Monday, August 4, 2014

Pretty old, pretty new

This summer, I've been taking a more disciplined approach to bringing old things into the house, no matter how pretty they are. I've been making myself bring something with me whenever I go to my favorite thrift store. I figure that if I'm donating something, it's not so bad to bring a new item home with me. It's surprisingly motivating! It's a good trade too; I can choose things I really want to have, which in my case means interesting items for the home. I've found some good things lately. Let's hear it for thrift stores! I can spend all day in one. I've also been given some very special old things as gifts. Sit back with your cuppa for a long, picture-heavy post.


I was so excited to find three vintage Fire King "Jade-ite" side plates. They were just sitting there on the shelf and I was amazed to see them. They were priced at $1.99 each and I had to have them. It seemed like a steal. I've liked jadeite for a long time and have had a few imitation pieces over the years, including a serving bowl from Martha Stewart. I've seen lots of jadeite in antique shops but had never seen it for sale in a thrift store so this was definitely my lucky day.


Are you familiar with Fire King jadeite? It's a type of milk glass kitchenware, which was popular in the mid-20th century. I think Fire King used the hyphenated "Jade-ite" as a brand name. Other companies spelled it without the hyphen. Sometimes this kind of kitchenware is also called Depression glass, for the time period in which it first became popular. It can be valuable, but I don't know much about that aspect. My three dishes aren't in especially good shape in any case, and I'm just happy to have a few real pieces for myself.



These dishes were well-loved. The ridges around the edges are worn down, as are the raised imprints of the company logo on the bottoms. They cleaned up well, though - there was sticky stuff on the bottoms of all three and a quick soak in hot water with a little dish soap did the trick.


I love old dishes and table linens so much. My collections are quite small, but it's so much fun to play with table settings. It was a great pleasure for me to discover that there's a whole corner of the blogosphere dedicated to this passion. I could never compete; my few bits are no match for the entire rooms some of these bloggers have devoted to their collections. But it's enjoyable to play with them. I did always love play dishes and tea sets. This is just a grown-up version of that, I think. Here, I was just trying different items for the visual pleasure of it. The flowered saucer is also Fire King, but it's newer and seems to be made of that vitreous material like Corelle dishes are made from. The other saucer only says "Made in JAPAN" on the bottom. The tablecloth was made by my husband's grandmother sometime in the fifties or sixties. I think they used it as a picnic cloth but it's delicate now so it stays on a table in my house.


Some people fill their hutches with crystal. I fill mine with thrift-store dishes and vintage tins.


I acquired more vintage patchwork this summer too. My in-laws gave me a bagful of hand-stitched pieces they had inherited when my husband's grandmother died. They know how much I love this stuff, so they dug it out for me. There were six pieces like the ones above, made up of two-inch squares, and two other pieces made of four-inch ones. Like the aforementioned picnic/tablecloth, they're from the fifties or sixties too. They're all in perfect condition, never having been used after they were stitched together. I don't know what I want to do with them. I've been thinking about making pillow covers, but they're hand-stitched! I think that would be asking for trouble with two kids around. Maybe I could stitch them all together with some solid pieces to make a top for a lap quilt? Oh, I can't decide.




Look at those fabrics! They're in beautiful condition and they're so gorgeous. The colors are bright and rich and they all seem to work together, in true crazy-quilt style. I don't see a fabric I don't like. I'd like a yard of each, please (if only!).


My in-laws also brought me this charm bracelet, which had belonged to my husband's grandmother. I wrote about Marion last fall, sharing her old Sunset Kitchen Cabinet Cookbook and my knowledge of her from the stories I've heard. I never knew her; she died several years before I met my husband. But I knew her widower, and visited the home they'd made together, and I feel a strong connection to her. She cared about the same things I do, and I wish I'd known her. My in-laws see this and they often give me things which once belonged to her. This bracelet is full of charms she received as gifts as well as small items she had made into charms, such as small stones and a tiny gold ring. There's a sorority charm, though she was never in a sorority; she just liked the charm when she found it being resold somewhere.


