EPIC Day of New Treasures Seen (but sadly, nothing bought)

Yesterday, my friend Sherri and I had lunch and went thrifting. We were in her neck of the woods in North Kansas City, so I was thrilled when she wanted to show me some thrift stores and antique malls I hadn’t been to yet.

The day started out awesome when I came across a stash of Scrabble games at the first store we went into. A quick call to my artist friend Beth Hanna of Baha Beauties to gauge her interest in them and we were out the door. Almost. I was drawn to and delighted by this chair so much I had to snap a picture. As someone now living in a mid-century home, I have become more interested in the designs of the day, so I have new appreciation for such things. And we then marched on.

Mur-Mill Chair Mid Century

Chair by Mur-Mill Fine Furniture, Owensboro, KY

(I did a little search on the Mur-Mill label on the back when I got home and turned up zilch.)

We checked into an antique mall in the neighborhood and had a great time teasing each other for our tastes (that don’t always match) and reminiscing about items similar to things owned by our families in days gone by. And then we came across this.

This Crane Chef Kitchenette features not only two burners, a sink and a fridge, but the fridge even has a small freezer spot. It even works “perfectly”, according to the tags. And for $450, someone is going to get really, really lucky on this one. I imagined it being perfect for those tiny homes that are so popular nowadays. Sherri thought it would be cool to have on her patio, where she does a lot of entertaining. But we left it behind for someone else to find.

Vintage Crane Chef Kitchenette

Vintage Crane Chef Kitchenette

We then came across this oddity, as I’d never seen anything like it. The tag called it a “Lavabo”. Turns out there are many available (for the right buyers), but none I found in my research looked like this; most are ceramic and many are painted. I think it’s a devastating display (sans the chicken feathers and God knows what else in the basin). So we snapped the shot and carried on.

Next up was this colossal painting that once graced the entryway into the historic Savoy Grill in Kansas City. It is probably 7′ tall and 15′ wide and the gold frame is stunning. The lights inside of the castle light up! A little cheesy for me but Sherri was in awe. A little research shows that the piece was put up for auction with many other items from the space in 2012. Details here. Price tag on this beauty is a cool $50,000. It is a real stunner.

Savoy Grill painting

Savoy Grill painting

Savoy Grill painting

Savoy Grill painting

The last thing I snapped a shot of was this crazy little antique crumb brush. I see antique crumb catchers from time to time and even picked one up for myself once, but I guess these brushes don’t usually get my attention. A quick Google search turned up all kinds of examples. The snake-like shape on this one got my attention.

Many years ago, it was common for wait staff and even hostesses at home to use these brushes and catchers to clean off errant crumbs and debris from table tops to keep things tidy. It’s still done in some higher end restaurants today, but they don’t typically use items this fancy.

Antique Crumb Brush

Antique Crumb Brush

Silver Crumb Catcher - MJ's Collection

Silver Crumb Catcher – MJ’s Collection

So that was the day. I had so much fun, didn’t spend any money and we learned A TON.

Onward!

Antique Family Photos Return Home

I might be a little weird. I get a charge out of buying old attributed photos and finding their family members to share them with.

I don’t pay much for the photos, I’d say never more than $5 each. Since I’m a member of Ancestry.com, I’m able to take the information presented – usually just a name and location – and start digging for a match. Men are easier to track down because we women like to change our names to match our husbands’, but I’ve found some of the women too.

Belle and Lulu Driskell caught my eye at an antique store on a business trip to Iowa. They were so naturally beautiful and the information on the back of the cabinet card photo was more than enough to track them down. Their married names were included, the city the photo was taken in was included, the date it was taken was even noted! I ended up getting in touch with someone who had posted their family tree on Ancestry and they were so excited. They said they had never seen photos of the sisters before, so I was doubly excited to share them. Isn’t Lulu gorgeous?

Belle and Lulu Driskell 1884

Belle Driskell Bates and Lulu Driskell Haywood 1884

I always offer to email the image to the family for no charge but if they want to buy the original they need to reimburse me. Most of the time they just want the scanned image, which is fine too!

Mr. Meldahl just found his home this week, thanks again to Ancestry. It was also pretty easy to find him because his name is unusual, the city name is there and if I needed to dig really deep, I could find out when the photographers were in business in order to determine when the picture was taken, but I didn’t have to go that far.

