Since our Lake Cabin is really a rental condo, there are certain requirements for inventory so that guests can have what they need during their vacation. When I spoke with the key lady in the management office this week, she was very clear on two points. First, the living room couch had to be a sleeper. Second, do not under estimate the rate at which kitchen supplies (e.g., dishes, glasses) get broken. We are required to have at least six of everything for our two bedroom condo, but the recommendation was to double that amount to be ready for mishaps that deplete the stash.
For the glassware, I ordered a bunch of Anchor Hocking's Manchester Tartan glasses: twelve each of the ice tea, juice and scotch glass sizes. We have them at home and they are virtually indestructible. These glasses have a solid, heavy feel that is great for almost all occasions. I was poking around on the internet this week trying to get inspiration for the dishes, but didn't really find anything that I absolutely loved AND was reasonably priced enough so that I would not care when it got broken. Then I hit the jackpot on Craigslist. Just north of me a lady was selling her parents' china. Apparently this couple really liked to entertain back in the day. They passed away in 1971, however, so these dishes have been essentially sitting in a sideboard for forty years. They are marked on the back with "Creative Fine China 1014 Japan." Apparently they were made sometime in the 1930s or 40s, which is consistent with the seller's story. The little starburst pattern is so perfectly art deco that it almost breaks my heart. There seem to be a lot of these dishes for sale on the internets, so it must have been a popular and reasonably priced pattern during the depression era.
The ad said there were seven complete place settings, some serving dishes and single pieces. When I arrived, I offered $100 for the lot. I think the seller did not know just how big the lot was (nor did I when I made the offer). If she had, she might have held out for more. All in all, I walked away with:
14 dinner plates
26 luncheon plates
12 salad plates
26 desert plates
26 desert plates
24 teacups and saucers (plus extra saucers)
8 finger bowls (ha!)
15 coasters (who knew that china sets used to come with coasters...)
2 sugar bowls
3 salt and 2 pepper shakers
1 covered butter dish
1 gravy boat (for all the gravy I'll be making at the lake....)
2 oval serving bowls
1 large round serving bowl
1 oval serving platter
The super cool thing is that these dishes coordinate perfectly with another vintage Japanese China set that I use at home for fancy occasions. That set is a plain white with a triple platinum rim. Since I have so many pieces, I will probably send 12 pieces of each item down to the lake and keep the rest here for mixing in with my home set. And if/when some pieces break, it will be no big deal.