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.”