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why I use my silver everyday

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I’ve talked about this before, but it’s worth talking about again.

When I shared pictures of my new drawer organizers, I received a few comments and questions about my flatware.  The most common one was, “Do you really use your silver everyday?”

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The answer is yes, I really do.  Even with two young boys, I do.  Even with a husband who would be content using plastic picnic ware, I do.

It wasn’t always like that.  I used to use a $20/set Oneida pattern that we received as a wedding gift.  It was a common set, so I added onto it over the years with pieces I found from thrift stores.  I never really loved it, but it was just what we used and I didn’t question it.

I did finally purchase some new flatware from Pottery Barn, but it didn’t wear very well and the scale was so large that the spoons were more like serving spoons.  We used the dessert spoons and salad forks most of the time.

It finally hit me.

Marian, you have gorgeous flatware that you love!  Why in the world don’t you use it?  Why is it in a silver chest in a drawer, only seeing the light of day at Christmas?  

That is a misspent life for flatware as pretty as this.

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It was in a velvet-lined box for years, because at some point, that’s what we collectively decided was the proper thing to do with silver.  We all agreed that nice things, formal things, pretty things, expensive things, fancy things, should not be used except now and then…for guests, for special dinners, for holidays.

What a shame.

When my mom told me that my great-grandmother, Rosa, used her silver everyday, I decided to follow in her rebellious footsteps.

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I think (and I’m striving to do this), we should ditch the things we don’t really love and use the things we do love everyday.  Even if it’s “for special occasions.”  Break out the silver, the antique textiles and the family quilts and actually use them.  Enjoy them.  Love them.  Allow them to serve their purpose and live as full of a life as a utensil or quilt or napkin can live!

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So, we use our silver everyday.  Even the really old stuff that was passed down from my great-great-grandmother…  (Those are the really heavy, gorgeous ones with the “K” monogram and the pattern on the back.  The pattern is Chrysanthemum by Durgin.)

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…and my great-great grandmother.  I have a set of spoons with her initials EKJ – Epes Kevan Johnson.

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…and other pieces that wear the initials of my Oma, Marian, who I was named after.  See the MVA on the baby spoon?  That stands for Marian Vaughan Allen.

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…and some pieces are from my mom…gifts she received for her wedding.  

I love that my set is composed of pieces from different generations, even different sides, of my family.  (The pattern is Repousse by Kirk Stieff, if you’re curious.)  

I even use the knife that was used to cut my parent’s wedding cake as our “cake cutter” anytime we have a birthday or occasion to eat cake.

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I do keep a few pieces of silver in the chest, because they aren’t pieces that are very functional for everyday use.

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A few things about using the silver everyday…

We do wash it by hand.  It can go in the dishwasher, but I want to take special care of it, so I’ve opted to hand wash.  We just hand wash it with the pots and pans, sharp knives, etc. that aren’t best in the dishwasher, either.

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I give them a quick polish, mainly to get rid of watermarks and discolorations of the fork tines, about once a year.  They are actually due for a cleaning!  I like Goddard’s Silver Foam for the job.

I also know that there may be casualties now and then.  We recently had a spoon get mauled by the disposal and that was unfortunate, but I’m still okay with using them everyday.

I also keep plastic forks and spoons on hand for when we’re eating on the go.  I don’t want to take the nice silver and leave it in the car, crusted with oatmeal or yogurt, until it is discovered.  I’m almost always running behind, so I eat on the way to somewhere pretty often!

In addition to using our nice silver, we also eat off of vintage ironstone (dishwasher/microwave safe).  We snuggle and build forts with antique quilts that have fragile binding and frayed edges.  We even sit (and sometimes wrestle) on all of our furniture.  Nothing is reserved or off limits.  We do teach our boys to be respectful of our home and the things in it, but they are allowed to use everything.

There is a kind of joy and satisfaction in using your things.

So, go use them!

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There was a lot of tip-tip-tapping going on in the studio today…

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…and some light sanding as well…

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More on those soon…

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Comments

  1. Mali Darian says:

    Could you please leave a front shot of your beautiful sofa?

  2. Thanks for another inspiring post. My lovely silver has spent far too long sitting in a drawer – until today!

  3. Hi Marian, thanks for “permission” to use the good stuff! I was raised with saving the good stuff for special occasions. We always had 2 sets-one for everyday and one for special occasions of silverware, dinnerware/china, special serving dishes…the list goes on…It has been very uncomfortable for me to let go and use “the special stuff” because of the way I was raised. I guess I will have to allow myself to get comfortable with it. Life goes by so fast…why not enjoy it!

  4. I have never seen such Gorgeous silverware! Swoon! You are so blessed to own that. I just Googled it, and the $11,000 price tag is way out of my budget!

    But, if I were fortunate enough to own it, I might use it every day, too! It’s far to beautiful to hide away. This was a good lesson today. . .I was thinking last week about the beautiful rose afghans that my Mom hand crochets for every couple who gets married in our family. Mine is still packed away, 13 years later, to protect it from kids and pets. Every so often she mentions it, that none of us use them; and we all have the same reasoning. So we need to pull them out and cherish all the love that went into the months of making them for us, while she is still alive to see and appreciate it.

    It will help me to remember with my own grandchildren, too. Make the memories. Don’t worry about the rest!

