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Saturday, March 9, 2013

a little more "use your good stuff"...



A quick follow-up to my "use your good stuff" post... I wanted to share a few more stories with you.


Several of you commented that you use your wedding sterling as your everyday flatware.  I love that and wanted to share the idea with those who perhaps didn't read the comments from the last post.  My everyday flatware is also sterling, though not my wedding sterling which is "Joan of Arc" that I inherited from my grandmother because of the "Joan" part;)  We found our everyday sterling flatware at an antique shop in Salina, Kansas  (I liked the scale of the purchased sterling better than my wedding flatware) and have added to it over the years as we would find it at antique shops and shows.  Though all the same sterling pattern, many pieces are different- some are plain and some are monogrammed with different initials that came from separate purchases-  I love the mix of the different initials all together at one setting.  I initially got the idea to use sterling as my everyday flatware from "my much older sister ;)" Susan.  She was the first person I ever heard of (this was about 30 + years ago) who started to use her wedding sterling flatware as her everyday flatware.  I loved the idea, and another bonus of using the good stuff is that using sterling actually keeps it from needing to be polished!  The oils from handling keeps it shining!  So, the more you use it the prettier it is, and the little scratches from everyday use creates a beautiful, loved patina!
If you don't have wedding sterling flatware look for patterns you like at antique shops.  Sterling is so affordable right now that you can find some great deals out there, and as I mentioned it looks wonderful all mixed together- doesn't even have to be the same pattern.  It's a purchase that will last your lifetime and one that you can then pass down.




As a young girl I always knew that my grandmother's sterling flatware would one day be mine and I have always loved the simplicity of the pattern.  I would have chosen it myself.   Perhaps that is where my mother came up with the idea to give my niece, Jenny, her sterling flatware as gifts when she was a little girl growing up.  I wanted to share the idea with you which I think is a wonderful one:
When Jenny was a little girl my mother knew that she would receive all her gift-wants/desires for Christmas and her birthday from her parents and friends, and wanted to give her gifts that would last and mean something special for longer than a month or two;), so at the young age of 10 her mother, my much older;) middle sister, took Jenny to the china department of a store and over the course of a few visits Jenny picked out a sterling pattern that she liked.  Every Christmas and birthday my mother would send Jenny a piece of her sterling flatware instead of p.j.'s or a stuffed animal!   A special gift that would last forever!  To this day, Jenny (as I did my own) loves the pattern that she picked out as a child and now has a full service.  I think it is such a great idea and makes such a special gift that I wanted to share the idea with all you mothers/aunts/grandmothers out there!


And, lastly a funny story that brings home my ardent stance of "use your good stuff"....
It was the first Christmas in our first home and we were invited to our next door neighbors house for a Christmas party.  Our neighbors were older and had a huge collection of Waterford crystal- so much so that they had even built a special room onto the house to showcase and display their large collection.  This was not a casual outdoor BBQ, or a large party, or one where children were invited, but a lovely, formal small party of neighbors, and yet even with their huge collection of Waterford crystal sitting on display in the next room they served their guests wine in RED PLASTIC CUPS!!   Nothing says "you're welcome here" at a formal party like a red plastic cup!!
Again... use the good stuff! :)


happy weekend to you!
xxojoan

  

123 comments:

  1. LOVE the idea of gifting young children with a sterling silver piece of flatware. I have four grand daughters and I do intend to start your suggestion ASAP and all four of them have a birthday coming up over the next few months. It is so strange but I think younger people do not use the beautiful things they have but instead save them for a special occasion. Welllllllll, you and I both know that those special occasions may not come about. I thought I would fall on the floor laughing about the red cup story. Thanks for making my day. Carolyn

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  2. Hello Joan, Most kids today don't care about tradition or heirlooms, so your idea to get them involved early is a good one, although the thought of a 10-year-old registering her silver pattern is somewhat amusing.

    For the silver pieces that you show, I have a broken set of that same pattern that came from an aunt, with only a couple of usable settings, and lots of miscellaneous pieces used for serving pieces or just grabbing a spoon, etc. What happened to the rest I have no idea.
    --Road to Parnassus

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    1. Do you know the pattern Jim? I like it because it is simple and classic.

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    2. It looks sort of like Fairfax by Gorham, or by Wallace (neimanmarcus.com shows it by Wallace, but replacements.com has Fairfax by Gorham, and they look identical to me). Also, the Neiman Marcus website says: "Sterling silver flatware grows more beautiful with use and is dishwasher safe."

