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close up glasses on the table

Sometimes, the universe just provides (with the generous help of stepmothers, fairy godfathers and the Yakima thrift store industry). So the glasses pictured above, numbering 114 (plus 18 champagne coupes) represent the total haul we were able to bring back from Yakima this weekend.

Here’s a better picture:
glasses on the table

And here’s the whole tale. Morgan and I took the day off work on Friday to head up to Yakima, Washington with two goals in mind.

1. Morgan wanted to confab with his father around the menu. They had a list of 30 or so potential dishes and they wanted to narrow it down into a menu of about 4 to 5 distinct, delicious courses that were catering equipment friendly. Which meant cooking and tasting all the various possibilities.

2.I wanted to check out the dishes that Morgan’s stepmom Christina had already collected and do a brief thrift store tour to see if I could pick up any more good deals.

Kira and Chris had just gotten back into town, so they decided to hop in the van and join us for the trip. Carson and Melissa met us over there as well.

We had a wonderful evening Thursday night spending time with everyone and hearing the stories of the great world travelers. Morgan’s dad Jim got to try on his suit (a perfect fit!) and the younguns stayed up late getting re-acquainted.

On Friday we woke up to the news that Morgan’s dad’s kitchen manager Tony might have some cut glass serving trays that we could borrow, and had invited us over to take a look.

So we piled in the car and headed over- I thought we might find one or two pieces we could use but hey- any little bit would help. We were, after all, outfitting a wedding for 100 people.

When we got there it was like stepping into a peacock fairy wonderland. His house was decorated with wonderful flamboyant style- bold colors, lots of gold and beautiful collectibles everywhere (even two giant floor vases full of peacock feathers!)

He had pulled out some dishes he thought we could use, and everything was GREAT. He had silver serving trays, cut glass salad bowls, luncheon plates, EVERYTHING. If I saw something I liked, he’d say “I think I have about 20 more of those. How many do you need?”

It was unbelievable. So we walked away with several large stacks of dishes to borrow. Truly a blessing- he was like our fairy godfather! He also works in the theater in Yakima, so it felt like we had a kindred spirit contributing to the wedding.

After that excellent head start I was anxious to get out and get some dish shopping done, and Morgan was anxious to get working on some sample dishes for us to taste when we returned. So we split up- Kira, Chris, Carson and Melissa coming with me to shop the thrift stores.

I couldn’t believe the prices! My budget was about $1 per item, but most places you could find stuff for $ .50 to $ .75 per piece.

We found a bucketload of silverware at the Value Village- a mixture of real silver, silver plate and stainless with cool patterns:
lotsa forks

We had heard that there was a 50% off sale at a nearby St. Vincent de Paul store, so we headed over there and LOADED UP, only to discover to my chagrin that it was a Saturday sale, not a Friday one. D’oh!

So we headed back to Morgan’s dad’s place where Morgan and his dad had whipped up some mango jicama salsa to kill our munchies while we were waiting for the rest of the “tasting menu.”

We spent the next 6 hours tasting our way through lots of gorgeous dishes (but I won’t spoil the surprise by telling you what, exactly).

The next morning Christina and I headed back over to St. Vincent’s, where we loaded up three carts worth of glassware and plates (without breakign $100). Took it back to the house where everybody pitched in on getting it all loaded up into the back of the car (almost 15 boxes worth!) We drove home exhausted, stuffed, and with our van loaded down to the gills with glass and porcelain of every description.

Sunday I unpacked the boxes, combined it with what we had already collected, and discovered that, except for a few small items and some silverware, we were basicly done collecting all of the servingware and flatware for the wedding. It’s kind of unbelievable when you consider that’s over 400 separate pieces of dishware.

Plus, we came home with a revised menu that we all feel is both delicious and pretty workable with the equipment we have available.

Such a huge relief to know that we’re so close to done on at least one small aspect of the wedding. Yay!

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Christina, Morgan’s Stepmom, took up the challenge of collecting cool salad plates and blue and green glassware for the wedding.

She sent some pics of her progress so far. Check it out:

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Aren’t they gorgeous and antiquey and eclectic? Fairy garden party here we come…. Here’s plates:

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Morgan and I got a little collecting done of our own recently. We had decided to escape for a weekend to Bend to clear our heads and get some good work done on that all important, often overlooked portion of the wedding: the ceremony.

The drive was beautiful, curving around the small forested towns at the base of mount Hood and then breaking out suddenly into a long looping drive through sage and juniper scrub. We lost the radio pretty quickly, and instead spent the three hours enjoy the sudden dry heat after a long and dripping winter. As we pulled through beautiful downtown Madras Oregon, we spotted this:

possibilities-thrift-store

So we HAD to stop. I am, after all, the possibility of joy and abundance, and Morgan? He’s the possibility of Love. So, imagine what possibilities we might discover inside the Possibilities thrift store?

Here’s some of the spoils we found:

spoils-of-the-possibilities-thrift-store

I just loved these blue and green coffee mugs with the onion domed sugar bowl, and we were able to also pick up a whole bunch of bread baskets for the tables.

