new life for old china

 




In case you were like me in 2020 and did quite of bit of clearing out clutter but still don't know what to do with the inherited china sets that no one wants, I'll tell you what I did. First, I came to terms with the fact that my life is much different than the lifestyle and entertaining style of the generations before me. Secondly, my home is not a storage warehouse nor is it a museum. These realizations allowed me to give myself some grace for what was to come next. 


The back story: I am a lucky girl and inherited three sets of fine china. They are beautiful and memories galore are attached to their loveliness; beloved family members long gone, homes I've loved that I'll never enter again, and HUGE noisy family gatherings I will never enjoy again. 


The problem: There were too many pieces that were taking up too much space. I resented the space they were using and the maintenance they required. Family members were not interested in them.


The solution: I donated all the pieces I never used; the bread and butter plates, cups and saucers, fruit cups, relish dishes, gravy boats and other matching serving pieces I don't need. I kept only the dinner plates and salad plates and one set of cream soup coupes that were too gorgeous to part with. I also kept one cut glass sugar and creamer set, one silver gravy boat and one crystal butter plate and some platters. I don't need duplicates nor do I need specialty dishes for celery and another for pineapple. Seriously. Years ago when my mother was explaining the use of certain pieces, my eyes almost rolled out of my head when she showed me her pineapple tidbit plate. She explained that when she was married, pineapple was exotic and quite the thing to share with guests during cocktails. Love the charming story to (tid)bits, but it doesn't mean I need to save it.


The outcome: Now I can store my inherited pieces in a small area where I can easily retrieve them making it more likely that I'll use them. If you have china sets in boxes in the basement, think about doing what I did. It's not likely your kids will want the stuff anyway (but you can ask) and I'll bet you'll use the plates once again if you don't have to store and maintain an entire set with outdated pieces.


I'll also set your mind at ease. Those oddball pieces you think on one will ever need or use if you donate them? Don't worry friend, crafty folks transform old china pieces into candle holders, nightlights, planters, chandeliers, even bird feeders. Let someone else use them and love them in a new way! I myself am a crafty girl and while transforming them is something I could have done, I knew I would not. Giving them up meant someone else could breath new life into them and love them once again. I think my mother, aunt and grandmother would be happy knowing how much I love and treasure what I saved, and definitely think they would smile seeing an old teacup used as a bird feeder. 


This worked for me and maybe it's something that will work for you too. Tell me what you think! Could you break up a set of china?


I always like to credit any image I slurp from the web but couldn't find a source for the teacup wreath above. If anyone is knows, please let me know and I'll edit my post.


Cynthia Nouri/Sasha Nicholas

The Brooklyn Teacup



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If you'd like to make a comment, please click here or scroll down. I reply to each comment and my response will appear directly below your comment. If you would like a personal reply, please know that I use the Blogger platform and they do not give me your contact information when you comment. If you would like a personal reply you can contact me using the contact form on the right side at the very end of my website. Recently the comments have been going into my junk file but now I'm checking it daily. Please contact me again if I didn't respond and you require a response.


Our Revamped Veggie Garden and Patio Refresh

 Come on in and have a look-see around the vegetable garden. This spring my husband and son replaced our old, broken-down raised beds and watering system. The old garden had served us well for decades but the last few years have been challenging as any repairs we attempted simply did not stick. The raised beds were falling apart and the watering system had sprung a dozen leaks. The garden was in desperate need of a complete overhaul and it was long overdue. Enter our son who offered to help. This was a Godsend and literally took weeks if not months off this job. Even so it was still months in the making and in the middle of it all we found another well that had to be dug through and filled with fill rock that we had to order. After a few set-backs like this, the garden beds and watering systems were installed and are now efficient, beautiful, and water-wise. My husband and son had the lion's share of work with the installation, but after all that heavy work was over and the beds were ready, I finally came onto the scene. I'm in charge of the planting, weeding and harvesting (and the taking of pictures) so my work has just begun. 


The picture below shows the rose arch where you enter the garden from the patio. Raised beds are on the left and right of the center path. Out of sight and to the far right I have David Austin roses against the fence and to the left is our lawn and perennial flower border. At the end of the garden is an olive tree, our greenhouse and a new play area for Carter. 


This will be a busy summer in the garden, just the way we like it.



Above, I love the diffused light of twilight when the colors are saturated and intense
and the garden is quiet and cool.

Bright California sun works its spring magic on the garden. 


A few steps outside the kitchen door and I can pick chives, marjoram, basil, thyme, sage and rosemary.

We received these tiki torches as a gift. They flicker and are so handsome and I love them so much that I ordered six more. They run on batteries and automatically turn on at dusk and off at dawn. They look absolutely beautiful in the garden and make a great Father's Day gift.



After sprucing up the garden I felt the patios needed a refresh too. These pillow covers come in four sizes and eight colors and are such a great price--12 cost me less than $50! I ordered two sets in navy to recover my old, faded pillows. They have zippers and go in and out of the washing machine.

The patio off our family room is a favorite cozy spot and seats 6. I had a rug languishing in the attic for a decade doomed to never see the light of day again until I gave it a try it on the patio. I love how it warmed up this spot and made it even cozier. It feels great to breathe new life into something I once loved but was unused for too long. We try to sit here every evening and I keep a basket nearby with a warm blanket and some knitting. This is also a favorite resting spot when taking a break from working in the garden.




One day I'll finish the scarf in the basket. It only gets attention when I collapse here and didn't happen to bring any other knitting with me.

