Porticos & Pretty Plates

Call it spring.

Call it resolutely feminine.

Whatever it is, this week finds me crazy about pretty plates. 

I remember seeing a picture of Bunny Williams' dishes pantry in her wonderful book, "An Affair with a House."  I think her description said something like, "...and I love dishes, so I had a separate pantry created to hold my collection.  Each shelf is lit so I can more readily see what I have..."

You would not believe how large and extensive Ms. Williams' collection is.  My first thought upon seeing her pantry was this: I don't understand wanting (needing?) that many dishes. 

I really did not understand.  I wondered, am I missing something here?

But this week, I think I'm beginning to understand.

In 2001, my beloved grandma--my dad's mom--passed away.  Having just had my second baby, I was unable to attend her funeral, something I deeply regret.  However, I am thrilled that I was able to acquire a few pieces of her green and white dishes I remember using each time we happened to be at her house for a meal (for breakfast, my memory immediately summons Simply Fruit jelly--apricot flavor--on toast; for dinner, I can still taste her delectable porkchops over rice, baked with love and cream of mushroom soup.) 

The other day I finally found the perfect place in the house to display Grandma's dishes: the portico outside our powder room (I don't know if 'portico' is the right word,, but it's basically a little "entry" prior to the actual room, and besides, I like the word 'portico.' :-) We have three of them off our hallway).

I already had the ivory shelf from my daughter's room in our last house.  It just needed a little distressing around the edges.

Aren't Grandma's plates so pretty, feminine, and spring-like?  I love the scalloped edges.

I also love that my grandma's hands touched them every day.

I added two glass bottles as well.  The short round one holds white sand from the White Sands Monument in New Mexico, which my husband and I visited while RVing the western U.S. in our early 20's (shhhh, I don't think we were supposed to take any sand with us...I am so sorry, God.)

The taller bottle holds sand from a beach in Cozumel, Mexico, which I gathered the winter I took a cruise with my three sisters and sister-in-law in 2003, undoubtedly one of the greatest adventures of my life.

What I love is that I get to see this display every day.  I can even see it from my favorite perch on the living room couch, a whole room away.

While in the plate-displaying mood, I also hung these beautiful pink plates in yet another portico outside my daughter Amaya's bathroom.  Hmmm, plates and porticos.  Sounds like a theme :-)

I LOVE these plates!

I had been on the lookout for pink plates this spring, knowing I wanted to hang them in this space as a preview to Amaya's more feminine spaces in the house.  Being so close to Easter, I was certain it would not be difficult to find pretty pink plates.

I was wrong.

I looked everywhere and could not find anything close to what I had pictured.  I already had the plate holders, although they were painted a glossy brown.  A quick coat of Kilz spray primer, a light distressing with a scrap of sandpaper, and they were ready.

But still no plates.

Enter good ol' faithful Mom.

Now, I could pause here for a moment and talk about the love of dishes.  I should have known before ever reading Bunny Williams' book that the condition called "love of dishes" can deeply affect the very best of us, family included.

My mom has so many dishes she has built two separate cabinets as well, simply to contain them all.  And these two cabinets still do not contain them all.

When I mentioned I was looking for two pale pink plates, my mom's eyes lit up.  "I have some you can have!" she exclaimed.

I was obviously thrilled, even if it did take quite a bit of time with both of us searching to find them (we searched above the fridge, in the corner lazy susan, in the cabinets out in the garage, in the console table by the foyer...whew.  We finally found them in the garage.)

And they were perfect, just what I was looking for.  Thanks, Mom.

Pretty plates, a touch of heritage, and the early warmth of spring makes me full of gratitude for the simple, good things in life.