Fiesta Hacks

FIESTA HACKS (3)copyHere at Homer Laughlin, we love thinking outside the box when it comes to using Fiesta. We believe that with our unique shapes and vivid colors, our dinnerware needs to be displayed as often as possible, instead of always being hidden in a cupboard! That’s why we started brainstorming alternative uses for our beloved dinnerware. We want to be able to flaunt our Fiesta, no matter what we’re doing! So get out your pens and paper, you might want to write these down 🙂

 

Cake/Cupcake Stand

Looking for a stylish way to show off your decadent desserts? Try using our Cake Plate with a Hostess Bowl flipped upside down as a stand! For tinier treats, swap the bowl for a Bouillon and the cake plate for a Saucer.

cake23 copycopy

 

Office Necessities

Here’s a fun way to brighten up your desk: use a Tumbler for pens, a Bouillon for rubber bands, a Ramekin for paper clips, a Sugar Packet Caddy for post-its, and a Toothbrush Holder for odds and ends. Your desk will be the talk of the office; just don’t forget the coffee in our Square Mug!

office3copy

 

Paint Palette

For all you artists out there, what better way to separate your paints than with our Egg Plate? The bright colors and cool designs of Fiesta are sure to trigger creativity. You can even keep your brushes clean in our Java Mug!

paints23

 

Flowerpot

Of course you could use our Medium Vase for flowers, but we decided to get a little more creative. Here we used our Toothbrush Holder – perfect for short stemmed flowers! We’ve also seen collectors use Tumblers, Teapots, and even Disc Pitchers as vases. With Fiesta, the possibilities are endless!

flowers copy

Do you have any Fiesta hacks? Let us know in the comments!

 

 

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10 Things You (Probably) Didn’t Know

10 things you (probably) didn't know (2)1

Did you know that Fiesta Dinnerware is 79 years old? Wow! In all of those years, we have certainly collected some interesting facts and stories. Here are 10 of our favorites:

1. Reintroduction. As some of you may know, Fiesta was discontinued in 1973 and reintroduced in 1986 with the new colors Rose, Black, White, Cobalt Blue, and Apricot. However, these were not the only glazes that were created for Fiesta’s reintroduction. The 5 colors that were selected were based on the opinions of retailers who unanimously agreed on Rose, Black, White, Cobalt Blue, and Apricot. Had they been drawn to the other colors we presented, you might have ended up with these in your P86 collection:

 oldplates1

2. Production. By the time it takes you to read this sentence, another piece of Fiesta will have been made. Based on production capacity, HLC produces one piece of Fiesta every four seconds. Not too shabby!

3. Hostess Bowl. We’ve recently seen a lot of collectors thinking outside the box when using their Fiesta, which we love! One piece in particular that is often used in Fiesta hacks is the Hostess Bowl flipped upside down, which makes sense, as it was originally designed to be used that way. J. C. Penney’s approached us in the 90’s asking for a base for large pillar candles. We presented an item that used design components from the bottom of the Raspberry Bowl, but Penney’s buyer wasn’t sold on it. That is, until he turned it upside down; thus, the Hostess Bowl was born! Coincidentally, that JCP buyer is now our Vice President of Retail Sales!

2-19 BP

4. American Fiesta. Maybe you’ve heard of this one. In 2007, a play was produced called “American Fiesta” and was based on, you guessed it, collecting Fiesta dinnerware. Although there were other themes in the play than just collecting Fiesta, we were still flattered that we made it onto the stage!

5. Uranium. As some of you might already know, the Homer Laughlin China Co, along with the other top potteries in the US, used to use scant amounts of uranium in glazes to achieve the vivid colors associated with vintage Fiesta. We have long since eliminated uranium from our dinnerware, but not before we got an interesting visit during WWII from US government officials, demanding our storage of uranium. We were just making glazes, Mr. President!

