Brenda’s High School Project gets an A+!

Many Saturdays ago, I found myself meandering through the rural parts of Clay County, looking for garage sales. There were a few out there, but not many. But they were in the right places, so I found something really cool at almost every stop. Which brings me to this guy.

It’s no secret that I’m somewhat obsessed with anything between Tiffany blue and seafoam green. This stein fit the bill perfectly, although it had obviously been in a barn for many years. As a matter of fact, the woman who sold it to me, Brenda, said that she and her husband moved it for 30 years and just never really used it. She had made it in an art class in high school.

I brought it home and cleaned it up. I think Brenda did a pretty good job! I love the color and I love the relief  and that it’s still all perfectly in tact. It’s a great piece for someone who wants a splash of breezy blue in their design. Isn’t that floppy-eared dog so cute, resting his head on his master’s leg? I just love it.

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Too Pretty to be Single: Beaver Falls Tile All Alone

I don’t know anything about antique tile. Well, I know only what Nicole Curtis has taught me on her show.

So here’s what Nicole Curtis has taught me so far:

  • Old tile is thicker
  • If you can save old tile, do it.

So I was out and about today – it’s been a great weekend for treasure-hunting – and came across this inconspicuous green tile. She was sitting all alone among figurines, ashtrays and other bric-a-brac. I almost didn’t see her, but I did.

First thing you do when you find something old and made of glass, ceramic or porcelain: turn it over. So I did. The lighting in Savers wasn’t that great because when I checked the underside, I didn’t see any identifying marks. I could see that the glaze was crackling, which told it me it was old. (It’s awfully hard to fake that.) She was only 99 cents, so home with me she went.

Beaver Falls Antique Tile

Beaver Falls green checkered tile

In the better light of this beautiful day, I was able to make out the word “Beaver” (tee-hee) under the barely-scraped-off price sticker, so I did a search.

Beaver Falls Antique Tile

Beaver Falls antique tile bottom

Turns out “Falls” was also under the sticker poop, and that’s who made this tile: Beaver Falls. They were in business 1886-1927 and made some of the most beautiful cameo and relief tile in its day. I found some incredible examples, and even more here.

Beaver Falls tile is often highlighted/found on fireplace surrounds as well as stoves and walls (and I’ve seen something similar to the portrait below used in a fireplace mantle too) in homes built in that time. You know, the tile that Nicole Curtis finds many times in the homes she so lovingly restores, the tile that can’t be duplicated, where replacements can’t ever be found should any tiles become damaged… In other words, this tile is the bomb diggity. Unfortunately, because tile can only really be identified on the underside, we may not know when we’re looking at Beaver Falls when it’s in place, and considering the tile artists of the day were moving between and forming new tile companies somewhat frequently, it would take a real pro to discern one from the other without the benefit of the underside/I.D. Whereas mine is a 4 1/4″ squared tile, Beaver Falls also made the smaller subway tiles that we also see in those older homes with the original fireplace tile work, and many other sizes and orientations.

Beaver Falls Antique Tile

Beaver Falls antique 3-tile set floral swag

I wasn’t able to find anything that looked exactly like mine, so here she is!

Excelsior Springs Soda Jerk Sign

Talk about a step back in time! I found this lovely at a garage sale here in Liberty this morning. The house was half of a block from William Jewell College, and the home was a gorgeous Century home with three stories, each 1,000 square feet. The man having the sale said he was downsizing. He didn’t look all that happy to be selling, but he was friendly enough.

The sign came out of a diner in Excelsior Springs, Missouri. He bought it when the place closed for good. But he couldn’t for the life of him remember what the name of it was. It drove him crazy, like it was on the tip of his tongue. So the mystery, for me, still exists. He probably remembered the name as soon as I drove away.

I love its simplicity. I love that it’s a little dirty and just a little beat up. I also love that there are tape marks over the .25 price for Malts & Shakes. And I love that this still exists! And that it’s still in Clay County! And that we know where it came from!

Garage sales are so cool. It’s finds like this that keep me going every week.

Excelsior Diner Sign.jpg

Pretty, Purple Princess Chandelier

I’ve been dying to get my hands on a chandelier with potential so I could redo it for a pretty, pretty princess. Enter Goldie here. I picked her up at a garage sale over the weekend and immediately started cleaning her up.

Pretty Purple Princess Chandelier

Pretty Purple Princess Chandelier – Before

She wasn’t in horrible shape, she really just needed a warm, soapy water wipe-down. I loved her shape and I loved all of the bling. The crystals (plastic, by the way) all came off and got cleaned, and so did the light cup/fake candle combo. The glass dome got hand washed and set aside while the frame got detailed and painted.Pretty Purple Princess Chandelier 04 before collage.jpg

The fun part, of course, is the painting, so I got busy on this beautiful day, and painted all day, starting with the underside. In the sunlight, it almost looks white, but it’s actually a flat lavender color from Valspar.

Pretty Purple Princess Chandelier 02 during and after collage.jpg

The end result is a little big magical. I can only imagine the fabulous room this beauty will end up in. I’m a little bit jealous already. On to the next one!

Pretty Purple Princess Chandelier 03 after.jpg

Coolest Thing I Saw Today! And it Hides a Secret!

I go to estate sales all over Kansas City these days. It’s a good day when one is happening in my very own town. Today was such a day.

I was one of 30 people in line when the doors to this shoemaker’s estate sale opened up at 9:00 this morning and I’m so glad I was. I had my eye on something in particular – this 1920’s cast bookend, which I was lucky enough to grab up.

1920's cast bookend - boat captain and wheel

And I also put my hands on this beautiful walking stick, and didn’t let go (estate sale-goers are crazy!). All I knew about it was that it was old and gorgeous.

late 19th century walking stick with hidden blade

It wasn’t until I got home and was playing with it that I realized that it had a secret hidden inside: it is also a knife.

late 19th century walking stick with hidden blade

A little research and I was able to determine that the item is probably from the late 19th century and made in India. It features carved bone and hand carvings in the wood, which has been ebonized. And I love it.

As much as I think I would love to be a little old lady who walks with a cane that has a hidden 22″ blade in it in a few years, I have decided that I am not ready for a cane just yet. So on eBay it goes. Isn’t it fantastic?!

UPDATE: eBay doesn’t allow hidden blade items. If you have an interest in this item. Let me know. I’ll be enjoying it in the meantime. 🙂

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

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