My favorite charm is a locket that she wore on her wedding day in 1939, with pictures of herself and her husband inside. The pictures were taken on the wedding day, so they were added later. She wore the locket on a necklace for awhile and later had it added to the bracelet. There's a second locket on the bracelet too, with pictures of both of her sons inside, taken when they were teenagers in the fifties. She was a great lover of lockets and I have a few others from her too. This bracelet is a wonderful thing to have. I love to see the kinds of trinkets and mementos other people collect. Not every piece on the bracelet is special or sentimental, but she liked them all.


Finally, something new I've added to the house recently. Maybe it's a little hackneyed at this point, but I really like decorating with family initials. Both children have their names spelled in painted wooden letters on their bedroom walls. I had been adding interesting 'H' items - namely framed cards and a big Scrabble tile plaque - to our family room wall display (H is the first initial of our last name). This display includes family portraits and embroidery hoop-framed fabric. I decided there were enough 'H''s up there and thought it might be nice to add each of our first initials to the display. I found a great company online, Craft Cuts, who custom-make wooden letters and words. You can choose the size, font, color, even the thickness of the letters you want. I went with a different font for each of us, for visual interest, but kept the letters approximately the same size.


To hang them, we drilled small holes in the backs, then inserted some tiny nails with the heads cut off. We also put in a drop of glue, for extra security. This made each letter almost like a big thumb-tack that you could just push into the wall. We did the same thing with the wooden letters making up our children's names and they've hung for years that way, so it seemed like a good way to hang these new ones as well. They sit nice and flush against the wall too.


It worked out great! They were easy to hang and I think it gave personality to the wall display. I'm still thinking about other things to add, but I don't want to go overboard. Maybe a couple more small embroidery hoops. I will eventually hang a cross-stitch sampler in that open space at the lower left. I haven't even started it yet, but it's in the vision...


L and E, who are always happy to see themselves represented by name or otherwise, seem to approve.

******************

Thanks for the lovely comments lately. And welcome to new readers and followers! I am so excited to report that Penny is now laying eggs too. Her eggs are slightly larger than Betty's, and she's laying every other day so far. Her eggs are speckled with darker brown too, whereas Betty's are small and a solid light-tan color. They seem to be nesting together because the eggs have been side-by-side in the nest. It's just so sweet! I love those hens. They're my favorite pets ever. We're still finishing our store-bought eggs and haven't eaten a fresh one yet. I know! It's silly, but waste not, want not and all that. Soon. I can't wait to see and taste them.

49 comments:

  1. I am a charity/thrift store supporter and have got lucky several times with patterns that I collect but I have never managed to find any nice crockery, how lucky are you finding the Jadeite. I just loved it. The vintage fabrics in the patchwork are beautiful I couldn't see one that that I didn't want either.

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  2. I love your jadeite plates they are such a pretty colour.
    How lovely to have all that patchwork, so many pretty prints and so many memories in the bracelet!
    V x

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  3. The initials on the wall are great !!
    And I love your jadeite dishes - I always was fond of every type of milky glass, but the jade coloured especially... It is soooo difficult to find here... (And surely not in thrift shops.....)
    Lucky you, that charm bracelet is so pretty, and so packed with memories...
    Ps congratulations to Penny ;-) ! How great, now she's a "grown up " chicken ;-) !!!

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  4. Oh my goodness, Jennifer. How come you always know what I like? I LOVE those plates - colour, milky glass, everything about them. I also love your writing and the photos of your beautiful children xxx

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  5. Lovely plates, such a pretty colour, and as for the fabric, I love it. I have some 60's fabric from when I cleared my parents house, I can't decide what to do with it either. It is so lovely to have original fabric rather than the modern copies that are around.

