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My obsession with china

  • jillp Jan 5, 2008 01:41 PM

Some time past, there was a thread about changing the china you use, depending upon the season. Hmm. I'm at the point where I can nearly change my dinnerware on a monthly basis, yet I find that I don't have anything suitable for the post-holiday period. I have a desire for some stoneware with a brown litho, like one of the Spode patterns. I need this like a need a hole in the head.

What are Chowhounds - those with the dinnerware addiction - using during the bleak midwinter?

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  1. I can't identify with the china but I used to have the same problem with espresso cups and saucers.

    1. I never really thought about this "issue" -- but it seems to me that if you find the mid-winter "bleak" that the last thing you need is brown dinnerware. I think this is a time to bring the color! Plus, it's a time to be less formal, after all the formal entertaining of the holiday season. I'd be inclined to experiment with mixing different patterns to create a colorful, playful atmosphere. Play with what you have! The other idea that appeals to me would be to get some really old-fashioned floral china that would create a cozy, homey atmosphere. Maybe go out to some thrift stores, auctions, etc. and pick up some vintage plates.

      1. I agree that brown Spode will be a bit depressing, unless you don't get that vibe from brown. Most of us do. How about a Valentine's theme? I just saw the cutest things in the Sur Le Table catalogue -- red and white polka dots, etc. Not china, but less formal and lots of fun. That should hold you over at least until late February.

        1. I was just thinking about this addiction this afternoon as I made pathetic inroads into the Tibetan chest I use to store a lot of china! I've been using Alice by Gien lately - pansies, grape hyacinths and snow drops:

          http://www.tableideas.com/gien-alice.htm

          I agree with others that the brown is a bit depressing this time of year. I have a number of random pieces of Aesthetic brown transferware that I use in my kitchen to hold small utensils in etc., but I'm generally not a big fan of brown.

          4 Replies
          1. re: MMRuth

            That's very pretty, and seasonally appropriate, I think.

            1. re: MMRuth

              Very old post, I know, but those are just beautiful. Stunning. And those are some of my favorite flowers also.

              1. re: MMRuth

                just looked at this site--what an absolutely beautiful collection. I could easily be a dishware junkie http://www.tableideas.com/gien-alice.htm

                1. re: lukee

                  How nice, Lukee.

              2. For some reason this time of year I gravitate to silver and white. Maybe it's a "can't beat 'em join 'em" thing with all the snow outside. I love how clean it all looks.

                1. my obsession is slightly different. I like everything to be all white all the time. there's something about a crisp white table. I'm the same way with sheets. White.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: eLizard

                    Ditto on the white dinnerware. I gave up color years save the blue and white Spode I have that I never use!

                    As for recommendations, how about Fiestaware? I know a few colors are on clearance now and it is durable china that is elegant and functional.

                  2. I love china! Years ago I worked close to a department store which was the chains outlet for odds & ends of fine china. I checked it frequently during my lunch breaks & collected some wonderful pieces. Now I end up driving by Replacements several times a year & always stop to torture myself. (If you ever are near Replacements, stop in for their free tour. The inventory space is mind boggling and the museum section is very interesting.) Being able to select the plate or bowl to match my mood or morsel just adds extra joy for me.
                    My dream is a vintage Craftsman home with a real butlers pantry off the dining room & the chance to fill it up with lovely patterns! A roomy kitchen would be included too...

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: meatn3

                      OMG
                      I feel the exact same way about the butler's pantry. It will happen for you.

                      1. re: meatn3

                        Wanna know a secret? You NEVER have enough cabinet space. I now have a kitchen with a 14 foot wall of floor to ceiling cabinets plus over and under counter cabinets for a total of thirty two(!) kitchen cupboards plus drawers and they're all stuffed to the brim full! <sigh> I am not a pack rat... I am *not* a pack rat... I am *NOT* a pack rat! Well, I guess I could get rid of a little bit, but not a lot!

                      2. China is an addiction! But for me, sanity pushed its way through when I began running out of room! I'm not one to crawl up into the attic for one more salad plate because I mis-counted the first time. Sooo... I have now pared my way down to about four china patterns (if I don't scrutinize too closely) and I have one pattern that I've been using every day since my son was born. (He just turned forty.) That pattern is "Blue Danube". You can look it over here: http://www.bluedanube-direct.com/inde...

