Thursday, July 17, 2014

Collecting China Too

Mikasa Italian Countryside collection via Macy's
I was inspired by Lucy's recent post to write about my own "healthy" blue and white china obsession.  I went a little wild registering for my wedding last fall, and registered for not one, but two sets of china. Despite the insanity of this statement, I had reasoned myself into thinking it was totally practical due to my Southern upbringing.  Growing up in the South, my family always had the kitchen stocked with plates and silverware and plastic cups for daily use, and then a different dining room that really you were never supposed to walk into.  The dining room was reserved for occasions like Christmas dinner parties or very formal events (if you made it to the "adult" table list, that is).  In the dining room, you had special different fine china and special real silver silverware that you had to take out a couple of times a year and clean.  Real silver is an absolute pain in the behind, by the way.

I love the idea of special occasion china, but the fear or breaking fine china and the nightmares of years polishing silver was just entirely impractical in today's world.  So instead I registered for 2 sets of inexpensive, dishwasher and microwave safe china patterns that were not expensive enough to make me cry when I inevitably drop one or more in the coming years.  Let me take a moment here to wax poetic about why I think that is one of the best decisions I have ever made.  As tempting as that beautiful fine china is at the moment, I can guarantee that unless I am in Belk shopping the clearance section in the home and kitchen department, I will never even be tempted by the thought of wishing I had fine china. --Curse you Belk, I love you so much but my pocket book is never safe there--
Johnson Brothers Blue Willow China via

Choice one was the Mikasa Italian Countryside, which I figured would be perfect for "every day" use. You really can't go wrong with white china, and I love the idea of investing in one with a bit of a pattern to make it more visually interesting.  The Mikasa French Countryside was a close runner-up for me, and I really loved Lucy's Vietri selection.  So many choices, just choosing white china isn't going to narrow your selection.  The real perk of white or ivory china is that it is so versatile.  You can use it for every single time of the year by adding the right accent pieces.  Pair with fresh flowers for Easter; add red and green napkins at Christmas.  Neutrals are your foundation, and pretty much an essential to your kitchen if you care about hosting anything at your house.

My choice for a second pattern was so easy:  Johnson Brothers Willow Blue of course.  I love that you can find pieces from ages ago at flea markets or thrift stores that are easily added to your collection.  And the patterns don't have to be exact, the great thing about Willow Blue is that it seamlessly pairs with any number of blue and white patterns.  Ralph Lauren usually has blue and white china options in stores; William Sonoma and Pier One are also both good for something in the color scheme. If you want a different pattern for every plate it wouldn't take long to get a blue and white collection after hitting up just a few stores in your area.  Not to mention, blue and white china pairs just great with white china (like Mikasa Italian Countryside for example) if you want to mix it up.

my own dinnerware mix-up

What china patterns are you mixing together? When I was registering for my wedding I thought I was the only person under 50 shopping the china department, but we at some point we all make this choice for our "lifetime" of plates and dinnerware, so what are your best recommendations for upcoming brides or shoppers looking to make that investment?


  1. BEAUTIFUL mixing, Jenn! I love it :)

  2. Beautiful mixing. I am a fan of color and am so glad I registered for white Apilco and Pilllyvut sp?) china at Williams Sonoma. It goes with every dun table cloth, napkin, tablescape, etc. I also have a set of Spode blue room that I had the foresight to purchase in college! It never goes out of style. I will say that I have been married 5 years and hadn't broken a thing and now that I have a toddler something gets broken weekly either because I am in a huge hurry or he grabs it and drops.