Sunday, April 13, 2014

Vintage Dinnerware: an Obsession

Noritake pattern 1357

Noritake 1357 plate

I am a collector and one of the things I love to collect is vintage dinnerware/china.  It all started with my wonderful collector of a mother. Her most proud collection, as I was growing up, was her Lenox china collection, filled with decorative bowls,vases, and ashtrays. She would seem to freak out if I even looked at her collection, as if that was a bonafide way to break her precious china. I get it....she was protective over her Lenoxware. I guess with a small child in the house, you tend to be careful about breakage with expensive, fragile items that you love so much you never dare use. (Reminds me of my mom and her "good bathroom towels" that we couldn't use either, but that is a story for another day.)                                                                       

 Now I do believe I inherited my love for the finer things in life from my Mom, you know the petite lady who rivaled Audrey Hepburn in the style department....
However, I am not so much a China nazi, as she was with her china. It was because of this, that I swore when I got older and had real stuff of my own, I would make sure to use it!! Well, in the real world, you can't always find time after work on a week night to unpack the china and wine glasses for Taco Tuesday. But I try to find reasons to use the "good stuff", other than just holiday dinners. 

I have found that over the years, as in all of us, we find our tastes have changed. I also find myself asking "What do I do with all this china?!!" It turns out my mom's china (Romance by Diamond) which we ate off of during Thanksgiving or Sunday dinner, was something she picked out when she married my Dad.
Mom's China Pattern "Romance"
 Every once in a while, I would notice a china pattern with some green pattern on it. I cannot remember what exactly was on those plates,but they were kinda ugly that not one person looked at them when I tried to sell them at a yard sale. I later found out that the other incomplete set belonged to my Dad's mother and was passed down to my Mom. She also managed to have her mother's punch bowl, as well as her very own. Now when I was married, I picked out a modern,cool pattern that I thought was so me. The pattern was cream with a gold/black/ brown leopard print on the rim and over the leopard print was a gold  decorative pattern. It was modern,yet elegant. I loved it! My husband and I never ate off of them together as we never had an occasion to use them, as we lived with my parents. We were awaiting a place of our own, but that day never came. Eventually, I got to proudly eat off of my leopard plates sans husband. I loved displaying them in my china hutch, once I had a place of my own.( I tried to locate a picture online of them since they are packed away right now but couldn't find one.) However,after my Mom passed in 2007, I inherited her china, as well as my Grandmother's and both punch bowls. What to do? The china was not my cup of tea,(no pun intended) but I felt guilty getting rid of it and I felt like I wanted to have an heirloom from my Mother. I ended up using her set on Easter as it has an air of springtime. The ugly china with green things on it , met its demise in the garage as it was leftover (once again) from another yard sale and somehow the table ended up turning over and broken bits of china ended up all over the cement garage floor. 

It is amazing that I like dinnerware at all, considering I hated setting the table as a child! Now on holidays, that was a different story. I liked adding the centerpieces, vases of fresh flowers, or candles to the table. I liked placing the teacup on the saucer, folding  the linen napkins and the elegance of a linen tablecloth. Table linens are another obsession of mine!! Anyway, I wish I had a storage closet just for extra dinnerware, like one for each holiday. My Mom bought me a beautiful,festive Xmas dinnerware set from Tienshan, when I was married. My family used it every Christmas while I lived with them and I continued the tradition when I moved out. However, it wasn't convenient to use the past few Christmases, but I normally love to have it on display for the whole month of December. 

Deck the Halls (my Xmas set)

Since acquiring my leopard set of china, my tastes have changed a bit and my decorating has as well. I used gold accessories back then and now I have been leaning towards more silver accessories. I have a huge appreciation for vintage items...more than I ever did before. I particularly like mid-century modern sets with their starbursts  and use of the colors , aqua and pink. 
One of my faves Franciscan Starburst

I do not own any starburst patterns as of yet due to space restraints. I own various dinnerware and glassware to be used in the Autumn and at Thanksgiving time. I also stumbled across a terrific deal at a local antique store to add to my Deck the Hall Christmas set. For around $40, I  received several other dinner plates,teacups and saucers, not to mention a coffee/teapot,sugar bowl and creamer, serving platter,serving bowl and a gravy boat in the shape of a sled. Even though, I didn't really need the extra plates etc., the deal was too good to pass up. I figured over time, dishes break etc. so I might need the back ups. 