                        The thing I love about it is the vast variety of pieces available. More than any other china pattern currently in production. Individual au gratin dishes, demitasse service, rice bowls, footed/lidded cream soup bowls, cereal bowls, soup plates, bone dishes... You name it and chances are they make it.

                        When I chose this pattern, I debated a long time on whether to go with it or the Meisen "Blue Onion". They're fairly similar, and back then they were not that far apart in price. It was the vast variety of Blue Danube that won me over. And considering the price difference between it and Meisen today, I'm sooooo glad I did! The Meisen would no longer be "everyday" china!

                        Blue Danube is true porcelain. The webpage I list above is in Aurstalia, they ship globally, and with their non-upgrade shipping charges they still beat any U.S. prices I've found except for deeply discounted occasional specials.

                        And for the record, I replaced plain white porcelain with the Blue Danube. One night I fixed filet of sole muniere with parslied potatoes and califlower au gratin. What a pale ugly plate! I had to switch to another china pattern. Even garnishes didn't cheer up the white porcelain in my opinion. Not my cup of tea.

                        16 Replies
                        1. re: Caroline1

                          I've been thinking about this most of the day and finally ended up laughing at myself. I don't think I've really broken my china addiction. I've just sublimated it with a pattern that that offers about a gazillion different place and serving pieces! LOL!

                          1. re: Caroline1

                            Caroline, I hope you didn't mean that you discarded the white porcelain! I'm not sure how anyone lives without good quality white as a backbone for mixing and matching or as fallback when the other pattern/s just don't quite look right.

                            As I read through these posts, I thought how overwhelming, even discouraging, they might seem to younger people just starting out, wondering how they will ever acquire the things they'd love to have, or to those who don't have the storage space for extensive collections of tableware. Some of us have far more than we need and the first thing they need to remember is that we have been collecting for decades!!!

                            Some of us were fortunate enough to have gotten some of our things as wedding gifts when it was traditional to give fine things as gifts rather than pots and appliances. Lesson: if you're getting married, ask for china and silver, because you'll still be using them in forty years, long after the pots have gone to charity. Make sure you get them in the divorce.
                            We have storage space now that we didn't when we lived in our first apartments but we didn't have this much stuff either. Lesson: Good stuff takes up no more room than cheap crap. Buy only top quality things now to start your collection. What you buy now might not be your finest china one day, but it will always be good quality.

                            If you aren't sure of your taste or how your life will flow, buy good white porcelain in an open stock pattern. Both Sur La Table and Williams Sonoma stock classics from Apilco, Pilluvuyt and Revol, companies that have been making top quality tableware and serving pieces for close to 200 years. You will always be able to buy an extra plate or two when you have a few extra dollars. It's durable enough to use for everyday and elegant enough that it's used in four-star restaurants and fine homes. You can mix it with other fine china, cheap thrills from Pier 1, or garage sale finds. I've got pieces that I've had for decades, give pieces regularly to my daughters as gifts, and I'll add more this month while it's on sale at SLT.

                            Then one day, you can indulge your fancy and have all the china you want like Caroline or Candy or me or all the others of us who would start a 12-step program except that we don't want to quit.

                            1. re: MakingSense

                              Excellent advice. jillp and I both have plain white bone china in our collections. Hers is Wedgwood and mine is Doulton. They are almost identical and it is nice that we both have 12's and can borrow from each other when we need a few extra. I'd never give up my white.

                              1. re: MakingSense

                                I didn't "throw away" the white china, but I did give it away. '-) Well, I did keep a couple of pieces, most expressly the coffee service. A gorgeous "contemporary" cylinder that was very "mid-twentieth century modern" in flavor Oh wait! It WAS mid-twnetieth century modern! How could I forget that part?

                                Your remarks are great encouragement to younger people just starting out. But the wonderful thing about today is that there are so very many inexpensive sets of dishes available, and as you so rightly point out, it can take a few years to figure out your "style." At times I have to wonder how many fine china patterns that are entered in a bride's registry today are the same patterns those brides will be using fifteen or twenty years down the road? Tastes change.

                                I do have a small "collection" of a piece or two (I try to keep at least one cup and saucer) from every set of dishes I've ever had. Well, almost "every." Now and then I really enjoy a cup of tea in them.

