Monday, January 9, 2017

At Least I'm Organized

Have you fucked up your resolutions yet?  I haven’t but I’m teetering.  What are yours? Mine are all the usual bullshit with a few easy ones peppered in there so no matter what on the eve of 2018 I can claim I accomplished the majority of my resolutions.  I’m bad enough at math that no matter what it always seems to work in my favor.  I was able to start the year on a very virtuous and strong note because I was on death’s doorstep with the flu.  Maybe not death’s doorstep but on the curb to its driveway.  Luckily when I’m sick I don’t crave comfort food I actually only crave citrus, cucumbers, and the sun.  Did you see that thing about the experimental drug that has early preliminary research it can stop about 90% of the spread of melanoma?  You better believe I’m going to send them some money.  Let’s hope they have it to market before summer.  I have such an unhealthy affection for the sun that whenever I see Magda all I can think is how happy she must have been.   
She's got her dog, her Kools, her bendy straw, her tan, her heavily embroidered fuchsia housecoat...she's got it all
For New Year's Eve I made Caesar salads...

Angel Hair tossed in truffle butter and mushroom with chive...

And chocolate cheesecake.  Everyone was ready to start their diets the next day!


Anyway, I am eagerly awaiting some time at the beach so that’s some good motivation to keep me from baking.  For today anyway.  I can’t help you with weight loss resolutions because of the elephant in the room but it seems another common resolution is to get more organized.  My weight might fluctuate more violently than the stock market, but I’m pretty consistently organized. 
I have inventories for everything.  Actually my weak way with weight and my strong way with order collide in my wardrobe because I have like 85 different wardrobes that range within about 1000 pounds.  It can be confusing trying to remember if I have a jumbo white polo with a blue monogram or a medium white polo with a pink monogram—or wait—were both monograms green?  Easy confusion to make when you have like 38 monogrammed white polos.  I think that’s why minimalists are always thin: they only need white polos in one size. 
But the first thing I ever made a formal inventory for was my tabletop collection.  This collection has expanded and reduced many times as my needs and tastes have changed.   Though currently nowhere near its all-time high, it ballooned a bit leading up to the holidays because I just kept finding such good stuff! So as I was updating my inventory this morning, I thought you might be interested in the process. 
It's so hard to find vintage/antique platters over 16 inches. I found four in one afternoon! The bottom one is circa 1900 Limgoes and 20 inches! 

It’s a very straightforward endeavor.  I use a dry-erase board to write what something is, measurements, and quantity if necessary.  If it’s something that is stored in boxes where contents cannot easily be seen, I assign a letter and number to the box like O-4 and write that on the dry erase board in the photo too.  So I’ll not only know that I have 23 turquoise 4 inch ornaments but they are in box #4 of the ornament boxes.  It takes so little time and makes managing a lot of stuff a lot easier.  I like having options and different looks for the seasons

I found these in May 2016 and used them for Thanksgiving


Spode Maritime Rose.  I started collecting this pattern last Easter and have done pretty well considering its scarcity.  

I looooooove this Limoges pattern.  Still trying to find its name.  

Take a photo, and organize in albums on my phone or iPad. 
Hit the plus sign in the top left corner

 New Album...

You can use this system to inventory anything

I have the albums organized by type of plate/glass since I like to set mix and match tables.  You might prefer to organize by pattern.  While you may not have skeletal to manatee sized white polos to wrangle or too many china patterns to keep straight, I’m sure you have a lot of something that could benefit from an inventory. 



I found these two pink-bordered trays in early December (actually on my GG's birthday and this was her favorite color...) and I am in love with them.  I can't find any information on them.  Do they look familiar to you? I'm wondering if they were made for a hotel or restaurant. 

Do you recognize this crest?  

The marks on the back.  I take it Soane & Smith was a store but I can't find any information. 

In another direction, one of my more altruistic resolutions is to grow an abundance of milkweed and hopefully provide habitat and forage for Monarch butterflies.   I only saw one Monarch last year and that is quite depressing.  I realized it’s all my fault for not having any milkweed.  So I plan to start some from seed both to keep and to give away. It’s easy to grow and terribly unfussy. If you don’t already allocate some space for it, I urge you to.  This is worth mentioning now because the seeds perform best when given a month or so in the refrigerator.  I’ll start mine in March, but if you live in a more moderate climate, the time might be sooner.  Soooo… nudge nudge.  
Doesn't it look cold out that window?  It was about 2 degrees! 


