Sunday, May 31, 2009

Hands on...

When I go "flea-ing" (flea market), I look for collections that are being sold off. As a shop owner, it is an easy buy. The stash below was such a buy.
And, of course, such a stash is going to put my imaginative mind in gear...and I was thinking of all the phrases that have hand in them, and how different each phrase is.

Like, hands down....or have to hand it to you...or a bird in the hand...or give me a hand...the hand you are dealt...
This hand collection consisted of mid century ashtrays...from the days when women would get together for bridge parties or teas. I have never smoked, but I can picture a woman in a flowing rayon dress with a cigarettes in her hand...These hands are all made in Japan...some are right hands, some are left hands, and there are those that are right and left...and there is another saying...the right hand does not know what the left hand is doing...
These oddities in the ceramics world are usually Japanese. Made in Japan was stamped on many items after WWII ended in 1952. there is the exclusive hand painted Nippon items (Nippon being the Japanese name for their country) from 1891-1921 and the mass produced items with the Japan tag available after that. After Pearl Harbor, many Americans destroyed Japanese can imagine the hysteria...but, fortunately, not all was trashed. Sometimes you will find a piece where the Japan label has been sanded off!

So, let me hand it to you...

If you do not smoke, you could use the little ones...that are only 2.5" to hold a ring...or the larger ones can hold business cards...then there are those that are vases...I have none in stock since these do sell the moment they hit the table, but here is picture of some McCoy hands from the price guide...
and here is one designed to hold a bloom as well as some treasures around the base...
There are also metal hands, but these are not ashtrays...this is designed to hold calling cards or treasures.
Before things get out of hand here, I shall hand it over to you to read and contemplate...take a look at your hands and remember,“People say friends must always hold hands, but true friends don't need to hold hands because they know the other hand will always be there.”

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Memorial Day...summer's on...

Here at the Jersey shore, the Memorial Day holiday celebrates the opening of summer...and the enforcing of beach more roaming that sand for does have with it the remembrance of those who served.
The very first memorial ceremony was held in Athens, Greece, in 431 BC when Pericles offered a funeral oration for the soldiers of the Peloponnesian War. The event was a large-scale public commemoration in which the entire city of Athens participated. "This type of wartime memorial pulls people together," he said. "Those who die in combat become the community dead - a group of people to be honored by all."

The Civil War spawned the birth of the commemorative event. Henry Welles, a drugstore owner in Waterloo, NY, got the shops in town close May 5 to honor the soldiers who were killed in the Civil War and were buried in the Waterloo cemetery. The citizens placed flowers, wreaths and crosses on the graves of the Northern soldiers in the cemetery.

At about the same time, Memorial Day, called Decoration Day at that time, was officially proclaimed on May 5,1868, by General John Logan, national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic, in his General Order No. 11, and was first observed on May 30, 1868, when flowers were placed on the graves of Union and Confederate soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery.

In 1882, the name was changed to Memorial Day and soldiers who had died in previous wars were honored as well. In the northern United States, it was designated a public holiday. In 1971, along with other holidays, President Richard Nixon declared Memorial Day a federal holiday on the last Monday in May.

My father fought in WWII. I never remember his talking about it much. In Washington, DC, the World War II Memorial which opened in 2004 honors the 16 million who served in the armed forces of the U.S., the more than 400,000 who died, and all who supported the war effort from home. Symbolic of the defining event of the 20th Century, the memorial is a monument to the spirit, sacrifice, and commitment of the American people. The Second World War is the only 20th Century event commemorated on the National Mall’s central axis.
If you want to list someone on the WWII registry, go to and follow the directions to register. Once verified, a page will honor that person's service...this is my Dad's.
So, as you bask in the sun, check out the sales in the stores, remember those who served...and those who supported those who served also...and, if summer brings you "down the shore," stop in and say "Hi!" We are waiting for you!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Everything old is

new again. We watched The Curious Case of Benjamin Button the other evening, and it truly presents a fascinating concept...born old and grow young.

When I opened my shop the following morning, it hit me...antiques are Benjamin Buttons...they are old, and they become young again as they are repurposed into a new life. Unlike Benjamin though, they get to be reborn over and over as the centuries pass.

This suncatcher is made from an old faucet and lamp crystals...
A piece of sheet music and some old seam binding are reborn as a tussie for potpourri or for tucking some florals or little treasures.

An old shutter gets reborn as a cabinet...

Vintage teacups can still serve tea and give pleasure with their beauty.

Can you imagine all the food that was processed in these early 1900s canning jars?

One of the lines from the movie is filled with Button's philosophy when he says, "Along the way you bump into people who make a dent on your life. Some people get struck by lightning. Some are born to sit by a river. Some have an ear for music. Some are artists. Some swim the English Channel. Some know buttons. Some know Shakespeare. Some are mothers. And some people can dance."

