Saturday, October 29, 2016

Law & Hoarder


Adrenaline is a funny thing.  We all have it, thrive on it, are defeated by it, and make a myriad of excellent and stupid decisions based upon it.  What’s interesting are the unique codes it takes to get any one person’s adrenaline flowing.  Some need thrilling speed, confrontation of their fears, seducing a friend’s loser cocker spaniel of a husband to prove that she might be richer but you’re thinner (that’s a Thanksgiving story I so wish I could share)—but me, I need an antique store.  For the life of me I cannot understand why anyone cares to see a scary movie or ride a rollercoaster.  Who gives a shit?  I remember when I was 16, one of my friends was in my passenger seat.  We were on a beautiful stretch of road that was completely empty.  I had had my license for like three weeks and he said Floor it! I slowed down so that he could behold the full effect of my side-eye.  Now why the fuck would I want to do that?  I asked.  To which he replied To see how fast it goes!.  We were going to buy a boxwood wreath for his mom, a task I was not going to have marred by driving like white trash on a lovely November day.  I totaled my car in an accident the next year and he didn’t, so this is not an Aren’t I Great? Story.  It just goes to show how differently we all unlock adrenaline.  He might speed for a thrill, I buy a boxwood wreath and 50 feet of boxwood garland and stop at a tag sale on my way home and buy two sets of china and 53 Baldwin brass candlesticks.  Damn that was good. 
His adrenaline rush might end with a speeding ticket and mine might end with a film crew and a therapist.  That line between collecting and hoarding can be very tricky to discern.  In this day and age of people registering for cash as wedding gifts instead of fucking china and crystal, there are a lot of opportunities to scoop up beautiful things at very low prices.  That doesn’t mean you should buy all of them…






Just most of them. 
It seems like common sense, and many people have their own methods and systems for collecting tabletop items.  The bad news is that it is essential to be organized, the good news is that it’s easy. 
A lot of people call this process editing but I prefer the colder auditing.  Editing is subjective, auditing is (theoretically) streamlined.  The first step is to assess what you already have.  I had three sets of inherited china and didn’t use any of them.  I believed I loved them because I loved the women they came from.  Inherited china, silver, and stemware can be the hardest. 
Question 1: When was the last time you used this?
Question 2: When do you next plan to use this?
Guess what? If the answers are Never/I don’t remember and I don’t know, you should donate it.  Now sometimes things need time, I get it.  But if you’re not enjoying using the pieces or displaying them as décor, you should pass them on. 


I believe firmly in donating versus selling.  More often than not selling old stuff is frustrating.  You are at the mercy and memory of collectors, looking for that specific thing.  Selling can be a long process, leaving plenty of time to reconsider.  Not to mention you might get murdered by some craigslist weirdo.  But mainly it’s because donating feels better.  Why? You can pretend whatever the fuck you want.  One of the harder collections for me to donate was a glass dessert set of my grandma’s.  I remember it in her house, though I don’t remember using it.  But I didn’t like the actual design.  So I held onto it a while, thinking the time might come.  A while became four years and I admitted it was time to let it go.  I didn’t like the feeling of throwing my grandma’s stuff into the abyss and bad lighting of Goodwill.  But then I thought of all the exciting finds I’ve been so happy to unearth at Goodwill.  There are a lot of us out there with better taste than budgets, and it is wonderful to be able to find things for a steal.  All the sudden, it felt less like a black hole and more like an opportunity for someone to really love my grandma’s dessert set.  I allowed myself to imagine who might buy it and how they might use it and how pleased that might make my grandma.  Better than sitting in my basement in the same box.  Of course, maybe someone will buy it and use the teacups as measuring cups when making meth.  I don’t know much about le cookery de meth so maybe that’s implausible. The beauty is that you can imagine it going wherever you want.  It’s clean, immediate, and feels good. 
So, yes, learning to audit and reduce your collections is important.  Some people do this so they can live a little lighter.  Less clutter, less to worry about, etc.  I do it so I can buy more shit.  I have tried so many times to be a minimalist but I’m just not.  Why have one when you could have 25? I might be gayer than a daffodil but I still feel like I’d rather have a bunch of wives than just one.  That was my big takeaway from Big Love.  But because Utah doesn’t suit me and I would sooner die than have my harem wear weird ass WalMart nightgown looking contraptions, I’ll stay out of their way.
Polygamy aside, I don’t think one should force themselves to only have one set of dishes if they yearn for a little variety.  Of course, I have some thoughts on collecting.  Again, the big thing for me is that everything I own be put to use.  I do not covet things, admire from behind glass, or wait for the perfect day to dawn to use them.  Do you know how stupid it is to avoid using things because you’re worried if you use them, they’ll break.  I’m sorry to tell you this but more likely than not if you don’t use them, your heirs will unceremoniously throw them away or get rid of them.  I know I’d rather have people holding up my stuff saying remember when we used these for… instead of where the hell did this come from? I’ve never seen this! Have I made my case? Get out the good stuff. 
If you need good stuff, here are some of my arbitrary rules for collecting.
-Know what you need, what you want, and the difference therein.  For example, I fucking love bone plates. They are so cute! But it’s just not that often than I have guests gnawing on bones and needing a charming plate to set said bones on.  So I might want bone plates, but do need salad plates
-Set a budget and stick to it. The most fun part of collecting vintage and antique is the hunt.  Turning the corner in an antique store and your eyes catching inky blue porcelain amid a sea of ugly ass mugs.  But as your heart begins to beat faster and you imagine these flow blue teacups adorning your Thanksgiving table, you must be careful not to let the thrill override your budget.  The thrill of the hunt only stays fun if you get home and feel like you got a good deal.  My strategy for this is to:
-Start with a set.  This helps you establish a value for what you can and will pay per piece.  So if that set of six bread plates was $20, you paid about $3.33 per plate, maybe you keep that value for bread plates or go to $5.   and set your value for dinner plates at $7/each.  Forgive me if you are in Australia, where I take it even cheap vintage bread plates are $10k each.  Obviously you can set the budget wherever you want.  I prefer to keep my plates under $10.  It makes it easy for me to use and enjoy them freely without too much rage if one breaks.  Remember, breaks will happen.  The lower prices you find starting your collections, the higher priced items you can spring for when finishing.  It’s all about average price per plate.  My preference is to find plates as low as possible, so I can finish with more expensive and scarce platters.  Also, when you have a set value in mind, you will negotiate much better with sellers. 
Bread plates are a great place to start


