Saturday, July 29, 2017

"If a picture paints a thousand words,

 then a let a picture inspire a thousand words.”
 ~Nicholas Boyd Crutchley

Found some framed photographs in my reorganizing because I always buy the orphan photos, and it made me think of someone in 100 years...what will they have?  Photos on some phones?  I am sure there are those who still print out photos, but how many have them framed and mounted those pictures behind glass and on walls?  It is the old good intentions until life continues to wash up on your shore!

And how many people get professional portraits done?  Periodically I do see photographers and families on the beach posing for the summer vacation photos.  I have a former student who is a professional photographer...No Filter Photography...always happy to feature a young entrepreneur!
But I look at these antique photos and try to imagine who they are, what they did, and why they are lost in the auction world or flea market world.  I am always drawn to photographs...maybe it is a English professor in me who blends pictures and words.
Sometimes the back provides some clues or information.  This photo showed it cost $1.20 to frame and the deposit was 25 cents!  Who were these men?
 Many times you will see the backs of old framed works have been cut open.  There is always the chance that there is something of value sealed in that frame whose secrets died with its owner perhaps. 

A collector who spent $4 at a Pennsylvania flea market for a painting because he liked the frame found himself the possessor of a first printing of the Declaration of Independence. It brought $2,420,000 at a Sotheby's auction.  David N. Redden, head of the book and manuscript department at Sotheby's in Manhattan described the document, found behind the painting when the collector took the frame apart, as an "unspeakably fresh copy" of the declaration. "The fact that it has been in the backing of the frame preserved it," he said. Of the 24 copies known to survive, only 3 are in private hands, he added.

Portable wooden frames as we recognize them today come from 12th-century Europe. At first they were sculpted from the same piece of wood that backed the paintings they surrounded, but eventually it became clear that building a frame separately would be cheaper and more efficient. Soon, furniture craftsmen were attaching mitered wooden strips to artworks after they were complete.  The growing number of amateur photographers in the mid-19th century also created a boom in homemade frames.

In the United States, the first picture frames were made from simple pieces of wood made like generic wall moldings, known today as the Early American Empire style. Eventually, American framers developed their own motifs based on the country’s growing agricultural prowess, incorporating imagery of tobacco leaves, corn, and wheat, in contrast to older European motifs such as acanthus leaves.
 That wooden back is on the photo below.  An interesting mix...2 men...5 women...and not a clue as to who is who...mother...father...maybe daughter and son-in-law or son and daughter-in-law.  They always look so selfie smiles on these folks!
 The women below present another puzzle...who are they?  What did they do?
The next time you see some antique photos, either loose or framed, imagine the story behind those faces!  Maybe even adopt them and make them part of your own family.  Years ago a customer bought some framed photos of women whose outfits and expressions she loved.  She hung them in a hallway, and at Thanksgiving that year various relatives talked about the women as though they really had been in the family!  So, they were claimed!

“Photographs are a bridge to the past. Black and white reminders of the way things used to be. Links to those who are no longer with us. Priceless treasures.”
~Jim Starlin

Saturday, July 22, 2017

"Here's looking

at you, kid!
   Rick in Casablanca

Image result for heres looking at you scene
Based on my reading, this phrase was actually repeated 4 times in the movie.  The phrase sans "kid" actually dates back to the late 1800s as a toast before the script writers of Casablanca made it famous in 1942.  One of the sources was from a story in Ballou's Monthly Mahgazine [sic] (May 1884):
            "Ah," said the colonel, as he threw out a chew of tobacco, and took the bottle. "Here's looking at you."
            "Drink hearty," the young man replied, and taking the bottle he held it up, and added, "Here's to the hair of your head."

What got me on this was a stash of head vases I just unpacked.  They are all looking at something!
 For some reason, these are so 50s!  Actually they were produced by florist companies to hold the bouquets they sold. Their small openings helped to maximize sales by limiting the number of blossoms each container held.  There is method in retail madness no matter what decade!  

Initially the head vases were made in American studios.  Betty Lou Nichols, Ceramic Arts Studio, and Dorothy Copley were among the early manufacturers.  According to a collector site, "Nichols’ distinctive vases often showcase ladies with intricately curled hair and fabric ruffles along with pouting lips and her signature three-dimensional black eyelashes, all in hard ceramic."

