Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Fire King Reproduction Alert!

I've read many warnings about Fire King reproductions on the market, but mostly these have been limited to fabricated mug decals and not focused on the area I collect - Mixing bowls, grease jars, shakers & bakeware items.

But here lately I've noticed more and more "fakes" turning up in local antique stores, and I just wanted to share my experiences.

Reproduction Fire King Mixing Bowls:

I've seen these now in Tulip & Red Dots. These are very solidly opaque, similar to Vitrock but absolutely bone-white. In most instances, the decals are full color and without flaw. The bottoms have no markings whatsoever except sometimes you may find a Made in China gold foil sticker on them. Both bowls I've seen have been the 2 quart (7 1/2 in) Splash Proof, but very well may come in all sizes. It's also possible to come across one of these that is 5 1/2 inches since the grease jars are also being reproduced.

Reproduction Fire King Grease Jars & Shakers (aka Range Sets): I have seen these in Tulip & decaled Jadeite. First word of warning: Fire King never made a splash proof style grease jar in Jadeite. This is technically a "Fantasy Item" instead of a direct reproduction. Of course these are not marked in any way on the bottom, except possibly by sticker. All the ones I have seen are decaled in some way. I don't know if the shape is truly identical to the original white grease jars, but they appear to be quite close. The Fire King Tulip Grease Jar & shakers are also dead white. The biggest additional giveaway on the shakers is that they come with new silver lids. The real shakers have tulip decals on them & say salt or pepper.

Unfortunately, the jadeite shaker reproductions in circulation right now are too numerous to count. And not just jadeite - white with decals and fired-on color styles are being repro'd. It's every style and decal imaginable - and they span the likes of not just Anchor Hocking, but McKee, Hazel Atlas, Tipp City - the whole spectrum. The only thing I can say is, if it looks too good to be true, it probably is.

I have a very strong (but totally unconfirmed) suspicion that one of the newest Fire King fakes is the rare and very expensive "Kitchen Aids" pattern. I've seen what appears to be fakes in online auctions, which makes it hard to say for sure. But until yesterday, I had only seen the "fake" Red Dots in online auctions, so Buyer Beware!

I'll update this post & cross reference it if I can confirm more.

1/26/12 *Edit* Check out the pictures here. Solid proof on the Red Dots bowls. Also, I did not know that Fire King Vitrock is now being Reproduced!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Christmas Loot!

This made me cry. These two Pyrex sets were gifts from my mother-in-law that she originally received as wedding shower gifts. She has used them and cared for them for 30 years now. Amazing! I'm about to tear up again just writing about it, so I'll just say these will be treasured family heirlooms for a long, long time to come. Love you, Mom!
This handsome casserole here is an uncommon promotional piece whose actual age and name are unknown. It's been nicknamed "Brown Onion" or "Raffia" by the Pyrexlove flickr group. It's an incredibly useful size - 475 2 1/2 quart - a style of piece that I knew existed but almost never see for sale. Far more uncommon still is the fact that it has its original decorated lid and hugger cradle - all things that tend to become lost, broken, or otherwise separated over time. It's in amazing condition and has definitely been taken care of. It *almost* scares me to use it, but I'm going to. It's just not going to see the inside of an oven, I'll tell you that much. I think this is going to be my new banana pudding dish.
And finally, these are gifts from my dear husband. Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia Child - hooray for having a hard copy to take into the kitchen with me!!!! A new Fiesta ring-handled teapot in Peacock blue & a vintage original, radioactive Red Fiesta teacup and saucer. Love them!!!

Is it ridiculous that I am distrustful of modern plastic but have no qualms about eating or drinking out of radioactive dishes? The way I see it is, I haven't turned into Spiderman yet, so unless my superpowers become activated, I'm using my pretty Fiestaware. (Actually, I'd try to use it more and more if it activated superpowers................)

Anyway, this is my fantastic vintage Christmas loot. I am beyond grateful for the wonderful, wonderful people in my life who are the real gifts & treasures. I love you, all.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Happy Holidays: So Sick Edition

Here I am, a dentist appointment tomorrow, Christmas Day bursting at the seems to get here, and I am just flat-out sick. (I've also never had a head cold and a dentist appt. at the same time, so I don't know how exactly that's going to work out...)

Hot beverages are the only things really making me feel better - except lots of sleep WHEN I can get it. I feel like I have consumed my entire body weight in apple cinnamon flavored Theraflu and Chai Tea with milk & orange juice. Not all at once, mind you. I don't have a picture (because I don't feel like taking one right now) but I have been using some of my vintage creamers for the milk & orange juice - a Hazel Atlas milk pitcher & a forest green Harlequin creamer - both of which were cheap-and-cheerful purchases that set me back around a grand total of a dollar fifty.

Finally, a pop culture reference. I don't know when I got the idea to put both milk & orange juice in my pumpkin spice Chai, but it is quite tasty. I can't help though but to think of the moment in the movie Heathers where Christian Slater & Winona Ryder are standing in the kitchen of their frienemy Heather's house, trying to find an upchuck-worthy hangover "cure". Winona Ryder's character settles for combination of milk and orange juice. Christian Slater's character opts instead for a "wake-up cup of liquid drainer".

Good stuff!

So if I don't get around to updating before the holidays have passed:

Have a very blessed holiday! Wishing you the best now & in the coming year!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Depression Era Cooking with Clara

If you've never heard of Clara, then stop reading this post immediately (!), clear your schedule for the rest of the day, and watch everything on youtube.

Seriously. You'll be glad you did.

And if you're anything like me, you might just be a better cook for it. Here's Clara's recipe for Pasta with Peas

And here's what my attempt turned out like. And this is just what I had left over!
I made 3 of her recipes in one day. Here's the baked apples I made for desert. Not the prettiest things, but putting them in my Pyrex "Black Tulip" casserole dish does seem to snazzy the appearances up a bit. Her video didn't tell an oven temperature, so I baked mine at 350 degrees, probably for around 50 minutes.
Also, I used my gigantic new (to me) Le Creuset au gratin dish I wrote about just the other day - a 10 dollar thrift store find - woo-hoo! I actually cooked 6 apples at once, spaced them out evenly, and added water to the bottom.

