Sunday, December 25, 2011

"I heard the bells,

on Christmas Day,
Their old, familiar carols play,
And wild and sweet
The words repeat
Of peace on earth, good will to men."
~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Sunday, December 18, 2011

December is the twelfth and final month

of the Gregorian calendar and the first month of winter. It derives its name from the Latin word decem, meaning ten, as December was the tenth month of the oldest Roman calendar until a monthless winter period was divided between January and February. The Latin name is derived from Decima, the middle Goddess of the Three Fates who personifies the present, and she measured the thread of life with her rod. She is the goddess of childbirth (not married either), and with Nona and Morta she forms the Parcae (the three Fates).
Originally it was a single goddess named Parca meaning create or give birth, but the Goddess of Fate eventually became the triple goddess Parcae. The first Triple Goddess Nona, the spinner, means ninth month, the second Decima, translates as measurer, and the third Morta, cutter of the thread of life, means death. Interesting that the one translated into a trinity...and that women then controlled the fate of the world.

December begins on the same day of the week as September every year because there are 91 days separating September and December, which is a multiple of seven (the number of days in the week). It ends on the same day as April every year also.

So, just a little bit of trivia this week...I had essays to read, grades to calculate, and so my mind needs to recharge!And now as Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote, I shall "sit in reverie and watch the changing color of the waves that break upon the idle seashore of the mind."

Sunday, December 11, 2011

"How did it get so late so soon?

Its night before its afternoon. December is here before its June. My goodness how the time has flewn. How did it get so late so soon?"
~Dr. Seuss
I went out to get the paper this morning, and the moon was bright in the sky across the street...the air finally had a winter chill...the bird bath had iced over...and Harry was a bit upset with the frosty leaves...But, I thought this is what winter holidays should represent. Not the madness of buying stuff, but especially for us in the areas where the climate changes, the calm of a chilly morning...the frosty feel...the peace and quiet.

Enjoy the old fashioned holiday spirit...I can remember going with my father to Woolworth's to buy my mother something for Christmas. I usually picked out a figurine...
These are the Erich Stauffer figurines. I call them "Hummel-wanna-bes"...although in today's market, the Hummels are not bringing the money they used to, and Hummmels are no longer the expensive figurine.

Still, I love the Stauffer figurines. According to my research, Erich Stauffer designed fake versions of Hummels and Kalk figurines for Arnart from 1953 to 1970 under the brands Arnart Imports, 5th Avenue, ArMark, Royal Carlton, Royal Chintz, and Royal Crown.Arnart is known by its crown and crossed arrow symbols on the bottom, some of which are printed with numbers in a series in porcelain or on a sticker. Erich Stauffer, a traditional German name, may even have been invented to make it seem as though the Arnart imports were from Germany. This could explain why it is so hard to find out information about Erich Stauffer, the designer. After World War II, Arnart was part of the influx of cheap Japanese imports flooding the US market. Arnart’s imitations began to tarnish their brand so in 1957 Arnart changed their name to “5th Avenue” after securing their 5th Avenue office in downtown New York and stopped using a printed stamped “Made in Japan” pottery mark, replacing it with a “Made in Japan” sticker. In 2000, 5th Avenue changed their name again to Arnart Imports Inc.Many think these figurines are 1940s since the war would have prevented imports from Germany, but that is not true since production began after the war. It was simply a matter of producing inexpensive items for the 5 & 10s (now the $1.00 stores!). There is something old-fashioned about them though...nostalgia got the best of me this morning!!!

I still have more flower frogs to show you, but that full moon this morning took me down a different path.

"A full moon hangs high in the chilly sky,
All say it's the same everywhere, round and bright.
But how can one be sure thousands of li away
Wind and perhaps rain may not be marring the night?"
~Li Qiao, The Mid-Autumn Moon

Sunday, December 4, 2011

"A bird is three things:

Feathers, flight and song,
And feathers are the least of these."