                                The Bavarian china I had in the late fifties is so sheer, it makes a cup of tea a joy. Two patterns of that, actually. But I don't think I'd enjoy a table full of either pattern today.

                                Then there is the pink Longchamp ironstone from France, with the white "Eszterhaas" decoration that looks like the top of a Napoleon. God, I loved that pattern when I was in my early twenties, but today I'm so grateful the only piece I have left is a serving platter!

                                Won't even mention the china service my maternal grandparents bought when they made a trip back to England when I was around 12, then put away and gave it to me as a wedding present. Left it with a girlfriend to send to me because I didn't want to risk the movers breaking it. She packed a cast iron skillet I had forgotten on top and turned it all into shards! Not one piece survived.

                                I do still like my service for 12 "Versailles" pattern by Sango. Discontinuted, but still available through replacements.com. Bought it on the fly one Christmas when I realized I had 12 guests coming for dinner with an 8 place setting set of china. Didn't like that pattern (the white) well enough to go for four more place settings.

                                Then I have a real love/hate relationship with the Cathy-Hardwick-for-Mikasa "Persian Red" bone china, also service for 12. Nice wide red band with narrow gold framing bands that really makes a holiday table pop, BUT!!! You MUST wear gloves when setting it out because the red picks up finger prints like an FBI forensics trainee gone wild! Don't know why it does that, but it's a real pain. I have to plan a menu so no one passes their plate to the carver, or it comes back looking like an FBI file.

                                I do have a bunch of Wedgwood Jasper ware. Tea service and other pieces, including cigarette lighters and ashtrays from way back when "everybody" (including me) smoked. I initially started out with the intent of doing a dinner service with it in the early 60s, but lost interest, and I'm kind of glad I did. A table full of blue Jasper would just look too weird without full sterling service, including vermeilled salad forks. Hate to polish silver!. Used to have an English girlfriend who refused to drink tea out of it. Said touching the bisque finish gave her the heebie jeebies.

                                Then a few heirlooms. One is a very elegant (in a minimalist sort of way) art deco tea set my grangmother brought from England. No company name on the bottom. Only "Hand painted bone china" and what is probably a pattern number hand painted in gold. Antiques Road Show is coming to Dallas, and I keep wondering if I'm curious enough about finding anything out about it to bother carting it down. Probably not. I love it because it was my grandmother's. It would be devestaing to find out it's worth thousands!

                                Then there is a really lovely and very elegant Sango tea service with dessert plates that my Navy father bought for my mother at the Sango factory in Japan, when it was first starting up again only months after the end of World War II. Completely hand painted, and it turns a cup of tea into a sensuous pleasure!

                                The white porcelain coffee pot was eventually broken, so I no longer have any remnants from that china service. But I can't say that bothers me much. It's still open stock. But as I said in another post, I do seem to sublimate my desire for china collecting with the Blue Danube. Five different kinds of coffee cups, from mugs to Viennese to Turkish. Jam pots, egg cups, soup tureens, covered veggie, tea pots, coffee servers. When my kids were around 11 and 12, I overheard them arguing one morning about who would get it when I die. LOL! I didn't know they even noticed they weren't eating off paper plates! Things you learn by eavesdropping.

                                I think the great advantage of being young today, and maybe not having the money to invest in "good" china is that it pushes you to use your imagination. Lots of fun stuff out there that you can buy service for four, eight, 16 or even 24 for the price of one "good" china place setting! Sometimes I walk through WalMart and see stacks of glass dishes in cobalt blue or clear glass and wish I had room for a dozen or so. Bought about a dozen a couple of Christmases ago and used them as gifts... With elegantly decorated chocolate cakes on them. Gained a few pounds licking the bowls that year!

                                1. re: MakingSense

                                  Fascinating perspective. As one who has watched a few people go through divorces, it seems like something as personal as china used everyday would be the last thing anyone would want to take away - a daily serving of divorce, yuk.

                                  I've gone through different china patterns over the years and return continually to solid white plus a few other favorite solid colors (a fresh green and a brown, currently, with a few black asian pieces for sushi and stir fry nights. And a few "sammeltassen" leftover from from my grandmothers' collection and Bramblylhedge that is our tradition for birthdays, Valentines, Easter and afternoon tea.

                                  The stuff I was attracted to when I was engaged/young married is so different from my taste now. I'm glad we didn't put china down in our registry, opting instead for some plain white stuff that is still in great condition 25 years later. (DH and I couldn't agree on a pattern, so we opted for plain white). It would have been a major guilt trip to let go of such expensive china gifts, even if I no longer liked them much.