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    3. P. S. I love your blog, I especially loved these 2 posts... I have George & Martha Washington sterling by Westmoreland inherited from a great aunt. According to my mother, she used it every day. The serving spoon is worn on the sides because she even used it to stir with when cooking! Gasp. I was missing a couple of pieces, so I had those on my Christmas list and got them last year. The new ones are missing the patina of the old ones! :-( I love the look of the old ones, and will be glad when the shine of the new ones wears off! So far, I've only used it for special occasions or when we have company. I would love to use it every day, but can't bear the thought of losing a piece--as much for sentimental reasons as value. I have managed to lose only one stainless fork over 10 years or so, so I probably shouldn't worry about it. This post has got me thinking... I have no children to pass it to, so I may as well use it!

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    4. I'd like to add that the great aunt that I inherited this sterling from did not have any children, but she and my great uncle did babysit me often when I was little (and both parents were working), and I loved them very much. So... even though that serving spoon is slightly deformed by the worn edges, every time I look at it, I imagine her using it to stir something in a pot on the stove, and it makes that spoon all the more special to me!

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  3. Holy cow the red cup story is hilarious....you can look but do not touch. What is the point?
    The reason for your post use the good stuff. I had my husbands family over for Thanksgiving
    a few years after we married and his sister was appalled that I expected her children to use
    my Wedgewood creamware. We use that every day and the bone china on special occasions.
    I shall rethink that notion.

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    1. Good for you Victoria- I bet the children felt really special!

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  4. I so completely agree. When my twin girls were babies, and all through toddlerhood, I would have tea every afternoon. I brewed it in a pot, and as often as I could, I used my wedding china coffee cups and saucers. It was my little piece of civility. And, when I drink my favorite vodka tonic, whether I am in pjs or a party outfit, I use my Waterford. It just makes me feel good and I enjoy it. It has nothing to do with showing off or whatever. I just enjoy it. And I LOVE this silver suggestion!

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    1. Love your tea tradition Carol. I bet your girls will do it too one day. Yes, something about being in your pjs and using a pretty crystal glass!

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  5. I don't know about using my sterling everyday. It can't go in the dishwasher and I have teenagers... I seem to loose a lot of spoons, do the kids throw them out?? where do they go?? are they with the missing socks?

    I do love the sentiment of gifting grandchildren sterling. I have forwarded your blog post to some grandmothers I know.

    My grandmother and my mom both picked out the same sterling silver set in the 1960's. and to make it even better, my mom found me the same exact pattern (on bay) and bought me a full set for my birthday when I turned 40. Between all of us, we can have a very large party and everyone can use the good stuff :)

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    1. Sterling can absolutely go into the dishwasher. I've always put mine in the dishwasher and have never had any damage or discoloring.

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    2. My mother put her sterling Repousse in the dishwasher when she got too old to care, and when my daughter inherited the set most of the black in the pattern had turned to a ashy color from the detergent. Anyone one know how to remove that? I do not put my sterling in the dishwasher but love washing and drying and putting it back in the silver chest. The Pacific silver cloth in the chest really keeps it from tarnishing. I also have made silver cloth bags for all my trays that aren't on display.

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  6. GRC.Design.ltd@gmail.comMarch 9, 2013 at 3:46 PM

    Oh Dear God...I'm from the South, and we use our good stuff for EVERYTHING...! I couldn't agree with you more. My fondest memories are when we were first introduced to fine china at tea parties, and of when my goddaughters had their first Christmas teas, in Mary Janes and green velvet dresses, holding their tiny tea cups with "pinkies out".
    As for the red plastic cup, those are only to be used as "go-cups" for a little nip on the walk home or at a horse show!!
    Love your posts!

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    1. GRC- love the mental image of "pinkies out!"

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  7. I'm not so sure sterling is so affordable today. Have you priced it recently?...The price of silver, has brought the price of sterling W-A-Y up!

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    1. Perhaps not for "new", but sterling pieces in the antiques (or vintage) business don't have the same demand as they did say 10/20 years ago, so you can often find really good deals at shops/shows/flea markets!

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  8. We use our good stuff as well. Just makes any meal all that more special. And even use cloth napkins!! Just can't use paper napkins!