As I got more and more into vintage dishes, I had a difficult time deciding on just one pattern. To this day, I am still torn. But I started collecting a vintage set from Noritake. (1357) I love the pattern and the colors pink,black and gray. I have always wanted a pink kitchen, so my heart went out to this pattern. I have bought several pieces off of Ebay, but am a long way away from having a complete collection. 

There are just too many patterns to choose from!! It makes me wish I still had a house, instead of a puny apartment. (My house was destroyed by a fire a year ago and I was forced to sell the land and find a new place to live. The house has since been knocked down by the new owners. All that remains is my Dad's shed.) My china collection keeps expanding, but unfortunately, my closets do not. Before the fire, I had a set of "everyday" glasses and dishes that I adored. I tried to replace them on Ebay but the set I got was much smaller than the original and yet it was the same maker and pattern. And the glasses are rare to find, and are very expensive. The Novoctime set I had was black and octagonal. The glasses were also octagonal. I loved this set so much and was so heartbroken when I was without them. I was so excited when I ordered them off of Ebay,but quite disappointed when I unpacked them from the box I received in the mail. They looked the same but were somehow much smaller. The soup/cereal bowls are the perfect size for dip. I could try finding another set but I decided to mix and match this set with another I found that I fell in love with at Target.

my beloved Novoctime

Damask set from Target

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Project Living Room:Part 4 ~Accessories

If you are like me, then you love the little details, the finishing touches that tie a room together. These little details that can make or break a room are the accessories. They can turn a boring,sterile room into an warm, inviting, interesting room in just a short amount of time. It is amazing what some throw pillows, pictures and some simple decorations can do to a room!! Let's not forget the importance of color, but that topic is for another day. 

Today, I want to share with you some of the fantastic accessories I found for my living room in my apartment. However, before I do that I have some very good news to share. First, my amazing chrome and mirrored cabinet I have been very patiently awaiting since January finally was delivered correctly last week and I absolutely love it!!! I say correctly because an attempt was made 2 weeks ago to deliver it. It turned out they had someone else's mirrored dresser and mine was in Atlanta. Luckily, I only had to wait an additional week for them to return with the right piece of furniture. It took 3 delivery men, plus my boyfriend to carry it up the stairs and that was without the doors on it!! That sucker weighs in at 350 lbs. so it won't be moving all over the apartment. I dread what happens whenever we move. But luckily we do not need to worry about that just yet. I haven't put out my decor yet as the room is still a work in progress, but I managed to snap a pic after we set the tv back upon the top of the new console.

I LOVE this!!!

So is it gorgeous or what?? I am so thrilled to  finally have it in my possession. While I was waiting for them to re-deliver the correct piece of furniture to me, I did some research online about my vintage ello cabinet. I haven't been able to find a definitive date for it. I have seen it described as mid-century quite often, but also have heard it was from as late as the 1970's or 80's. I find the later dates more believable because to me it appears more modern. For whatever it's age, it is actually in very  good condition. To me, it looks brand new. I found out ello made several other pieces similar to this , in various sizes with the same matching door. I saw everything from single door, to tall ones, as in an wall entertainment center unit, up to 6 doors. The 6 door version,  like the one I have, is supposedly very rare. I found ello cabinets priced from $1800-$5500. Very grateful, my cabinet was priced no where near there. I will post more pics as I get more items situated. 