                                  1. re: MakingSense

                                    Wonderful advice about the white porcelain! It can be overwhelming to folks just starting out -- the wide variety and high prices to get a full service. But a set of good white will probably go with anything else they might acquire later in life and will work well in the meantime for holidays/entertaining/etc.

                                    In our family we were fortunate to receive sets from our grandmother who, surprise surprise, was a first-class china addict herself. In fact, after my gradmother passed away, my mother, sister I lined up the china sets according to when my grandmother acquired them -- it was interesting to see how her tastes changed (but still stayed fairly consistent) from when she first married during the Depression through to the '80s. Then when we add in our own sets we certainly can see trends and personalities emerge! The funny thing is that they all go together in a wild sort of way. Or at least we think that because we all have the same eye.

                                    The only thing I would add for those just starting out and who want to acquire full (or almost full) sets of china without breaking the bank ... estate sales. They may be called Tag Sales in other parts of the country. But these are the sales that occur after folks have passed away. Mostly the china, crystal and silver will be passed on to other family members but every once in a while you'll find whole or almost whole sets from a variety of makers. My three biggest china finds: a 120 piece set with some serving pieces of Haviland (Rosalinde) for $150, a 100 or so piece set of Limoge, icluding soup and fruit bowls(!!) with beautiful scallops and gold for $90, and a 160 piece set, with serving pieces, of Minton for just under $1000. Just be aware -- you have to slog through a lot of ugly and depressing to get to the good. That said, it is sad but true that some of my best finds have been in places that looked quite horrible from the outside. Also, in general, the china usually doesn't sell first at an estate sale so you may be able to negotiate. But it is like anything else, if you really, really love it then you better act because chances are someone else (a collector, a dealer or e-bay seller) may also see its potential.

                                    Oh, and as for the crystal, watch the pricing and really know what you want. For some reason the crystal always seems to be priced higher and is less of a bargain. Waterford and Baccarat especially. But I once snagged (at a wonderful price!) for my mother a beautiful set of Stuart in her exact pattern to expand the set she already had. The Stuart was well-priced because that line just didn't do as well as the comparable Waterford here in the States.

                                    Finally, I would join the 12-step and celebrate my new beginning with a party but I don't think I have a pattern suitable for that. Maybe finding that pattern would have to be my first step ...

                                  2. re: Caroline1

                                    I love Blue Danube and kick myself when I could have purchased (and didnt) an 8 place setting with serving pieces of my Aunt's for $60. I've regretted it ever since. In the meantime, I see just how valuable it was. It had made in Japan on the back. What is the difference between what was made in Japan and that which is made in the U.S.?

                                    1. re: Lizzyalt

                                      To the best of my knowledge, Blue Danube has never been made in the US, always in Japan. But the Blue Onion pattern, of which Blue Danube is a version, is made by several European china manufacturers, including Bavaria, France and England, among other countries. Blue Danube did recently (within the last five or ten years) "change hands," though I'm not sure there has been any change in trademarks, but as a result there was a slowing of supplies within the U.S. for awhile. Some U.S. webistes still state it has been discontinued, but there is an Australian website that is going strong, and with truly great prices, even when shipped from Australia! So I don't think it has been discontinued, but there does seem to be a slowing of U.S.merchants offering it. Macy's dropped it after many many years in their fine china department.

                                      Oh, and for the record, the difference between Blue Onion and Blue Danube, it's primarily the color of the porcelain, which is white white in BD, and a creamier white in BO. But the BO patterns also have a double circle around the inside of the outer rim pattern with small pomegranites inside the double ring whereas BD only has a single blue line. And yes, theyre pomegranites, NOT onions! The finials are also a bit different on sugar bowls and such tending to stand straight up on BD, and tilted at an angle on the Bavarian versions, and the BO plates and such often have a much deeper "dish" that BD.. Oh, and the Bavarian versions are now MUCH more expensive than BD. Back when I first bought my BD, they weren't that far apart in price, but I chose BD because it has about a gazillion more pieces available than any of the Euro verions!

