December 4, 2016: Hola everyone! Winter has arrived in Milwaukee and there are snow flurries today. Despite several hard freezes remarkably my "spikes" in two of my patio planters have absolutely refused to die. The rosemary and thyme plants I nursed inside the house through last winter spent the summer in their pot outside next to the side stoop off the driveway, where they get plenty of sunshine all day long. I transplanted them into a cozy sheltered spot right next to the stoop in October and they are still green and growing, too! With the delay in getting the drywall patching done in the relatively minor "reconstruction" work I had done in my kitchen, I am way behind my time in getting the house decorated. But yesterday I got my wreath decked out with extra lights and dressed the front door of the house, and my battery-operated traditional candles were put up on the window sills all around the house Friday evening. It becomes a ritual to go around at dusk and turn the tops to the right to turn the candles "on" and at bedtime to go around and turn the tops to the left to turn the candles "off." Today I put some "glittery" throw pillow covers purchased new last month from H&M on three of my sofa pillows to glam things up a bit in the living room and add some sparkle. Later on, after I sufficiently fuel myself up with wine and snacks and probably to distract myself while I listen to the Packers game on the radio, I will huff and puff and pull my artificial tree up from storage in the basement. I will decorate it simply this year. Every year I say that, and every year I end up throwing just about everything except the kitchen sink on the tree. I am very proud of myself this year, though. I did not buy a single new ornament or Christmas doo-dad for the house (throw pillow covers don't count!!!) Happy Holidays to all, with hope and fervent prayers for 2017. I've a feeling we're all going to need a lot of help from Goddess in the coming year. Jan

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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