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Thursday, April 23, 2009

Tablescaping with Thrift Store Bounty, Or: I Need A Keeper

What do I have in common with Queen Victoria, Queen Elizabeth II, and the Prince of Wales? Read on. . . .

Pull up a chair.
I found a great bargain at a local thrift shop this week, and I've got to ... dish!

Welcome to my entry for Tablescape Thursday, Thrifty Thursday, and Thrift Store Thursday!

At the end of my saga, there are links to all of these special blog parties. They are well worth visiting, and I have promised myself that I will leave a comment for everyone I visit today!

Get comfortable. It's a long tale.
Last time I went thrifting, I spent about 5 bucks.

But now it is official. I need a keeper.

When I started my thrift shop trip this week, I figured I'd find a couple of things, spend a few bucks, come home with my modest treasures tucked into a single small bag. But . . . no.

Instead, I came home with my many treasures wrapped in bubble wrap and packed into two big boxes.

And I am willing to bet that you would have done the same thing!

Would you have walked away from Aynsley bone china?

Tatton Hall by Aynsley

My tablescape:

Tatton Hall is a discontinued pattern, but it has a very current color scheme, blue-green accented with just those bits of red, all on a border of palest yellowy-beige, picked out in shimmery gold.

Turquoise and red had some play in mid-20th-century home decor (especially kitchens) and nowadays it turns up in contemporary and cottage design. It's a variation on the classic pairing of the complementary colors of green and red. But I always thought of turquoise as being more commonly paired with pink to satisfy the green/red combination.

All the dishes are like new -- no chips, no loss of brilliant gold trim, no knife marks. There was no way these pretties were staying on the shelf!

The Bargain Barn is not the cheapest thrift shop around; its volunteers are pretty savvy about what things are worth. But this was a bargain:

4 dinner plates, 4 cups, 4 saucers, and 2 luncheon plates for $25.
14 pieces of Aynsley bone china for $25. Sweet.

Now, of course, I will haunt Ebay and other sources for those missing luncheon size plates, and maybe for a few other pieces. I could get them through, but the cost would be way more than I would ever spend. A single dinner plate is listed for $38 on Replacements. Seriously?

Some details from today's table setting...

My grandmother's little glass dishes, nearly a century old, perfect for fruit or shrimp:

My old Georgian pattern silverplate, from various Ebay auctions:

Another Ebay find, a huge, wide, hand-embroidered linen tablecloth, meticulously stitched in taupe. 12 matching napkins were included (although today I used plain white). All for less than $20, and in perfect condition.

Battenberg lace coasters. 6 for $4 at the thrift.

A cut crystal rose bowl, a gift years ago from a wonderful friend who knew how much I loved rose bowls, and that I'd never buy one for myself. (And at the time, really couldn't buy one for myself.) Inside this beautiful bowl, glimmering turquoise colored glass, and a deep red candle for a soft glow:

So what about me and the royals? What do we have in common, other than our immense wealth and our many castles and our servants oddly called equerries?

Our dishes!

Aynsley, founded in 1775, made dishes for the two Queens and Prince Charles, although it's a safe bet the Royals didn't find their Aynsley at The Bargain Barn in Denville, New Jersey.

But then, the Royals don't have the cozy comfort of a
simple old farmhouse in which to enjoy their Aynsley:

I am lucky. I'm going to leave this tablesetting in place, and
Howard and I can have our leftover chicken right here, tonight.

I bought a second set of dishes at the same shop (next week's Tablescape!), and a few other things, but I passed on a gorgeous big ironstone pitcher, vintage, brown & white transferware design -- $35, a more than fair price.

But I figured I already had enough 'splaining to do when I got home. And there's always tomorrow.

On my way home, I stopped at Dollar Tree and T.J. Maxx. They too were productive trips.

I think I better stay home for a day or two.
Or, find a keeper.
Any volunteers?

Tablescape Thursday is an immensely popular blog party, proving that we can't all be nuts if so many of us still like playing make-believe with dishes. Visit Susan here at Between Naps On The Porch for links to fabulous tables!