                                      Well, here. I'll attach some so you can see the differences. From left to right they are Blue Danube, Hutschenreuter Blue Onion, Meissen Blue Onion, and Wedgwood Blue Onion.:

                                       
                                       
                                       
                                       
                                      1. re: Caroline1

                                        I'm impressed that your Blue Danube has held up so well. My older sister loved it but said hers chipped every time she touched it.

                                        1. re: jillp

                                          I suspect my kitchen rules are responsible for my Blue Danube's longevity. Rule #1 It must NEVER be stacked in the sink when dirty. It MUST be either put directly into the dishwasher or stacked on the counter. That's it. Just one rule. In the last five years since I moved her, I have had one piece chipped, and that was because a new housekeeper did it her first day when she stacked dishes in the sink. She never did it again, and that's the only problem since moving here. Well, except for the time a friend tripped and dropped her cake plate. She ALMOST broke her knee. The cake plate didn't fare as well.

                                        2. re: Caroline1

                                          Caroline- you seem to know your Blue Danube china so I have a question for you. I want to start collecting it b/c it brings back happy memories from my Nana's kitchen. I do want to actually use it from time to time. So should I go with the older banner backstamp or pick the newer one (1976-1997 I think)? Is there any difference that you know of in look?

                                          1. re: Caroline1

                                            Oh, yikes! My MIL passed away about the time of this post and we donated her Blue Danube (had no knowledge of it) cause none of us wanted it. Hopefully it found a good home. BTW, C1, are you alright? You've been very quiet on CH lately.

                                            1. re: c oliver

                                              I'm throwing my question out to anybody who might know about Blue Danube china- So should I go with the older banner backstamp or pick the newer one (1976-1997 I think)? Is there any difference that you know of in look?

                                              1. re: Rgosdin

                                                Rgosdin, I have collected Blue Danube for years and have 3 different backstamps throughout. They all match seamlessly. Unless I turn a dish over and look, I can't tell which one has a particular stamp over another. The oldest pieces with the ribbon mark sometimes have little specks of blue in the white field of the pattern (very minor and not really noticeable). The later pieces Block stamp and Scroll stamp don't seem to have any of these dots I described. Again, it's a minor thing really. If you don't concern yourself with the backstamp you'll be able to acquire a full collection to use and enjoy that much faster. I use mine everyday, dishwasher and microwave, and it holds up perfectly. I even have some baking pieces. They don't have glazed bottoms and bake perfectly. Enjoy collecting and good luck to you.

                                              2. re: c oliver

                                                She's doing well, opting out for now. I had been concerned and e-mailed her a while back (her e-mail is on her profile).

                                                Miss her posts though.....

                                            2. re: Lizzyalt

                                              I didn't realize it was discontinued. I have a lot of Blue Danube - place settings and serving pcs. I purchased all of mine back in the early 80's. Not sure if that means anything as far as where it was made. I have so much china, I forgot about it.

                                          2. I went on a tour of the Brown Mansion in Coffeyville, Kansas 10 years ago. Mrs. Brown had so many china patterns, she recorded which ones were served at each party and never served on the same one again to the same guests. This is my dream. Sadly, after her death, the mansion was looted.

                                            I use my cream with platinum edging china - but go for a bright tablecloth or decor.
                                            Julep cups, things to dress it up a bit.

                                            1. Well, everybody in the family knows I am quite obsessed with china! And unlike some of you, I change it not according to a season, but rather for a specific use or a number of people I will serve. I have a 12, 8 and 6 persons sets. 2 with soup terrines and soup bowls, 1 with a gravy boat and a large platter (great for a turkey), 1 with a big salad bowl, 1 for asian dishes, 3 with dessert plates and tea/coffe pots and cups, 2 for a small gathering with only a couple of serving dishes. So, after coming up with a menu and the number of people, I decide which set fits the best (so I don't ever have to borrow pieces from other sets). Most of these pieces I brought from Europe in my carry on! (Rosenthal, Cmielow, Royal Daulton, Portmeirion and my grandmother's very old Bavaria). In the US I bought Lenox and a japanese set of dishes. My husband gives me dirty looks every time he sees me around a store that sells china.....

                                              1. Christmas Tree Spode went into hibernation New Year's Day. Now it is time for the old Syracuse ware Lake Placid Club dishes until it is time for the Worcester Evesham. But of course you know that being a frequent visitor.

