Wednesday, May 23, 2012

In Praise of Everyday Dishes

For this week's Let's Dish party at Cuisine Kathleen, I thought I'd show you my everyday dishes -- all three sets.  When I was a bride-to-be almost forty (yikes!) years ago, I chose two patterns -- one for everyday and one for my formal china.  Some brides also chose "in between" dishes.  I guess I have always gone for color -- no plain-but-elegant white plates for me!  Here's my first everyday pattern, Royal Doulton's Fireglow. Isn't it cheery?  I thought it had a warm, "kitchen-y" feel.  It was well-priced at the time, so I received many placesettings as wedding gifts. I kept 12 and traded the others for some of my good china and crystal.  I've posted several tablescapes with this pattern, and you can see two of them here and here.
Fireglow was an early freezer-to-oven-to-table pattern, and it included some fun pieces like these cute ramekins.  I used these everyday dishes for 25 years, then decided I needed some new ones as a reward for sticking with Mr. D&D all those years!
I looked for new everyday dishes I loved for nearly two years before finding Mikasa's Windsor Park in an outlet store while visiting Oregon.  I loved its bright colors, so I had it shipped home.  In the tablescape below, I highlighted the orange fruit in the pattern.
I've enjoyed using these dishes with yellow and blue accent pieces, too. Here's one of those tablescapes.
That pattern kept me happy for another dozen years or so, but about a year ago, I was browsing in Chicago's Bloomingdale's Home store and was drawn to some dishes that were on sale.  I decided it was time for a third set of everyday dishes!  This Dansk pattern -- Kristina & Florencia -- isn't quite as colorful as my first two patterns, but I love its simpler style.  It made its blog debut in this post.
All three of these patterns have been used day in and day out to serve family meals -- the true workhorses in my ever-growing dish collection.  What's your favorite everyday pattern?  Have you had more than three sets (so far)?  Thanks for visiting today, and please stop by Cuisine Kathleen to see other fun dish posts!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Celebrating Mothers

Mother's Day offers the opportunity to reflect on all the mothers who have touched our lives, especially those in our own families.  I have been blessed with a wonderful mother, loving grandmothers,and a sweet mother-in-law, all of whom have taught me by their example.  This week, the Let's Dish party at Cuisine Kathleen centers around mothers -- and dishes, of course! 

My very first tablescape posted on my blog, more than two years ago, featured my paternal grandmother's wedding china, which she gave to me before she died.  The pattern is Admiral, by Heinrich H&C.  There are 24 placesettings and many wonderful serving pieces, including TWO gravy boats.  If this photo looks familiar, it's because I'm using in my blog header.
This was a spring tablesetting, but I often use this china for Thanksgiving, as I did last year.  I always think of Grandma Rachel when I use her pretty china.  Sadly, I don't have any dishes from my maternal grandmother.  She had 21 grandchildren, and there just weren't enough to go around!  I do remember her colorful Fiestaware and wish some of that had made its way into my cupboards.
My mother has given me many pretty things over the years, like her crystal punchbowl, but she is still enjoying her own china and crystal and silver, which will one day be passed down to her grandchildren.  Our family is gathering next week to celebrate her 80th birthday!  Since I began blogging, I have had fun playing with HER dishes when I visit.  She has two formal china patterns, both by Castleton.  Here's her Ma Lin pattern, shown for an autumn table, but I've also used it to set a spring table
I've also posted two tables set with Mama's other Castleton pattern, Mayfair.  Here's a placesetting from a fall table.  A spring table may be viewed here.  I think both of these patterns are elegant and look very fresh, especially when you consider Mama and Daddy will soon celebrate their 61st wedding anniversary!
My sweet mother-in-law, Jean, passed away four years ago, but she also loved china of all kinds.  After my father-in-law moved into an apartment, he gave me their set of Wedgwood Potpourri, the everyday dishes she chose in later life.  I've posted three tables with this pretty pattern, which lends itself to tables of many styles and colors.  I think this is my favorite version so far:
Jean's formal china, Rosalinde by Haviland, was handed down to my daughter.  Together we set a pretty modern table with it at her house.  Her Gorham Chantilly silver is also from Jean's collection, which was divided between my two children.  It's fun to think that one day my granddaughter -- or maybe a great-granddaughter! -- will be the caretaker of this pretty china!
As you can see, a love for dishes and a reverence for family heirlooms connect four generations of mothers in my family! Thanks, Kathleen, for inviting us to celebrate mothers this week for your Let's Dish party!  Be sure to visit her blog after 7:00 p.m. this Wednesday to see lots of pretty dishes.

Blue and Yellow Outdoor Table

The inspiration for my table this week was this bouquet of deep yellow ranunculus my husband brought home from HEB, our grocery store.  Aren't they stunning?  I have never seen them at HEB before, but I hope they will keep stocking them.  I read about ranunculus online, and apparently they can be grown in our part of Texas, so I plan to look for bulbs at the nursery this fall.  Have any of you grown them?
I decided to use the flowers on our first outdoor table of the season.  Although we have gone from Lovely Spring weather to Fiery Furnace weather in the last few days, it's still nice and breezy here in central Texas.  I chose a blue and white Williams-Sonoma tablecloth for the patio table.

Blue and yellow are perennial favorites at my house, and this table also gave me a chance to showcase some pretty salad plates I bought on my recent trip to Sur la Table in Austin.  In addition to those cute rooster napkin rings, these plates caught my eye.  They are made of melamine, and I love the design.
 Here's the placesetting, anchored by a yellow dinner plate from Pier 1 and a blue and white napkin from Williams-Sonoma.  The blue glasses almost vanish on that tablecloth!
 Here's a closer look at the salad plate's pattern.
 And here's a "rim shot" that shows how perfectly the blues in the plate and the napkin go together.
 Another tabletop view. . .
 The glasses are Villeroy and Boch's My Garden pattern in blue.
 And a few more views of the lovely ranunculus. . .

Thank you for visiting my outdoor table this week!  I will be linking to Tablescape Thursday at Susan's Between Naps on the Porch so be sure to visit there to see lots of spectacular tables!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Turquoise Breakfast Table

On a recent day trip to Austin, we went to Sur la Table because they were having a big sale.   Just inside the door, my eye was caught by a display of turquoise with stripes and polka dots -- all on sale!  There were also roosters involved, but my friend Michele and I have a No Roosters pact.  I tried to hold firm -- sorry, Michele -- but these napkin rings were just too cute not to bring home with me.
Here's the simple breakfast placesetting.  Please excuse the lighting issues -- the sun wasn't cooperating when I took these photos, and I turned on the light over the table for some shots.  In addition to the striped placemats and napkins, also from Sur la Table, I used woven chargers from Pier 1, our everyday stainless flatware, and acrylic stemware from Target -- bought on clearance a couple of months ago.
Here's a closer look at the stemware, which will be perfect for the patio this summer.

For the center of the table, I used two more turquoise pieces in the Sur la Table collection -- this cute ceramic berry basket and the polka-dotted pitcher.
Here's a view of the table, set in the breakfast area.
Here's a diner's view.  I hope Michele will forgive me for breaking our pact -- though, surely our agreement didn't extend to cute turquoise polka-dotted roosters? 
Thank you for visiting!  I will be linking to Tablescape Thursday at Susan's Between Naps on the Porch, so be sure to check out the great tables shared there every week!