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    1. Couldn't agree more about using cloth napkins!

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  9. That red plastic cup story is priceless!!! One sterling flatware set I inherited from a great aunt has a similar shape to yours above, but has a beaded groove that runs around the stem and a little bell flower at the top. Aren't these sweet and classic?

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    1. It sounds like a beautiful pattern Carolyn- we love anything with beading!

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  10. Joan,
    That's a wonderful idea! If I am ever blessed to have grandchildren (patiently waiting), I hope to remember this! Although not the same subject..my husband started a string of pearls for our daughter for her first communion. Every year she would receive a pearl for special holidays and has quite a few on the strain. Then they will be knotted eventually. We had intended for the strand to be completed by her wedding, it's not near that far, but she hasn't married yet. Don't you just love traditions? Sara, Ohio

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    1. That is a beautiful tradition Sara- I love it.

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  11. My mother picked out my silver pattern when I was born and six years later the same pattern when my little sister was born (so we could "share when you entertain"). We received silver as baby gifts and then throughout childhood. Sadly we live 900 miles apart so no sharing.

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    1. Mary- how fun to know that you grew up with this as a tradition!

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  12. Joan,
    I love the idea of gifting things that are wonderful and will bring memories for years into adulthood. Along the same line of thought, I read in Victoria, years ago, about a grandma that gave her granddaughter an antique sterling napkin ring each Christmas. They would hang them on the tree each year and once she was 12 years old she had a set of her own. I remember thinking that was such a great idea. Thanks for sharing these fun stories.
    Karen

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    1. That's a lovely idea too Karen- thank you for sharing.

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  13. LOve your stories and must get some silver wear as just recently I started to think of replacing the existing cutlery sets... And was not sure if I can put silver into dishwasher? Do you?? Xo z

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    1. hi z- I don't personally put the sterling flatware in the dishwasher, but several people have commented that they do. I supposed if you wanted to try you could start with a piece and see how it does- you can always just repolish it if it tarnishes it.

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    2. My family has been putting everything but knives (they have hollow handles) in the dishwasher for three generations.

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    3. Thank you ladies! that sounds like I am off to antique shops to find me great value silverwear for less(((:
      If it looks good, I will post about it...and my dishwasher trial!
      I love your house Joan, I think I already said that...but is is a beaty ...the stylin you did there!! I keep revisiting your rooms (:
      xo Z

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  14. I love the tradition of giving grandchildren something to remember you by. My grandmother did that with me (jewelry I still wear). I didn't want sterling as a wedding present; I preferred Dansk stainless (foolish girl). I made up for that over the years by buying it for myself -- Whiting's Lily and Frontenac by International -- a piece at a time, and more hotel silver than I can count. I love it all and use it for myself, but the people I regularly entertain are afraid they are too clumsy to use the china and they do not like eating with sterling for the taste it imparts. I never heard of such a thing, have you? That red plastic cup is a hoot.
    XO, Victoria

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    1. I haven't Victoria- that's funny. I do have some antique horn knives that have tin blade and I do notice a taste with those, but never the sterling.

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  15. I use my "good stuff" too. There's just not any reason not to make every day as pretty as you can, and it's not any harder to set your table with beautiful things as it is with anything else. Recently I upped the ante by using my great grandmother's chintz for dessert. Cake never tasted better than when served on a chintz plate! :-)

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  16. That red cup story is hilarious, Joan! I guess they were so afraid of one being broken that they couldn't bear to risk it. I have a few pieces of Waterford that had belonged to my parents. They bought a bunch of it when they were in Ireland (before I was born), had it shipped to the US and used it regularly. Unfortunately, my mother hand washed everything in those days (no dishwasher) and broke all the pieces except two rocks glasses, two cordial glasses and a lovely pitcher, which are the pieces I now own -- and use -- today.

    Question: do you put your sterling flatware in the dishwasher? At the holidays, when I use our silver flatware, I always hand wash it.

