Sunday, September 26, 2010

"Summer has come and passed.

The innocent can never last
Wake me up,
When September ends." ~ Green Day


Well, September is just about over...and, for those of us in the eastern shore towns, things slow down even if we have just had a string of 90 degree days. Fall is always a fun flea market time...people bring out all kinds of things to sell off since they do not want to store over winter or haul down south. So, this week is a look at some oddities that I found. The difference between catalog shopping, or even department store shopping, is that all of these items have a previous life...they did not come here on a slow boat from China or out of a warehouse.
If you are hauling, here is a neat item...a metal trunk. This style of trunk is 19th century, and it is probably English since the Brits were trying to cut costs and save wood.Imagine what has been carried inside?

Another oddity is this spring egg beater...I have my Grandmother's, and it works well for gravies and mixing flour into liquid. So often we shun the old utensils, but they really are quite utilitarian and very green...hand power only!




Here is a wonderful needlepoint bag. I always imagine the woman who worked hours to create this...and how proud she was when it was finished and hanging on her arm.
And someone repaired the bag by stitching an applique over a worn spot...did the original owner do it, or was it someone else through the years who understood the significance of the piece?
I know, it is no great treasure, but to someone it was...and that somebody understood that validates our humanity, does it not?
Or, how about a small school desk from the 1930s...how many of those who sat in these desks are still with us...
How about the lipsticks that were placed in this 1950s era holder...no creamy colors...bold reds, don't you think?

Not to mention, this time of year, many dealers bring out the old Christmas...even the look of the old Christmas makes you smile!

Then again...you do find something that you know must have a great story behind it...

But, for the families who have gone before, they probably realized that "the innocent can never last."
But, for those of us who deal in the "Re" World vs the "Real" World...we know that to reuse and to repurpose is to make the past relive!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

"Walk like an Egyptian"


It is "Show Your Age" time...if you started to sing that song in your head, the 80s resonate with you...ah, The Bangles...and on that note, I give you bangles! Bangle bracelets do date back to Egyptian times, so you can put your bangles on and indeed "walk like an Egyptian!" I got a stash of them from one of my pickers (and now with American Pickers on the History channel, folks have a better sense of what a picker does!)
According to my research, engraved bangles and snake bracelets were popular during Roman times. Bracelets made of twisted coil with lion head ends were common place, as were the two part bracelets ending with a pair of lion heads. The Heracles knot bracelet is recognized as a Roman era piece. They still borrowed from Greek motifs with palmettos, fleeing dogs and acanthus leaves, all of Greek origin, seen in Roman jewelry.







India relates traditional customs to the bangle. They are worn after marriage to signify matrimony. It is tradition that the bride will try to wear as many small glass bangles as possible at her wedding and the honeymoon will end when the last bangle breaks. I am not to going to comment on that tradition! The middle bangle in the picture is glass...

In the Middle Ages, gypsies wore bangles. The sound of the bangle may have accented their performances.

From 1910 to 1939 women's fashions saw sleeveless or short sleeve dresses appear. The result was flexible bracelets and bangles worn on the upper arm. These arm bracelets were often adorned with gemstones or diamonds.
It is during this time that the bakelite bracelet came into vogue. Interestingly, artisans are melting down bakelite radio cases to make "new" jewelry. There is always the problem of how to tell bakelite...the sniff test...rub it quickly on a rough surface...should have a chemical smell. Or, 409 cleaner will turn a q-tip yellow when touched to bakelite. But...black will defy those tests...I am learning to work with sound...bakelite has a deeper clunk sound than plastic...


So, if you need a bangle to dangle, we are stocked...from bakelite to metal to wood to "plastique" ~ we have 'em!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

"Orange is red

brought nearer to humanity by yellow."~Kandinsky

Orange is the national color of The Netherlands because its royal family owns the principality of Orange. Being part Dutch & Flemish, maybe that accounts for my love of orange...I also like green...my other heritage is Irish so that works. But, I love fall for the colors; there is something about the vibrancy before winter softens the color palette.
I bought a stash of Fire King Peach Lustre...which I think fits so well in the fall color surge.
Fire King Glassware is the brand name of heat resistant glass made by Anchor-Hocking from 1942 to the late 1970s, and it can be classified further by pattern and by color. The shell pattern also comes in jadeite...or what I call "Martha {as in Stewart} green shown here in the Jane Ray pattern.
The Laurel design of peach lustre was produced from 1952-1963. You can see the laurel design on the sugar here.The Fire King family of kitchenware includes Fire King Oven Wear and Fire King Restaurant Ware. There were also numerous Fire King promotional and advertising items made throughout the years. The other pattern is called "Shell," identified by the scalloped edge. It was produced from 1965-1976.One thing to remember about this vintage/retro glassware~~do not put in the dishwasher. The colors are brilliant indeed, but, with the detergents and hot water, the colors will fade. They were not designed for the intense heat and harsh chemical detergents.

