Great-Granny’s China


My Mom moved from her home in Indiana to North Carolina last year.  It is so nice to have her 10 minutes away instead of 10 hours away!  Box by box we quickly moved her into her new home.  However, there were a several boxes marked “fragile” that we were instructed to handle with great care.  And let me tell you, my kids were so curious as to what was in those boxes!  My daughter wanted to unpack those boxes first, but to her dismay they were placed gently in the corner of the garage for another day.   Finally, after every other box had been unpacked, the day came when we got to open those precious boxes marked “fragile.”  I’m not sure who was more excited, my daughter or my mom.  My daughter gently open an old cardboard box and carefully lifted out a plate wrapped in newspaper that was yellowed by age.  She gently unwrapped the plate.  Inside the newspaper was a dusty white plate trimmed with a pink and gold border.  “That China belonged to your Great-Great-Granny Burke,” my Mom said to my daughter with a smile.  My daughter’s 9-year old eyes widened in amazement at beautiful plate in her hand. “Wow…what else is in here?” She said, gently setting down the plate and digging in the box for more treasures. One by one she gently unveiled each treasure left to us by Great-Great-Granny Burke.  A few hours later the kitchen table and countertops were covered with China, crystal, silver and precious mementos from far away travels that my grandparents and great-grandparents brought home.  Each item had a story behind it.  It was a magical time of connecting with our long lost ancestors.

My Mom and I decided that this China could not sit storage boxes any longer!  It’s such a special part of her life and it needed to be a part of her home, as well.  My Mom doesn’t have a China cabinet but she doesn’t need one.  It’s still a work in progress, but here is how we displayed one set of her beloved China.

First, we purchased three rustic shelves from Ballard Design.  These shelves are perfect for displaying China and crystal because they come in three different styles.  We chose two shelves with a groove on one side and a third shelf with a wine glass rack on the bottom.


We hung the grooved shelves in the top and middle positions on the wall.  The shelf with the wine-glass rack was hung on the bottom.  In many cases plates are stacked on open shelving.  This looks nice but in this case we wanted to show the detail of the china.


We placed the a plate and saucer in the grooves and leaned the plates against the wall.  We repeated this pattern with plates 5 times.  However, we were missing a sixth saucer so put a gold saucer in the middle of the second shelf.  We placed wine glasses in front of each of the plates.


On the bottom shelf we placed an old tray that belonged to my grandfather along with an souvenir from his travels overseas.  On each side we stacked the remaining plates and topped them with a wine glass.  We hung the remaining crystal wine glasses on the rack.  They are not all the same.  We put 3 of the same glasses on each of the outer rows, then 3 more of a different set of glasses next to the outside rows.  Then, in the middle row we hung mis-matched gold rimmed glasses.  With incomplete sets and odd-ball pieces it was a bit of a challenge.  But in the end, it all worked out as if that’s right where they were meant to be there.  I think Granny Burke would have approved!


Thank you for stopping by today!  I hope this inspires you to get your grandmother’s China out of those old boxes!!

Blessings ~


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