Then came World War II and the ceramics industry was part of our attempt to help Japan when we occupied the country.  We go off on Made in China, but we forget the Japanese companies that eventually buried our American ceramic factories.  Enesco, Lefton, Napco. and Ucagco went into production with cheaper products.  Soon Japanese head vases were in vogue...even a Japanese lady...which is a little interesting considering the war, but it seems that people moved on much quicker than today's folks.
There are over 10,000 styles with ones modeled after Marilyn Monroe, Lucille Ball, and Jackie Kennedy more in demand by collectors.  I like the "winker"...
Then there are the regular 50s girls...
This one looks like she is thinking...not tonight, I have a headache...
There a couple can see size next to the larger one...


I have seen mention of conventions in some of the articles, but no recent information on that.  Again, the idea of collecting is slowly fading from the culture...I know curating is a current term, but that does not mean one buys every item in that field.  These could be used for make-up brushes or even flowers as originally intended...even air heads the real world...
"Remember, having a good head on our shoulders is not just for decoration purposes."
~ Sunday Adelaja

Saturday, July 15, 2017

"Thrift shopping is all about going into the thrift shop and

 having no expectation of what you might find.

A couple years ago Macklemore, the person I quoted above, released a song about thrift shops.  To be honest, in a way vintage and antique shops are "fancy" thrift shops although some thrift shops do price like antique shops.  The problem is that shop owners have to buy their inventory, and many thrift shops get their inventory donated to them.  I understand that those shops do have overhead, and they have expenses also, but sometimes those shops are not really thrifty, but I found a gem in Habitat for Humanity's foray into the thrift/recycle business.

ReStore...welcome to Habitat for Humanity's venture into the recycling world.  From their web page..."ReStores are independently owned and operated by local Habitat for Humanity organizations. Proceeds are used to help build strength, stability, self-reliance and shelter in local communities and around the world."  There are more than 850 ReStores around the country, and one just opened here in Cape May Court House (NJ).
 This just opened last month, but it looks very promising for adding some decorator pieces to your home!  They have set up some nice displays... 

They have mirror, mirror for your wall to tell you that you are the fairest of them all!
Dining tables...
And a variety of furniture that you do not see in the smaller thrift shops...I did not get photos of all the nice couches, but there is a variety of other furniture.

This is a neat marble topped coffee table for $70! The top alone caught my attention!
Also available...bed rails!  Sometimes you might have a great idea for a headboard...then...well, bed are shelves of them!
Want to be creative with some sinks?
Appliances also...
And...neat some tiles for a small project...also building never know what you might find at a fraction of the cost of you-know-where...

I love to promote local businesses, and I have donated to Habitat.  So, check your area if you are not local, and see if there is a ReStore around.  Very impressive!  

And words from a rather wealthy icon...
       I believe that thrift is essential to well-ordered living.
            ~John D. Rockefeller

Saturday, July 1, 2017


Perfection. Patience. Power. Prioritize your passion. It keeps you sane.”  
~Criss Jami

I have heard a couple times in the past week..."Gosh, you are never open..."  Well, folks for 25 years I was open fairly consistently for 6 days a week in season, but this year life just seemed to step in, and I decided life was important.  I wanted to support World Giraffe was on a Wednesday morning at the zoo, and I went.  I had spent March and April following April the giraffe and her pregnancy, and I did become a little infatuated with giraffes.  Who knew they were going extinct?
Then about 2 weeks ago I read about a missing puppy on Facebook.  Now, I am an Avalon certified cat feeder (yes, I even have an official badge), and, since the puppy was from around my 30th street tribe, I became involved.  And, so for 10 days, I was part of a "rescue" squad on the search for Molly, the elusive bichon, and, finally last Sunday, her Mommy and I were able to catch her...this is from her visit to vet where we took her immediately after we found her...she is recovering is her Mom!
Every evening I walked the streets of Avalon following leads and sightings.  Some interesting things did show up as we searched.  I saw the "marble house" being "deconstructed"...

At least they are saving the about conspicuous consumption through!  But, the giant houses in the dunes present a unique perspective to shore life, for sure!

Then I have my 91 year old mother in assisted living down the road, and the company changed hands in the winter, and I have not been real thrilled with the situation.  So, I have been dealing with that.  Sometimes I think people have more respect for stuff than people!  Our elder care could use a Roadshow of its own to highlight care across this country.
In the meantime, I have been trying to get things in the shop...many have asked for these soaps...the egg soaps and Sea Salt...they are from a Rhode Island company, and they are back in stock.

And I am finding some treasures among things I have had packed up for many moons...
So, if you need to contact or message me on Facebook...I am trying to get back to my regular schedule...10:30-4:30...
In the meantime. as one of the signs in the shop says...

“There comes a moment when you realize what matters the most in your life. Let that moment be now and that matter be your love and kindness.” 
~ Debasish Mridha