I pulled them all together for this picture just to illustrate how truly huge this au gratin dish is!

And finally, Poorman's Meal. Originally, I didn't add any tomato sauce to the dish because I didn't know if my husband would like it, so it's shown here without it. We both decided later that the tomato sauce was a requirement.

I can totally see why this dish was such a hit around her household. It's basically hot dogs with french fries and ketchup, but in a different form. Try it and see if you agree!
Also, I have to say that I love Fire King sapphire blue ovenware. I don't have a lot of clear glass pieces, but the blue glow and pretty Philbe-style pattern hooked me. I have this covered loaf dish and an individual casserole, both of which were GW finds a few months ago.

I love you Clara! You're the best!

Monday, November 28, 2011

A flower garden of Petal

This is how I started collecting Federal "Petal" pattern. In my last post, I was saying how lucky I was to score 3 new pieces and a new color for my collection.

All of my pieces before now have had the points angling upward in a standard bowl shape. I'm not 1000% sure, but I'd imagine this style is considered 'scalloped' edge. But all my new pieces have the petals facing away from the center of the bowl, horizontally.The glass itself seems significantly thicker than the scalloped edge pieces.

This brings my colors up to 5, counting clear. I believe the colors I have now are Smoke (iridescent), Teal, Green, and (what I believe is) Sungold.I've yet to find a comprehensive resource for Petal. I bought a collector book by Cathy & Gene Florence, called "Collectible Glassware from the 40's, 50's, 60's (8th edition) that had a page dedicated to the pattern, but it only lists pieces by size and values by clear v. all colors - no reference to how many colors there are or any further specifics. Any color names I'm using, I've gotten the names from here.

I also found a globe to complete my hurricane lamp. It was a $1.50 antique store purchase, sitting all by itself, no base. Luckily, I had the base for it at home - another lone purchase from a pile of goods from "the little old man store".

And what a misnomer calling it a hurricane lamp. This guy wouldn't withstand much more than a light breeze. It's tiny! I put it here on a 12" sandwich plate. The base is barely bigger than the center of the salver.Wish I knew how many colors actually remain. I'm especially wanting to find pink pieces! At any rate, I've been doubly blessed and fortunate to have been led to collecting this pattern, and finding these pieces in such short order. I'm getting quite the multi-colored flower garden of glassware here!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

33 bucks

Haven't been posting much lately because I just haven't found much. A few reasonably priced antique store purchases, but almost nothing from the thrift stores. Needless to say, I was pretty thrilled to find all of this -in 1 day - for a tax-and-all total of 33 bucks!
First off -Le Creuset. Woo-hoo! This is a HUGE, HEAVY enameled cast iron au gratin, marked #36. It was $9.99 and in pretty fantastic condition, just a few minor scratches in the bottom and some baked-in crud that cleaned off pretty easily. Brand new, these guys are devilishly expensive, so I was thrilled to pay the 10 dollar price tag. Somewhere along the way, I've picked up the idea that white Le Creuset is 1980's, but I really truly don't know. Wish I could find a handy-dandy color chart reference for LC colors like what exists for Fiestaware.Same thrift store, not just one but TWO pieces of Pyrex. That never happens to me these days. Fire King saucer to add to the stack, and an unmarked individual casserole I took a random liking to. I united it with a fin-style glasbake lid I had, and it looks pretty cute. Should have gotten a picture of that as well. Tax and all cost was 20 bucks and some change. Pretty good!

But the best part of the day was going into what I've now dubbed "the little old man store". This place has only been open on random weekend days and is basically an indoor yardsale. The same older gentleman is there every time we've stopped, and as far as I understand pricing, I make a pile of things I'm interested in, he glances at it and give me a price.

First time I did this, it scared me. I had no idea whether he'd ask 50 cents for something or 20 bucks. But after being in there a few times and my total never going over 14 bucks, I stopped worrying about it and just made a pile. This stuff cost a grand total of 13 bucks!
3 pieces of Federal Petal to add to my collection, a Charcoal Snowflake Pyrex space saver casserole (no lid, but I had a spare at home), a couple of spare lids, a pink Anchor Hocking shaker to go with the blue one I bought from this same place a while back, a cute juice pitcher, an unmarked Hazel Atlas milk jug (another Kix cereal giveaway item, like the strawberry and apple jam jars!). And finally, a Hazel Atlas pink ripple salad plate.

If only junkin' could be this good all the time!

Friday, November 11, 2011

The little things

Today I'm grateful for the little things, like a simple cup of coffee. But I'm especially grateful for having discovered the wonderful world of thrifting. Without it, I'd never have this mega-uber-ultra snazzy Sunbeam vacuum coffee maker . (Heck, I still probably wouldn't know what a vacuum coffee maker even was.)

This champ here is a C-30c. Of the 3 models I have, I like it the best, just because it has a handle on the upper chamber. Not scalding yourself to death when removing the upper bowl was an absolutely brilliant idea on their part. Why oh why did they not put a handle on the upper chamber of the other models?!?

My dream model to come across would be a C-30a with the glass beehive top. Gorgeousness! Not only is it elegant-looking, it would be even more snazzy to get to watch the coffee brewing action.
And yes, I am actually using my new old vintage Fiesta coffee pot. It goes very, very well with my vintage Pyrex dinnerware. See, I have this problem with the fact that I buy this stuff to use, but then get fearful that I'll mess it up and I won't use it. Days like today I manage to remind myself that I'm only going to live once and this stuff was made to be useful and enjoyable. Use it!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Yellow ware, Ewer, and other words from Mars

For someone who loves kitchen junk as much as I do, I've really put off learning about pottery & ceramics. I just don't naturally gravitate towards them. I'm a glass junky. But here and there, I've picked up pottery pieces that has caused me to spend half a day on the computer, researching the company and looking at pictures.