Narrow brick planters on our patio grow herbs and peppers.

time for happy hour

Try not to notice the Macgyvered water pipes. Next week's job is to make them invisible. They will either be painted gray, buried or covered with wood caps.

We have 30 tomato plants. Since this photo was taken they have grown much larger.


Green and yellow patty pan squash in the foreground.

beans and cucumbers

A nasturtium growing here amid chives and basil have edible leaves and flowers. 
They are crisp, colorful and lightly peppery in salads.







I asked for plenty of room around each bed so I can maneuver the wheelbarrow around the corners.

Carter's play area is a new feature in our garden. He calls it his HQ and can play back here for hours. The redwood rounds that were salvaged from a neighbor when he had to cut down a tree, are great for hopping and also make perfect surfaces for playing. It's here where he sets up his dinosaur lands and plays shield shop. He only plays shield shop with Papa and all I really know about that game is that he needs my large pot lids. I've seen Papa "drive" by and stop to ask the shopkeeper if he has any magical shields for sale. Carter told me I couldn't play the game because it would be too hard to teach me. It must be a difficult game filled with nuance far above my level of understanding. ;) 

I have to boast that I rolled these big dudes one by one down the entire street by myself. By myself! (My husband is going to read this and will insist that he helped too. OK, he did bring one, but mostly he stood around and chatted with the neighbors.)


We salvaged an old table and chairs from a neighbor's trash. One man's trash is another man's treasure, am I right? It was already covered with paint splotches when we got it so it's ideal as a painting table. It's missing a piece of wood and is on the repair list, and when it's fixed, it will be quite perfect!

We have a battery run bubble machine here too.
Bubbles have a way of turning a plain old day into a magical day.





Another attic find that got a second lease on life was this iron tiered stand
that I moved to the center of the garden to hold my garden tools. 



Purple basil in the foreground.

leeks

Not the vegetable garden; zinnias line the front of the perennial border.
 I'll make a flower border post when these are blooming.

Lots of sun!

Thank you for taking the garden tour. I'll keep you posted with pictures throughout the summer as we start to harvest produce and the flower border starts to bloom. 

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If you'd like to make a comment, please click here or scroll down. I reply to each comment and my response will appear directly below your comment. If you would like a personal reply, please know that I use the Blogger platform and they do not give me your contact information when you comment. If you would like a personal reply you can contact me using the contact form at the right side at the very end of my website. Recently the comments have been going into my junk file but now I'm checking it daily. Please contact me again if I didn't respond and you require a response.

twinning stripes

 








First, a little business. I found several dozen comments in my junk file. Most required responses and I think I've finally responded to everyone, even if late. I don't know how long this has been going on since I could only go back a few months, but if you have sent me a comment that required a reply and I have not responded, please resend. I will be checking my junk daily. Sorry for the hassle.

Now for the sweaters! Aren't these the best? I didn't set out to make or even realize that I was making twin sweaters, but when Carter saw me wearing mine he squealed that we had matching sweaters and we could wear them together! I'll remind him in a few years how happy he was to be twinning with his grandmother and if he doesn't believe me, I'll show him these pictures! After this surprise success I thought I might as well take advantage of this tiny window of twinning pride. He's three now, so I've got another 2, maybe 3 years? I'm sure he'll let me know loud and clear when the gig is up. But as for now, we are adorably proud to wear matching sweaters so of course I'm thinking up some more twin sweaters for fall. 😍

Mine: Stripes by Andrea Mowry. The main yarn is vintage Rowan Lightweight DK in warm 70s colors. It came from a vintage Rowan kit my LYS gifted me several years ago. The Kaffe Fassett pattern it came with was awful and dated, and when I saw Andrea's Stripes pattern I knew it would be a match made in heaven. I also added two neutrals of Chickadee by Quince and Co. to reign in the colors, if only a tiny bit. The pattern is simple and sweet but I modified it to make it slimmer and longer. I have a question I'll toss out to the lovers of vintage Rowan: The label says 100% wool, but does anyone know the breed? It's soft enough to be merino but has more oomph; maybe Blue Faced Leicester? Can't find a clue anywhere and just curious. I'm pretty sure early Rowan yarns used local breed specific wool even before it was the cool thing to do. My Ravelry project page with links and details.

His: I used the free Topdown Raglan Generator by Knitting Fool for the pattern. I made it oversized so he can wear it next fall and made a few short rows to raise the back neck. The yarn is stash DK wool scraps in happy colors and he loves it. I have so much scrappy stash I could knit another dozen of these and will knit him one every year until he says he's done with them. My Ravelry project page with links and details.

Modeling day was a bit silly as Carter was completely enthusiastic and excited. I have to put these warm woolens away for now, but I can't wait until fall when we can show them off together. We are standing under a Climbing Blaze rose arch. It's one of our earliest bloomers and the flowers stay on long after the other roses have given up. It's a repeat bloomer too. When this is done, we'll have at least two more big blooms in the summer. It's terrific. Last week I made a rose post about all my roses. You can read my rose post here. Next week I'll take you around the vegetable garden. It's going to be a great year.


Carter's sweater. I call this type of sweater free-to-me; free pattern and leftover yarn. 

If you'd like to make a comment, please click here or scroll down. I almost always reply to each comment and my responses will appear directly below the comment. If you would like a personal reply, please know that I use the Blogger platform and they do not give me your contact information when you comment. If you would like a personal reply you can contact me using the contact form at the right side at the very end of my website. As I said above, the comments have been going into my junk file but now I'm checking it daily! 




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