My new dishes

I’ve had the same sturdy set of Corelle dishes for 20 years. It began as a small collection given to us by my sweet mother in law. Over the years as our family grew, she kept her eye out for more dishes in the same pattern so that we’d still have enough. Many times I’ve been thankful for the sturdy grace of that Corelle. It is incredibly hard to break, yet it is light weight and is very streamlined in the kitchen cupboards.

However, after 20 years with the same dishes, I’ve pined now and then for something new, especially when company comes. But I couldn’t imagine finding something both affordable AND durable. These days with all the company we have, I’d probably want service for 20 or more. That would be expensive, and I could just picture my unhappiness the first (and second, and third time) a careless child broke a new dish. What to do?

My friend Molly, who also has a large family, had the same issue and came up with the perfect solution.  She began scouring thrift stores for plain white dishes, heavy sturdy plates in various patterns. For 75 cents to a dollar a plate, she was quickly able to find enough dishes for her whole family and for company. Inspired by her, I went hunting. Here’s what I found!

Along with several dozen dinner plates, I found 18 bowls, a dozen small plates, a couple of coffee mugs, and a complete serving set (still in the box) consisting of a serving bowl, a platter, salt and pepper shakers, and a cream and sugar set.

At the thrift store, the plates ranged from 50 cents to a dollar each, and the entire serving set was $8.   My very best find was at a recent yard sale, where I found a whole box full of white dishes  (5 plates, 2 mugs, a platter, and a dozen bowls) for $5.  Altogether I spent less than $80 for enough dishes to host a sizable party.  There are at least half a dozen patterns, and yet when set out on the table, the simple white of them all makes for a very cohesive look.  I love their simple elegance, and the knowledge that I can go find more if something does happen to break!

{ 22 Comments }

  1. Pretty pictures and dishes both!

  2. Gotta love yard sales! Wonderful things that someone is willing to part with 🙂

  3. Jessica says:

    Awesome! A friend of mine did this with her silverware.

  4. wonderful idea – I also enjoy the beauty of food plated on white plates – lets the natural colors show. Hooray for thrifty ways (which are also esthetically charming!)

  5. What a great idea! The pictures are beautiful.

  6. Pretty! I need new dishes too. Mine are all chipped. We’ve been married 25 years…we’re due!

  7. What a great idea. I’ll bet you buy other pieces often. I have a set of dishes – also getting old – and to stretch the tableware, I use a lot of crystal or crystal-like serving dishes. I think it makes the table look pretty.

    And for desert dishes, I found a dozen plain white, platinum edged small dishes (Royal Doulton) for $5.00. I considered that quite a find. And they get used often.

  8. shannon says:

    Mary, what a great idea. I may have to copy if you don’t mind.
    And, I got excited and took the title of your post a different way. When I read “My new dishes” I was hoping for some new recipes! I am going to get your book at the library soon!

  9. Wonderful idea. I collect white dishes, too. I love the way you can mix dollar store finds with special pieces and it all looks wonderful together. When everything is white the whole table setting looks like it came out of a magazine.

  10. Those are beautiful! We’ve just decided to do the same thing – either get white dishes from the thrift store, or order a case of plain white heavy restaurant-ware. Neat!

  11. i love the mix and match aspect of this. great pics too!

  12. I love that idea!

  13. What a wonderful solution! Our dish set is also comprised of all white dishes. We picked it for exactly the reasons that you mentioned – the dishes are durable, pretty, simple, elegant, and they match with EVERYTHING. 🙂

  14. After years of having the same dishes I finally got rid of them this past winter. I’ve been trying to purge things that I had leftover from my first marriage. These weren’t plates I loved, they were just plates. I went on Amazon and searched for the perfect set. They are totally me. I used part of my Christmas bonus to treat myself to them.

  15. Great idea!

    I’ve been collecting Fiestaware for years. (new not vintage, lol!) Whenever I “need” a new plate, I can buy one of the new colors. And, no problem if a kids breaks one (which has only happened 3 times in 10 years), since they are all different colors anyway.

    On sale at Macy’s with coupons and what-not, I’ve rarely paid more than half price (and usually less).

  16. What a great idea!!

  17. What a great idea. I’ll bet you buy other pieces often. I have a set of dishes – also getting old – and to stretch the tableware, I use a lot of crystal or crystal-like serving dishes. I think it makes the table look pretty.

    And for desert dishes, I found a dozen plain white, platinum edged small dishes (Royal Doulton) for $5.00. I considered that quite a find. And they get used often.

  18. Those white dishes with the fruit look like my Gibson plates! I need to replace a plate, a saucer, a dessert plate, and 4 of the small bowls (not the soup bowls). I’m watching the thrift store. I found a dessert plate yesterday for .49.

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