6. Fiesta Proposal. We have heard many a Fiesta love story over the years, but we think this one might just take the cake: In September of 2011, a man and woman visited the outlet together for a shopping trip while on their vacation. Little did she know that he had contacted us prior to their trip to request a custom Marigold plate with the words “Will you marry me?” written on it. The plate was set out in front of the store when the couple arrived. When she saw it, he got onto one knee and proposed. How could you say no to that!

proposal plate

7. Famous Fiesta. Fiesta is the star of our kitchens, but did you know it has also appeared next to stars on the big screen and television? You can see our colorful dinnerware in A Christmas Story, The Mentalist, The Big Bang Theory, Modern Family, and more! Are we forgetting any of your favorites?

8. The #1 Color. Of course we don’t have a favorite color (we love them all!), but as far as sales go, there is one color that reigns supreme: Scarlet. Ever since Scarlet’s introduction to the Fiesta line in 2004, it has topped the charts in sales. Even when a new color is introduced, it always falls short to our ravishing red.

9. Museum. With all of the fascinating history behind HLC, it seemed selfish of us to keep it to ourselves! There is a Ceramics Museum located across the river from the factory, honoring all of the potteries that originated in the area, but if you’re looking for something a little closer to the factory, then look no further than our personal museum located in our outlet store. Factory tours end with a venture into the museum, and with all of the retired colors and vintage pieces on display in our museum, you’ll think you’ve died and gone to Fiesta heaven!

museumshot

10. Rhead & Wells. As you might already know, Frederick Hurten Rhead is credited with the design of Fiesta. However, the idea for the bright colors actually came from Joseph M. Wells, Sr., the general manager and 2nd generation family member of the company. Wells had seen colored glazes at a houseware show in California and brought the idea back to West Virginia. It was his philosophy that brightly colored dinnerware would, in turn, brighten everyone’s spirits. They certainly needed it, as the introduction of Fiesta occurred during the Great Depression. The idea, as you might have guessed, stuck, and 79 years later, we continue to be charmed by our colorful Fiesta.

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Fiesta Gets Red Carpet Ready

Lights. Camera. Award season! Most cinema gurus can attest to the fact the the BAFTA’s (British Academy Film Awards) are a pretty accurate foreshadowing of how the Oscar’s will play out. So in light of the upcoming 87th Annual Academy Awards we’ve placed some of the leading noms and winners from the BAFTA show in our Fiesta spotlight.

So, “Who are they wearing?” you ask? It looks like Scarlet, Ivory, Plum and Cobalt Blue were the belles of the ball.

Fiesta Gets Red Carpet Ready

[images courtesy of Google Images] 

Nominee for supporting actress, Emma Stone, and 2015 BAFTA leading lady winner, Julianne Moore, radiated in Scarlet. Nominee for supporting actress, Rene Russo, for Nightcrawler, and nom for leading lady, Amy Adams, for Big Eyes illuminated in Ivory. Notes of Cobalt Blues were seen worn by a couple nominees for leading actress: Rosamund Pike for Gone Girl and Felicity Jones for The Theory Of Everything. Even 2015 BAFTA Best Actor winner, Eddie Redmayne, for The Theory Of Everything glistened in notes of the moody blue. Forever girl-next-door and leading actress nom for Wild, Reese Witherspoon looked completely royal in Plum

See more of the noms for the 2015 Oscars airing live on ABC at 7E/4P here. Comment in our Academy Award post here to chat about who you think will win!

 

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I Heart Fiesta®

Untitled design copy
The story behind the beloved Fiesta® Heart Bowl

With Valentine’s Day fast approaching, it seems fitting to spotlight The Homer Laughlin China Company’s interpretation of an iconic Valentine symbol: the heart. 

   The Fiesta® Heart Bowl was originally introduced in 2008 as an exclusive item for independent retailers.  This arrangement assured that the item would not be sold in department stores, giving small shop owners a special sales opportunity.  

