May 20, 2018:


Yesterday Prince Harry married American Meghan Markle and I couldn't get enough of the royal wedding. What a gorgeous dress, the bride was radiantly beautiful and the church at Windsor - oh my goodness, the flowers alone were soooo beautiful. There's nothing like a good love story to make one appreciate how precious we can be (and should be) to each other.

I'm glad the weather was perfect yesterday for the new Duke and Duchess of Sussex's wedding. I can't say the same for around here. Spring keeps teasing and then going away. This morning I woke up to a "balmy" 47 degrees F outside, rain, damp, and I turned the heat back on! It's May 20th, the heat. should. not. be. on. Period.

Last Thursday, however, was beautiful. I was able to get a goodly amount of yard and garden clean-up done over several days last week. I also took some photos of my flowering tree anchoring the north corner of my house and made the current collage. I think it's an ornamental cherry, and on the the other end of the house, I think that's called a purple sand cherry? I'll have to check that. The blossoms on the tree do not have a distinct fragrance, but the purple shrub that wants to be a tree (despite my hacking it back, back and back yearly - I'm losing, by the way) has myriad blossoms with a distinct fragrance. I can't decide if the scent is too beautiful to bear or too awful to smell, it certainly can be overpowering!

This coming week will be the third cut of the grass this season. We had rain late Friday night and then for several hours earlier this morning. This rain, on top of the rain we had over four days the prior weekend, and the grass is growing like nobody's business! I don't mind doing the grass, though, as long as it's not too hot, too cold, not raining, and not too windy. I'm not picky at all, am I...

I still have a lot of raking out of areas that suffered from snow mold over the winter, and have not yet really tackled cleaning out the north flower bed in the backyard. That will be a chore!

But Memorial Day weekend is coming. This coming Saturday I will be out with a friend (who has a nice large van - goody!) stocking up on potting soil, top soil to fill in never-ending low spots in the yard, grass seed, and lots of plants! For some reason, this spring seems busier than those in prior years. I can't figure out why that is...


Friday, May 4, 2012

Beautiful Place Settings and a True Story

I visited Back Porch Musings a day or two ago and was captivated by this post on place- settings.

Pat's photos of her place-settings are all so beautiful.  They make me want something more... But for the life of me, I cannot imagine owning so many different sets of dishes, glassware, place mats, napkins, napkin rings, and stainless steel and/or silverware!  (Not to mention putting together centerpieces and the like!)  Really, where does one find room to put it all?  And the time it takes to put it all together - hmmm, yep, I'm definitely not a place-setting type of gal or the take-the-time-to-make-it-pretty type of gal.

I purposely did not email Pat and ask for permission to reproduce any of her gorgeous photographs of place-settings here.  You must visit Pat's blog, instead, and enjoy them in their true setting.  Plus, I don't want to show her gorgeous place-settings and china, serving-ware, etc. against my own pitiful photographic efforts to follow...

Unbelievable as it is, I actually own three sets of dishes myself and they're all here in Maison Newton.   There is one set of stoneware that I bought when I was still in high school and now, darlings, this is going way way back, to the days when there were still travelling salesmen who went around to people's houses!  As part of a package deal that a lot of girls purchased for themselves back then (that would have been 1966 or so), that included a genuine Lane hope chess, my package included (1) stoneware (2) crystalware and (3) cookery.  In my case, my cookery was West Bend aluminum clad and I'm still using it today and it's in perfect condition even after all these years!

Here is a pic of that stoneware that I often use, it is nearly 50 years old now - wow - practically vintage!  It is a sort of bronze-green with an abstract pattern center in a speckled light brown-gold pattern outlined with a lighter greenish color glaze.  Around the rims that are on all of the plates, bowls and serving bowls and around the bottom of the coffee cups is an indented pattern that is highlighted with the light-brown-gold speckled glaze.  The stoneware is not stamped, it is merely marked with silver-colored printing:  American Enterprises Emeerald Stoneware,  Oven-Safe, Detergent Proof, Japan.  1914N Aztec:

There is the set I purchased in 1986, shortly after I bought my first home, when Gimbels was going out of business.  Sob!  I loved Gimbels!  I had grown up shopping there, and it was very traumatic in Milwaukee when the locations went out of business.  Sorry, just not a Macy's fan.  I always think of them as killing Gimbels....

I have rarely used this set and most of it was and is still not unpacked from its boxes purchased in 1986!  I unpacked a four piece place-setting and some of the serving dishes.  I believe this is porcelain but it is not stamped.  It has gold-colored printing on it that said Fine China MIKASA.  The rest of the printing I'm having trouble reading, even with my glasses on!  I think it says L2706 or it could be I270N, TRAVERTINE GRAY, Design by Bard (?).  Japan.

There is also the set I adopted from someone I worked with years ago, when his wife got tired of two sets of china she had purchased after a trip on safari to Africa.  He was charged with getting rid of them. He could not bring himself to trash perfectly good china and so he brought four or perhaps five boxes of china into the office.

I don't recall the exact date when I adopted the animal print dishes which I now use as my everyday dishes - mid 1990's maybe.  I moved into this house in August, 1990 and it was some time after that date, but before the end of September, 2002 when I moved to a different place of employment.  This china - actually it's not china but stoneware - is not stamped, only lettered in black ink:  Sakura (TM) Dishwasher Safe Microwave Safe Genuine Stoneware Indonesia KENYA (c) 1993, and what looks like DEBORAH MALLOW:

So, those are my dishes!  I've had the black placemats since 1986, along with black cloth napkins.  I also have what I consider a "fancy" heavily embossed set of stainless steel flatware, and a much less expensive light-weight plain set of stainless steel flatware that I use for every day, along with practically-antique stainless steel this and that I moved out with from the old homestead back in 1969!  LOL! 

Not the stuff from which dreams are made of, darlings!  None of my sets were selected to and are not matched to "mix and match" with each other!  About all I can say is that the black tuxedo style placemats (the tuxedo pleats are not discernible in the photographs) are not absolutely repulsive with my sets of dishes, but certainly there could be more attractively colored placemats to "go" with the dishes, if I was clever enough and had the time to, and wanted to spend that time, picking such things out, coordinating everything all together, adding "bridge" types of plates, chargers, etc.  By the way, I don't own a charger!

Geez, I'm hopeless!

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