~Marjorie Allen Seiffert

The flower frogs...birds...this week are from Czechoslovakia...and again...history is so crucial in understanding the origins of these treasures.When porcelain was first produced in Bohemia, Bohemia was a part of the Habsburg Monarchy in the Austro-Hungarian Empire. There were several mines in the area of Karlovy Vary, Czech Republic (Karlsbad, Bohemia, Austria). Another area with several factories is Trnovany, Czech Republic (Teplitz, Bohemia, Austria). These areas became the center of porcelain production, especially Karlovy Vary. Bohemian porcelain made before 1918 may be marked with the country of origin as Austria. Most of the factories were founded when the area was still under Austrian rule. Thus, the town and village names are the German/Austrian names. Once Czechoslovakia became a country, the towns and villages did not always mark with their old Czech names.

At the end of World War I (November 1918), the Paris Peace committee created a new country with the Bohemia, Moravia & Austrian Silesia sections of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and a northern strip of Hungary. The committee named the new country Czecho-Slovak Republic, with a hyphen. In 1920, Ruthenia was made a part of Czechoslovakia. Most of the people in the new country were the Czechs (Bohemians) and Slovaks, thus the name Czecho-Slovakia. However, there were great differences between their cultural and religious traditions. (Does it ever strike anyone as odd that civilization cannot move beyond culture and religion? Guess there is no "APP" for that either!)

Anyway, the country's pavilion at the 1939 New York World's Fair had the spelling Czechoslovakia and Czecho-Slovakia.

At times, you will see the German spelling with a "w" instead of a "v," Czecho-Slowakia, or an "e" at the end instead of an "a," Czecho-Slovakie. Another spelling is Tehechoslovacia. During Hitler's control of Czechoslovakia, the country was part of Germany; therefore, some Bohemian porcelain states Germany as the country of origin. This is marked Bavaria, but it has that lustre that the Czecho-slovkian porclain is so well known for.In September 1938, the Bohemia borderlands (the former Sudetenland) were ceded to Germany. March 1939, the Nazis occupied all of Czechoslovakia. In 1945, after World War II, the country of Czechoslovakia was restored to its original borders, except the Ruthenia section was ceded to the USSR. After this time the hyphen was not used in the English spelling of the country. During the communist rule, it became Ceskoslovenska Socialisticka Republika (Czechoslovak Socialist Republic). Czechoslovakia ceased being a country January 1, 1993, when it was divided into the Ceská Republika(Czech Republic) and Slovák Republika(Slovak Republic). The Czechs and Slovaks always wanted to be independent entities.

"There is nothing in which the birds differ more from man than the way in which they can build and yet leave a landscape as it was before." - Robert Lynd

Sunday, November 27, 2011

“Frogs have it easy,

they can eat what bugs them.”

Well, I have been buggy the last couple days...Black Friday crazies...but pepper spray aside (a woman actually pepper sprayed people at a Walmart!!)), back to some interesting auction are some of the flower frogs I mentioned on Facebook a week or so ago. I did some research on flower frogs...there is even a book out on them...and it seems the author is not sure of the origin of the term. Her feeling is that it is slang perhaps for having "frog-like" characteristics...sitting in shallow water all day...but company catalogs never referred to the items as frogs. They were flower holders, arrangers, or blocks. Only rarely did the term "frog" occur in a patent.

Ancient Egyptians had vessels that held flowers in arrangements, and the Persians made vases with side spouts in the 13th century. What I love about this business is that one truly recognizes how amazing the ancient civilizations were without the aid of modern equipment not to mention a cell phone!

Although flower frogs reached their heyday in the United States in the mid-twenties and thirties during the flapper era, they can be traced back to the 16th century in Europe where it was customary for pottery and china houses to mark their pieces. Glass flower frogs were not generally marked prior to 1870, the year it became possible to record patents and trademarks on glassware.