First it was Hall china, then Fiesta. But I've managed to avoid picking up even the slightest bit of knowledge about some of the other big names - like McCoy and Hull.

Well, just today I found out that quite a few of my grandmother's kitchen items were Hull. The green wheat yellow ware sugar canister (with the mark that I kept thinking looked like a Heisey mark) is, in fact, Hull - and probably originally belonged to my great-grandmother, by the dates. Online auctions date them mostly as 1920's, has the dates at 1915-35. Yellow ware is a term that is totally new to me, so add another thing I will probably spend an inordinate amount of time researching.Also, the set of everyday china I ate from as a kid was Hull brown drip. It is just as sad & drab of a pattern as the name SOUNDS like it would be. No offense intended to Hull admirers, but boy-howdy, I just really don't care for this pattern - nostalgia or no.

One of the things that is so strange to me about Hull, having just started researching it, is just how very different the patterns can be. For example, I was looking at some pictures from of the pattern "Woodland". Not a huge fan of the coloration, but the shapes are really neat. Organic but fantastical at the same time. Going straight from looking at Brown Drip to that just cracked me up and how truly different they are.

That's where I saw the word "ewer" - which means a decorative vase, usually with a pronounced pour spout. Sometimes this stuff is like trying to learn a whole 'nother language. I mean, who is just born knowing that a bowl is sometimes called a "nappy"? What exactly is a "salver"? Really! But because of the internet (and partially because I'm crazy) I know that I could set my ewer in a nappy and carry them on a salver.

Useful knowledge, yes?

Friday, November 4, 2011

The Perils of Collecting Part IV

So I've been on a Fiesta kick lately. After much agonizing, I finally came to the conclusion that it's really only the pre-1970's vintage pieces, shapes & colors that I'm really interested in. I donated the set of plum dishes I had bought from GW back to another thrift (this time they went to Habitat for Humanity ReStore - an organization I feel very positive about).

Not too long after, I started connecting the dots between some of the other Homer Laughlin patterns and pieces that were being produced simultaneously to Fiesta in matching colors - such as Carnival (a giveaway in Mother's Oats), Harlequin, and Riviera.

I lucked into two different Carnival cups in one store. Then a few days later, I found a 3rd in one of my very favorite local antique stores. My husband and I had gotten into a conversation with the owner about a Harlequin set that she had just put out. I mentioned that I had actually come in specifically to buy a Carnival cup she had in another booth. Since it was one of her own items and not one of her dealers, she just gave it to me for free. How cool is that?! She said she liked to surprise her customers from time to time with a free item just as a way of saying thank you for being a good customer. Totally classy, huh?

So that's the good stuff. On the other hand, I had a particularly annoying Fiesta-related experience at a totally different antique store. I spied a dark (or forest) green vintage Fiesta teapot. I picked it up, no price label. When I asked the owner about it, she gave me a big spiel about how it was "Medium Green, the most coveted Fiesta color ever." She was asking 210 dollars for it. (21o, I suppose, so that she could let you 'bargain her down' to 200 or something).

First off, lady.You are a dealer. Shame on you!

This was a definite case of 'a little information being a bad thing'. She knew enough to know that medium green is a coveted color, but not enough to know that the coffee pots were never produced in medium green, in which case, she would also have to NOT KNOW her vintage Fiesta colors well enough to know the dark forest green when she saw it. -OR-

She's a disingenuous, dirty liar, knowingly attempting to perpetrate a total fraud on a customer.

Either way, I'm not interested in paying 210 dollars to a fool.

Oh, who am I kidding? I don't have 210 dollars to spend on vintage Fiesta, no matter how rare, coveted OR just plain snazzy it may be. But still, it's the principle of the thing, you know.

So anyway, Perils of Collecting! ALWAYS know as much (or more) about what you are looking for than the people who are trying to sell it to you! That's all I've got to say about it, except to say:

Wishing you Happy (and annoyance-free) Collecting!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Fiesta Challenge update

A good while back, I mentioned here on this blog that I was not collecting Fiesta. Then, I said that I would only buy pieces I found for dirt cheap. Pennies, I said.

Well, and then I said I'd keep track of it here. A public documentation in the hopes I'd keep myself to my word.

Well, I lied. At first it was just a few additional .29 teacups from Goodwill. Not exactly worth posting about. Then it was a couple of super-scratched up dinner plates from a charity shop.

But the real kicker happened when I walked into a GW one day and they were selling an almost-complete service for 8 - in a shade of California Raisin purple that I still don't know the rightful name of (plum, most likely) - for 25 bucks. (And if you've ever met either me or my kitchen cabinets in person, you'd know that I need another china pattern like I need 13 pet raccoons).

All said and done, my "pennies" magically turned into around 35 dollars. Not really terrible, but more than I was intending.

Well, in one smooth move, 1 single additional piece, and *bam* I've nearly doubled my Fiesta shame. Have I ever mentioned how much I love turquoise? I think I have, or at least, I feel like I've mentioned it about a thousand times here.

A vintage Fiesta coffee pot. I'm still really, really surprised to even have this. This body shape & color combination I believe was discontinued in 1956. Every single piece I've bought up to now - besides one lone teacup - has been the post 1986 modern Fiesta. It's all plenty expensive enough - new OR vintage - but of course, the vintage stuff is another one of those categories of collectibles that is well & truly out of my price range.

I paid 25 bucks for it. Not the kind of cash I'm used to forking out at little makeshift side-of-the-road affairs. And there is a catch. It has an inner-rim chip, that I honestly have no earthly idea how badly it affects it's value. It's not so bad that it shows from the outside. But still, a chip is a chip. And since I know so little about Fiesta, I don't know what a "fair price" on this piece actually is. Without flaws, a general poking around the net leads me to $200+ price points. I genuinely believe I got a bargain at 25 bucks, I just don't know exactly 'how much of' a bargain it really was.

