Saturday, August 14, 2010


I started out my Saturday morning with a cup of coffee and the July issue of Canadian House & Home. As I was flipping through the magazine, I came across the image below of Sophie Conran's collection for Portmeirion.

I stopped in my tracks..... because, if you have been reading my blog, you will know that this photo represents a lot of the things that I like: white dishes, white table linens, white hydrangeas, white roses.... I also thought this photo was fitting for a Saturday morning because it reminds me of the "remnants of a party". It made me think of waking up the morning after a party and seeing all the dishes and serving pieces ready to be put away, the flowers awaiting a new spot, boxes of presents ready to be looked through, a chance to reflect on the festivites the night before.......
This photo also reminded me that my "love affair" with dishes started with Portmeirion. When I was in my teens, Martha Stewart was just becoming well known. She had a Thanksgiving special that I saw on PBS. I was hooked!! I remember her having a dining room that had a closet, she opened it up and it was full of stacks of dishes, serving pieces, glassware..... she was looking through the closet to find the appropriate pieces for her table and was explaining, "this came from a tag sale at such and such", "this piece was passed down from whos it", "this was a wedding present". I remember watching this and thinking, I want one of those closets someday!! I didn't know what a "tag sale" was, but I surely wanted to find out!! I come from a large family and have always been interested in setting the table for the various holidays, parties and dinners. My mom used to let me shop for the table accessories for her from a young age.
After that, I decided to find a pattern of dishes to start my collection. I went to the china department at our local Hudson's and fell in love with Portmeirion's Botanic Garden. It appealed to me because, it was floral, but not too "girly" and I was fascinated that each piece had a different floral motif on it. The Botanic Garden collection has been around since 1972, designed by Susan Williams Ellis. She based the pattern on herbal and botanical drawings from the 1800's. She named them after an 18th century poem, The Botanic Garden by Erasmus Darwin, Charles' grandfather. The pattern has stood the test of time, becoming an icon of English design. When I traveled to England, I saw it everywhere.
I was very pleased to see Sophie's collection for Portmeirion, because, although I still love my Botanic Garden, my taste runs now to a more modern white set. It is good to see that they are catering to a wide range of tastes, but still sticking with their classic styles. Their pieces are all well made and stand up to oven and dishwasher, pieces that you will have in your collection for years. I occasionally mix pieces of my Botanic Garden with white dinnerware. It will always have a special place in my heart, as I have been collecting it for years dreaming of my future. My then boyfriend, now my husband, would buy me pieces stocking up for our life together, it was a reminder that we would someday be married. When we registered for our wedding, he was with me selecting serving pieces and the dinnerware we still needed, thinking to the dinners and parties we would have together. The pattern, to me, represents my dreaming of the future, family and togetherness. Although I have not been collecting it for years, my husband came home awhile ago with a set of Botanic Garden square plates. He said he saw them and knew I would like the different shape; it touched me because we have been together for so long and that was one of the first things we collected for our future together.
Looking online for the Sophie Conran collection, I saw it is available widely at stores such as Bed Bath and Beyond and Macy's, perfectly accessible for someone collecting and dreaming of their future....

Part of the Sophie Conran collection for Portmeirion.

Gorgeous bowls from the same collection. I like how the grooves and irregular shape make it seem as if it just came off the pottery wheel.

Such an interesting pot, by Sophie Conran, I would love to see it sitting on my countertop.

This collection, by Sophie Conran for Portmeirion, is called White Oak.

The Botanic Garden Collection, near and dear to my heart!!

A place setting from my collection.

Part of my collection of serving pieces.

Stacks of Botanic Garden dinnerware in a small corner of my dish closet; thanks, again, for the inspiration Martha!!
Funny how something as simple as an advertisement for dinnerware can make you think back through good memories. That is truley one of life's little luxuries!!!


  1. I had a few portmeirion pieces as have now inspired me to get them out and mix them in with my favorite white dishes! :-) Lovely!

  2. Wow so nice!What gorgeous placements!I love your idea for beautiful home décor.They go perfect with your dishes.Thanks for this wonderful post and hoping to post more of this.