Vicarious pleasure … not

So, I was setting up a post about vicarious pleasures – accessible and fantasy. Then, I had to deal with something regarding the dog which completely soured my mood. End of vicarious pleasures. Sigh.

So, yeah.

Instead, let’s try something else.

Are you a matchy-matchy person or a mixy-matchy when it comes to kitchen/dining – eg, do you have one set where all the plates, bowls, etc, are the same or do you have random things you’ve bought at different times that having nothing to do with one another?

I’m decidedly in the mixy-matchy camp – which, it appears, upsets the project manager for the work on my house (he’s the architect’s husband – she seems a lot less rigid, but I guess you want someone rigid to bother the builders).

Anyway, particularly with regard to the kitchen, I buy stuff randomly that I like, and if there’s only one item rather than a set that doesn’t bother me.

My dining plates don’t match my salad plates, which don’t match my bowls and serving dishes. And designs are all over the map.

Two of my favourite dining plates have distinctly different patterns: one is bone china with a John Dory drawing baked on (from a company called Cream Cornwall []; the other, with scalloped edging, has a small design of eggplants/aubergines in the centre.

The salad plates are either plain white or a pasta print, but there’s another one that has got a courgette/zucchini design (that’s from Emma Bridgewater in the sale because her stuff is silly money not on sale).

Cereal/pasta bowls range from more Cream Cornwall sea creatures (cornflakes floating above a squid?) through a couple of plain white Ikea ones with blue bands through a duo of Portuguese ones, one stamped with olives the other with swimming fish that came from a country-side fete of some sort years ago.  Choosing a bowl for the morning granola, fruit, nuts and yoghurt can be difficult.

Having said all this, I do, however, have four each of matching red and white wine glasses from Williams Sonoma purchased decades ago when WS was still sort of reasonably priced.

So, which camp are you in – mixy-matchy or matchy-matchy? What are some of your favourite items in your kitchen cabinets?

NB: Photos by cinnamon once again

  • Patty says:

    Mixy-matchy! I do sometimes wind up with a set of something that I buy in a hurry, but I prefer each piece to be interesting and unique, even though it won’t stack well in the cupboard.

  • rosarita313 says:

    We had a double set of plain black dishes for years and I added items as they broke, then a couple years ago I packed them off to Goodwill and starting hodge podgeing again. Now nothing matches including the utensils and I am much happier this way. We’ve been through a ton of glasses over the years and I’m in need of more right now but there’s no second hand places to shop safely yet so we are washing red Solo cups on occasion lol.

  • Dina C. says:

    My kitchen has a color scheme, so I keep to that. But within that, there is variety. And the color scheme is completely tossed out the window in regards to coffee and tea mugs. I have a hodge podge of those.

  • Bee says:

    I have a proper dinner service ‘Scraffito’ from Habitat which we got as a wedding present – well most of it as we did used to use it all the time but now it’s discontinued so I save the remainders ‘for best’. Day to day it’s very plain white stuff for just the two of us but I do keep buying odd things like milk jugs and teapots that are vintage & random. I do have a couple of beautiful bowls I got as gifts – and a really great, huge salad bowl from Anthropologie that is so pretty I keep it on the table and it and a couple of matching plates cheer me up every day.

    • Cinnamon says:

      I have the excellent knives I was given as a wedding present, but we didn’t get china. So, of the stuff you have what are your faves in the jugs and teapots? I’ve only got one teapot blue and white, which I got when Habitat went bust here.

