Thursday, April 23, 2020

The Everyday Dishes

About 25 years ago, my sweet mom and I were shopping in our local Reading China -- oh how I still miss that store.  You could find just about anything there, and it was usually good quality at a good price, too.  Anyway, I happened to spot these boxed sets of dishes on an endcap, and I was immediately hooked.  For our entire married life (which at that time was only about eight years) I had used the cheap modest stoneware dishes that I bought at K-Mart when I first moved out into my own apartment.  I don't have any pictures of those dishes, but I thought they were very pretty at the time.  We also had some dinner plates passed down from Hal's mom that came from the potteries in Seagrove, North Carolina.  
       Back to the dishes at Reading China; these were a pretty, blue and white floral pattern with swirled rims.  The Anglophile in me rejoiced.  ๐Ÿ˜Š  These dishes just looked so very English, like they belonged in a big, Welsh dresser in an old-fashioned kitchen, complete with an Aga range and exposed beams on the ceiling.  As it turns out, the dishes are English; they're called "Finlandia Blue," made by Churchill Pottery, in Staffordshire, England.  I had not planned to get new dishes when we walked into the store that day, hadn't even thought about needing new everyday dishes, but I really fell for that pattern.  My mom said she would give them to me for Christmas, and for years after that, we added more pieces to the collection.
When I showed the dishes to my mother-in-law, she liked them, too.  She said they reminded her of the Royal Copenhagen "Blue Fluted" fine china, except these were more practical and affordable.
I found this picture of Royal Copenhagen "Blue Fluted" dishes on Wikipedia.  Those really are fine china.
My Churchill dishes are not fine china, nor are they costly, but I love them anyway.  The K-Mart dishes had served us well, but they didn't have any matching serving pieces.  I realized it would be nice to have matching vegetable bowls, meat platter, etc.  After 25 years of collecting, we have dinner plates, salad plates, bread and butter plates, cereal bowls, rimmed soup bowls, coffee mugs, teacups and saucers, and various serving pieces.  When we got our kitchen re-modeled eight years ago, I planned the kitchen colors around these dishes.  I also asked our contractor to put glass doors on one of my cabinets so that I could display our everyday dishes.  He did a great job for us, and I've really enjoyed having the glass doors.
I almost always use the everyday dishes when I take pictures for my recipe posts.  You've seen them here --   
Grilled Pork Tenderloin 
Beef and Guinness Stew 
Apple Pudding Cake   
Over the years, I've used bits and pieces of these dishes in various tablescapes, but I've never done a post just to showcase the "Finlandia Blue," so I finally put one together this past weekend. 
I was pleased to see that they set a pretty table.  This is a pattern that can be dressed up or down.  I could set this up at the kitchen table with casual linens for the "dressed down" look.  I like them both ways.
The description for this pattern on the Replacements Ltd. website reads, "Blue flowers & scales, swirled rims."  There are variations of this pattern made by other companies such as Myott, and Johnson Brothers.  These dishes are the workhorses at our house; they go in the dishwasher and microwave, and they've held up well for 25 years.
I'm still enjoying my lacy napkins.  ๐Ÿ˜‰
One of my favorite things about the Churchill dishes is the curvy handles on the cups, gravy boat, and the tops for the sugar bowl, etc.  Those curves keep them from looking plain.  My mother-in-law has given me all these special serving pieces for Christmas over the years.  They don't get used as often, but they're my favorite pieces.
This oval vegetable bowl is actually from another pattern, Johnson Brothers "Denmark Blue," but it coordinates very well with the Churchill pattern.  I've never seen an oval serving bowl in the Finlandia pattern.
-- More curvy handles.  The creamer and sugar bowl came with the original boxed set that my mom gave me.
I think this covered vegetable bowl is probably my very favorite piece -- I just love it.
I used our wedding stainless on the table, Oneida "Tennyson."  I've had the placemats for several years.
I used the bee glasses to welcome spring, along with our iced beverage stems.
The bouquet came from Trader Joe's -- it's a treat to have fresh flowers in the house.  I had a hard time capturing the color, but the roses and carnations are a true, pale pink.  The candlesticks belonged to my husband's late grandmother, and she gifted them to me many years ago.
One thing I love about this pattern is that it came with bread and butter plates, as well as salad plates.  Have you noticed that dishes hardly ever include bread and butter plates anymore?  I use these a lot for desserts as well as for bread.  
I finally got a plant for my inherited plant stand.  My mom rooted this asparagus fern for me, and I hope I can keep it alive.  This window only gets sunlight for a short time of day, so we shall see.  I've had the blue and white planter for a while, so I'm glad to finally have a plant for it.  ๐Ÿ˜‰
Just so you know -- We use these dishes every day, but I rarely set a fancy table with nice linens, flowers, etc.  We're usually too busy and in too much of a hurry to sit down and eat. ๐Ÿ˜   Doing these tablescapes is a creative outlet for me.   
Do you have a favorite set of hardworking dishes?  I'd love to hear from you!  Thanks so very much for your visits -- your comments really do make my day!!  Have a good weekend, my friends.   
I'm joining Susan at Between Naps on the Porch for "Tablescape Thursday."  Hope to see you there!  A big "Thank You" to Susan for hosting this blog party every Thursday!


  1. Lovely dishes, such an elegant pattern. Your table is so inviting, ready for a return to normal of having guests and enjoying family meals.

  2. Love this! I believe it is one of your prettiest tablescapes. I love the napkins, placemats,and of course, the dishes. They have really served you well Love you, Mom

  3. I love blue and white too! Churchill makes some very nice patterns. Your table is lovely and I, like you, find a creative outlet in designing a tablescape.

  4. You have set a lovely table, Denise! I love your dishes. Blue and white are my favorites. I love your flowers. Your food is awesome too. So pretty and makes me hungry.
    I love the overhead shot. Yes, tablescaping is a creative outlet and especially now that we are sheltering in place. However, the weather is so pretty I can't stay inside.

  5. I’ve always loved those dishes of yours, Denise, and I loved reading the history behind them. It seems that they have served you well all these years and you have added so many pieces and some of different patterns, but they coordinate. Your table setting is beautiful! Your asparagus fern looks so pretty on your plant stand. I have three hanging from trees and they lasted through the winter. Happy weekend to you!

  6. These are beautiful dishes. That stew looks so delicious sitting on top of that mound of potatoes on the pretty plate, and thank you for the recipe because I am planning on making it tomorrow.
    Such a pretty table setting. I need to get some dishes I really like now. I have bits and pieces of dishes that are all white and need a change. You have such a pretty dining room and every thing looks so nice and inviting.

  7. Denise, I love this post! My mother and I had a favorite local china shop that had been in business for many years. And she and I both loved blue and white dishes. When I came home from caring for her at the end of her life hundreds of miles away, I went to that shop and bought my Blue Danube snack sets in her honor.



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