Review of Denby Halo:
Hand-Applied Finishes Make Each Piece Unique

Denby Halo Teapot

Two hand-applied glazes combine on Denby’s new Halo pattern.

Once in a while, a dish makes such a splash that you can’t ignore it. One such pattern in the past year has been Denby’s new Halo pattern. Due to its unique colors and subtle texture, Halo has captured the hearts of pottery enthusiasts who appreciate time-tested craftsmanship and a hand-thrown pottery look.

The basic colorway of Halo is blue and black but if you look closely at the glaze, you’ll see myriad colors in between, from a bright blue to a medium grey to a dark black. The signature pieces of the pattern are the teapot and medium serving dish. Both display a gradation of colors, including a texture that is speckled and streaked in a beautifully precise way.

Denby Halo

Halo is at home in both modern and traditional interiors.

Created in the heart of Derbyshire, England, the pottery is made with locally-sourced clay. Then each piece is glazed or banded (painted) by hand twice. The combination of the different processes ensures that no two pieces are exactly the same.

The Halo pattern was launched in August 2010. While it may take a year or two, or more, for a pattern to sell well (and some never do), Halo was recognized as something special right away. Halo’s appeal is furthered by the contemporary shape, lower price point, and the wide range of items offered. Like all Denby items, this stoneware is suitable for use in the microwave, dishwasher, oven and freezer. The dinner plate measures 11″ in diameter and weighs 2 pounds.

To browse Denby Halo, click here.


Bloomingdale’s Hosts Iittala Display


Bloomingdale’s in New York City is currently hosting a creative display of Iittala products, showcasing new and old patterns. Iittala is a versatile brand and is easy to mix and match. Seen here are bestsellers like Taika dinnerware, Alvar Alto vases, Teema dinnerware, Kartio glassware, Citterio 98 flatware and more. It’s easy to see why Iittala is the premier Finnish-designed company.

Alvar Alto vases

Alvar Alto vases in white and rio brown take center stage in front of artwork from Taika dinnerware. To the right is Essence and Aarne barware.

Taika dinnerware

The faniciful Taika dinnerware in white
is mixed with Teema dinnerware in white and
Kartio glassware in clear.

Teema dinnerware

Shown here are Teema dinnerware in white and grey, Kartio glassware in clear, Essence wine glasses, Citterio 98 flatware, and the beloved Toikka owls.

Taika dinnerware

This Taika dinnerware in white is accented by an
Alvar Aalto vase, Citterio 98 flatware,
and Kartio glassware.

If you are in New York, stop by 59th Street & Lexington Avenue and take a look! Or, browse Iittala products by clicking here.




What is a Placesetting?


Formal and Casual Placesettings

Formal and Casual Placesettings (clockwise from top left): Spode Baking Days in Green 4 Pc. Placesetting with Cereal Bowl; Gien Sultana 5 Pc. Placesetting; Waechtersbach Blueberry 4 Pc. Placesetting with Rim Soup; and Spode Delamere 5 Pc. Placesetting.

Dinnerware patterns are sometimes sold in placesettings to take the guesswork out of the purchase. You can choose eight placesettings and tarrah, you’re done.

But backing up a little, let’s define “placesetting” (also spelled “place setting”). The area where the dishes are placed in front of a diner is called a placesetting or the cover. It’s your personal dining space, so to speak.

In dish-speak, a placesetting is the assortment of dishes needed to feed one person. The items in that assortment have changed over time, as dish sets have moved from formal to more casual.

Count to Five: Traditional Placesettings
The traditional placesetting has five pieces. It includes the dinner plate, dessert or salad plate, bread and butter plate, and the teacup with saucer. In a variation on the theme, a cereal bowl or rim soup plate may be offered instead of the bread and butter plate. If you are serving a formal meal that has courses, the items in the five piece placesetting will be the most useful.

Stick with Four: Casual Placesettings
The casual placesetting has four pieces. It includes the dinner plate, dessert or salad plate, cereal bowl or rim soup plate, and mug. For everyday dining, the four piece placesetting is more popular.

Design your Own Placesetting
Of course, you don’t have to buy pre-packaged placesettings at all. You can choose the pieces that work with your lifestyle and choose pieces like pasta bowls, fruit saucers and luncheon plates.

If you choose a tried and true dinnerware pattern from an established company, you’ll be able to add to your collection for years.



5 Must-Haves to Set the Table


Silk craft store leaves and found pinecones create a Thanksgiving table.

Setting a table doesn’t have to be all silver candelabras and pure linen tablecloths. Au contraire! Setting a table is all about enjoying your creativity. Let’s start with the basics.

1. Choose a dinnerware pattern and serving pieces.
For a cohesive look that you can’t go wrong with, choose one dinnerware pattern and add pieces to it over time. For a more personal touch, mix in accent salad plates or serving dishes in coordinating colors or patterns.

2. Add flatware.
Silverware and serving accessories also come in patterns that can be added to over time. Be careful of mixing and matching silverware patterns which can say “garage sale” not “classy”. Weathered vintage pieces are more easily mixed and matched with panache.

3. Pick glassware for sparkle.
Glassware comes in all styles in a variety of prices. The basic style of the glassware should match the dinnerware style, whether it is modern or traditional, casual or formal. Please leave the plastic cups on the picnic table.

4. Mix in linens for softness.
Linens for the table include napkins, runners, tablecloths and placemats (fabric or hard). Pair a small pattern with a larger coordinated one. Mix a stripe with a check or floral. All solids creates a more formal look, while patterns are more casual.

5. Accessories are the fun part.
Almost anything can be a table accessory. Use your imagination! Pull out all the stops and shop your house for table decor. Light a candle and enjoy your creativity. (But make sure they are unscented candles so they won’t interfere with the food!)

Enjoy every meal and enjoy your every day life!



The Truth about Our Everyday Life

Spode Blue Italian Mug

Enjoying amazing dishes is part of our everyday life.

As the owner of a website filled with incredibly beautiful and useful dishes and accessories, I suspect that some people have an assumption about me: that I have an interior designer’s sense of taste and perhaps a house and lifestyle to match.

I would love to tell you that darling husband Bruce and I have oodles of style and a tastefully decorated home. But that just would be a big fat lie, or at least an exaggeration (I have to give us some credit, after all). We are just a normal couple with a three kids and assorted pets and all the chaos that ensues as a result.

We do have an abnormal love for dishes, however. We love pretty much everything about dishes. And we get to talk to people every day who love dishes, too.

I have learned a lot about dishes since we began this business but I certainly don’t know everything about them. I know you have questions about dishes, too. Like, “Is there really bone in bone china?” (yes!) and “Can I microwave my gold-trimmed dinnerware?” (NO!). If you can’t find the answer to your question on this blog, write or call me, and you and I will learn something new together.

You know, I don’t expect to ever have the perfectly styled home and that is not my goal in life at all. Real life is too messy and vibrant and joyful and time consuming. But you better believe that we’ll be enjoying some amazing dishes along the way.