SHOP | Alfred Meakin ENGLAND China Plates

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UM, how PRETTY is this Alfred Meakin dinner setting for my big NYE dinner this year?!

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ADORBS, right?! Because I NEEDED it… Just no one tell Hubby pls…

Found an entire dishware set (incl appy plates) for 8 at one of my Salvation Army haunts. Since I was unfamiliar w the Alfred Meakin England name in china dinnerware, I had to do a quick in-store google, but really I just grabbed the plates and soup bowls on looks alone. I’ve been wanting to incorporate some black into a set of dishes, so this seemed the perfect opportunity!

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8+8! I feel badly for the poor salad plates that stayed behind… But then again, it IS nicer to mix n match than to be too matchy-matchy

Upon further inspection at home, the watermark on this one SEEMS to show that it’s from an era just after the original Alfred Meakin AND the subsequent son’s takeover had both ended (died). Since it doesn’t have the sometimes-marked ‘Ltd’, I’m guessing it could date 1907-1913.

Other dishes online with this stamp are listed as “1891-1897” or “1907”, and I found this pattern online once or twice listed as “older”, but still no pattern name… It’s like a needle in a haystack! GEEZ! Not for lack of trying – 5,000 images of “Alfred Meakin” to no avail (thanks for nothing, ebay.uk).

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1890 or 1980? Who knows. Not me, obviously…

That counts as an official “antique”, right?!
Wiki says an item has to be ‘at least 100 years old’ to qualify LOL. These plates are in amazing shape and feel pretty sturdy, so they could just as well be from 1990 for all I know…

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UM!! Perfection with the 12-set “vintage” (?) metal charger trays I found a few years ago at a Thrift Store. Trying it all out w my inherited Lady Hamilton cutlery set…

Anyone have a really good antique identifier website for me???!
I was using thepotteries.org for this one.

I tried some plating ideas that might work for NYE this year, the BIGGEST, BADDEST meal of my entire cooking year. We have more than 8 ppl, so I’ll combine it with my Limoges set (which is just soooooo last years NYE hahaha).

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YEP – the gold art deco cutlery works MUCH better! The extra pattern in the small plate is too much though. Good thing I still have … 3 weeks to settle on a table setting for NYE

I’m tempted to go back and grab the salad plates… SO tempted… Maybe…
I like how this print (so far unidentified) can go modern or vintage when styled on the tablescape. (Update – I totally grabbed the salad plates, too…)

NYE is my biggest cooking meal of the year, spending 3 days cooking to plate and serve an 8-12 course seated dinner over 6 hours. WITH help, of course! But that means it deserves to be plated PRETTILY, amiright?!
What’s your biggest deal meal?!

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kitchen DESIGN | Restaurant Supply Auctions

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RESTAURANT AUCTIONS for Kitchen Design! Who knew?!

To know me is to know I love vintage. I think there’s something so connected about taking an object that has been used and tossed aside, and breathing new life into it. I love the manifestation of the passage of time showing on objects and humans alike – oh, the stories every dent and wrinkle could tell!

But I also love the sustainability. Construction, demolition and renovation waste, I’ve heard, loads up 70% of our landfills. Restaurants have a 20-60% (depending what you read) failure rate in the first year. Often, apparently, the decor, seats, benches, dishes, and kitchen equipment goes to auctions (like THIS one).

In looking ahead at designing my own Kitchen (new, in an existing space), I’m looking at every possibly thing I can salvage and give new life to. I’m also looking at someone else’s stuff I can salvage/use – what’s the saying? One man’s junk is another’s treasure?! Being so interested in the intersection where Commercial and Residential kitchens might meet, I up and went off to my first Restaurant Auction!

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AND OH THE TOYS I SAW!! Unfortunately, much of it isn’t graded for Residential use, but I did find quite a few possibilities!

How amazing – and SPACIOUS – would a Commercial Fridge/Freezer be?! I’m so tired of shallow, 24″ deep (which means the INTERIOR dimension is much less so) Fridge/Freezers that can’t even fit a platter.

Regular Kitchenaid, anyone?! This was definitely the smallest – they got as big as my car LOL!

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Outdoor BBQ possibility? That grill looks AMAZING to cook on…

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Dishes by the DOZENS!

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I fell in love w a cabinet that could fit UNDER my Island, and be pulled out (with added casters) when I need an extra countertop. I would consider powder coating the doors white just to soften the look a bit.

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I’ve been wondering WHY do cabinets stay in one place? WHY can’t they move?? What do you think?

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SHOP | Limoges Dishware

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Limoges is an antique line of china dishware that I’ve been collecting since my friend, the ‘Grand Duke of Shaughnessy’ (he doesn’t have social media, so he’s officially whatever I choose to hashtag him as. You’re welcome, Grand Duke.), started putting dinner parties onto a whoooooole ‘nother level.

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I originally bought a set of gorgeous platters from a gal out of Scottsdale/Phoenix I found on Insta/Ebay (and whom I later met IRL – she’s awesome and curates some beautiful pieces, so definitely check her out), then found an ENTIRE 10-pc dinner/salad/tea setting — FOR $100 — on a Black Friday Sale in Palm Springs. Unfortunately the shop has since closed, but more remarkable than the price was the fact it made it home in my luggage without a single breakage LOL!

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Since then, as I see a piece I grab it. It’s always a pleasant surprise to find it in the local thrift shops for $6. Some are authentic, stamped Limoges, some are “similar to”, as we say in Architecture. It all looks amazing at dinner in the end, and only the ‘Grand Duke’ would ever flip to the plates to confirm authenticity hahaha.

