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? 🙂

Virginia Is For Thrifters!

My husband and I took a weekend trip down the shore to Virginia Beach a couple of weekends ago. Our intention was to sit on our beachfront balconies and decompress, maybe eat some seafood (great crab cakes, ya know!) and hang out with some new friends. We did all that. But I also found time to hit a thrift store or two and even a garage sale.

At the ONE garage sale I went to that Saturday afternoon, I was delighted to find a seller anxious to rid himself of everything. When I inquired about an old desk, he quoted $2 as the price. When I repeated the price back to him he immediately changed it to $1. Great. But I only had a $100 bill on me. “Load it,” he said.

What I REALLY was interested in was a dresser that had seen better days, with an awkward paint color and missing handles (original or otherwise) and bib on the bottom (which is in one of the drawers). “What about this?” I asked. “Load it,” he replied.

So they loaded both pieces into my rental van and off I went. Two free pieces of furniture. For me. A furniture hoarder, er, collector. What a great day.

Youngsville dresser destined for a new life

Youngsville dresser destined for a new life

This piece was delivered to a furniture dealer in Washington, D.C.

This piece was delivered to a furniture dealer in Washington, D.C.

So I bring them home. I start researching. The desk is nondescript and needs a new front/hinged panel. I’m not sure what I’ll do with it/who I’ll pawn it off on.

But the dresser! The first thing I noticed, as they were loading it up even, was that it had a label stapled to the back.

The label indicates that the piece originated at the Youngsville Manufacturing Company, Youngsville, PA. And it was delivered to Hutchison Inc. in Washington, D.C.

Youngsville Manufacturing Company has an interesting past, which includes incorporation in 1835. In 1896 they burned to the ground, and a new building started in 1898. In 1956, Youngsville Manufacturing was destroyed again.

All I was able to find out about Hutchison Inc. is that they were located at 2004-06 Fourteenth St., N.W. in D.C. in 1945. So not much.

What would you guess the age of this little gem to be? I am GUESSING that it is from the ’20s or ’30s. The legs say so but what do I know?

I don’t know what color I’ll paint it or when I’ll even get to it. (I’m a hoarder, ya know.) But its future is bright. Very bright.

Tiny Table Trouble

Goodwill find!

Goodwill find!

Too pretty to paint!

Too pretty to paint!

Shannon gave this to us as a housewarming gift. FAB!

Shannon gave this to us as a housewarming gift. FAB!

Mr. Wonderful claimed this for his office on sight.

Mr. Wonderful claimed this for his office on sight.

So I might have a problem with collecting tables. Small tables, to be specific. They seem to be available at every thrift store I frequent. And they’re sooooo inexpensive, I can’t help but snatch them up. Some have labels, some don’t. Some are basic, some aren’t. Many times, I have ideas about repainting/repurposing the wooden ones, but I get them home, clean them up and I find that they don’t need a thing more (other than a purpose).

My latest obsession is this dark, ornate table from Imperial Furniture of Grand Rapids, Michigan (below). I didn’t know anything about the company until doing a little internet research but found out that they made furniture in the first half of the 20th century. Many of their signature items are ornate like mine, but they also crafted more straight-forward/modern-looking pieces. Based on the catalog of labels available, I would guess this table’s birthdate to be sometime around 1939. It has too many embellishments to list (and quite frankly, I don’t know how to refer to them all). It’s a grand, little table. To learn more about Imperial Furniture Company, check out this site: http://www.furniturecityhistory.org/company/3638/imperial-furniture-co.

Salvation Army find!

Salvation Army find!

Dusty, yes. Beautiful still? Yes.

Dusty, yes. Beautiful still? Yes.

More details.

More details.

Imperial, Grand Rapids, Michigan

Imperial, Grand Rapids, Michigan

Clay Tiles Were a Steal – Now What To Do With Them?

The cast girl is now overseeing my jewelry box. The tiles are still awaiting their destiny.

The cast girl is now overseeing my jewelry box. The tiles are still awaiting their destiny.

I picked up these tiles, which hadn’t seen the light of day for a few decades at least. I think he bought them and put them away, because his wife didn’t know they existed until the estate sale was held. And that’s where I came in. It was the last day of their sale and the staff of four was bored and willing to bargain. So I found one or two things and they told my total. They encouraged me to find other stuff I liked and promised to give me a good deal. And so it went.
I have no idea what they’ll be used for but you can bet that the results will be posted here.

JD Originals Fabulous 1970’s Chair and Ottoman

I scored this 1970's rattan and velvet chair and ottoman at my local, favorite thrift store.

I scored this 1970’s rattan and velvet chair and ottoman at my local, favorite thrift store.

JD Originals logo

JD Originals logo

The best time to buy something unique is when you see it. So here we are.
I know what you’re thinking. You’re not sure if you like this club (?) chair and ottoman or not. Let it grow on you. Imagine how soft that velvety material is, how cushiony the seat is, and how surprisingly sturdy the frame is…
So the fabric is a little orangy and there’s no hiding the outrageous era this came out of. But don’t you love it anyway? There’s not a thing wrong with the condition of the fabric, seat or barrel-shaped rattan structure. The rectangle ottoman is just as pristine. It’s an incredibly well-preserved little reminder of days gone by and although the mod era isn’t typically my favorite, style-wise, I think it has so much potential. And I’m thrilled it exists in this condition at all.
I would tell you which thrift store around Baltimore I picked these up at today, but then I’d have to kill you. (#1 Shopping secret: Don’t tell others your shopping secrets.) I fell in love with it on sight but once I sat, I was really hooked. I really didn’t need to carry up another piece of furniture to our third-floor apartment, but I was just sitting in our incredibly uncomfortable patio furniture last night thinking how nice it would be to actually be comfortable out there. So I bought it. For how much? you might wonder. I’m not telling; I’ll let you decide what you think it’s worth to you.
JD Originals was trademarked by Jackson Furniture of Danville, Inc. in 1968, but that trademark has expired. A quick internet search has turned up only two chairs (http://www.pinterest.com/pin/203858320606632053/) made by these folks, and they don’t look much like mine.
P.S. This is a great candidate for a makeover someday down the line. Can you imagine this painted Tiffany blue with a fabulous chevron fabric (pick a color!)? Me too. Let’s see…
Basic Photoshop used to try a different color on this JD Originals Chair and Ottoman.

