Silver Bowls and Ironstone inspiration

A few months ago I saw a picture on Instagram that inspired me to collect some silver bowls to display with my ironstone pitchers. At the time that I saw the inspiration picture I only had one silver bowl (and actually it was a trophy bowl – pictured below). I also only had 2 ironstone pitchers. But this picture embodied what I want my style to be – timeless, classic, and somewhat neutral.

My ironstone pitcher collection.

Since the time that I saw that picture, I have been able to add 2 more ironstone pitchers to my collection. (They are a little harder and a little more expensive to find.) And I have added 6 more silver bowls. I plan on combining these in my dining room hutch as soon as Valentine’s Day is over.

This is the first silver bowl (a trophy) that I purchased.

Unfortunately I cannot find my original inspiration picture on Instagram. I thought I had it bookmarked/saved, and I do not. So below I am showing two pictures that I found on Pinterest. (Did you know that you can save pictures on Instagram to look at later? Just click the bookmark flag underneath the picture! You can find all of your saved pictures by going to your profile page and clicking on “saved”.)

This inspiration photo that I found on Pinterest is from Sweet Pea Home.

This inspiration picture is from For the Love of a House:

This week I found the smallest silver bowl yet. Isn’t it a cutie? All of the bowls I’ve found at thrift stores and one at an antique store. The ones I’ve thrifted I have paid between 75 cents and $6. I paid $18 for the one from the antique store.

On another topic – which way do you prefer to display your silver pieces in? Polished or unpolished? I actually plan to display mine unpolished.

What do you think of ironstone and silver displayed together? I’d love to see your pictures! Tag me on Instagram! I also have more inspiration pictures on my Pinterest board called “Display” if you care to see more!

My first, and the rest is history…

I was inspired by an Instagram post to share about the first antique I ever bought, and how I got into interested antiques.

The first antique I ever bought was a book. The title of the book was The Reveries of a Bachelor. I had never read it, and I never did read it. I did not know at the time that it was one of Emily Dickinson’s favorite books. I was a teenager, and I was browsing in an antiquarian bookstore. I wanted to buy the oldest book I could find. When I realized that I could not afford the oldest book I could find, I settled for a book published in the 1850s that was only 99 cents. The book was meaningful to me because I felt the value in its age, not because I knew anything about the books itself. I had it for about 20 years, and unfortunately it met its end with some puppy teeth.

Growing up I also heard stories of an aunt and uncle who sold antiques and frequented auctions. I romanticized the world of antiques. I wanted to do those things, too. I wanted to buy from Sotheby’s. (One day?!)

How did I get from buying an old book to selling antiques? In college my favorite classes were my furniture history classes. I loved how an age of a piece could be identified by the shape of its legs or the pattern in the veneer. I still have my furniture history textbooks to use as references. During one of my internships a designer I was working under asked what my dream job was. I told her it was to own an antique store. She seemed surprised, but I do think a degree in interior design is certainly helpful for that line of work.

Funny enough, I cannot tell you what the second antique I ever bought was. I have tried to remember, and I just can’t. I have continued to love to buy antique books. Today my favorites are old versions of the classics I’ve read. I also love to buy books written by Lord Lytton, who shares my maiden name. I’ve said it before, buying an antique is usually a sentimental thing, and so I’m truly curious. What was the first antique you ever bought?

Jadeite, the Real Deal

Today I stopped into a local antique store. It’s not a store that I normally go into, but it was close by to another stop that I made, so I thought I’d take a look. Back when I used to sell antiques, I inquired in this particular store (it’s a chain) about renting a space. I decided against this one because they ask their dealers to have 40% new or handmade merchandise in their booths. When I go antiquing, I only want to look for antiques, not things that I could find at Hobby Lobby or JoAnn’s, so this wasn’t a good fit for me to sell my antiques in. (We’ve talked about this over on my Instagram before. And it was split 50/50 for those who wanted only antique merchandise and those of you who wanted new stuff, too.)

