Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Mid-Life Splurge

My mother liked milk glass -- you know, those white dishes that were so popular in the 1950's and 1960's. Mom had some nice pieces, and she took care of some milk glass for someone else for a number of years (long story). I was never into dishes as a kid. Maybe it's because I know that anything I touch gets broken.

I inherited a few pieces of Mom's milk glass. I'm not sure why, but they grew on me. A few years ago I began to collect a piece or two here and there. I found some pieces that I liked in thrift stores and garage sales. I placed a $5.00 limit on my little hobby--which worked for a while. Then I discovered a few pieces that I really liked, and I stretched the $5.00 limit somewhat.

There came a day when I decided that I've never done anything crazy in my life. I've never collected anything. I don't really have any hobbies. Danny is retired, and I'm still working. By golly, if I want a piece of milk glass, and I can afford it, I'm going to have it. I began buying a piece or two throughout the year, saving them for Christmas, and then wrapping them up and putting them under the tree from Danny.

Then I discovered eBay. You have no idea how much milk glass is out there! I bought more milk glass. I was ready to quit for a while because the things that I wanted were getting more expensive than I thought I could justify. Hannah decided to get married, and I could now justify buying some nice milk glass pieces so that we could display all the food at the reception on beautiful milk glass. I had so much fun at that wedding!

As I sit here tonight at my computer, I can look up to my right and see three shelves on the wall full of beautiful white dishes. If I turn around, I can see the buffet in the living room filled to capacity with more beautiful white dishes. I can walk out into my family room and find more milk glass in the china cabinet, as well as on top of the china cabinet.

Each piece of glass is beautifully crafted. Some collectors just collect a certain type of milk glass or glass made by a certain company. It doesn't matter to me; it's all beautiful. I have hobnail, grape patterns, leaf patterns, and plain glass. Some pieces have clear glass "ruffles" around the edges. I have dinner plates, goblets, dessert plates, bowls, banana boats, butter dishes, vases, a punch bowl, a platter, a "hen on a nest", a cookie jar, toothpick holders, and compotes. My very favorite piece is a little honey server that I found at Goodwill for $2.00. It's just as cute as a button!

Do I need this milk glass? No, I could do without it. There came a time in my life when I decided that I had scrimped and saved all my life. I have lived very frugally. I've cut out cardboard and placed it in my shoes so that my kids could have new ones. I've recycled old furniture to make new furniture. Baby changers turned into extra closet shelves. A doll house turned into nick knack shelves for a teenager. Catsup (or ketchup if you prefer) was watered down to make it go further. Expensive orange juice was mixed with less expensive lemonade to make it last longer. Milk was added to scrambled eggs. Toothpaste tubes were squeezed tight and then cut open to remove the last little bit from the inside of the tube. I wore sandals 12 months of the year because they were cheap. I wore hand-me-down clothes. I didn't have a warm coat for years.

So for now, I'm going to look around at this milk glass and enjoy it. I don't feel guilty about any of it. I earned it. We're not stingy with our money. Charities love us. But this one thing I'm going to enjoy with no guilt. My kids are raised, my bills are paid, the pantry is full, we've provided for the future, and now I'm going to play a little. There are limits, however. Every piece I buy has to have a purpose. I haven't purchased the lavabo on eBay for that reason. I just can't quite figure out exactly what its useful purpose would be in my home -- but I'm thinking.

Picture above is from Wikipedia.


  1. what's a lavabo?

  2. A lavabo is a container that holds water and is attached to a wall. It has a spigot at the bottom with a small bowl to catch the water. Priests use it to wash their hands prior to offering communion. Milk glass lavabos are gorgeous. I suppose I could use it as a planter -- except a kill plants. They are a little expensive on eBay to use as a planter with dead plants.