Thursday, August 18, 2016


During a recent doctor appointment, I took a few issues of Woman's Day magazines to read while waiting. The February 2016 issue contained an article with three ideas for repurposing teacups.

I bristled a bit at Clinton Kelly's opening words: "Oh, teacups.  Nobody seems to want to drink out of you anymore... Thanks to the world's obsession with coffee, you've slowly been pushed out of the limelight and unceremoniously relegated to attics, basements and flea markets everywhere..."

He's right about coffee's popularity, but apparently he hasn't heard that tea has been enjoying a resurgence for several years now.  While it's true men don't particularly enjoy using dainty teacups because their masculine fingers are too big for easy grasp, female tea lovers still have a very high regard for fine porcelain teacups [preferably English made, but French Limoges and Bavarian ones are nice too]. I just purchased a new one at an antique store yesterday, primarily because it's black, and I rarely see black teacups.  It's made in England by Adderley.

In 2015 I attended a Phantom of the Opera theme tea where all the teacups used at place settings were black and white.  It was so striking.

I've never considered myself a teacup collector per se because I originally started acquiring them for church teas, and in hopes of opening a tea room.  A quick count of teacups on display in my china cabinets, however, revealed over 90 teacups with more in totes in the basement, so I guess I am a collector even though not intentional. Whenever I travel I always try to bring a teacup home as a keepsake, while others have been gifts, and some are from my mother's teacup collection. 

I diligently sorted and organized teacups stored in my basement earlier this summer, and gave some to a girlfriend for a gift basket ministry at her church.  I've been trying to figure out a way to photograph them to share on my blog, as well as having a pictorial record of them. Should they be photographed by theme [floral, scenic, transferware], color, commemoratives, months/holidays, shapes/styles, or manufacturer?  Hmmm... decisions, decisions!  Have any of you photographed your teacups for record keeping purposes?

But back to Clinton Kelly's repurposing article...

My granddaughter used an orphan teacup for a small plant that sits on her kitchen windowsill, and it looks real cute.

I've seen teacups used for jewelry, home interior projects, and garden projects.  A dear friend gave me a teacup and saucer made into a bird feeder. But I don't think I could deliberately break a teacup and saucer for mosaics, could you? It almost seems disrespectful and irreverent. 

Pictured below is a teacup/teapot lamp that sits in my bedroom. It was a gift from my children a few Christmases ago.  Also a teacup/teapot chandelier that hangs in my dining room.  Neither are made with vintage china.

Please share how you display, store, use, and photograph your teacups.

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Today I'm linking to Martha's Favorites for Tea Cup Tuesday
Martha has featured well over 317 teacups since she began her blog in 2009.


  1. Oh Phyllis, this topic is near to my heart. I am definitely a teacup and teapot collector. My grandmother got me started and I just haven't been able to stop. I only collect the English bone china and now I have 757 tea cups and 110 teapots. But the thought of intentionally breaking one to create a mosaic is just something I couldn't do. What I think I would have to do is find a widow either a tea cup without a saucer or a saucer without a teacup and then I could perhaps think about it, or something else perhaps finding a pattern that I like made in Japan and then I could do it. I did however buy a cross that was all done with mosaic China in the pattern that I like with little roses and I absolutely love it and it's hanging in my kitchen.

  2. As a lifelong teacup collector, I have cringed seeing gorgeous expensive teacups tht have been destroyed for crafts at our local craft markets...and found they had been inherited from mother or grandmother but not valued and so destroyed. Breaks my heart! Love your new teacup...folks seem to love or loathe black teacups...I think it's lovely!

  3. As a collector of teacups for many years. My taste and needs have changed over the years. I have passed on or sold the most fragile of my china collection, Ansley, Royal Chelsea, Hammersley, Foley, etc for a more durable Allyn Nelson or Royal Patrician. But, I still love the hunt. I breaks my heart when I run across a cup glued to a saucer or made into a candle, pin cushion, or craft item. I consider the beauty gone. Such a shame. IMHO

  4. Clinton is WAY off the mark. Many of us love teacups, myself included, and while I didn't start out to collect them (and I don't have 90...yet) I do have quite a few. And I enjoy them. I hate to see a good teacup (or any piece of china) destroyed for a craft project, but I am always glad to see a way to use one that is damaged or broken. I have one on my bathroom counter holding jewelry, and several on display in various spots in my home.

  5. My teacups mostly sit on an open kitchen shelf waiting to be used. It is fun each morning to pick one for my morning tea.

  6. I only have a few tea cups packed for a move. I love tea cups and anything beautiful in dishware -- or life. The black and white cups are very dramatic and make quite a presentation. I don't feel this Clinton Kelly is in touch with the real world in his statement about tea cups loosing popularity. I cannot wait to get moved and settled and start searching for goodies like tea cups and saucers. As far as photographing your cups, I am not sure how it should be done, but I feel you must have a nice amount and could do research and write a book using them in the photos. I have proofed books before, so if you need my help I would love to do it. Blessings

  7. I collect tea cups and tea things! I'd never purposely break something to use, but if it got broken I would love to still use it in some way. The wee planter idea is cute!

  8. Oh that Clinton Kelly - he needs to visit some of our blogs, right?
    Tsh, tsh, bah!

    Love your gifts of "teacup and teapot" lighting - so you! : - )

    I have a huge buffet, a filled china cabinet, a large antique wardrobe and more than a few shelves in the basement with my china.

    I have issues, I know it, but I do give them away and sell them too and, and, um, gulp, TRY to manage said obsession. But I also USE them, so that's gotta mean something, right? : - )

    Hugs. ♥

  9. I like Clinton better when he was giving fashion advice on "What Not to Wear". I also collect teacups am partial to the black teacups. I've only repurposed damaged teacups.

    I think it's great idea to photograph your teacups (it's also good for insurance purposes) and create your own catalogue.

    Your tea-themed lighting is too cute!


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