Since I only had a few minutes, I went through the store very quickly looking for jadeite to add to my collection. There were 3 dealers that had “jadeite” items, but none of them were authentic, vintage jadeite. It was a little frustrating for me as someone seriously looking because none of the tags were marked “reproduction”, and they were all priced very high, as though they were truly vintage pieces. I guess that’s a conflict that someone can run into shopping at an antique store that asks their dealers to also carry new merchandise.

photo via @jesselauzon on Instagram

If you think jadeite is pretty, and you’re interested in collecting it, here are a few things to keep in mind:

Jadeite was originally manufactured by 3 main companies: McKee, Jeannette, and Anchor Hocking/Fire King. Jadeite has a distinct, opaque green glass color, which can vary slightly depending on the manufacturer and decade.

photo via @thevettelfarm on Instagram

Jadeite items were often promotional pieces found in bags of flour or laundry detergent in the 1930s and 40s. Jadeite was not only pretty, but it was also utilitarian. Before World War II, jadeite actually contained uranium, so older pieces glow under black light. The earliest jadeite was made in the Victoria era.

Martha Stewart popularized jadeite while using it on her TV shows and in her magazine. Anchor Hocking released a line of jadeite during this popularity called Fire King 2000. Items marked with this backstamp are newer, and they are not the mid-century vintage pieces that are so collectible. (They will be “vintage” in a few years. Can you believe 2000 was almost 20 years ago?!)

photo via @belleantiquarian on Instagram

Recently, the color jadeite has been used by Target in the Magnolia “Modern Farmhouse” collection. Walmart also has jadeite colored items in their Pioneer Woman collection. Even Cracker Barrel, World Market, and Bed, Bath, and Beyond sell jadeite colored items. Last week I saw a jadeite looking butter dish at TJ Maxx. There is nothing wrong with adding newer jadeite pieces to your collection if you are just collecting the color. I have new cake stands and salt and pepper shakers. But you don’t want to be in a store under the impression that you’re buying an old piece, when it’s actually new.

Since this color of glass is so easy to reproduce, I recommend doing a little internet research to learn the hallmarks of the companies that produced jadeite. Learn the products that they produced. Not all vintage pieces have a hallmark on them. If you are just beginning, try to stick to pieces you know to be real. After a while, you’ll be able to tell immediately if something is authentic, vintage jadeite or if it’s new.

photo via @vintagepickerchick on Instagram

I recommend reading a few articles on jadeite. HERE is a great one. I also recommend following a few accounts on Instagram of people who collect jadeite. You will start to recognize authentic pieces “out in the wild”, and you will be able to confidently purchase them.

Instagram accounts to follow if you’re interested in jadeite:

  • @thevettelfarm
  • @jadeitejunkie
  • @jadeitegal
  • @jadeiteaholic_ttc
  • @vintagepickerchick
  • @jesselauzon
photo via @belleantiquarian on Instagram

I’m always looking for jadeite, delphite, azureite, and turquoise Fire King. Be sure to let me know if you find some good pieces! Good luck!

How to Find Good Stuff When You Thrift Shop

It’s National Thrift Shop Day! Sometimes I feel like everyday is National Thrift Shop Day, but whatever. LOL I started shopping at thrift stores when I was in high school. At that time I was mainly looking for vintage clothes. Now, I rarely look for clothing. Instead I am searching for vintage and antique home decor, dishes, and vinyl records.

No matter what you’re looking for when you shop in thrift stores, sometimes it feels like you’re looking for a needle in a haystack. It can be overwhelming and frustrating, which is never fun. And thrift shopping is supposed to be FUN.

I’ve put together a few tips for finding good stuff when you thrift shop. But keep in mind, even with these tips, thrift shopping is a lot like treasure hunting. Sometimes you hit the jackpot, and sometimes you strike out.

Tip #1 Know What You’re Looking For

If you already have in mind what you’re looking for, you’re more likely to find it. For example, if I am looking for jadeite, then I am constantly scanning everywhere my eyes land for that telltale green color. If you go in with a focus, it’s a lot easier to find something than if you don’t.

