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!