Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Hadley Pottery: An Incredible Gift Linking Women in My Life

Are you familiar with Hadley Pottery? My collection has grown lately, and it makes me so happy. First you need to hear what it is and why I like it. Hadley Pottery was founded in 1940 in Louisville, when an artistic woman, Mary Alice Hadley (who had been born into a family of clay tile makers) designed and painted dishes for her houseboat on the Ohio River. When she entertained, everyone went wild for her dishes and insisted she create a set of dishes for their household in the same style. You can read their legendary story on the Hadley website.

My mother went to college at Denison in Ohio in the early 1950's and she said a Hadley mug was her coffee cup throughout college. I grew up drinking out of that same mug, painted with a pig, and loved that when the mug was empty, I could read "The End" painted inside on the bottom. I thought it was fabulous and drank Ovaltine out of it every chance I got growing up.

When I got engaged in 1991, a young couple I admired from Cincinnati gave us a Hadley salad bowl (Farmer & Wife) as an engagement present. Then when I moved to Seattle, I started going to church rummage sales. One day I spotted a Hadley milk pitcher…price 10 cents! My collection was growing.

When we had friends for dinner, I made a chicken dish with a sauce and served it in my new-found Hadley creamer. I told the story of the Hadley brand as I served salad from the big Farmer & Wife salad bowl. Well, six months or more later, that friend texted me and said that she thought the pattern I was collecting was at a resale shop in the next town. She was out scouting for herself and found loads! I went that weekend, and someone must have donated a lifelong collection! It was a thrill. I bought a giant platter, a covered vegetable, a teapot, and a creamer & sugar. Happy days.  And bravo to Stacie for recognizing the pattern.

Okay, now this is where you will not believe it. I posted this photo below on Facebook, showing that I was finally framing some of my favorite garden photos in some new inexpensive IKEA frames. And I got a comment from my high school English teacher-turned-friend, Pam. “Does that bowl on your table mean you collect Hadley?” What? I was so taken with my project I did not even realize that the bowl snuck into the photograph. I emailed Pam privately and told her about my growing collection that had started back in my mom’s college days. Pam said that loved Hadley china and was so thrilled that I did too. She said that she has a large collection that she has had fun adding to over the last 40 years. She also wondered if I would l would like to take some of her pieces as my own. She was downsizing and was sure that her children would not want as many pieces as she had. Gulp. Oh my, yes. What an honor.

Look how much my collection grew with her generous gift! I now have 2 dinner plates so Dan and I can have dinner together. Her vinegar & oil decanters are perfect with my salad bowl. I now have covered soup bowls for French Onion soup or individual baked vegetable casseroles. I have a honey pot and syrup pitcher too. And some darling holiday mugs and luncheon plates for cocoa and cookies. I really cannot believe it. I feel like an honorary daughter and it makes me misty.

Pam and I have been friends since I was in high school (cough cough). We started off on the right foot because her husband, Tom, had been my Social Studies teacher when I was in Junior High! I loved his class so I remember talking to her about how I knew him. Then when I was her student in high school, in addition to teaching English and Creative Writing, Pam also ran the district's Gifted & Talented Program. 

Pam knew that I spent a lot of my free time doing counted cross stitch and she encouraged me to apply to the Board of the Gifted and Talented Program for high school credit in needlework. The ability for the board to approve/issue high school credit for extra curricular activities had been primarily focused on ballerinas and students in ROTC, when Pam thought to challenge that with another viable creative pastime. 

When I was accepted, we helped the Board figure out what amount of time doing cross stitch should quality for 1 hour of high school credit. If memory serves, I did 134 hours of cross-stitch in one semester of high school. It is staggering now that I think about it, but I accepted the challenge, and it was fun. It was my senior year, and I would often spend that “gifted and talented” time slot doing cross stitch and having tea in Pam’s room. Tea and needlework. I’ve been me for a long time. 

Thank you, Pam, for your generous gift. I promise to take good care of your Hadley and serve delicious meals on it forever and ever. My heart swells with my collection and feels like it may burst.

#hadley #hadleychina #collecting #housewares #collectingdishes #blueandwhite #bluedishes #friendship #storytelling #beautyofeverydaylife #gifts 



Saturday, February 13, 2021

Plants By Her: A Terrific Zoom Class About Houseplants

The only way that I have remained social during the winter months of the pandemic has been over Zoom. I am a sustainer in the Junior League of Seattle and right now their programming is virtual and available to me as a Sustainer. I l have loved volunteering with this organization since 1997 (Birmingham, MI and Seattle, WA) and am now grateful for the chance to learn and connect during these strange times.

The theme of this month's training and programming revolves around the idea of Resilience. This class was called, "Resiliency in Houseplants and Transplanting" hosted by Katlyn of Plants By Her, a Seattle-based business that "brings the benefits of plants into commercial and residential spaces through custom design services." 