Maybe we’ll weave ribbon through them? Or spray a peacock feather applique down the side…fun stuff to think about.

We had an amazing time in Bend. Isn’t it funny how just one night away from home can have all the restorative properties of a week away (if you do it up right?)

When we got to town it was happy hour and we were both peckish so we popped over to the Bend Distillery tasting room and the woman behind the bar was decked out in peacock colored fedora, corset, feather earrings… well. This seemed like a sign from the gods to us.

Morgan asked about the absinthe cocktail on the menu (because he has been doing some work for Integrity spirits repping their absinthe) and our bartender said she couldn’t know if it was any good- she hadn’t been able to drink absinthe since Burning Man! Turns out she was in the Absinthe bar camp that we hung out at several nights in a row- and, she had been to our camp to get her picture taken! In a split second the world shrunk down to a size you could comfortably stir on a swizzle stick.

We sat at the bar and swapped crazy art in the desert stories with her for a few hours until it was time to go home and change for dinner. Her playa name was GO, and she happened to be headed up to Portland the next day for a Thievery Corporation show (a band we LOVE) that neither of us realized was happening. We ended up trying to get tix, but alas, it was sold out.

Dinner was at Blacksmith, a steak house with a little bit of an upscale Texas vibe and a penchant for fiery tableside service (we had the tableside Bacon Spinach salad but skipped the Bananas Foster- we were just tooo full). Our waitress recommended their version of a cheesesteak, which came on a potato truffle puree (YUM) and had Rogue Creamery Red Hawk triple creme cheese melted over the top.

Indescribably delicious.

Over dinner we enjoyed a bottle of Walla Walla red wine that Holly had gifted to us for the trip and talked about how to incorporate all the people we love into the ceremony without putting them on the spot. Some good ideas developed we think. One of which will involve a 1984 era boom box, if we can find one. Heh heh heh.

The drive home the next day was mellow, lovely and quiet. When the forest sprang back up as we rounded the mountain it was a shock at first (all these giant trees! All this water! All those flowers! It just seemed so…extravagant.) then incredibly beautiful. The abundance we live in here in Portland is so easy to take for granted when you are surrounded by it all the time. A little desert scrub and brown horizon line helps to put things into perspective.

And the dish hunt continues! Maybe there are more possibilities in our future…?

Last year when we first started talking about how we wanted the wedding to feel, we kept getting drawn back to this one display window we had seen at the Anthropologie across the street from the Armory.

It was a long wooden plank table that was set with mismatching china in blues and greens, mixed in with tree stumps and ferns… as though somebody had decided to take their grandmother to tea in the forest with the elves. Lots of natural forms on the china, but all a little bit random. Being a die hard dish fanatic, I was immediately inspired.

We could just rent plates and cups and forks- its what a caterer would do if we were using a caterer. But they would be white and bland and it would take a fair amount of dressing up to give the tables some “personality.”

What if, I wondered, (my dish addiction starting to take over my hind brain), we could pull together a collection of borrowed, found, and bought dishes and glassware that were kind of eclectic, but with an over all 1920s to 1940s sensibility? We could strew the tables with ferns, wildflowers and peacock feathers gathered out at the property and that way, the table settings themselves would provide the proper mood for the reception….

Stuff like this:

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and this
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and this….

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and…

astiersuefisherkingwhiteplates

well… you get the picture.

Could I do this for the same amount of money as renting plates, silverware, glassware, etc? And more importantly, wouldn’t collecting all this cool dishware be more personal and more FUN than renting?

Still sounded like it might be a lot of work. But then I heard from my mom that she was going to be finally able to “bid” on some of the things from my Great Grandmother Smith’s estate and did I want anything?

My great grandmother ran a dairy farm in Ohio and had 12 kids and lived to be ninety seven. She was also an estate sale junkie.

So yes. I wanted something. “Every cut glass servingware item she’s got,” I said, “and all the silverware you can grab.”

Mom returned from Ohio with several beautiful cut glass serving dishes of various kinds and 20 place settings worth of mismatched real silver.

Well.. That put me well on my way, now didn’t it? Plus all of those items would add so much meaning to the wedding. It would be like my Great grandmother got to quietly contribute to our wedding in the best way she could- by helping to lay the table.

So now I’m on a mission, and I’m hoping you can help.

I’m looking for serving dishes and dish sets in blue, green, or white (maybe a splash of brown). Old fashioned looking, rather than seventies, if possible.

Maybe you inherited a set from your great aunt that just really isn’t your style. Or maybe you had a party, bought a stack of plates, and haven’t used them since. Those two pretty cut glass wine glasses that don’t go with any of your other table settings? I’d like to borrow them. I’ll return them in good condition, and you can rest assured knowing that they’ve been put to excellent use- toasting the future of some folk you like. If you’d just as soon be rid of them, I’ll gladly accept them as a donation.

What have you got hanging around back in that upper kitchen cabinet of yours? Would it feel at home in a faerie dinner in the forest?

Could it use a little field trip to shake the dust off? Let me know.

Here’s some more pics for inspiration:
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dinner_party

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