My daughter Kirsten and her husband Michael discovered a wonderful tableware pattern the other day at HomeSense, a discount distributor in Canada. We have always joked in the family that Kirsten can spend both sides of a five dollar bill and have change left over, and this talent once again came to the fore in acquiring 222 Fifth Dinnerware’s Adelaide Green & White pattern. It reminded me of Gien’s Tulipes Noire pattern, one I have long coveted, but have not acquired.

The 222 Fifth pattern is a black and white toile on a vivid green background, and the most appealing part of the set is its wonderful shapes. The dinner, dessert and canapé plates are square. There are scalloped, round cereal bowls and square, smaller bowls, perfect for yoghurt, ice cream or berries. The generous mugs have a beautiful curved handle, very comfortable in the hand. It’s a truly fun set, and we picked it up for a song.

The toile features peonies and birds, so it was fortuitous that our white parrot tulips had reached their peony-like, fully opened state, and showed to advantage with black Chilewich placemats. Black Mikasa water goblets and Cambridge Diane wine glasses from Replacements Inc. made attractive accompaniments. We continued the bird theme with a pewter salt & pepper set I’d picked up in an hotel gift shop years ago, and glass napkin rings from Pottery Barn.

It wasn’t the way we had planned to spend the day, but we had a fun afternoon, unpacking and washing the set in a glorious confusion of paper, bags and stacks of tableware. We weren’t able to get all the pieces we wanted in one location at HomeSense, as every store gets its own inventory. But a few phone calls the next day helped us track down the additional pieces we needed. Great tableware doesn’t have to be expensive. You just have to be on the lookout for what appeals to you, and then act on it.