      • Bee says:

        I have a cat teapot which dribbles from the spout but it is adorable and a really old milk jug made of pressed glass. They are my faves

  • Portia says:

    Hey Cinnamon,
    I love the idea of Mixy-Matchy and my tea set reflects this. Cups, Saucers and Side plates from everywhere. My Grandma, Mum and Me. There are really fun pastels, florals, graphics and they span collections from the breadth of the 20th century.
    On the flip side. After inheriting my parents “for special” set of Royal Doulton Morning Star that they got pieces of from all the guests at their wedding I had to upgrade it from a six seater to a 20 seat set because my dining table is a LOT bigger than our childhood one. Also, I knew there needed to be a bit extra in case of breakages. It took me 4 or 5 years to collect the set we currently use and it has everything from tureens and serving platters, cream soup cups, bowls, plates, tea, coffee et al. It is our everyday and good. When I use it there are often happy memories of my parents and our family unit.
    The good crystal glassware bought on a 50% off sale, then got an extra 20% off because I had a store card and they were having a deal. That was way back in 1989 and I bought so much that we are still using it and I have minimum of 10 of everything left.
    Jin bought a big set of multicoloured wine glasses that we use at most dinner parties now. Just one size but four colours. It makes him happy to see we are using his choice and the table looks excellent with the colours.
    WOW! That turned out to be long. Sorry.
    Portia xx

  • HeidiC says:

    I learned the mixy-matchy trick from my BFF back when we were poor grad students — she was tired of breaking a glass or dish and being left with not enough for a set, so she just leaned into it. She went to Pier 1 (back when it was still super cheap) and bought like one of everything. It was so colorful and delightful! And if something broke, no biggie! I totally copied her idea. My favorite two items are a platter from Ikea with a handpainted green crosshatch pattern with little coral buds, and a small tumbler with a narwhal on it from Anthropologie.

    • Cinnamon says:

      Ikea has some great stuff (though, sadly, they appear to have discontinued the white bowls with blue bands I love) and Anthropologie is just so much fun.

  • Tara C says:

    I am both. I have a full set of matching Portmeirion, plus various assorted glassware, plates, teapots, coffee mugs, etc. I have actually considered ditching the matched set and going with just odd bits and bobs. I love visual variety (as well as perfume variety, which is why I have no signature scent).

    • Cinnamon says:

      Had heard of Portmeiron but never looked … till now. You’ve raised the want monster 🙂

    • Masafi says:

      I have enough Portmerion to open my own shop. The mixing is between Botanic Garden and Pomona. Been collecting it since the eighties. All the serving pieces too.
      But sometimes I’d like to change it but how can I rationally do that, after all that time and money (because it lasts forever, rarely breaks or chips).

  • Kathleen says:

    I love that everyone has different styles, most more unique and interesting than mine. I am matchy and plain with my kitchen cabinet items. I find whites and beiges serene and simple. And I don’t feel bad if something chips or breaks, more of the same in the cabinet and easily replaceable.

    • Cinnamon says:

      There is that — not being sad when something goes crash. I cringe when I take something much loved out of a cabinet and bump it or drop it (the only thing I’ve broken recently was a glass which will be replaced with something a bit more durable).

  • Amateur Dilettante says:

    Looking in my cabinet, I guess I’m a bit of both? I have matching stoneware plates/bowls/dessert plates/mugs, but probably only because they were bought for me. The silverware matches. Otherwise, I have a hodgepodge. I have some blue/white oriental style bowls. The glassware is all over the map; I have every kind of beer glass you could want.
    I always liked the look of magazine pictures where different items were put together in a table setting, but I don’t think I could pull it off myself.

    • Cinnamon says:

      I got some great Asian style rice bowls years ago in San Francisco. I’ve only got one left though now. The beer glasses made me laugh. Are you near a great brewery?

  • MMKinPA says:

    I am pretty much matchy. My everyday dinnerware is from Crate and Barrel, square and plain white. I am able to replace them when needed. My mom was a matchy and I have several of her sets as well. Some beautiful things my parents brought back from my dad’s Army tour in Europe. But I’m much less of a collector than she was.

    • Cinnamon says:

      I like the hand me down within family stuff. I have some things that go back through my grandmother to great granny and maybe further. But I don’t really use much of that — it sits in a glass-fronted cabinet. I think I’ll need to get some of it out when I’m back in the house-house.

  • March says:

    I love that John Dory! Having all of them would be too matchy, lol. I am 10/10 mixy-matchy. In my former life I had formal and informal china which I jettisoned post-divorce because it made me sad, and I’ve replaced it with a lovely assortment of vintage and new… I’ve got random pieces of vintage Blue Ridge pottery and a few plain IKEA bits when something has to be microwaved. Another advantage is if a plate gets broken I’m not stressing about finding a matching piece.

