Monday, August 16, 2010

2 New Houses, Oh, No, I Think I'm Collecting!

I don't think of myself as being a Serious Collector.  Not one of those people who actively seek out numerous variations of essentially the same item until they find themselves telling loved ones, please, no more teddy bears or frogs or whatever you've seen displayed in multitude around my home, I've gotten quite enough to qualify them for their own zip code, thank you. Yes, I do have certain objects that appeal to me, and if one is going to appeal to me, I imagine another one might. That being said, I am an admirer of wooden birdhouses. I had one kicking around in a corner for a long while, nothing too distracting. In fact, it was originally in my autumn decorations, but I decided to let it stay out year round.

Then I found this one at Michaels on Mother's Day and bought for myself.

Here I'll pause and interject that I have for years coveted those large wooden birdhouses I'm sure you've all seen at various crafts and antique booths, the shabby white ones built with peaks and spires and gingerbread trim. Yeah, I don't have one of those - yet. I did, however, find a smaller wooden church birdhouse Friday at Goodwill.  On the same trip I also found this cute little window photo frame, which I'm categorizing with the birdhouses, for some reason it just seems to belong in that category.

Alright, I admit it - I am a certifiable collector.  I can see that at this point. If there is a justification needed for this behavior, I can supply one. Now this little guy will have no problem at all in the local housing market.

Come back soon, and maybe I'll disclose a previously unadmitted collection of birds.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Mysteries of Old China

So many bloggers here have collections of lovely old china, tea cups and saucers and lovely little pots in different shapes and romantic colors. I've been keeping an eye out for something I might get to start a little collection. I've seen a few items, but haven't yet found anything to bring home. Then it occured to me, we have some china pieces. They were given to us from one of my husband's aunts when she passed away. They had been shoved in the far back of some cabinet, wrapped in newspaper and still in the tupperware container they came to us in. I knew they were old, from the 50s, maybe late 40s, altho I can't date them very accurately, and doubt if anyone still living knows the actual story of the collection.

There are obviously more saucers than tea cups, and only one actual set. Admittedly the ones which fascinate me the most are these two saucers, which are marked with 'Made in Occupied Japan' on the back. They're not high quality, but it's definitely a piece of history here.

This pretty one is marked that it was made in Germany, US Zone, tho I believe there is a Belgium mark above it. (Sorry, the eyes weren't doing so well making out the markings.) That would have been a brief period after WW2 as well, right?

These others are just made in Japan.

Here is my actual only set, the tea cup and saucer is marked Yamaka, Japan, but I don't think it's highend, there is a bump in the cup. The odd thing is, I have the one teacup with two saucers which look like they would be its mate. The smaller saucer is what I would think to pair it with, proportion-wise, but it is unmarked, whereas the larger saucer has the same marking as the cup, and a more hexagon mark on its base, same as the cup.

The other two cups in the collection are a bit of oddities. This small one has a scene of a large brick building, which as much as I can translate, is the Minnesota Court Building, somewhere Minnesota. A tourist piece, I suppose.

But this last vessel really puzzles me. It looks to me, among all the Japanese cups, like it is an official Japanese sake cup, or something to that nature. But the mark on the bottom declares it to be made in England, of a pattern called Highland Heather.  Ladies, do I have here a finger bowl?

Sorry for the poor quality of pictures. I tried several versions of flash versus no flash to get the best quality, but don't think I did a great job of it. Trickier than it looks to take a photo of china.

I am linking up to Lady Katherine and Martha's Favorites teacup parties, hoping to share in some fun, and maybe get a bit of insight about this humble collection. I do have an actual full set I will share next time.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Rah, Rah, Rooster Party!

I am delighted to be joining Barb and many others over at Bella Vista Rooster Party. I spent some time admiring her extensive collection, they are really delightful.  My Roosters are both handsome and hardworking. We don't have a large collection of them, but we have them in several different forms and functions.

My dear husband is actually more inclined to collect roosters than I am, so several years ago I bought him this cookie jar and salt and pepper shaker set for his birthday. You can tell we use the shakers regularly, as they're getting rather chipped. But they still take their proud place on our dinner table, right along with the Rooster placemats dear hubby picked out at JCPenney's some years back. One of these days he might let me actually switch them out occasionally.

We have had this cheery trio of strutting fellows above my computer desk for a long while.  Don't they look  like they're getting ready for a crowing contest?

A trip last week to a new favorite thrift store netted me this more modern take on the rooster theme for the bargain price of $2. (Sorry about the glare, it's hung under my kitchen cabinet and I had to use the flash.)

There are a few more rooster fun and functional items I won't bother adding here, including the towel, potholders and trivets in various corners of the kitchen. But one item I caught at the very last minute and wanted to share, one of the hardest working Roosters in the room. Give him some love, he gets walked on all day long and still looks good.