   According to Rich Brinkman, Vice President of Retail Sales and Marketing, the idea of gift giving was the inspiration behind this special Fiesta piece. “The heart is the number one shape given as gifts,” he says, referring to the unmatched popularity of heart-shaped trinkets in the retail market.  This notion was right on target, as the Fiesta Heart Bowl has been a huge success. 

Heart Bowl Blueprint   According to Ed Wonder, Director of Design at HLC, work on the bowl commenced in the spring of 2007 when Rich put forth the concept of creating a heart-shaped candy dish.  “When the idea was first suggested we knew it could be a manufacturing challenge,” he says.  “Remember, that was back in the pre-Fiesta Square days, so making an unusual geometry was really breaking new ground.”

  Beyond the challenges posed by producing such a unique shape, the Design Department faced another pressing issue.  They were to design not just any old heart-shaped dish, but a Fiesta heart-shaped dish.  “The scariest part of the assignment,” says Ed, “was making sure it came out ‘Fiesta-esque’ with the strong recognizable character and personality of our most iconic shape.”  

Heart Bowl Design copy
   The Heart Bowl went through several early design variations that ranged from fluted edges to more box-like, straight sided forms.  The resulting bowl is a classic rolled edge shape that blends seamlessly into the Fiesta line.  “In the end I am very proud of what we accomplished,” says Ed.  “The final bowl is very clearly a heart, manufacturable, saleable, nests with itself, and is adaptable to production in other sizes.” 

   The success of the Fiesta Heart Bowl is evidenced by the introduction of a second, larger size.  The Medium Heart Bowl, as it is known, was created in 2012 at the request of national retailers and was introduced to the public in 2013 in all current Fiesta colors. 

Fiesta Heart Bowl Flowers

 More than just a pretty face, the Heart Bowl is as hardy and versatile as any Fiesta dish.  In fact, we put ours on dessert duty for a special Valentine’s treat: Chocolate Pot de Crème.  This velvety custard delivers an intense chocolate experience, baked right in the Fiesta Heart Bowl. 

Chocolate

 

Chocolate Pot de Crème
The rich chocolate custard is the perfect treat for loved ones when baked right in the Fiesta Heart Bowl.
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Ingredients
  1. 7 oz. semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  2. 2 cups half-and-half
  3. 3 Tbsp. sugar
  4. 1 tsp. instant espresso powder
  5. Pinch of salt
  6. 6 large egg yolks
  7. 1 tsp. vanilla extract
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. Have ready four oven proof bowls or ramekins, a large roasting pan, and hot water to fill.
  3. Place chocolate in a large heatproof bowl.
  4. In a medium pot, heat and stir the half-and-half, sugar, instant espresso, and salt over medium heat until mixture is quite hot.
  5. Pour over chocolate and whisk until chocolate is melted. For best results, set the bowl over a pot of simmering water, whisking until smooth.
  6. Let the mixture cool slightly, then whisk in the egg yolks and vanilla.
  7. Divide the mixture among the bowls and place in a roasting pan. Fill the pan with hot water, about halfway up the sides of the dishes.
  8. Cover the pan tightly with aluminum foil and bake for about 35 minutes, or until the sides of the custards are set but the center is still wobbly.
  9. Cool on a wire rack and serve, garnished with whipped cream and raspberries.
Fiesta Dinnerware, Always Festive http://alwaysfestive.com/
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Carrot Cake Day

It’s National Carrot Cake Day and we can’t think of a more deserving pastry to celebrate.  This hearty confection elevates the humble root to a sweet cakey splendor, equally at home in weddings and Sunday dinners. 

Carrot Cake Day

 

In celebrating this colorful vegetable’s rise to dessert all-star, we made a classic carrot layer cake with a few unusual additions: coconut and pineapple.  Rest assured these tropical influences do not overwhelm, yet somehow serve to enhance the rich flavor and texture of the cake. 

Fiesta Carrot Cake

 

A luscious cream cheese frosting is the perfect complement to this lightly spiced cake, a pairing that goes way back (if it ain’t broke…).  We did, however, eschew the typical chopped nut and carrot embellishments in favor of a flaked coconut coating.  The sash of flowers?  Dried pineapple flowers, of course!