Often in the winter I like to use an abundance of colored glasses and lanterns for candles instead of flowers.  The cut glass illuminates so beautifully! And I love the flickering snowflake shadows

84 comments:

  1. I LOVE THOSE PINK PLATES TOO!
    I think they were from a SHIP!Try punching that name into GOOGLE!
    GORGEOUS GORGEOUS GORGEOUS................
    Iam ALWAYS on the LOOK OUT for PLATTERS..........you are RIGHT!Not easy to find!
    SORRY to hear you were sick.........XX

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    1. Thank you! Oh that would be exciting if they had been for a ship!

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  2. Naturally I love how organised you are and think those pink platters are 11/10. I made some vague resolutions about walking more spending less, drinking less and decluttering. So far so good. I'm going to look up those platters in my Goddens bible for you. xx

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    1. Thank you so much! I've never heard of Goddens...must research!

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  3. Well my resolution has been to start to purge the closets. One is completely empty and then last week Lilly Pulitzer had her after party sale. Well I guess I will just have to cram those items in another closet. I refuse to put anything in the empty closet. I started on the second flow
    And will Work my way down to the basement. We have boxes down there that have not been touched in over 20 years. This it is junk that probably not even worthy of Goodwill. I am doing pretty well with my project. I have away dishes that I bought at Lazarus probably 30 years ago. They either had a red or green border with gold rim and gold stars in the border. I had not used them in years and had to say thank you and goodbye. Someone at GW will enjoy them.

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    1. Good for you! That's my philosophy, someone will love them and donating is so much easier than selling or messing with it too much!

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  4. Oh Stephen, your tableware is spectacular! And your blue and silver candles and glassware create a perfect winter setting. I'm not often inclined to dress the table, but I really enjoy seeing your beautiful work. I've collected several of your floral arrangement photos in a Pinterest board, but I should probably create a Stephen Andrew board and just keep everything. (I hope that doesn't sound creepy!) You are such an artist - thanks again for sharing! (And I hope you're feeling better)

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    1. Thank you so so much, Lynn! I'm totally better, thank you! I really should give Pinterest another go. I never bonded with it.

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  5. I love seeing how other people organize. I too have a huge collection of dishes, serving pieces and flatware. While I don't have pieces photo'd as you do, I have each & every cabinet where they are stored photo'd. I do this for several reasons-
    1. I live in NYC. Although I have a fairly good size kitchen with great storage by NYC standards, my collection far exceeds what can be stored in the kitchen itself. I have things stored as well in a service pantry, cabinetry just outside the kitchen, the library, the living room, basement storage bin & my friend's storage room ( he lives in the building next door to mine)!! I know what exactly I have, but where it's stored is another matter
    2. Once I've removed things from their storage location, I need to know how to put them back. This might sound silly, but things fit into each cabinet in such a specific way, they need to go back that same way or they won't fit. If I only use a few pieces I can usually remember, but if I've used a large number of pieces, I don't always remember exactly.
    3. I can show the photo to my husband to explain what pieces I need and where they are.
    4. This becomes a very handy reference if I'm out & about and run across pieces I'd like to add to my life.

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    1. Thank you! Love this! Totally know what you mean about needing to remember how the hell you keep it all stored! It's often a game of Tetris. I admire you for being a collector in New York! You are dedicated! What's your favorite source for vintage/antique china in the city?? Or best to look outside the city? I've always had terrible luck antiquing in New York.

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  6. My other resolution is to re- do our powder room. Anyone know where to get Jaima Brown Rio De Janerio wallpaper at a discount? So far no luck. Thanks.

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    1. Sorry I have nooooo idea! Assuming you've already tried eBay?

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    2. I searched all over the US and believe it or not I found a design co. in Columbus, Ohio who has a terrific price point. The search shall continue for the powder room wallpaper. The Reno of it starts this week.

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  7. The motto is Latin, it means By Counsel and Wisdom. Appropriate. You always dispense excellence in each category. Happy New Year!

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    1. Thank you! Now if only that were true! Haha happy New Year!

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  8. I hope you are feeling better! You make me tired thinking about all this.

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    1. Totally better thank you! Haha it really is easy! It might be hard starting from scratch but updating it is very easy.

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  9. Sorry to hear that you have had the flu...despite your illness you have accomplished quite a lot!
    I tried to find more info on that Soan and Smith plate but my books do not have any further info except that they suggest that you might find out more about the date which is after 1909 by contacting the Design Registry Patent Office Chancery Lane, London England, WC2A
    I am impressed by your plates and goblets and surmise that you have oodles of storage!
    Our tiny bungalow has little to no room for extras...but I can enjoy and live vicariously through you!

