Jun 1, 2019

China. The plate not the country.

When I was married, the tradition for brides was to choose a china pattern, flatware, crystal, tablecloths and such.  Bridal registries are the greatest idea since hair dye, but do couples still want china and the good stuff?  I don't.  I haven't used it for many years for several reasons.  The rim of the plates make the serving area smaller (probably a good thing), I have to be careful when handling, and I don't really care for the pattern.  Same with the dark green crystal.  Maybe that's what it boils down to …. appeal.  So what do I do with it all since I am trying to rid the house of unused items.
The only young couple in the family would get it after my demise and I truly believe she would either break them to use pieces for a mosaic or glue some God awful crap to it for another craft project.  So what?  I'll be gone and at this time, have no plans for haunting her.  Yet.  Looking at Macy's site (our only local source) and seeing the very low sale prices, it's not as expensive as I thought. and finding a buyer for used pieces would drop the price considerably.  I'm sure some patterns are costly but I'm looking at my range of quality which is Buckingham by Sango and still available on Replacements.com.   The more I write about this, the more I think I should buy new dinnerware that I like!  I certainly don't need a dozen place settings.  Choices mean decisions, not good.
I have no idea who the crystal is by and am less inclined to use it than the china.  Maybe I will make a few calls to Ohio shops and see if any vendors would be interested.
My goodness are they dusty.  I took the doors off the china cupboard for painting and need to remove and wash it all which I used to do every six months.  When mom was living here, spring cleaning ceiling to floor had to happen that often!  My aunts felt the same.
The cupboard also holds every size of pie plate I could find.  I have some small ones and these 5" ruffled edge are too sweet.  Sizes range from 4" to 12" and although rarely used, these I want to keep.  It's pie, baby.
Many years ago everyone used their "best" for family dinners as did I, and I'm sure many still do.  Do you use it every day?  How many of you have china packed away and just can't bear to dispose of such items because of sentiment?  Just curious!   I have a few pieces of one grandmother's dishes, all crazed (crackle finish from age), lovely small floral.  Is it safe to use very old pieces that have crazing?  Was lead used in them 100 years ago?  I think I'll visit my attic and see what I have.  But I should first finish the project I started since the cupboard's contents are spread throughout the room.
Happy June!! 


Vickie said...

I parted with one set of china. I had two. One my Great Aunt's, I kept, I like it better. One my Grandma's. We sold it at the rummage when we moved to this apartment for very cheap. It was hard for me, UNTIL I saw who bought it. A VERY young, VERY pregnant Hispanic couple. I was VERY glad. :D I rarely use the china. Yes, sentimental reasons!!

Linda Rudman said...

I never wanted to register since formal China wasn’t my thing back in 1975 but my MIL insisted. All that China was donated to a family who lost everything in a fire years ago. I see antique shops filled with China that no one wants anymore. I have gone though too many dish sets to count...such a waste of money! I even bought a set of Transferware Christmas dishes 5 years ago but hate storing them the rest of the year. I finally bought a set of Mikasa Italian Countryside dishes in the bone color a few years ago and use them all the time. Should have done that sooner! Linda - Behind My Red Door

Robin in Virginia said...

I opted not to go the china/glassware route. We added to the Corelle ware that was my husband's when we married. My MIL thought that was heresy so without asking for my likes/dislikes, she purchased a 12-place setting set for me. They were butt ugly, couldn't be used in the microwave or oven and weren't dishwasher safe. We stored it in the basement and sold the whole kit and caboodle (she added serving pieces and whatnot one year)about 14 1/2 years ago.

Enjoy your weekend, Marly!

PS Thank you for sharing how you trim/cut the petunias!

Barb said...

I gave mine to my DD. She sold it to replacements years ago. Well she had her Grandmother's and did not want that either. It's in my basement!!!

Maureen said...