    P.S. We have a new dog!! A beagle we adopted this week named Ella!! Just posted about her today. I had to let you know, since you're one of my best blogger dog friends. :-)
    Claudia

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    1. hi Claudia- I hand wash mine, but several people have commented that they put theirs in the dishwasher. I wonder if the brand of dishwasher and/or soap makes a difference?
      Can't wait to meet your Ella!! You are so wonderful to adopt so many dogs.xx

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    2. I have no idea, but it seems that the brand of dishwasher soap might make a difference, if there is enough difference in chemicals in the soap that would impact sterling silver. There may not be. Water quality might also make a difference in degree of hardness or acidity or whatever (?). Our water is so hard it tends to leave a film on everything. If Neiman's says it can go in the DW, I'm thinking it's probably OK. The DW might impact the shine, but, if that's the only issue, I don't care. I really prefer the look of my old pieces over the newer replacement ones, but some might prefer the newer look. I think a good test might be to get two new forks and use them daily... wash one by hand, one in the DW, and see what happens! I think I'll do this!!

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  17. My dear departed mother (she would have turned 90 last week) wanted to start collections for my twin sister and me when we were teenagers, but we flat out refused as we didn't want spoons and forks and knives for Christmas and our birthday! Instead we inherited Mom's sterling (Gorham's Strasbourg service for 12, plus her Royal Copenhagen Blue Fluted china service for 8). It doesn't get used at all really, but we enjoy having just because it was so special to our sweet Mother.

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    1. I think it's time to break out the Strasbourg and Royal Copenhagen and serve breakfast;)- you're mother would probably get a good chuckle out of you doing that! What a lovely inheritance.

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  18. I love to use my "good stuff" too. The reason I use my good stuff is my beloved mom who passed away several years ago. She had a china cabinet filled with "good stuff". She never used it. She once said to me, "I will use that when I retire". We found out Mom had breast cancer and she did not make it to use her "good stuff". Use it girls. You can't take it with you and it feel so good to use it ;-)

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    1. VG- I am so sorry for your loss. Your words are a poignant reminder to not save for "someday."

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  19. Where I come from (Switzerland/Italy) gifting little girls with sterling pieces of flatware for birthdays/Christmas is a common tradition. It is usually the godmother who does it. I am not sure I really liked it growing up, but now I do!
    Giovanna

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    1. Giovanna- How fun to know that it is a tradition there, thank you.

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  20. O.K.,you convinced me!! I'm using the good stuff everyday.I've got my mothers now and it just sits there.NO MORE!! But I'm going to wait until we move to warmer weather,and then I just won't unpack the stuff we use now!!I'm sure people will give me strange looks and think I've lost it,but I'll be ready for 'em !! Oh,tried the candle drippy thing (I usually just light the wick for a minute) and the Mr. nearly burned down the place!! I have a little chiefs torch and well, it was turned up a bit high! opps!! But everything turned out O.K. Loves the drips.Now if I could just sell the house and try all your tips on the new place!! What else ya got???

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    1. eeeek! Glad it turned out okay!
      I'll see what else I can come up with;)

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  21. Hilarious, but sad story about the neighborhood party! I wish I had grandchildren but God does not see that in my life. BUT, my best friend has 11 grandchildren so I am passing this on to her! GREAT idea. XO, Pinky

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    1. Fingers crossed for you maybe one day Pinkie! Maybe you could borrow one or two from your BFF?!!

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  22. Unable to have children I decided long ago, use the good stuff no one to care about the condition.

    Something special about a tray for lunch in the garden or conservatory & it's historic ironstone & silver & linen.

    I appreciate it. And that is enough.

    XO T

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    1. Tara- it sounds absolutely lovely, and yes- it is indeed enough!

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  23. I'm going to start a campaign to ban those crayon colour plastic cups {yesh, what a way to ruin good wine}. I scream at the TV when I watch programs and people are feeding their family dinner on paper plates or giving guests drinks in ugly paper cups.
    For large indoor parties I rent glassware, silverware, dishes. After the party - pop them in the crates and send them back to the party people to clean them. On the patio where you don't want the worry of breakage, I use nice .... NICE, clear lucite {not plastic} glasses and plates, and regular silverware.
    I wasn't born with a silver spoon in my mouth, but I appreciate setting the table with style and grace.

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  24. Your red cup story makes me think of all those people who make their guests take off their shoes so that they don't dent their floorboards!
    I wrote a blog post just after Christmas on "using your good things". I had been setting the table for Christmas and fishing things out from the backs of cupboards that hadn't seen the light of day for a long time. Things are definitely more pleasurable when you use your beautiful crystal or china or silver.
    I love your silver story and your niece. I am buying my god-daughter a tea service from Limoges. She got the teapot for her Christening, and I give her a cup and saucer and cake plate for each birthday. It's the Legale set, so each teacup is a different colour. By the time she is 21 she will have a beautiful tea service, and as her Mum and I love to have tea together (and her Mum loves china) it's an appropriate gift that I'm sure will be used.

