Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Sur La Table

Some simple, some plain and some elaborate. All good for many uses and fun too!


    Antiques for the table have long been a favorite of mine. I have had a love affair with china, crystal and silver for as long as I can remember. If you shop right, take your time, and learn what to look for, antiques for the table can be purchased very reasonably. The myth that antiques are so expensive is a false one.  Antiques can be found for very low prices, especially if you look in the right places. No need to go to the most expensive shops and web sites, when there are plenty to be found at small local shops, flea markets, antique malls and yard sales.Some of my favorite silver flat ware pieces have been found at my local church rummage sale. A lot of beautiful things can show up at this kind of sale. Just keep it in mind, go early and look fast. These items are usually grabbed first.
    In certain contemporary circles, silver has been out of fashion-so stuffy,some people say, too much trouble to clean, too hard to store. It seems that silver has been replaced with stainless and plastic. But others know better-"silver", is a rooms jewelry. Even if we do not use our silver for makers intended,but instead just use them for display,they impart a touch of elegance. Silver adds a sparkle to every occasion, dresses up every event and makes even a family meal very special.
   Consider incorporating silver treasures into daily living. Pieces can be picked up reasonable and are really neat to use. People will  make over them and can make an ordinary dinner seem special. Sterling silver is very expensive, especially today with the silver prices being sky high. With the invention of silver plate, which  joins a thin coating of silver to another metal, and is therefore less expensive than sterling, silver become much more available  to the masses.
     A set of silver flatware used to be a brides dream and was considered one of her most valuable things. My mother loved to give a beautiful silver plate antique serving piece for a wedding gift. She was always on the look out for special ones to keep on hand to wrap up when needed.
    Flatware is a relatively recent development.Early flatware was limited to almost exclusively spoons, ladles and tongs. Spoons were first made in the 17th  and 18th century, but were mainly only available to the Royals or the very wealthy. It wasn't till the 19th century that new technical developments - electroplating and steam powered drop presses that stamped out enormous quantities of specialized shapes, and engine turning, a technique for decorating hallow ware- made mass production of silver patterns possible.
   In the 18th century few people had a complete pattern of silver ware. Most people had a combination of several sets, like:fish,fowl,desert and so on. Pearl landed knifes were mingled in with the other pieces.
     In the Victorian Age, dining was a extremely serious business and flatware makers propspered  as a result, offering designs as diversified and particular as possible. Objects of once homely utility, were elevated to the status of art. Owning a vast quantity of electroplated objects was a sign of status.
   Meals often encompassed eight to  ten courses, and required many different serving pieces to serve these courses, the way they were intended.

I found this old simple spoon holder for $3.00 and it works well to hold my serving pieces. So pretty to see them all hanging on the back of my dining room china closet door and so handy to get the one you need.

   These silver pieces were popular for wedding, Christmas and anniversary gifts and were intended to supplement an existing silver service. Berry spoons, pie sets,chocolate sets,salad servers, cream ladles, oyster and nut spoons were just a few examples. The first quarter of the 19th century was the golden are of American silver flatware production. Some people oped for a complete matching set, and bought all pieces in one pattern. This trend continued into the 20th and 21th century. Today most  hollow ware sets are matching, with only a few of us,   continuing  the mix and match policy. I for one find it mush more fun and makes my table a little more exciting.
    I never worry about using a particular piece for what it was intended. I use them for what I need it to do at the time. They look so pretty on your table and add a little elegance to a platter of meat, bowl of fruit or a tray full of cheese. When they are polished they catch the light and the users eye. There is a trend today to use your silver un-polished. I guess it gives a pewter appearance and goes along with that Shabby look, people are so crazy about. I say, if you like it that way, go ahead, but I for one, love it all polished up and gleaming.
      For the longest time I kept my collection of silver serving pieces in a buffet drawer in my dining room. I found myself digging for a certain piece. One day at an antique mall I found a very simple wooden spoon holder for $3.00. I liked it because it had rounded out shelves and I thought it might work to hold my pieces. It did work, if I placed the pieces in handles up, where they   were meant to be handles down. I hung it on the back of my dining room china closet  door and it looks pretty and is so handy to find the piece you want. I polished all these pieces up last week getting ready for a ladies luncheon at, My Old Historic House, so I thought it would be a good time to post about them. Thanksgiving is next week and I am sure they will find many good uses then as well. I hope you enjoyed seeing them as much as I have enjoyed collecting them.Come by some time soon for a tour and I'll serve you something good, using one of these pieces. I will leave the lights on and Sissy Dog will always meet you with a jump and a kiss.
   Start collecting some of these old wonderful silver plate pieces soon. You'll be surprised when and where you will find them. And then have fun using them.


Shine bright wonderment.

I found this white  spoon holder recently at a antique shop in Columbia, Mo. I have in the kitchen , by my stove, so handy to reach for a spoon when needed.