-This fluctuates, but remember for the most part vintage china is always a buyer’s market.  Sometimes some things are hotter than average, but generally, it is a small pool of us willing to buy.  If someone has a ridiculous price on something, ask them to let you know if they have a time where they would accept your value.  I have done this many times and have been surprised how often it works.  It’s not aggressive and insulting as negotiating/haggling can be.  It puts forth an offer with the understanding that it’s what you can afford, not that you think they are priced too high. 
-Collecting tends to be a drought or a monsoon.  Maybe you disagree, but I find my collections go long periods without additions and then sudden, rapid expansions.  Take for instance butter knives.  I have been looking for sets of adorable little butter knives for years.  They’re always too few, too expensive, or too ugly.  So imagine my surprise when I found two sets of six within four minutes a few weeks ago.  I had a similar experience over the summer with flow blue and old blue transferware.  I amassed large quantities of each for about $2/plate.
-Allow your tastes to change or become more focused.  For instance, after the influx of new blue and white, I donated a large set of china I bought for Easter.  In the five years since I bought that set, my taste had sharpened a bit and I knew more specifically what I wanted.  While I still thought the set was pretty, I knew I’d rather have stronger color than a plate that reads ivory.  Just because you loved it then doesn’t mean you love it now.  Remember how happy you were to find it and pass it on. 

On their way to Goodwill

-Think of each pattern’s versatility.  Though I’ve yet to use all my patterns all at once, I try to have them all fit into the same family.  This makes it fun to mix and match table settings depending on season.  In my opinion, the very most versatile china is simple white with a gold band.  It goes with absolutely everything, but is still more elegant than a normal white plate.  From a simple summer lunch to an elegant New Year’s Eve dinner party, a white plate with a gold band works.  Followed very closely by blue and white.  The first pattern I ever collected was the ubiquitous but always lovely Blue Willow.  Blue and white makes all food look beautiful and it has such presence.  I adore blue and white with orange at Thanksgiving, cranberry at Christmas, pastel pink and yellow at Easter, and emerald green on my birthday in May.  It alllll works.  And both gold-rimmed and blue and white play so well with other patterns.  But maybe in your house the go-tos are different?  



Happy Halloween!

71 comments:

  1. I decided to pop in at Goodwill and the antique mall today to look for small silver bowls. You got me started on this last year when I saw a photo of your silver trays. Yep it is your fault. Well I did not find what I was looking for, but Goodwill had a terrific silver gravy boat for a great price, but that was not what I was after. I will go back in a couple of weeks.