Frank Meldahl

Cabinet Card of Frank Meldahl by Cadwallader and Loomis – Cor Market & 7th Sts. Parkersburg, W VA. All negatives preserved. Duplicates may be had at any time. Cadwallader & Loomis, The Photographers, 627 Market Street, above B. and O.R.R. Bridge, Parkersburg, W. Va.

Mr. & Mrs. Sproul were a little more difficult but not very. With the added “Mother Perkins” reference on the back of Mrs. Sproul’s photo, I was able to pinpoint a potential family. Just moments ago I emailed the images to a family member. Even without the location, it was a doable endeavor to track their family down.

Mrs Sproul

Mrs. Sproul raised Mother Perkins

Mr Sproul

Mr. Sproul

The Blackmans were SO EASY. I mean, check out the information detailed on the back! I had everything I need to find, verify and get in touch with their people quickly, and I sent off the image within a day of finding the family.

Mary Elizabeth Billings Blackman wedding photo

Mary Elizabeth Billings Blackman wedding photo

Charles Morris Blackman wedding photo

Charles Morris Blackman wedding photo

I’m still waiting to hear back on another batch of photos and some I fear I’ll never match to interested parties, but it’s fun to try. And I guess I’m hoping if someone ever comes across my family photos, they’ll take the time to find me too. 🙂

Down to the Letter, Syracuse Plates Make the Cut

I couldn’t help it. They’re classic. There were five of these little charmers. These dishes carry with them the sounds of a 1960’s diner. Heavy, simple and melodic.  They have a scalloped edge, not too frilly, with two red stripes on the interior of the plate, and a crest with the letter “C” inside. On the backs, they read “SYRALITE by SYRACUSE 98-8 U.S.A.”

I snatched them up at a local thrift store here in Liberty, Missouri a few months ago, thinking my son may like them for when he gets his first off-campus apartment. I think they’re super-country clubbish and jazzy.

Syracuse has been been around for many years, and has a mind-boggling body of work that served airliners, trains, diners across the U.S. and other large-scale dining establishments.

Wikipedia says this and more: Syracuse China Corporation, located in Syracuse, New York, was a manufacturer of fine china. Founded in 1871 as Onondaga Pottery Company (O.P. Co.) in the town of Geddes, New York, the company initially produced earthenware. In the late 19th century, O.P.Co., began producing fine china, for which it found a strong market particularly in hotels, restaurants, and railroad dining cars. The manufacturing facility in Syracuse closed in 2009, after 138 years in operation and production was removed from North America.

I would venture a guess that the crest is associated with some country club or restaurant, but my research turned up no matches as of yet.

Anyway, I loved the feel and the look of the little plates, so I brought them home and quickly hid them from my husband. Like we need more frickin’ plates. 🙂

Syracuse Dishes

Syracuse Dishes La Placita 1706, Vic’s Tally-Ho, Kildare’s and a sailboat platter

History of the Keck Family

I bought this little nugget of history at an estate sale in Baltimore a year or two ago. I grabbed it up out of reverence more than anything. I mean, the thoughtfulness of this guy to write down his family history and publish it for the ages – I admire Mr. J.A. Keck.

This little booklet has additional family history dates and notes in the margins and attached throughout. My only hope in posting these images (and a considerable amount of SEO attached), is to draw a family member to this site one day. I’m saving it for you, Keck clan! You need only contact me to procure this fabulous piece of family history.

I believe I bought other family photos from this sale. Just send me a note to get these in the right hands.

Problem Entry Finds its Answer

My husband and I have lived a few places together. We have lived in larger homes with lots of space, and we’ve lived in hotel rooms. Right now, we’re somewhere in the middle. We have a little slice of heaven in Liberty, Missouri with a nice fenced-in yard for our three dogs and our home is just under 1,000 square feet. Compared to the hotel rooms it’s palatial, but our furniture was bought several years ago for a much larger home with much larger rooms, so we’re trying to adjust.

Which brings up the point of our entry way. It is small and leads into a room that we are struggling to make do with our current furniture until we feel like the timing’s right (first in line: 2015 tax bill, new washing machine, etc.), which means we really don’t want ONE MORE piece of furniture in the living room. But where to put our keys when we walk in the door?

I came up with what I think is the perfect solution, after having cruised ebay and other sites for “floating shelves”. New shelves cost hundreds of dollars and old ones, well, they were too ornate for our 1963 home. So I found this drawer at an antique mall in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. It was more than I would ordinarily spend ($24- *GASP!*) but the size and color were spot on as-is.