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    1. What a lucky god-daughter you have Heidi! And, everytime she uses it she will think of you, I'm sure.

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  25. Love your red cup story and i hope you have a wonderful weekend Joan

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  26. I started collecting Birks (Canada) Silver when I was in my mid-teens and would receive pieces at Christmas, Birthdays etc. and am grateful to have a lovely service today. I must confess that I don't use regularly and the main reason was the 'dishwashing' capability. That said, I may just try dishwashing a few pieces as would love to use more often. Love the red cup story! Spring-like weather in Southern Ontario today - enjoy!

    Regards, NB in Ontario

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    1. Give it a try and let me know how it works for you NB!

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  27. Love all of these stories from you, Joan, and your readers. Here's mine of using my good stuff... My grandmother has quilted every Wednesday morning with friends from her church, for as long as I can remember, and she gives members of our family a special quilt when we marry. When I received my lovely quilt as a new bride 17 years ago, I knew the beautiful pattern and the points around the edges came from her own hands. I took my aunt aside and asked, "How should I store this?" My aunt looked at me for a moment, and answered, "On your bed." Then I asked, "Well, how should I clean it?" My aunt replied, "In the washing machine." Then she understood what I was getting at, and she explained to me the quilt was meant to be used and appreciated, not stored away with mothballs in a closet. So, use it we have! As I've raised my family, that quilt has not only been on my bed, but used as a cozy cover for family movie nights in front of the TV, to keep my boys warm when they're home sick from school, as an extra blanket for sleepovers by my boys and their friends (and it is washable!). I can't imagine having stored it away all these years.
    Love the flatware idea... I may have to start that tradition with my new niece!
    Angela
    Geneva, IL

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    1. Great story Angela! Love that your aunt understood, but set you straight that you should love and use the quilt. Imagine all the great memories it would have missed sitting in a closet somewhere;)

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    2. Angela, that story brought a tear to my eye. Quilts seem to get better with lots of use. It must be all of the love they contain.

      Thank you, Joan, for another wonderful post. More food for thought for us all.

      Best wishes,
      Karla in CA.

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  28. I wholeheartedly agree Joan!!! I am a believer in using the 'good stuff' . Every day is an occasion and well worth the 'good stuff'.
    I/ we have been very fortunate to luv vintage stuff, evidently a rarity in my Mr. side of the family and I /we ended up with lots of inherited things from his grandparents and great grandparents. Linen, silver ware, dishes..... I am a collector of vintage pieces and we use them daily. I have so many sets of dishes that I rotate a set every few weeks. I am now passing this on to my future daughter in law... the fact that it's ok to use things. Not save or display only. Use and enjoy!!! I saw BAH!!! to red solos cups and disposable ware on a whole. Even out picnics are done with proper dishes and classes.... they pack just as well.
    Thanks for sharing.
    Hugs, Gee

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    1. Gee- I think that is a very lovely "gift" to give your future daughter in-law. Sometimes we just need to be told it's 'okay' to use the good stuff.

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  29. I love the idea of using the good silver. My sister-in-law and her husband combined their beautiful combination of heirloom and use the silver everyday. I love looking at it co-mingling in their big silverware drawer and feel it brings generations of the two families together. The extra effort in hand washing is seen in the love and care they give it; honoring the past.

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    1. I agree Janet, I actually don't mind hand washing my pieces.

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  30. Wonderful advice and a great story too.

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  31. My daughter has her own set of stoneware with glasses and a teapot etcetera. I and her aunt have contributed to isince she was about 7. She has had a particular interest all her life, so it makes sense to collect it when there are no toys related to the interest. She will have some nice things for her home when she grows up. She has a couple of shelves to display it on now and she uses it when she has friends over.

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    1. 8)(8- How wonderful that your daughter has an interest at such an early age!

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  32. That is hilarious and appalling! I can't believe they served you wine out of a red plastic cup! I have had a few Margarita's served in plastic cups at backyard BBQ's ... but never wine. One of the things that most impresses me about a friend of mine, who grew up very poor, is that even when she is throwing a casual football party, everyone, including the children, uses real plates and real glasses. And when she and I needed extra glassware for a large party, we found some pretty cheap at TJ Maxx. So, in my opinion, there's no excuse for plastic cups.