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    1. Haha I'm sorry! I love my silver bowls! You will find them, they tend to pop up en masse. I donated a few silver trays a few months ago so I know they are to be found somewhere in the Goodwill galaxy

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    2. I am curious. Why would you donate your silver trays? Did you find something you liked better?.
      Also I love how you use your silve bowls. They have inspired me!

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    3. I didn't donate all of them! But I've realized I favor a cleaner style silver tray without a lot of patterned engraving design. So I had a few "baroque" style ones that I realized I was sick of! I figured if I donated that it would tilt the thrifting karma in my favor to find different ones. Haven't found them yet but found the flow blue liquidation special a few weeks later.

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  2. Wonderful!
    It's certainly true that as the baby boomers age and die and their heirs have to do something with their good and everyday sets of china, plus all the divorces that result in ex-sets of china being unloaded so new sets of china can be bought, the china market is definitely for buyers.
    I must ask: is that photo near the top of the lovely house with the pickup in front supposed to be ironic?
    You showed great fortitude at a young age to not succumb to the pressures of your friend to speed. And whatever happened later wasn't predicated on your being sensible at that time. I hope my kid has the spine to say "your thrills aren't my thrills."

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    1. Haha maybe a little, yes! I kind of liked the juxtaposition of that adorable cottage and a more rugged pickup truck. I also like how the truck makes the cottage look even smaller. Thank you so much! I certainly have no need for speed! It is a wonderful time to be a collector. There is just so much inventory!

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  3. flow ware for TWO DOLLARS??? !!! did they know what they had?
    it's not my favorite but it's still blue and white. and i LOVE blue and white.
    and if i were ever to collect it would be that. i've loved it since my childhood in upstate new york.
    although i have a part of me that also dearly loves the rambunctiously vibrant simplicity and colors of fiesta ware. seriously!
    that has always been my problem. i'm 'this' one moment and 'that' the next. and the this and that aren't remotely related! and i love them both. could be that's when i became a minimalist. to stave off mental roller coaster rides. and i've never been on a real roller coaster in my entire life.
    and as always.
    i laughed all through this post. and nodded agreement from my cozy minimalist's soul.
    we don't need labels. you're not a hoarder. or a minimalist. you're just a very wise collector.
    and you love to entertain. and you do it beautifully with style and selectivity. nothing better.
    i relished every word. that is when i wasn't in jaw hanging open delight at the pictures.
    could barbie's coat get any shinier?
    and omg the houses. especially for me... the first three. yes. the third for sure.
    and the thought of your blue and white with the various colors added for the occasions... perfection.
    your personality is not in those easter dishes. i cannot even see you in them remotely.
    and somewhere... some young mother is using your grandma's dessert dishes feeling very glamourous and special.
    well done my Stephen Andrew Jones. grandma is proud.
    and uh oh. methinks this little blue box has fooled me once again and i have written war and peace disguised as a comment. sorry! xo♥

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    1. Thank you so much, Tammy! A young mother is exactly who I pictured finding those dishes! I love the colors of Fiesta but don't like the raised lines and heft of the pieces. At one of my favorite antique/thrift stores there is a twelve foot, floor to ceiling display of Fiesta that is so commanding. I think it's at its best when the collection holds many colors. Something funny about the huge flow blue lots that I scooped up is that I was yearning for a set of flow blue that my paternal grandmother Virginia had. No one "knows" where it ended up. So I found those lots on eBay and when they arrived I noticed the seller's name on the shipping form was Virginia!

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  4. I will bet anything that that was your grandmothers set!!! Those things happen more often than one would think!!
    I love your blue and white china.
    One of my favorite things is China...and why anyone would want new china is mystifying to me!!!

    And my favorite china find (actually it is Italian pottery) is my collection of what I call "Happy Bird"! It was from a woman who collected it for 65 years! The same pattern! I bought all 120 pieces of it. I actually wrote a a blog about it which I will now republish!! I'm sure I have different followers who may enjoy it!
    Thank you for the great post! Those front steps in the second to the last picture I will promptly copy for my clients steps!

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    1. Oh yes I'd love to see your china! I really love nothing more than china! I'd love to think this is her china! Hers was a different pattern-a beautiful one by Kyber. We have a lot of stone and brick mixed like that here. I think my friend who designs and builds houses started it here.

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    2. Please tell your friend he is a genius. I have been" in the business" in charge of lots of residential building (one project...36 houses all totally different!) and never have I seen that. His influence will fly to the west coast!!

      Bravo! It is so simple and so perfect. (perfect is usually very simple. No one thinks of it)


      Oh. I thought it was the same pattern. Probably not your grandmother's! Try to find HER pattern.....I bet you can find her actual dishes!

