mom brought us back a set of 12 Gallia Rogaska champagne flutes from Prague and we continued that for the rest of the crystal, gobs and gobs of it, and I decided to buy some Waterford Crosshaven and when I have a glass of wine I use that. We have so much - and we use it all. Only one child who told me when he came home from college after his first semester he took my cooking and our "things" for granted and how he likes it all. He asked me in about 4th grade why he didn't have pizza in his lunch and I said because you didn't have it for supper last night...just some of the things I insist upon in our household and hubby really likes it all too. I agree with the previous post about going to an estate sale and seeing it all packed away for someone else to buy and use. I use it all - I just inherited all my Mom's family things and it keeps me close to my roots. I think of my Grandma I never met. My favorite is a little linen hand towel Mom embroidered when she was three years old. So, use your things!!! I use my hubby's Granma's dish towels everyday - 100% linen with hand crocheted borders. You can't find them like that anymore. They dry everything beautifully and have been around for thirty years or more! No one will appreciate them more than you, chips, cracks, stains and all.

  14. Well, call me Zsa Zsa because I've had multiple marriages ha ha.
    The first time I was very young and cared not a fig for china. It was more political than visual then ha ha. My mother gave me a set of groovy turquoise Melmac ha ha.
    But I liked vintage stuff because it was one-off, arty, and cheap.
    So I started collecting stuff, including whole sets of China that were very pretty and very cheap.
    And yes I use it all everyday.
    And my only set of flatware is vintage (1920's) silverplate Edwardian.
    I think vintage for young wives now is mid century modern, and antique things are too granny for them in all phases of decor. So all the knock-offs at C & B et all are a perfect fit for the current young bride. But they are really missing out on some beautiful things.
    Charlotte York on SATC made new china for the bride hip in some ways, but a set of new fine china is costly.
    Still if I got it as a gift, I would use it.
    Life is too short to not use beautiful things.
    China is strong, and can last 200 years, even if you happen to break a piece or two over the years.
    xo xo

  15. Karen at Junking in Georgia 2009February 19, 2009 at 3:55 PM

    I have a fancy set with gold trim that requires hand washing.. so I use a mixture of Wedgwood and flea market or thrift store finds that I love to mix and match.. I have a set of blue and white very much like yours as well that I adore.. just yesterday I found a wonderful Taylor, Smith Taylor pink and grey plate from the 50's wish I had 7 more of those... I say use and enjoy.. my son is engaged and his bride to be did not register for fine china and of course, she likes modern things so she'll not be interested in my old stuff..................

  16. Meg, I do love your Royal Copenhagen Blue Fluted Half Lace pattern -- it has always been one of my favotire patterns. I hope you use it. My mother always told me when you have a cocktail after work, put it in a fancy crystal glass -- it tastes better and it (along with the cocktail) makes you feel better. And she is right.

  17. I inherited several sets of formal china, including the hand painted roses set my mother used for "ladies luncheons." I inherited a punch bowl with 80 glasses (in my attic still.) I decided some time ago to use my good stuff. Like Tara and others, I have no one to pass it on to, and when I asked Aunts, Cousins, etc. about the younger generation, none wanted it.

    P.S. I responded to that Post "show us everyday food on good china" bit in their Home section. They didn't list my photo, even though "I" thought it was very clever, but they used the most boring (and in some cases not even applicable) pictures. Very disappointing.

    One thing I'm in the process of doing is photographing all of my baskets, vases, china, crystal, silver, etc. just so I have a visual of what I own so that I can circulate it more seasonally. Things get out of sight-boxed and you just forget.

    P.S. The last of my elder relatives died, and I'm clearing out her house. I know I have to haul over a large set of bas relief white on white, plus another full set of Russel Wright.

  18. I don't have any really really good stuff, but I have chipped everyday and then a mixed set of silvered transferware from the thirties that I've picked up at yard sales. I like to use it when I've got guests, but not every day. IF I had blue half lace royal copenhagen, I'd use it when children weren't around, and to treat my self to special teas on winter days, but allow no one else to do the dishes. I worry more about my antique dining room chairs, and I can't tell you how many times wine is spilled on white tablecloths. But no one has ever broken a plate of mine except me.

  19. I use every "good" thing I own as often as possible. I've never been a fan of "keeping" stuff just so I can "have" it.

    If you don't use something, isn't it worthless anyway?

  20. Giuseppe... brilliant point about things being worthless. Stuff is stuff, that's all it is in the end.

  21. I'm a dish junkie and we use the good stuff every day. But we don't have a dishwasher so we don't even have to think about what goes in or not. (Took out the dishwasher for more cupboard space). Doing the dishes together is our time for talking. Only one rule, don't wash the dishes — especially the big knives — right after a dinner party if it's late at night and you've been drinking!

  22. Wow! Interesting discussion. I use my everyday china everyday. The really good stuff that has to be handwashed comes out when guests come over- like tonight. I also have fine Breakfast China and am starting to collect another Fine China pattern. Oh, I could buy good china all day long! (PS- these new brides need to register for Mottahedeh's Blue Canton- it's classic, beautiful, fine...and you can put it in the dishwasher!)

  23. I have a really serious case of "dishease", but I don't ever want to take the cure ;) We use all of the good stuff all of the time, I even take the really fragile stuff out to the barn when we have a party out there!

  24. Good stuff for dinner parties (once a weekend on average.) Everyday stuff (Wedgewood white in bone china), everyday -- it's dishwasher safe as it is neither painted nor gilded. Mrs. E. has threatened me with public humiliation should I come home with more. Everyday silver and "guest" silver gets used too. I don't have good crystal though as it has a short life in my hands. More's the pity.

  25. E&E... People don't realize that when they use their silver all of the time, it barely needs polishing. I know that's a big reason for not using it. We always put every piece, but the knives, right into the dishwasher. Things like egg yolks would tarnish it, but if you cleaned it right away and didn't let it sit, it would be fine!

  26. Meg - I have to say, I have three sets of china. Mine (no one could have talked me out of registering for china) my grandmother's and some of Mr. B's grandmothers. But I don't use it everyday because of the hand washing. There are five of us; I feel like Cinderella enough as it is. But, even with my young heathens there is hardly ever breakage. That certainly would not stop me. The nice woman at Hall's this week also mentioned that it is safe to put your sterling in the dishwasher. I do wish I'd skipped stainless altogether.


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