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    1. Thank you! Haha yes luckily I do have a big storage area! thank you so much for looking into the platters for me! It's so rare that no information can be found nowadays but I've really had no luck.

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  10. Sorry that you have been ill. I hope you're feeling all better. That cheesecake looks absolutely wonderful - did you make it? Oh, I would love to have a piece right now. Your organization skills are amazing and all those different plate patterns are just beautiful. My favorite thing, though, are those blue glasses with the candles causing the snowflake patterns set against that beautiful deep blue sky. Can you tell that blue is my most favorite color?!

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    1. Thank you so much! I am! I did make the cheesecake, I might post the recipe before Valentine's. It is so good and so easy! I was inspired by an America's Test Kitchen recipe but tweaked it because theirs had cocoa powder (which I hate) and milk chocolate and I did semi sweet. I loved their idea of an Oreo crust though!

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    2. That would be great if you posted your recipe!

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  11. Yep- I inventory, too, but keep it in a 3 ring binder with what I have and where it is. I have also gone to a lot of clear boxes to make storage even easier. Yearly, I replace a tub or two and pass the old rubbermaids off to the kids.

    I am so sorry that you were sick over the holidays. That really sucks when you feel like that. Love those last couple of pictures...AND the photo idea for inventory is a GREAT idea!!

    Here's to a good year for all of us...xo Diana

    ps- I sure understand about the closets full of different sizes. At least with men stuff does not go 'out of style' like a woman's clothes do---skirt lengths, necklines, sleeves, etc. I am slowly purging clothes, too. Wish me luck...

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    1. Thank you so much! Luckily I didn't get sick until the 29th so I wasn't sick over Christmas. I think three weeks of like three hours of sleep did me in! Your inventory sounds very very comprehensive! I've switched to mostly clear tubs for Christmas and less breakable stuff. But a lot of stemware and plates I have in those padded boxes. But I try to keep most of it on open shelving so I see it! You're so right about men's clothes! Good luck on your purge!

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  12. I hope you're feeling better... wish being sick made me not want to eat, perhaps then I could lose some poundage. Your Organizational Skills are so impressive and your Writing Skills so witty that I was both Envious and LMAO at the same time! I am chronically disorganized so I need all the Organizational Tutoring I can glean from The Land of Blog... your method is great only I don't know how to use my Smart Phone without a Grandchild in tow and if I did it Old School Method with hard prints of the Photos I'd misplace them somewhere in the mini hoards of disorganized stuff. So glad to have stumbled upon your Delightful Blog this evening... Happy New Year from the Arizona Desert... Dawn... The Bohemian

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    1. Thank you so much! Luckily with an iPhone it is so easy! Everything else makes me want to eat so I understand! Haha but for whatever reason I always know the flu is coming when I stop craving pasta and start craving lemons and grapefruit!

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  13. OK, so now that you've impressed me with your gorgeous collection of table and stemware, how and where you keep all this stuff stored? I really do want to buy more platters and plates -- love the idea of boxes that are labeled and pics on your phone of everything, but where do you actually put all the boxes? A dedicated closet somewhere else in the house? Walk-in pantry? And I hope you are feeling better, my New Year's resolution is HUGE -- I have decided to only wear comfortable clothes from 2017 on. If a waist is too tight or a shoe pinches, it goes into the Goodwill box. I'm going all in on soft tunics, leggings and flats....stuff that looks sophisticated and upscale but feels comfortable and soft. Life's too short for scratchy fabric, tight shoes and jeans that leave a red mark on your waist when removed. Except during events lasting under two hours where you are standing the entire time lol.

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    1. Love your resolution! I always say the zenith of existence is living in white linen tunics! I forget if you guys have basements out there? But we are the land of full basements and that helps quite a bit. I have an unfinished room where the furnace is and there are boxes and open shelves all around. I'd show it but it's way too ugly! But I have the cheap plastic shelves for some stuff and then big metal shelves for china and stemware. I've found I'd rather keep most things out in the open and wash them before I want to use them. I have some stemware in drawers too.

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    2. Ahh, basements. had not thought of that. We have almost no homes with those here. So this has been my problem all along....it's not lack of organization, it's lack of square footage under the house, equalling or close to what's above. So really what I need are comfortable clothes AND a basement, if I want to make this life completely livable and have the design options I want!

