Monday, August 05, 2013

Shake It Up

I got to work on them off and on during our British Columbia vacation, and this morning I finished up the Shaker Placemats and Coasters. And though the pictures may not do them justice, they are, well, rather vivid. You could say gaudy and you wouldn't be far off. I'll stay with vivid. We'll probably use these for outdoor things, mostly. They're a bit much to have to stare at every day. Are you getting dizzy yet?

Each color was chosen to coordinate with, if not exactly match, a different color of our Fiestaware dishes. We chose yarn colors that were as close as possible to -- clockwise from the top -- Tangerine, Chocolate, Pearl Gray, Cinnabar, Turquoise and Plum. We use these as our everyday dishes. Both of us had grandmothers who had Fiestaware and we still have some of those dishes around. I'm hoping they are of the non-radioactive variety. Don't worry -- we don't use those.

My Grandma Self used Fiestaware all the time, although I only remember four colors -- orange, yellow, green and turquoise. Jeff's Nana had quite a few more colors. Grandma always set her table so that all the settings had the same color dishes. If you were sitting in front of a yellow plate, you'd also have a yellow bowl and a yellow coffee cup and saucer. That's the kind of person she was. She liked her order. So when deciding how to take pictures of the placemats with the plates, I had to do make one Grandma-style.

This drove my mom, Grandma's daughter-in-law, nuts. Mom always thought that the point of having dishes in a bunch of colors was so that you could mix and combine them in interesting and eye-pleasing ways. It was always fun to watch as they set the table while getting breakfast together. I think it was my great-grandmother who first pointed this dynamic out to us kids, and we'd giggle with her as my mother and grandmother surreptitiously moved plates, bowls, cups and saucers around like some strange version of chess.

I'd give anything to be able to sit down to breakfast with those three women again.

So, what would be your preference? Matchy-matchy Grandma-style or my mother's rainbow approach?


  1. I quite like both approaches, although not at the same time obviously! And, who knew about radioactive dinnerware? The Fiestaware looks fab, I've heard of it but I think it didn't really make it to Australia. Our vintage crockery is mostly British.

  2. Rainbow all the way!

    My mother's mother used Fiesta every day when my mom was growing up but replaced it with dull-as-dirt Corelle dishes by the time I was a kid. My mom squirreled away the Fiesta and we used it for special occasions. On birthdays, the birthday person got the orange plate (officially called "red") because it was the rarest. And probably the most radioactive, we now know.

  3. When you have Fiesta, it's all good.

  4. Our nuclear physicist friend uses a red bowl in class and shows how to measure radioactivity. of course, I think she also has some plutonium in her office so the fiestaware is just child's play.

  5. They look great and I love the photos!

  6. What a lovely memory!

  7. My great grandmother had a set of orange Fiestaware that I hope will make it to me one day. She used to set them on a serape-style Mexican tablecloth that could sear your retinas.

    Love the placemats

  8. I have Fiestaware, too, and I am definitely a proponent of the rainbow approach. We had Fiestaware while I was growing up (I think a neighbor gave her set to my mom), but all that's left is a green celery dish and an orange plate. I have them but don't use them - they kind of scare me!

    Love your placemats - I made one Shaker dishcloth for my mom, but may need to make some placemats, too!