Earth Day is every day when you continue using your vintage china and glassware!
Most dinnerware is not recyclable, nor is broken glass or Pyrex.
Yet you can keep using those old dishes and glasses in different ways to jazz up your table setting, made up eclectic table settings, or just enjoy the style of something from decades past.
Of course, if you’re using vintage dishes to serve food, choose only those pieces that are in good condition. The cracked, crazed or chipped pieces (in most cases) can be garden ornaments, planters or the container for a floral arrangement or centerpiece.
(I recommend making sure you know what you have, before you drill, glue or paint, lest you turn that chipped teapot that’s still worth hundreds of dollars into a $3 tchotchke.)
I took a sugar bowl in the Sprite pattern by Lenox and made it my “go to” bowl for a popcorn snack. Sugar delivery system in a funky pattern from the 1970s.
This dinnerware is part of the Temperware line by Lenox, which is a casual china. The pieces have a similar look and feel to Corning Ware. Other patterns in this line are named Dewdrops, Merriment, Quakertown, Sketchbook and Summer Wind.
However, if you’re scouting for this ware in secondary markets, please note that, while it won’t chip easily, a lot of Temperware is yellowed with use, and likely dishwasher exposure.
For my purposes, I am picky. When you can find a quantity of bread plates to use for a special dessert set, or the serving pieces, they are often in very good to excellent condition.
This Lenox china is ready to join your vintage dinnerware collection as shining stars that you’ll enjoy using, and showing off.
I have Sprite on my permanent shopping list. And this popcorn, too. It’s the Kettle Corn by Popcornopolis.
Both are things that say YUM!
Vintage and Earth Day All Year Round
Since Earth Day in 1970, taking care of the planet has become more integrated into everyday living, though there is still a lot to be done.
Adding ways to reuse and repurpose vintage finds is just one way to bring the spirit of Earth Day into your household.
Baking makes it onto my list, too. The kinds of thing our mothers and grandmothers used to do every week, at least, as part of their household management.
I did a series on baking for Earth Day a few years ago, and you can find one of the posts here.
Baking in a Corning Ware casserole, and eating from a Temperware bowl. I’m thinking blueberry cobbler. That will work!
I have a trifle dish, but where? So I decided to make this fruity dessert in a vintage salad bowl.
I think the bowl shows off the cool dessert, and is something of a conversation piece for those like me who are interested in vintage glassware.
This bowl has a swirl edge and panels, and overall is square shaped. It’s not marked, and so far has eluded identification of a pattern and maker.
Based on the color, I’ll place it in the 1970s. The shape could put it into a later decade. In any case, old enough to be vintage.
The bowl caught my eye years ago, when I was out shopping in a thrift store, and I’ve been looking for opportunities to use it. It has a good 2.5 quart capacity, so it can hold a dish that serves a crowd.
The trifle is made from a 1990s recipe called Orange Pineapple Trifle. It uses instant pudding mix, milk, sour cream, angel food cake, pineapple and some juice, and mandarin oranges.
Layers of fruit, cake and pudding show off better in a regular trifle bowl, it’s true. Tall and deep is ideal. Shorter and wider, not to much.
In my case, I was happy enough to make the dessert in two layers, vs. three, and let the glass bowl take center stage.
We did enjoy eating the trifle. None of it went to waste!
It was sweet, but not too much, and hit the spot as winter fades into spring. And the bowl will be used again for salads and other desserts. (A cobb salad comes to mind.) The turquoise blue color goes well with many of my dinnerware and glassware patterns.
Who says a trifle has to always be served in a trifle bowl?
I love to use my vintage dishes, and there are almost no limits to the different possible ways to repurpose them.
Well, mostly vintage. The Fiesta mug in the upper left is about 10 years old. The beauty of this dinnerware is its vintage look, but you can buy them in quantity.
This peacock blue would be great on your Easter dinner table. And there are lots of other colors in Fiesta that work for a beautiful and colorful table setting for Easter, spring and summer holidays and other kinds of parties.
The cup and saucer is true vintage: the Vision pattern by Iroquois, designed by Ben Seibel. What a cute place setting for a Mid-Century Modern fan. Wrap up in cellophane and it’s a birthday gift for the vintage fan who has everything.
The funky chicken mug in the upper right is by Current/GHC. I’ll say late 1980s or early 1990s. Colors and hen motifs. Lots of fun, this mug.
If you want a whole table full of these, make your permanent shopping list and plan for the future. Or go with the Fiesta, which mixes and matches to many casual table setting ideas.
I get this question a lot: What is the value of a certain pattern of vintage china.
The short answer is the same as for other antiques and collectibles: whatever someone will pay you for it.
There are places to research the prices others have used when listing these dishes for sale. Sites like Replacements, eBay, Etsy, TIAS and others are all available to get an idea.
Whether the dinnerware will sell for those prices, however, is an open question.
That depends on demand for those particular patterns and styles, a subjective element.
- Was the pattern or shape created by a well-known designer, or fit into a popular style niche, such as Mid-Century Modern?
- Do people want to use this dinnerware for sentimental reasons, because it was mom’s or grandma’s pattern, and they’re collecting or adding to a set for similar motives?
- Or do they consider it made to a different, better standard than currently-available dinnerware, as they may attach to pre-1990 Pfaltzgraff or older Pyrex pieces?
I’m sure there are other factors that buyers have in mind when they’re seeking vintage dinnerware.
What To Do
If you have some vintage china that you’re interested in selling, those same websites are possibilities, as well as avenues you probably have available in the location where you live. Some private thrift stores sell on consignment, for example.
In my world, I like to use my vintage dinnerware. There’s a story that goes with almost every piece, to savor along with the food that I’m serving when I use it.
Whatever you decide, I hope you will enjoy your vintage dinnerware. Thanks for asking!
