These are a Few of My Favorite Things

These are a Few of My Favorite Things
These are a Few of My Favorite Things

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Lady's Dressing Table

Dressing table essentials have been collectible as far back as the Victorian era and through the 1950's.  These collectibles are still sought after items today.  I have bought and sold these items for years and this is a few items that I have kept.  When ladies wore their hair up, they often wore beautiful hair ornaments and combs.  I have also displayed some old hair pins as well.  In the background in the top picture, you can also see a bedside water decanter that I purchased in an antiques shop several years ago.  The lid comes off and becomes the glass.  Hat pins are also a fun collectible and I have pictured a container of them.  Powder boxes, perfume bottles,  and hand mirror sets are frequently sought after as well.   The second picture down shows an old "hair receiver".  During the Victorian era, hair receivers were a fixture on the dressing table of most fashionable ladies.  They were created to hold hair that was removed from hairbrushes after vigorous brushing, and they look a lot like vanity jars or powder jars, but with the distinctive feature of having a finger sized opening hole in the center of the lid.  The comb would be run through the hairbrush bristles and the accumulated hair would be coiled around a finger and then inserted into the opening of the hair receiver.  The uses for the collected hair was varied, but most frequently it was used in the creation of "Ratts".  These were sheer hair nets that were stuffed full of the hair and then sewn shut.  Most ladies of the day wore the "big" hairstyles so ratts provided a stuffing to enhance the height of these hairstyles.  Other uses for the hair were also stuffing for pin cushions or cushions and pillows.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Vintage Chairs

 I love the look and feel of old chairs.  I would rather have a vintage chair in my home any day than a new one but it must be sturdy and useable.  I can't afford the space to have something in my home that I cannot use.  I just purchased four ladderback chairs and a five legged oak table from a used furniture store that I will be using in the Persnickety Primitives shop as display pieces.  I frequently visit used furniture stores and second hand shops and I have gotten some chairs that I really love.  The first picture shows a glider style rocker.  It uas used by my daughter-in-law to rock my two granddaughters when they were infants.  Over the years, the chair had been painted white and was coming apart.  It had been left for the dump.  I rescued the chair and had my husband work on it to make it sturdy again.  I then spray painted several coats of black paint to give it a primitive look.  We love the way it turned out.  I have a large two toned dining table that seats eight in my sunroom with a long pedistal base and a wood grain top.   We purchased the table in the clearance section of a furniture store.  We had two matching old green chairs that I had painted black and distressed (picture number two).  I use them at each end of the table.   We have six matching chairs (in picture number three) that I use on the side - three on each side.  Four of these chairs were purchased at one auction and the other two were purchased at another auction yet they match perfectly.  It made a wonderful dining set for the sunroom.    The fourth picture down is a Windsor style chair that I purchased last summer at a second hand shop called The Briar Patch.  This is a very collectible style of chair.  The next picture is an antique child's chair that I bought years ago in an antique shop.  All five of my grandchildren have sat in this chair and played or ate snacks at the coffee table.  Children's chairs are very collectible and are fun to display in your primitive home.  Sitting in a corner or by a fireplace, they make a wonderful display piece for a primitive doll or teddy bear.  They are also wonderful hanging from a peg rack on the wall.  Displayed this way, they make an imaginative display shelf for many kinds of collectibles.  The next two pictures are ladder back chairs in two different colors and a little different style on the back.  These are a hot collectible right now.  You can't pick up a primitive or country decorating magazine without seeing this style of chair used in homes.  This is the style I also bought for the shop and I have four in my house.  All eight of them came from a used furniture store and I got them at a very reasonable price.  The next two pictures show an oak side chair with a cane bottom.  We have two of them that my husband, Clark bought at an auction and had refinished and recaned.  I love the look of them.  The last picture is the old upholstered chair that my Mom always kept in her bedroom.  It now sits in my bedroom.  I have a weakness for old chairs.  When I see them at a shop, they somehow end up in my car.  My husband always says, "Now where are you going to put that?"  It's getting harder and harder to answer that question - I'm running out of room!