Ok, now normally Leigh of Bloggeritaville hosts this blog party, but she (poor thing) is out of town and at the beach, so Chandy of What Now Tablescapes has stepped in to host. Click here to visit Chandy (always fun!) and find other thrifty tales of show & tell.

And visit Holly at Homebody Holly, for more thrifting posts. Click here to visit.


  1. Oh, Cass, what a deal!!! It's gorgeous!! And you did good. I look forward to seeing the rest....yep, I'd love a keeper,too! :)
    And I'd have snatched up a a brown and white transferware pitcher...wish I lived nearby!


  2. How beautiful! I wouldn't have passed that up either! Our thrift stores can be pricey at times so it is best to find a bit here and there. Great find!

  3. GM Cass, now girl just pack those dishes up and send them to Calif I have a good home for them ha ha!! Girl I bet you did a Happy Dance finding these...I know I would have..what a wonderful treasurer you got for your wonderful home..Loved the whole table...the cloth is just beautiful..Thanks so much for sharing yet another great Cass post..May you have a great day my friend...hugs and smiles Gl♥ria

  4. I am in "serious like" with your Aynsley dishes. Seriously!!!

  5. What a wonderful deal and the dishes are so beautiful! Thank you for sharing. Hugs, Bobbi Jo

  6. Thank you for your nice comment, Cass! I ADORE your new china, and loved the turq & red in the rose bowl! Seems that your area thrift stores have a lot of wonderful treasures. Can't wait to see what you show next week!
    Cheers, Andrea

  7. I haven't shopped in the thrift stores in so long. I used to go once in a while to find inexpensive pieces to tole paint on. I used to sell out of a local gift store.
    I think it is time I started going back. Wow.

  8. Ceekay your Aynsley are drop-dead gorgeous and yes, quite perfect for today's tables! You lucky girl. As far as a keeper, I'd be a terrible one as I also just brought home several boxes of a dinnerware set I found on Ebay! I'd be a great enabler though... Interested in one? ;-)

  9. Hi Cass, What a great table! Just beautiful! I would have scored at that thrift shop!

  10. That is a fabulous find! Those dishes are gorgeous. Congratulations!


  11. Those dishes are absolutely STUNNING..just a wonderful find...
    Thanks for sharing!

  12. I am in LOVE with the china! Beautiful and what a great deal. Thanks for stopping my blog too. I *am* going to paint the wicker hamper thingy a cream color. My daughter who made the black suggestion is 15 so I don't have to listen to her. hahaha

  13. I ADORE the combination of turquoise and red. That is a gorgeous tablescape and a wonderful find!

  14. Oh, what fun to go treasure hunting and find such nice items. Red and aqua is very in right now. I bet you have more fun with your dishes than the Royals ever will have with theirs!

  15. I'll volunteer to be your keeper - but only if I get to shop as well! (I guess that would kind of defeat the purpose...)

    Love the china - I would have snapped it up myself. That was too good to pass by.



  16. Absolutely beautiful china, and what a deal! I'd love to eat leftovers if they were served like that!

  17. honey,we all need keepers.i found a set of 4 transferware at the thrift store the other day.but i truly couldn't spend that was 4 cups,4 saucers,4 plates.for$69.00.then they had some of the other parts of it in another pkg.i just walked use looking.i can't afford it.i know,they're $20.00 a plate or something.but at my house it would have to be more like 19.00,instead of $69.00.
    but see ,you did great.i cannot wait to see your other stuff.yipeeeeee..ann

  18. What a pretty find!!! I love the unique pattern on the china!

  19. What fabulous china! You are one lucky lady! Have fun making many more tablescapes!

  20. Hooray for thrift stores! I'm originally from Frankin Lakes, NJ, married and lived in Kinnelon. We relocated western MD and thankfully there are a lot of thrift stores here too. Do you have any Habitat for Humanity places by you - they have some great finds. I love your site - lucky you! jennsthreegraces @ blog spot Jennifer

  21. Yep, I think I would have bought it too! It's all so beautiful! Great job with the tablescape!

    I also scrolled down and saw your wedding picture, it is so pretty, perfect frame too!


