I love, love, love china of all sorts. My current everyday tableware is Blue Willow, which is the pattern I had when my husband and I started seeing each other. It's kind of sentimental. After we began working we bought several sets of dishes, but after the inevitable breakage, the replacement pieces weren't always available. Thus, another whole set would be purchased. After doing this twice, we said, "Why not just get Blue Willow? There will always be Blue Willow." So we did.
The reason I had Blue Willow to begin with is that I adore blue and white china. In the past several years I have begun to pick up Spode Blue Room pieces whenever I find them at a reasonable price. (Thank you, T. J. Maxx!). I like to do holiday dinners on the Zoological Series, although I feel guilty giving someone the rhinoceros plate! I have serving pieces and teapots and cookie jars and all sorts of blue and white ware.
My serious china is a pink rose pattern. It's gorgeous, delicate stuff, the thickness of a sheet of parchment, and I always panic when hand washing them, for fear that I'll break a piece. The funny part is where they came from. They're gasoline purchase china. (You know, 99 cents with a fill-up.)
My father was a Standard Oil dealer. In the 60's, the company ran a number of dishware promotions. Each piece was available for a week or two, except for the plates, which you could buy all during the promotion. The pieces were about a dollar each when you filled up your car. The pattern is called Island Rose, and the promotion was announced during a dinner meeting of Standard Oil dealers with the theme "Come to the Chevron Island." Island - you know, pump island. Think gas station. I remember this because Mom and Dad came home with silk flower leis and we thought it was so funny.
Anyway, when the dishes arrived, Mom started putting away a set for me. I was in high school at the time. She was forward-looking enough to know that when I was out on my own I would want china, and good china is expensive. I think it is beautiful and I have always enjoyed using it. I love telling dinner guests that the dishes came from a service station!