At any rate, this is a piece that I bought simply because I fell in love with it. I had no idea it was vintage at the time. I didn't even know for certain it was a coffee pot, as opposed to teapot. I just knew these pieces were pretty expensive, and chip-or-no, it wasn't very likely I'd find such a nice piece in my favorite color any time soon.
And here it is with my only other vintage piece, a rose teacup. I'm such a sucker for '50's colors.

And this, brings my Fiesta damage up to 60 bucks total. *Eeep* Worse still, I'm putting myself through a crash-course in how to identify vintage Fiesta from new - which is a whole 'nother aspect to fuel the addiction that I haven't fully owned-up to yet, lol!

Same place, for a quarter a piece, I found two more small additions to my Federal "Petal" collection. Small base piece for the hurricane lamp, and a small bowl that I believe the color is called Sun Gold - bringing my colors up to 3. I've been lucky to find these pieces in such a short time. My grandmother gave me two pieces of it in clear, and after some research, I decided to try to assemble a small rainbow of the various colors it was made in, instead of trying to build up a more uniform set. I've been blessed with very good luck that I continue to be very grateful for!

Happy Collecting!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Cabinet Space

For the umpteenth time this year, I just reorganized my Pyrex cabinets. (Yes, cabinetS, in the plural). It looks lovely & tidy & colorful now. Whew!

Here's a peek into my newly reorganized cabinets. I hope this happy mess doesn't get me nominated for Hoarders.Bowls, bowls & more bowls. At this point, they take up an entire cabinet just by themselves. I'm kind of a crazy bowl lady. Also, the top right pink bowl is Glasbake. These are my Sunbeam standmixer bowls.
Top cabinet: Casseroles. Mostly 024's (probably my next favorite piece after the bowls), and 470 series pieces. Also, top is my collection of vacuum coffee makers. These are mostly Sunbeam Coffeemasters, but I have odd pieces that are Cory & Pyrex. These guys are impossible to photograph. The glare makes my camera go crazy, so this pic isn't the greatest.
And finally, the sweet sweet caramel-y center of my collection: Space Savers, Oval casseroles, Refrigerator dishes & bakeware. (Left of bakeware, my 3 lone Hazel Atlas bowls). The fridgies are a bit hidden. I love them, but don't actually use them much, so space-wise they've taken a bit of a backseat to pieces to the large baking dishes.

At this point, I'm one piece away from finishing so many sets. I'd really like to have a china cabinet of some sort to display them when they are complete.

And as haphazard as this all may look, I've actually really really tried to stay within some sort of bounds. I've focused mainly on 1950's colors, promotional patterns & certain shapes/styles that I like and use the most.

As for collecting, I've found that one of the best things about Pyrex can also be one of the worst: There's just So Much of It to Choose from! If I had to guess, I'd say there are several hundred, if not a thousand+ distinct color/pattern/shape configurations to choose from - which makes it all the easier to quickly & fairly inexpensively amass more of it than you'd even dream you had!

Now that I'm a year into collecting, my finds have really slowed down. It's so fun in the beginning, when you have very little. Everything is new. Now that I'm this far into it, I realize how much space it takes up. Both my storage & display spaces are maxed out, and a new & better solution is needed.

But for now, I'll throw open my newly-organized cabinet doors and admire my "purdy's" (as my grandma called them).

Happy Collecting!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Anniversary Swag!

This is my wonderful Anniversary loot! I love it.

First, I have to say, this is the least I've ever bought for the most amount of money. I'm so far out of my league buying Fire King that it is not even funny! However, in both mine and my husband's cases, we both love to collect certain items that are typically beyond our flinch-point, so we tried to budget it out in advance.

At first, some jadeite Fire King "Charm" luncheon plates were in the running for my splurge-tastic purchase, but when I saw this 4 quart FK Black Dots bowl, I knew the momentary love-affair with jadeite was doomed to be just a fling. It also didn't help that the booth owner just-so-happened to walk by when I was eye-ing his GORGEOUS bowl collection, and sweetened the pot with 25% off.

And in that same booth was an Apples & Cherries grease jar, fairly inexpensive because it was missing its lid. Cha-Ching! I had one at home that I had paid a whole quarter for, way before I knew what the heck it was!!! Mine.

The Pyrex "Sandalwood" mixing bowl is the very same one that I complained was too expensive the last time I went to this very antique store. This time, it was marked half price. Hooray! I really, really like this pattern, and the understated sandalwood color. It's not an especially popular pattern, but it's one of my very favorites. Just the smallest bowl left to find and I will have a complete mixing bowl set. Finally, the oval casserole is a 1957 promotional Pyrex pattern called "Black Tulip". I spotted it the last trip as well, and it was one I actually regretted leaving behind. This trip, my budget was already blown -just like the time before- so the hubs stepped up and said "I'm buying this for you. I know you wanted it last time, so I'm not letting you leave without it." Awwww!<3

I was sad to see that many of the same items I drooled over last time where still there. Overpricing at its worst. And of course, one of the things my husband liked last time, was one of the things that HAD sold. Poor guy!

BUT, right before we left, we stopped at a Goodwill close to our ATM. He doesn't usually have much luck finding specific things he wants at the thrift, but this time he did. So he had some good fortune there. I, on the other hand, was confronted with a sad, totally dishwashed Verde green Pyrex Cinderella bowl that was priced at an eye-burning $8.99. Come ON! If I wasn't about an hours drive from some actually NICE Pyrex, I would have cried a little & and then punched somebody. (Not really. But I like to have imaginary pity-parties for myself, Scrubs-style, lol)

Also, I'm going to interrupt my own swag-blog for a total digression: Same day, we hit up a big used book/game/etc. store. While browsing the records, someone's phone went off & their ringtone was the Scrubs theme song. Now, I LOVES me some Scrubs, but my husband and I just threw a look at each other and it took everything we had not to chuckle.

Good day, good swag, great anniversary!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Happy Anniversary!

First off, I have to say Happy Anniversary to my husband. We were married 6 years ago today!

