Thursday, April 10, 2014

Spode Blue Italian

When I started blogging in 2009, I didn't have any blue and white china. I drooled over my blogging friends blue and white dishes for a year until I couldn't stand it! For my birthday in 2010, I started collecting Spode Blue Italian.

The Italian Pattern was introduced by Spode in 1816 and was an immediate success. It has remained popular for almost 200 years! The scene in the middle is a bit of a mystery, but it definitely has classical origins. The border has a Chinese influence.

I found a wonderful offer for 4 dinner plates, 4 salad plates and 4 mugs when I started this pattern. 

Then I started getting bowls next.

I want to get the tea cups and saucers next - and of course the tea pot!

I love the historical look and the easy care/microwave-safe properties!

I've combined this with my Spode Tower Pink for a Patriotic Look HERE.

And it got the ROYAL (wedding) treatment HERE.

And it even looks good in autumn HERE!

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Evesham Gold - My Wedding China

Last week I mentioned that I already had a full service for 12 of Formal China before I got married. You can see that china HERE. So when I got engaged, my mother and I went to Wagoner's Jewelry Store to pick my patterns. She told me not to pick another formal pattern, but just pick a nice everyday pattern. I chose Royal Worcester Evesham and my fiancé approved.

Royal Worcester introduced the Evesham pattern in 1961. My mother started getting pieces of this in the late 60's/early 70's, so it was a pattern I was very familiar with. The pieces are covered with fruits and vegetables, and it is named after a town and township in central England which is known for market farming.

In 1982, I thought this would be a great everyday pattern - pretty, but not too fussy or fancy. But, notice the gold rim? I had no idea what was about to hit kitchens all over America!

That's right - Microwaves!

And as we all know, you can't microwave plates or mugs with gold on them! Once I got a microwave, I used plastic or glass dishes to microwave on and put the food on the Evesham plates. My girls grew up knowing these rules and we never had a problem. 
Royal Worcester introduced a new type of Evesham called Evesham Vale which had a green, mircrowave-safe rim. So, the Evesham I had was renamed Evesham Gold.

One of the things I have always loved about this pattern is that it was available on lots of serving pieces. And since I was from a small town and had a big wedding I got LOTS of serving pieces which have graced my corner cabinets through the years! 

Here is a picture of several serving pieces on my buffet. Notice the ears of corn on the Bean Pot.

And here is the smaller quiche dish

I love that each piece has a different combination of fruits and vegetables.

After 20 years of marriage, I picked a new microwave-safe everyday pattern, Pink Tower, which I blogged about HERE. But my older daughter tells me it always makes her happy to eat on Evesham since it reminds her of her childhood!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Royal Doulton Canton - my "good" china

This week I will tell you about my connection to Royal Doulton Canton, which I call my "good" china. When I was a Senior in college my grandmother told me to pick out a "good" china pattern, so she wouldn't just be buying my "junk" for birthdays and Christmas. I went to Wagoner's Jewelry Store in my hometown and just fell in love with this pattern. I've always been a pink loving, girly-girl and I didn't have to think about tablecloths or wallpaper or would my husband like it.

True to the name Canton, the Oriental influence is clear with the peonies and twisted branches and asymmetrical design. According to Replacements, this pattern was made from 1978 to 1996.

I picked this pattern out when I was 20 and by the time I got married at 24 I already had a full set of 12, so I didn't register this as my formal china at the jewelry store. But I didn't use this china until I got married, so I still consider it my wedding china as you can see from this earlier blog post, 30th Anniversary Party.

Here are some closeup views.

When I consider that I chose this in about 10 minutes YEARS ago with no thought to practicality, it is amazing that I still love it! I ended up having two daughters and we had pink birthday and tea parties on this. My dining room now has an Oriental theme with cherry blossoms on crooked branches and various shades of pink and red, so this china looks right at home! You can see photos of my dining room wallpaper HERE.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Spode Pink Tower China and the Carmen Connection

Since my dining room is still out of commission because of a burst water pipe and probably will be for 2 or 3 months longer, I have decided to do a series of blog posts about my various china patterns.

Today I just want to share a little about one of my favorite china patterns, Spode Pink Tower. It is sometimes called Spode Tower Pink, which, I think, is because originally it was offered in different colors. The pattern name was Spode Tower and the descriptive color name came after. But the name on the back of my plates says Pink Tower, so that's what I am calling it!

The design in the center is the Bridge of Salaro, near Rome as it was depicted in Views of Rome and its Vicinity, published c. 1796-1798. Spode first introduced the Tower pattern in 1814. In 1894, it was printed on the Gadroon Shape. According to the Spode History site, a pink version of the Tower pattern was released for American markets about 1923. 

It must have been around this time that it caught my grandmother Carmen's eye. She was married in 1915 and this was her china pattern. My mother Carmen did not inherit any of it from her mother, so she started collecting this pattern for herself. Then in 2002 for my 20th anniversary, I started collecting this pattern. My full name is Carmen Jewel, although I have always just gone by Jewel. 

I love the special details like the gadrooned (which means ornamentally notched) edge.

I also love the subtly scalloped shape of the plates and the creamy color with the red/pink designs. The border also features cherry blossoms, which are also in my dining room wallpaper. 

Unfortunately, Spode's factory at Stokes-on-Trent closed in 2009 and this pattern was was discontinued,  but it is still available on eBay and at Replacements.

