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I do love me some melamine


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Do you ever find yourself obsessed with acquiring certain items for no real reason that you can think of? And if the answer is yes, will you please share in the comments so I can feel like less of a freak? I’m talking here about items you own enough of, but for some reason keep wanting to collect more of—which is how I feel about rolling suitcases (weirdly) and melamine dinnerware, and who even knows why. My favorite melamine plates ever are from the Liberty of London/Target collaboration from way back (I found a few on Etsy just now) and we use them for everything out in Sag Harbor —melamine is so handy  for outdoor dining, which we like to do there. Melamine’s unbreakability is part of the allure, as I am a big fat klutz who breaks dishes endlessly, but they also often come with some standout prints, like this gorgeous floral.


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The concentric circles here are pretty trippy-cool.

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From John Derian: a really elegant tray with a vintage rope print.

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I dig the Shibori pattern on this salad plate.

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And the Suzani print here is so bold and statement-y.

mela plate

This splatter print looks so one-of-a-kind.

mesa plate

There are a few colorways available for this one, but I find the pink and blue particularly appealing.

cereal bowls

A set of cereal bowls that are delightfully matchy-clashy.

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No print here, but I included this plate because it looks so much like a Heath Ceramics plate I own.

Posted on June 29th, 2018 34 Comments

34 Responses

  1. y.k. says:

    First, on the melamine- I especially love the shibori. I always like modern renditions &the trompe l’oeil quality is so fun . (I love that the Heath plates have those “ridges”) . This reminds me of these plastic mats i saw recently that are printed with turkish rugs/ceramic tiles etc. Well, they do look cooler than i make them sound.
    As for “collections,” I can’t seem to pass up a good makeup pouch. That stopped making sense like 10 pouches ago.
    O, also, I have a real weakness for those cute colorful thin macrame / friendship bracelets. But that lies squarely in the category of accessories – adornment is a legitimate reason to collect I say.
    I guess makeup pouches & melamine adorn one’s lifestyle…

  2. Dianne says:

    You are not a freak…….. last year I became up Obsessed with a pair of aluminum Kaymet trays. They were a bit pricey for things I had no use for, and I didn’t buy them right away …….. fast forward a year later and the silver version was on sale…. I bought two of them. They sit, in their original packaging, on the shelf because I cannot think of what to do with them….my husband thinks I’m nuts…..but I needed those trays!

  3. c.w. says:

    antique fountain pens (they never work, but I WANT them)

    Swatch watches….I’m forever going on the swatch web site to see if there are any new patterns/colors/styles that I MUST have––this would make sense if I wore watches, but I don’t.

    GOCA Sag Harbor meet-up in the near future?!?!?

  4. Rebecca says:

    So so many things: kitchenware is a real problem for me, and anything Marimekko. Cute stationary… I live in a 600 sq foot condo, so it’s a constant level to avoid accruing things to the point of looking like I live in an episode of Hoarders…

  5. Dana D says:

    I’m sure there is a clinical name for this affliction and I have it…
    If I had a summer home I’d collect melamine because the patterns are so darned amazing and, as you suggested, it doesn’t break.

    I collect bowls and tote bags (the shopper-type kind).

    And I know why…troubled, chaotic childhood (oldest child) left me with the feeling that I could never “hold” it all together…

    Years of therapy helped the healing but I still buy a pretty bowl everytime I travel…

    • maggie says:

      Wait, are you me? LOL so THAT’s why I collect bags! It all makes sense now. Thanks for that!

  6. Alix says:

    Any and all lip products
    Totes, crossbodies, & cosmetic pouches


  7. Donna G. says:

    I love antique silver and silver plated teaspoons and salad forks. I buy them at thrift stores, auctions, antique shops, flea markets and garage sales. I have way too many but can’t pass up a really beautiful pattern.I do use the spoons and forks all the time so I do not feel guilty or crazy for buying what I love.

  8. Shannon says:

    I have an absurd number of mid-century cocktail glasses. I love the feel, the shapes, and the sparkly nature of each glass. I also feel like I have my life together when I can make a cocktail and put it in perfect glass.

  9. DeDe says:

    This is not a very unique answer, but mugs. I am a mug person. Any kind of mug will do: handmade ceramic ones, cheezy gift-store ones, vintage ones, the ones that are meant to hold soup, ones that hold three pots of coffee, ones that hold a third of a pot of coffee, you name it. Mugs in all their glorious iterations are always on my radar. Not cups. Not glasses. Mugs. And it’s unfortunately the nature of mugs that they take up a lot of room, so this is officially A Problem, but not one I’m too eager to solve. GIVE ME ALL THE MUGS.

    I also have a thing for 45’s – there’s something about a little tiny record you can hold easily in one hand that I find irresistable. Though mostly I have that under control (for now).

  10. Enameled tin plates/dishes. Basically camp plates. I have Red and blue ones, white and blue, and my very favorite- some white ones with red rims that were my best friend’s mother’s. Chipped and tired but such history! Occasionally I find them with designs. There are some fish ones I would love but refuse to pay for.
    No, you’re not crazy. And think- it’s a pretty harmless addiction!

