Saturday, October 3, 2009

A Favorite Heirloom for Sunday Favorites

Each week my friend, Chari @ Happy To Design hosts Sunday Favorites. With this weekly Meme, Chari gives bloggers the opportunity to share a favorite post from the past.

This week my mother will celebrate her 95th birthday, so in honor of her I'd like to "revisit" a previous Blue Monday post that was about one of my favorite treasures passed down form my mother.

Welcome to my Blue Willow Monday

It's Blue Monday over at Smiling Sally's, and I'm thrilled! Our home is filled with blue!

We have several rooms with blue walls,

wingback chairs in blue leather,

blue upholstered French bergere chairs,

dinner plates in Spode's Blue Room series, . . .

The list could go on and on.

Blue is one of those magical colors that compliments other colors. Think of the fresh feeling that combinations of blue and yellow provide.

Or the patriotic spirit of red, white, and blue.

Homes with collections of Blue Willow in blue and white always catch my attention and imagination. Though I don't personally have a collection of these age old charming ceramics, I can visit some mighty fine collections in homes of friends. The fresh, crisp feeling of blue and white never fails to fill my senses with joy.

What I do have is a very limited, but extremely sentimental grouping of a child's set in the Blue Willow pattern.

When my parents married in 1939, as a new bride, my mother dreamed of having her very own set of Blue Willow for her dining table. Placesettings of this fine china were far too expensive for the young couple's household budget, yet Mother must have longingly admired sets and continued to wish for a set of her own. As a surprise one day, my sweet and clever father brought home a set in miniature. It wasn't the table setting Mother desired, but she loved and appreciated the little set all the same. During our youth, my sister and I, along with our friends, hosted many a tea party with the treasured little set of Blue Willow. Unfortunately all that remains of Mother's set is this small group.

The Blue Willow pattern was first designed in the late 1700s by Thomas Minton. Over the years it has been produced by many different manufactures, and all these years later this classic pattern is beloved by many a collector.

The classic pattern portrays a Chinese legend of two young lovers. The elements within the design all have significance from the legend. The border of a zig-zag fence represents the father's efforts to separate the young lovers.

Weeping willow trees,

various fruit trees,

three figures on a bridge,

a boat,

and pagodas,

all have significance in the story of the young couple.

There are many variations of the legend, but all end with the young star crossed lovers being transformed into immortal love birds.

My Parents in 1939

Today, the few remaining pieces of this cherished child's set have a place of honor in the living room of our home. Not only do they bring me memories of happy childhood tea parties, but they also speak of the romantic days my parents shared as newlyweds. Years ago I offered to purchase a set of Blue Willow for my mother. She simply smiled and said, "I'm happy with the set your father gave me." I treasure these little dishes as heirlooms.

Who knows, perhaps this little chard of a long ago broken plate will become the topic of a future Metamorphosis Monday right here at Hyacinths For The Soul.

Thanks for stopping by. I hope to see you again real soon. It's always a treat to read your comments so please leave me a note below. Then click here to visit Chari @ Happy To Design for a list of more participants of Sunday Favorites.


The summer we married, my husband was in graduate school, and I was employed as a teacher. We took a portion of our savings that summer and purchased a sailboat. We christened our Catalina 22, “Hyacinths For The Soul” after Saadi’s poem. Our "Hyacinths" provided years of pleasure.


  1. I love all of your blue, but I just think the story of the little tea set of Blue Willow that your mother got is so precious. What a wonderful treasure. Thanks for sharing it. Hugs, Marty

  2. A beautiful post Sarah...You have a beautiful home my friend...Thank you so much for resharing this...may you have a great day...Hugs and smiles Gl♥ria

  3. I just loved this story of your parents and the blue willow china pattern. I knew the story as of course it's doubtful a home in England doesn't have at least one piece of this famous pattern. Ours was the big oval turkey platter - if only my brother hadn't broken it, sigh!

    Congratulations to your dear mother on her upcoming birthday - that's quite a big number, bless her. My mum did make 91 but is gone now - enjoy your time together while you can Sarah.

  4. I have a small collection of blue willow from my aunt and I love it! Your pictures are wonderful!!!
    Please give your mom a hug from me!!! What a grand and glorious occasion!!!!

  5. HI Sarah! I love your Blue Willow and have quite a bit of it myself! Happy Birthday to your Dear Mother.
    Be a sweetie,
    Shelia ;)

  6. Hi Sarah. What a beautiful blog and a lovely story about how handed down things mean so much. A lovely tribute to your mother as well. Thank you for sharing .

    And Thank you for stopping by my blog as well -- (I love Chari's meme.)

  7. Hi!
    What a wonderful miniture set! And the story behind it makes it even more beautiful! thank you for sharing this!

    Have a wonderful Day!

  8. What a wonderful moving romantic post. I hope your mother has a nice day for her birthday. Congratulations to her and thank you for stopping by my blog. Have a nice week, dear Sarah. :o)

  9. Welcome back, Sarah! Hope you enjoyed your trip whereever you went. You own so many wonderful things, love your blue willow collection and I like that deep dish displayed on a dish holder. I hope you will visit my post about our home. It was posted for last Friday, the 2nd for Cheri, but I published it the night before. Thanks....Christine

  10. Hi Sarah,
    I first want you to thank for all your sweet comments you have done on my posts! You are so sweet!
    And you did an amazing post of this Blue! Indeed I am agree! This blue is a coulour that you can combine easily with a lot of other colours!
    And thanks for telling the legend!