                                                1. It seems that I can never have enough china as well. There are so many beautiful patterns out there.

                                                  Many years ago, I took the advice of cookbook author Jane Freiman that it makes the most sense to collect dinner plates. They are easiest to stack and store and make the most impact. So I mix in my crystal or glass soup and salad plates and white or celadon cups and saucers. First courses and desserts are generally much nicer served on a dinner plate as well.

                                                  This has worked really well for me, particularly in my tiny New York City apartment.

                                                  3 Replies
                                                  1. re: btnfood

                                                    By make the most impact - I'm curious - are you storing stacks of plates "on view" so to speak? Trying to get a visual as it sounds interesting and, well, not only do I have my ridiculous collections of china that I use, I have the antique plates that I collect for, well, collection purposes (not enough in the same sizes etc. to really use). And I agree that first course and dessert look better with a dinner place underneath as well - if that is what you mean.

                                                    And - glad this thread got revived b/c I'm going to go dig out some other china to use for dinner tonight, which I probably woudn't have done otherwise.

                                                    1. re: MMRuth

                                                      At last count I have 11 sets of china, I cannot begin t tell you how much stemware, and am into my 3rd. set of sterling. The stuff is stashed everywhere. Luckily my DH "gets it" and indulges my desire to collect. I'd like to get a china cupboard where i can have some on view to change with seasons too. Right now most of it, except what i am using is closeted away. Oh darn, just like at the store, I just spotted another piece of Christmas that needs to be put away!

                                                      1. re: MMRuth

                                                        What I meant was that I prefer serving first courses and desserts, at least for more formal dinners where I care about presentation, on the larger dinner plates. There is a lot more "canvas" on which to create a nice presentation - that and the decorative border are what give the "impact".

                                                        Then the dinner plate becomes much more versatile, so I feel less guilty about adding another stack :).

                                                        Makes me feel less insane knowing that there are so many chowhounds that share this dinnerware obsession.

                                                    2. 12 place settings each plus serving pieces of:
                                                      Lennox/Tuxedo,
                                                      Noritake/Shenandoah,
                                                      Stangl/Fruit & Flowers,
                                                      Mary Alice Hadley/Bouquet,
                                                      Johnson Bros./Blue Willow with antique pieces thrown in,
                                                      Johnson Bros./Regency,
                                                      Plus a brown and green pottery mother called Country Fair - But I find no reference for it on line.

                                                      That's it....no more....I'm done collecting.....

                                                      5 Replies
                                                      1. re: Gio

                                                        Is this the "Country Fair" you're talking about?
                                                        http://tinyurl.com/2x7h8h

                                                        1. re: Caroline1

                                                          It isn't that Caroline... but thank you for the link. That was very nice of you!
                                                          The pottery I have is hand thrown, "heathery" muted green with a brown edge, really not a border. Mother purchased it in Boston in the 40's/50s. While it's rustic, it's perfect for use out of doors in the summer. She may have the wrong name. There are a few pieces which have a small bouquet of yellow flowers on the front. Huge coffee cups, mugs, simple bowls, 3 plate sizes, fab serving pieces....it's quite a collection. I've added some pieces over the years from flea markets and antique stores but have not seen it recently anywhere. I'd love to know the origin.

                                                          1. re: Gio

                                                            There are so many patterns from those decades that just aren't easy to come by, if at all. Good luck on finding the pieces you want. You just never know when you're going to stumble across things like that.

                                                            1. re: Gio

                                                              Dear Friend - Maybe you have discovered this information by now, but the brown & green stoneware you refer to is called "Country Fare" (note the different spelling) and was made in Boston by Carbone Pottery (also later by Louisville Stoneware in Kentucky as well as Zanesville Stoneware in Ohio and possibly by John B. Taylor). I too love this pottery and have a large collection. Like you, mine was first acquired by my mother before I was born and I have loved it since I was a child. I will try attaching a photo of a few pieces - the flash has made the green part of the stoneware look off-color. This pattern can be found on eBay and at Replacements -- once you have the correct pattern name. Hope this info helps. - Kleighjo

                                                               
                                                              1. re: kleighjo

                                                                Kleighjo... from 22 April 2012 to 6 December. Why didn't I open this thread before now?