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    1. Cheers to your friend! I've also seen some good glasses at the Dollar Store/or equivalent if you entertain large groups often. Probably cheaper than renting too!

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    2. Sometimes I think the people that grew up with less money tends to use nicer things when they are older since they lived without, and ones that grew up living with finer things tend to not care as much when they become adults. It's kinda funny that way, but I have seen it. Hillaorious about the red cups with wine lol!!!

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  33. Great post! What a disappointment after seeing all that beautiful waterford crystal and gazing at it from over the top of a red plastic cup - what an insult to the visiting neighbours! I'm a firm believer in using the good stuff when you have it and while you can enjoy it. My own mother kept all her good crockery and china locked away and we never got to see it, not even on high days and holidays...we would gaze at it from it's glassy house and long to touch it, but it never came out. Now with grown up children of my own, I use all my good things, collected by myself over the years. I believe everyday with family and friends is a celebration and cause for using 'special' things, and it always comes out on Sundays when the whole family gather for lunch. Thanks for sharing. Sharon

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    1. It was a huge jolt! I guess that's why the story has always stayed with me! Happy to hear you use your good stuff too;)

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  34. My older sister graduated from HS over 50 years ago and received a lot of jewelry as graduation gifts. I did not want jewelry when I graduated a few years later so registered for silver. I received several pieces for graduation, more for Christmas and birthdays and lots more as wedding gifts a few years later. By the time I was 22, I had a service for twelve, complete with serving pieces. I have never regretted having the silver service, rather than a lot of costume jewelry. Now if only I were as brave as your other readers and had the nerve to put it in the dishwasher!

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    1. How wise you were at such a young age Nicki! I opted not to get a senior ring and instead got a nice gold ring instead. I never regretted my decision either;)

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  35. Red plastic cups? Seriously? When they have a truckload of Waterford? Criminal! I am with you..enjoy it while you can, otherwise it may just sit there and never have seen much "living". I am all for enjoying the great stuff, fine linens, sterling, good crystal, besides doesn't everything taste better when you are using those beautiful things!

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  36. I agree, I agree, I agree! Now....I really need to scour those antique shops for flatware! ;)

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    1. Looks like I'm going to need lots of luck....and serious cash! I just checked prices on ebay - $75 for 5 pieces????? WHOA.

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    2. Might want to start with silver plate now and when prices come down get some sterling.

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    3. Mrs. Stahl- While you can find some great buys on ebay, it's not always the least expensive source. And, $75 for a 5-piece place setting of 'sterling' "is" a good price when compared to new! I've spent more per piece for hotel flatware that is plated ;)

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    4. Good gracious. This gives me a little heart attack. I may still try to see what is out there.

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  37. Love your stories! As a child I worked for a doctor and his wife.. filing clerk in their office and babysitter of their children. They would give me a silver tray every year for Christmas. I love and use their trays all the time. And my silver pattern is Fairfax by Gorham (looks like yours.) I received a good bit when we married and my mom is always picking up random pieces with different monograms on them for me when she visits antique shops. We use it a lot..not everyday but a lot. I know the South has no claim to using silver, but something about using it frequently just seems to speak to my Southern heritage.

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    1. Kelly- How wonderful to have the trays and the memories that go with them. And, I understand what you mean about the Southern part;)

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  38. how i love to use vintage flatware! yours is beautiful. thank you for this reminder that it is more than a little neurotic to place these beautiful pieces of serveware in a dark cupboard and dine in a mediocre way. that's nuts.

    peace to you.

    michele

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    1. I like how you stated that Michele- very thought provoking!

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  39. A few weeks ago I went on my usual visit to the local thrift store ( I am a dedicated customer- I have found some serious treasures!) and perused the crystal/glass shelves. Among the castoff FTD vases and wal mart dinking glasses, I spied a sparkle unlike the others. It reached out to me, and went home with me for $3 simply because it stuck out like a sore thumb. It was a Waterford crystal biscuit barrel in the Lismore pattern. As soon as I cleaned it up I could see the etched signature on the bottom. Saddens me to think that the previous owner did not want this beautiful piece, but it will be loved and used in my house. Makes a great ice bucket, or vase without the lid.