Tip #2 Take a Thrifting Buddy

I like to take my husband or kids with me when we shop at thrift stores. By now, they know what I like to buy. If they spot something I’m interested in, they’ll either pick it up or tell me about it. If I don’t think that they know what I’m looking for that day, I’ll tell them specifically. For example, “I’m looking for milk glass today. Milk glass looks like _____.” Or maybe I’ll say, “I’m looking for an old radio today, but only one that has a ____.” The more eyes that you have looking for something, the more likely you are to find it. (Just be careful about taking someone who is looking for the same thing as you.)

Tip #3 Consider if Damage Matters

Sometimes you might be looking for something that you’re willing to put some work into. Decide ahead of time what kind of damage you can work with, or if you are looking for something damage-free. Can you fix the dresser drawer? If it’s not what you’re looking for, move on quickly. Don’t waste your time.

Tip #4 Try Again

If you’ve heard that a certain thrift store has good stuff, but you aren’t seeing it, try again on another day. Try a different day of the week or a different time of day. Maybe someone else regularly checks that thrift store on Thursdays during their lunch break. If you switch it up you may find something.

Tip #5 Stains and Smells

Don’t always be intimidated by a stain. There is a lot of advice on the internet about getting rid of hard to treat stains. I have worked wonders on vintage tablecloths with a paste made out of baking soda, dawn dish soap, and hydrogen peroxide. There are a thousand things to try. If the price is low enough, it might be worth trying to get a stain out.

Smells, on the other hand…Did you know there is a “thrift store smell”? Yes, there is. And that smell will certainly come out of whatever you’re buying. But smells like urine, pets, body odor, and cigarettes are very difficult to get rid of. Those are a hard “no” for me.

Tip #6 Can You Change it to Make it Work?

Spray paint and glue are very cheap. If you find something similar to what you need, but it’s the wrong color, consider if a can of spray paint will make it work for you. Is something cracked or broken in two? Glue + Spray Paint are your best friends.

Tip #7 Don’t Get Sidetracked

Know your aesthetic. Imagine you see a stunning Blue Willow plate, but you don’t collect Blue Willow. You know you came in looking for a macrame plant hanger, so while you appreciate the Blue Willow plate, it’s not your style. Stick to your style.

Tip #8 Shop After Holidays

A lot of people like to shop after Christmas, because everyone is donating for the tax write offs. But many people purge after any holiday or in the spring. (“spring cleaning”) I think good stuff can be found after any holiday. People get started by gathering unwanted, old decorations to donate, and they’ll start adding to their donate pile since they’re making a trip there anyway.

Tip #9 There is more to thrift shopping than a Goodwill

Don’t stick with one kind of thrift store. There are some very well-known thrift store chains, but there are just as many small independently run thrift stores. Some chains may ask their employees to hold certain items back to sell in online auctions or private sales. Others may put everything out to earn money for charity. Try different kinds of thrift stores.

Tip #10 The Rich Thrift Stores

Some people like to shop in thrift stores in affluent parts of town because they feel like there will be higher quality items to choose from. I personally feel like that depends on what you’re looking for. If you’re looking for clothing, that theory may work out for you.

Do you have any other tips? Was this type of post helpful for you? Please share in the comments!

Favorite Books for Vintage Lovers

Favorite Books for Vintage Lovers

Do you have a favorite book from your childhood?

I read a lot as a child. A random, odd fact about me is that our family did not own a TV from the time I was about 7 until I was 13. My parents decided that they didn’t want a TV in the house. While I think that this can be a great thing if done correctly, I do regret that my siblings and I missed out on a lot of Pop Culture. One benefit, however, is that I read. A lot. 
Through my antique finding and selling adventures I discovered that there were some titles I remembered fondly, and I made a point to look for them. A few of my favorites:

Anne of Green Gables, Pollyanna, The Secret Garden, Heidi, Little Women, and Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm. 
If you have some favorites from your childhood that you would look for, what would they be? Some titles are especially valuable. Some titles are especially hard to find. For example, The unabridged Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm was really hard for me to find. Of course, condition and published year can make a big difference, too. For me, I didn’t so much mind the condition of the pages as I did the cover.
Online auctions are a great resource if you are looking for a specific book!
Happy Book Hunting!