                                                                Country Fare is indeed the pottery set I had and Carbone's is indeed the store, on Boylston St. I think, is where mother bought it. I've given it to my daughter. Her boyfriend has added a few more pieces and they use it frequently. If I could only thank you properly for the information. But I see this is your one and only post. Mother bought many of Carbone's other offerings...mainly beautiful Italian pottery and cache pots for all her plants. Many thanks to you for jogging my memory.

                                                                ETA: I had all those pieces in your photo, and more, except the covered casserole. It's wonderful to see them displayed again.

                                                        2. Like I mentioned before, I like white, and my "pattern" is urania and arcadia from KPM. Does anyone know of a reputable dealer in the states??

                                                          2 Replies
                                                          1. re: eLizard

                                                            elizard: "my "pattern" is urania and arcadia from KPM"

                                                            Do you mix and match those, eLizard? They're stunning, the urania in particular. What kind of flatware do you use with them?

                                                            1. re: Jay F

                                                              I do mix and match. the plain ones are nice break from all those medallions...and my flatwear is just crate and barrel.

                                                          2. Well, iI

                                                            Afraid I can't help as I'm too busy dealing with my cookware addiction...LOL! It's nice to have another addiction to look forward to acquiring ;-).

                                                            1. My weakness is quirky pottery pieces from the 60s and 70s, especially from some English potteries. Also love Italian pottery from Deruta. Luckily I have only gotten a mug, bowl or creamer here and there, since I live in a tiny apartment right now. Someday, though, I hope to have a few sets of pottery or china, plus make my own set! It sure is an addiction. Nice to know
                                                              there are other Chowhounders who love "crockery". :-)

                                                              3 Replies
                                                              1. re: poptart

                                                                I have a few pieces of Deruta, poptart, inherited from my mother.. I marvel at the colors, designs, and skill. When watching Mario on his reincarnated Molto Show on one of the cable networks... I drool...not at his food but at the Deruta.

                                                                1. re: Gio

                                                                  Gio, I also drool when Lidia dishes up her food on Deruta plates :-).
                                                                  THank you, MakingSense, for the encouraging words. They came on a good
                                                                  day for me to hear them. How exciting to design your own plates to be made
                                                                  in Deruta. That must have been an experience you remember everytime you
                                                                  enjoy your plates.
                                                                  There is a shop here in Boston which sells beautiful pieces from Deruta. So much fun to look at what they have there.

                                                                2. re: poptart

                                                                  You can have what you love, poptart. Save your money and spend it on what you really dream of.
                                                                  A number of years ago, I wanted a set of Deruta dinner plates soooo much. I was traveling it Italy and went to the oldest factory there and persuaded them to let me work with one of their designers on my own set.
                                                                  We combined different plate shapes, borders and grounds so that each of the 12 plates is different but coordinated, all in the same colors. It took them almost six months to complete and ship the order but Oh! how we have enjoyed those plates. It's the only set of its kind.
                                                                  I had saved money here and there so that I had it set aside to buy just what I wanted when I went and I have never regretted it for a minute. My younger daughter was traveling with me for part of that summer and she covets that set, so she gets it when I break up housekeeping or die.

                                                                3. For all'y'all dish queens, I found the most wonderful book yesterday, DISH: 813 COLORFUL, WONDERFUL DINNER PLATES, by House Beautiful features editor Shax Riegler. It's a nice, big book, a couple hundred pages, the size of Martha Stewart's Entertaining.

                                                                  Here's his website: http://www.shaxriegler.com/

                                                                  Amazon has several new copies for under $2. http://www.amazon.com/dp/1579654126/r...

                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                  1. re: Jay F

                                                                    Wow, thanks for the info about the book and the links. It is whizzing on its way to me as I type.

                                                                    I, too, am a china (and crystal) addict. I'm happy to see that there are others on the board who share my affliction. :)

                                                                  2. Ahhh....fellow China lovers! Yes...you can understand the beauty of sipping from a work of art. I think people would think I am the daughter of the Villeroy-Boch president as I have service for 24 in several of their beautiful patterns - Alt Amsterdam makes me feel like I am in the Swiss/Italian Alps; Naif regular during most of the year and the Christmas Naif from after Thanksgiving until the New Year, and Basket for Thanksgiving and Easter. I fell in love with Royal Crown Derby's Old Imari, which would really set me back in a full service, so I got dessert service and feel like Scheherazade when I bring it out for a small get together. I love Spode Stafford flowers and got a dessert service in that too. I would love Flora Danica, and may just get a cup and saucer to hold that beautiful creation in my hand. Beautiful China really is delightful for me and my guests. I don't know if I will ever stop. I brought the most beautiful antique tea service in my hand luggage from Paris a few years back. Some of these pieces are real works of art. We each have something that creates delight in our lives, and for some of us it is China. When I was younger, I had a leaf and a wildflower collection, and it was such joy to find additions to my collection. It can be as simple as that and bring so much joy.

