For our wedding reception, we purchased china tea cups, saucers, and dessert plates from thrift stores. As we were shopping, we found a china pattern that we liked, and we decided to start purchasing pieces of that pattern as we found them. We committed not to spend more than $1.00 (vs. $100!) per piece, excluding serving pieces (do I hear $2.00?).
Since then, we've done just that. We've purchased pieces of our pattern as we've come across them in various thrift stores.
The thing is, I've had a hard time remembering the name of our pattern. I just had a good idea of what it looked like (white, silver trim, white "lacy" overlay around the edges). It was simple and classy. After purchasing the wrong pattern once, I had the idea to jot the name of the pattern down in a notebook I keep in my purse. Only, I never did that.
Fast forward to today. I was out doing a little thrifting, and I came across a dinner plate in "our pattern". It was $1.00, so I snagged it up. I also committed to jotting down the name of the pattern in my notebook when I got home, as well as tallying up the pieces I had so I wouldn't over-buy in the future.
When I arrived home, I pulled out my notebook and our china plates. If you'll recall, I knew I had purchased some that weren't the same pattern, so I was expecting two patterns. It turns out we had SIX different patterns! SIX! haha! Oh, well! They're all so similar that I'm not too worried about it.
I now have them cataloged in the notebook I keep in my purse. It starts out "assortment of the following" and then lists the SIX patterns! haha! I'm still giggling a little, because I guess my memory and eye for the pattern aren't as good as I thought they were!