I missed posting yesterday because it took longer than I expected to unpack New Dishes!! I also finished a sock, but let's talk dishes because some days, you just need a few minutes to empty your mind by focusing on something stress-free, like clean, simple pottery.
Okay so that picture tells the end of the story. I could stop writing now with "At the last minute, I found off-white porcelain dishes and moved to the next thing on my Moving Home list." But where's the fun in that? And anyway, if you look closely, you might see a tiny shadow up in the top right corner of that photo.
Yep, it's a plaid dish. Which looks rather fetching with the off-white porcelain mug, don't you think?
Last weekend, Pete took pity on my dish-set angst and asked me to take him to an actual store to look at and touch actual dishes. He too wanted to be able to put out matching dishes at suppertime without cobbling sets together (okay, we haven't broken THAT many dishes in the last 15 years, but the day is coming soon when cobbling will be required.)
So, we went to the big posh store where we went when we were first engaged, and where we returned when our foolish choice of easily chipped stoneware came back to bite us, and where we bought cutlery when I got tired of the sharp edge on the handles of the cheap set we started out with. (honestly: how hard is it to get these basic design features right?)
We looked at plain white bone china - strong but stark - and fun earthenware - pretty but so, so breakable - and plain white porcelain - all in sets too 1960s for Pete or too fussy for me. In the end we agreed on only one set and we both loved it so, so much. I'm not even going to paste in a picture or include a link because I won't torture you like that. It was from Gien, a French manufacturer of earthenware, and it would have cost us about $1700 before tax and without completer pieces like a cream and sugar or, heaven forbid, a teapot.
I mean maybe if the set was also capable of walking itself to the dishwasher and then clamoring up to the cupboard after its bath, all without chipping itself, I would consider that. But probably not.
When we left the store I was feeling quite anxious. Obviously there was only one thing to do. I said "Pete, I saw a black plaid plate at HomeSense (discount housewares store, if you're in the US you probably have this chain also) and I would like to buy one if they haven't already sold out, because right now I really need a comfort dish." We've been married a long time now so he didn't question my logic at all, bless him.
Anyway when we got to the store there were TONS of the black plaid dishes! I guess nobody is lining up to eat off a plate that looks like it needs a good wipe to get the coal dust off it or something? Even if they are made by Royal Stafford, my favourite for made-in-England earthenware.
I looked at the shelf - the dinner plates, the sandwich plates, the pasta bowls - and I said Pete, what if we just did this as a set? He considered, perhaps factoring in how quickly earthenware breaks and how quickly he could get us back to a plain white set of some kind, and then said Yes, it's a good pattern. This led to him accepting plate after plate as I checked for flaws - we wanted a 12-place setting so that in five years we still have a respectable number of intact dishes - and then carrying armfuls to the checkout.
Several salespeople were wrapping the majority of our 36 dishes as I carried the final stack of pasta bowls past a table display of -
white porcelain dishes.
You may recognize these. They are the plain version of the cottage-gardeny set I liked originally from Villeroy and Boch. I balanced the bowls carefully and picked up a mug to check the manufacturer and it was, in fact, Villeroy and Boch. Steeply discounted Villeroy and Boch, I might add.
I went very calmly to the checkout with my choice of plaid pasta bowls and said, I am not going to ask you to stop wrapping these dishes, but Pete, please go look at that table. He came back and said, You know what, I like the ones on the table even better. So I said, "Let's Get Both!"
Which we did, obviously.
So here we are with two sets of dishes, which I hope will prevent me from needing to go dish shopping again for a really long time, for about half of what one set of porcelain dishes would have cost us anywhere else. Even after you factor in the extra pieces (bowls etc.) that I bought from the Villeroy and Boch site when we got home and then unpacked last night.
End of story, beginning of fun and games.
How cute is this possible table setting with a bunny dish on black plaid and a matching-ish mug on the side? I mean we can only do that for three, since I broke the fourth bunny bowl, but still. If we have more people I could serve sandwiches, because I have 8 bunny plates in that size. Sandwiches are more practical for a knitting party anyway.
And what about this setting, on the plaid tablecloth I bought for Christmas when we went back to the store for the second load of dishes?
Oops, I guess I left that part out of the story. The Homesense we went to is a 10-minute walk from our condo, on a super busy street where parking is not really an option, so we carried the two sets of dishes in two loads, in bags. Oddly it was my legs that hurt afterward - for two days - and not my arms, no idea why.
And how cute will our little kitchen table be, set with these dishes and surrounded by porcelain-white cabinets tricked out with this hardware?
It's matchy with our countertop, but not too matchy.
I didn't expect to love the cabinet hardware we chose but in fact, I am constantly holding these samples while I'm on the phone or otherwise pondering things - they feel so nice in my hand and the shape, size, and soft iron finish is so much like the hardware my grandfather used for a desk he built in the 1930s, and which is going into our front hall. Plus: they are from Martha Stewart, and available at Home Depot, for which I have many many gift cards. I might not even have to come up with much cash for these things, though actually, there is a ton of cabinetry going into our house, so... yeah. They'll cost me.
Okay, that's enough kitchen stuff for today I think, don't you? (too much, even!) I'm sure we all have more important things to take care of over the weekend and hopefully some of it involves knitting.
Take care and I'll see you next week!