Thursday, August 10, 2017

Am I Blue Plate Special

Images often evoke song titles for me. They can be figurative interpretations, or they can be literal ones. Then, sometimes the interpretations take a little twist, with a play on both. Today's table setting is a bit of both interpretations, and I'm calling this the Am I Blue Plate Special tablescape. It's also a little like the Before and After game segment on Wheel of Fortune, if you've ever watched that. ;)
Am I Blue Plate Special
I have had a random collection of blue and white china for many years. I have given away and traded much more blue and white china than I've even kept (I know that's hard for you who know me as a dish collector to even believe!).  

Am I Blue is a song recorded originally in 1929 by Billie Holiday, but I became familiar with it in 1972 with Bette Midler's version (from the Divine Miss M, great album). Every time I see blue and white decor - whether it's a classic, nautical theme, antique Asian, English, Delft or any other country's porcelains - I get this sort of sad feeling. Why? The reason is because I don't have blue of any significance in my decor.

Since my collection is somewhat randomly mixed for this table, it prompted a phrase coined sometime during the 1920s, "Blue Plate Special". The phrase was coined by small restaurants offering special meals - different each day - at special pricing. Well, I certainly am using different plates all around this table, all of them either vintage or antique.
Am I Blue Plate Special Tablescape
Some dinner plates are what I call one offs, from past estate purchases.
1920s Phoenix Bird or Flying Turkey, Made in Japan

1920s Wood & Sons Wincanton Blue, Made in England
Other blue and white dinner plates I own may have 6 or more in a set, but no full service in the pattern.
1920s Abstract Cherry Blossom, Nippon
The plates below are a portion of what I won at an auction of a woman who owned a family-style restaurant in town (who was my mother's age, b. 1920). She displayed these plates and many, many more in her home and restaurant. I have 7 of these, and have always liked them.
1896-1912 Empire Works Porcelain Co, Stoke on Trent England
Some of the Empire Works plates have a pattern majority on the left side
Some of the other Empire Works plates have the pattern majority on the right.
I'm using the Empire Works plates for my salads in today's table - two of each pattern.

With a blue paisley tablecloth (RL, Homegoods), blue and white hand-dyed napkins (Sundance Outlet), and all the blue & white dishware, the glassware (vintage Blenko, dimpled crackle) becomes nearly transparent on the table.
The white chargers (Pier 1) and flatware (Horchow) allow contrast so the place settings aren't totally lost in the sea of blue.
There's lots of mileage to be had with hydrangea blooms as centerpieces.
I later switched out the centerpiece because, well, why not? The graduated hurricanes are part of my summer sunroom table decor, and they're currently holding Blenko glass balls (vintage) that coordinated.

I know a lot of people everywhere have infused blue and white into their decor, no matter what style they gravitate towards. I think I need a little blue and white in some part of my own decor at some point. This tablescape was just another reminder.
What's your favorite way of seeing or using blue and white in home decor?

(A special thank you to Cecilia from My Thrift Store Addiction's Vintage Charm #96 for featuring this post!)
Rita C. at Panoply