  22. Cass, try this site. It's very informative and you're already partially informed with the cup watering or tank.

  23. I would have been singing all the way home in the car with such a wonderful score. It is beautiful and you are the Queen of bargains this week. Thank you for sharing this with me. Enjoy your chicken dinner.

  24. What beautiful treasures you have. Love that you gave the names of the china and etc. BLESSINGS, DEANIE

  25. Oh, your china is stunning. I would have bought it in a second. Just gorgeous. I can see why you were so excited. It is really a beautiful tablescape. Everything is just gorgeous. Hugs, Marty

  26. Beautiful dishes...incredible find! You did good, girl!
    Looks very pretty with all your other finds, too!

  27. Oh, they are so pretty!!! I am not a fan of patterned china... but that is a winner.

    What a nice place for you to have dinner... in style.

  28. Wow! beautiful china! I'm going to have to find a thrift store near me.

  29. I love the way your wrote your post. And the plates were a great find. I sure hope you find the luncheon plates you need & at a great price. I love seeing everyone's creativity. Thanks for sharing!

  30. WOW!! I love your blog. I am impressed by your journey to the thrift store. That china is beautiful. And I'd say you got a bargain. I love the tablecloth. I think I have the same rose bowl. This plate addiction thing is something else. My cupboards are getting very full. I am adding you to my favorites. I'll be back!!

  31. What a cute post! I think we all can relate to being in a thrift store and finding something we just have to have. I know I have done that. The fun is in the hunt. It looks like you really found some wonderful treasures. The dishes are beautiful. Amy :)

  32. sweet! tell me about it, phew I woulda died to get that, Aynsley for that price and that unusual pattern, mmm mmm

    i'd like to come thrifting on one of your tours...


  33. Oh. My. God.
    I love your house! It looks like it should be in a movie!
    I am relatively new to this blogmania business.
    I am putting you on my 'follow' list.
    I visited NJ two years ago. My sis is into genealogy and she discovered our Van Buskirk/Straun line began there. If we return, I'll bring you some Bob's!!
    Keep it up!,
    Lynn Guinn
    P.S. your dishes ain't bad either!:-)

  34. Wow! You hit the jackpot! I would love to go thrifting with you!

  35. OK, Now I just spent the last hour lurking around your blog. You are a good writer. I am a writer so I know good writers! You are as delightful as your house! I just wanted to say something about your ghost.
    Two houses ago, we had a ghost. I am the only one who saw her, but I am sensitive that way. She was a youngish girl, dressed in antebellum age clothing. The peasant variety. I never felt afraid. Finally, the last time I saw her I asked her what she wanted. (I also noticed that I couldn't see through her.) Well, she didn't answer me. We moved soon after that. I often wonder if she's still there. I haven't seen any ghosts in our two subsequent homes. How exciting for you!

  36. Cass, these dishes are just beautiful. I only wish I had walked in the door a few minutes ahead of you! I also envy the embroidered tablecloth~it goes just perfectly with the china. I know I would want to add to the set and you can aleways do it a bit at a time.

    Gosh you are lucky (I am shaking my head when I say this). Gosh...


  37. Hi Cass, what a great deal. I couldn't have passed those gorgeous dishes up either! Our thirfy stores aren't so thrifty these days, I think they have appraisers working
    Can't wait to see the rest of your finds.

  38. Hi Cass,
    I'm just ohhhing and ahhhing over your new china from the thrift store.
    ~WOWEEE! It is stunning and oh so elegant. Love it!
    The crystal candleholders are beautiful too.

    Thank you for sharing this tablescape with us.
    It's so inspiring!

    Have a wonderful evening.
    ~Melissa :)

  39. Beautiful dishes and I love the crystal! Thanks for stopping by for a visit!

  40. Cass,

    What lovely china! Can't believe the deal you got. I know what you mean though. It is addicting!