      Who knows? I posted that blog post again!!! It is actually Italian majolica!!!

      XXOO

      aren't we so sad Ellie is gone? I miss her so much! And I still want to know about Teddy!!

      Penny

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    3. I will tell her! I should do a post just highlighting the gorgeous houses she's designed, built, and furnished. She builds absolute dream houses that are so welcoming and livable.

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    4. I posted it! http://mccormickinteriors.com/lifetime-collection-italian-majolica-gets-new-home/

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    5. I tried to comment and your blog flagged me as a robot! Haha. But those plates are adorable! Love their story!

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  5. Stephen I love this post, however it brings me to dread when I think about my mothers home and contents. She has 11+ dinner sets that rarely get used and yet she is always on the prowl for more. They aren't extremely pretty or expensive and myself and my girls do not like them. Goodwill here we come one day! I for example I only use simple white dinnerware yet they have to have a patterned edge or scalloped edge to make them more interesting, I dress them up with colourful napkins to add interest and the layers of pattern work for me making it easier to replace a broken piece. Personal preference that's all.
    And yes here in Australia they are expensive.

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    1. Thank you so much! Oh I understand. You hate to imagine all that stuff just sitting there-why? You have the right attitude though, pass it along! Someone will be happy to find it! I love your style of table setting. I do that often too. I love my white and gold plates, especially the Bavarian ones with scalloped gold edges.

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    2. Do I have to go to Australia???? How about selling them on ebay???? I cannot tell you the number of things I have purchased on ebay from all over the world!!!

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    3. The postage from Australia to the rest of the world is horrendous - those plates would end up being $100 each :) These are the problems with being at the bottom of the world...

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  6. Have always loved reading your posts but this post stole my heart as you write about not speeding, something very important to me. love your work SAJ! Den xxx
    Ps you would cringe as I spotted a 75 piece royal doulton dinner set for A$1,000.00 when i dropped off some of those porcelain dolls (that totally creeped out my daughter) to our closest second hand store here in Sydney.

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    1. Thank you so much! Yes I am sure safe driving is a big cause for your family. Oh I hate the dolls! Haha. There is a set of Spode that I looooove: Indian Tree in rust that is listed at $1295 at my favorite antique store. Every time I look at it I hope to see it slashed to $150 but I won't hold my breath.

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  7. Stephen, This post really spoke to me. I have just finished purging and 'letting go' of so many things I thought I would never be able to let go of...and it felt good....really good.
    I am getting ready to sell some stuff though through an Etsy shop and I will see how that goes. If it doesn't go I will have a whole other truckload to take to GW...where someone else will find a bargain.

    Hope you have a wonderful Halloween, Stephen. xo Diana

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    1. Thank you! Yes you've had a huge journey of reducing haven't you?! I didn't know about your etsy store! I might need to shop it! Hope you share what the kids were for Halloween!

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    2. I love sending to Good Will....and you can take a write-off; and do a great good deed!

      Ebay will get a good price if you would like to have the money. There are people who love beautiful things who find them on ebay....and appreciate them every bit as much as we who find at the Good Will!!

      Spread around!! I totally believe in that!!!

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  8. Just impossibly jealous of your fall neighborhood photos. Makes me feel very seasonal! So I do have a problem "collecting" (hoarding) dinner ware; I finally drew a line in the sand and said "enough" and moved onto serving platters and linens. But I am thinking of granting myself and exemption to go out and find some blue and white stuff for Chanukah, which gives me a whole new excuse to go antiquing! The old standards are great but sometimes it's fun to try something completely different, and with the decent prices thrift stores and antique places offer you can do just that. Great read!

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    1. Oh yes! It is your right as the chosen people to have some blue and white! When I was little I wanted to be Jewish and have a menorah and I remember my mom saying "there's a lot more to being Jewish than liking the colors". I've been focusing more on platters lately, too. The problem is they're usually so small! And then the big ones are so expensive!

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    2. And thank you! Ohio is certainly at its best right now

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  9. Barbie's coat is gorgeous! What are you feeding that girl? The photographs are really great and this post is as long as a frickin' dissertation. You keep us in suspense for weeks and then you are bursting with incredible stories. I happen to be in the mood to unload all sorts of things, but if you saw our house you would know that it's jammed. There is not an inch of wall space left, we have so much art. And dishes...do I have dishes, and ceramic bowls, and all kinds of breadboards and........... I hope you get out this way some day so I can show you. And bring Barbie.

