Sunday, May 29, 2011

Memorial Day


...a United States federal holiday observed on the last Monday of May, it commemorates men and women who died while in military service to the United States. First enacted to honor Union and Confederate soldiers following the American Civil War, it was extended after World War I to honor Americans who have died in all wars.




Memorial Day often marks the start of the summer vacation season, and Labor Day its end. Here at the Jersey shore (no, not the Jersey Shore), the events celebrate the return of the tourists with all kinds of events...like in Ocean City, folks dressed well wade out into the ocean to unlock it...hope they did not toss away the key in case a hurricane comes, and they have to lock it up again. There are parades, traffic, barbecues, traffic, entertainment, traffic...well, you get the idea.

But, in a weekend where American flags fly proudly, I want to bring up supporting Americans as you think of these patriotic holidays. Soldiers serve and give their lives so that we can all be who we want to be. On that note, I want to feature a friend with a small shop in his garage. I know many people love the big co-ops or boxes...but it was the small shop that allowed the big ones to develop.
A small shop reflects the owner...sure, you can say a booth in a co-op represents the owner also...but you usually never see the person. In small shops, you are not just a "buy it, bag it, have a nice day" consumer. If you have been reading my weekly treatises, you know I love to feature special shops and made in America goods.

Today I want to introduce you to White Whale Antiques in Cape May Court House, NJ. George Carlson, the owner, is a surgical nurse, but he is an excellent treasure hunter...and the ultimate repurposer! ...Treasures are lined up just waiting to be adopted...and, the biggest selling point...everything is reasonable...not always the case in the big co-ops.
Behind the doors of the shop that has been created with all recycled parts...in a area that is probably smaller than some of the island houses' walk-in closets, more treasures.








The bay window features ironstone...In the smaller "back room" crystal sparkles...He shares my love of bowls...

He also finds great little pieces of furniture...check this small hutch...just a wonderful display piece...

There is the traditional collectible...Stangl...well known in the New Jersey area...check the label...scrabble tiles...he's clever also...he could have been my brother!He is also quirky...among the art hanging on the wallsare some wonderful paint by number masterpieces!



Imagine how proud the artist of that piece was to highlight the mountain scene with such a wonderful old frame.
















Then, there is Fiesta and other retro dishes as well as some Blue Willow...
Again, the advantage of the small shop...you never know what you will find! For many years, George had cornered the market on diner china. He still has some choice pieces.
Vintage jewelry sparkles in a glass display case.









This summer...or whenever...if you are in the area...stop in...27 East Pacific Avenue, Cape May Court House...


George has been a great friend since we moved here...and I value his friendship as I know many in the area do...even though he would not let me take his photo!

"This country will not be a good place for any of us to live in unless we make it a good place for all of us to live in." ~Theodore Roosevelt

George makes it a good place!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

"Rich widows are the only secondhand goods

that sell at first-class prices." ~ Benjamin Franklin

Well, I beg to differ with one of our "illustrious" founding fathers...being in the antique/vintage/retro...all really secondhand businesses...it is fun to find treasures to sell...true not necessarily top dollar...but survival dollar...and in this economy, survival dollar is good! Now that the semester is over, we can head back to our favorite flea market for buying...Cowtown. It is about an hour away, but we always leave early so that we can have breakfast at the Point 40 Diner...

although the market is also on Saturday, the "flea" folks come out on Tuesdays.
















I am not one of those flashlight flea market buyers...I figure there is always "stuff." So, why not enjoy the early morning breakfast special, and then move on!

Flea markets actually originated in the Middle East, but there outdoor markets are common...no Walmarts or supermarkets cloud their retail visions. Paris was the first place to have an actual flea market in the 1860s.

In Europe, the writers during the time of Emperor Napoleon III handmade goods for the flea markets. The dealers in Europe sold second-hand goods to merchants in order to make money. As time passed, the dealers of Europe moved to Paris and were allowed to sell in alleys and slums of Paris; this is where flea markets were established.

