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Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Tuesday Tip

Take inventory and take advantage of the white sales!

January is always the perfect time to take inventory and assess what you may have noticed lacking over the holidays. An extra set of towels, the perfect platter, etc... And sometimes the beginning of a new year acts as a reminder to re-stock so to speak. And, in my case it allowed me to take control of my seemingly uncontrolable landslide of breakdowns and breakage.

Aplico lions head tureen

I am not exaggerating when I tell you something(s) has broken down, or accidentally been broken every week for the past 2 months. It's almost laughable. Almost.

The series of mechanical failures started with the new lawn mower. Last week it was the dishwasher. The next 10 items ranged from toilets to my mixer. You get the picture, homeowner hell- we've all been there in varying degrees depending on the age of your house. This week, the coffee maker and washing machine are vying for the honor of number 13 with their noisy antics. Mr. A&A was traveling during most of the issues, naturally. Coincidentally, many of my standard white dishes and serving pieces met their demise over the holidays.

John Wanamaker

In case you ever wondered how the white sale got it's name, the credit goes to John Wanamaker. Wanamaker's is the famed Philadelphia department store. In 1878, to boost slow sales in the month of January, Mr. Wanamaker put all his linens on sale. Naturally, they only came in white. It's interesting that over 130 years later, most people still think of linens and towels when they hear the term white sale. These days most retailers include small household appliances (that are not necessarily white) and in more recent years white dishes and a host of other random items can be among the sale offerings. One other little tid-bit for those who love design/literature/history, Edith Wharton's book The Reef could be purchased at Wanamaker's in 1913 for $1.17 according to

Inside the famed department store.

Over the years I've been partial to Apilco French Porcelain,  but I'm certainly open to a change and would love to hear your tips on your favorite white dishware?


  1. Rebecca, amazing isn't it!

    The washing machine is about to take off into space, the powder room sink is rusting through (it cannot be that old!)
    Yes I do really need new sheets, oh, and my television now had colorful vertical lines running through the lower half of the picture.
    OMG, Plus I really cannot deal with all of this right now.

    2012 Artists Series

  2. Rebecca,
    I was channelling you last weekend while I stayed with my Father in the home I grew up in. Everything and I tell you everything is the same. My Father asked if it all looked the same? I said, "Yes, nothing changed!" I think life gives us lessons to keep moving, to keep growing, to keep changing. I cleaned, de-cluttered, fixed what I could since both my parents fell down a flight of steps.
    Yesterday, I had some design dollars and used them to buy white sheets on sale. I think there is so much joy of the art of "fixing" and "repairing" or buying new. My favorite white dishes are my Royal Copenhagen Porcelain, Apilco, Alessi, and White Eva Zeisel tea pot. I love Crate and Barrell whites or even JC Penney is serviceable and reasonably priced. I do like full matching sets. I think my mother has one or 2 or 3 of everything she has ever owned but nothing complete. That about broke me. I love coordinated, matched, complete.

  3. I have to say that one of the best "housewares" purchase I've made was a stack of about 24 plain white dinner plates from a restaurant supply store. White plates for casual entertaining can never go wrong. It's also easy to dress up white dishes with bright colored accents from food to simply holly sprigs or fun napkins. Love them! AND LOVED Wanamakers! I remember my mother taking me there to see the Christmas display. The most beautiful store!

  4. Yep I've been taking advantage of all the white sales. My Christmas present was getting all the rooms downstairs painted and redecorated so I've been buying. Got a ton of amazing linen drapes at RH. I have them in my studio and loved them but not the price so happy they were on sale. Now to move on and get my dishwasher fixed!


  5. Your washing machine must be talking to my washing machine! Since we got back from France we have had one flat tire, resulting in 4 new tires, a dead battery, sensors going out on our Jetta, the furnace quit, and I have been sick as a dog. No broken dishes though, phew!

    I love the history of the white sale, and I do need new sheets, though I've fallen in love with the Simply Shabby Chic ones from Target...who knew?! The picture of Wanamakers reminds me of shopping at the downtown DC Woodies and Garfinkels when I was young. And I need some good white dishes, I would love some Astier de Villatte pieces, but they are pricey.


  6. Ha! We had a new dishwasher
    installed on Wednesday.....must
    be catching!

    I have just dipped my toe in the
    white serving ware pond in the
    last few years, with my Portmeiron,
    technically not all white and with
    bits and pieces of transfer ware,
    again not all white. I do love the
    white Arte Italica, if you have ever
    seen that, and would gladly add that
    into the mix!

    Hope your breaks have come to an end!

    xo Suzanne

  7. Well, I for one, am SO happy your computer is working~
    I have Apilco too...bought in Paris...have some chips but luckily not a lot of fact, the square plates/bowls are on my blog right now.
    Hope you are having a wonderful weekend.

  8. I love Aplico. I started with the lion head bowls, which I adore, and add pieces. I love this covered piece.
    Happy Monday.

  9. Well my computer wrnt to the Apple DR yesterday...something about the logic board. Huh?
    I am decorating my son's new apartment so I have been taking advantage of the sals!

  10. this is my first visit for your blog but i will be one of your followers

  11. Always you provide exclusive posts for me and your visitors, thank you

  12. Got to admire that bowl ceramic which can be used to hold soups and hot dishes. By the way, Its amazing that Mr. Wananamaker managed to make that fame.


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