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    1. Haha thank you! I make all of Barbie's food! Her food is brown rice, kale, turkey, carrots, sweet potatoes, bell peppers, apple, peas and then various other revolving proteins and fruits and veggies. And she gets hard boiled eggs often too. Her coat is fabulous. Haha when I'm inspired I'm really inspired! Thank you for reading! This will probably be one of the shorter ones!

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  10. Again, a wonderful and amusing read! Barbie's coat is beautiful, and your photography is awesome. Isn't this time of year great?

    Seriously, I want to hear about the Cocker Spaniel husband being seduced!

    I agree with your suggestion of donating things. What goes around comes around. Just send things out into the universe and see what happens. You are right - at least you won't cross paths with a Craig's List psychopath.

    Do you know I am still casually looking for your Spode Maritime Rose pattern LOL? I don't even know what pattern I eat from everyday (somethingsomething Rosenthal says the German in me), but hot damn, I know you want Spode Maritime Rose!

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    1. Thank you so much, Ann! Or are you Anne? I'm sorry if I'm wrong. I so appreciate you sourcing that maritime rose for me a few months ago! I should have gone up and bought it! But right before my birthday a big box of surprise Maritime Rose arrived and now I at least have enough to serve dinner! But please keep looking! Oh the cocker spaniel husband story is SO good/horrendous. Maybe I can try and reduce it somehow and share it.

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    2. Such good thoughts you have, Stephen Andrew. As someone who is a work in progress in trying to be, what I call, ruthless in purging, you have given me an attitude adjustment. It's often been difficult for me to get rid of things (or pass them on, as you might say). Your words and attitude inspire. Thank you.

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    3. Thank you so much! I really do understand. It's so hard to get rid of things and feel careless with things that you loved or someone you love loved. But it is nice to imagine things taking on a new life with someone else!

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  11. I forgot to say......what a coat! Will print out that recipe!!!

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  12. I have a story that I will try to keep short about adrenaline!!!
    As you know, I am a decorator...and a collector, and a mad collector. (mad as in crazy, not angry!)
    37 years ago; I was driving car pool....6 kids in the car. In a window of a consignment store...were two Chinese porcelain birds....(before seatbelts)! I slammed on the brakes.....(no one was hurt, thank God!); I parked in the liquor store parking lot...next to the store...I ran in....and bought these birds....got them into the trunk in minutes.....and off we went to deliver the children.
    I will send you the picture....now 3rd house.....they are treasures......I get the adrenaline thing!!!!

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    1. Oh I'd love to see the birds! I'm sure those kids have lots of good stories about their carpool days!

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  13. breadboards? Old ones? Do not sell until you look at the blog Velvet and Linen and look at the house my friends Brooke and Steve built in Ojai!! They love old breadboards and sell them in their shop!
    my idea is you will fall in love with them again and display them as the Giannettis do at Patina Farm!

    Otherwise.....I will buy some!!! I use them a lot.....and I love the old ones!!!

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  14. Just when I do not think that I could love you anymore you come up with this Magnificent Post.

    The quality of the photos is sublime and I love the audit v edit agenda.

    Please please email me the You're Richer but I'm Thinner story.

    Love how you take table settings seriously.

    There is a photo of my Stephen-inspired pumpkin pie on the blog. Run Don't Walk.

    Thanks so much for posting- I can only imagine how stressful it is being a small business owner and actioning high end superior hair while living in the Key Election state of Ohio.

    Luff you SAJ xxx

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    1. Hahaha thank you! Well I've officially voted now so it's all water under the bridge at this point. oh table setting is very serious business! Can't wait to see the pumpkin pie!

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  15. I loved the photos of houses all decorated for Fall in your area. So different to the vernacular here.
    I bought a set of Waterford Crystal glasses for about $20/ glass at estate auction a few years ago. Those sort of prices are what you pay for a new plain wine glass new in a shop, so I was happy. The glasses were probably 30-40 years old, and still had their stickers on them, which made me sad. I put them in the dishwasher, and while I know that might ruin them eventually, I figure that they were only $20/ glass and I'm using them! What's the point of keeping them somewhere and leaving the stickers on for my heirs to sell at estate auction for $5/ glass in 40 years time?
    I like your idea of karma. Mainly because I've been cleaning out the garage ready for demolition, and there is a big box of inherited bits and pieces of china, none of it particularly valuable, and all of it not in my taste and it's time to move it on. I'm planning a few trips to Goodwill this week. Also, I love the way you unexpectedly segued into Polygamy and Walmart nightgowns in this post. xx

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    1. Oh I'm in very good company here, I put everything in the dishwasher. 1) I have freakishly strong hands and have snapped so many cups from stems while cleaning with my death grip 2) I'm less likely to use if I have to hand wash. Love your attitude and totally agree. Glad to hear that you'll be donating! It really is nice to just imagine the things going wherever you want. Haha well I did always think a collection of wives would be fun. I would love doing their hair and dressing them. I don't think that's why men have historically desired multiple wives though. Haha!

