Thursday, March 1, 2012


So I have a bit of a dilemma, that I thought you wise folks could help me out with.

We are in the midst of a redo on some parts of our home right now. I am painting Evan's room this week. It is a nice bright color. It is great to see a room change and also fulfill the vision you had for it. When it is done I will share some photos. But I am daydreaming about other rooms in the house right now.

So back to the dilemma.

My grandmother past away in 2004. My grandmother was a solid presence in my life as a child. My parents divorced when I was very young. My mom became bittered and hardened by the divorce. My grandmother was nurturing and a constant when I was growing up. My mom worked weekends and my brother and I would spend weekends with my grandparents. It was at her house that I learned to eat carrots out of the garden, pick the dead heads of the small row of marigolds that grew outside her door. I learned to push a push mower. She taught me to embroider, quilt, sew and crochet. She tried to teach me knitting but this skill wouldn't come to me until later in life. I remember standing at the counter as she made biscuits. I remember the smell of spaghetti sauce slow cooking on the stove for a Saturday night pasta feast.

She made me dolls. Raggedy Ann, Mary Poppins, and small sock dolls that still come out at Christmastime. She made me sweaters and mittens and hats. My home is graced with her essence; teacups, doilies crocheted by her, her teapot, pot holders, she is part of my home. I have a beautifully embroidered table cloth that she made that covers my table at the holidays. I have her cedar chest that she left to me; a nice piece of furniture. She told me that when I was young I would trace the lines in the wood with my fingers. I also have her dishes. A delicate china.

And thus my dilemma. In the process of my redo I am excited to brighten my kitchen with some paint. It is tongue and groove knotty pine. Some of it is water stained. I plan to paint it a very pale yellow with white trim. We have long term plans for the kitchen but for now this is what we plan to do.

My everyday dishes area a very sad assortment of mismatched bowls and plates. Their number has dwindled considerably since we've lived here. We have concrete floors and a slate sink and they are not kind to any thing that should fall on their surface. Can I tell you how many canning jars have met their demise to the sink? Many. Oh and I live with three people of the male persuasions who do not place the same value or care to the odd piece of pottery.

So my grandmother's dishes are brought out for special occasions, like the holidays, or entertaining. So this is what I am wondering...should I bring my grandmother's dishes out for every day or should I piece together a funky assortment of "vintage" dishes?

It is the nature of glass to break, this I know...So I could use your help...


Carolyn Renee said...

Although I'm one to cherish using delicate inherited items from my Great Aunt, my household also contains a male (like yours that do not hold as much sentiment to a dish) and also a three year old daughter.

So as much as I hate to say it, I'd probably leave the most delicate items for special occasions. Or at least when I was 100% positive that no one would be doing anything but eating on those plates....which would leave the serving, cleaning up and washing / drying of the dishes up to me.

Anonymous said...

I vote to save them for holidays only.. mix matched seems to be the trend these days anyway. Besides they can be replaced and your special ones cannot.
My aunt got so tired of her good glasses getting broke she started using veggie cans.. I don't think I'd go to that extreme but us kids thought nothing of it and her friends thought her smart to think of it.

Rita Marsh said...

If the china pieces are so precious to you, only use them on "special" occasions. Or better yet, find a way to display them out of the reach of "the boys", so at least you can visually enjoy them without putting them in danger from the hard surfaces. Good luck!

Kathy said...

Karin, Consider a display the china on the upper shelves of the side wall and use it on Sundays or on special occasions; you'll see it daily and use it frequently that way. I am so glad you love it and have it to enjoy.

I keep Nana Stewart's china in the cabinet and we enjoy using it one or two times a week. It always reminds me of Nana Miller and brings back the wonderful memories of who she was.

For her part, after years of keeping her china packed away and only bringing it out now and again she'd tell you to use and enjoy it. :)

Anonymous said...

Nana always had the greatest appreciation for things outside the "norm". As mom always says, she was a woman before her time. When all the males in your house have matured in age and understanding of your connection to these items, I'm sure it will be fine to bring them out for every day use (as mom did with the dishes she has). However, I think it would break your heart less, and speak to Nana's character more if you assembled a set of very cool, very unique items that don't match. She always loved the stories of the little things in life, and I think it would be nice to have a story for each dish to share with your little ones :-> At the same time, it would prevent your heart ache and worry, and you definitely don't need any more worry in your life!
Cousin Amy
PS- Large or small plates?

Rob said...

Being a male, one who collects and cherishes a few pieces from his grandmother and mother, I would save them for holidays/special occasions. I would throw together some pieces from a thrift store or other used source for every day. And place a sharp hatchet in the kitchen for lopping of digits when you catch someone using grandma's dishes! (J/k about the hatchet)