My MIL gave me a set she got in some shady curbside deal. She really thought they would be valuable and figured our son could sell them and keep the profit. They aren't, he didn't and they are sitting in my basement. She recently passed away, God bless her, so they will be heading to Goodwill. My step MIL pawned off a huge set of China onto my same son. Why do people think this guy likes China? He doesn't even cook let alone eat off fancy plates. Anyway this big set is from the Italian side of the family, used at big holiday gatherings. I'm pretty sure they aren't dishwasher or microwave safe either. He cannot get rid of them though unless he can find a cousin to paw them off on. They MUST stay in the family...I think there is a hex involved 😜
I still love my old Corelle dishes and I have some Fiestaware.

JustGail said...

We registered for china also, as it was the thing to do. We got 2 plates and one bowl as wedding presents. Buying more ourselves was the last thing on our need/want list at the time. Or for years after. After many years, I put them out for thrift store. I do have a set of china, not expensive, in boxes in the basement. It is dishwasher safe, but DH doesn't like it because it's heavy & prone to chipping, unlike the Corelle we use every day. So it was brought out only on those very rare occasions we've had family dinners for Thanksgiving. Same with the glasses & silver plate. And now that his parents are gone, DH's siblings are happy to be free to do their own thing with their children's families on holidays, so I doubt my holiday dish set will see light of day again any time soon. I've been debating getting more plain white Corelle and ditching the china in boxes. And getting rid the one set of silver plate that was purchased by DH's grandmother for us at an estate sale (even 40 years ago the kids didn't want to keep things that need polishing!), and keeping only the set from Mom's family.

If you liked it, I'd say put it out and use it for every day. But since you don't, I vote for get it out of the house, get something you'd love and don't look back. Trade with someone, donate, give to someone who needs plates and such, sell it, use it for target practice, break it yourself and make a mosaic something for the garden. I have seen plates used as garden edging and borders. Or stack it in the window wells for the toads to climb up :-)

As far as lead, I think it wasn't until the 1960s(?) that lead was banned from US made dinnerware. Crazed finish is ok to use with dry items, like bread and crackers, or wrapped items like candies. Wet, oily or acidic foods are the problem. What about repurposing them if you want to keep them but don't want them shoved in a box? Make them into pincushions or use to hold small desk or sewing items. Use it as a jewelry/change holder on the dresser or water catcher under a potted plant. Would there be a way to mound a small needlework item to a plate? OTOH, if it's not very many pieces, and you can't bear to get rid of them or think of a way to use them, there's nothing wrong with putting them in a box and back in storage.

I've seen soooo many articles regarding antiques/collectibles and decluttering and downsizing, that if it's not dishwasher safe or microwaveable, it's not wanted. And not just by the young ones either. And it's not just the china & silver, it's the furniture, the family history documents & photos, anything that's been stuck in storage "for good" and not seen and in some cases, not even known about. If the "kids" do care, often it's only for how much it can be sold for.

I'm not sure which would be more stressful, wishing you had kept something, or wishing you'd gotten rid of something already. Myself, I tend to keep when in doubt.

C Reeder PhxAz said...

There is a company here that “rents” dishware, crystal, silver etc for different occasions. She has shelves full of sets with all the accessories, tablecloths, napkins, you name it. Lots of people rent it for the occasion and then return it.its a pretty hot commodity she has going. She buys stuff at yard sales, goodwill etc. lots of catering companies here have the full blown stuff too. Maybe see if there is someone doing that?

TheCrankyCrow said...

Well, what a box of emotions you opened. I came from a family that never had the means for china...no grandparents had china either. In fact, we were lucky to have dishes I swear. My mom bought the cheap whitewear stuff from the five and dime...you know, the kind you could buy for a quarter or so for a single piece. A little later, we “upgraded” to a set of that awful “wheat” pattern stuff grocery stores gave away with so many $ in grocery purchases. When we got married, the attorneys in the “silk stocking” firm at which I worked all went together and bought me...you guessed it....high end china...and crystal. I laughed because our dining room table at the time could only seat 4 (and then there was no room for serving dishes at all...it was that small), so our china was used perhaps once. I still have it though. My mother always wanted a nice set of china and, bless her heart, finally got her own set (second hand of course) when my sister’s husband’s great aunt died and it was offered up for sale. She loved it and was so proud of it...and did use it. When we had to get rid of her things, though, for her to go into assisted living, we tried to sell it...cheap...and had absolutely no luck. My brother ended up donating it to Bethesda...and I saw it there months later when I stopped by. They couldn’t sell it either. Times they are a’changin’. But hey...I like your green crystal....and had to laugh because they match well to some drink glasses I recently purchased that are made from recycled glass. Those I would use! ~Robin~

Mombannister said...