    • Cinnamon says:

      I’ve got bowls with a sea horse and a crustacean of some sort as well as the John Dory. I think I’ve reached my saturation point even though I love me some aquatic animals. Your full set of formal made me think of my mother, who only brought out that stuff for dinner parties. It looked beautiful but I associated it with stress because she did all the work — it wasn’t something my Dad helped with.

      • Musette says:

        Mine, too. My mom’s china is upstairs in a tote somewhere – I love it (a quiet Japanese bamboo pattern) but it remains a bit of a source of emotional drama; perhaps now that my own life is leaching the drama I will revisit it. xoxo

  • Gina T. says:

    Totally mixy matchy. All of my stuff is antique things I find at the thrift/resale stores. It looks gorgeous if you have a tea party!

    • Cinnamon says:

      There used to be an amazing seconds shop in the village near mine that stocked bits and pieces, only whatever the owner could get cheap. Then, something happened and the shop lost its way and started to offer a mishmash of fancy cooking equipment, plants and candles. It’s much less enticing now.

  • Musette says:

    LOL! Doll, I have SEVEN sets of dishes – SEVEN. And much depends upon my mood – actually, I do not have seven sets of dishes. I have a lot of sets of things that I use for different occasions – but I rarely match everything up. I collect coffee cup sets (which I only use for company because I have a beloved, cheap white mug that I use daily) – my favorite is Wedgewood Black Colonnade – I’m hoping Floyd sees fit to send me down the coffeepot, creamer & sugar, so I can die a happy woman. But I would never pair it with the rest of Black C, instead I would use it with my white plates (from some Cheap White Plate Place) and my Flora Danica brunch plates (which I also do not have – yet). Flora Danica is my favorite china BUT! only for coffee – too much FD is TOO MUCH. I also have no problem pairing my aqua brunch/dessert plates with whateverthehellIfeellike.

    Also… it’s highly unlikely that I would ever match my small appliances (nor my large appliances! Miele is my dishwasher go-to and you will pry my Garland stove out of my cold, dead hands – maybe. I’ve got a pretty tight grip). Okay – you could trade it for a large La Cornue in pale blue……wait, where was I?


    Also, tell the PM to take a breath. They like to rule it (I’m one, so I know of what I speak) – but gently (and FIRMLY) remind him it’s a CHALLENGE! to create a ‘look’ (if that’s what he wants to do) out of your beautiful hodgepodge of beautiful things – FOR YOU! He won’t be living there.

    • Jo Ann escaped from L.A. says:

      Hi Musette, Did you know Royal C. made a perfume called Flora Danika? I Googled the pattern to see what it looks like, and found a post on Basenotes. Beautiful vintage bottle.

      • Musette says:

        I did! And then I promptly forgot all about it! LOL! I think I knew about it way before any real interest in perfume (my love of FD goes back to the late 70s, which is when I should’ve bought the pattern! I could buy a car for the price of it now) xoxoxo

    • Cinnamon says:

      I hope all the bits come back to you as soon as reasonable. Can he mail all of it? Years ago visited the Waterford factory on a trip to Ireland. Absolutely incredible place. I’ll have to see if Wedgewood has a factory shop here … to visit once things change a lot.

    • Dina C. says:

      My good china is Wedgwood Regal Platinum – plain white with two rims of platinum. Then I got these lunch/salad plates with a wide red rim and a skinny platinum border from Villeroy & Bosch called Anmut. And finally, for my tea set, I got Wegwood Wild Strawberry which has the tiny red strawberries, pink flowers and lots of green leaves on it. But I feel about it like you feel about Flora Danica: just the teapot, sugar, creamer, a candy dish, tiny little bud vase, etc. Not a whole set. I used to wear that Flora Danica perfume back in the 80s. Loved it and used it all up. I should have saved the bottle which was very pretty, but this was way before my perfume hobby started, and I was young and dumb! 🙂