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  16. these homes! omgosh how beautiful. are they in your neighborhood?

    nothing and i mean nothing excites me like a good estate sale. poor larry. xo

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    1. No but they are all around my day to day rotation! Some are c 1910 and some are newish. Estate sales are so so enjoyable!

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  17. Love this post and it was just what I needed to read, I'm doing a bit of decorating in my dining room and I've realized I need more blue and white for the table. Collecting I shall go. All of your tips are so appreciated, it will be as though you are by my side.
    I also believe in donating household items, I mean why not. And getting murdered by a craigslist serial killer is a real possibility. I've let go of things that belonged to my Nana that I just didn't care for, even though she meant so much to me. I do have her mohair coat which she always wore to every party, I can actually feel her excitement for cocktails, conversations and life when I put it on. So that was a much more meaningful item of hers to keep, I don't actually remember her using any of the china I donated.
    I will also never be a minimalist. I like to have different sets of tableware for holidays, seasons etc. I already have enough dinner plates to hold an event for 800 people but never mind. Love these blue and white images and I hope you don't mind if I pin them all. Happy Sunday Darling SAJ. XOX

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    1. Yes yes go collecting! I haven't been to Toronto in so long but the two things I remember were the ridiculously good looking gay population and the fabulous antique stores (related?). It's a wonderful place to find things! So many goodies from New York but also that strong Euro influence. I love that you have her party coat! I was sifting through photos and found various women in my family wearing my GG's mini stole and I love that! What a lovey connection. Thank you!

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    2. I love blue and white china! I always think of Ellie when I gaze at blue and white porcelain...
      your collecting tips are duly noted Stephen, thank you!
      I am off to an estate sale just down the street so I must hasten...its been on awhile but I had no idea until my sweet husband mentioned it when he came back from his walk!

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    3. Yes! Oh I hope you found something good!

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  18. Oh Stephen, I've so enjoyed your recent posts but I've been sick for two weeks and didn't have the energy to respond. Today I'm fair to middlin' so thought I'd join in while three crockpots of chili are bubbling away in the kitchen awaiting a horde of relatives to arrive later. I've never felt less like entertaining but I'm the "go-to" person when company comes to town and this is no different. Tomorrow I'll collapse!

    Okay: china. I was bitten by the bug when I worked in the China and Silver department of a now-defunct department store. That was many years ago and my cupboards are full but I still love the thrill of the hunt. I agree with using what you've got and no saving it for a special occasion. And hand washing? Pfff! I learned early on not to let the metallic gold or silver rims touch each other in the dishwasher and you're good to go.

    As for estate sales I remember a customer from back in the department store days who spent thousand over a few years to buy every piece of Rosenthal Maria White we could order. At a recent estate sale I spied a huge box of it, service for 8 and serving pieces for $35. I almost cried passing it up but no room. Somebody ended up getting very lucky! Or it went to Goodwill.

    Don't forget to use your silver tomato server as a sliced cranberry server at Thanksgiving!

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    1. I love the idea of the tomato server for sliced cranberry! I remember when you mentioned that! But no sliced cranberry here! Good luck with your chili! I know how that goes with out of town family. So sorry you've been under the weather for so long! I was laid out for a week a few weeks ago with a strep and flu combo that was quite a lot. I'm actually worried I might have mono but I think I'm way too old for that! Oh that must have been hard to pass that china up! I don't know that pattern but I will look into it! Hope you feel better soon!

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  19. Stephen- I am so happy to have found your blog. You inspire me. We are going through our house top to bottom trying to weed out 45 years of accumulation. So many things have memories tied to a wonderful person. For instance, I have my mother-in-law's mid-century Tom Collins glasses that I display in my glassware case. And that is exactly what I do with them--display them. I have been afraid to use them for fear of breaking one and, thus, losing something of the person I loved. Recently, youngest son, who never knew his grandmother, commented on the glasses. I never realized that he noticed them, and I had the opportunity to talk about the woman he never knew and would have loved. So I've decided that on Christmas Eve, when he is home with his wife, we will break out the treasured glasses and toast Grandma Kahler. If something breaks, so be it. At least he will experience a little piece of her memory.