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  14. Just found this little bit of information about Soane and Smith on an etsy listing, Stephen ... a crumb to start following.
    The backstamp is : Soane & Smith Ltd., 462 Oxford Street, London. This was a china and glass retail firm that, according to the April 4, 1884, edition of the London Gazette was dissolved on 31 March 1884 by mutual consent. After James Soane left, the business was carried on by William Henry Smith alone.
    Thank you for always writing such an entertaining, informative, and inspiring blog - one of my new year's resolutions is to start telling people that I appreciate them (and another is to stop being such a lurker and write a comment for pete's sake!)

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    1. Thank you so much!! I just can't believe the platters are so old! I would have sworn they were 1960s! I might have been off by 100 years! I love your resolution and I promise you will feel so good for having done it. I had one year where I wrote all the special people in my life very long and detailed letters about what I love about them and what they really mean to me and though it's a bit uncomfortable to pour your heart out, I can promise I never regretted it at all. Good things are never better left unsaid! I gave the letters on their birthdays!

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  15. Yes, go for the milkweed! If you are as lucky as we were about 5 years ago, we had quite a number of caterpillars. We brought one inside with plenty of milkweed leaves to munch, and were rewarded with seeing it make the chrysalis in about ten minutes time. Two weeks later, the butterfly burst out of the chrysalis just as my husband emerged from the shower. So they both had wet wings!!!! We waited a day before we sent it winging its way to the mountains of Mexico. It was truly a memorable experience--whatever we can do to prevent them from extinction. We also get some cool milkweed beetles that feed on the seed pods as a bonus. (Sorry, I only have one teensy piece of Limoges)

    Penny

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    1. So fascinating! I think I'd be too nervous to do that by I'll enjoy scanning them everyday. Catherine from A Country Farmhouse/In the Fields hand reared monarchs last year and it was a very interesting process! Did you grow milkweed from seed or did you have enough around you naturally?

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    2. We started our first (syriaca)from seed. Ohio prairie nursery in Hiram is a great source for many varieties of milkweed seeds. Swamp milkweed smells like vanilla! We now have milkweed in many parts of our 3/4 acre yard in addition to many other native plants. Lots of different types of bees and pollinators as a result. It's a win-win situation for nature.

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  16. Stephen, so sorry youve been under the weather and so sorry I've been delinquent in commenting! I read every single post and love each one. God knows how many I've neglected to comment on at this point, plus I owe you details on my (slow) progress in designing my new house. I've been really busy with clients. But in the meantime, since I love organization even more than Martha (my mother's always claimed I was Martha before Martha was Martha), I have two websites you must check out: know yourself.org is fabulous. You can inventory everything in your house, with photos, receipts, date and where purchased, and all sorts of other details. There are endless ways to categorize things, and it keeps a running tab on totals spent, you can print inventory lists, and more. The other site is TheLibraryThing.com. It allows you to catalog all your books and music, and you can upload the info just by scanning the ISBN bar code on books, CDs, etc. I inventoried all my books before moving to my temporary rental, and with Library Thing I could print lists of which boxes contain which books. Both sites are are very cool, plus they are great for insurance purposes.

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    1. Happy New Year, Catherine! Oh my god I would never want to be so organized that I've kept of how much I've spent! Haha that would take all the fun out of it! I've been wondering how your house is coming along! And that's fabulous that you are so busy with clients. Construction and design are doing so well around here too.

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  17. Beautiful dishes! Love the pinks and greens (a wonderful color combo) then with gold and white, it all is so fun and elegant together. Lucky you on the abundance of finds! I did some searching on those names and didn't come up with any more information either. Good luck. I'd love your cheesecake recipe; I make a mean one that's popular with my family but it is the traditional NY style. Chocolate sounds sublime, and you can buy cookie crust - yay. I had resolutions, not written down, loosely floating if you will. I read about how the subconscious mind with our 'programs' will always dictate our behavior and if we want to change we need to address the programs consciously. It explains unconscious behavior and eating, the former in things like saying I am losing weight and then I'm driving home with Pepsi and Fritos stockpiled in the backseat. You have an impressive glassware collection. Please do that Ohio glass post you mentioned. Now I want a collection of colored glassware. The blue ones making the snowflake patterns on the tablecloth - so wintry and perfect. How fun to play with your collections! I'm not sure I understand your organization system, as in how do you know what box they are in, yet very impressive just the same. Is it all documented just in photos? The reason I ask is because my notes in my iPhone just up and disappeared one day. I know there were recipes, products I made note of to try, and motivational sayings I jotted down. I haven't the energy to be too upset about it, or perhaps with age I care less (ha), but I'm sure it would be a different story if I had your system and that went poof. ~Nicole in CA

