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Sunday, July 31, 2011

The Ultimate Beachy Table Accessory!

Sometimes it pays to reach 'way up high on your shelves. . . .

I'm popping back into the distant past -- exactly 2 years ago --
and I hope you enjoy the ride in the Time Machine!
(July 31, 2009) The other day I was rummaging through my old kitchen cupboard shelves, looking for a misplaced cell phone charger,
and I reached up and took this chubby little guy down from the top shelf:

I think he is silver plate, but he's quite tarnished -- in finish, if not in reputation.  He's even got a dent or two, poor dear.

He belonged to my mother, one of her many yard-sale and church bazaar finds.
I am not sure if he is an open sugar bowl, or maybe . . .

a spooner.

Sometimes it's hard to tell the difference between the sugar and the spooner in an old tea set,
but -- no matter. What is interesting about this little fellow is what I found inside him:

Can you guess what they are?

They are hand-carved.

And very, very old.

They were used every day by my grandparents.

Yes, these are Mother of Pearl napkin rings, and belonged to my grandparents.
They loved all things to do with the sea, the original beachy-look fans!

Years ago, napkin rings were not just decorative items for table settings; laundry was no easy matter,
so you used your napkin for more than one meal, sometimes for a whole week,
and your own ring identified your napkin as yours.

I remember these on the sideboard at Grandma's house; I always loved them.

Last year, when we were clearing things from my parents' beach house, I found these on a kitchen shelf and,
wanting to make sure they were safe, I brought them home -- inside my Mom's little silver plated bowl.

And forgot about them.

They are in perfect condition, if you look past some schmutz.
I'm a little afraid to clean them. What is safe to use on shells?
Or should I leave more than a hundred years of schmutz right where it is?

And ... anyone have a suggestion for a good, mild silver cleaner?
Friar Tuck here needs a little help:

Two Linky Parties on this sunny last-day-of-July Sunday.

Sunday Favorites, hosted by Chari at Happy To Design.  Click here!
Seasonal Sunday, hosted by The Tablescaper.  Click here!

What have you got planned for your blog this week?
I'll be sharing my latest Goodwill finds from this weekend,
including one that will make you scratch your head and say, "Huh?"
And tomorrow I hope to have my demitasse cup project ready to show off to you! Action shots, and all.

Enjoy this last July day; summer just races past, doesn't it?  -- Cass


  1. I still use cloth napkins for more than one meal so my napkin holders are more than decoration also. I correctly guessed what these were. Too bad this wasn't a contest. Since these were made from shell, maybe some mild soap with a little sand mixed in it. I personally like them just as they are and same for the spoon bowl.
    Mama Bear

  2. wow, what a great find on the top shelf! i purchased a cool old spooner on ebay years ago and started filling it with old spoons, but that collection got dropped, as many of mine do lol...also, at about the same time i had started to collect old napkin rings, one for each of us, when i hit 6 (the number of our family), that one stopped too!

  3. SO pretty and so very unique. I've never seen anything like these! I have no idea how to clean them... must be something you could Google though.

  4. Gorgeous. What a wonderful treasure. I don't think I've ever seen anything like them. Hugs, Marty

  5. I also have some mother of pearl that I need to clean.....scared to DEATH!!! what makes it work is it's right next to sterling! So what do you do then? UGH!
    I knew what they were, but have never seen any, yours are gorgeous. I would guess a google search, but I am with Mama Bear.....let them be as they have history and it's your family.

    Thanks for checking out my blog....Love your beautiful home!

  6. O, Cass..I am just beside myself that you found these beautiful rings...I know you are thrilled to death. I'm sure you will use them over and over...and think of grandparents. It makes me teary to think about it. My little grandmothers died before I came along so I didn't have that blessed relationship...God made up for it, tho...HE sent me 7 grandgirls and 3 grandboys to love...:)))
    hugs, bj

  7. Its always fun to find treasures we've stored here and there. I love your napkin rings and think you found them just in time to enjoy for this summer season. I love your home. I'm enjoying touring your blog and finding out how your home became yours. I'm your newest follower. Thanks for your visit.

    The French Hutch

  8. Hi Cass...

    Oooh...what a sweet and precious family treasure, Cass!!! This is the first time that I have seen hand carved mother-of-pearl napkin rings. They are truly exquisite! Ohhh...and I can just imagine all the sweet memories that these two little beauties invoke! I'm so happy for you, dear friend! Love the pretty silver piece as well! I am wondering how you can tell the difference between a "spooner" and open sugar as well? Wondering if the spooners are taller or larger? Don't know! It sure does have a beautiful engraved pattern on it though...very pretty! Eeeks...I'm not sure how and what you would use to clean your family treasures. I would think that using a very mild dish detergent on the napkin holders would be okay but again...not sure!

    Thank you so much for sharing this very sweet post with us for the Sunday Favorites repost party this week! I really enjoyed it and missed it the first time around!

    Have a super sweet Sunday, dear friend!

  9. What a treasure to have. Sorry, I am of no help on how to clean them.

  10. The Gardener and I use cloth napkins every day (yes washed once a week unless terribly dirty) with our individual napkin rings. I have my mother' silver oval ones their initials engraved--we can't top that. Now as to your sugar bowl, immediately to my mind is the little ditty I've been singing back and forth with my granddaughter: Hands on hips: I'm a little teapot short and stout, here is my handle here is my spout ... and on goes the song. Well she learned a new one: I'm a little teapot short and stout, here is my handle, here is my .... oops I'm a sugarbowl." And she laughs and laughs. Great fun.

  11. Oh Cass, what a treasure! They look so unique too and even the silver plated dish is so pretty....Christine

  12. What wonderful treasures and beautiful memories, too!

  13. Maybe try Oxiclean and slightly warm water. It does not harm old fabrics, linens or embroidery. I have cleaned a conch shell with it before but it was not a family treasure. They are so sweet Cass.

  14. Everything is just lovely! I love silver and I love anything beachy!

  15. Cass-What treasures! I love the old silver spooner AND the napkin rings-They are just so unique and wonderful looking! Do you only have two of them? I wonder if they were part of a bigger set at one time? I love that you have them. I would probably try a little soft soap and a very soft old toothbruh on them. What a wonderful discovery! xo Diana

  16. I have been in love with that chubby little guy since this post last year!

  17. I love the napkin rings, an yes I did guess what they were befoe you told.

    I never heard of a "spooner" before - - - unless you're talking about a tiny town in the northwoods of Wisconsin!

    You just steach me stuff all the time!!!t

  18. This is the first time that I have seen hand carved mother-of-pearl napkin rings. They are truly exquisite, I really like it very much.

  19. What beautiful napkin rings. It is fun to uncover treasures we have forgotten about. How neat that the sight of them invokes such memories. Thanks for being a part of Seasonal Sundays. So sorry it's taken me so long to visit.

    - The Tablescaper


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