The oldest known record for a U.S. frog is a patent issued to S. Van Stone in 1875 for a conical shaped flower stand with concentric rings of holes stacked pyramid fashion.
Another early creation is the mushroom-shaped, Mt. Washington condiment server/floral holder . A patent for this holder was issued to Andrew Snow, Jr. in 1893.
The first group are birds...these are German, and most were imported between the two world wars. In her book, Bull says that these were not of the "finest design" but by today's Made in China products, these are like fine pottery!
So, for the birds...enjoy...these are from an amazing collection...more next week...

Birds of a feather truly flocking together at The Dutch Rose!
“A wise old owl sat on an oak; The more he saw the less he spoke; The less he spoke the more he heard; Why aren't we like that wise old bird?”

Sunday, November 20, 2011

"Not what we say about our blessings,

but how we use them, is the true measure of our thanksgiving." ~W.T. Purkiser
Short and simple this the midst of all of the pre-Christmas hoopla...Black Black Thursday even...soon November will just be "Show Me Your Money Month"...I just decided to let this holiday breathe on its own...the number of Americans living below the official poverty line this year, 46.2 million people, was the highest number in the 52 years the Census Bureau has been publishing figures on it. (The poverty line in 2010 for a family of four was $22,314.)

We'll talk about "stuff" next week...this week, be grateful for your stuff and stuffing!
May your stuffing be tasty
May your turkey plump,
May your potatoes and gravy
have nary a lump.
May your yams be delicious
and your pies take the prize,
and may your Thanksgiving dinner
stay off your thighs!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

“Kindness is a language

which the deaf can hear and the and the blind can see”
~Mark Twain

World Kindness Day evolved from a series of conferences in 1996-1997 in Japan by a group known as the World Kindness Movement.

These conferences brought together groups interested in promoting more kindness around the world. It culminated in the "Declaration of Kindness" on November 13,1997, and November 13 became the celebratory day. So, since my blog posting day coincides, I thought it was appropriate to remind everyone that a random act of kindness is never wasted.

Those who read my blog know I have been following the plight of Jack the Cat, and I had posted on my Facebook page about the passing of Jack the Cat...his 2 months without adequate nutrition caused his body to deteriorate and antibiotics could not help sad as it was, it was an act of kindness to let him go.But, good is going to come from it with a movement to prevent animals from being treated as cargo.

I think sometimes the objects that I sell in the store were loved with kindness in their time. Imagine the woman who wore this sweater 60 years is in excellent condition. It must have been treated with such kindness...

and old books that were read and loved...
and imagine the act of kindness to share a cup of coffee or tea with someone...and not in a styrofoam cup!As a native Pennsylvanian and one who did graduate work at Penn State, it has been a difficult week...the kindness that the students showed for the victims was impressive.
So, just a random act of kindness at someone for no reason at all...hug your furry friend or friends for a couple extra minutes...he does love it...Deuteronomy just has one of those faces!I just happened to see my morning paper delivery guy this morning...told him that he was the best we have had (really true!) and watched a big smile come to his face. So, from a beautiful fall day in New Jersey, have a good day! Be nice!"Kindness trumps greed: it asks for sharing. Kindness trumps fear: it calls forth gratefulness and love. Kindness trumps even stupidity, for with sharing and love, one learns." ~Marc Estrin

Sunday, November 6, 2011

"A house is just a place

to keep your stuff while you go out and get more stuff."
~George Carlin

If you are a regular reader, you know I lost my "BFF" of 35 years in August. This past week I talked to her husband about "stuff" that she had accumulated over the years. We laughed about the George Carlin bit where he goes on about "stuff." I deal in stuff so I know the trappings of stuff. But, many times the "stuff" only has meaning because of the person who owned it.

Sometimes stuff can be wonderful...I am now selling two more magazines in the shop...this one is full of ideas about what to do with stuff~Romantic Country (I still have Romantic Homes)and Vintage and Victorian...which I really love! They will be available quarterly, and I am offering them at a discount...which brings me to an interesting topic...pricing...the antique market is a crap shoot at best. All of this is technically "used" merchandise, and prices used to be determined by averaging auction prices and asking prices from a variety of sources with price guides as a grounding force, but now prices are all over the place. People see things online...ebay was the best of times, the worst of times. It did level the playing field, but then you have someone for whom money is no object...and now a $10 item is suddenly "worth" $100!

