I started collecting old teacups many years ago, bidding for them one-by-one on eBay. None of them are very expensive or precious--and I chose them for color, pattern and shape and not by brand. They're displayed in this antique display cabinet which was once the medical supplies cabinet of my husband's grandfather the doctor.
The cabinet came to me stripped off its old white paint, revealing the beautiful narra hardwood underneath. Unfortunately, the wood had been varnished clean and its old patina gone, making it look like an ordinary cabinet.
A similar display cabinet in one of the guestrooms of Sitio Remedios, Ilocos.
Since the crime of stripping an antique had already been done, I was bold enough to have it re-distressed-- but this time in black, to update the look. I made sure to ask that the paint be sanded off in some areas to show the beautiful hardwood underneath. Sandro and Monica Olondriz, my favorite artisans (they also made my chandelier) were the ones I entrusted to distress the cabinet.
Monica also thought of painting the back part yellow and embellishing it with this stencil design. It makes the inside of the cabinet brighter and more interesting.
The newly-distressed cabinet now looks like an authentic antique again. Look at those beautiful original caster wheels.
I think this cabinet is exquisitely proportioned
I use these acrylic stands (also bought on eBay) to keep the saucers vertical. Photo from here
Well, okay, sometimes I "upgrade" the collection. Looking at the cups right now, I'm not in love with about six sets--those on the bottom shelf. I'll eventually sell them off also on eBay and then I'll happily bid for a few more to fill up the space.
Early last year I asked G, my then 8-year-old, what color was lacking in the collection. She observed intently and then said "green--we don't have anything green". Ta-daaan!!! Here is the green cup which we added to the collection only recently.
I like to collect something only if I have to look for it in flea markets and estate sales, or ebay. Buying it brand new from a regular store, no matter how beautiful it is, is just too easy. Pre-owned, vintage or antique, is always more interesting.
When G had her Fancy Nancy party two years ago, I told her we would use the tea cups for her tea party.
She looked at me with big eyes and asked, "you're going to let my friends, who are all kids (her emphasis), use your antique teacups?!?" Of course, I said, you are all old enough to handle them with care.
Actually, while I do love my collection, I'm not attached to it. If any of the cups break--well, then goodbye, one less cup--that's all. I'd rather have the kids learn how to handle things even if it means risking breakage.
G's fabulous fancy birthday cake made by Cake Avenue (boa and feather mine)
The girls had fun choosing the cups they were going to use and they all acted as expected--like little ladies daintily sipping pink lemonade from the fine china. They were all very careful. Very cute.
With their fancy pink lemonade, they had corn dogs, spaghetti, puto (rice cakes), sandwiches and fries.
The Fancy Nancy party was G's idea but using the cups was an idea I got from my friend Stacey who gave a tea party for her daughter's 6th birthday while we were visiting. Stacey brought out her porcelain tea cups and poured lemonade for the little guests.
Having cheesecake and lemonade at Sophia's 6th birthday party
G's absolute favorite of all the cups is this blue one.
I'm looking forward to replacing those which I don't like too much. I really believe that you have to be surrounded only by things you "absolutely love".
I hope someone decides to have another tea party soon. It's been awhile since we've used the cups.
The Fancy G