Hope you enjoyed visiting some of our Roosters in Residence. I'll catch you all later and check out all the other fine fowls in your homes.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Victoria Loveliness

I just found Kathy's beautiful blog on the virtues of Victoria magazine and her invitation to join her and others in a salute to Victoria magazine influence.  I have a strong admiration for Victoria style, even if it is not always packaged as such, but all things lovely, such as roses and glittering crystal, or nostalgic, fine china reminscent of generations past, or items of beauty brought in from nature to display with love in our homes, these are the same attractions ladies of the Victoria era enjoyed and incorporated into their lives. So we rely on magazines such as Victoria to teach and remind us of these glorious influences.

Gentle readers, I do not have a copy, recent or otherwise, of Victoria magazine. I'm not even sure why not, except that I bring really few magazines into my house, and this one never seems to be available at the magazine rack I shop from.  In fact, I find it difficult to locate a few magazines I admire and imagine myself getting. No, I don't know why I don't look for them online, it's a visual prompting thing.  This lovely edition I wish to share with you for now, is a hardcover Victoria magazine publication, titled From Heart & Hand.  It was published in 1996, which is probably how long I've had it, and subtitled, 'Creating Beautiful Keepsakes.'  True to it's name, the pages are filled with articles about handiwork from years past and descriptions on how to replicate them today.

 A few include 'Memory Plates, making a collage of photos and artistic elements frames in ceramic plates.

and Magnificent Mantles, decorating your fireplace mantle to its ultimate loveliness.

It also includes many other articles on handiwork, some forgotten by only a few artisans, like redwork embroidery and paper dolls dressed in real cloth pieces, others we still strive to create in our homes, lace and wreath and botanical arts.

I pull out this book occasionall and am inspired all over again. Thank you Kathy for reminding me of this wonderful resource. I will make a point to find the magazine.

I hope others will join me at her blog, A Delightsome Life for the Victoria party.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Bunny Love

You know how it doesn't occur to you that you actually collect certain objects?  Maybe you admit you own more than one or two of a paricular subject, for no reason other than that it appeals to you, but you don't feel that makes you a collector?

I was at a local VA thriftshop the other day, and housewares were on 1/2 prices. Not only that, but the 3rd piece of the puzzle fit, I found a couple items I felt would fit nicely in my home.  One I'll wait on, it will go to the Rooster Tag party I hope to be able to join up with. The other is this nice silver covered glass bowl, which I tend to think of as a potpourri bowl.  I'm sure you can put other items than potpourri in it, but does anyone ever do so?  I've wanted one of these for a while, but one of the things I like most about this one is the sweet trio of rabbits on its pewter lid.

I've always enjoyed the sleek, sweet form of bunny rabbits.  Being a careful shopper, I do make my decisions on what I acquire very carefully, same as anything I own.  Oh, I have my share of Easter gay pastel pieces, but those are in short supply, especially recently, when as my girls grow bigger our living areas grow smaller, and I have less and less of an inclination to put out cute little pieces for Easter, a holiday which usually catches me by surprise.

Looking around my house, however, it occurs to me that I actually have a number of rabbits in residence.  I have a couple more in the patio area, but here are a few to share with you.  This green rabbit I found at Marshalls a couple years ago, he was on clearance for around $3, and I just love the charm of the natural rabbit demeanor, like the artist had captured an exact moment in his day.

This next one shares the same window sill (which explains why I was not able to get pictures with more natural lighting).  It is more gay and whimsical, it may have even been an Easter decoration at some point picked up from Big Lots, back when they were still Pic n Save. But I've always adored it, and find it works all the year through.

Okay, this kinda says it all. It's a pretty well known print, taken from a Victorian child's story book 'Watership Down.'  I'm as drawn to its sweetness today as I was many years ago, when I first purchased it as a birthday present to myself. It reigned for many years over my bed, and might return there.  I've grown out of the dark red damask phase we had done our bedroom in when we redecorated for the first time in 15 years.  The bedroom redo was 3 years ago, but it's never appealed as much to me as the softer, more romantic look I had before. Returning to the more romantic feel is definitely on my list of things to do.  A main reason I've been scouring thrift shops.

Sorry for the odd angle, it's hanging in our staircase for now, and it's almost impossible to take a photo of it without a glare from somewhere.
 I've been walking past that picture there for a few years now, and considering moving it back to it's previous spot, it occurs to me exactly how much it would fit into the more shabby chic look I want to incorp. Not that the look will be white furniture, but a return to more antiques and preloved pieces. Finding how to make it all come togethe without spending much money is a riddle. The biggest challenge will be convincing my husband we need to replace the bedding with a lighter look. He likes color, so it will be a matter of us both finding the perfect new color and pattern. (Esp. since he doesn't know yet we're shopping for one.)

Wish me luck with this endeavor.  I'm getting lots of inspiration from all the blogs I'm following.

I know I'm behind with making this blog happen. I'm also trying to accumulate pictures to set up a gallery of my little place, so I can share my home with all you as well. It's rather intimidating, right now my home is more shabby than chic, more tawdy than traditional, but I will get it documented and listed soon.

Looking forward to sharing more with you later.