ROSEMARY: No, not the very funny Keanu Reeves/Gene Hackman movie about a ragtag substitute football team - Replacements, the tiny ad that's been running in The New Yorker magazine and probably a dozen other places for as long as I can remember. They claim to have or can get the soup tureen that went with your grandmother's china pattern, the ladle she probably used and just about anything else in any china or silver pattern ever made. And last year on the Unarmed but Dangerous tour we went to their physical store, somewhere in North Carolina. It was heaven.
In the last decade or so, I have come out of the china cabinet. The same habits I mocked my mother for have emerged full-blown in me. More sets of china than anyone not living at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue needs. Espresso sets. At least five soup tureens. Ten or twelve platters, not including the little ones you can see in this pic. Fiestaware. Serving pieces that look like fruits and vegetables. (You may notice I also own 2 Bob's Big Boy Bobbleheads. What can I say, I'm an equal opportunity collector.)
My particular addictions are patterns with flowers or birds. When I got married I registered for the Tiffany Audubon pattern (china and silver) and it's so beautiful that I almost never use it. Instead I started collecting similar patterns on ebay and at tag sales. Slowly. I didn't realize I was starting a collection, I just thought..."that's pretty."
No wonder I liked it. looks a lot like something I already own.
The Salvation Army has been a really good source. I found a Syracuse China pattern that I loved (think it's Bombay Old Ivory) so I spent months collecting it online. I will never feed that many people at once but it pleases me to look at it all in one of the three china cabinets (and massive credenza.)
There must be a name for this affliction - stocking up for the enormous tea party in one's mind. And every time I try to use one of these teapots - yes..just me, the tray, the tea and a few biscuits on a pretty one of a kind plate - so civilized - the tea gets so cold.
I have resisted the urge to troll through the Replacements catalog and look for mates to all of the one of a kind pieces I have. It's so much more fun to stumble upon them serendipitously. What does my husband think? He just wants to know why we always have dinner on the plain white dishes from Pier 1.