Sunday, March 28, 2010

Keep calm


and carry on...
Ever since I got into the antique business, I have been fascinated by the history of the objects that pass through my doors. It could be my Library Science degree that makes me want to research...and, that is what I do teach...but I do not think anything exists in a vacuum, and this phrase is popping up on pillows, china, and I have it on the hand crafted cards I get from my paper artisan.

It dates back to WWII England and the Ministry of Information (not to be confused with our current Ministries of Misinformation...aka media...chuckle). Winston Churchill appointed Brendan Bracken to design posters "to offer reassurance from the King to his people; they were to be 'uniform in style'; and they were to feature a 'special and handsome' typeface making them difficult for the enemy to forge."

The story gets more interesting.
The first poster designed to counter the bombing raids and possible gas attacks read: "Your Courage, Your Cheerfulness, Your Resolution Will Bring Us Victory." Over a million were printed for billboards, shop windows, and town bulletin boards.

The second poster read "Freedom Is In Peril."



The third was kept in reserve in case the war became a lost cause, and that was "Keep Calm And Carry On." The crown, by the way, represents George VI. They printed more than 2 million, but it was only to be posted if Germany invaded England.

Flash to 2000...a British bookseller, Stewart Manley found two perfect originals in a box of second-hand books he bought at auction. As a friend commented when I told her this story, it was his Roadshow moment. The posters were recycled at the end of the war, and only a few were claimed by some government workers at the time. I imagine they wanted to forget those days.

Although Stewart wanted to make copies, his wife, an American, was hesitant. So, he waited until she was away for a couple weeks, and he had copies made. According to the interview with him that I found, he was upset that the minimum was 500 posters. He thought he could never sell that many...ha...he is over 40,000 sold now...not to mention towels, mugs, mouse pads, aprons...

In today's world, that phrase could apply to so many events...but it does have a ring of truth...so, keep calm, carry on...

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Am I blue....

no...but my cabinet is...This past week was my spring break from teaching so my elf and I went to work reorganizing...unlike my students who probably headed to Florida or Cancun...anyway paint was on the agenda...we picked this color long before the blizzards blew in...but this blue just lights up this old cabinet...
this is our "wine & entertaining" section...a la vintage...a little Limoge...wine glasses...silverplate...
















But I liked it so much that I had her do the bookcase that holds the Fiesta and funky fifties pottery...and Van Gogh said, "There is no blue without yellow and without orange."
So, since we are blue...we moved a stash of 1960s Capri glassware to the front also. Now, technically "capri" is the color for this Hazel Atlas glassware line...
Its official names are "Seashell," "Swirl Colonial," or "Colonial Alpine." You can see from the picture below from the Florence book, Glassware from the 40s, 50s, 60s the different varieties in this line.
I have a stash of tumblers in the "Dots" which, according to the price guide, are "Skol Swedish Style Glasses"--that from an original box with them in...
they do look so beachy and summery...not just for drinks though. Great for a dessert shot as they are called now...a scoop of sherbet...ice cream...fruit...you cannot help but think summer when you look at this color.

In doing some researching, I found this "Fun Facts About the Color Blue."

President Martin VanBuren is credited with introducing blue into the decorating scheme in 1837, and there has been a "blue room" in the White House ever since.(I am sure considering political life, many of those rooms have been "blue.")

Blue is the favored color choice for toothbrushes. (Have a blue one. What color is yours?)

Over the past decade, scientists have reported the successful use of blue light in the treatment of a wide variety of psychological problems, including addictions, eating disorders, impotence and depression. (Now that might do us well around here after this winter of wacko weather!! Maybe that is why the color was so appealing!)

In auto racing, a blue flag advises a car to yield to faster traffic behind. (Did not know that...I am not a Nascar fan.)

An old superstition says that when lights burn blue there are ghosts about.
(My lights just burn out...no ghosts, I guess.)

So, if you are blue, it is not all bad...and we even have a birdhouse for the bluebird of happiness...come on down, we are ready!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Never iron a four leaf clover...


you don't want to press your luck!

Oh, groan! Sorry! But, being half Irish (Mother's side...Devine...her name Audrey Rose...faith and begorrah! Father's side...Dutch...makes me super stubborn though!)




I know the Ides of March is tomorrow, but enough of the "bewares"! We need to see green! Enjoy the rebirth of nature! Ancient Egypt had a god, Osiris, to
represent resurrection, and he was green! But, green does have a range of meanings...if you are inexperienced, you are green, but, if you are good with plants, you have a green thumb. Then, there is green with envy, and the Wicked Witch is green, and, when Dracula was performed on Broadway, his make-up was green. Yet, Oz is the Emerald City and traffic lights use green for "go." Like all colors, it provides us with hues of thought!

The Irish claim the color since St. Patrick used a shamrock to introduce Christianity to Ireland (each leaf representing one part of the Holy Trinity--the 4th represented God's grace). According to research, Eve carried a 4 leaf clover from Eden~so much for her luck! Even ancient civilizations played into the luck theme with the Druids and the Celts both considering it as lucky.

Currently, green is the code word for environmental issues...recycling...reusing...repurposing...which is what those of us in the antique/vintage world do daily. So, with that in mind...let me show you what arrived in the shop this week...pillows made from recycled sweaters...made in America!!! Yes!!! Soft, luxurious, unique!








They are as soft as they look...and, because these are not mass produced, each is truly unique in color and scope.

We are open weekends now that the snows have returned to the earth...and as you celebrate St. Patrick's Day this week, I leave you with an Irish blessing...

May you alway walk in sunshine.
May you never want for more.
May Irish angels rest their wings right beside your door.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Parting the sea of debris...

My elf and I started spring cleaning in the store this week. The path to the door is available...we did not take before pictures...way too scary! But I like this new card my creative card maker designed...
So...we kept calm...and carried on...cleared a path to the door so we could get out and people could get it!And we searched for bright colors (if you read this blog, you know I am a little over "snow white"!).

I realized as I unpacked some auction treasures, I had a nice stash of Fenton hobnail.

Fenton is the largest manufacturer of handmade colored glass in the US. Got that? Made in America! And it has been since 1905. According to their web site "the firm is now led by third- and fourth-generation Fenton family members, who work side by side with over 100 employees, including skilled glassworkers and decorators, to create beautiful, handmade art glass in Williamstown, West Virginia."

A little more history from their web site...Fenton Art Glass Company was founded in 1905 by Frank L. Fenton and his brother John W. Fenton in an old glass
factory building in Martins Ferry, Ohio. They invested $284.86 (that translates to about $6800 today). They began by painting decorations on glass blanks made by other glass manufacturers.

Soon, unable to get the glass they needed, they decided to produce their own glass. The first glass from the new Fenton factory in Williamstown, West Virginia, was made on January 2, 1907. Today the CEO would probably rush to some underdeveloped country in search of cheap labor and goods!

Anyway, Frank Fenton's desire to develop new and unusual colors helped to keep Fenton in the forefront of the handmade art glass industry. During the years from 1905 to the 1920's, Fenton design was influenced by the artists at Tiffany and Steuben. In late 1907, Fenton introduced "Iridescent" glass. This glass, now known as "Carnival" glass, is a popular collectible today. Despite some economic issues, are still manufacturing today, and they are marketed through QVC and Cracker Barrel as well as traditional stores.

The hobnail design became what Bill Fenton calls their bread and butter design in the early 1950s. It still has charm today. The rich colors would provide a nice accent in any decor. Imagine the first burst of yellow daffodils in one of these vases...you would just have to smile...