A friend and I did a "busman's holiday" the other the way, when I said that to someone in one of the shops, I could tell by the look on her face that she had no dates back to 1893 in the UK. The idea is that a busman, to go off on a holiday, would take an excursion by bus, thereby engaging in a similar activity to his work. Anyway, I was a bit overwhelmed by the prices.For example, a pretty Victorian plate or a simple wine glass...I saw similar items priced anywhere from $35 and up for similar plates and stemware ranged from $10 each to $20 each. Now, I know this is a market where a suggested retail price might be based on maker...provenance...from the French provenir, "to come from", referring to the chronology of the ownership or location of an historical object, but we are in an economy where the prices of the 1980s and 1990s are no longer valid. Face it, nothing is worth what it used to be, including that house to put the stuff in!

I think many younger buyers have been scared away from the antiques and vintage items because of prices and just the feel of an antique mall-just merchandise with tags on. Yes, TJs Home Goods is just merchandise on shelves, but it is cheaper even though it is from China. They want the look...they do not care about "provenance." Fair prices though can be put on items without treating them as museum quality merchandise. Perhaps, the prices reflect people who are in this business for the fun of it, not to make money. I confess that I am in it for both...but I love to buy so I have to price to sell! How many antique shops or malls have turned from the wonderful old stuff to made in China, or shops that simply closed rather than try to fight it?

But, down off my soap box...and speaking of priced to sell, my elf has created a round of bird houses for the little guys this is the new section of the porch also...And the transformation is just about complete...
I am trying to keep the shop fun...with no sticker shock...for many "antiquers" the fun is in the hunt...but what fun is it if once you find it, you cannot even think of buying it...still as this quote embodies...

“An object in possession seldom retains the same charm that it had in pursuit.”

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Fear is that little darkroom

where negatives are developed.~ Michael Pritchard

We don't need Halloween to scare us these days...there are plenty of distractions from economy to ecology. But, negatives do feed fear. Consider my post a couple weeks ago about Jack the missing cat at JFK...the Facebook group never gave up hope...a huge group searched the airport last weekend, and on Tuesday Jack literally dropped in...he was in the area where he had disappeared, but he had made it into the duct work and fell through the ceiling tiles. It was an area where American Airlines had not really allowed the searchers into...He is suffering from dehydration, malnutrition, and some other minor cuts, but he is getting top notch care. American was flying his "Mom" in this weekend to see him, but he will have to stay in the hospital for awhile it seems. Anyway, the power of positive...

The painting continues...again...I wanted to make people smile when they pull into the parking lot. Not done yet...but it is so bright and cheery!
"Occupy Wall Street" has people talking about the economy. On one of my business blogs, this was posted...The small shop does not have the buying power of the big boxes...companies set minimums for purchasing...most of the time $200-$500. Now, for the Maxxinista buyer that is petty cash, but for the small business owner that may mean a big chunk of cash. And, banks do prefer the top 1%...ask anyone with a small business about getting a loan! So, Occupy is more than kids with art degrees and college debt. Again...think positive...not negative...America does have protesting carved into the Constitution...but maybe we all need some gold...I have some Stangl "Black Gold."I thought this was appropriate for Halloween...22 kt. gold brushed on is from 1968. Rather dramatic for the late 60s, I think. It is sad that so many of the USA potteries are would be interesting to see what a Stangl artist would create for today's decor.I know this week's post resembled the falling leaves of autumn, but at least here the leaves were not covered with snow! I just had a swirl of thoughts that needed to escape!"From ghoulies and ghosties
And long-leggedy beasties
And things that go bump in the night,
Good Lord, deliver us!"
~Scottish Saying