When we started off our lives together, neither one of us had much of a vision of how we wanted to decorate & furnish our home. Each of us had hodge-podgy mismatched pieces, some hand-me-downs, and tons of assemble-it-yourself Walmart-y fare. We dovetailed the mixture, made ourselves comfortable, and then never really got around to changing much.

This slowly began changing about two years ago. We'd driven past a store that was part used furniture, part antique store, for 4 whole years, always commenting that we should stop there, but never did.

So, of course, the first time we went in, we bought something. Something HUGE, and 100% off the map of anything we'd ever dream of buying. What we ended up with was a 1942 Marsh Hoosier-style cabinet! And thanks to the very kind, wonderful folks at Marsh (who is still in business), we have a original catalog scan, showing it exactly as it was originally, details and price point. How cool is that? One of these days I really need to a post specifically about it. There's some really great images & details!

For a couple of silly kids who have nothing but Walmart furniture and family hand-me-downs, a Hoosier cabinet was a very interesting addition, to say the least. (I don't think I had EVER stepped foot in an antique store before!) But this single piece of furniture was almost a ridiculously accurate bit of foreshadowing to the love of junk, vintage, & thrift that we've developed over just this last year.

Fast forward another year. My grandmother (who just recently passed away) had begun clearing out some excess kitchen items. Some of these included my great-grandmother's Pyrex loaf pan, which I cherish. There was Fire King, Pyrex, Hazel Atlas - all the GOOD stuff! Only, I had NO IDEA at the time that it was the good stuff!

But I did, however, have the internet. And when I started looking up my new treasures, that was it. IT. Capital I, capital T. The almost-indifference I had had towards home stuff & decor was gone. I knew what I wanted in my home. I knew what would make me happy to look at and use. It was like a void had been filled in me, a void that I didn't actually know was there. I was happy enough with the serviceable, functional things in my house, that much was true. But I just had yet to find out that I could really, really LOVE the functional, serviceable items in my home!

It's going to be slow-going replacing furniture & other large items. Finding what we're looking for take a certain kind of magic - being at the right place at the right time to find it at the right price. But we are hitting up thrift stores, auctions, and making a point to stop at mom-and-pop places we never would have looked at before, so I know we will.

But what I'd really like to do here the most is take a moment here to speak directly to my wonderful husband, on our 6th Anniversary:

Thank you, babe. With you, I've had some of the biggest, brightest, happiest, most wonderful adventures of my life. Thank you for accepting me and loving me as I am, no matter how much (or how unexpectedly) this "me" evolves. As ever, you are my complimentary opposite. Calm & cool when I'm crazy & uptight. Ready & optimistic when I'm feeling blue or doubtful. I ask a lot of you, and sometimes treat it as par-for-the-course, and I just don't believe I thank you as much as I should. Truth is, I love you dearly, and I wouldn't be the same without you. Not by half. I love you so!

Mushy stuff over, lol. We went out yesterday, hit some antique stores and scored some tasty swag that I will be posting about soon. But today I'm spending with hubs <3

Sunday, September 4, 2011

$13.50 Pt.1

This is $13.50 worth of fun. Yesterday, we had to good fortune to stop at a junk shop that is almost never open. In fact, I think we've driven past it for a year or more, and never once saw it open for business - but could tell what kind of place it was just from the tantalizing array of whatnots displayed in the windows. I've joked to my husband for a long time that I was dying to get in there, just to see what kind of cool stuff they had "held hostage" in this never-open junk wonderland.

I think places like this are great (other than the never being open part). I wish there were dozens of them. Even if you don't see a single thing you want to buy, the ambiance is like that of a yard sale that should have happened 25 years ago.

But I digress.

First up, I don't know much about shakers, but I recognized two of these from a collectibles book. Not a clue who made the larger solid white shaker, but it's definitely more of what I think of as being a Range shaker - large-sized to cook with instead of being the smaller more table-appropriate size. If I wasn't afraid of the lid, I'd put this guy straight to use.
And I just thought this Old Farmer's Almanac juice pitcher was sweet. And appropriate, since I fancy myself as something of a gardener. I come across vintage garden-related items on occasion, and snatch them up, if they are a good price.

Have to break the rest of this post up, since blogger isn't letting me post more than 5 pictures, so the rest is continued here

$13.50 Pt. 2

(Continued from previous post)
This is my 3rd Pyrex "American Hostess" teapot. Ridiculous, I know, but I just couldn't pass it up, since I was basically being charged a dollar per item. First off, it's very rusty - which I don't know if I can do anything about. It's also banded with a darker color, a gunmetal grey. Usually, I believe these guys had a stainless steel band, but all 3 of mine are this same gunmetal grey. Perhaps a regional difference? For what it's worth, I live in the South, so this may be the common version to my particular area. Also, I don't believe this lid is correct (I actually reunited them from two different corners of the room, so there's no telling). I believe it actually belongs to the 2nd, updated version of the teapots & percolators. But it fits, so I'll take it, lol!These two red Pyrex refrigerator dishes I passed on the one-and-only other time I caught this place open. They both looked hopelessly discolored. The lighter of the two had some black streaks that I seriously doubted I could remove without also removing the shine. And the darker one wasn't even red - it looked like it had been painted with metallic silver spray paint. I really should have taken a Before picture!

But strangely, they both came perfectly clean with minimal effort. I soaked them in hot water, and lightly rubbed them Magic Eraser on the stubborn spots.And another odd thing, the one on the right is much more tomato-red than the other. The shape is different as well. You can kind-of see how square the bottom is. It feels very squared-off to the touch. I don't have any other fridgies with this bluntness on the bottom.

And finally, 3 Corning restaurant ware saucers in Dove Gray, on the right. To its left, is the marked Pyrex home version. These are my first pieces of the restaurant ware line, so I wanted to photograph the two side-by-side to show the differences in color & shape.
The restaurant version is marked Corning, with the Glassblower stamp beneath it. This logo was originally a part of MacBeth-Evans company letterhead, and Corning began using it as a mark after acquiring the company in 1936.