When it comes to St. Patrick Day’s, if your dinner table is wearing green today, you have a lot of choices in vintage dinnerware and glassware. These are just a few examples.
Just choose your favorites. Greens are easy to mix and match.
Green also works for Easter, and for the spring season in general. If it’s your favorite color, so much the better!
(I just couldn’t resist the green Peep!)
In the photo, I have a Corelle salad plate in the Spring Blossom pattern, with a border of green flowers along the edge. This is one of the original 1970s patterns, when Corning first launched the Corelle line, and it remains popular among those who remember it from childhood, or young married days when it was their first dinnerware in a new home.
(Okay, maybe in your case, it was grandma’s dinnerware.)
This is the retro green that many of us remember from those years.
The three-part relish is in the Georgian pattern by Anchor Hocking, also from the 1970s. I have a weakness for this kind of glassware. These pieces are pretty common in the secondary marketplaces because they were less-often used, and therefore survived.
These dishes work great for modern table settings, to serve pickles, nuts, mints, or other small items that you might be including in your menu, whether for a sit-down dinner or a buffet.
Search under avocado or olive green if you’re seeking them online, to describe this color green. It’s not quite the same as Forest Green, which is near the center of the green spectrum, as it varies between the yellow and blue ends. Avocado green will look more yellow than Forest Green, when comparing the two.
The glass leaf dish in the Pebble Leaf pattern by Indiana Glass is another favorite pattern of mine. This is the “true” Depression glass green shade. Very springy and sweet. (The green doesn’t make it old, but if it’s not this color, then it can be vintage, but not likely to be from the Depression era.)
This pattern was also made in the 1970s, and you will find pieces in the avocado green as well as other colors.
The only new piece in this photo is the creamer. It’s in the Cherry Thumbprint pattern by Mosser of Ohio. I’m a fan of this glassware, too, because it can bring vintage style to lots of table settings, it’s well-made and charming.
And because they’re new pieces, they can be used without fear of breaking grandma’s real antiques.
Any of these patterns will help your table setting wear green, today or every day, and a good corned beef dinner.
This kind of vintage glassware and dinnerware has a standing invitation on my permanent shopping list!
Time to wish my vintage china blog another happy birthday!
For year No. 7, I decided to go with some vintage clear glass, a theme that’s a little more Big Girl than some of the prior, younger years. Just like you might have something new when your daughter reaches the seventh birthday milestone.
I’ve got a soft spot for glassware, especially the beautiful vintage pieces you can find in any thrift store or estate sale.
Glass is tough, because so much of it is not marked. I cannot tell you (yet) the names of the patterns for the pieces shown here. I just pick up what I like, and go from there.
Here are a few things I’ve found:
- Glass has color, even if it’s clear. Some is bluer, some warmer. I generally favor the cooler clear glass, as that’s my preference, but it is a personal choice.
- The motifs and shapes are all over the style map as well. Sometimes I go for the simple shapes or geometric motifs, other times the floral. In a table setting, I find that settling on one style makes it easier to coordinate different patterns.
- I approach glassware in the secondary marketplace with a watchful eye, and fingers. I assume any piece I’m considering has a chip or a crack, and I look and feel carefully for those. I may buy a piece with a flea bite, but I want to know about it before I make my final decision.
- None of my vintage glassware ever goes in the dishwasher. (Nor my vintage china.) I’ve written about this before: dishwasher haze. It is disappointing to see wonderful pieces when I’m shopping that have been sandblasted in the dishwasher, and will never be clear again, unless they are wet.
Special Birthday Glassware
The glass cake plate and other pieces shown in this post are all recent purchases.
- I liked the cake plate because it’s flat, easy enough to slide a cake on, out of the bakery packaging. And it has a variety of motifs in the glass, so it can go several directions to complement other glassware pieces. The center is a sunburst or sunflower, the next band has dots, and the outer rim has geometric lines - all finished off with a gently scalloped edge.
- The small plate charmed me by its clarity, and the shimmer that it has in the light. (It gets to show off the piece of cake.)
- The swirl glass piece also intrigued me. It caught my eye from the first, with its a fine clarity, which it something I look for, as it says to me that the glass is high quality. This piece is also footed. It’s small for a cake plate, but a giant cupcake would go quite well on this. And a small cake and this little stand would make a wonderful gift for the vintage lover who has everything. (In this case, that would be me.)
Vintage glassware is just another way to have your cake and eat it, too, in a manner of speaking. Use it for any occasion, or every day, and enjoy it before, during and after.
And so, Happy Birthday, Diary of a Dishie! Here’s to many more years of collecting and enjoying the use of vintage dinnerware and glass!
A question from a reader, Beck, prompts this post. Do you ever see dishes in the marketplace that look a lot like your favorite pattern?
And, when you flip, you see a frilly scroll mark with “made in China” under it.
Probably not the match to grandma’s china.
I’ve seen this kind of mark on dishes a number of times in my travels. I’ve never bought them, though they look perfectly fine.
When I want my favorite patterns and brands, I know the marks to look for.
Beck’s grandma’s china reminded me of a Noritake pattern that I’ve seen, called Inverness. This is a vintage dinnerware design from the 1960s era, made for about 15 years. It has a lot of charm and classy style. It was made in Japan, like the Noritake china of that time.
Noritake has also made dinnerware in Ireland and other places over the years, depending on when.
If you’re looking to match a favorite vintage dinnerware set, check the marks, and that will tell you a lot, before you head out to shop for those special pieces.
Depending on your purpose, you may be okay with dinnerware that approximates those special patterns. Or "faux" may not do, and you want only the real deal.
Thanks, Beck, for asking!
(PS...both photos in this post show genuine Noritake's Inverness pattern china, not an approximation pattern.)