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    1. Thank you! I think notes are backed up via email, so you might be able to retrieve them with your Apple ID and the email address you use for that. Not everything is in boxes, some in shelves and some in drawers. I pretty much remember where everything is so I only have things that are in boxes' locations listed. I think I know what you mean about the programs. I think when you're making a change it's good to shake up the routines around it. Which of course I hate to do as a routine loving Taurus!

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  18. Dear Stephen,

    Sorry to hear you were ill with the flu. Hostess of the Humble Bungalow is on the right track by suggesting you contact the Design Registry Patent Office etc. but I don't think it is necessary as any article on the British diamond registry mark will enable you to date it. I am not sure why she or her books suggest the date is after 1909. You should be able to figure out the date etc. by this registration mark. Google "British Pottery Diamond Mark" and that will explain the registration mark. The "IV" at the top refers to the type of material, in this case clay. Next, some have a number at the right hand corner; others have a letter. On yours, there is a letter. "x". According to this google info, those with a number were made in the years between 1842 and 1867; those like yours with a letter were made between
    the years 1863-1883. Yours has an "x". According to the chart, "x" stands for the year 1868. The number immediately under the class number is the day of the month. In your case, it is the 25th day of the month. (The number just below the class of goods is the day – yours is 25). At the bottom of the diamond, there is the letter D. According to the chart on the google site, "D" stands for the month of September. There is a typo on the googled site. The wording says "You can ignore the number at the right hand side of the diamond - this tells us how many items were included in the registration (sometimes known as the bundles or packages)". In fact, the wording should refer to "You can ignore the number at the left hand side of the diamond". So go by the chart of the diamond in "4) Understanding marks 1868-1883". The diagram is correctly labelled. So, since your registration mark (Rd means registration) has a letter at the right, that dates it to between 1868-1883. More specifically, the letter X refers to the date 1868, the D is September and the 25 refers to the 25th day. If I have interpreted the diamond correctly, it was made on September 25th, 1868.

    As to Soane and Smith, not much comes up if you just Google that name but if you google the name and the London address, then you get more information. For example, in an old book (1884) google has scanned, called The Theatre Annual, ed by Clement William Scott, Soane and Smith have an ad which states: Manufacturers of China, Glass and Art Pottery and among other things advertised they even had duplex Punkah lamps for India. They delivered to any part of the world. You can read the full ad.

    So I hope I've interpreted the diamond correctly. If I am wrong maybe Hostess of the Humble Bungalow will set me straight. Kovels.com has a good article on British registry marks. Note the diamond mark was not used after about 1883, which immediately dates your platter before 1883.

    So what lovely pieces you have –– don't drop them.








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    1. Amazing! Thank you so much!! I just cannot believe these could be so old! Haha I feel kind of bad that I haggled the price down so far! I got them for $35 each I think. Maybe $40. I so appreciate your research on my behalf. I didn't know about the diamond marks. Now that you say it I remember reading about it once when dating an old platter but I had forgotten.

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    2. How remarkable that they've survived all this time!

      I stand amazed at your organizational skills--and am still laughing about your shirt selection--and your collection of china and glassware. We have a smallish house with minimal storage, so that keeps me honest. Well, sort of: Let's not discuss my fabric stash.

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    3. Thank you! Haha that's why I can't take up sewing, I would go nuts with fabric!

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    4. Just the tiniest of comments regarding the British diamond registry mark... yes, the "x" mark stands for 1868, and it means that the pattern was registered on that date. Not that the platters were made on that date. So your platters/chargers could not have been mfg before 1868, but they certainly could have been made between 1868 & maybe 1884, which is when the Google informs me the Soane & Smith manufacturer was dissolved, although one of the partners continued making porcelain, etc. It may be that he was allowed to use the mark post 1884 even though the partnership was over. Doubtful that anyone else made these plates and used the Soane & Smith mark, but those who run the factories can be pretty tricky. Lots of fakes are found on the ceramics market! It seems right to think they were special commission, but usually the ship or rail line would put their name, or initials, or what would pass as company logo, on items seen by the public. The saying on the banner and the crest don't really go together, and I wonder if what's under the lion are intertwined initials? Really really hard to track down commissioned items, as there are usually only bills of sale, which disappear in to the wind. Having spouted all that, I really love the h*ll out of the pink and would have snatched them up in a heartbeat! The pink is really vibrant and they don't look like they have been used very much, if at all. Love love love your posts! One of many many guilty pleasures for me...