The most famous flea market in Paris is the one at Porte de Clignancourt, officially called Les Puces de Saint-Ouen, but known to everyone as Les Puces (The Fleas).
It covers over 17 acres and is the largest antique market in the world, receiving between 120,000 to 180,000 visitors each weekend. Be still my heart! Flea markets are named after the well-known insect, due to the fact that for the most part, the poor were most commonly found at these events.

Today, flea markets are more commonplace. They are now a worldwide business that make over one million dollars as a worldwide industry. The amount of flea markets that exist are about 5,000 nationwide, with many more outside the country as well. If anyone desires to find new items at inexpensive prices, some markets do resemble a modified dollar store, but there are flea markets that try to maintain a more vintage/antique style like Alameda, Rose Bowl, Shipshewana or Brimfield.

So, since the world did not end yesterday, I will be back out on the quest for "stuff"! Remember to wear comfortable shoes and have your tote bags ready...don't forget small bills...do not overwhelm the folks with MAC money 20s!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Lady Madonna, children at your feet

Wonder how you manage to make ends meet
~Lennon/McCartney

Do you know that song goes back to 1968? Wow! Some days it just hits you how fast time does go. I never know what a little bit of research will lead to...what idea it will invoke...what emotion it will call up...that is what happened with my foray into rosary beads which celebrate the Virgin Mary...Madonna. In the piles of vintage jewelry I buy, sometimes there are rosary beads. I did not give it too much thought until I had customers asking for them, and I started to sell them.

The rosary (from Latin rosarium, meaning "rose garden" or "garland of roses") is a popular and traditional Catholic devotion. The term denotes the prayer beads that consist of repeated sequences of the Lord's Prayer followed by ten prayings of the Hail Mary and a single praying of "Glory Be to the Father." Each of these sequences is known as a decade. The praying of each decade is accompanied by meditation on one of the Mysteries of the Rosary, which recall the life of Jesus Christ, but the Hail Mary is the key prayer, and May is dedicated to the Virgin Mary in the Catholic Church, dating back to the 13th century as the Church tried to Christianize the secular feasts in the spring.

I did not realize until doing this research that the beads are being worn as jewelry, and that has many of the devout Catholics upset. But, prayer beads originated with the Hindus, and other religions including Orthodox Christianity, Anglicanism, Islam, Buddhism, Sikhism, and Bahá'í Faith use beads for devotions, as well as meditation, protection from negative energy, or for relaxation.

This trend started in 2004 when David Beckham was shown on the cover of Vanity Fair with rosary beads around his neck. Not sure I really focus on the beads to be honest...Perhaps wearing the beads could provide a sense of serenity...many wear crosses...again...it is a matter of respect...respect for one, for one's religion, for one's well-being...let it be...

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Mothers are fonder than fathers

of their children because they are more certain they are their own. ~Aristotle

Do you know that Mother's Day was not invented by Hallmark or FTD, but the idea was created by Julia Ward Howe, the author of the words to The Battle Hymn of the Republic. She was horrified by the carnage of the Civil War and the Franco-Prussian War and in 1870 tried to issue a manifesto for peace at international peace conferences in London and Paris. Julia began a one-woman peace crusade and made an impassioned "appeal to womanhood" to rise against war. She composed a powerful plea that same year (generally considered to be the original Mothers' Day proclamation) translated it into several languages and distributed it widely. In 1872, she went to London to promote an international Woman's Peace Congress. She began promoting the idea of a "Mother's Day for Peace" to be celebrated on June 2, honoring peace, motherhood and womanhood.

Howe rigorously championed the cause, holding meetings every year in Boston on Mother's Peace Day. The celebrations died out when she turned her efforts to working for peace and women's rights in other ways. Howe failed in her attempt to get the formal recognition of a Mother's Day for Peace.