  5. kddomingue says:

    My husband’s grandmother was his grandfather’s second wife. She had a niece staying with them over the summer one year who was sickly and couldn’t run around and play outside with the other children. Grandma was about at her wits end trying to keep the child entertained. So one afternoon, she got her niece toto help her sort through all of her ” for special ” linens and such. The child asked Grandma why all of her most beautiful things were folded up so carefully and put away instead of being out on the beds and the tables. Grandma told her that they were too nice to use every day so they were only used for very, very special occasions.
    Grandma told me that her niece nodded wisely and said that her uncle’s next wife would really be happy that his second wife had taken such good care of all the pretty things. Lol! Grandma said that was the last day she kept anything aside for a special occasion that she might not be alive to enjoy! We ate sandwiches off of her good china and drank coffee out of her gold rimmed demitasse cups and used the monogrammed linen napkins for everyday meals. She slept on the nice sheets with the embroidered pillowcases and put the hand pieced quilt her mama made on the bed. Grandma lived to be 95 and out lasted most of her pretty things but, oh my!…..the memories she had of using them with us…..and how special she made us feel …….
    that any time spent with us was a special occasion!
    Sorry to be so long winded but you truly plucked my heart strings and stirred up some wonderful memories of a wonderful woman!

  6. For the most part I love my things too much to let them go unused… I want to see and touch and use all the pretty things! The only reservation I have is with our good china… I’ve been collecting pieces since I was about 16 and have quite a sizable collection now! I wouldn’t mind using it every day except that the hubby is so good at breaking things! He’s broken 3 of our 8 stemless wineglasses in the last year alone! I suppose I should just get over it since losing a piece every now and then is better than never using it at all… but it’s so hard to take that first step! Thanks for sharing, loved the story!

  7. M sakelik says:

    Thank you for sharing this article. I too,use my sterling & silver-plate silverware, that’s why they call it silverware. Why have it, if you only use for special occasions, my life and family is a special occasion! I also use good china, there is so much out there, antique stores, fairs, garage sales, estate sales and Goodwill, if you can believe it (I mix and match patterns). I just found 3 complete sterling silver settings at Goodwill, could not believe my eyes, someone did not know what they had, nor did Goodwill. As for breaking good China, there will always be other patterns etc out there, so use the good stuff and enjoy…PS..your food will slways taste better too, on my opinion. lOL

  8. Becca says:

    Inspriational!

  9. Vivian Monroe says:

    I love this story. I too decided some years ago, that I would use my silver and anything else that I had been protecting from ???who knows what??? My decision came about becasue of my mother holding on so tightly to everything, that when I once asked her for a picture she had of my grandmothers twin as a little child (she died shortly after) so that I could put in my antique room with other old family photos, she said oh no I cant give you that. yet she had it in a frame behind some cross stictching work to never be seen.?? I decided right then and there I would always share and always display and use my precious collections and etc. Like the one story above where the children didnt use their afghans that someone had so lovingly made them. We do want to protect family heirlooms, but at the same time they were made to be used. Think of all the heirlooms that were passed down from long years ago, I can promise you they hed to use what they had, so our heirlooms may not be as fragile as we think. We should all use them and enjoy them now, or when you are gone someone may be finding them at a goodwill, or sold through estate sale. I attend a lot of estate sales, and I am always very sad to see some things that are for sale, that the children/grandchildren didnt find it worth keeping. So I will use mine now and then when the time comes pray that someone else will be as blessed as I was to have received it.

  10. This, I think, is the sweetest post I’ve read in years ♥

    ~ Lisa from Indiana ~

  11. I couldn’t agree more with everything you’ve said!

  12. Krista says:

    Your silverware is gorgeous! I’ve never seen such beautiful, ornate silverware! I’d use it too. Life goes by much too quickly to truly not enjoy the things in our homes that bring us joy. That sofa looks gorgeous too! Can’t wait to see the rest of it!

  13. Gail Moreau says:

    “Life is not a dress rehearsal, use your fine china everyday” is a motto that I strive to live by. I love using my mismatched silver, vintage linen napkins, and dishes from days long gone.

  14. Cindy N. says:

    Thank you for this lovely post. I, too, shall do this with my grandmother’s lovely silver!!

  15. Carla says:

    Marian, you’re also doing something wonderful for your family’s health, in using your silver. Silver is a natural antibiotic, and is believed to be the reason that the black plague struck primarily the poor. The wealthy ate from silver. The poor didn’t even always have anything better than wooden flatware, instead often drinking from their bowls and eating with their hands. Colloidal silver fills this gap for some now, and can be quite effective.

  16. Laurie says:

    That IS beautiful silver! Just think how lucky you are that it came to you! Lots of other relatives must have been left out through those generations.

  17. Dianne says:

    You are so right! My beautiful silver and china that I still love has spent 46 years hidden away and rarely used. I hope I can be brave and bring it out. Thanks for encouraging us.

  18. Ohh the furniture looks so good!! Can’t wait to read more and I completely agree with you. If you love it why put it away and only bring it out on special occasions? Love it all the time! Beautiful silver wear btw

    Lauren | Lovely Decor
    xx

  19. Amber Mitchell says:

    Thank you so much for this post. I have referred back to this many times since you have posted this. I have reduced the things in my home to only the things I love and can not go without seeing. My silver is now in my drawers and ready for daily use. ♥

  20. Janet horton says:

    I loved this article. I’m opening my silver chest tomorrow and will now be using my sterling everyday. Thank you for making me aware that everyday is a special day. Afterall, aren’t we spending it with all the people that make each day a holiday!!!

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