    Have a wonderful Friday, Marsha

  41. Hello Cass, what beautiful china and a great deal too! Thank you so much on Molly, she would love your spaniels! She was a happy girl today, it was nice out so she got to come out in the front yard while I worked in the flower beds. She thinks that is so special when she goes out there! LOL
    Bless you, Shirl
    Shirls Rose Cottage

  42. Deals like that have ended up costing me LOTS of money -- to get more of those "cheap" dishes! But you did get a deal and they are really pretty! I'd think I would have gotten the pitcher as well -- it would have looked so good in That Old House!

  43. Oh Yes! That gorgeous china would definitely have come home with me! What a wonderful find (lucky lady)! Your table looks so pretty, and I love that so much of it was bargains! laurie

  44. Hi Cass,
    You did fabulous, I can sure see why you wanted those dishes. Your tablescape looks just gorgeous, so vintage and lovely. Isn't it so fun to treasure and bargain hunt. I bet we'de have fun doing it together. Hugs, Cindy

  45. Oh you lucky lucky girl.....
    Your dishes....and your mother's crystal too....are fabulous!
    I can't wait to see what else you bought. :-)

    Hope your day has been beautiful

  46. Just today I was antiquing looking for a wasn't my day today...but I sure enjoyed seeing your "find"! Woo Hoo! Congrats on the great deal!!! Lovely tablescape!

  47. I'm late to the party this week. Didn't contribute a scape. I am so happy I dropped by to see yours. Absolutely beautiful. What a find!

    I don't think I could have resisted the pitcher. Great will power!

  48. The Aynsley china is beautiful and such a great deal!

  49. The Aynsley is beyond gorgeous! I am so loving Turquoise and Red these days anyway. I can't wait to see what else you scored on that fateful trip.


  50. Cass...what a screaming deal on those gorgeous dishes! I'm so glad you bought them 'cause you know they would not have been there for long! You were definitely in the right place at the right time! Great going! I love your tablescape and your rose bowl is beautiful! I bet your DH loved them, too! Wish we had a Bargain Barn...but then I get into enough trouble at A Classy Flea. Susan

  51. Your tablescape is indeed divine! I adore the pieces of bone china you got, and what a great deal you found! Please do stop by my blog... I've got my very first blog give away going and I'd love for you to check it out! ~Katy

  52. Cass,
    Your china is soooo lovely, I love
    the colors (don't think I have ever seen that pattern) I also
    love your other finds - you can
    be my shopping buddy anytime, k ?
    Hugs ~

  53. LOVE your table... dishes are DIVINE!
    ENJOY your weekend!

  54. Hello Cass...

    Ohhh my...I just couldn't help myself...had to comment about this beautiful tablescape while I was here with the "Sunday Favorites" post!

    My friend, what an utterly fabulous "treasure find"!!! I just love your new Tatton Hall by Aynsley china!!! Ohhh myyyy goodness...I can't hardly believe that you gave only $25 for these little beauties!!! What a deal, my friend! I love the pattern and the colors...Oooh, love the little splashes of red paired with the turquoise!!! The sure make for a lovely table setting! Your table cloth is gorgeous too!!! Thank you so much for sharing this lovely tablscape with all of us...

    Warmest wishes,

  55. I absolutely love your china. The colors are beautiful. Love seeing it all put together.

  56. WOW, You are right. I would've bought it all too...I love your post and the way you have arranged it. Love your home and all the cool info you have about it. I've got a few closests full of pretty dishes. I keep thinking I'll get around to posting but this blogging thing is so very time consuming. Anyway, Thanks for sharing your stuff. ~Athella

  57. OMG, that china is amazing! I love the pattern. Yep, a keeper. Thanks for visiting with me also. Have a wonderful week!

  58. Cass, I love the pattern on your china! So pretty! I am in awe and adoration for your hand embroidered linen runner~ Thank you for stopping by my post as well and leaving such a sweet comment! I enjoyed your beautiuful table and will be back to look at many more!!


  59. The dishes are stunning! You are correct about turquoise in the mid-20th century. My (future at that time)mother-in-law had a turquoise washer & dryer, stove, and refrigerator in the early 1960s. The colors in your dishes are great, you have a good eye.

  60. But you have THE perfect house for all of your finds! The things I find in thrift stores . . .why would you ever buy new?? (it's way more fun this way:)


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