When I was in my 20’s, planning my wedding, the all-important task of choosing a china pattern was making me frustrated. The other brides in my circle and in the magazines were thrilled about designs that all looked the same to me. Large expanses of white, with some flowers in the middle and always rimmed with silver or gold. I could never imagine a home that required silver or gold on its dishes, even for “special” occasions. I didn’t like them, so why would we want to host an event that needed such formal tableware?
I remember the moment I saw this Blue Calico Staffordshire pattern in a tiny kitchen boutique in my hometown called The Apple Box. There was a huge antique sideboard dresser with upright cupboard full to overflowing with the most beautiful dishes I had ever seen! There were soup tureens, gravy boats, huge dinner plates, big clunky salt & peppers shakers, cereal bowls, milk pitchers, turkey platters and coffee mugs, all covered in the sweetest little blue and white floral pattern.
I adored the deepness of the blue background and the way the floral design seemed to wrap itself around the dishes completely. There was not a hint of gold or silver or “fanciness” about this collection. I wanted it to be my special china. After hours of wandering through Macy’s and the one or 2 other upscale household supply stores looking at gold or silver rimmed look alike china sets, all I wanted was my little blue and white floral dishes at The Apple Box.
I almost walked away from the idea because it was so completely against the normal bridal tradition. Could I “do my own thing” in this one area? Would this one-of-a-kind kitchen boutique even let me “register” for it so that my wedding guests and friends could buy it?
The Apple Box did allow me to register for my blue calico dishes and my heart would pitter-patter when I began to recognize the heaviness of the gift boxes that were handed to me. Lost in the daze of bridal desires, I never even added up the cost of these pieces. I am embarrassed now but had no clue at the time. I received so many sets! And my friends even found soap dishes, wall hangings, pillows and pot holders in the same pattern! I even have a set of white cloth place-mats trimmed in the blue calico ribbon.
In the years to come, my favorite pattern and color combo wandered out of the kitchen and all over the rest of the house. I had curtains, cushions, handbags, bedspreads and figurines on table tops and even the most gorgeous and comfy chair I have ever laid eyes upon. My poor husband began to say that he felt like he lived in a black and white movie!
The love affair with blue and white that began a little over 34 years ago continues, but I’ve tempered it with other colors. We’ve added a deep brick red on the wall of one room and a buttery yellow in the living-room, dark butterscotch yellow in the kitchen. This was done a bit grudgingly at first. I mourned the purity of blue and white. but it turns out that these additions actually make the small pieces of blue and white that I still use, look even better! The cobalt blue against yellow is a new favorite.
This ode to a love affair with my blue and white dishes was brought on when I realized the other day that even after over 30 years of looking at them every single day, they still make me smile. I use all of them more often now, not just for Thanksgiving or Christmas. When the boys were little I had such super strict rules about handling them, that even Hubs was afraid to wash them!
But the simple pleasure of some flowers scattered across a dish is a lovely thing. Simple pleasures are sometimes the deepest delights. What are some of your simple pleasures?