This backstamp is also known as "Little Joe" (named after who, I no earthly idea). I've seen this logo misconstrued in various -and sometimes humorous- ways. Often, it's called "hornblower" - which is understandable. But I just about spit my coffee out all over my computer screen when I saw it being called "a dancing girl".

And finally, two Pyrex lids. One is a lid for a tiny little opal white 022 casserole I bought for my mom a while back. The oval, patterned lid is actually for a promotional piece dubbed "Blue Doily". No pretty turquoise base to go with it, though, unfortunately. Add another piece to my wishlist, and something else to look for on future junkin' runs!

So (finally!) there's my 13 bucks worth of fun. Here's wishing you happy treasure-hunting!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Champagne Wishes & Caviar Dreams

One of the collectibles books I received for Christmas last year was "Kitchen Glassware of the Depression Years" 7th Edition by Cathy & Gene Florence.

I can't tell you how many hours I've spent pouring through the pages, and using it as a reference. I'm forever seeing something in an antique store that is a vague half-remembered image from these pages - although, in too many instances, just as proof that what I saw was a reproduction!

It's been just a single year since I've started collecting. Thanks in part to fantastic resources and enthusiastic fan-base, I've acquired more lovely vintage Pyrex than I can possibly use.

But lately my interest has shifted more towards Hazel Atlas (which I rarely see) & Fire King (I see it, but it's usually priced significantly higher than Pyrex).

Worse still, I've developed a serious crush from afar on McKee Dots items that I have yet to see in real life shopping excursions.

I suspect part of the trouble is the hours I've spent looking at it all in my collectors book. Somehow my brain gets befuzzled into thinking that it's some sort of mail order catalog. Like I can just sit there checking off items. "Let's see. I'll take one of those, and one of those, and oooohhhh, LOVE these bowls! I'll take a nesting set in EVERY COLOR."

Just yesterday I was standing in the middle of Goodwill, thumbing through a Martha Stewart book. (yes. martha stewart. A very youthful looking Martha Stewart, at that). The massive jadeite collection behind her was no surprise to me. But what really got me was that she had just been mixing-away using none other than the same green dot McKee bowl I've been crushing on.

Crush is the right word for it.

Talk about unexpected. It was was like......pining over the dreamiest boy in class. The guy you've never even spoken to, ever. He's out of your league, you think. But *BUT* you have watched John Hughes movies. Maybe, just maybe....wistful sighs.

Then you see him with his girl. And Oh God, she's beautiful. And she looks just like a young Martha Stewart, ahhhhhhh.


But you know what? I'm just going to keep Dreaming Big. Martha Stewart or no. Big budget or empty pockets, a girl can still dream, can't she?

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Fire King range set

Woo-hoo! I now have a compete Fire King range set. Granted, it is mismatch of the "Tulips" and "Dot" patterns. But still, I'm pretty darn pleased.

This polka dot grease jar was an antique store splurge, clocking in at the most money I've ever spent on a single piece of ANYTHING vintage. Tax and all, a memorable total of $34.34.

But on the flip side, I have a range set that set me back 37 bucks, total. Not too shabby, I think.

Buying this piece also solved a mystery I'd had for almost a year. I bought a milk glass lid for a quarter at a mom-and-pop thrift/junk/lotsastuff store that was going out of business. My justification was "well, it goes to something." Some months later, I saw a photo that made me think it was a Fire King grease jar lid. Lo and behold, it is identical. So I now know that I have a spare, and should I ever find a lidless grease jar for a nice price, I'll have a lid just waiting for it. Snazzy. And this is pretty much the rest of my Fire King pieces. I have a few mugs and plates in the kitchen - including a very recently acquired jadeite dinner plate that has seen better days, but I just couldn't pass up at 99 cents from GW.

And can I just say, it's a little surreal actually owning things I've only seen in pictures & collectibles books? Since my "junkin" budget is more in keeping with thrift stores than antique stores, there's lots of things that I think are lovely, but are just totally out of my price range. But when I've been lucky enough to bring some of these items home and put them to use - either as they were meant to be used or merely as eye candy - I feel very blessed.

Good stuff!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Thrift Break

My grandmother passed away just days after writing my last blog post on how her sweet gifts had started me collecting the Federal Glass pattern "Petal".

It's been a sad and heavy week. By friday, I really needed to get out of the house, preferably to do something fun & perfectly normal. A thrift break was in order, however unlikely it would be that I'd find anything on a friday evening when nothing else would be open besides Goodwill.

But I did. I found the whole 480 Old Orchard Cinderella casserole set. I know, I know. This pattern likely holds the dubious honor of being the Ugliest Pyrex Pattern Ever Made. And my photo here doesn't do it any favors. Too lazy to drag it out into the kitchen, my only room that receives any real natural light for photographing.

Also, it was pretty darned expensive, even for Goodwill. $6.99 a piece for the largest pieces, $4.99 for the lidless smallest casserole. Any other time, I probably would have passed, but I decided not to leave it behind. These guys are going to be put to work. Also, am I crazy that I really don't think it's THAT ugly? Mostly, I think it's incredibly reflective of that 70's style that I am not all that fond of but remember very, very well.

But I still had another GW to go to. And boy-howdy I'm glad I did.$1.99 for the pair.


(I'm still picking my jaw back up off the floor)

These are Fire King Tulip salt & pepper shakers. I believe mine are the ivory color (as opposed to the twice-as-valuable white). But still, book value on these is $50-60 bucks. I rarely, rarely ever see them in local antique stores, and when I have, they've cost a mint.

These are a perfect example of something I could never afford to pay an antiques value for. And they easily win as my "Best Score from a Thrift Store Ever".

Additionally, there was something else there that I've specifically been looking for.This is an unmarked milkglass Hazel Atlas figural strawberry jam/jelly jar. There is some disagreement on when these were produced, but generally I think they are very late 1930's. A premium, or giveaway, item with Corn Kix cereal. Did you know that Kix has been around that long? Amazing!This strawberry set me back $2.49. (Still can't believe I paid more for this than I did the Fire King!) I had just recently picked up the apple (or peach, depending on who you ask) for $3.50 in an antique store and was on the lookout for the strawberry (the two choices you had from the giveaway).