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    1. Thank you so much! I'm so happy to hear that! It's funny, yesterday a friend and I were saying Tom Collins haven't experienced the comeback that many of those old cocktails have and we feel it's due! You could probably make a very festive TC by using cranberry syrup for your Christmas Eve cocktails! Although there's much to be said for going classic. I love that they'll be getting use!

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  20. Admittedly, this was back in the pre-ebay days, aka you weren't born yet but I did give Prada and the like to Sally Alley just for the same prospective elusive joy of a mega catch.

    This post brought me so much happiness. I will keep saying it but your talent is so present and is one too.

    xo
    H

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    1. Excuse me I had some very trying days before eBay! I was so excited when it started! I love that you donated your precious things! That really is the system at its best. Thank you so much!

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  21. Stephen, dear, you and I have evolved into the same type of collector. Do I use it? Do I love it? If I answer no, the object in question gets donated. Packing up a load of stuff to donate releases endorphins and it's the BEST kind of rush. Living lighter, but NOT minimal, is my goal.

    Off topic ... that first house in your array of photos in this post is cute beyond belief!

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    1. Connie, I knew you would like that cottage! It's so cute! You're right, we share a mindset on collecting and keeping! I think of you often and how even your cats eat from china! I love that! Why not?

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    2. Feeding the cats on china gives purpose to all the wonderful orphan saucers that I find!

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  22. I always suspected I was adopted and I think I may actually be your older sister given our penchant for all things related to entertaining. You should probably ask your mom about this. I'll ask mine.
    Treasure hunting is my favorite adrenaline rush. One good find and I can't stop. I just want to keep going and going and going. Must be what it feels like to do an addictive drug.
    Selling vintage is one of the most fulfilling things I have ever done because the interaction with people is so wonderful and pleasant. You are relating to people who share common interest, kind of like the wonderful community that gathers here. Plus I can buy all the things I think are amazing and don't have to feel bad about it. :)
    Although the shop room is filled to the brim. It's a sickness of the happiest sort.

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    1. Haha! We can always be hoarding soul siblings. I think it's so wonderful that you love to sell! I've tried my hand at it a bit and just don't like it! I'd so much rather buy and keep :) what is in the shop room now?? What's your Thanksgiving vibe this year?

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    2. I should probably do a blog post tour of the stop room but it's embarrassing because just when I get things in a proper place I bring more home and there goes the Law & Hoarder. ;)
      Thanksgiving....I'm still working on that. I always use my turkey transferware but I have acquired a full service of English stoneware called Wild Oats so it's tempting to stray off course....

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  23. Oh my goodness, dear Stephan, you express my feelings!
    I finally started using all the fine silver (Gorham) and china (Spode and Coalport) as soon as no step-children were around, since they were inclined to throw them in the trash rather than wash them. I lost two relatively nice stainless silverware courtesy of my step-son.
    Today, I eat off my finer china and am convinced food tastes better if it is delivered to my mouth with sterling silver. I came to the point where I thought 'what am I waiting for?'. Doing this for myself, and my wonderful Un-Husband of almost 18 years, is liberating and also make that morning piece of Publix's breakfast bread a special treat.
    I was lucky to also inherit beautiful china from the far east that my mother had shipped back from my parents' many travel ventures. I have over a dozen plates and an equal amount of rice bowls, hand-painted and no two exactly the same. I'm hoping that one of my nieces or nephews are interested, because the Un-Husband's children would only appreciate what they could sell it for.
    Same with my furnishings. One of my dearest friends, who is 11 years my senior (and I am older than dirt!), who has the most beautiful curated collection of art and furniture, told me a few years ago that her heirs were not interested in "brown furniture". She is heartbroken that her cherished things will end up in an estate sale or trashed. I'm horrified that most of mine will too.
    Whatever - I will continue to live my remaining life with the best of implements, a life pleasing to my aesthetic as an artist. The simplest of things can be elevated by the lovely things on hand. Who cares if someone breaks a $20 bread plate? Who is going to care about any of these lovely things of mine after I'm gone? It's kind of depressing. I have my paternal grandmother's silver coffee set, which is beautiful, but none of the younger folks in my family give a shit.
    OK, now Stephen, I'm officially depressed. Would you like my fabulous Dixie Powdermaker magnolia wood (made locally in the 50's) country French furniture?