Monday, February 21, 2011

A Found Treasure

There is nothing I like better than shopping at yard sales, antique shops and flea markets.  I always shop with anticipation, not knowing what treasure I might stumble upon when least expected.  I frequently remember some of my most treasured home decor items have been acquired in just this way.  If you don't keep an eye open, you never know what treasure you may pass up.  Several years ago, I stopped at a yard sale in Vandalia, OH where a lady was downsizing into an apartment and was parting with some of the collectibles that she and her deceased husband had acquired over a lifetime.  I purchased a pressed glass compote from Germany for only ten dollars.  I also purchased a beautiful porcelain vase from the same lady.  I once purchased several pink Miss America depression glass plates off the back of a farm wagon.  Clark purchased a beautiful set of ruby hobnail pitcher and matching glasses on his way home from work one day.  I could tell so many stories of fabulous finds but I will refrain.  The crock jars above were my grandmother's.  The basket belonged to my mother and Mamaw's crocks snuggled in just perfectly.  The hen and chickens are banks that I purchased on a lunch break at an Antiques shop several years ago.   Because of my adventurous shopping trips, you may have guessed that my style of decorating is very eclectic.  I always laugh when I explain that my style of home decor is "Early Garage Sale".  You know, I'm comfortable with that!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Grandma's China Cupboard

This china cupboard holds a very special place among my collectibles.  It belonged to my grandmother.    When Papaw and Mamaw decided to build their new home and move out of the log cabin, they designed their kitchen with this piece in mind.  Mamaw had her "good kitchen" where she had her refrigerator, electric cook stove and sink with running water.  Then she had the small kitchen where she had her wood cook stove, a wooden table and chairs, a cabinet with the water bucket and dipper sitting on it and a built in corner cupboard where she stored her every day dishes.  She used the good kitchen on Sundays and when there was company.  The small kitchen was intended to be a bathroom (from the plans) but that didn't happen until after all the grandchildren had grown.  So, I remember it as the small kitchen with the wood stove.  There was a cut out nook in the good kitchen where this china cupboard fit just perfectly.  She kept her antique dishes in it - ones that she never used.  My grandparents had a little wooden footstool that was covered with red vinyl.  When I was just a small child, I would pull that footstool in front of the china cupboard and I would sit on the stool and pretend that I was an airplane pilot.  The drawer knobs that hang on the front of the cupboard were my "controls" and I would flip those knobs up and down while I was supposedly communicating with ground control.   I thought I was pretty big stuff.  Mamaw had two children, my mother and my uncle.  She always told everyone that my uncle was to have that china cupboard when she was gone.  We all knew her wishes.  After my grandmother passed away, I went to her auction to purchase some of the keepsakes that I still have today.  I couldn't believe my eyes.  There among all of Mamaw's household items sat her china cupboard.  I quickly found my uncle and asked why it was being sold.  Everyone knew that he was to have it.  He said he just didn't want it.  So of course, we bid on it and didn't stop until we had purchased it.  I also was able to purchase some of the pieces that had been stored in the cupboard as well.  I was happy that I also purchased the pink and blue piggy bank that my grandmother kept sitting on a chest of drawers in the guest room.  I always admired it but was never allowed to hold it when I was a small child.  Now that piggy bank sits on the second shelf in the china cupboard.  If you ask me, he seems pretty happy to be there. 

Friday, February 18, 2011

Time for Tea

Teapots are  collectibles that are fun to display.  Line them up across the top of a cupboard or a mantle and they provide a dressed up feeling to the room.  For those of you who like the Victorian era of decorating, this is the perfect collectible for you.  I enjoy the teapots in my collection and they are fun to use on special occasions to serve tea.  Anyone can drop a teabag into a cup of hot water, but to make a pot of tea and pour your guest or spouse a cup of steaming hot tea from a beautiful teapot takes that cup of tea to a whole new level.  I guarantee that your guest will feel very special to be served this way.   One of the pink teapots in the top picture was a gift from my daughter which started me on the route to collecting the other pink pieces to coordinate.  I have even paired the collection with a pink Meyda Tiffany library lamp for greater impact.  The second white and gold teapot is from England and was purchased in an Antiques shop.  The third teapot and matching cup and saucer was a gift from my staff when I worked at a bank.  The fourth teapot and pitcher are not old and I purchased them because I loved the vibrant colors.  The fifth picture is a "tea for two" set that I purchased for a song at a yard sale many years ago.  It is a Hall piece.  The sixth picture is a wooden tea kettle from Costa Rica from the late 1970's that I purchased from an elderly friend.  The last picture is part of my Pfaltsgraff Winterberry collection.  My mother started this collection for me many years ago.  For three or four years at Christmastime, she bought me another serving set of these dishes.  She later added some bowls and serving pieces.  My son bought me the salt and pepper shakers.  Over the years, I have added several more pieces including the large pitcher, coffee server and teapot pictured above.  Our family uses these dishes from Thanksgiving through New Years for family dinners every year.  If you keep your eyes open, you will be able to pick up teapots for your collection in many various places.  Purchasing teapots at different places preserves so many memories of that place in time.  I love the thrill of the hunt for special pieces. 

