Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Collecting Brown Transferware

Even though I'm truly trying to simplify our  material lives, my brown transferware collection is one that I cannot part with. I just love brown transferware in all different patterns.

I began collecting it shortly after my husband and I married, around 7.5 years ago. Since then I've amassed quite a few pieces, including about eight place settings (dinner plates, bread plates, cups and saucers), a few serving platters, cake plate, coffee pitcher, tea pot, creamer and sugar, bone dishes, gravy boat, and a couple vegetable bowls and serving dishes.

We do have a Lenox formal china set but I love using my brown transferware for entertaining a smaller party or for a less formal meal.

The primary pattern I collect is  Johnson Brothers Windsor Ware (made in England), called "Dover" in Brown. I believe this pattern was popular during the 1930s-1950s but I'm not positive. Some of my other pieces are much older, and one or two are actually new reproductions.

I even have some hanging on the wall -- I've always loved decorating with plates. I found these six little bread plates in the clearance section at Replacements Limited, and I loved how the color finish is hand painted on all of them--each one is a little different.

I'm not exactly sure why I chose brown to collect, perhaps because it was more unique than the usual blue or red colors of transferware. Regardless, I love the brown and the neutral feel yet warmth it brings to the color palette of a room.

Since I have quite a few pieces now I'm not as interested in acquiring much more, but I'm still on the lookout for salad plates or bowls that match my current "Dover" place settings. These dishes will be so much fun to use when the girls get older for tea parties and the like :)

Do you have a particular pattern of dishes that makes your heart skip a beat?

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Why We Raise American Dominiques

Been thinking about getting chickens? Are you struggling to pick a breed for your small homestead or mini farm?

At first, I was drawn to the history and heritage of the Dominique--it is the oldest American breed and an endangered breed. But I later learned of all of the Dominique's wonderful and practical qualities and am convinced it is the ideal homestead bird.

Below are my top reasons for why we chose to stick with the American Dominique as the chicken breed for our family.

1. They are dual-purpose birds (good for meat or eggs)

2. They are excellent, dependable layers

3. They are INCREDIBLE foragers and very independent, also quite curious

4. They are very hardy, and seem to do just fine in cold harsh weather

5. They don't go broody too often, but will go broody when you want them to with the right factors in place.

6. They are good mothers and successful at raising chicks by themselves

7. Due to their inquisitive nature, they will usually try any type of new treat or leftover I give them to supplement their diet

8. We have not had any major problems with disease in our flock due to their hardiness

9. All of our Dominique roosters have been respectful, good protectors and providers, and have never been aggressive towards us. 

So there you have it. Yes, I am biased towards these birds :) If you do already raise Dominiques we have a great and active Facebook group page that you should definitely check out! 

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