December 13, 2015
Changing out the China Cabinet.
I feel so fortunate that when my beloved gramma died at the age of 90 eight years ago, my dh and I were gifted many items from her home. She had actually chosen what each of her daughter in laws would receive (there are two: my mom and my auntie) and what each grandchild would receive (there are five of us all together). In addition to the furniture, china and jewellery, we each also received funds that were part of her estate. We kept ours in a separate account for years, using some for our trip to Disneyland, then some for building the house and the remaining amount to purchase our AGA range. I think of her often, but now I think of her each day as I make my tea. A special lady with a huge heart. I aspire to be just like her in spirit and feel her presence often, wherever I am.
When we had to go through all the items in her estate and clean out her home, my cousins and my auntie and mom approached me and asked if my dh and I would like all the furniture. I was supposed to get the piano, a lamp and a arm chair. But as it turns out, no one was interested in having the antique furniture she had gifted to them, other than a storage chest my auntie wanted and a clock my one cousin was excited to take home. Everything else they had decided together that they wanted us to have, knowing we love vintage antiques and knowing we would take such good care of everything we have.
It was a shocking moment to realize the gifts we were being presented with. Not just because the furniture is beautiful and in perfect condition, despite the age, but that my family had such faith in us to take care of something I know others would just consider "just a couch" or "just a piano" but for us, these are special items my grandparents scrimped and saved for. Each piece has a story, each piece was lovingly cared for. And now we treasure those items because of where they came from.
One of the items we brought home was the dining room set. It was handmade for them, custom ordered and they waited several years to save up for it, then months while it was being constructed. I wish now I had thought to ask her what they paid for the china cabinet, matching table with two leaves and the four chairs ~ I do remember four chairs was all their budget could manage and at the time, it was just the four of them. Anytime we had family celebrations as a child, I remember the eclectic sight of different chairs surrounding the table, different patterns, different styles, different colors and even different heights. But as along as we all fit, that's all that mattered!
I also inherited four different sets of china, some all intact, and some missing pieces. Over the years, I'd change out the china to match the season or just my mood! When we moved in here, we decided to put in the one set that is larger and completely intact. It's called "Dainty Blue" and is very delicate. I'm always scared we'll break a piece but so far, we've been lucky to not have done that. In this house, with our lavender walls, the color hasn't quite worked as well as it did in the other house. But after we moved in and I spent hours washing, then drying carefully before placing in the cabinet, I wasn't going to change it out so quickly. On Monday, I had some extra time between appointments and I wanted to visit our local charity shop to see if they had anymore garland. I find here in town, things like garland can only be found at stores that charge quite a fee so I've been looking for thrifty finds instead. And they seem to have a steady stream of garland donated, some not even opened!
So off I went with one item on my list to search for. But somehow, I came out of the shop with a cart full of "treasures", including a new set of china! You'll see in the first two pictures, my "Dainty Blue" secured away in the china cabinet. Then I had to clear it out to put the new set in. So an empty cabinet for a bit while I washed each piece, then softy dried them and then stacked each piece.
The upper three pictures show the new set all tucked away. It's not as big, but the colors go much better. I'll take a close up later. My phone used to take great pictures but it's on it's last legs and the pictures lately haven't been as great. The pattern is from 1940 and it's called "Old English". From England, made to commemorate Queen Elizabeth's trip to Canada in 1939. Pretty stoked to have it!
Now our china cabinet looks more colorful but with colors that go better with our walls and the other items we have around the house. Our theme is a mix of English Cottage and French Country, a bit of Farmhouse and lots of Vintage. Colors are a mix of light lavender, sage green, ivory, medium woods, black as an accent and white for the trim. Cozy but colorful and now our china reflects those choices.
Two items we had out for Thanksgiving back in October: our "Thanks" china sign and "There's no place like Home". Love them both and decided they both fit nicely with this new to us china. Especially the Thanks sign. I don't believe that Thanksgiving should just be a day but that we should be giving thanks on a daily basis, to live freely, in safety, with democratic rights, with gratitude for our home, food, education, family, resources, choices and our health. I am grateful every single day that I get to breathe.
Do you have china you change out for the seasons?
Have you ever been gifted items from a family member?