Anchor Hocking came into existence when Isaac J. Collins and six friends raised $8,000 to buy the Lancaster Carbon Company, Lancaster, Ohio, when it went into receivership in 1905. Unfortunately the $8,000 that was raised was not sufficient to purchase and operate the new company, so Mr. Collins enlisted the help of Mr. E. B. Good. With a check for $17,000 provided by Mr. Good, one building, two day-tanks, and 50 employees, Mr. Collins was able to begin Hocking Glass Company operations at the Hocking Glass Company.
Research always brings to light some fascinating information. It seems the development of a machine that pressed glass automatically saved the company when the Great Depression hit. The new machine raised production rates from 1 item per minute to over 30 items per minute. When the 1929 stock market crash hit, the company responded by developing a 15-mold machine that could produce 90 pieces of blown glass per minute. This allowed the company to sell tumblers "two for a nickel" and survive the Depression when so many other companies vanished. Might be something for companies to consider in today's economy...rather than raise the price, offer more for the money.

The company continued to expand and offer a variety of household products including tableware, toiletries, and cosmetic containers. Baby boomers may remember free glasses and mugs given away at gas stations or grocery stores.

The word "Glass" was dropped from the company's name in 1969 because the company had evolved into an international company with an infinite product list. They had entered the plastic market in 1968 with the acquisition of Plastics Incorporated in St. Paul, Minnesota. They continued to expand their presence in the plastic container market with the construction of a plant in Springdale, Ohio. This plant was designed to produce blown mold plastic containers. Anchor Hocking Corporation entered the lighting field in September 1970 with the purchase of Phoenix Glass Company in Monaca, Pennsylvania. They also bought the Taylor, Smith & Taylor Company, located in Chester, West Virginia, to make earthenware, fine stoneware, institutional china dinnerware, and commemorative collector plates.

They acquired other companies, and, as you can imagine, as the economy went into chaos so did their production. They are currently in Chapter 11, and their future is uncertain. Despite their climb to the top of the ladder, they have faced competition from foreign companies as well as perhaps expanding way beyond their means. Still...when you see the Fire King mark, you know you are dealing with an old American company built from the ground up.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Find something you love to do

and you'll never have to work a day in your life.~Harvey MacKayThe first Labor Day in the United States was celebrated on September 5, 1882, in New York City. It became a federal holiday in 1894, when, following the deaths of a number of workers at the hands of the U.S. military and U.S. Marshals during the Pullman Strike, President Grover Cleveland put reconciliation with the labor movement as a top political priority. Legislation making Labor Day a national holiday was rushed through Congress unanimously and signed into law a mere six days after the end of the strike. (what a difference a century makes...not rushing anything through any Congress anymore...and unanimous! ha! but I digress). September was chosen so it would not be near any May Day celebrations which had caused ill will between workers and business.

The form for the celebration of Labor Day was outlined in the first proposal of the holiday: A street parade to exhibit to the public "the strength and esprit de corps of the trade and labor organizations," followed by a festival for the workers and their families.
Now, it is simply the unofficial end of summer...But I want to highlight the creative spirits who labor...those of us with the small shops know that we cannot compete with the buying power of TJ's or Wal-Mart, and there are so many artisans out there who just want to create. I have featured several on my blog through the months, and I thought it was important on Labor Day to remind everyone that those who are "indies" with "brick and mortar" shops labor long and hard to find unique and creative inventory for you.
I made a contact with a woman in Alabama to make me velvet pumpkins, and I wanted a variety of shapes and colors. She sent me a wonderful stash-a few are shown here.



























Then I went to a company near my hometown for some gourds for decorating...they dry and paint and preserve.Everyone loves the pillows made from old sweaters that have been washed and felted...this one is so colorful...
And how about scarves...they are in now also. I know it is still hot, but Christmas is coming!With that in mind, my creative jewelry maker has taken some of the old vintage crystals and beads and made a snowman bracelet...crystal snowmen and beaded snowballs...earrings will be coming in also...Another repurposing...old flatware that has been "flattened" and turned into some wonderful stakes...have to reorder the birthday ones already! And she made me a special one also!So, maybe give a thought about the American worker who does create, who loves to be unique, who is trying to survive in this not-so-kind economy. We can all help each other out...

Enjoy your day off!