If you ask for a definition of girlie, most people would point to dainty underwear, red lipstick, funky purses or shoes. But in my book, vintage dishes leads the list of girlie playthings.
Just the word alone – dishes – has a nice silky sound. Stack dishes and they sound musical, tinkling like wind chimes. In daylight they’re pretty and shiny, and in candlelight they glow. As grown girls, we play with real china dishes at real tea parties.
I think I inherited my love of vintage dishes from Grandmother. She wasn’t girlie in any sense, nor was she a cuddly, cookie-baking grandma like Betty Crocker. She was stubborn, ornery and a so-so cook, but she liked dishes.
No Wedgwood or Royal Doulton in Grandmother’s, just dishes from Woolworth’s or treasures from the thrift store. She liked gaudy. Bright colors and big flowers were her favorites – yellow, red and pink – bold dinnerware like vintage Fiesta orFranciscan, the dish equivalents of big beads and platform shoes.
When her six children were at home, Grandmother had an excuse to keep buying dishes because the kids broke them from time to time. But after the kids left home, she kept on buying, and by the time she died, all the cabinets in all the rooms – and stacked boxes, too – were filled with dishes. If the woman who dies with the most dishes wins, my grandmother would be a contender.
In my home, the dish cupboards began filling up when I got married. The last few years I started giving dishes away to my nieces as they head off to college, and that’s my excuse to hunt for more at estate auctions and garage sales. My appetites are not satisfied by stilettos or Coach, but by vintage dishes. When I need some higher inspiration, a trip to the antique shop will do.
When I bring my lovelies home, my addiction is complete: I wash them by hand. Washing dishes may not seem girlie, but it’s a great excuse to finger and fuss over the details – petite rose buds, delicate trim in platinum or gold and elegant transfer designs. I know I’ll let them go eventually, but while I have them, it’s true love.
I think the perfect kitchen cupboard opens wide and offers the eye a small private ceramics gallery, full of mismatched dishes made by all different people, with a story connecting to each piece.
There is no love affair like the affair between a girl and her dishes.
Ceramic dishes would be a cherished gift for a wedding or bridal shower. Here a few fun gift ideas I found onBetsy Etsy Vintage any bride will love….