Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Thoughts on China and Crystal

Where to begin? I'll begin with the oldest item, this cup and saucer. It belonged to my grandfather Robinson. I recall my grandmother told me it was his favorite cup and saucer. The cup fell and broke a few years ago, and I glued it (rather badly). I've kept it for sentimental reasons ...
... but now we are moving again, into a smaller house, and I ABSOLUTELY MUST DOWNSIZE
It's time!
I'm sorting through boxes of china and crystal, hunting for things to get rid of.
So last night I threw away that cup. I kept the saucer :)
Here' the pattern.
My first priority was to sort through my wedding crystal, now 26 years old and most of it never, ever used. It's Gorham Andante. I had a dozen iced tea stems and a dozen water stems. 
Here's one water glass that has a big crack in it. See? I'll toss it in the trash today sometime. It's hard to toss a crystal glass into the garbage can, especially when it cracked from being moved around for 26 years ... not from being used and enjoyed. Sigh. I don't have room for the boxes anymore. I'm tired of lugging them around. I want to sell them. Anybody want to buy some lovely stemware?
Before you rail against me regarding my fear of using my fine crystal that cost $16 per stem, allow me to tell you the story of my everyday china. It's Villeroy and Boch, Manoir. Adam wanted plain dishes for everyday. He didn't like discovering painted plants or birds beneath his dinner toward the end of the meal. I started with a full complement of twelve salads, twelve dinner plates (and many other items). The salad plates were a nice size for lunch servings when the children were young.
What that means is that Peter ate many lunches on these plates, and eventually I was down to only FIVE salad plates. That's when I put them away until he left for college. Haha! Yesterday, I pulled them back out again. Why not? I've changed a lot. Who cares now? If we break the rest of them, they'll have been used for their purpose -- everyday abuse use.

For those still reading, now we come to my fine china, Rosemeade by Mikasa.
Digging through boxes I discovered soup bowls. A china soup bowl is a slightly unusual gift to receive for one's wedding. I was given a dozen each of dinner and salad plates (plus a few other items), but only five soup bowls.
I've never used them. 26 years of living in a box.
And I really like soup bowls! Do you know that they are quite handy for all kinds of foods? 
I often have two or three soup bowls from thrift stores, just for eating leftover pasta or chicken/rice for lunch.
I even found four -- all four! -- soup bowls I bought in Poland in 1987. I thought I'd broken them all.
There they are! And I don't remember this soup bowl. Opening china boxes is rather like Christmas that way.
I decided to eat my breakfast in that bowl this morning. Soup bowls offer a nice flat surface on which to set foods (or egg cups), with lots of space for food, with a slight inclined edge to keep food from slipping off your plate. 
They're excellent for carrying food from one place to another, with slippery foods (like pasta) that might slide off a plate.
So ... now I keep a stack of soup bowls. Let's see if the family rebels against this. 
For now, I'm keeping the fine china, hoping to use it more often when I have more kitchen cabinet space to store it in.
 (Our next house has lots of kitchen cabinets, but almost no closet space.)
I may reduce to only 6 or 8 place settings, instead of twelve. 

What are your thoughts on china and crystal, especially those of you in your 40s or 50s? 
Keep? Use? Sell? Give away?
Do  you find that your daughters are interested in your old stuff?
Anna guffawed at the idea of people giving china and crystal (and silver even!) as wedding gifts. She asked, "Was that a Southern thing?" Heehee. Although even she will confess that we use our teapots and fine cups/saucers all the time. 

Do you still have your crystal or china? Do you use it?
Do you want to get rid of it but don't know how?


  1. I use both my bone china and my crystal; they were meant to be used! And they're pretty! My crystal "goes with" ( Does anyone really use that term anymore?) my other dishes except for the Fiesta Ware. Crystal goblets make wonderful ice cream dishes. My table is always set with my sterling silver, too. I set a casual table for dinner and love to mix and match. No plans to get rid of what I use and love. We aren't fancy-schmancy here. The rule books have all been discarded.