Patriotic Summer Decor

Patriotic Summer Decor

Red, white, and blue can carry you Memorial Day through Labor Day.

One of the reasons I love decorating for the summer is I know that once I have my home all decorated I can leave it up for a long time. If you break out all of your red, white, and blue patriotic decor in May for Memorial Day, you can have your home decorated for flag day in June, Fourth of July, and all the way until Labor Day in September.
I have one storage bin with some Fourth of July and patriotic decorations. I will also “shop” my home for some other red, white, or blue items. I also like to include seashells, because they remind me of summer. I like to think of seashells as a neutral color. I even use them to check off the “white” if I am missing that in a red, white, and blue vignette.
Layer china patterns for a patriotic look. How cute are these Allerton’s Blue Willow individual butter pat dishes?
I like to use red Coca-Cola crates, vintage Pyrex bowls, books, and napkins for “red”. Blue canning jars, picture frames, and Blue Willow china are perfect for “blue”. White seashells, milk glass dishes, and anything silver will make your “white”.
Use seashells you picked up on the beach for filler.

Another tip I have is one that I use for every holiday. Shop the after-holiday clearance sale. I’ve had this bunting and these “fans” for a couple of years in my storage bin. I found them on clearance at Target a few years back.
Everyday items grouped together in red, white, and blue combinations suddenly turn into patriotic decor. I used a Blue Willow teapot, a red transferware platter, and some red & white flowers to make this grouping.
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Summer makes me so happy! I hope you find joy in this season as well.

Dresser Makeover, Hardware Too!

Sometimes I forget exactly how many pieces of furniture have come and gone through our hands. It doesn’t seem like that many until I start scrolling through the files on our computer. It’s a lot, y’all. There’s a lot of learning and hands-on experience that have resulted from doing so many pieces, but from time to time I still come across problems that need to be solved.

Here’s a dresser that I just finished. Sorry, I don’t have a great before picture, but it’s the one on the right. It was blah, painted brown, and nothing to be desired. It’s wood, but the wood was painted over with a brown color. Not sure why.
I decided to go with gray and blue. I’m holding off on the “after” picture because I want to talk about my hardware problem first. I may have mentioned it before but ALWAYS, for the love of Pete, ALWAYS count the hardware before you buy it. Why? I promise you that you WILL spend more on new hardware than you did on the piece. And I also promise you that you won’t be able to find new hardware that matches up to old holes. Trust me.  So anyway, I counted the hardware, but failed to notice that some of it was damaged. Take a look:
Pretty brass hardware (y’all know it’s back, right?) with some faux tortoise cabochon type thingies. Except, some of the cabochons were broken and some were missing completely. First of all, let me be completely honest: The cabochons were ugly and plastic-y feeling. But I would have TOTALLY left them on there if they had all been intact. Not gonna lie – I would not have spent a dime to replace them. 
However, that wasn’t an option. I played around with several things, but I ended up coming up with this:
I married the old, original drawer pull with a new, pretty knob. And….I love it. But wait, there’s more. The next problem? Screws. Yep, turns out it was annoyingly difficult to find screws that worked. I got some blank stares at a local hardware store, and one morning I had two employees at Home Depot finally help me put together something that worked. I needed 8 screws exactly, but…
Instead I got 7 plus this screw ^ that someone didn’t turn into a screw. (Another trip back to Home Depot.)
Ok, finally. Here’s the after:

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The hardware certainly wasn’t an issue I anticipated, but I think it completely transformed the piece. What do you think?

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What Are Tomorrow’s Collectible Items?

Recently my dad was visiting, and while we were eating dinner we struck up a conversation about things that we have stopped using in recent history. In other words, what do we no longer use today that perhaps ten years ago we used regularly?

