I've always been a collector and am a confessed "dishaholic." We have at least 4 sets of dishes, 3 of which are complete services for 20. That's because, in our will, those 3 are divided equally among 5 offspring, as is the silver flatware.
One set is a beautiful compilation of American, Dutch and English Blue Willow and, with it, there are full sets of Depression cobalt glassware. There are also many other pieces of cobalt glass, such as bowls, dessert plates, sherbet dishes, etc.
Another set is Homer Laughlin's Virginia Rose, which is a lovely romantic pattern with a scalloped edge rimmed in silver. I accompany that with pale green Depression glassware.
A third set is four of the five colors of Taylor, Smith & Taylor's Lu-Ray Pastels. I didn't collect any of the Chatham Gray because I thought it a bit drab/depressing and, also, it's extremely difficult to find as not many pieces were made and, as a result, it's quite expensive. I pair the Lu-Ray with clear pieces of Depression glass.
Our everyday dishware is a Corelle pattern called Summer Blush.
Each set of our china has full compliments of serving pieces. The Lu-Ray even has several floral vases and a huge epergne, which I love.
As for silver, we have a service for 20, again to be given to the children, in Rogers Bros. pattern called Arbutus. It's a very old pattern and discontinued but it looks so lovely with all the china, especially the Virginia Rose.
Many, many years ago my late husband's mother gave me all her silver serving pieces and tea and coffee service. They are exquisite and we use them often. In addition to those pieces we have cabinets full of trays, bowl, pitches, baskets, julep cups, pedestals, etc., many of which I have found at yard sales and thrift stores for pennies. I just bought a beautiful Towle bud vase at a thrift store the other day for 50 cents.
One of the silver pieces I treasure is a lovely Victorian castor, which contains silver-capped cruets for vinegar and oil, salt and pepper, and mustard. The large handle is a beautiful swan's head. I bought it at a yard sale years ago for practically nothing. It was so black with tarnish that I don't imagine the seller knew what it was. It took me a long time to clean it up, but it's a showpiece now.
There's bunches of crystal glassware and stemware, as well as many sizes and shapes of plates and bowls in plain, unpatterned glass.
Also, when my late husband's mother gave up her house, she gave me all her Wedgewood china. Beautiful pattern but it'd gotten beaten up a bit and there aren't many pieces in serviceable shape. It, too, is discontinued but way TOO costly for me to consider adding to or replacing damaged pieces. For now, I'll save it as a keepsake and hope that one of Buck's sons will want it as a remembrance of their grandmother.
Except for our everyday dishware, most of what we have and use is easily 100-years-old. When the table is set with any of the sets, I am taken back to a gentler time and I try to imagine what was served and what was talked about around the table.
Yep, I said I was a dishaholic and I meant it, but all these beauties are old friends and, in many cases, aren't being produced any more. Kinda like me. There's only one of me and that's it and I'm still a bit serviceable.