Fiesta Carrot Cake Slice

 

 

Carrot Cake
A moist carrot cake laced with coconut and pineapple.
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Ingredients
For the Cake
  1. 2 cups granulated sugar
  2. 1 1/3 cups vegetable oil
  3. 3 large eggs
  4. 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  5. 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  6. 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  7. 2 tsp baking soda
  8. 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  9. 1 cup raisins
  10. 1 cup chopped walnuts
  11. 1 cup flaked coconut
  12. 1 pound of carrots, grated
  13. 1 can (15 oz.) crushed pineapple, drained
For the Frosting
  1. 3/4 pound cream cheese, at room temperature
  2. 1/2 pound unsalted butter, at room temperature
  3. 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  4. 1 pound confectioners' sugar, sifted
For the Flower Garnish
  1. 2 large pineapples, sliced
Directions
For the Cake
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Butter 2 8-inch round cake pans, then line with parchment paper and butter and flour the pans.
  3. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat sugar and oil.
  4. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  5. When the batter is light yellow in color, add the vanilla.
  6. In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt.
  7. Add the dry ingredients to the wet batter.
  8. Fold in raisins, walnuts, carrots and pineapple.
  9. Divide batter between the two pans and bake for 55-60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  10. Cool the cakes completely before frosting.
For the Frosting
  1. Beat the cream cheese, butter, and vanilla with an electric mixer until combined. Slowly add in the sugar, mixing until smooth and creamy.
For the Flower Garnish
  1. Preheat oven to 225 degrees.
  2. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  3. Using a small spoon or melon baller, carve out black pineapple eyes.
  4. Cut pineapple, crosswise, into very thin slices and gently place on baking sheets.
  5. Bake until tops look dried, about 60 minutes.
  6. Flip slices and bake until completely dried, about 60 minutes more.
  7. Pinch the center of each pineapple slice to form a cone and allow to cool in a clean egg carton or muffin pan to form flowers.
Adapted from Ina Garten
Adapted from Ina Garten
Fiesta Dinnerware, Always Festive http://alwaysfestive.com/
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Valentine’s Day, Reinvented

Each February 14th, love birds will exchange cards, chocolates, kisses, and more with their special Valentines (cue the ooh’s and aah’s!). The beloved (or dreaded) day of romance we deem ‘Valentine’s Day’ dates all the way back to 5th century Rome, and its year-after-year traditions often reflect those ancient roots. Not this year. We’re shaking the dust off the age-old candlelight dinners and petal-filled floors with a new kind of tradition: high tea, hold the cheesy please.

Say 'I Love You- with More Color (2)

Use More Color to Say ‘I Love You’   

There is no denying our love for color combinations at Fiesta (have you seen our virtual factory, Colorama?) so when we have the opportunity to get creative, we take it…especially on the day of love. In the image below, we’ve nixed the played-out pinks and reds, for a Scarlet, White and Turquoise combo, adding a retro spin on old-time classic. Seeing hearts yet?

Use more color to say I love you with Fiesta

Let Them Eat Cake

Inspired by the reimagined 2006 classic Marie Antoinette starring Kirsten Dunst, we romanticized tea on the lawn, adding notes of flowers in our cups for ambience, and delicious scones on our saucers. We added more color and fun to our tablescape with edible golden heart confetti and artful french macaroons that were almost too beautiful to eat (key word being almost!).   

Use more color to say I love you with Fiesta Use more color to say I love you with Fiesta Use more color to say I love you with Fiesta Use more color to say I love you with Fiesta


Table for Two (or More), Please!

Valentine’s Day doesn’t need to be exclusively between two. We added some canine fun, along with some extra helpings to the mix, because the more the merrier! Plus your Instagram photos will be much, much cuter.

use more color to say I love you

Have another out-of-the-box Valentine’s Day tip? Share yours in the comments below or visit us on Facebook!

 

 

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