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  40. I have started silver plate flatware sets for my son and my two nieces. All in the same pattern, so collecting is easy and e-bay has lots of it. These will be wedding gifts for them; if any of them don't get married, then it will be a gift given in early adulthood. Please tell people to NOT, I repeat, NOT put sterling silver or silver plated flatware in the dishwasher! If you don't want to wash immediately, simply place in a bowl or pot of water and dish soap in the sink and do it later. I loved the plastic cup story. I don't care how many people are at my home at once, they will eat off of real plates, drink from real glasses, and eat off of real flatware, even if it's stainless. Thanks for a wonderful post - love your blog.

    Judith

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    1. Judith,
      Why do you say not to put it in the dishwasher? Neiman-Marcus website says it's OK... and I know from experience it won't hurt it. My mother has put hers in the dishwasher for years, and it looks fine to me. But maybe I don't know what I'm looking for, or maybe I'm less particular? I'm wondering if it is less "shiny" if put in the dishwasher, depending on the type of detergent or water quality or something? Anyway, I'm still trying to decide whether to put it in the dishwasher or not, so would love to know why you say NOT to put it in the dishwasher. Thanks!

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    2. Judith- I don't have any experience with putting sterling in the dishwasher, but several here have said it is okay to do. Perhaps it depends on the water and the detergent used? I do not recommend "soaking" sterling or plate in water. If I'm not washing the flatware immediately I just let them sit in the sink out of water.

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  41. GREAT post made even better by the picture of Fairfax, which is my sterling! I will never have an entire set since the prices are out of sight, but I do have a number of pieces which I love to use!! I have a child's fork and spoon and the grand girlies get to draw straws for the user of the day :^) I will be soooo sad when they outgrow that idea!
    Thanks for a great post.
    Blessings,
    J

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    1. thank you for identifying the pattern Jaybird!

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  42. Hi Joan,

    You are so right. I have my Waterford, my china and my silver tucked away in my dining room! I promise I will have my next class of wine in my cystal and make a toast to you! Cheers!

    Mary (aka Sr. Mary Merlot, Ruth's fun sister!)
    Fairfield, CT.

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    Replies
    1. hi "older sister" Mary! Thank you so much, I love that! Please make sure Ruth is using her good stuff too;)

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  43. Joan,
    I have just recently found your blog and I love it. We try to get to New England at least once a year, usually to eastern Vermont near White River Junction, more if we can. I have purchased many items at some of the same stores you have written about. I adore your house and all the photo's, and I must say that you have inspired me to make a few lamps. I have always wanted to do so but was a little afraid. While I don't have any silver I do have plenty of other "good" things that I'm going to start using, why have them if you don't.

    Thank you again for a great blog!

    Nathan

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    Replies
    1. hi Nathan- Welcome to the blog! I love knowing that we've inspired you to make a few lamps; that's great!

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  44. Has anyone seen the silver plate at pottery barn that is machine washable. I love it!!!!

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    1. Yes, I love it too! Especially love the mixed look. I looked at that, but decided I'd rather have something old.. or get brave enough to use my inherited sterling on a daily basis! In any event, the stainless we've used daily for the past 15 years or so (purchased at WS or PB) has served well, but will soon be recycled to someone who doesn't crave silver in their drawers. Whatever it turns out to be--silverplate, sterling, old, or new--what I use on a daily basis will end up in the dishwasher and like it (as will I)!

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  45. As a former antique silver dealer I can say that you are spot on about the best silver being silver that is used all the time. And if your pattern isn't too rare/antique/valuable, you can even put it in the dishwasher, as long as it is kept away from any stainless steel (so separate out your knives in a different basket) without any adverse effects! I can never understand why people persist in "saving things" instead of using them!!!

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    Replies
    1. Good info about keeping it away from stainless steel Jacqueline, thank you!

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  46. I really enjoyed reading your post and it has given me some things to ponder regarding using the "good stuff".

    Regards,
    jean

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  47. I use my sterling daily as well. One day I forgot that sterling can't be used with tomato sauce. A sad day indeed. I don't know if I need to have my pieces redipped. I feel a pang every time I see them. Any suggestions?