It applies to possessions also...things can make a dent on your life. What makes people walk into an antique shop? Memories, of course...and then the connection with those things that can make you dance. The next time you pick up a vintage glass or an antique plate, you are giving it a chance to grow young again! Repurposing is more than recycling...because everything old is new again!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day!

Happy Mother’s Day…and once again we celebrate a holiday with its origins in ancient times…the Greeks honored Rhea, the wife of Cronus and the mother of many deities in a spring festival..
Ancient Romans celebrated a spring festival, called Hilaria dedicated to Cybele, a mother goddess. The celebration, held on the Ides of March (remember Julius Caesar) by making offerings in the temple of Cybele. It lasted for three days and included parades, games and masquerades. The celebrations were notorious enough that followers of Cybele were banished from Rome…rather “hilarious,” I think!

In England Mothers Day dates back to 1600s. Mothering Sunday was celebrated annually on the fourth Sunday of Lent to honor theVirgin Mary, and children brought gifts and flowers to pay tribute to their own mothers.

Custom of celebrating Mothering Sunday died out almost completely by the 19th century although in America Julia Ward Howe (she wrote “The Battle Hymn of the Republic”) suggested that June 2 be annually celebrated as Mothers Day and should be dedicated to peace.

But it is Anna Jarvis who is recognized as the Founder of Mothers Day in US. Though Anna Jarvis never married and never had kids, she is also known as the Mother of Mothers Day, an apt title for the lady who worked hard to bestow honor on all mothers.

Her mother felt it should be a holiday, and, after her mother died, she lobbied for an official declaration of Mothers Day holiday. By 1911, Mother's Day was celebrated in almost every state in the Union and on May 8, 1914, President Woodrow Wilson signed a Resolution designating the second Sunday in May as Mother's Day.

Jarvis was not happy with the commercialization of the holiday, but it has become one of the busiest phone days (can you hear me now?) and last year over 3 billion dollars went to restaurants since you cannot make Mom cook on her day! It has become a worldwide holiday even though it is celebrated at different times of the year with 46 countries celebrating an official Mother's Day.

But as Washington Irving wrote, “A mother is the truest friend we have, when trials, heavy and sudden, fall upon us; when adversity takes the place of prosperity; when friends who rejoice with us in our sunshine, desert us when troubles thicken around us, still will she cling to us, and endeavour by her kind precepts and counsels to dissipate the clouds of darkness, and cause peace to return to our hearts.”

Sunday, May 3, 2009

May Days!

So much for the month of seemed to pass by rather quickly...or, is that just my aging time warp? Anyway, May is a fascinating month...only 3 letters just packed with so least here on the east coast...trees, dandelions, flowers, dandelions, asparagus, dandelions, spinach, dandelions, spring onions, dandelions, and pollen...

But, for the history buffs, the Druids of the British Isles celebrated May 1 as the second most important holiday of the year. The festival of Beltane was held which represented the day that divided the year in half. The other half ended with the Samhain on November 1.

The ancients lit a new fire on May Day. The fire itself was thought to lend life to the springtime sun. Cattle were driven through the fire to purify them, and men, with their sweethearts, passed through the smoke good luck(good thing we don't have that...we have a week of rain predicted-extinguish that good luck fire for sure!) you can put some meaning to the old song "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes."
When the Romans occupied Britain, they brought their feast of The Floralia devoted to Flora, the goddess of flowers. The five day festival started on April 28 and ran through May 3...the ancients did not do one day...bam...move on...they always feasted for days.
Then, as religion's influences grew, the pagan rituals were discouraged. In many countries today May 1 is celebrated as International Labour Day...similar to our September holiday. It is a day for protests and rallies though not for buying school supplies and barbecues.

But...let us celebrate Floralia...and this week's treasure...the glass flower frog. No one seems to know how "frog" was attached to these floral holders...maybe because they sit in water and catch things?? Now, there are exotic "frogs", but I have a large stash of simple glass ones in stock now...and they are always so reasonable...several dollars only...but they do a wonderful job of holding stems and small branches in vases or containers. They can also work on a desk for pens or on a vanity for smaller make-up brushes.

So, celebrate May Month...

let's do it like the ancients and extend the celebration. By the way, the infamous "MayDay" signal is an anglicized version of the French m'aidez (help me) or m'aider (to render help to me) The call is always given three times in a row ("Mayday Mayday Mayday") to prevent mistaking it for some similar-sounding phrase under noisy conditions, and to distinguish an actual Mayday call from a message about a Mayday call.

Perhaps, I need to consider that help me signal if I see another stash of glass frogs...or, you could help me and stop in and buy some to celebrate Floralia!