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Using My Jadeite

It's not a coincidence that I ardently began to collect jadeite several years ago. The color green has always been my favorite color since I can remember, and the tones of my vintage jadeite, along with the variations found in the Martha by Mail jadeite, fit in nicely with my color of choice.  Collectors will probably agree with me when I say that the cool, opaque-green nature of jadeite soothes as well as brightens any kitchen, cabinet or table top.

Like those collector friends of mine whom I keep in close contact with whenever I have a jadeite question (they know who they are!), this glass gets used periodically in my home.  It's never far out of reach or tucked away in the attic where it's inaccessible.  The glassware is proudly displayed somewhere when it's not in use, and when it is being utilized for a particular task, then it's on the counter.  On any given day, I may use one of my restaurant ware cups by Fire King for my afternoon tea, and if I happen to be baking a cake or a batch of cookies, more than likely I'll reach for a set of mixing bowls near my dough counter to set out a mise en place.

I scoured my archives for those moments in the past when I used my Fire King or Martha by Mail jadeite to remind you to use your beautiful glass whenever you get a chance to.  It doesn't do anyone any good to have it sitting untouched or boxed up in the attic.  Take out those wonderful cups or mugs and put the graduated mixing bowls to use the next time you're baking or cooking something.  Believe me when I tell you that having your mise en place set in green glass will instantly cheer you up and make your time spent in the kitchen so much nicer.

Have a little jadeite moment with me as we sift through the images that I have taken throughout the years and get motivated to use your collection!

Cakes sitting on jadeite seem to spark one's appetite and interest while they await the inevitable.  You don't need me to tell you that anything chocolate sitting on green glass will have you reaching for seconds.  How about a fluffy coconut cake or some freshly baked biscuits, slathered with butter, and kissed with some homemade cherry jam?

In order to get fluffy biscuits, you must be quick when mixing the dough and you have to have a light hand.  Overworking the batter will result in heavy pucks of inedible stuff, so keep this in mind.  My Fire King restaurant ware gets used on a weekly basis.  The proportions are just right for afternoon teas or weekend breakfasts.

One of my favorite breakfasts is Greek yogurt with some homemade granola. These Fire King berry bowls are perfect for a small portion.

It isn't always the case that I have mixed eggs from the farmers market, but when I do, it's good to stack some on a jadeite platter.  The muted blues, greens and various browns look striking against the opaque green.

Cookies are naturals when it comes to jadeite.  Whether I'm nibbling an iced cookies (yes, readers, I like to keep one or two cookies for myself after a baking project) or a simple sugar cookie, if I'm having tea or some espresso, then I bring out the 1950s Restaurant Ware.  Those hatchling cookies on the bottom right are sitting on a Martha by Mail cake stand.

This is what I mean by using jadeite for one's baking and decorating projects. Platters, small bowls and even glasses get employed to help me out in the kitchen.  Scooping up some sanding sugar to sprinkle on a cute mitten or say, a Santa cookie, is easy if I have these ingredients out.  Yes, I know.  There are such things as pastry bag holders that keep bags filled with icing upright, but I don't need to add more to my pantry, so why not use what I already have?

Old Ball jars look so handsome next to jadeite bowls.  These are always within easy reach for me.

See what I mean?  That pantry at the end of the kitchen has some corner shelves that are just right for a handful of bowls and other jadeite pieces.  If I'm making pumpernickel breads or some other kind of sweet stuff, I simply reach over.

The 9" dinner plates from Fire King's restaurant ware line are used weekly.  A burger hot off the grill will sit nicely on one of these plates.  If I'm having a light lunch of sliced chicken salad or a hearty homemade quiche, the Fire King plates are brought out from the cabinets.  

One of my stacks of restaurant ware dinner plates show you how well they look in numbers.  Hefty enough to use every single day, they're also great to use for special holiday meals and brunches.

This is a portion of my Fire King restaurant ware that I adore.

By the way, if you happen to have these Fenton tumblers do consider using them for other things, such as flower arranements, desserts (think berry fools and floats), and of course, for holding icing bags.

Speaking of flower arrangements, bowls, Fenton flower pots and hobnail vases in jadeite make any arrangement special.  I love bringing in my snowdrops every single year and amassing them in bowls or pots.  African violets and some boxwood topiaries are understated, elegant and great for table settings.

You don't need me to tell you that a Christmas table set with jadeite looks phenomenal.  Mix and match the pieces that you own with other porcelain or earthenware, and then add nice silverware (I used a French baguette pattern) and some pressed linens.  Those Antique Star Plates are among my favorite accent pieces for table settings.  Any holiday table will be elevated to something quite memorable if you use your jadeite.

I have a thing about finding new ways to present my salt and pepper at the table.  Small flower pots and egg cups are just some of the things that get put on the table for this purpose.  I don't need to reach into my drawers of antique cut-glass salt cellars if I want to use some jadeite.  Having said that, I also like to keep different salts and peppers near my stove for seasoning.  Practice what you preach!

Although those enamelware pet bowls (top right) aren't technically jadeite, they are wonderful Martha by Mail additions that were gifted to my kitty cats by my dear friend, Kenn.  As you can see, jadeite has spilled over onto my office space and some nearby cabinets.

This metro shelf in the attic holds my L.E. Smith cake stands.  Jadeite is but a small portion here.

Have your jadeite stored and organized so that you can easily locate pieces and not have to dig through your glassware just to find something.  It's up to you whether or not you add felt rounds in between the stacked jadeite, but I highly recommend it.  

Collectors of jadeite already know that the secret to enjoying this gorgeous glass is to use it often.  Think outside the box and put your jadeite collection to use throughout your spaces.  An office, bedroom or even a bathroom will benefit from a few pieces of jadeite.  This exquisite glass instantly brightens any area it happens to be in.  My hope is that this overview of how I like to use my collection prompts you to take advantage of your existing jadeite assortment.


  1. David, you have such lovely things. Thank you for sharing them with us all. We can enjoy them vicariously through you.

  2. Thanks Phil. I know many people who collect the same things I do and we have discussions from time to time about what we use and don't use. I say, use it all!

  3. Beautiful!!!!! Love love love it!

  4. I have a question for you! I don't currently own a single piece of jadeite but am in love with it. If I wanted to start collecting it, is there a difference in color, thickness, etc between the Martha By Mail pieces and those not mad for her catalog? When it comes to collecting china, I tend to want pieces that match, rather than mix and match etc. Thank you! And again, your photos are so beautiful and tranquil!

  5. You ask a very good question, Jamie. If you go through my post, "Martha's Green Glass", you will see that I specify several differences between MBM jadeite and vintage pieces. Even within the MBM jadeite, there are variations in tone; they go from very pale green (almost a pastel-whitish mint color) to a darker green It all depends on the pieces.

    As for vintage jadeite, there is a range in tone that runs from a green with blue undertones, to greens with yellowish undertones. This varies from manufacturer to manufacturer.

    For example, Fire King restaurant ware will be completely different from McKee or Jeanette glass. For the vintage, you really have to see it in person to get a feel for what you like. Visit flea markets or antique malls to see what appeals to you and then keep those in mind when you begin collecting.

    I also did a post on "Collecting Jadeite". Type these into the search box on the blog and pore over those images. It should give you a good idea of what I'm talking about.

    We can always discuss this via email too. :)


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