Another woman, Ann Marie Reeves Jarvis, a young Appalachian homemaker who, starting in 1858, attempted to improve sanitation through what she called "Mothers Friendship Day". It was Jarvis' daughter, Anna Jarvis, who finally succeeded in introducing Mother's Day in today's tradition. Anna graduated from the Female Seminary in Wheeling and taught in Grafton for a while. Later she moved to Philadelphia with her family. Her mother died in Philadelphia on May 9, 1905. Anna felt children often neglected to appreciate their mothers enough while the mothers were still alive so she campaigned for a designated Mother's Day to honor mothers.
The Mother's Day International Association came into being on December 12, 1912, to promote and encourage meaningful observances of the event. Anna's dream came true when on May 9, 1914, the President Woodrow Wilson declared the 2nd Sunday of May to be observed as Mother's Day to honor the mothers.

"Now, Therefore, I, Woodrow Wilson, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the said Joint Resolution, do hereby direct the government officials to display the United States flag on all government buildings and do invite the people of the United States to display the flag at their homes or other suitable places on the second Sunday in May as a public expression of our love and reverence for the mothers of our country."

As a result of her efforts the first Mother's Day was observed on May 10, 1908, with a church service honoring the late Mrs. Reese Jarvis, in the Andrews Methodist Church in Grafton, West Virginia, where she spent 20 years taking Sunday school classes. Grafton is the home to the International Mother's Day Shrine. It was here in the first observance that the carnations were introduced by Miss Jarvis. Large jars of white carnations were set about the platform where the service was conducted.
At the end of the service, one of these white carnations was given to each person present as a souvenir of Mother's Day. All this was done because the late elder Jarvis was fond of carnations.
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Interestingly, Anna Jarvis was horrified at the commercialism that quickly took over the day. (Truly American...) In 1934, the first stamp was issued...Mother's Day continues to this day to be one of the most commercially successful U.S. occasions. According to the National Restaurant Association, Mother's Day is now the most popular day of the year to dine out at a restaurant in the United States. And so I am off to take my Mother out to dinner...Happy Mother's Day.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

"Sweet April showers

Do spring May flowers."
~Thomas Tusser, A Hundred Good Points of Husbandry, 1557

Bet you did not know that little phrase dated back to the 16th century? But the flowers of early May are purple...ever notice that? In contrast to the yellows of the April daffodils come the purples of May. I love purple. When I first started teaching, I wore purple because we were forced to copy via the carbon of the mimeograph...pause here for those under 50 to contemplate what that was...you typed on a very purple carbon sheet and then took the carbon onto a roller and cranked your copies.If you tried to wear light colors, they would soon reflect the pale purple of the carbon...so instead of waiting until I grew old to wear purple, I started at age 20!

Just walking around my yard, I have violets...traditional...









and some variants...













There is wisteria and periwinkle vines and...

of course, the traditional lilac...But the purple brings me to this week's lesson...early American pattern glass (EAPG) was not created in a light purple color. It did come in sapphire pale blue, ‘apple’ green, vaseline (canary), amber, and later some cobalt blue, deep amethyst and emerald green colored glass.

In the 1860s the formula for most EAPG began to change with glass companies using soda lime instead of lead oxide because, as the story goes, lead was needed for other purposes during the Civil War. Actually, soda lime in the ‘new’ formula cost 1/5th as much as lead. Manganese dioxide, was used as a decoloring agent until WW I when selenium was substituted. Glass made from this formula (called “soda lime” or “non-flint” glass) is now known to discolor or turn purple when exposed to UV rays such as from the sun or a germicidal lamp. Because of this tendency to discolor and because EAPG that has discolored is highly devalued as an antique, it is recommended that the glass not be displayed or stored near a sunny window.

In recent years EAPG which has become discolored has become popular for a couple of reasons. People like the light purple color and some believe that buying a light purple piece of glass insures that they have purchased a genuine American antique.

Some glass makers are now making glass dishes in a color that simulates the
“sun purple” color of light amethyst so the color is no longer a guarantee of age of the glass. Responding to the market for light amethyst glass, some are now hastening the color change in EAPG by exposing thousands & thousands of pieces to germicidal UV lamps or even to radiation. So, be wary of light purple...dark purple is the true amethyst...