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!

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

Photo History Right Here, Folks!

PICTURE-TAINER photo protectors are a thing of the past.

Picture-Tainer photo 04

I found these at a thrift store some time ago – no particular use in mind, but knew they still had some life in them somehow. So I did my usual thing: I checked out their story online and here’s what I know:

Picture-Tainer photo 01

Trademarkia had this to say: “Picturetainer: photographic packaging; namely, plastic box-like containers for holding photographic pictures and accompanying negatives”

Picture-Tainer photo 01

I found this cute little ad from a 1967 The Bulletin ad that says:

“That’s right! With every order you’ll receive a FREE Picture Tainer, obtainable only from KING SIZE PHOTO. The Picture Tainer, made of plastic polypropylene, is a KING SIZE patented, exclusive packaging for your precious photos-the perfect way to protect them from bending, tearing, folding or soiling. Best of all-it costs you nothing!”

According to the Spokane Chronicle, King Size Photo stores (in Spokane) were operating under that name until 1983 when they were sold.

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