  2. I'm glad to hear you are moving at last. I didn't like to jinx it by asking for an update. I recently sorted out my crockery dressers. There was a lovely bone china set of plates and tea cups taking up a big part of a shelf. I really needed the space, so I moved the china into a cupboard that we don't use much. I couldn't get rid of ti as it was a gift from work DECADES ago. We have only used it once since than. My daughter would never want it, even if she was eating off the floor!

  3. I try to use what I have. I kept some of Mum's oldest saucers, little plates when she downsized last year and i use them as often as I can. I even put very old things in the dishwasher now because deep down if they get broken through use, I feel that they have made their decision! I have my Wedgewood wedding set that comes out at Christmas and Easter, and it is now out of "print" so i suppose I am a bit precious with it, though the boys still eat thereon. It is nice, though, to move into a new space with things that you only know will be used. When we moved last year, my criteria was- will I use this or will it sit in a box for the boys to agonise over in another twenty years?

  4. Excellent topic. I'd say use the theory when you hold it in your hands, if it makes you happy inside your heart, keep it. No guilt. My weakness is dishes and so understand your dilemma. And as for using the good stuff everyday....my mom never would. And she has a box of silver flatware that never gets used, only on special occasions and with her life now, there will be no more special occasions.

    I say use the stuff. And your soup bowls are lovely. Really lovely. I think we deserve to enjoy our things, and saving them is so foolish. My girls use my old china gifted to me by relatives to have their tea in the morning. I draw the line at them using my big Brown Betty, but everything else is fine to use. And when things break, which they do all the time, they know I'll not fuss. It happens. And it is only stuff. You can always buy more.

    There never is a perfect time. Now is that time, I'm thinking.

  5. I gave my good china to my daughter years ago. She always loved it. I used to use it all the time though. I am not one to save things for special occasions. If I like it I use it.
    I don't have anything in boxes. We've moved around so many times I learned not to keep things I don't use or absolutely love. : )

    I would say keep it and use it if you love it. If not don't keep it.

  6. I love pretty dishes even though I am more like Anna, buffering at the thought of getting all that stuff for wedding gifts. I got married around the advent of Corelleware so I always could set the table nicely. I don't have China, but I have a couple sets of antiques that I use when occasion warrants. That have good stories, and my daughter's will be glad to lift them off me when I'm ready. I nearly got rid of my China cabinet in my last move till a friend reminded me what a pretty piece it was. Keep what you like and enjoy.

  7. Oooh . . . I would have loved to have been there, helping to sort! Love, love china, especially vintage. I use mine all the time, and put a lot of it in the dishwasher on the china setting. (I didn't do this when my children were little though.) If something breaks, at least it's been enjoyed. Neither my MIL or SIL ever used their nice things, and then they passed away. I have been the recipient of all the china, silver, stemware, and linens because no one else wants to bother with it.
    Keep what you love; give away and sell the rest. If you're not going to use it, out it goes, no guilt. I got rid of 6!! sets of dishes a few years ago (mostly Target stuff I was holding onto for the kids' first apartments, etc.). Now I "only" have 5 complete sets, with lots of partial sets -- haha. But I love it and use it.
    Your bowls are beautiful. Love your fine china pattern and the bowls from Poland. Hope you enjoy using them.
    I have some beautiful crystal stemware that I will probably give to my daughter who will enjoy it. We don't really use it, so it is taking up space, just like yours.
    Can you tell I like this subject? :)

  8. I shiver at the thought of washing thin crystal things. I always expect them to break and cut me. I love your idea of keeping a stack of soup bowls. I love them for the very reasons you mentioned. I'm more of a thrift shop type. I'd love to have lots of mismatched bowls and plates, each one a special and unique piece. My grandmother gave us a set of china when we got married and I also kept them in a box because I figured they would get broken. I'm in that time of life where I'm jettisoning things, so I'm all for throwing or giving things away if I don't use them and love them. :)


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