Initially, I thought I would just have the hubby put it up as is, with the patina and the weathered look, but Mr. Wonderful was pretty adamant that it wouldn’t work, considering the living room has a brand-spanking-new coat of paint on the walls AND the trim, which is now stark white. It’s a crisp look and he felt like a rubbed-out old catalog drawer would clash, and I’m sure he was right. But we both liked the turquoise color, so we agreed I would paint it the same color, just without the wood rubbed through and with the inside of the drawer painted too. But, I insisted, the drawer pull stays.

So I painted it. I would have been cool having it attached to the wall by its side, so that it still acts like a drawer, but hubby and I negotiated again and decided it would be attached to the wall by it’s bottom. The only problem is then that the bolts he attached them with would be visible, so I had some thinking to do.

The solution came one afternoon when I was looking over some old retro napkins I had bought some months earlier. I decided that their designs would be FABULOUS with the color of the shelf, so I cut out two pieces of cardboard that exactly fits in the bottom of the drawer and I covered them. One was covered in one of the napkins, the other with a piece of embossed white wallpaper I had just picked up for $1 at an estate sale. Then I inserted them into the shelf to see which one worked best. The white option showed best with the stark white trim around it, so that’s what I picked! I hope you like it; we sure do!

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Before!

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Before!

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The entryway before.

Funky Fun Facebook Page

In progress! Which insert to use and what to decorate it with – all small items considered!

Mcclellan etryway key-catching solution

Putting the shelf up meant big bolts, because we may decide to hang hooks off of it for my purse, which is like a bag of bricks. So the challenge was to hide them. Voila!

Antique Baltimore Buffet Makeover

We lived in Baltimore for about ten months. While there, I found myself enjoying the old architecture, the history and fabulous thrift stores full of antiques. On one of my outings, I came across this buffet. It was in a thrift store I rarely went to and it was sitting at the end of a clothing row, away from the other furniture. The price was $15. It was dirty, no, really filthy, but I could see the beauty underneath. The wood was still good and the intricate carvings on the legs, doors and skirt were fabulous. So I bought it. It wouldn’t fit in my trunk (rental car that week) so I had to arrange to come back and get it. When I did, this nice older gentleman employee helped me load it, so I paid him $5.

buffet before

So for $20, I had this beauty. It sat on our covered porch as-is for months. I stared at it many nights on that patio, wondering what I would do with it. I thought maybe I’d paint it red. I thought maybe I’d use chalk paint, as that was the trend. I thought, I thought, I thought.

It was two years later that I actually took paint to it, and these photos represent the crossroads. I couldn’t decide if it needed more paint above the doors and I also needed to order replacement antique pulls. So I put it to a vote on my Facebook page. People were all over the map on this one, but the consensus was that it was looking pretty darned good.

Usually I like to research the maker and find corresponding pieces online to tether to. Unfortunately, the tag that might have told me where this came from or who made it is gone from the back of the buffet, but no matter.

It has a place of honor in my living room, right underneath a stained glass piece I commissioned from one of my best friends, Beth Hanna of Baha Beauties.

$15 Antique Buffet Facelift in Action - Options 1-13$15 Antique Buffet Facelift in Action - Options 1-13$15 Antique Buffet Facelift in Action - Options 1-13$15 Antique Buffet Facelift in Action - Options 1-13$15 Antique Buffet Facelift in Action - Options 1-17$15 Antique Buffet Facelift in Action - Options 1-13$15 Antique Buffet Facelift in Action - Options 1-13$15 Antique Buffet Facelift in Action - Options 1-13$15 Antique Buffet Facelift in Action - Options 1-13$15 Antique Buffet Facelift in Action - Options 1-13$15 Antique Buffet Facelift in Action - Options 1-13$15 Antique Buffet Facelift in Action - Options 1-13$15 Antique Buffet Facelift in Action - Options 1-13$15 Antique Buffet Facelift in Action - Options 1-13$15 Antique Buffet Facelift in Action - Options 1-13$15 Antique Buffet Facelift in Action - Options 1-13$15 Antique Buffet Facelift in Action - Options 1-13

 

 

Nothing Chair Has Glamorous Past!

This poor chair has been with me since 1994, when my son was born and I was setting up my first, very own “home”. It was, undoubtedly something that my grandparents picked up years ago at an auction, as they were known to do that here in Clay County.

