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

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!

Spice Racks Are Fresh Again

Today’s major accomplishment was small in size but kind of a big deal; it’s been something I’ve been meaning to do for awhile. Since we had rain here today, I had to think about projects I could get done around the house INSIDE, so it was my perfect opportunity.

See, I have just recently completed my project to paint each room of the house. So I’m pretty proud of the colors. I think it takes it up a notch in my house. And I’m pretty proactive with my covering up of scuffs and random miscalculated nail holes but I got tired of having to bring up a gallon paint can each time I needed to touch up the walls. God forbid I want to get them all done in one day. So I decided to use one of the vintage spice racks I’d collected over recent months to put a little bit of paint from each room. I’m kind of proud of the idea. I gave them little labels too.

Other folks are doing some cute things and finding ways to reuse these little shelves.
JM Spice Rack before and after

It all started when a friend asked me to be on the lookout for a spice rack to repaint and use once again for spices. It took a few months but I finally found one. My friend posted before and after pictures on Facebook, showing off a black shelf and labels with gold accents. Another friend immediately asked me to find another one for them. So I started just grabbing every spice rack (that wasn’t already in pristine or otherwise acceptable condition) I saw.

My husband has even found a use for many of the little shelves. He’s a vaper and has lots and lots of ejuice flavors from companies like Heresy. The number of flavors he has is monumental and he needed a place to put them that wasn’t demanding so much of his precious, office horizontal real estate. He now has several throughout his office, even one in his closet to keep sunlight off for the bottles he’s steeping himself. Some he’s painted red, some white, and some are not getting a paint job at all. He even wrote a blog about it here, which prompted me to share my info with you too.

It’s so exciting to find and get people to think about reusing old items that are no longer in style or just need a coat of paint. What else could these little cuties be used for?

 

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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

Home is Where the History Is: Liberty, Missouri

And history there is!

My husband and I have lived in this quaint little slice of heaven, just north and a little east of Kansas City, Missouri for just over two years but my roots run deep here. Liberty was settled in the 1820s and eventually became home to many notable rogues: Jesse James, the Dalton Gang, the Younger Gang, and so on. So it’s steeped in real “Wild, Wild West” kind of history. And it’s where my father’s mother and father’s kin settled back in the early origins of the town.

My grandmother’s line is the most notable, with relation proven back to both the Youngers AND the Daltons. My grandfather’s family was said to have been related to the Jesse James family (one story says his parents were friends with a great aunt of my grandfather or something) but don’t quote me on that. The Cates family name can be found in some of the county’s earliest publications and there is a natural greenway also that bears our name.

My grandmother’s beloved uncle (by marriage) was the County Coroner in the 1940s, and his wife filled his seat when term limits require he vacate the position.

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But that’s not the point: the point is that there are so many old treasures in this part of the country that I’m finding I need to sell a few things to make room for some of the things I’m seeing but can’t justify (our house is tiny, after all). So I’ll be listing some things on eBay and Etsy for fun.

Today I got to list this license plate that I found at an estate sale in Leavenworth this morning. I imagine it being bent along the bottom so it can be used as a desk name plate, but that’s just me. What else could it be used for?KS 1990 Pearl License 07

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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1960’s Bahamas Map/Ad Still Works

Grand Bahama Island Site of the New World Riviera, one of the fastest growing RESPRT/RESIDENTIAL/INDUSTRIAL areas in the World. LUCAYA/FREEPORT Depicted areas of interest: Mangrove Cay, Water Cay, Cormorant Point, Grand Bahama Hotel, Oceanus Inn, Bahama Cement, West End, JackJars, Airport, Holmes Rock, Seagrape, Set and Be Damned, Eight Mile rock, Harbour, Imperial Bahama Floating Hotel, King's Inn, Oil Buckering, Pub on the Mall, Holiday Inn, Lucayan Beach Hotel Casino, Freeport, Lower Conch, Green Cove, Gold Rock, Bell Channel, Riding Point, Halls Point, Cormorant Point, Riding Point, Pelican Point, Carrion Crow, Deepwater Cay, Sweetings Cay, bird Cay, Burrow Cay, Cross Cays, Orphans Cay, Abaco, Great Sale Cay, Smithspoint

While living in Miami, I went to my fair share of estate sales. It was my attending sales so much that led me to work for the region’s best estate sale company. At one of those sales, in one of the not-nicest homes in the area, I ran across this poster in the bottom of a closet. It was such a sad, rolled-up crusty thing that when I took it to the door to have a price assigned to it, I was waved away. “Ehhh, keep it, honey,” the woman running the sale said.

I’ve admired it for over two years. I kept good care of it because despite the holes and rough edges, I knew that I could work with this piece. It was just a matter of finding the right frame/decor/room/space opportunity. The map pointed out lots of destinations or points of interest, and whoever owned the poster also added their own notes. It’s so cute and retro. The little fish images, all of the boats, the famous JackTar Club, which opened in 1960. (Reference here and here.)

Grand Bahama Island Poster

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This fabulous black frame came in to my life in Indiana roughly a year later. I couldn’t have paid more than $5 for it; it’s pretty rough.

Grand Bahama Island Poster

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Grand Bahama Island Map Fish cropped

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cut to today, when I decided I wanted to talk about the Bahama poster. I needed something to set over it so it wouldn’t roll up and the old, crusty black frame with the knot that comes out was right there.

I’ll be getting this to the framer next week. Be prepared for updates.

“Grand Bahama Island

Site of the New World Riviera, one of the fastest growing RESPRT/RESIDENTIAL/INDUSTRIAL areas in the World.
LUCAYA/FREEPORT”
Depicted areas of interest: Mangrove Cay, Water Cay, Cormorant Point, Grand Bahama Hotel, Oceanus Inn, Bahama Cement, West End, JackJars, Airport, Holmes Rock, Seagrape, Set and Be Damned, Eight Mile rock, Harbour, Imperial Bahama Floating Hotel, King’s Inn, Oil Buckering, Pub on the Mall, Holiday Inn, Lucayan Beach Hotel Casino, Freeport, Lower Conch, Green Cove, Gold Rock, Bell Channel, Riding Point, Halls Point, Cormorant Point, Riding Point, Pelican Point, Carrion Crow, Deepwater Cay, Sweetings Cay, bird Cay, Burrow Cay, Cross Cays, Orphans Cay, Abaco, Great Sale Cay, Smithspoint

 

 

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.