I think this woman is fantastic. She was organized, passionate, a great communicator and very knowledgeable. Our instructions were to gather an easy to care for 4" houseplant, potting mix, orchid bark, horticultural charcoal and a 4-6" pot with a drainage hole. 

I planted a Futura Dracaena (Dracaena deremensis aka corn plant) in a pretty teal pot that I had in the garage. I think it will be very happy on a table on my first floor. I think you have to approach classes with a bit of levity. Of course any of us could Google the basic of houseplant care and limp our way through what we think are good practices in repotting, but where's the fun in that? I enjoyed this session because I had signed up for a bit of time centered on plants. I had fun getting ready for class and assembling what I needed. I looked forward to spending time learning how I could improve my care of houseplants. I thought about where I needed a plant in the house, what kind would do best in those conditions and generally about the joy I get from tending things. 

I'd like to encourage you to find an hour here and there where you can focus on the things you love. I dare you to write knit  (or read, bake, make) on your calendar and then sit down during that time and do it, just for you. Better yet, find a class where you can learn a new stitch and sign up. These days are ours and we need to make sure that we sprinkle in some fun ways to learn and grow.

Thank you, Katlyn! I really enjoyed your tips and tricks for creating a healthy potting mix, getting plants ready for our vacations and steps for re-potting success. And I promise to dust and rotate my new plant!

#plantsbyher #houseplants #jleargueseattle #beautyofeverydaylife #finddelight  

Wednesday, February 10, 2021

Tea and Cookies

It is the middle of winter and whenever I'm not out running errands (= Starbucks latte), I find myself drinking tea at home every afternoon. And more often than not there has been a cute cookie on the saucer. For Valentine's Day, Trader Joe's is selling these raspberry shortbread hearts. They are small, festive and delicious.

This teacup is a pattern called Black Toast by Emma Bridgewater. Are you familiar with it? I love it. My mom has a collection too and we share pieces back and forth. Right now I have the teapot, creamer, sugar and 2 cup & saucers on display and ready for tea on a black cart in my family room. I get to see it every day and it is what prompted me to pick up this cup and try a new tea.

My friend Amanda introduced me to a new company called Sips By. It is a tea subscription service that sends customized tea choices to you each month. I received it from her as a gift and I really loved getting new teas to try each month. When you subscribe, you complete a survey about your tastes and preferences and that helps the company build your selections each month. I've really had fun with it and have received some beautiful loose leaf teas.

Are you a tea drinker? Do you have a favorite cup and saucer?

#sipsby #teaforone #beautyofeverydaylife #quiettime

Sunday, February 7, 2021

My Koko Loko Rose is Living Up to Her Name

And by loko I mean crazy for blooming in February! This is my Koko Loko rose with a fairly good size bloom on it on Feb 7th, 2021 on the eastside of Seattle. The weather has been wet and in the 40's. Can you believe it? I couldn't. I walked out on the sidewalk to go for a walk and when I looked back at the house, the color caught my eye. I know winter weather is coming, so I'll cut this to enjoy on the windowsill.

#rosegarden #winterschminter #beautyofeverydaylife 

Wednesday, February 3, 2021

12 days of Valentine's Day

Have you heard about the 12 Days of Valentine's Day? My version started years ago when I was in full Valentine's swing around our house (pink placemats, heart shaped brownies, mailing cards, pink sprinkles everywhere and he suddenly said, "What is this, the 12 Days of Valentine's Day?" And a celebration was born. 

You see, I am a firm believer in sharing love and happiness through easy and accessible gestures. Valentine's Day is the perfect time to acknowledge all of the love in your life. I also think we can agree that there is just not enough time to fit all that Valentine's Fun into one day. You can't possibly make heart-shaped pancakes, visit the school party, have a romantic dinner with a partner, celebrate with your galantines, practice some selfcare by treating yourself to a new scarf or face mask, bring heart donuts into work etc. etc. There is a lot of fun to be had and we can spread a lot of unexpected joy if you do it in the name of the 12 Days of Valentine's Day. 

You can do anything on any day. And if someone notices your bright pink sweater, say "Thanks, it's Day 2 of the 12 Days of Valentine's Day." Or when you bring your daughter an orchid on a Wednesday, answer her surprise with "It's Day 8 of the 12 Days of Valentine's Day." She'll love it. Mail some letters. Bake some cupcakes to give away. Whatever makes you happy and fits into your schedule, that should be the plan. I promise it will brighten your month. Let me know what you do and how it is received, ok? 

P.S. On Day 1, I bought a variety of 6 beautiful donuts (some Valentine theme) and a latte at our local Krispy Kreme to bring home. I then pulled into the Home Depot parking lot next door and proceeded to eat 2 of the donuts in my car while I sipped the latte. That somehow qualifies as self-care, right?

#12daysofvalentinesday #selfcare #valentinesday #beautyofeverydaylife #seattleblogger