Let’s see – this chair has moved with me no less than 10 times (let’s see: Pittsburg-Topeka-Creve Coeur-Overland-St. Charles-Virginia Beach-Virginia Beach-St. Charles-St. Peters-Miami-Liberty-Baltimore-Liberty) in that time. I never paid much attention to it. If it’s had a place in my home, it’s had a slip cover on it. It has always looked just as it does in this pictures: Blah.

It was only recently that I checked the underside to find this label: Brent’s Homes furnished Complete 716-722 South Main St. Los Angeles, Calif. Naturally, I was curious. And guess what I found? Practically NOTHING! The only thing I could find was a reference in the Advertising Cyclopedia, using their catchy “Homes Furnished Complete” slogan as a teaching tool, and a 1922 Los Angeles Directory with their name included.

Not one piece of furniture, not one ad.

So here it is, world, the only surviving piece of Brent’s Furniture.

And it has a weird splatter paint on it and nasty blue corduroy. There is another layer of fabric underneath the blue, and the deep maroon color holds some promise, with the understanding that the spatter paint goes and this is as gorgeous as I think it is underneath. I would guess it’s oak. We shall see.

Another project just made the list.

antique chair labeled Brent's Homes Furnished Complete 716-722 South Main St. Los Angeles, CALIF

antique chair labeled Brent’s Homes Furnished Complete 716-722 South Main St. Los Angeles, CALIF

antique chair labeled Brent's Homes Furnished Complete 716-722 South Main St. Los Angeles, CALIF

antique chair labeled Brent’s Homes Furnished Complete 716-722 South Main St. Los Angeles, CALIF

antique chair labeled Brent's Homes Furnished Complete 716-722 South Main St. Los Angeles, CALIF

antique chair labeled Brent’s Homes Furnished Complete 716-722 South Main St. Los Angeles, CALIF

antique chair labeled Brent's Homes Furnished Complete 716-722 South Main St. Los Angeles, CALIF

antique chair labeled Brent’s Homes Furnished Complete 716-722 South Main St. Los Angeles, CALIF

New, Old Antique Headboard Idea ALERT – Welcome to my newest obsession!

Am I late in realizing how AWESOME an antique fireplace mantel would look as a headboard? I mean, has this been a thing for awhile and I somehow missed it?

Tonight I was kind of watching HGTV’s You Live in What? (3/3/13 original air date), a show that profiles unusual, usually repurposed, homes. On this particular episode, they featured a church, an old city incinerator and a silo in Southern Georgia. Nothing terribly exciting UNTIL they showed the master bed in the silo home. The bed was made from an old fireplace mantel and chair rail. I can’t believe I hadn’t thought of that before! I’m not crazy with the red/rubbed/chair rail/distressed look they have on theirs, but I could DEFINITELY get into an old, untouched finish version. I love that there are two shelves on this one, I love the pillars holding the top one in place, and I love the mirror.

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At first glance, antique mantels don’t go cheap ($500-$10,000, so the only chance I have at actually having one of my very own is to give them a serious look when I come across them in my garage/estate/barn/thrift sales. I’m hoping I can get away with spending no more than $200. When I come across one, I’ll report back.

Reusing an antique fireplace mantel is not an original idea. Check out these other examples:

White mantle with 3-panel antique mirror above

Another one with pillars and mirror (I think I need that style, for real).

Some are adding an upholstery panel to the bottom, which is a little more formal than I think would work for me.

OMG I need this!

This one might actually work for a king-sized bed.

So I have a new mission: an old mantel WILL be mine. Wait and see…

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Even Damaged Slag Lamps Are Beautiful!

So there I was, cruising my favorite local thrift store and there it was. This beautifully imperfect slag lamp, in two pieces – just sitting there looking sad!
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Having never bought or even thought about buying one of these hard-to-find treasures, I had no idea about, well anything related to it. I texted an artist friend of mine who can do just about anything, including make stained glass, and asked her if she could help me fix it up. “Is it slag?” she asked. Slag wasn’t a term I’d had any exposure to. “Huh?” was my answer. Needless to say, she bowed out quickly, which left me to internet research.

The lamps and their bases are typically made from pot metal, Pot metal—also known as monkey metal, white metal, or die-cast zinc—is a colloquial term that refers to alloys of low-melting point metals that manufacturers use to make fast, inexpensive castings. (Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pot_metal)

The slag glass is kind of a tan color when it’s not illuminated but when the light is on it turns to a pretty golden yellow. It’s missing one of the slag panels and another panel is glued together pretty clumsily. AND the metal needs to be repaired in one place. Luckily, the base is still in near-perfect condition (a scratch or two) and the finial was in tact.