As we sat there we came up with some very interesting things. Looking back on our conversation I think that those things we came up with may be one day valuable and sought after. So what can you collect today that in the future will be valuable? What are people not missing on a daily basis today that at some point in their golden years will give them a rush of nostalgia? Because, after all, most vintage and antique items are emotional purchases.

I can’t tell you how many times while selling at an antique fair or antique store that I have heard, “Remember when…” or “I haven’t seen one of these in years!” or “We used to have one of these…”

So, let’s think. What do you no longer use today that you needed on a regular basis 5 or 10 years ago?

Here are just a couple of things we came up with:

Phones – House phones, pay phones, handheld on the wall phones. Especially phones that aren’t cordless.

Phone books – When is the last time you’ve used one?

Dictionaries – nice quality, hard bound dictionaries used to be very common. Google, anyone?

Maps – I recently tried to find some inexpensive maps for a project I was working on. You can find them, but they are NOT cheap because no one buys them anymore. Move over maps, GPS and the internet are here.

Film – very uncommon to find it to purchase or to find someone to develop it quickly. No more one hour photo when you drop a roll of film off.

Feel free to chime in in the comments below. Share what you no longer use that in recent history you stopped using! Chances are, the things you think of will be tomorrow’s collectible items.

Spring Entryway Decorations

The sunshine and warmer temps have definitely been inspiring. Our bright and happy Easter and Spring decorations have carried throughout the house. Here are a few pictures of the entryway.

Click any photo if you want to see it bigger!

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I don’t think I’ve shared a photo of this table yet. It was originally a dark cherry finish. The bottom has a glaze over powder blue and the top has been “crackled.” 

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This little lamb is so sweet, don’t you think? Plus, tulips in antique Ball jars is a no brainer. The chalkboard was picked up at Hobby Lobby and I used our barnwood vinegar stain from THIS POST to age the frame. Before, it was new and unstained. 

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This typewriter is a fave. I picked it up one year while on an adventure with my sister, Tara, at the Crabapple Antique Festival in Milton, Georgia. If you’re interested in finding other antique festivals in Georgia go HERE and HERE. (It’s an older post so the dates won’t be accurate, but you can put it in the Google-machine.) 

Our Easter Mantel


//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.jsI thought I’d share a few photos of our Easter mantel this year. If you’ve read my past posts then you know that I like to decorate by “shopping” my house for items I can use. I always gravitate towards shopping for items of specific color. This time I was on the hunt for blue.

To see the photo larger, just click on it!

I can’t for the life of me remember where I bought the banner, but I am certain that it was one year after Easter and on discount. Then it sat in a Rubbermaid bin for a couple of years before Samantha and I put it together last year. We stamped “Hoppy Easter” on it.

The blue books on the mantel were easy to collect throughout the house. And well, Ball mason jars are pretty common around here. Let’s just say that I’ve hoarded passionately collected them. I regret every one of them that I’ve sold!

You might recognize the little bunnies from this post HERE. They’re from World Market.

I keep meaning to spray paint that candle holder. Warmer temps are here, so now may be the time!

I am pretty sure the bunnies (one piece) came from Hobby Lobby. The wall color is Danville Tan by Benjamin Moore. It’s been our wall color since we moved in ten years ago, and I still love it as much as I did the first day. It looks different at night than in the day. It’s very calming in person. (P.S. This color looks great in person. It looks totally wonky on my cellphone screen, so keep an open mind!)

Do you remember the barn wood that Ken and I got off of a an old barn/army building HERE? And also used to make THIS?

We used some our favorite pieces to make some free wall art for our mantel. The color is all natural and original. All we did was cut it and attach it together.

The “S” is for our last name. 😉 The window was picked up on one of our Craig’s List adventures.

I had fun pulling everything together. Everything other than the fresh tulips and the tiny bunnies on top of the books are things we already had. My favorite kind of decorating…FREE!

If you want to save any of these pictures, just click on the Pin It button and you can save it to Pinterest.

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