Basic Photoshop used to try a different color on this JD Originals Chair and Ottoman.

$1 Vintage Light Fixtures Need New Life

Vintage Porcelain Sconce Before A Cleaning

Vintage Porcelain Sconce Before A Cleaning

Heavy cast antique sconce with outlet

Heavy cast antique sconce with outlet

There was an amazing yard sale over the weekend in Ellicott City, Maryland. The online ad boasted tons of antiques and motivated sellers. Unfortunately, I didn’t go to that sale FIRST. By the time I got there at 11:00 a.m. there were just a few items left and these two light fixtures were the best things remaining. (I also got a cedar-lined trunk for $3, but that’s a different story.) When I asked the property owner about their origins, he said he and his wife had found them in the basement of the home they were remodeling, so we assumed that they were original to his house. They weren’t much to look at, the porcelain one had at least four coats of paints brushed up on it throughout the years and was pretty dingy. But it cleaned up well!
I’m not sure if I’m going to use them in my home, sell them or repurpose them. My husband’s uncle bends neon, so there might be a fun project there somewhere. Stay tuned. 🙂
Vintage Porcelain Wall Sconce After a Cleaning

Vintage Porcelain Wall Sconce After a Cleaning

Manhattan Laundry Bag in the Bag

Vintage Manhattan Laundry Bag - Dupont 1111.

Vintage Manhattan Laundry Bag – Dupont 1111.

Exciting find from this weekend’s favorite estate sale in Silver Spring, Maryland. I found this bag in the bottom of a closet, most assuredly headed for the dump after the sale. They cared so little about it that they didn’t even charge me for it. I’m only sad I didn’t grab the other, less sexy bag that accompanied this one. The hunt continues!

Topper Table Is Tops in Gypsy Life

Convertible table

Antique card table from the ’40s or ’50s.

This little beauty was discovered at a consignment shop in Glen Burnie, MD. When I brought it up to the register, the clerk said, “Oh! Finally someone’s taking that little guy home!”. So I guess it’s beauty is lost on a lot of people.
No bother, as it’s perfect for our constant-moving life.
It’s basically a glorified TV tray, only older and bigger. Its surface measures almost 27″ squared. It folds up to practically nothing. Made by Topper Products out of Lowell, Massachusetts. It’s called a Bridge Table, a nod to yesterday’s social past-time. My Grannie played bridge for many decades; it was the thing to do in her day.
The top features a floral needlepoint design. It’s in original condition and is most likely from the 1940s or 1950s.
Antique

Back of Topper Bridge Table

Antique TV tray / card table

Antique TV tray / card table

Topper Table Label

Topper Table Label

Mission-Style Magazine Rack Finds New Purpose

I’m all about making old things relevant again. Form can have many functions, and I’m intent on keeping an open mind to how something old can be useful in other ways.
I picked up this Mission-style magazine rack in Baltimore recently. I paid more than I usually do for impulse buys (this was $30) but I still think I got a great deal. It appears to be homemade. No dovetail joints, nothing fancy, but it’s maker carved their signature on the bottom: “H. Nesbitt Jr.”.
I don’t subscribe to magazines anymore. But I do need a pretty and functional filing system for the paperwork I carry with me from state to state. This fabulous find works perfectly.
But who is H. Nesbitt Jr.?
Nesbitt Mission Magazine Rack

Biltmore Table Always Makes The Move

Biltmore (Miami) Biltex tile shot

Biltmore (Miami) Biltex label

Biltmore (Miami) Biltex leg bottom

Biltmore (Miami) Biltex leg screw

Biltmore (Miami) Biltex tile side shot

Biltmore (Miami) Biltex tableThis little beauty found me at an estate sale in suburban St. Louis fifteen years ago. I can’t remember if I paid $1.00 or $3.00 for it, but it doesn’t really matter as it’s worth so much more than either price.
My husband is a consultant, which means that we travel a lot. We’ve lived in a dozen different residences during our almost-9-year marriage, so we’ve almost perfected the “light move”. One requirement, we’ve found, is furniture and comfort items that don’t take up much space. This little table fits the bill, largely because the legs unscrew, making it take up no room at all. So we always have space for it, even if we’re only packing the 4Runner for a three-month assignment. It has not only survived those moves across the country, but it looks just as fabulous as the day I bought it. It has served as a nightstand, an end table, a printer stand, and myriad other uses.
It measures 15″ squared on the top and is 17″ tall. It boasts Biltex vinyl on the top, which really, really looks like tile. The label on the bottom identifies it as being made by the Biltmore Manufacturing Company in Miami, Florida. I can’t find much info on that company (something I should have looked into when we lived there for 18 months), but can say that the table is mid-century modern, making its origins date to 1940 to 1960. I’d guess it was made closer to 1960.
I see other Biltmore Biltex tables at flea markets and antique shops from time to time. Usually they are two or three nesting tables whose tops are designed with gold flecks and butterflies. They are usually somewhat triangular. I’ve never seen another like mine.
Don’t pass these babies by if you come across them. They’re not all that treasured now but I would guess that they’ll hold their value if cared for properly. And let’s not forget how fabulous and easy to travel with they are.