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Mystery Tea Pot

We like to refer to this beautiful teapot as our  "mystery teapot" because the circumstances that surround our acquisition of it remains a mystery to us and the story remains one of our favorite collectibles story.  My husband, Clark, and I have always loved stopping at yard sales.  We have found some very interesting items in some of the most unusual places.  One day Clark stopped at a yard sale and spotted this teapot without a lid.  He asked the gentleman about it and he said it was very old and had belonged to his mother.  He said he didn't know what had happened to the lid over the years.  Clark bargained with the man and got it for a steal since Clark convinced him that it wouldn't be worth much without a lid.  Clark thought that he might be lucky enough to find a lid that would at least fit it.  He's always up for a good challenge like that.  On the same day, he drove several miles on down the road, in fact near another town and stopped at another yard sale.  At this yard sale, there was a box of odds and ends.  Clark said there were several lids among the junk contents of the box.  He thought it looked like the lid might fit.  He paid the gentleman a quarter for the lid.  When he got back to the truck, sure enough, the lid fit perfectly.  He brought the teapot home and told me the story.   We had no way of knowing what the original lid had looked like, but at least we had a lid that would fit the teapot.  Several months later, I was looking through my current edition of Country Living Magazine and I couldn't believe my eyes.  There on the page was a picture of the teapot with the exact lid that Clark had found those many miles from the teapot.  It must have been meant to be that the teapot was reunited with it's original lid.  Now, if that's not a mystery!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Old Coffee Grinder

The coffee grinder featured here is a Logan and Stonebridge model.  We are not sure of it's exact age but this company manufactured coffee grinders in the nineteenth century.  We purchased it from my late step father when he had an antiques shop.  To own an antique coffee grinder is having a piece of history.  Not only can you still use them to grind coffee beans, they also serve as a wonderful piece of Primitive decor for your home.  The hobby of collecting antique coffee grinders is growing in popularity since more collectors are learning that these wonderful pieces are not only decorative, they are also very useful.  Many coffee lovers claim that once you have tasted coffee ground in an antique coffee grinder, you will never go back to a modern electric one.  In these old manual models, there is no motor to overheat and give the coffee a burnt taste.  Antique coffee grinders come in a wide variety of price ranges.  If you are looking to add one to your collection, it helps to understand the best brands to look for.  While the very oldest ones are held in museums, most people look for coffee grinders manufactured in the 19th or 20th century.  The brands that are most sought after by the collectors are: Steinfeld, Logan and Stonebridge, Arcade, Wilmot Castle, Elma, Kenrick, PeDe, Armin Trosser and several more.  If you are looking for a coffee grinder to use for coffee grinding, you should look for one made purely of metal.  On some of the older wood and metal ones, the screws and wooden parts might not be strong enough for daily use since it was used 50 to 100 years ago.  If it will be used purely as decoration, it will not matter to you.   The wood and metal scoop and tea towel pictured above  will be available in the Persnickety Primitives shop.
(Research taken from "Love to Know Antiques" and "2010")

Monday, February 14, 2011

Valentine Memories

Valentine Memories

Grandma's book of valentines
Rekindles memory's flame,
Of days when she was just a girl
And life a happy game.

Each lace-edged card a getting bears
From friends of long ago,
Girls in gingham dresses
And that “special” Sunday beau.

It brings a twinkle to her eye,
Dissolving lines of age,
As we sit in the lamplight
And turn each well worn page.

It makes me kind of wonder
If perhaps some distant day,
A grandchild shall sit at my side
And leaf each page this way.

‘Cause I could sit for hours,
There at my grandma's knee,
And listen to the stories
That the valentines set free.

A book of antique valentines
That reaches black in time
To tell the tales of yesteryear
In illustrated rhyme.

Shirley Sallay

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Primitive Outdoor Oven

My brother recently had a heart attack that forced him to cut back on his activities for a while during his
recooperation.  During that time, he still kept his mind busy planning his activities for when he could resume his daily routines.  He constantly dreamed of building an outdoor oven.  Once he was well enough to put his plan into action, he built the outdoor fireplace that you see here.  That's him putting one of his famous pizzas in the oven.  He makes the crust completely from scratch and let me tell you, his pizzas are awesome!  He lined the oven with fire brick that holds the heat.  He builds a fire in the oven and once it is good and hot, he rakes the coals to the back of the oven.  He then sets his baking pan on the heated firebricks and puts a little door over the oven opening to hold in the heat.  He has also become quite the expert on bread baking in the oven as well.  He bakes the bread in a covered cast iron pot.  The bread is tender on the inside and crispy and brown on the outside.  It is heavenly spread with butter and homemade  blackberry jelly that his wife, Faye makes.  I remember once our families were on a camping trip and my brother and I decided that we would cook supper outdoors for our families.  It poured the rain that evening and we cooked under a canopy.  Despite the weather, we had fried chicken and all the fixins' that evening.  Another time, he invited us to his campsite where he baked  a pie inside a cast iron pot over a campfire.  The lid on the pot was indented and he filled the indentation with hot coals and set the whole pot in the hot coals.  It made a perfectly golden brown pie in his little "oven".  My brother and his wife frequently go camping with their horse club.  They like the old way of doing things and frequently try out some of the old methods of cooking. 

