Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The White Hutch - A Home for Orphans

I have been collecting white dishes for decades - a few saucers here, a couple of plates there, a little pitcher when I see one. Most of it cost less than a dollar. The simple styles - plain, unadorned utilitarian pieces are what attract me most. I don't have a full set of 8 of many things. 

I'm not picky by most folks' standards - I'll buy old or new. I've made purchases at restaurant supply houses, thrift stores and dollar stores. Any brand is fine, and I use them daily. Over the years I've found charming little pitchers: 

I purchased my first set of white plates in 1984 - at a church garage sale. They are made by Tepco China. I bought 8 of them, and have often wished I'd bought every one they had. They're super tough and after years of daily use by one clumsy woman and three children, only one was ever broken. Two others carried a meal to someone, and were never returned. 

When that happens, it's really not a big deal. Though I've never found more Tepco plates in the simple style I have, there's always another white plate out there. 

I actually LIKE having mismatched white dishes! Mixing pieces with variety in detail and slight variation in color is almost like mixing textiles. I really prefer to have matching dinner plates, though. Note to self: Look for more Tepco, or buy another big set of white plates. 

I enjoy using mixed white serving pieces as well. I like bowls with textured patterns that nest inside each other. It pleases me when the stripes run different directions. Sometimes I'll purchase a new set of matching white nesting bowls, but eventually they get broken one by one. 

That's ok, though. They still fit in quite nicely with the other mismatched pieces in my collection. 

I have a mismatched silver tea set, given to me by my new friend Celeste. She apologized that it was tarnished when she gave it to me. I couldn't have been more pleased! I love tarnish. 

It rests a shelf below a pyrex baking dish inside a silver plated serving trivet. I bought it at my friend Rose Lee's garage sale. A vintage wire chicken - egg basket is nesting there at the moment.

Above the chicken is a new trifle dish - a gift from my sweet Hannah for Christmas last year. (It is a dangerous dish to own!)It makes layered desserts and salads look lovely. At first, I was worried that it wouldn't hold enough for our Christmas dinner crowd, but it holds more than you think it will. I guess it's because the sides don't slope in like a bowl does.

To the left of the silver tea set is a nice large pasta bowl from Ikea. A white basket inside it is holding dried gourds and mini ears of corn to remind me fall is almost here! 

On the top of my hutch, I keep a collection of wicker-clad bottles and a wine basket from France. I began collecting them years ago, and now they've become so pricey I haven't added a new one in years. I'm not sure where I'd put it if I did find one! On second thought, I'd have to find a place for it. After all, this is a home for orphans! 

Word for the Day:

James 1:27

Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.

May our Lord bless your Wednesday!


Sunday, September 18, 2011

A Lesson Learned (or when NOT to paint a table aqua)

Some of you may remember a post from a few Wednesdays ago when I had a really lovely day. I found a cute French-ish chair for $4 in a thrift store that feeds and ministers to homeless people. Later, I went to a women's event at my church and won a painting of a chair.  

The reason I even bring that up is because the first time I was at that little thrift store, I bought a table. They don't accept debit cards there. Debit is how I roll most of the time. I had stopped in while running an errand, and had a $5 bill in my pocket. I purchased a couple of small items, and said, "I like that little table, and I'd get it, but the only cash I have now is this $5." The man sold it to me for the balance of my change, commenting that he'd rather buy a gallon of milk to feed homeless than miss the sale. It was sturdy and a cute shape, but the top was in a sad state. Still, it had potential and it was a bargain. I decided I'd paint it some day.

Well, someday turned out to be yesterday. On Friday, I'd purchased a pale aqua spray paint (Krylon's Catalina Mist) at Lowe's so I could add some cuteness to the little table. (I bought some other items too, but that's another post!) 

Saturday is my big housework day, so I got up early and began cleaning. About lunch time, I made it outside to tackle some spray painting projects. I did remember to take a few before photos! 

I began painting, and got a good first coat on the base of the table. It was a warm and breezy day, so the paint dried quickly. It was time to turn the little table over and put a coat on the underside. Much to my surprise, I saw a mark that made me cringe. 

Well, needless to say, I was shocked! I knew Heywood Wakefield made those funky, clean-lined mid- century modern pieces of blonde wood, but I had no idea they made bent wood or rattan furniture! And I'd just completely de-valued a piece that is apparently fairly rare and probably worth at least a couple hundred dollars. Ouch. Note one to self: Before painting anything, inspect it properly for marks. Note two to self: Visit that little thrift store more often.

SO, now what? Forget painting the rest of the table and go get some paint stripper? It might destroy the rattan bindings, which were still tight and in good shape. I was totally out of my league. I had dinner plans, and I had to get a shower and make a trip to the store before 6 o'clock, so I snapped some photos and called it a day. After all, why miss an opportunity to publicly humiliate myself in front of a few followers (well, potentially the world!) What a great way to celebrate my one month milestone today! Woo hoo!

When I got home, I Googled Heywood Wakefield and discovered they were making wicker and rattan furniture since 1826 - well before the mid-century modern pieces I was familiar with. Follow this link for more information. My table was most likely made before 1920. 

I tried Googling more things like "what to do if you painted a Heywood Wakefield table." I love Google, but this time, I didn't get much information. I looked at some of the new posts on the amazing blogs I follow on Google Reader then went to bed.

When I got back to it today I decided to just go with it. I shared some love with the table top via my palm sander and some paste wax. It cleaned up nicely. 

I think the painted base with the natural top looks charming - like something you'd find in a Florida beach house. 

So, I pulled out some old books and a rose painting, mixed them with a new modern white glass vase, and voila!

What did I learn from this experience? Look more closely at every piece I find before I paint it - not while painting it! That said, I like the way this table looks in her new Catalina Mist outfit. I realize it may upset some purists; one of the pages I saw on Google read that a piece had been "violated by three layers of paint.

I may have significantly devalued this little table in the eyes of the world, but to me, she looks pretty cute. 

Word for the Day:

I Peter 3:3-4

3 Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. 4 Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.

Until next time,


Linking with:

http://www.thenester.com/ - It doesn't have to be perfect...