Monday, October 12, 2009

How to Housewife Part 2: Tabletop

Last time I had one of these posts, I suggested a couple of things that a housewife should keep around her kitchen. Now that you've all rushed to your computers, local flea markets, or closest Target to get yourselves those things, I will move on to the things that a good housewife should outfit her table with.

Let's start with my favorite. China. Oh, mommy, do I love me some china. I can't wait to get my dishes here so that I can start dressing my dinky little table up. It's really well known that nice dishes make food look better, even overcooked food with a smell to it. But not moldy food. Nothing can make moldy food look okay, and you shouldn't disrespect your china that way. Good. Now that that's out of the way, let's look at the pretty stuff!

These are the two patterns that we registered for when we got married. The top, for everyday use, is the Great White pattern from Pottery Barn. The bottom is Maywood by Lenox. Because we have such wonderful friends and family, we actually got all the Great White. However, the Lenox pattern was "retired" last year so I had to scramble and buy it myself. Fortunately, I was working for a department store at the time, and it happened to go 75% off, plus my employee discount. They're both pretty plain and simple, but I love neutrals and I happen to think that my dinnerware is appropriate for any occasion as a result. You can dress it up (or down) any way you want. But I secretly pine for this:

Lenox Chirp. People, if it wouldn't have been utter tableware gluttony, I would have registered for this too. So help me, I will own this pattern. The birds make me happy and the colors are so fresh. Yay Lenox. Here's another slightly wonderful pattern a slightly kooky, slightly retro housewife (like myself) might like:

THAT. Is called Jadite. I give full, uncompromising, unabashed and worshipful credit to the Guru, Pioneer Woman, for introducing me to this. This picture is actually her photo. She can tell you much more about it, since she collects it, but what I know about it is that it was made by the Anchor Hocking Glass Company in the 1950's and '60s. Lovely. It's dang expensive, though, so when I win the lottery I'll take the ads off this site and I'll buy myself some Jadite.

Now, I couldn't find any satisfactory pictures to post to illustrate, so I'll just tell you that at the end of the day my favorite tabletop setting is mixed and matched. Don't get me wrong, a complete matching set of dishes is a really wonderful thing to have, but it is so fun to see all different kinds of patterns mixed together--and it's pretty easy to do. Try it! You can get several place settings so cheaply at a good flea market, and the treasure hunt is quite rewarding. My mamaw mixed patterns all the time, actually, and completely by accident. She just had a slightly unhealthy and apparently genetic obsession with glassware of all kinds, especially birds and dishes. Her dining room was shelved from floor to ceiling to accommodate her collection, and you never knew what kind of plate the next dinner would be served on. This explains so much.

Oh, and get a load of this baby.

Vintage Lenox Hostess Set, Etsy, $35.00

Shut UP!
But I'm not finished yet. Getting tired of looking at this stuff? Too bad.
If you're outfitting your table properly, you will also have silverware, cloth napkins, and place cards. I don't CARE if you don't have company over. Your husband needs to be reminded of his place from time to time. You can find AWESOME place card ideas on, but I would definitely make them yourself if I were you. Much more special that way. The silverware and napkins can be chosen to suit your kitchen and your dishes, of course, so I'll let you find the ones you like best. Send me a link of your favorites!!!!

There's one more thing I haven't covered. Cocktails.
Has watching Mad Men made you pine for a resurrection of drinking in the workplace? No? Just me?

"Hello, Mrs. Williams. Can I offer you an Old Fashioned? Scotch? Neat or on the rocks?"

"Um, no thanks, I just came to pick up my dry cleaning?"

"Oh right...that'll be $32.50."

See how nice it could be?

Pottery Barn Recycled Glass Barware, $36.00-$60.00

Pottery Barn Square Decanter, $25.00

Oneida Cocktail Shaker, Amazon, $19.99

"Good evening, Mrs. Sheridan...may I make you a cocktail?"

"Mr. Sheridan, are you trying to seduce me?"

Ralph Lauren Herringbone Barware, $39.99

"Why, yes...yes I am."


Anonymous said...

Wearing my out-of-prescription glasses, my eyes are a bit tired and I didn't make it through the whole post, but I wanted to mention that I, personally, own a few pieces of jadite! ...a couple of bowls. I had a serving size bowl also, which was knocked off the table by my roommate's dog and sadly it was never replaced. -Stephanie

crystal said...

OMG, I love the design on the Lenox Chirp dishes. While googling it I came across this cake inspired by the design and thought you'd like to see it. So beautiful!