Despite its imperfections, this beauty has still earned a place in my living room and it is so freaking gorgeous. My husband even turns it on from time to time to greet me when I come home from work.

I saw two of these exact lamps for sale on eBay last week for $600 or $900. What the what? Wanna’ know what I paid for this one? 🙂

Missouri Artist Jack O’Hara Captured Home State With Charm

I’m a sucker for posters. I ran across these at a local shop today on a random visit. All four of these guys were bundled together and obviously have some age to them. I immediately recognized the three Missouri scenes as Hannibal, Old Town St. Charles and St. Louis.

All four posters / lithographs were created by the same artist: Jack O’Hara. A Kansas City native, Jack O’Hara was born in 1921 and died in 2012. He spent his life in the area and it shows in these images. (See his obituary below.)

They’re charming snapshots of some of Missouri’s most recognizable towns in the middle-late 20th century. (I would guess 1960s-70s.)

The Hannibal street scene shows a large mound, which is an immediately recognizable feature of the town, and it also shows storefronts like “Ice Cream Parlor”, “Mark Twain Museum”, “Gifts”, “Pizza”, “Antiques” and “Museum”. Judging from the t-shirt on the bike-riding kid in the foreground, this was completed in the 1970s.

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The second poster, clearly Old Town St. Charles, shows Main Street’s cobblestone streets that still remain today. Also shown are the quaint old-time storefronts and one legible hanging sign for “Antiques”. The cars also suggest that the image was representing the late 1960s or early 1970s.

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The third is a riverbed scene that shows an uprooted tree in the foreground and two (perhaps young) people with their backs to the artist, carrying away a canoe towards the water’s edge. Not all that dynamic, but definitely could have been inspired by Missouri streams.

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The final one is perhaps the most recognizable of all: St. Louis’s Gateway Arch and the old County Courthouse. Men in suits and hats walk the streets as if the artist is catching “lunchtime”. Cars and clothing suggest the image was also created in the late 1960s or early 1970s.

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Perhaps the artist did a series of Missouri towns?

I hope you get a kick out of them like I do. And you wouldn’t believe what I paid for them if I told you.

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Jack Butler O’Hara, 91, passed away peacefully on April 6th. After a lengthy battle with Alzheimer’s disease, his last days were spent remaining cheerful and loving. His sense of humor endured and he made the most of the life he had left. Born January 27, 1921 to Ben and Dorothy O’Hara. He attended Southwest High School graduating in 1938 as Class President. He attended the University of Kansas where he was a member of Phi Delta Theta and lettered in track. He also attended the Kansas City Art Institute and the American Academy of Art in Chicago. He was an Eagle Scout and a member of the Tribe of Mic-O-Say. During World War II, he was a 1st Lt. in the Medical Administrative Corp and spent a year in the Philippines. Following his release from the army, he worked in the editorial department at Hallmark Cards. Three years later, he joined Valentine-Radford Advertising Agency and eventually became a partner. After 21 years with the agency, he retired to paint full time. His principle medium was watercolor and, after being accepted five times in the annual show in New York City, he was accepted as a member of the American Watercolor Society. His work is in private and corporate collections both here and abroad, including Senator Nancy Kassebaum and Senator Thomas Eagleton. He is also represented in the permanent collection of the Spencer Museum, Lawrence, KS, the Kemper-Albrecht Gallery in St. Joseph, MO, the Farnsworth Museum in Rockland, Maine, the Muchnic Museum, Atchison, KS, the Kansas City Art Institute, the Nelson- Atkins Museum, and the Nevada Museum of Art, Reno, Nevada. He exhibited numerous one-man shows including a show of Irish landscapes at the Nelson- Atkins Museum of Art. In addition to his landscapes, he became well known for his portraits. He was on the board of the Kansas City Museum, the Nelson- Atkins Council of Fellows and Pets for Life. He was a member of the Kansas City Country Club, the Moorings Club, Vero Beach, FL, the Garden of the Gods Club, Colorado Springs, CO and a former member of the University Club and the Vanguard Club.
He leaves his wife of 58 years, Marie Bell Watson O’Hara, son Thomas Watson O’Hara and wife Laura and twin children Callae and Jack, son David Benjamin O’Hara and son John Burns and wife Catie and their sons Luke and Dan. Jack also leaves his twin sister JeanO’Hara. He was fortunate to enjoy his life surrounded a wide circle of friends.