So who knows, maybe sometime in the future my daughter Carmen will start collecting it. History has been known to repeat itself!

More of the history is on this wonderful blog by the former curator of the Spode Museum. SPODE TOWER

I will be sharing this with Tablescape Thursday at Between Naps on the Porch.

Monday, February 17, 2014

A Table for Presidents' Day!

We had a burst water pipe which flooded our sunroom and butler's pantry as well as part of our kitchen. Everything from those rooms is in my Dining Room while we are renovating - so my dining room table is out of commission for a bit! But I had to put a little display together for Presidents' Day!

In the foreground is a tea cup in the James K. Polk White House china pattern. It was a Christmas gift from my daughter Carmen. James K. Polk  In the background is an ornament tree with ornaments which are replicas of different administrations White House china patterns.

I have miniature plates for seven patterns. To see a table I did several years ago where I gave a brief explanation of each, click HERE.

One sad note, all but one of these was from Woodmere China company and are no longer available. I have an alert set for Ebay so I can continue my collection! 

For a look at the White House china patterns from the White House archives itself, click HERE.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

A Little Snowfall!

I dressed my table in snowflakes this week and what do you know - Mother Nature gave us a little snowfall also!

I started with my silvery gray tablecloth, a beaded white, silver and gold snowflake runner and platinum beaded placements, all from Target. 

On top of the beaded place mat I added a Golden Snowflake plate from Cracker Barrel, my Cambridge Verona flatware which has a gold edge and water goblets with a gold and silver Greek Key design (TJ Maxx). I used creamy white napkins with a silver and rhinestone snowflake napkin ring (Target).

For the centerpiece I had a crystal bowl full of silver and blue ornaments. My daughter Emily added her beaded snowflake Christmas tree topper for the perfect touch!

Mercury glass candle holders with white/silver snowflake candles and silver place card holders complete the table.

Over on the little table is an ornament tree with lots of snowflakes.

My mantle is full of snowmen!

And on my back door there is an icy wreath!

All in all, I think I have more snowflakes on the inside than we saw outside! 

I will be joining Susan at Between Naps on the Porch. Stay warm!

Monday, January 13, 2014

My Fifth Blogiversary - Winter Wonderland: Barely Blue

I can't believe that I started this blog five years ago today. I don't really know why I started it. I didn't imagine that anyone would find it interesting. I had never heard of Tablescape Tuesday (now Tablescape Thursday). I had been active in a Table Settings forum on a recipe site and thought it would be nice to have a way to save my tablescape pictures. Right after I published this first entry, I received two comments - then a third comment from Susan at Between Naps on the Porch inviting me to link up at her site. Through her site I have "met" many talented and kind bloggers. I will link this post to her Tablescape Thursday.

I have found that I am a very bad blogger. I get busy with work and family and don't get to post on my on blog or visit my friends' blogs. That being said, I am truly grateful for the friendships I have made with blogging and how tolerant these friends are of my lapses! Anyway, I have rambled on enough - here's to the last five years of blogging and many, many more in the future! Thank you! Jewel

I have decided to use this blog to catalog my table settings. The first table of the year is Winter Wonderland: Barely Blue.

I am submitting this for Tablescape Tuesday hosted by Susan (Between Naps on the Porch).
Thanks Susan!


I didn't want all the sparkle to go away after I put up the Christmas decorations, so I decided that I would create a Winter Wonderland of ice and snow. I spay painted limbs silver and used icicle and snowflake ornaments as well as strung acrylic "jewels" in "Barely Blue" shades. I used Tiffany Blue tulle as a table runner over a slightly off-white table cloth and tulle on the mantle. I put blue "marbles" and clear acrylic pieces that look like cracked ice in a vase to hold the limbs.


I put the vase in the center of a silver wreath from Target and filled in the gap between the wreath and the vase with silver and blue Christmas ornaments.

On the mantle, I put limbs in a blue round vase and made a bow from blue and silver sheer ribbon. I hung jewels, icicles and ornaments in silver and blue on the limbs.



Beside the vase I put silver limbs and golden ferns from Target and silver poinsettias and wired pearls from Michaels. At the ends, I used silver mercury glass candle pillars with white fake candles embossed with silver snowflakes.


In the small white vases, I had small silver spray painted limbs with 3 silver ball ornaments.

On the table, I had mercury glass votive holders from Target in silver and icy green/blue, as well as two different types of clear snowflake holders. I also used small blue vases with white silk flower sprays. I also scattered acrylic jewels on the tulle.


At Cracker Barrel a few days after Christmas, I found these plates for 70% off. I originally thought my table would only have blue, silver and white, but these plates in ivory and gold were such a good deal I couldn't pass them up. The gold allowed me to use gold napkins and glassware with both gold and silver embellishment and I used gold and silver chargers. I also found ribbon with golden snowflakes at Michaels for 70% off which I tied for napkin rings.


Before I found the ribbon, I used silver napkin rings


I will host my garden club on January 20th and use the table as a buffet. I am making cupcakes with fondant snowflakes. I have improvised a cupcake holder/tea tray with two platters and a cake stand from the 70% off Cracker Barrel sale, a flat topped glass bowl and a battery operated tea light.



Comments and suggestions are welcomed! My table and this blog are a work in progress!