If you’ve been following my blog and come to the parties, you’ve probably figured out that I like dishes. I’ve been acquiring them for years and I am always adding to my collection. One of my dear friends wanted help in building her dinnerware collection. I thought about where to begin and realized that I followed a few rules.




My first rule is that I only buy what I love, what I’m drawn to or what makes me smile. I never worry about matching everything exactly. It won’t make for an interesting table and it’s no fun.


My second rule might surprise you: If you’re starting from scratch, start with all white dinner plates. This may sound odd when you see how much color is always on my table. But I still use the first set of white bone china I bought 20 years ago. I mix them with everything from solid colors to flowers. A secret most restaurants know is that food always looks great on a white plate!


My third rule is that whenever relatives offered me their old dishes, I said, “Yes.” Even if I thought my great aunt’s flowery dishes were too old-fashioned, I mixed them with other patterns and used them just for dessert or salad.


My fourth rule is that I always look for bargains. I shop at Costco, World Market, Amazon and flea markets. Also, I am a big fan of eBay. Lots of people have inherited their aunt Susie’s dishes that they are eager to sell. Local thrift stores (especially if they are connected to local charities) are great sources of beautiful dishes. Also, if you have a local auction house specializing in estate sales, they usually sell dishes at a deep discount. Don’t worry if they don’t have a complete set. You just need at least 8 of something to add to your collection.


The photos that accompany this post illustrate all my rules. I know you are used to seeing photos of delicious food you are dying to try. I realize empty plates are not so exciting but you can see the first set of white bone china I bought and how I mix it with casual plates for the Moroccan Feast (my next party) and how I will mix it with vintage bone china for a more autumnal dinner.


Also, all of these dishes (except for my original white china) were purchased either on Amazon, at thrift stores, eBay and at flea markets.


Build your collection and send me photos please!


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