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    5. Ellie's friend and Nancy Ann are correct - the backstop is the English Registry Mark that the Patent Office used from 1842 - 1883. After they they stopped using the diamond marking. According to your specific backstop they would have been manufactured in September of 1868. A lot of times when pieces were specifically commissioned they would have the additional markings (ex: Soane & Smith). You see it frequently with imported pieces like Limoges.
      Don't you just LOVE old china? You know I do! I have been traveling a ton and this week found some free time to pillage and plunder some thrift and antique shops in Memphis. I treated myself to a set of 8 Haviland Limoge salad/dessert plates that are beyond dreamy. :)

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    6. I think they're family crest dinner plates. These were not uncommon in England (and Australia where sets also ended up). The plates were ordered with your colour choice of rim and the crest applied. I haven't seen any with monograms underneath as well though. You could look up the crest in a heraldic crest book and it will tell you the family name. All crests had to be granted by the crown so are listed.
      I have a dinner set at home from my husbands family so when I get back home from our holiday I'll check the back and see if it's the same company. They were popular up until WW2, so this set could be from any time from mid Victorian to much more recent

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  20. I'm so relieved you're better now and I think your body has a very healthy natural response, citrus and cucumbers? Vitamin c and hydration to ease the flu, how perfect.
    Magda was Living The Dream, that's exactly what I think of when I see her too. My natural state is lounging on a beach chair while drinking and smoking.
    We'll be at the beach in 8 weeks but I've already started packing!
    Your inventory system is brilliant and thanks for showing us in detail how you organize it on your phone.
    Love those pink platters they are the most perfect shade of pink. Your readers here are very smart for figuring out the dates, too, how amazing.
    Thank you for posting SAJ, I'm still laughing about your white polo shirts, skeletal to manatee sized! XOX

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    1. Thank you! I'm so excited for your trip! I think we could all learn from Magda! I know I'm so thankful to EFC's and Naomi and FF and Hostess for looking into it! So exciting. I really can't believe they are so old!

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  21. that table is exquisite!! And I don't use that word much.

    You'de look horrible in that fuscia house coat, too dowdy for you. I love the sun too, because of my olive skin I usually look pretty tan but I also have the age spots to show for all that sun worship over the years. *sigh. There's that.

    I'm allergic to organization and especially any sort of math, but I do envy those who are organized and enjoy the process - and yes, their skinnyness too. The monogramed polos not so much - something about the feel of a collar I just can't stand. I'm a pain in the ass that way. Thankfully I manage to get done what I have to get done regardless.

    My closet if full of clothes I used to wear when I was a size 2, then a 4, then a six.. then an 8 - and I look at those sixes and say... if I can only get back to that, life will be WONDERFUL. So why the hell am I holding on to the 2's 4's and 6's - cause that ain't happen'n ever again, I'm pretty certain. My love for food and my aging metabolism see to that.

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    1. Thank you! Haha I love the fuchsia and gold housecoat! I know what you mean about letting go of the smalllllllest stuff haha every time I look at it I remember the torture and lightheadedness it took to wear it.

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  22. Hi Stephen: So happy you are feeling better and back to blogging! Everything is beautiful as always. I have an abundance of milkweed growing around in city flower beds. I have found that it moves around just like Queen Ann's Lace...here today, somewhere else tomorrow. Our local garden club, aware of the plight of the monarch, is hosting a statewide meeting in a couple of months. They took cuttings of milkweed stalks after the pods burst and will be rooting them to give away at the meeting. I have said before of our garden club, "Give me 30 women with shovels and we can accomplish anything." Here's to the Monarch!

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    1. That's wonderful! I'm so glad to hear that! I'm getting so excited for gardening season! It's interesting how abundant milkweed is elsewhere around me but I don't have any that naturally pops up. I did grow the hairy ball milkweed once though!