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Visiting My Amish Friends

I will be the first to tell you that I thoroughly enjoy all of my modern conveniences: my coffee maker, my microwave, the telephone, my car and of course, my computer and the internet.  There is still something that draws me to the Amish way of life and the wonderful people.  I have some wonderful Amish friends and I am certain that they add a lot of enjoyment to my existance.  The Amish have helped us with many repair and building projects over the past several years.  They have built a garage, a grape harbor, a gazebo, a swing harbor and a pergola as well as building a large addition onto our home.  We have also purchased several pieces of furniture from them over the years and I will tell you that their craftsmanship is outstanding.   I feel fortunate that a large Amish community lives within ten miles of our home.  While working at a bank in Hillsboro, I had an occasion to meet some members of an old order Amish community that had recently settled in the nearby area.  A few of the members of the community had come into the bank inquiring about banking services.  It would be the bank's first experience with Amish customers.  One of the officers of the bank suggested that we visit some of the people in the community to try to make their transition to our area a little easier.  We told them what day we would be visiting and they agreed to have several of the "men folk" attend our little meeting.  A few families had recently moved to the area and bought a farm which they divided amoung them.  Some of them lived in existing houses, some of them built a home and the family that was our primary contact took the barn as their home.  The day that we arrived at their barn, it was a warm, wet, muddy day.  When we got out of the car, we had to be careful where we stepped to avoid the mud and the horse manure.  There was a little porch on the entrance to the barn where one of the girls had displayed "mud rugs" that were for sale.  We knocked on the door and were immediately invited in.  Walking into that barn was like stepping back in time and I know my eyes were as wide as saucers.  The family of six that lived in the barn consisted of the husband, the wife, three adult sons and one daughter-in-law.  One by one, horse-drawn buggies began arriving.  Before long, there was about five or six men including the community Bishop.  We were told that their community was an "old order Amish" group.  This meant that they were not to ride in an automobile unless it was a medical emergency.  The inside of the barn was full of wonderful primitive furnishings, a wood cook stove and a large table surrounded by benches in the center of the room.  We were invited to sit at the table and the lady of the house offered us coffee from a granite coffee pot from the wood stove.  She asked if we would like some banana bread and we accepted.  She went into a pantry room and came back with the wonderful aromatic bread on two small plates.  The floors were smooth and swept clean.  The men sat around the table and asked questions pertaining to starting a banking relationship.  While we talked, the daughter-in-law quietly sat in the back of the room working on a quilt that she was making.  The quilt frame that she was using was suspended from the ceiling of the barn by chains.  She told me that they pulled it up and out of the way when she was not working on it.  The window in the barn was raised and I could feel the cool breeze that blew the curtains as it came through the window.  The chickens just outside were lazily clucking and picking bugs from the ground.  There was a small building with a tin roof a few feet from the barn.  It looked like a little storage shed.  We were told that is where the son and his wife spent their nights.  We enjoyed our visit that day and were made to feel very welcome in their home.  They told us that they sold jams and jellies and homemade bakery items.  Just up the road, one of the families made handmade baskets that were for sale.  I went back to their community several more times.  I purchased wonderful homemade apple butter and several beautiful baskets.  They soon began building a basement just across the driveway from the barn and one of the sons and his wife moved into the basement until they could build a house on top of it.  On one occasion, I had some paperwork to deliver to one of them.  That day the men were not at home and one of the ladies told me that they were just down the road at the home of one of their neighbors at a barn raising.  She gave me directions and I found the place easily.  It was an awesome sight seeing all of those men swinging hammers and getting that barn built.   One day when some of them were in the bank, one of the unmarried sons told me that they were going out of state to bring back a wife for him.  She was the cousin of his brother's wife and they had met her at the brother's wedding.  I just saw them the other day at the grocery store and they have two children now.  The bank installed a hitching post behind the bank in Hillsboro to accomodate their horses when they came to town.  The bank officer who initially went to their home with me went to the store for them every week to purchase flour, sugar and other baking essentials that he delivered to them.  The relationship was more than just a professional one - they had become our friends. 

Friday, February 11, 2011

Old Walls

"Listen softly . . . hear my walls whisper of a simpler time,
What stories I hold . . . in these walls of old.
Like an old freind, you stand worn and tattered . . .
Once filled with life and things that mattered."
 (Unknown Author)
I was driving through Brown County, OH this afternoon and passed this old house.  I was somehow drawn to it and turned my car around and went back and took this picture.  The lines above just seemed to fit.