Monday, November 18, 2013

Kitchen Casualties

Some of the Saturday night kitchen casualties here at Blooming Hill.
Lavender tea cakes--the real culprits behind the Saturday night kitchen crash because it could not have been my fault!
I know I talk about blue and white china all to often. Heaven knows I certainly have enough of it around the place.   However, this past Saturday night, in my haste to tidy up the kitchen after making lavender tea cakes (mmmmm, delicious!), I opened the cabinet where I keep the china and five teacups came tumbling out from the highest shelf, hitting dinner plates and cereal bowls caught in the path of their free fall.  It only took a few seconds for china cups to topple over dishes, crash onto the granite counter top and shatter on the floor. Shards and flecks of blue and white 'Blue Danube' china scattered everywhere, in just the blink of an eye.

The unassuming kitchen cabinet--looks innocent enough.
I stood there staring in disbelief.  All I did was open the cabinet door and teacups came charging out like the monkeys in the Wizard of Oz  as the bad witch cried "Fly! Fly!"   After all, I am very careful with these dishes since they are the only set I have ever had in my almost 34 years of marriage, not wanting or needing another set or china pattern because, in my opinion, these have always been the prettiest of dishes.

An old 'Blue Onion' Meissen platter that was once my mother's.
It's not that I've never broken a dish before. It's just that this particular pattern, a version of Meissen 'Blue Onion' called 'Blue Danube' is no longer available in the housewares department at your average department store.  In fact, I can only seem to find my china pattern in antique shops and secondhand stores and sometimes in catalogs that offer discontinued patterns.  So, as the years goes by, a chipped cup here and a cracked cereal bowl there can add up and when you lose six pieces of china all at once, you not only realize that replacing them may not be all that easy to do but also that you've been married a long time and, I shall say it again, "Replacing them may not be that easy!"  Through all of the comings and goings, the good times and the bad, the births and the deaths and the growing up and moving on, something as simple as dinnerware has not only been there for my family and me, my 'Blue Danube' dishes, through it all, have also become members of the family, therefore making this set of china even more precious.

A couple of examples of the many stamps on the back of an old piece of 'Blue Onion' Meissen ware, depending on when and where they were manufactured.
I first realized I loved Blue Onion china, a pattern that has probably been copied more than any other china pattern, in its almost 300 years of existence, when I was a little girl and saw it displayed all over my Aunt Jeanne's house.  She had the real thing and when I say the real thing, I mean beautiful and truly old Meissen china pieces made originally in China (the country), then in Germany and England.  My 'Blue Danube' as pretty as I think it is, is merely a replica from the mid 20th Century and manufactured in Japan, so I suppose it at least qualifies, in this day and age, as "vintage."  I am, however, lucky enough to own a few pieces of Meissen 'Blue Onion' which some people will tell you that the onion is really a pomegranate that, in this case, looks like an onion--thus the name 'Blue Onion.'

A matchbook from our wedding reception.  Well used but it still has a few matches left in it! And, guess where I found it?  In a 'Blue Danube' serving dish stashed away in another cabinet.
I was never a big one to fantasize about my wedding day when I was a little girl however, I was always sure of one thing and that one thing was my china pattern would be 'Blue Danube' from Marshall Fields & Company.  Fortunately, that was exactly what I (at this point I should probably say WE meaning Peter and I) received from many generous and loving family and friends as wedding gifts.  Of course, when you ask for just about only that as a bride to be, that is what you get!

One of the several variations of the manufacturer's stamp on the back of a 'Blue Danube' dinner plate. Kind've pretty isn't it? 
So, there I stood, this past Saturday night, with 'Blue Danube' china pieces strewn about my feet and a bit of my life flashing before my eyes.  The only thing that saved me from crying was that I knew I still had a good supply of tea cups left in my cupbard for all of the days ahead of my family and me and, in spite of an unexpected mishap which inevitably happens in life from time to time no matter how well prepared you think you are, my 'Blue Danube' will remain, steadfastly, a member of the Rinek household, although I will be making a point of visiting a few area antique shops--all in the name of keeping the family together, of course!  

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

'In' The Wings of Angels

You know the iconic line by Zuzu in the movie,  "It's A Wonderful Life" when she says to her father, played by Jimmy Stewart, "Look daddy, teacher says every time a bell rings, an Angel gets her wings!" Who doesn't know that line and who doesn't, deep down in their own heart, want to believe it!?  I believe it's a nod toward the optimism that hope, faith and love bring to everyone, Christian or not, throughout the year, day in and day out.

Angels in the form of friends, relatives and strangers touch us, guide us and hang in there with us every day.  With this in mind, I am inspired to make Angel wings filled with lavender potpourri to remind me of all of the special connections I have to Angels; those that have, however briefly, come in and out of my life and those who hang in there with me.  After all, 'tis the season to pay homage to Angels "echoing their joyous strains."  So, if a ringing bell signifies an angel getting her wings, just imagine having those wings filled with lavender--that sweet-smelling Angel probably slides right into one heavenly management position!