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    1. hi anon- so sorry, but if you have sterling silver as opposed to silver plate it is only a topical tarnish and can be removed. Sterling silver is an alloy of silver (92.5%) and another metal (7.5%), usually copper; it isn't "dipped" (that would be plate), so the tarnish is only superficial. Try using a product called Semi-Chrome. Years ago Dan asked an antiques dealer who specialized in sterling what he used to give his sterling such a beautiful shine and he told Dan, Semi-Chrome. We've used it for years on pieces that have black spots. Apply with a dry paper towel which will give it a bit of abrasion. You might have to use the paste several times to get the piece clean, but it will work. Note, this product is strictly for "cleaning" not for regular polishing. You can find it at hardware stores.
      You can also locate an antique restoration shop and they could do it for you. In Dallas we used a shop called Noles Davis.
      good luck!

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  48. I am one of the brides that chose a wedding china, and we were also very fortunate to receive a set of crystal wine glasses from friends of my in-laws, although we didn't choose a crystal pattern. The one thing I don't have--which I'd like to--is silver flatware. Thanks for the inspiring post on your silver.

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  49. OH< I LOVED THAT!Yes, that plastic POPS up in the most unusual places!GOOD GRIEF!I have to add the plastic garden chairs are just as BAD!

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  50. We try to use our wedding china and crystal weekly with the kids. I think that if I can't use it on the most important people in my life, then I really have no need for it.

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  51. A smile for your day...
    All of the ads for Traditional Home April issue, talked about Dallasites home in their "new" state of New Hampshire. I thought "oh goodie...new pictures of Joan's home".....
    hummmmmpppfffft........it was someone else, not nearly as beautiful a home, and NO ELLA!!!!!

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  52. I agree with you. Everyday is a special day and we should use our special things and enjoy them. The story about the red wine in plastic cups was funny. susan @ throughmyporchwindow.blogspot.com

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  53. I too use my silver....Stieff Rose....everyday, my own and my mother's set that I inherited. I chose it with that in mind :) The pattern seldom needs polishing. And I put it in the dishwasher. I also mix in odd pieces from my MIL and yard sale finds. For party plates I have collected saucers that lost their cups.

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  54. Joan,
    I love your story about the red cups. Oh my....so agree. I detest plastic unless we're by the pool. Drinks just don't taste good either.

    I have a beautiful full sterling service, but I don't use it every day. I really should. I do use it for lunches for friends, dinner parties, etc...so it gets a decent workout. I also love the idea of collecting random letters for flatware and need to follow through and do that. I seem to like to collect things you can actually use as opposed to just sit on a shelf.

    Happy Weekend!!
    xoxo Elizabeth

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  55. Love my sterling, it's 1948 State House Sterling, that we purchased when we were married in 1993. My everyday flatware is beautiful too it's Oneida Juilliard. I'm a lucky girl in the fork & knife department! LOL!!

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  56. Stay warm over there Joan! Thinking bout' you! I've got some photos of my new decor up on the blog - hope you'll stop by and tell me what you think!
    Here's to spring!
    A

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  57. I love to use our silver! And our crystal. It is not Waterford but very special crystal from Bavaria and just as lovely and beautiful We use it for special meals. My folks always said the good stuff was meant to be used. Why else would you have them? Amazing especially for my mom who was a very poor country girl during the depression and had nothing particularly special until Daddy's first bonus. They bought china with it. I had bought a few silver pieces at flea markets. I love the warm welcome it adds to our table. What a wonderful idea to give silver for the granddaughters. I gave my oldest who is 3 Peter Rabbit china cups for Christmas. She and her 2 year old sisters drink hot chocolate from them.

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  58. So true Joan... we must use everything and enjoy the beauty every day... My mother is still saving many of her things to use 'later'... she is 95!
    As you can imagine I use whatever I can when I can... :) xv

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  59. The story of the Waterford crystal and the red plastic cups is priceless!

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  60. Joan,

    Just wanted you to know we toasted you last night with our Waterford glasses! My son asked me if it made me nervous to drink out of them. I told him it did years ago, but not anymore! Thanks for the advise and Happy Spring!

    Mary, Ruth's wise sister

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  61. We have an unrelated "Grammy" who passed along her silver to me. We use it every day, and I love the comments I get from people when we entertain...they feel "special" at our house. I love the idea of buying one piece at a time as a gift, what a treasure!

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  62. Dear Joan, I do agree with you that we should always use our things everyday. Take enjoyment in our family heirlooms. I treasure my Mothers things and use them whenever I can. Thank you for reminding us about these small things that make us smile. :)

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