I have been craving a set of melamine plates for quite some time now.

Thomas Paul Folk Dinner Plate Set

It’s not that I really need them. We rarely have more than one or two people over for a meal, and I don’t think we’ve ever eaten outside.

French Bull Pink Paisley Set

But the idea of having large outdoor dinner parties with beautifully set tables of melamine dinnerware makes me a little giddy. And there are so many gorgeous options out there.

Working Class Studio Dinnerware Collection

Then I’m forced back to reality…the reality where I’d not only feel guilty, but I’d feel like a complete fool for spending so much as a penny on a set of melamine.

So, I was sitting here pouting, when all of a sudden a light came on in my black hole of a brain – I already have a set of melamine dinnerware! Right at that moment there was, in the very back of my china closet, a long-forgotten bin of very old, very dirty melamine. Let me explain…

When we bought our first house, we were pretty ignorant of the whole process. One of the lessons learned from that experience was that unless it’s specified in the purchase agreement, the previous owner will not necessarily take all of their junk with them when they leave. So when we took possession of the house we also took possession of enough trash, junk, and other miscellaneous stuff to amount to more than one trip to the dump. The silver lining to this story was that among the junk we actually found a few treasures. One of which was a complete set of melamine picnic-ware.

It had obviously been stored in the dark and dank cellar where we found it for many, many years. It was filthy and had even suffered some water damage, but it was nothing that a good cleaning couldn’t fix. At the time, I was too busy packing for the move to our current home to worry about cleaning it, so I shoved it all into a couple of plastic bins and added them to the pile of boxes ready for the movers. At the new house it was stored with the other bins of dishes and, as I said, forgotten about…until now.

Melamine Picnic Set

Granted, they’re not as pretty as the ones above, and the condition is far from perfect, but the price was just right! (And I do love the robin’s egg blue color.) There is a full set of eight dinner plates, dessert plates, bowls, and saucers, plus one cup, a serving bowl, and a platter in the blue set, and an additional eight patterned plates, which makes more than enough for any dinner party I’ll ever have.

Melamine Picnic Set

There were other treasures to be found as well. This set of divided trays was in the same box, and I have to admit, it’s my favorite of the finds. Aren’t they adorable!? Sadly, there are only two cups, but still a great find, I think.

Divided Trays

The rest was a mish-mash of odds and ends from other sets, including a few more melamine plates, some insulated cups, bowls, and more miscellaneous cups.

Miscellaneous Picnic-ware

Overall, I’m happy that our ignorance paid off in plastic, but in the future we’ll make sure there’s a “take your shit with you when you go” clause in our purchase agreements. Odds are that next time we wouldn’t be quite so lucky.

(*For source information on the first three products, click on the pictures.)