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  23. Hope you are feeling better Stephen! It was probably a way of your body making you slow down and give it a forced rest after a heavy December. At least you are organised. I am so useless. I love my plates too so appreciate yours - i had an app for awhile but stopped updating - it was called bento. I think things have moved on from that app though. As I love doing detective work, I think I mentioned that the store is now Selfridges on Oxford Street. But they also had a store on the other side of Oxford circus. I can't get a real feel for the store in terms of demographic but it seems they did specific sets so don't know if they were like a producer or they took orders. I am confused bc the herald and crest and motto seems to belong to the Irish Trench family,aka earl of clancarty, one of many titles descended from Normans. If you look at the family, it seems they were going strong the last century in terms of weddings so I am wondering if they commissioned it? I should do a post on my dishes i put out for dinners I have been meaning to post but can't finish the edit!

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    1. Oh I so hope you will post about your dishes! Thank you so much! I would be so excited if they had been commissioned for Irish aristocracy! I might just claim that as fact and run with it. I wonder if they have any estates that have been turned over and there's some tour guide historian I can ask. Hmmm. I absolutely l love them and honestly want to find the rest of the set! Haha it's such a perfect shade of pink! Thank you so much for your research!

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    2. Stephen Andrew
      I die for your china! It's all so beautiful! Good luck with finding info on the history! So jelly. Almost impossible to get that sort of thing here in Oz - and for the prices you pay.

      Your New Years Eve dinner looked gorgeous - specially the angel hair tossed in truffle butter with mushies and chives.

      Didn't make any New Year resolutions - though the elephant in the room tells me I need to lose weight too. But have been so busy reducing number of books (thousands - won't all fit on our many bookshelves), old record albums (eg Placido Domingo when young and in superb voice in La Traviata - couldn't give it away after all - but others), CDs, DVDs, believe it or not we still had some old videos. Also clothes. I gave away a complete 8 place setting dinner set from the 70s, (Denby arabesque perhaps known to your older English readers) with lots of serving dishes, casseroles etc to our DIL's sister-in-law who loves it (they're going to use it on their farm that they go to for weekends) so it's kind of still in the family. Also gave the linen tablecloths, napkins etc that went with it. Still have far too much stuff. Mostly it's stored in drawers so I don't need to index it. Also so busy in the garden - came back after Christmas and the weeds are everywhere. So really my unspoken resolutions must have been to set our house and garden in order.

      Love how organised you are about categorising and storing everything! Hope you're feeling better soon! Pammie

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  24. All your dinnerware is beautiful.

    Your organizational skills are an inspiration.

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  25. I'm interested in your research. Why do you think Soan & Smith is now Selfridges? Neither of the Soan addresses seem to be the same street number as Selfridges (although undoubtedly Selfridges may have itself moved??). I love detective work too. Can you give the source you're relying on for the Trench/Earl of Clancarty family? I think you're right in thinking it was commissioned china.

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    1. I think she thought that based on the design. I wonder if Selfridges absorbed the address?

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    2. Not sure if my previous reply went through, too. Although Burke's Peerage shows "Consilio et Prudentia" as being the motto of Trench/Earl Clancarty family, the crest it shows is not the same design as that on your plates. Also, several other aristocratic families used the same motto but a quick glance does not reveal you design as the crest of any of those families. There is something that doesn't sit quite right with me about your crest, Stephen. Although I am not an expert on such things, I find it intriguing! The mystery continues...

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  26. Oh I love your pink trays, and all your china. Thank you for the show and tell :) Happy New Year. P.

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  27. order is so calming to me so this post just makes my day. you are a paragon of eccentricities - it's no wonder we all adore you. xoxo

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  28. Oh Stephen, I burst at laughing at your extensive wardrobe situation! I'm the same!! I've ranged from 'hubba-hubba' to 'don't look at me, I'm hideous'. But the bigger I get the less clothes I buy. THEN that's not bad enough but when I lose some weight I'm SO confident that I'll never get fat again, that I toss half my fat clothes. Btw I NEVER toss my skinny clothes; they're so pretty and hold a lot more good memories:)

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    1. Hahaha it's terrible, isn't it?! I've done the ceremonial toss of the fat clothes too and then I get fat again and am like "shit, what am I going to wear?!". But of course this time everything will be different. :) but I'm keeping the reinforcements juuuuust in case.

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  29. OH my GOD I am laughing out loud!! When I saw the something about Mary tanorexic you had me at burn!! I was just saying damn the wrinkles sun damage because at 51 I wish I could sun! I just look so damn better with a bit of color!! xo K

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    1. Thank you! Haha it's so bad I know but I just can't help myself. Nothing is better than the sun!