My second bit of good news comes from Macy's. I received an email that my back-ordered furniture is now able to be scheduled to be delivered. My delivery date is on April 16...not long now. I am so anxious for that as well since I ordered it on Feb. 17. The customer service people at Macy's even oohed and ahh'd over the living room suite I picked. Technically, I do not know if you can call it a suite, since it is only a sofa, chair and ottoman, but I digress. I ordered from the Reyna Living Room Collection. The fabric I am told was called Bella ( like my missing collie) and the color is Granite. I also loved the Berry color, which was a red wine/burgundy color. I would have picked that but I always seem to go for dark colors and I am trying to go lighter in my color choices. Believe it or not, granite is not as dark as it sounds,maybe a medium gray. So things are progressing nicely on that front. 

Back to the original topic at hand...accessories. I love them! I am very much a detail-orientated person. As mentioned previously, I love  deals and am tickled when I find a good one. And I did find quite a few. I don't have pics of all the new items yet, but will post them in the future. I found a really nice iron floor candelabra on ebay to put in the corner. For a piece this size, the price was not bad. I cannot remember because I got it over a month ago but I think with shipping it might have cost around $30-40. I saw these neat ivory color scented LED candles at Tuesday Morning (love that place!) and thought I might use a set there for safety reasons. I still love candles as much as I ever did,but after losing practically everything I own ,including my house and almost being killed in a house fire, I am a bit skittish now around anything "fire" related. So honestly, I wasn't holding much hope for LED candles, as I thought they would be very fake looking. I ended up very much surprised. I love that they have a scent...never knew they could come that way. They actually are wax on the outside, so they feel real and they are sculpted on the edges to look like a real melted candle and the flickering bulb on the inside looked so believable. Also, the candles come with a timer. I haven't used it yet since it only lets the candles "burn" for  hours and I use them much longer as I really like them. They really provide a cozy, warm,romantic feel with no heat or worry about knocking them over. The vanilla scent is rather faint though but other than that I am a happy customer. $15 bought me 3 candles in 3 different sizes.

Above is my LED candles display...about 4 feet tall. To give off scent, plugged in next to the candles is a wallflower from Bath and Body Works. They are wonderful and last over a month!! I found a wallflower plug or whatever they are called in a hip Moroccan design of a quatrefoil/ogee curve that matches my room. Right now, I am using a scent called "spring" and it really is quite delightful. The best way to describe it is like a meadow of perfumey fresh flowers. I note a strong scent of either honeysuckle or jasmine. I think it is jasmine though. Every time, you enter the room it is like another world. In my bathroom, I have Japanese Cherry Blossom. However, that scent is rather mild in comparison. I like it but for the bathroom,let's just say I would prefer a stronger scent.  I thought it would be a bit stronger as Japanese Cherry Blossom was always one of my favorite scents from BBW. I had the whole shower collection and it always smelled nice and clean but brisk, if that makes any sense to you. So now, it at least might seem like my candles have some scent. I grabbed a bunch, since they were on special for $2.50 a piece and normally I think they are around $6. Plus I had a coupon for 25% off so I did good.

Speaking of quatrefoil/ogee curves, on a whim a purchased a tray on clearance from Target for around $10 and it looked really cute online but in person it was even nicer looking. Because of the way the picture was displayed on the website, I thought it was a white cheap plastic tray with a black design. Instead, it was very well made of glass and durable plastic decorative insert. It was really so much prettier than I ever thought it would be. Target really surprised me...too bad their selection of black lampshades wasn't as nice! 

My most recent find was on my local craigslist. Someone listed a new quatrefoil wall mirror they bought at Hobby Lobby for $70. I had seen them there and they were very nice but I thought expensive since I already had another pricey mirror in mind for my living room. On craigslist, they were asking $45 which I thought was reasonable for such a nice mirror nearly 3 feet wide. I may end up using this in my dining room area which is open to the living room. Either way, the other mirror I was planning for over the sofa would work in either room. The other mirror is made up of rhinestones and pearls...gotta have some sparkle!! I have a few other cool pieces which I will share with you soon. Until next time....xoxo

tray from Target

Craigslist find
Splurge from Seventh Avenue