  11. Mimi says:

    I have a drawer full of hair products and cosmetics in reserve, because god forbid I should ever run out of ______. The thing I keep buying that I really don’t need is pants. Sweaters too, but more pants, always. The holy grail would be the perfect pair of khakis, or gray flannel trousers, or black pants. Cheap ones, expensive ones, I can’t resist. And once high waists returned, I “needed” those in every color and fabric for when I’m not in the mood for my older, low slung versions. I don’t drink, never smoked and have no debt, so my rationalization is there are worse vices.

  12. joannawnyc says:

    I just bought a $1 lot of assorted melamine bowls, plates, and mugs via Maxsold and will drive 90 min r/t tomorrow to collect it, so yes, I get it.

    And don’t we all collect things we don’t REALLY need just because we like them? Like (non-kitschy) palm tree-adorned or -shaped items, or several pieces of mid-century modern blown or cased amber glass vessels of indeterminate purpose, or an adorable set of mini-balloon glasses (also mid century) in rainbow colors?

    Please don’t say it’s just me.

    • Viajera says:

      Wait. Now *I* need a set of mini ballon mid century rainbow colored glassed. And I have no idea what they are!! Soon to imagegoogle.

      I ditto all these people. I think it’s a widespread enough habit that we can call it Normal and be done. I am currently in the throes but I have been. Sometimes it seems to wear off. I had a handbag thing for a while and then it went away.

      • Viajera says:

        Oopsie. *not* currently in throes. Am currently looking for stuff I need. Which is not as much fun!

  13. elise says:

    Pouches and tote bags….way, way too many and yet I keep buying more!

    I have a most excellent melamine tray from a Target / John Derian collab a few years back and kick myself that I didn’t buy more items! Amazing quality and cool pattern.

    • Jeanne says:

      I was going to post that I have some of that gorgeous melamine from the Target/John Derian too. That was a great collaboration. I have the water lily tray, a set of coasters and the typographic alphabet tray which my young children (at the god how time flies) pointed out was missing the J and the W, my initials!! So funny.

  14. Jana says:

    I also love melamine and am obsessed with Marimekko so when the Marimekko for Target collection came out a couple of years ago I bought ALL the melamine plates. I have the ones that I use daily plus a stash in my closet for when those start to wear out.

  15. Jeanne says:

    I went through the oddest acquisition phase about 7 years ago. I started saving all the different, colorful gift boxes from Kate Spade. I was enamored by the interesting shapes like circles, thick cardboard, colors and gold edging. I did this for about a year and have them stored in a massive turquoise and green box meant for hats or large purses. For the life of me I cannot bring myself to toss the whole lot out!

  16. Mae says:

    Pyrex. Any more and I’m going to have to remodel my kitchen to store it.

    • Viajera says:

      Oooh, pyrex. I have this hankering too. It’s rational imho. Great for the microwave, doesn’t break easily, it’s good stuff. Some day I may eat only off of pyrex, if I can manage it.

    • DeDe says:

      This reminds me of another one – measuring cups! You would not believe how many sets of these we have. I should probably bring it up in therapy.

  17. Jasmine says:

    Designer silk scarves. Mostly Hermes but others, too. I collect new ones and vintage ones. At this point I have more than I’ll ever wear but I still keep adding to the collection.

    • Lynn in Tucson says:

      I love old Hermes, and I also love scouring ebay for vintage silk souvenir scarves from quirky places.

  18. Melissa Lin says:

    I was obsessed with milk glass. About a decade ago, I went through a phase where I was into vintage everything – clothes, decor, furniture. Collecting milk glass gave me an excuse to scour thrift stores. Since milk glass was cheap, it was easy to hoard. Then I went through a minimalist phase and gave away my collection to another milk glass enthusiast. I don’t miss the items, but I do miss the hunt for it.

  19. Dusa says:

    Trays, especially paper machie ones from the 40s-50s.
    Bowls (yep, SNL’s Back-Home Baller for the win)
    And (I have no idea when I became this person), tiny ceramic birds.

  20. Candy says:

    Vintage silver heart charms from the 1940s. I started buying them at antique shows and flea markets 35 years ago, then on eBay. The hunt for new ones helped keep me distracted during my child’s cancer treatment, then when she got better, I kept at it. I finally paid (a lot) to have all of them attached to a silver charm bracelet and the tinkling noise it makes when I wear it still brings back both sad and happy memories.

  21. Lucinda says:

    I’m also obsessed with melamine right now.
    Check out Food52 for an excellent selection from a company called Siren Song.

  22. Krista Campbell says:

    Filofax organizers (I think I have finally stopped, though, I have about 20!!)
    Tote bags
    Old-school “house dresses” like our grandmas wore on hot days

  23. Mamavalveeta03 says:

    I can’t really think of objects or items that I truly collect. I think it probably has something to do with the fact that we’ve moved 17 times since we got married! (We’re settled now…thank God!)

    Do pinky-brown MLBB lipcolors count? Cuz I probably have at least a hundred of them. Or striped tees. Can’t pass up a good one.

  24. Lynn in Tucson says:

    Spinning wheels. It’s terribly impractical.