Wednesday, October 23, 2013

I HEART...Friendly Village

Everybody loves Wednesday, right?
The week's half over.  The weekend is on the way.
What's not to love?
Each Wednesday, I want to share something with you
that I absolutely love and can't live without! 
Today's post could have been called I HEART...Fall.
I HEART...Traditions.
I HEART...China.
(Dishes, not the country - although I am partial to their General Tso's chicken.)
I HEART...A Good Deal.
But I settled on I HEART...Friendly Village 'cause it pretty much includes all of those.
(And I guess I could use them to serve Chinese takeout.)
Here's the deal.  I collect china.  Gerald would probably use the word "hoard".  Tomato, Tomato.  Let's just say I have a lot.  A year or so after we got married, my MIL and I were hitting the day after Christmas sales.  Now, I rarely do this.  In fact, I can only think of one other time.  It was a Sunday and I was newly engaged.  My two sisters-in-law and I snuck out of church early to hit Dillard's Home Store.  My Christmas pattern (Fitz and Floyd's "Winter Holiday") was half price.  HALF PRICE people.  I stood at the register and Clancy and Allison literally threw me boxed serving pieces.  I think Clancy threw a couple of elbows, too, but you gotta do what you gotta do.  It was ugly, y'all.  Imagine a bra sale on steroids.  Anyway - I snagged some great stuff that I'll show you soon when I decorate for Christmas.  But back to the story at hand.  Luckily for me (and my sweet, petite, little mother-in-law, Moppie), Waccamaw was a lot calmer and I happened to stumble upon a bargain... 

 "Friendly Village" by Johnson Brothers.
Production began on this pattern in 1953 and is still one of their best sellers.
When collecting, look for dishes made in England, not China.
They are more valuable.  (Well, duh.)
Apparently, since there is snow in the scene, they considered this Christmas-ware, and it was thusly marked 75% off.  That came out to $5 a place setting.  Yep, you heard me right, a place setting.  After calmly walking to the register and asking for a price check (I think I left Moppie to guard the selection), I returned and began quickly and quietly loading my cart(s) with box after box of place settings.  I decided that 16 was a nice round number for me (remember, they were $5 each) and I generously bought my MIL eight settings as a "late Christmas/very early birthday/thanks for helping me push these heavy carts around" gift.  I even called my mother and asked if she wanted some.  For some reason she said no, and still kicks herself every time she hears me sharing this story with someone who admires my collection.  Anyway - my heart was racing as we left the store with our haul.  I can't remember if I even bought anything else that day.  Doesn't really matter!  I do remember thinking for a day or two that I wish I had bought more, but then felt a little guilty.  Man, if I could do that one over again...
As you can see above, I love my collection and keep it on display throughout the year.  For several years, my family would give me serving pieces for birthdays and holidays, and I collected 12 extra place settings off ebay, for a grand total of 28.  Gerald and I now host Thanksgiving at our place, and this is what we use.  A few years ago, my brother, Jon, oversaw the building of our country home.  (To be honest, I say "country home" because it's, well, way out in the country, not because it is the home to which we retreat each weekend from our city home.  But it sure sounds fancy, doesn't it?)  As a thank you, he got some kind of shotgun for turkeys or something.  I don't really remember.  That was Gerald's pick.  His wife, Clancy, has always loved my "Friendly Village" dishes, so we bought her eight place settings as a thank you for "loaning" us Jon to build the house when I'm sure she would have rather had him at home!  Anyway - with her 8 and my 28, we are covered at Thanksgiving!

A while back, Gerald had the idea that we should take out the "Friendly Village" at the beginning of October and use it until it was time to unpack the Christmas dishes.  (A whole 'nother story!)  So while we see these old-timey dishes on display throughout the year, actually bringing them out to use is a fall tradition.  We love to eat soup and chili from these, and they are so perfect for Thanksgiving.  And Gerald's response to my having so much "Friendly Village"?  "A Friendly Village beats a hostile village any day!" he says.  Ain't it the truth.  

So - what traditions do you have that help to mark the beginning of Fall?  And come on now - which of you out there are secret china junkies?  Stand up and be counted.  There's strength in numbers!
I'm so glad you stopped by my neck of the woods!
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1 comment:

  1. They are beautiful, but alas, my confession is that our only tradition when it comes to "dishes" is using paper plates at EVERY meal. And yes, I said EVERY meal :)...enjoyed your post...almost...ALMOST made me want to use real plates. But again, I covet the time I'd otherwise spend cleaning those very dishes. So for now, I'll embrace my paper products and be ok with that :).