Tag Archives: China

What’s in Your Wall–…er…Cupboard?

Fiesta Tea Time w/A Stitch in Crime

Fiesta Time w/A Stitch in Crime

When friend, Angela McInnis (who crafted the quilt for my book cover), posted a pictorial record of her new Fiesta collection on Facebook, I rushed to check my own kitchen collectables, including vintage Fiesta, partying behind my cupboard doors.

Goodness, but her new Fiesta was charming! Did I like it better than the old? I read that it’s now (& has been) the most popular line of everyday dishes for Macy’s. Unlike the old, the new stuff has added wonderful pastel colors, is microwaveable, & dishwasher safe. Nice. My daughter uses hers daily & her kids love to pick out their own plate colors. (Me, too.)

But my Fiesta is all from the 1930s & ‘40s & must be hand-washed. No microwave use. Yet, has a charm of its own. Unlike some of my collections acquired over many years, picking through antique stores, yard sales, & online, the Fiesta came to me in an unusual way.

A friend of mine was getting rid of boxes of old things offloaded by someone. “Do what you want with these,” she’d been advised. Knowing I was a collector, she  invited me over to check them out & help her decide what to toss & what to keep.

Fiesta dishes on shelf

Fiesta in the Cupboard!

Deep in the first box, I found treasure. And became over-the-moon-excited about some Vaseline glass pieces, hoping to absorb one or two into my small collection. I oo-ed & ah-ed so much, she decided to keep them all. Rats.

But one box housed quite a lot of old Fiesta ware ready to use.The colors were mainly cobalt, yellow, light green, & ivory. Plus a couple broken bits, some chipped plates, & a cup with no handle. Of little interest to my friend, she offered the entire box to me for $75.00. Of course, I’d hoped for my favorite price. Free. But her price seemed fair.

A few special pieces beckoned from the bottom. A carafe with its rare top & a mint, covered casserole. Later, shopping for missing pieces out in the antique world, I realized that three dinner plates alone might cost $75.00. I had almost an entire set of dishes!

Dishes on the shelf

American Sweetheart & Fiesta ware.

Along with the Fiesta in my cupboard, reside my everyday dishes – a monax American Sweetheart set from the Depression era. They are lovely in form, opalescent, with a raised design decorating scalloped edges. Unlike the Fiesta, it took me ages to collect the American Sweetheart.

The top shelf is populated with early Franciscan ware (Gladding McBean) in a creamy, swirl pattern. A service for twelve, they have appeared in many Thanksgivings at my home, doing utilitarian duty in a most elegant way.

Franciscan & Fiesta

Franciscan & Fiesta

I look into my cupboards & see great value there. Not how much they are worth. But the years of pleasure I’ve had, treasure hunting with like-minded dear ones. I see places I’ve been & conversations & laughter. They are more than colorful dishes. They represent shared experiences.

A very special lady once said to me, “Things do not satisfy. Only Jesus satisfies.” I so agree. These dishes are just things that will break & chip. They won’t last.

But He knows what delights my collector heart. So I’ll enjoy them in the here & now, until the day when I’m walking on the streets of gold.

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Game Change

Like many of you, tonight I watched the opening ceremonies of the Olympic Games in Vancouver. It’s something I’ve looked forward to with almost addictive fervor. “Hi, I’m Cathy and I’m an Olympiholic.”

To be honest, I was glad the USA wasn’t hosting because who could compete with China’s stunning ceremonies two years ago? They set the bar impossibly high. I was concerned for Canada and the comparisons that would obviously be made.

So when groups of native peoples danced over the ice – each doing their own versions of the steps with no apparent attempt to synchronize the show – I thought, “Oh-oh.” Granted, the native costumes sparkled with unique ethnic beauty, and the set was definitely a wow, but I had all that perfect Chinese precision in my head. Wasn’t Canada going to even try and compete?

But it didn’t take long for me to get caught up in the power of the story. With techno-visuals that must rival Avatar (I haven’t seen it, so I can’t say for sure), the stage of ice broke and parted; the seas simmered with salmon, great whales, and other creatures. I was glued to the TV, wanting to see more. I didn’t even miss the precise moves that so awed me in 2008 because I was captured by the story of Canada, seen through the eyes of its patriots. I watched to the last…to the spectacular lighting of the torch.

As a writer, I should have remembered. Story is king. Even if all the words are perfectly placed and tantalize the ear with fabulous phrases, if you don’t have a good story no one will read the book. Or not for long. No one will publish it either. The key is for the reader to be swept up into the story, to go on an emotional adventure with the hero. Maybe in this case, with many heroes who have many stories to tell.

Precision is one thing and in China, it was intoxicating. But story is all.  And Canada captivated me with hers. I’m anxious to find out what happens next.

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