                                                                    8 Replies
                                                                    1. re: laraffinee

                                                                      Hello, La Raffinée - My name is Jay, and I am a dish addict.

                                                                      I like the Naif. And the Old Imari is really, really lovely.

                                                                      My own choices are a little less raffinés this time around. I'm beginning a Fiesta collection now that's just luncheon plates, soup/cereal bowls, and mugs. They're what I use 98% of the time, so I decided not to bother with dinner plates. I also have Metlox Colorstax in Forest, Fern, Turquoise, and Sky Blue. And platebowlcup by Jasper Morrison.

                                                                      1. re: laraffinee

                                                                        Just an fyi that Replacements just completed a major acquisition of Flora Danica ...

                                                                        1. re: foiegras

                                                                          I am a china lover, too! I sort of have to keep my collections a secret...many of the dinner plates, water glasses, etc. are on shelves in my basement, where my husband will not see them. When I pull them out, he says, "Where did we get these?" and I just say, "We've had them forever...."

                                                                          My question: As a wedding gift from my husband's grandfather, we received 8 place settings of Lenox Tuxedo, which I still love. I would like to collect a few pieces of other patterns that will coordinate with the Lenox, but I am worried because it is so creamy. Any suggestions?

                                                                          1. re: watmel

                                                                            What about going with color ... like Wedgwood Drabware?

                                                                            I'd think also a lot of vintage things would work. I collect Homer Laughlin English Garden, which has the Vellum finish. It's not as formal as your Tuxedo, but the color is probably similar.

                                                                            I recently broke a stem from the very first (cheap) set I ever bought. This makes me feel good about being in the habit of buying more ... See, I need this additional stuff because sometimes things break!!

                                                                            1. re: foiegras

                                                                              English Garden is so sweet, Foiegras! To tell you the truth, I am in love with Royal Stafford Sweet Violets, and I was hoping that it might work with Tuxedo, but I think it is too white.

                                                                              1. re: watmel

                                                                                I have Tuxedo by Lenox and I have found, through the years, that almost any pattern goes with it very nicely. Royal Stafford Sweet Violets has a bit of gold around the edges, and that's all it takes to be compatible. Buy a few pieces and try it. I love the look of mismatched china in a formal setting. There's a certain "passed down" look that's quite charming.

                                                                                1. re: Gio

                                                                                  I think that's exactly what I am going to do. Thanks!

                                                                                  1. re: Gio

                                                                                    Good to hear! My china is actually passed down, and I had a lot of fun a few years ago finding patterns that would knit together the different generations while filling some gaps.

                                                                                    The whole process helped me discover more about my own tastes, and also came close to generating a china obsession. But blessedly it subsided before I took in more than I can store or use.

                                                                                    It's fun to be able to set a table with pieces from four generations: my mother's Wedgwood Poterat dinner plates and my grandmother's 1920s-30s gold-edged glass salad plates with my Royal Doulton Cambridge bread plates and soup dishes. After dinner, my great-grandmother's Minton Irene dessert plates (1883 stylized floral blue and white) with Royal Doulton Princeton cups & saucers.

                                                                                    For a setting that's all me, I got a set of Wedgwood Champagne Duchesse dinner and bread plates (plain white, gold-rimmed), and Wedgwood Oberon salad plates.

                                                                        2. My everyday stuff is Spode's Blue Italian, and I collect a lot of blue and white in general. This color combo is always a pick-me-up after the holidays. I'll look for good buys on fresh flowers at the market.

                                                                          I also switch to spring green and yellow towels, etc. in my kitchen. Silly, but it does help.

                                                                          The brown china works for Autumn, but I'd avoid it at all cost post-holiday season. Pull it out come September.

                                                                          1. Since you have several patterns, I'd suggest mixing some of them up. Use dinner plates from one set, coffee cups or mugs from another, salad plates from another. See how things look when they don't match. I imagine some of your sets would mix well and it would be a change.