Saturday, March 19, 2011
Repurposing Vintage Dishes...or "What are you going to do with that?"
One of my newer hobbies these days is making cupcake stands out of vintage plates and cups. I have been having an ongoing love affair with old dishes for years. Originally (before kids) I used to indulge my addiction by haunting antique shows and buying whatever caught my eye...I had beautiful collections of pretty dishes. Some had tiny little rosy rings around the edge, some had little gold stars. Some sets were expensive Limoges chocolate sets and some had broken or chipped edges and cracks. None of that mattered. What mattered was that I loved them and I bought what I loved. I had plates hanging on my walls and stacked in my kitchen cabinets. There were bowls hidden in my old hoosier (which, sadly, I no longer have) and formal china displayed in an antique china hutch. My collection was impressive.
Two babies and two moves later, it was all gone. All of it. Everything...the dishes, the hoosier, the china cabinet, all of it. In the post-kid days of baby bottles and toys, I have whittled it down to the set of dishes I got as wedding gifts. In defense of getting rid of all of the other stuff, it really wasn't practical to have that many sets of plates and china pieces. I didn't use it, it was all for display, just because I loved it. With kids around, it was just more stuff I had to try to protect from my boys, who both inherited healthy doses of what I like to call "The Truck Gene."
Recently, I noticed my stack of wedding plates dwindling. With kids helping with the dishes, there are the occasional crashes and broken plates. I didn't really know what to do about that and was thinking I might have to try to replace some of the pieces, but the pattern is discontinued. I have continued to covet the beautiful banged up vintage pieces I saw in my travels through Goodwill and Angels in the Attic Thrift Store, but I never bought anything for fear of taking it home and having no place to put it. Worse would be the inevitable question from Kurt, "What are you going to do with that?"
So, I was walking through Anthropologie one day (my secret fantasy job would be to work there so I could sniff the linens and touch all of the fun, quirky things on the shelves to my heart's content) and I saw a strange stack of white dishes..."Hmmm, this needs investigation," I said to myself. I looked at this strange stack and saw that it wasn't a random stack of dishes, but a sculpture of dishes meant to hold taper candles. Wow! That was clever! Of course, all of the dishes were new and it was a candle holder, but it got me to thinking...stacks of dishes in a beautiful display, and useful! I also discovered that they have a cool lamp as well...
I was excited! I thought I was on to something! When I got home, I started stacking my dishes together and suddenly realized I could make a cake plate, or a cupcake stand! I quickly got online and googled my idea only to find that I did not invent it...sadly, some other clever girl had already thought up the idea, but there was nothing out there really saying how to do it...
So, through trial and error, I figured out that gorilla glue and E6000 glue both work well and permanently bond the dishes together. The glues are food and dishwasher safe as well. Soooo.....
I am back to my hobby of collecting vintage china, the more chipped and loved, the better. I happily tote home boxes of mixed pieces home and happily answer the dreaded question with, "Cupcake stands!" My pieces are listed for sale here: www.etsy.com/shop/BettyShmetty
Oh, and I have also proceeded to replace my broken wedding dishes with my "new" vintage finds! My everyday dishes are starting to look as mixed up and jumbled as I am! I am loving it...there is nothing better than serving up some love at the kitchen table with well-loved vintage china!