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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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

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. 🙂

Photos Found In Missouri Are Heading Home

Busy day yesterday! I made the trek to Richmond, Missouri and on to Lexington, Missouri to check out the antiques and thrifting scene. I was so happy I went because, especially in Lexington, the antiquing was great! The day was beautiful and the town very picturesque.

Downtown Lexington Missouri

Downtown Lexington Missouri

Lexington Missouri Courthouse

Courthouse at Lexington, Missouri

I was thrilled to find, in two different antique stores, several photos with names attributed to them for reasonable prices.

I spent most of last night sending out emails to folks associated with some of them and today has me responding with the images. A super-great day for genealogy!

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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!

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

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.

Dad Believes That Everyone Has A Story. This is His.

New friends suggested to my husband and me that we tell the best stories. I guess when you’ve saved a few of them up and get to tell them all in a drunken night of getting to know each other, it might seem that way. 🙂

Everyone Has a Story Cover

The truth is that my dad, Jim Cates, has the best stories. He’s been fortunate enough to have been raised in a beautiful and friendly town, Liberty, Missouri, and his parents were the most social people I ever knew. Dad came by his social skills honestly, and because his young home life was centered around an extended family of life-long and local friends, he learned early on that friendships are everything. As his dad would tell him, “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.” And dad proved that adage time and time again.

His professional pursuits always centered around his ability to meet people well, which led him to a career in sales, an interest in politics, and eventually directed him to a successful second career as radio talk show host. When you are good at identifying what is important to a person (by really and truly listening to them), it’s easy to match them with others who can help further their goals, which is something dad has always done well. Dad believes that everyone has a story, and this is his (click link below).

Everyone Has A Story – Jim Cates

Ships by Edwin Lamasure Sang To Me

Antique print bought at Cottage Antiques in Ellicott City, Maryland.

Antique print bought at Cottage Antiques in Ellicott City, Maryland.

I took a few humanities courses through high school and college but don’t consider myself “educated” when it comes to art. I like what I like.
I bought this print, Ships by E. Lamasure, at Cottage Antiques in Ellicott City, Maryland recently and I didn’t waste any time in getting it home and up on my wall. I love its moodiness and reminder that even the most mundane image on water is beautiful.
It was framed by A.H. Grape & Co. in Baltimore, Maryland many years ago. The back of it is in rough shape but I’m loathe to “fix” it if it means I have to get rid of the A.H. Grape label.
E. Lamasure signature, Ships print

E. Lamasure signature, Ships print

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