Tuesday, January 15, 2013

From china with luv.

It is 5:19am and  I have class in four hours yet I am awake writing a blog post. Why? I couldn't sleep. What did I decide to do? Hand wash and dry our heirloom china--service for nine, plus serving pieces! Yes, this is what I do when I can't sleep...and I often can't sleep! 

So while I wait for the dinner and bread plates to finish drying, I thought I would share the wonderful story of our china with you.

When I graduated from college, I moved to New York City for a job. I became a buyer for a well-known luxury gifts and home furnishings store on Park Av. This was a complete change from my previous buying position with a discount bed and bath retailer (now out of business). Suddenly I found myself engrossed in the wonderful world of $455 china place settings and $1,900 sterling flatware place settings. Needless to say, after canvassing various tabletop shows, and meeting the Hungarian artists who painstakingly hand-painted each and every brush stroke on each individual plate, I developed an admiration and appreciation for all things fine tabletop.

Unfortunately, there is absolutely no way I could ever register for such gorgeous (and expensive) pieces on our gift registries, thus posing a dilemma since I couldn't find the "perfect" china pattern at the typical department store or "beyond."

One evening this past November, David and I were at his parents' house for dinner, and I was asking his mother about what they registered for. I explained to her how I just hadn't found any china patterns that really stuck out to me, and the ones that did seem exquisite were much too expensive. It was at this point that she remembered that Grandmama (her mother) had given her a few china place settings that she wanted to sell to Replacements, Ltd. in Greensboro. She brought them out for David and I to look at, and before we knew it, we were on the phone with Grandmama. It turns out that this was the fine china she registered for at Shiffman's when she became engaged to the late Gramps in 1950. She explained that in those days, it was common to register for two china patterns; one fancier than the other. This one was the "fancy" one she had registered for, and they ended up using the other collection and just never completed this one. 

I have always loved and appreciated family heirlooms, and it is such an honor for Grandmama to share her special china with us after all these years. She actually never used any of the pieces, carefully tucking them away and saving them for 62 years! To me, heirloom china is worth far more than any fancy $455 china place setting. You just can't put a price on it.

For the rest of November and beginning of December, I diligently scoured eBay and Craigslist for the missing pieces, and with the help of David's mom and her generous siblings and their spouses, we have collected complete service for 12 plus serving pieces! Grandma's own pieces are safely tucked away for now, but this morning, amidst my insomnia, I decided to hand wash the other pieces before carefully packing them away until a later date. :) The only piece we are missing is the teapot, and I am still keeping my eye out for one at an affordable price!

Here is our Golden Retriever, Emery, modeling some of the china!

Grandmama, Noah and I after dinner last week. (I have no makeup on and look awful!)

I fell in love with this tablescape designed by Tricia of The Dull and the Dutiful. I love the color of the placemats and napkins and think they compliment the blue band of the china so well. For those who are interested, the pattern is "Gloria" by Castleton-USA.

What about you guys? Did you register for fine china? Did you inherit any heirloom pieces? I'm interested to hear your stories and see your pictures!

the Bride

Update: June 4, 2013 1:49am -- I received my coffee pot today! Read about how I found this lovely gem here.


  1. What a wonderful story of your china selection! I think the family connection makes your Gloria priceless. Thank you for including photos from my table with my Gloria!

  2. Thanks Tricia! I just love your tablescapes and especially enjoyed seeing the Christmas ones! I read you are in TX. I was wondering where, and what school you work for? My dad is in TX and academia too! Feel free to private message me if you want. :)

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    1. Hi CJP, please let me know what pieces you have! I am not sure if you want to split up the set at all; we have complete service for 12, but could use some more demitasse cups, and I am searching for a teapot!! d@luvthebride.com

  4. I do not have a teapot. This is not an exact count: 6 bowls, 5 demitasse, 8 worn plates for free (your dog can have these). The remaining are in relatively good condition and you may want to use them as extras...6 bowls, 5 demitasse, a few fruit bowls, 5 cups and saucers, 5 salad plates and 5 bread plates. I have enjoyed using these dishes for years on a daily basis because I love the pattern. Are your dishes stamped? These are and I am a little concerned that they will looked aged next to yours. Anyway, if you are interested I will photograph them with in the next few days and post.

  5. Hi CJP! Actually, we do need bowls, demitasse cups & saucers, and fruit bowls (the little ones). We are good on cups/saucers, plates, and bread plates...but depending on what you want to sell things as, individually, or in a set. Most (if not all) pieces are stamped. Darn, I was really hoping you' have a teapot! I can't find one anywhere! (At least one that's affordable.) I would love to see photos! My email address is d@luvthebride.com Thanks!

  6. Hi Corinne, I sent you an email but not sure if you got it. Can you send me the pictures of your pieces? I'm still interested!

  7. Hi, Dorothy! Just wanted you to know I've posted an Easter table using "our" Gloria china.