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  30. Sorry in advance for posting comments that refer to earlier posts.
    1. I need to say you thank you for the Christmas cookie recipe. Baked them today in the heatwave which I won't do next time as they were melting just coming out of the freezer.
    2. The best Christmas display i told you about no longer exists. We went to see the display on Boxing Day night but there was no vintage sports car with the surfboard. 2 other houses in that same street that also have had great displays that we looked forward to seeing were also not available.
    3. Laughed at your wardrobe for all Sizes. I also never throw out my thin self stuff!
    4. In my haste to get ready for Christmas , complete work & pack for holiday, I missed 2 of your excellent posts. Sorry about that but think it was around the time my phone died!
    5. Think we have same or similar cutlery set. My husband's overseas relatives sent us the most beautiful cutlery set that comes in a big beautiful leather ( I think) case as a wedding present. The inside of the case is lined with dark blue/navy velvet which really makes the gold edged cutlery look fab.
    Have kept my resolutions as I'm walking daily and will ramp up exercise too ( decided to put 100% effort into everything I do from now on).
    Thank you again for writing these posts & have a great 2017. I'll be reading everything you write. Den xx

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  31. The platters have a backstamp indicating they were made September 25, 1868. That's the diamond with the letters and numbers, a registration mark. Soane & Smith was the pottery.
    I look forward to your posts.
    Margaret

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  32. Fabulous inventory system! Kudos. I have no formal resolutions. I got married on NYE so "stay married" is a good resolution I suppose. We honeymooned on the Crystal Serenity where they fattened us like veal and left us drunk on top shelf stuff so that's out the window already...

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  33. I don't make New Year resolutions because I know I will not keep them. I started buying my favorite "go to" basic clothes in 2 sizes. My weight fluctuates 5-8 lbs throughout the year and when you're only 5'1 , an extra 5lbs means your pants will be too tight. This way, I always have something in my closet that I like to wear, whether my weight is up or down . Your china collection is gorgeous !

    suburbanmom2

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  34. Stephen, I'm sorry to hear you were on death's curb but I'm glad you were able to recover. And not only recover, but return to your phenomenal self in short order. Your organizational skills are sorely needed here in my abode, I have piles of stained glass which need to categorized and stored in a more orderly fashion. Love the red stemware!

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  35. Well, I have a totally different theory about your gorgeous PINK platters, Mister Jones!

    To start, Soane & Smith were the equivalent of Liberty's, Harrods et al. A posh shop for posh people. They took commissions - sometimes based on their own designs - but then farmed out the manufacture. (Any other stamp/imprint on your platters? I ask because they typically worked a lot with Spode and your platters just shout out to me that they are from that pottery.)

    As far as the crest goes... I think whoever commissioned these platters made money in the textile industry. Why? Because the demi-lion rampant is holding a [weaver's] shuttle. It does look very similar to the crest of the famous/infamous Peel Family (although the motto is wrong for the first 2 holders at least..) Given the third son blew the family fortune with his extravagance and high-living, I love to think he would have commissioned your platters.

    Always possible! What fun.

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  36. I'm so glad you're feeling better. I love plates so much! I have an entire set of what I think I spotted in one of your photos. Fire King with the gold edging. An entire set! The plates are so small and elegant and my family, every time, says, "these are so small!" And I always think to myself, "this is why people were smaller in the 50s." Plonk xxoo you wonderful you - lovely shots as always. Beautiful.

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  37. I have to say that I am having SAJ blog post withdraw. This is not intended to put any pressure on you, but to say that I do enjoy your posts. I have taken to heart organizing. Still making lots of trips to Goodwill. Finding things I did not know we even had. Like saffron stuck behind a box. It belongs with the spices-geez.!Also just had our hardwood floors refinished which required moving items and while doing that it was the perfect time to organize and pitch and giveaway items. Now on to the powder room Reno and getting a bid for the wood trim on the outside of the house to be painted. Also basement is next project for organizing items. Phew.

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  38. L Rose –– Great post. As I mentioned above, something didn't sit quite right with me and what it was is the lion and what the lion was holding. I could not figure out the shuttle but when you pointed it out above, bingo that's it. Thanks so much!

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  39. I love those pink platters!

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  40. Stephen Andrew- where are you. (I am being selfish.) Really miss your posts.

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  41. What pretty place settings and the food looks so delicious! What fun it must be to be invited to your dinner parities, Stephen!

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  42. You have us worried, Stephen. are you ok? I agree with Kristien62!

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  43. Oh I'm sorry, yes I'm fine! Just have been busy! Hope you're well!

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