I picked a pattern when I married in 1982. That was the thing to do. I try to use them for all family dinners, so about 4x per month. Mine are new enough to use dishwasher. I also have my great aunt's set. Not DW-safe. Don't know what I'll do with them.

Mugwump Woolies said...

My mother used her wedding china and silver every Sunday and on holidays. That included the silver candle holders I still have...and use. Both my grandmothers used their fine china and silver, too. Why pack it away? Silver gets more beautiful with age. When I married I opted for less formal china...Blue Danube. I use it all the time...even for Annie's birthday parties when she was little. I also use the combined silver sets from my grandmother and my mother...they compliment each other. I've picked sterling silver flatware out of the trash when little people accidentally tossed it in with discarded birthday napkins! Almost thirty seven years later I still love my china...and I adore using the same silver I ate Thanksgiving dinner with during my childhood.
Use it!

Kathy said...

This is my dilemma. I have three sets of china, my grandmother’s, my mom’s and my own, that never get used. My grandmother’s pattern, Franciscan Desert Rose, is still in production but has changed slightly through the years. I’ve never really liked it so it resides in boxes in a closet because I seemingly just can’t get rid of it. I feel like it must have some value because of its age plus there’s also that element of guilt. My mom’s are Russel Wright, American Modern pattern. These, at least, are plain white so I do display part of them in my hutch. Their style is so modern that you can hardly get a finger in the cup handle so not usable in my opinion. I have my own set of Nortake, Peking pattern, complete with platinum band rendering them hand-washable. I’ve only used them about a dozen times in 46 years. I don’t really want or need any of it.

As far as everyday dishes, we’re on our third set. We started out with a set of “rewards” dishes from a grocery, moved on to a set that was passed along to our son when he got his first apartment (and is still using to this day) and I then started to build quite the collection of Pfaltzgraf, Folk Art pattern, complete with serving/baking pieces. I still like it but would prefer plain white. I just can’t justify making the change.

Several years ago we purchased a second home in a coastal area that was furnished. It came complete with several sets of everyday dishes and four sets of china. Who uses china at the beach, let alone four sets?!? Anyway, there was no emotional connection to any of them and they were quickly donated and replaced by plain white.

I think I could rid myself of them if I knew someone that actually wanted or collected any of the patterns but the emotional connection keeps me from just donating them. Obviously I’m not the only one with the problem.

Marly, thanks for the therapy session!

sheila said...

have a beautiful set of china by lenox purchased when i married in 1964. it was used for many many years and i loved it. it now resides in those cushioned storage pieces in my basement. my daughter doesn't want the set (service for twelve with serving pieces), but i can't bear to part with it yet--maybe my granddaughter will want it--hope springs eternal.

3millplainrd said...

A couple months ago I saw a very young couple (20's) buying a large vintage china set in our largest and best antique mall. The young wife was so happy as she watched them wrap each piece. I have my grandmother's china, don't use it, but love seeing it in the cupboard.

deb said...

Oh my, did you have an idea how many comments this would generate?

Growing up we had "melmac" (I think that was a brand name for melamine?) and our good dishes were a set from Montogomery Wards. When I was a teenager my parents bought real china with a nice, delicate pattern (and no annoying ridge/wide flat edge). Can only guess which niece or nephew ended up with those. We had my mother in law's dishes and a set of china that I inherited from a second cousin. Have given away both those sets and use Corelle for everyday and have stoneware for good. Neither one of my kids cares about china, crystal, or anything else of that ilk.

Berit said...

I really care about those things, but only if I love the pattern/piece. If you don't LOVE, but have attachment, take some photos and let it go. Generally, someone out there is looking for/would love to have it. It may be a low-profit offload due to unwieldyness or other factors, but you can gain space and release mixed feelings you are storing together with the stuff.

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