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Before today’s thrifty finds, I hadn’t seen this wide, shallow bowl style. ODDLY, today I found 3 – 2 Limoges and 1 ‘similar to’ from China. No matter – they happen to be the same size/shape, and happily there are more to be found on ebay if I need to fill out to a dinner-party-sized number.

One day there will be gorgeous dinnerwares with this logo! Maybe! I’m hoping! That would be SO.NEXT.LEVEL.

Although listed as a ‘SOUP’ bowl, I think they’ll be perfect for smaller portions of a decadent pasta, like the Poached Quail Egg Ravioli with Lemon Sage Sauce I’ll be attempting this weekend. Happily the cashier gave them all to be for the lowest price of $5.

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The word Limoges actually refers to a City/area in France where this particular style of china is manufactured by a variety of factories, hence the wide array of stamps you’ll find on the back. While I don’t believe I have any of the original Serves porcelain pieces of royal heritage, I definitely have some of the Haviland whose factories date back to 1841. But there are TENS OF THOUSANDS of Limoges stamps out there, so I don’t usually worry about exact identification. I tend to focus on the gold rim, as that’s what they’re most well-known for, and the easiest to find/match.

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In the meantime, as I wrap up my gold-rimmed Limoges collection, I’m beginning to research Wedgwood to start a NEW collection of decorative ‘charger’ plates to fancy up my Pottery Barn Caterer’s plates (and I can already hear the sighs and eyerolls from Hubby… YES, I’m sure I need more plates… NO, I don’t know where we’ll put them… ).

I fell in LOVE with a set of green chargers I saw in the Dining Room at Sunnylands during a private tour. Now THERE’S a place that has an amazing collection of dinnerware! I might not be cooking for Presidents or Queens, but that doesn’t mean my guests aren’t just as important and shouldn’t be just as spoiled haha.

What? Obsessive?! I’m the only one that falls in love with a plate??
*sigh*

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SHOP | Vintage + Thrifting 101

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Some might say thrifting is an obsession, but how can it be a bad thing when you’re actually doing the world a SERVICE by keeping used items from the landfills?! Haha – Hubby doesn’t quite see my shopping as a service to society, but oh well.

I don’t know where my love of antiquing came from, but as it seems to be solely based around Kitchen goods, I’m guessing it started about the same time I was learning to cook and starting to entertain.

Since then I’ve scoured flea markets and vintage/thrift shops here in Vancouver, California, Paris and London to name a few. “Local vintage / thrift” is a common Google search now when I travel – it’s become my “Museum stop” (along with often taking a local Cooking Class).

From crystal barware I use as water glasses at dinner parties, to my 10-set Limoges dinner ware, to random Parisian linens, to my extensive – and growing – milk glass collection, I suppose there’s a point where one could say I’m just a hoarder (or so my Hubby says).

After awhile you start to know your vibe and what you can and cannot find in certain places.

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Thrift Shops

Thrift shops are the most cost effective, and treasures CAN be found. I have a string of shops that happen to be on my way to places I go often, so I pop in looking only for certain things like marble rolling pins ($8 used, vs $95 in stores – and they’re amazing for rolling out dough for cookies or pizza), or MORE milk glass.

More expensive finds tend to have chips or cracks, or are in “less than” shape, as they’re often already looked over by real hunters buying for their shops/markets before anything gets to the shelf, so be picky. You’ll get a feel for what you can find rather quickly. Also you can ask what days they re-stock the shelves if you want first looks.

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Flea Markets

Flea Markets can be great both locally and abroad, but you won’t necessarily find anything each time, and the prices can be close to what you might buy something new for. That said, I’ve found many a treasure! Typically a set of dishes or cutlery that would have been pieced off in a Thrift Store or OVER priced in a vintage/antique shop. My brass candle holder collection has blossomed with flea markets! Who knew I NEEDED so many?!

If you frequent certain markets, you’ll get to know the vendors and if you’re friendly and kind, that’ll lead you to a great “best price” relationship. Watch how hard you bargain – don’t be harsh, be respectful, learn their names, and in the long run you’ll end up with the best deals of all.

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pro TIP

Be respectful, learn the Vendors names, and in the long run you’ll end up with the best deals of all.

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Vintage/Antique Shops

Actual vintage and antique shops tend to be the most expensive. Someone from the shop has already done all the hunting and purchasing up front, and has curated it into a rented space for you to browse. This doesn’t mean bargains can’t be found, and sometimes they have a great mix of vintage and new that’s perfect for gifts, too. I love finding the big antique MALLS in places like Fort Langley (near Vancouver), Palm Springs and most recently in Calgary.

I shopped the vintage shops in Palm Springs on Black Friday once – everything typically a little more expensive was suddenly half price!

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ONLINE – EbayFR!!!

I found a lovely dishware set of 6 once that was missing JUST ONE PLATE! But the entire adorable set had matching bowls and salad/dinner plates for $60, so I grabbed it anyhow. Once home, I found that missing plate on ebay.fr — (holdthephone – FRANCE HAS ITS OWN EBAY AND IT’S AMAZING!!) — between the price and shipping that one plate probably cost me another $40, but whatever – I was happy.

The Lady Hamilton silver-plated cutlery handed down from my Nana and Mom a few years back has been VERY filled out by searching ebay. Be patient – I found a 95pc box of it for $50 once, just needed some cleaning. Be choosy and shop around, watching prices as you go.

I also “have a guy” (well, LADY) in Scottsdale that does all the estate hunting there and sometimes posts reasonably priced finds on Instagram. My fave were some beautiful Limoges platters.

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NOW, what to DO with all these hard-found treasures?!
I’ll get to that 🙂

For now – what are your favorite hunting grounds where you live??! Any extra tips?

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