I love them. I'd happily take more. The apple has an almost perfect 1 cup capacity, and I think it would be the sweetest thing ever to have a set of 6 or so and use them as individual jello cups. I actually had to pull the apple (or peach) out of the fridge for this photo, because I was using it to hold a little dab of leftover tuna from yesterdays lunch.

Exciting finds & wonderful thrift break. But on the serious side, I just wanted to say how very much I treasure and will miss my grandmother. Just one year ago, I had never even heard of Fire King or Hazel Atlas. It was her gifts to me that directly started me on this path of love for all things vintage & antique. It was because of her that I even heard these names, looked them up on the internet and was opened up to a whole side of the world that I didn't even know I was missing.

Her contributions to mine and my families lives have been invaluable & unmeasurable. A gentle woman by nature, but mighty in her influence. Filled with love, generosity, understanding & kindness. She had a love of beautiful things, but a spirit of practicality, utility and usefulness. Strong-willed and genius at finding new life and purpose in everyday objects. She mended, painted, canned, preserved - making the best of the harvest, and bringing back life and beauty to objects others would have discarded.

Amazing, amazing woman. I cannot tell you how grateful I am to have been able to call her my grandma.

Monday, August 8, 2011

I collect: Federal Petal

This is a totally new-to-me glassware pattern. Manufactured by Federal Glass, this lovely "Petal" pattern was produced for app. 23 years (1954-1979) in a variety of color choices and iridescent finishes.

But what started me collecting this pattern, only months ago, were these two pieces given to me by my grandmother.
To my surprise, I've since found 3 more pieces from this line, all from thrift stores. First I found a large clear bowl. It was with another sandwich tray that was the same size as my grandmother's. For better or worse I made a decision on the spot to only collect unique sizes and colors from this line, and no duplicates, so I would never be confused as to which pieces actually came from my grandmother.

Since colored glassware generally has more collectors than clear, I was doubtful I'd find other colors anytime soon - especially at a thrift store. But just last week, I found this bowl. The color is called Smoke. From the top, the color is a deep grey with an iridescent finish on the underside. I'm still trying to get a better idea of the range of pieces made in this line. It does not appear that glasses or cups were made for it, and some of the colors - blue & pink in particular- seem far less common.

And though I only have the 5 pieces, I love the way it's worked out so far. I have a bowl for each plate in clear. Stacked like this, it reminds me a bit of the lovely jadeite "Lotus" snack set made by Fire King.

Since I'm a "set" junky, it's hard not to wish I had 3 or so more sets of each, I'd rather stick to my rule and aim for a variety of colors. And worse, I'm a "dishes" junky - so when I find even 1 stray cup or plate in a pattern I like, my immediate thought is "Oh, I'll just collect a service for 4. Nothing huge, or elaborate, or anything."

(cue the music of doom on behalf of my poor husband)

Price-wise, this pattern is still quite inexpensive, and somewhat lost in the sea of similarly lovely, unmarked 50's, 60's & 70's cut glassware. But I think it's just the cats pajamas. I'm tickled too for the fact that my grandmother specifically thought this would be something I'd appreciate. And I certainly do. And I'm looking forward to having another thing to keep my eyes peeled for in the thrift and antique stores. I've seen a few pictures of some of the other colors together, and I can't wait until I have a rainbow of them.

Thank you, grandma. I love you!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

The blog that wasn't

This blog is not about my growing love for all things Julia Child. It is also not about the fact that irregardless of her instructions, I cook her recipes in my totally 1980's Visions cookware.

If it was about them, I'd have pictures of said Visions cookware, filled with mega-yummy Cream of Mushroom soup ala Mastering the Art of French Cooking.

But instead, today is just one of those days. My husband, asleep on the couch in front of me as I write, worn out and a bit heat-stroked from digging out access to our septic tank. Tomorrow will be the 3rd time it's been pumped out in the 6 years we've lived here.

And I'm trying not to think about the busted pot on my porch that contains my equally busted fish pepper I grew from seed.

And I'm trying not to think about my friend's canning party that I'm missing because I'm too busy being a run-around & sad-sack.

The soup I made is just as tasty even when it's just a quiet bit of nourishment in the middle of a deal-with-it-all day.

But it still would have made for a nice post.


Alright, I feel better now. (Not really, but it's worth a shot)

Tomorrow is another day!

Friday, May 27, 2011

I *hearts* vintage kitchen

I'm still a relative newcomer to collecting vintage kitchen items. No doubt, there is a learning curve to understanding why very similar items can be so un-similarly valued & priced. It wasn't very long ago that I couldn't tell the difference between a Fire King casserole dish & a Pyrex one without flipping it over and looking for a mark. Now I can pretty much tell the difference between Termocrisa, Federal, Arcopal, Pyrex, Hazel Atlas, Glasbake & Fire King from 10 feet away.

It's all shapes & patterns. Once you know them, you just know them. There's definitely things that throw me sometimes, but on the whole, I've picked up a lot of perfectly useful, useless knowledge, lol.

But being so new to collecting, I already feel a sense of being "priced out" of many wonderful vintage items - particularly the 1940's era stuff that I am the most drawn to of all.

Collectibles books only highlight this sense of frustration, with their wonderful pictures and descriptions of canisters sets, mixing bowls, range sets with shakers & matching grease jars. Wonderfully whimsical patterns (who knew Roosters could be so dang cute?). Interesting color names and choices (Chalaine blue, Seville yellow, etc.).(Hazel Atlas mugs, all thrift store finds, and some of the only Hazel Atlas pieces I actually own. Probably not from this era exactly, but definitely the colors & graphic styles I like most of all. I suspect the rooster on the right could be older than the other two mugs, but I don't know for sure.)