    Have a nice Sunday Sarah!

  11. Sarah, THAT is a wonderful story! You are blessed to have those memories!

    I have one too..the first year of our marriage,1967, for Christmas my husband gave me a complete set of Blue Willow transferware dishes made in Japan. I didn't know the story of the pattern at that time but I LOVED the color and thought it was the best gift anyone had ever given me! Of course, we used it all the time and eventually all I had left were most of the saucers and a couple of cups. Those are stored away in my china cabinet. Like your mom, I could of had the "real" thing but never chose to because the sentiment of the story means more to me than the dishes.

    Thanks for sharing your heirloom with us! What a joy to hear that your mom is age 95!

  12. Dear Sarah,
    I loved this story about your lovely parents the first time & it's still as sweet today.
    Sending all our love & best wishes to your Mother on her birthday.

  13. What a sweet memory and story. You are very lucky to have that Blue Willow set now to remind you of your beloved family. Thanks for remembering with us and warming our hearts on a cold day (at least where I live it is.) Blessings to you.

  14. Hi Sarah, congratulations to your mom on her 95th birthday! Thank you for sharing such a charming story, I love the Blue Willow pattern too.

    So happy you stopped by the Bhive! I love Debbie, I think she is just fabulous!

    Enjoy your Sunday,


  15. Just stopping by for PS, but I'll take a dose of blue too! What lovely china - I've always loved the look of Blue Willow!

    Enjoy your day!

  16. Beautiful! How precious is that tea set. I love the blue and yellow napkins, too. Wonderful post.


  17. What a lovely story about your mother's blue willow set. It must have meant much to her...
    I had a tea set as a child and loved it. Sadly, as most all kid's toy do, it has disappeared from my life. I loved hosting tea parties with my friends, too.
    :-) Sue

  18. Your mom knows it is the meaning behind the gift and not the actual pieces. That can't be replicated.
    Happiest birthday wishes to your mom, and many more.

  19. What a wonderful post! I enjoyed reading (and seeing all this so much!) The little tea set is precious! I look forward to hearing more about it. I have saved some broken china and plan to make a mosaic with it.

    Your house is just beautiful! Blue is such a restful serene color, I'm sure your house is very comfy and cozy and welcoming!


  20. Hi Sarah...

    What a sweet post, my friend! Thank you so much for sharing it with all of us for Sunday Favorites!!!

    You know, I think that Blue Willow china is probably the most well known of all's certainly a classic! I have always admired the pretty pattern but must say that I've never had the pleasure of owning any pieces! I love the story of the young lovers being told through the pattern of the Blue Willow china...such intrique! Thank you for sharing your mother's beautiful pieces...what a sweet story and family treasure! Ohhh...and I loved getting to see some of your beautiful home! Ohhh...that beautiful blue bergere chair...gorgeous! Love all of your beautiful blue's, my friend!!!

    Have a super Sunday!
    PS...and thank you so much for the sweet "mention" for Sunday Favorites at the beginning of your post...sure do appreciate that!!!

  21. Love your BLUE WILLOW post and have always been enchanted with the legend! Thank you for sharing that beautiful photo of your parents in 1939! So wonderful and such great memories for you to have and to hold! Have a lovely day!

  22. Hi, Sarah, what a beautiful collection of blue & white! So glad you enjoyed the Fall party too, thanks for stopping by.

  23. Sarah, I remember this post and loved it... then and now! It is so precious. Thanks for sharing this story with us again.

    Finally got my computer back, so I hope to blog more often!

    Sending you big hugs on this Sunday and always...


    Sheila :-)

  24. Oh, Sarah...I remember this sweet and charming post with the wonderful story of your mom's teaset! What a little treasure it is! And Happy Birthday to her...95years old...amazing! Happy week!...hugs...Debbie

  25. I just love the story of blue willow. I had heard it before but had completely forgotten about it. Thanks for helping me remember. Have a blessed week!

  26. The blue willow tea set is so cute.

    Glad you got to meet Susie. I couldn't have picked out a better sistet-in-law if I had chosen her myself.

  27. Hi Sarah,

    So you truly love blue and yellow as well - opposites on the color wheel and striking together, especially the Provencal prints!

  28. Blue and White is my all time forever favorite! Loved this beautiful post, and how cool you and Laurie got to meet! I hope you do a post, I would love to see it! Cindy

  29. I do remember this story and what a lovely story. Memories are everything. Happy Birthday to your mother.

  30. Nothing like blue dishes to feel so comfortable and homey! Thanks for stopping by and commenting on my stained glass mosaic. Come back again sometime, and stay if you'd like. Don't know if you noticed but I'm having a giveaway this month - you might want to check it out!

  31. The tea set AND the memories attached to it... such sweet treasures. And the little shard, awaiting a new purpose. It will certainly find a wonderful new life in your creative hands.


  32. Sarah, this is the most wonderful post - filled with the beauty of enduring and true love.

    Thank you so much for sharing this with us.

    God bless you and your dear mother.

  33. I enjoyed looking at your Blue Willow china - I have some old china from Germany and I know how sentimental those old pieces can get.

  34. Oh Sarah, another wonderful story. What wise parents you had! Your father, for coming up with a Blue Willow set for your mother, and your mother for appreciating his gift. No wonder you are such a special lady. You obviously had very special parents. laurie


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