Treasures of the China Cabinet

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With all of our snow in the Chicago area this winter, there are days when you either don’t want to venture out because it’s 25 degrees below zero, or you are actually stuck in the house because the driveway is not plowed yet and there is no way out.   One of the choices is to do some early Spring cleaning.  I decided to tackle the china cabinet.  Turns out it’s a bigger job than I thought.

China cabinet before

It’s  more than a little messy, right?  You should see the drawers;  just as bad. I’ve got my work cut out for me, but it will be lovely when it’s done.  The fun part about cleaning out cabinets, drawers, closets, garages, attics, or basements is what you find.  Some things are long forgotten, or you have been looking for them forever.  Let’s take a peek inside.

One of my favorite pieces is a cake stand that my mom received as a wedding gift in the early 1940’s.

China cabinet mom cake stand 1

Red must have been a popular color choice, as my mother-in-law had a gorgeous set of glasses with three different sizes.  We love these!  There are eight of each size, and they look very festive with a Christmas place setting.

China cabinet red trimmed glasses 2

I love serving spoons!  Here are some that belonged to my grandmother, with several of the spoons with dates on the back.

China cabinet serving spoon trio 2

China cabinet serving spoons group 1

China cabinet spoons with dates

Another favorite from my mom is a set of tiny and delicate espresso or tea spoons she bought in Copenhagen back in the late 1950’s.  I adore these, and sometimes I will take them out of their satin-lined box and just look at them.  I used to play with them when I was little, probably because they were kid-sized and had a nice smooth feel.

China cabinet Copenhagen tea spoons

This is my paternal grandmother’s Chicago tea cup.  It’s the perfect size for the above Copenhagen spoons.

China Cabinet Chicago tea cup 2

I have several knife carving sets, but this silver one from Peacock’s in Chicago is my favorite:

China cabinet Peacock carving set close up

I don’t even know where this corkscrew and bottle opener are from, but I love them.  I’ll have to ask my mom if she remembers.  They are both really heavy to hold.

China cabinet corkscrew 2

This Delft belonged to my beloved Aunt Margery.  She used to keep the cup on the kitchen shelf by the sink in her tiny Iowa kitchen.  The little shoe is actually a pin cushion that she kept in her sewing box.

China cabinet Delft set 2

These small pitchers belonged to my great-grandmother.

China cabinet pitchers duo 1

I love tea sets.  The elegant Limoges trio belonged to my grandmother, and the gold set my mom bought somewhere in the late 1950’s or early ’60’s.  I use the gold quite a bit  in food photos, especially the little cup and dish.

China cabinet tea set trio 1

China cabinet gold tea set 2

My latest find is a bruschetta plate I found in Tuscany.  I adore this hand-painted plate and all its memories from a life-changing trip to Italy.

China cabinet bruschetta whole 1

China cabinet bruschetta close up

I have a lot of Waterford Lismore design in various sizes along with a pitcher and bowl, but it’s hard to photograph those, plus I didn’t feel like moving them back and forth between the dining room and where I shoot photos.  I also have a breath-taking martini set from one of my husband’s aunts, that consists of a beautiful and unusually shaped pitcher with a sterling silver stirrer, and eight stunning martini glasses with glass bottoms of different colors that literally shimmer in the light.

When I finally finish working on the cabinet, I’ll take an “after” shot for you –  then I’ll be ready for a dinner party!

Who wants to come?

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12 Responses to Treasures of the China Cabinet

  1. Mary Louise February 11, 2014 at 4:43 am #

    I can certainly relate to this blog! Last week while much of my state was “snowed-in,” I tackled the china cabinets and a curio cabinet. What a wonderful travel adventure it turned out to be — a trip down memory lane that included warm fuzzies and smiles!

    • Debbie February 11, 2014 at 5:45 am #

      I somehow knew my kindred spirit would be the first to reply! 😉

  2. Barb Spigner February 11, 2014 at 5:04 am #

    I clean out my china cabinet every other December so when I turn the lights on in it for Christmas there is no dust and glasses that get that smoky film on them. One thing I have learned to do to get really sparkling glasses is fill a spray bottle up with ammonia and I spray each glass with it–inside and out. I let it sit for a few minutes (do a bunch at a time and when you get the last glass sprayed the first one will be ready) squirk some dishwashing detergent in it and wash. You have to be very careful as the ammonia makes the glass VERY slippery. But my glasses come out sparkling–no streaks, water drops, etc. Another think I do is take a picture of each shelf on my phone before I take everything out so I can remember where everything goes once it’s clean. And I work from the top shelf down to the bottom so that any lint/dust is constantly moving downward. It’s a great system. I also use those “miracle clothes” to dry the glasses–you can buy a bunch of them in the automotive section of Target, Walmart, etc. They dry with no streaks or lint.

    • Debbie February 11, 2014 at 5:49 am #

      Barb, I am using your cleaning method! Thank you so much for the info. However, I am not sure I could do it every December! You must have the best china cabinet in Lake County!

      • Barb Spigner February 11, 2014 at 7:17 am #

        Every other year I do it–so every other year it’s the best. lol

        • Debbie February 11, 2014 at 5:36 pm #

          Sorry, Barb- read it too fast! Even every other year would be a lot for me, but maybe after seeing how the cabinet will look after I’m done, I’ll keep up with it!

  3. Mary Louise February 11, 2014 at 7:10 am #

    Adding a few pieces of regular white chalk, (yes chalk), to the silverware drawers which are lined with tarnish proof fabric works for me too! The chalk helps absorb moisture which causes any silver to tarnish! 🙂

    • Debbie February 11, 2014 at 5:37 pm #

      ML – never heard of the chalk remedy! Got to try that, too!

  4. Lisa keys February 11, 2014 at 7:58 am #

    Great tips from all you fine ladies–thank you. Love my treasures, too, but HATE polishing the silver pieces. Out to buy some chalk

    • Debbie February 11, 2014 at 5:38 pm #

      Me, too, Lisa! Hate polishing.

      • Kristina Vanni February 12, 2014 at 7:55 am #

        Is it odd that I love polishing?! I love cleaning jewelry too… It just looks so pretty when it is all done!

        • Debbie February 12, 2014 at 9:37 pm #

          You can come home anytime and clean all the silver!

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