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    1. I love this comment so much! I agree with every bit of it! There is a pattern of Coalport called Golden Wedding Green (I think) that I have been obsessed with forever and have literally never come across one piece of it. There's some on eBay but it's very expensive. It disappoints me so terribly that people have turned their backs on old things. I had a terrible time sourcing sterling butter knives because apparently every asshole who inherited it sold it to be liquidated. Can you imagine? Taking silver that's been in your family for 100 years to be melted down?! Some members of my family tired that but I stole the silver before if could be sold. Much of it was market 1838 and I just refused to have it melted down. It's safe with me so at least it has a while longer. I feel like culturally we'll have to swing back to treasuring these things-right? I think I know Dixie Powdermaker furniture! I love it! I love all the soul the wood has but isn't so so dark. Though it's funny on the subject of "brown furniture". I had a bad attitude about it for a while, preferring everything to be very light and very bright. And then all of the sudden I bonded with old old wood and worn brass hardware and slowly but surely I'm acquiring a nice collection. Criminal how inexpensively it can be picked up. I've always said what I want is for my funeral to be set up like a tag sale, and have all my beautiful things on tables so that they might find new lives with people who choose them, rather than dumped in someone's possession as a burden.

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    2. Ok I just have to say SAJ that I inherited my mom's sterling silver butter knifes and yes I still have them and use them.

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  24. I think one of my purposes in life is to have as many things pass through my hands as possible without busting the bank. I love having a piece for a bit and then passing it on. I like to think I borrow the energy of the previous owner and then pass that and a little of mine to someone else. Silly, but I love it. Great post as always. You'd be a fabulous Big Love patriarch with a very well-dressed harem.

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    1. Haha thank you! I know exactly what you mean! I love having things and imagining their lives before me. I'm sure I imagine things much rosier than the truth but who cares?!

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  25. I too am a collector of tableware, a love that I have inherited from my mom! Nothing makes me more excited than setting a holiday table! I dream them up months (even maybe years in advance as I already began plotting my Easter 2017 table setting before Easter 2016 dinner had been eaten). It might be a bit much, but it makes me happy! Lucky for me, both my mom and mother in law love the hunt as much as I do, so I put them on missions to find me pieces that I need. I have recently discovered that my mother in law has a hidden talent for finding blue and white egg cups for me! Bless her. And I totally agree with your desire to use what you have or discard it. My elderly neighbors have just recently started using their wedding china as they figure they better use it before they can't! Funny thing is that whenever the husband breaks something, the wife makes him go to Replacements LTD and purchase her a new piece. Your collection of blue and white is lovely and I love those fall house pictures that you have in this post! So festive and beautiful!

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    1. Thank you so much! Oh I am right there with you. I actually came up with my vibe for this year's table about three weeks before Thanksgiving last year. I absolutely love holidays. I guess that's obvious! Egg cups are such a hard find! How wonderful that you have hunters for you. I actually meant to have that as a tip! Enlist fellow collectors!

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  26. In my early days I think I earned loads of karma but truth is I am not totally against charity shops. I have been meaning to do a post on it - it might not apply to many areas but it does apply to London! I still give to charity the little bits bc I have rooms stuffed to the gills because of my good bloody intentions mind you. None of my china that I use matches on purpose so it's a bonus I dont' have OCD otherwise there is no way I could handle that. But I am at that age where I am questioning the material in a zen monk way but I am a collector by nature - it began with Hello Kitty erasers. So as a Gemini, I am dueling this contradictory mindset.

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    1. Do you mean you are totally against charity shops? I definitely see he case for that and some are worse than others. there's one I'll have nothing to do with. But agree that it really is a resource of convenience. I feel for you Geminis. My sister is Taurus but almost every major element of her chart is in gemini, which I think is what makes her so spectacularly funny

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    2. Not totally but very very selective about who i give to and that has a track record. It is a bit of a racket and I might do the post soon as it is gift giving and then giving to charity shop season very soon. me the gemini is married to taurus. she must be our marriage incarnate.

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  27. My most favourite phrase of this post is "Just because you loved it then doesn’t mean you love it now" - this is EXACTLY the sentiment I am currently struggling with my decluttering-before-moving-interstate-again saga... There are items in both my wardrobe and kitchen that I have adored in the past, but have not used/worn for an eon... so WHY am I packing, moving, and unpacking them yet again?! T minus 6 weeks to the next move, and this post have given me the clarity I needed to move on those past-loved pieces to a new home who will hopefully love them as much as I did :)

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  28. Brilliant Jacqueline! No! You will not love them again.....if you have not worn them for eons!
    Stephen Andrew has saved you from moving stuff.....you neither need nor want!! Thank you Stephen!!

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