I adore 1940's kitchenalia, but simply cannot afford it. Not by a mile. Entry-level pieces, such as a common juice reamer, run in the same 25-50 dollar price range that is my absolute top-out for pretty much anything vintage kitchen.

So for now, I find myself concentrating on 1950's kitchen items that are more in my price range. My absolute favorites are the earliest Pyrex pieces and patterns that run from approximately 1945 to 1962, beginning with the Primary colors and running up through the Early American pattern. The early 1960's ushered in gold tones, browns, creams & neutrals that would eventually become the Autumnal color palette of the 1970's.Early American & Butterprint Pyrex refrigerator dishes, late 50's to 60's patterns. I love pairing these two because of their similar American Gothic/Provincial/Farm & Homestead themes, as well as the brown & turquoise color combination. I believe Early American was actually the first main Pyrex pattern to use gold leaf -usually with the pattern in gold on a brown body - but I only collect the brown & white pieces.

So I can't afford to to buy thousand dollar canisters and hundred dollar mixing bowls, but I can splurge now and again on a compete Butterprint fridge set - a very reasonable 28 dollars for the whole set with lids! I was shocked to find it that cheaply, in fact. In the very same area, they had the whole set of 4 mixing bowls marked for $100.

Alas, I've definitely seemed to miss the boat on the days when Pyrex was a 50 cent yard sale item. Seeing pictures and posts from people who have gotten fridgies & bowls for 10 cents makes me sigh. I did, however, just buy the very cheapest pieces I've ever gotten from a thrift store just the other day. 1 dollar and 50 cents for the two smallest Shenandoah mixing bowls, in nice condition too, so I can't complain too much. I didn't/don't collect that pattern, but at a buck fifty, I suppose I do now, lol ;-)

Sunday, May 22, 2011

American Sweetheart

I'm a happy lady today. It's often the little things make the most difference. Just having a belly full of a simple, delicious sandwich lunch & a glass of sweet tea to wash it down can do wonders for my mentality.

But the funny aspect of it is the fact that the plate I ate the sandwich off of makes me so happy.

First off, it's Depression Glass. A category of dishes I was quite certain I didn't want to collect. (You might correctly point out that I said the same of Fiesta a while back as well).

Why I singled out Depression Glass so early on as a no-go is for a variety of reasons. So many patterns to remember and recognize. Prices can vary dramatically, from fairly common and affordable to wildly expensive and rare. The often ornate and delicate patterns sometimes come off to me as being 'fussy'. I tend to go for much more simple fare, or just the opposite - whimsically tacky.

There's also something almost paralyzing to me about the idea of having items that I regard as being 'for everyday use' - such as plates, cups, etc. - but knowing that they are within the realm of being 75+ years old and potentially irreplaceable, either in the literal sense or from purely budgetary standpoint.

In the end, this wrangle I have with ordinary use items versus collectibles to just put up to look at is one of the reasons why I think I gravitate so much towards Pyrex collecting. I'm generally a lot less fearful that I will break or ruin a piece, but if I do, I'm optimistic I could find a replacement within my generally meager budget.

But since I found this plate, I've used it all the time - despite my fears of Depression Glass & concerns about it's relative fragility and replaceability. Perhaps its tie-in to the Pyrex I like so much is part of it?This plate is "American Sweetheart" manufactured by Macbeth Evans from 1930-1936. This pure white color is known as Monax (Forgive the severe yellow coloring to this photo. It was the only photo I took that the pattern turned out reasonably clear on). This company would later be acquired by Corning (the then manufacturer of Pyrex). So you could definitely say this type of material is a forerunner to the tempered opal Pyrex pieces of the mid-1940's to 1980's.

I bought it on a lark during this last highway yardsale. I made a stack of unpriced dishes in the hopes the lady would give me a bundle price - which included this luncheon plate, a couple of Hazel Atlas dishes and some old Avon bottles. 2 bucks total, my kind of deal!

But in my usual style, I had no idea what I was buying. Little did I know that "American Sweetheart" is easily in the top 10 most popular Depression Glass patterns. I suppose I should say "Score!", but in truth, I feel a little bit daft when things like that happen. And mostly, I'm just grateful for the times that I end up on the happy side of the expression "Live & Learn". ;-)

I realize, too, that my "collections" are evolving concepts. I have been collecting Fire King Charm pattern since a few lucky thrift finds, but haven't been completely honest with myself about the fact that I'm far more drawn to the Azurite pieces than the Royal Ruby or Forest Green. Noticing the light blue tint around the edge of the American Sweetheart plate gave me the idea to mix and match with the one place setting of azurite Charm I have. Loved it! It's far more fancy and girly than I tend to go for, but I am totally enamored.

I frequently wonder how other fans of vintage glassware decide from the myriad of items, styles, colors & manufacturers, which exact patterns & pieces they truly have a passion for collecting. Happy accidents from thrifting? Family had similar items? See something in an antique store that was 'love at first sight'? Or just love a hodge-podge of it all?

Monday, May 9, 2011

Birthday Blues

My birthday present: a set of 3 turquoise Pyrex mixing bowls. I now have 6 of 8 pieces - just missing the largest mixing bowl and largest refrigerator dish.

Hubs and I headed to another antique district we hadn't been to before. Lots of neat pieces I had only seen in pictures before. I was tempted by a turquoise Hazel Atlas Kitchen Aids print bowl, but the 30 dollar price tag made me sigh.

But I was thrilled when I found this Pyrex set. It was at the absolute top of my price range, but significantly cheaper than its book value or typical ebay price range, so I was very, very happy to buy it. A birthday splurge!
Top of my microwave (which is my defacto display area). Had to bust out with some matching Butterprint pieces.

We got lost trying to find the antique store and ended up in Georgia. We passed up a few thrift stores before my husband was willing to admit we were lost (lol), so we decided to stop. Found two refrigerator dish lids. No actual dishes, but just finding the lids alone is always a plus. I'm eternally looking for them but counting these I've only found 5 total in over the last year of thrifting.

Very good birthday!