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  6. What a lovely post Jennifer!! Your new to you dishes are lovely and so are your letters for the wall! It is a great way to hang them rather than trying to use little hooks and so on. I hope that you can decide what to do with the patchwork as it would be lovely if you could actually use it or display it in some way. I wondered if you could make it into a larger quilt to use as a wallhanging, to use it, but keep it safe from wear and tear. No doubt you will share with us in due course! xx

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  7. I absolutely love that last photo. The wall is looking really good, I'll enjoy seeing the sampler take shape. The charm bracelet is fantastic, I love them, and it's extra special when you know the person who collected them. Maybe you could make a full-sized quilt with the pieces, set into a neutral background. It would make them very striking against grey or maybe a darker colour. Well done to Penny, no doubt lots of egg recipes are on the menu now. Hope you have a good week, CJ xx

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  8. Lots of pretties in your photos today, Jennifer. You could join the patchwork pieces together and make a wallhanging. That way it'll be safe from wear and tear. :o)

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  9. Your wall is great, i really like the mix match items. The fabric is so bright and cheerful and I agree with CJ and the quilt idea :) Some of my favorite kitchen pieces are from thrift store finds.

    Hugs,
    Birgitta

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  10. You've gathered some wonderful things. I love the jade-ite and your wall too! The letters really add something to it.

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  11. oh those patchwork squares are gorgeous xxxx

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  12. Over here our thrift shops are mostly raising money for a charity and thus are called charity shops. I do love a good nosy around, very pleasant way to perform guilt free shopping!
    Jillxo

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  13. Love your patchwork! So pretty. The fabrics are so gorgeous!! Your cupboards sound like mine, full of vintage treasures :) Lucky find on your plates! They are just lovely.

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  14. Oh what lovely items from the thrift shop.- I think the color of the dishes are very calm and peaceful. Beautiful color! Your wall turned out wonderful. I love the arrangement and your children look very happy about it all. :)

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  15. Great finds Jennifer! Those dishes are just exquisite on your table! Oh how I love a good thrift! I was just there this past weekend and got some books for the beans and some frames. My favorite are those patchwork quilts up there! I LOVE THEM! WOW are the fabrics just so cool! I would so treasure having those lovely gifts of the past...they tell such a story! Excellent job on your gallery wall as well! Wishing you a great week friend! Happy thrifting! Nicole xoxo

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  16. Oh Jennifer.. those are wonderful plates.. the pattern is called Jane Ray - with the rays around the edge. I have several of those but my favorite are the "Alice" plates with floral patterns around the rim. Your wall is looking simply wonderful, good for you to arrange them so prettily. What about using the patchwork for a table runner or table cloth? I remember saving my first eggs... we took them on a trip in our trailer and the first night we stopped I opened the fridge and everything had jostled around and they fell out an most of them broke! I was so upset, but they were in the carton so I made scrambled eggs for dinner with them. I'll be AWOL for 10 days - no internet.. no comments.. will catch up when we get home. ((hugs)), Teresa :-)

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  17. What bargains you picked up on your shopping trip, and I love the green plates. It was nice reading about the things you inherited, the charm bracelet snd quilting. Nice things for a nice person x

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  18. I love the fabrics in those little quilts. They are very vintage. There is a charity shop near me that sells 4 plates for £1. I found some lovely Irish pottery side plates and snapped them up. I go back occasionally to see whether they have the matching dinner plates.

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  19. Loved the story behind the charm bracelet, how nice that your in-laws have recognised that you will be the one to care for and appreciate it.

    Helenxx

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  20. Everything looks great Jennifer and how touching with the charm bracelet......simply beautiful ♥

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  21. It would be extremely unlikely that you'd find anything really worth buying in our charity (thrift) shops but sometimes there is an odd item. I've never heard of or seen jadeite before. I'm sure you'll think of something to do with the beautiful vintage pathwork you've been given. Take time to think about it for a whilie. You really have to try those eggs! You can then finish off the shop bought ones so they aren't wasted.

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  22. I love old things! We have a cabinet in our dining roon, it has been made by my husband's grandaddy in the 50's...it's adorable and very important for us. And last month I bought six beautiful brown bowls in a charity shop: they are very simple and so genuine.
    Bracelet and patchwork are lovely!

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  23. You seem to be able fin great thing in charity shops, I never see much.

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  24. Your wall is fabulous, I love that idea of adding initials to personalise it. What a treasure the charm bracelet is, it's so special all the trinkets which have been collected over the years.

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  25. Such a lovely post today my friend. Love the plates and those vintage fabrics are so beautiful. I think you in-laws love you very much to give you that very special bracelet. It is a treasure. Love the new letters on your wall, they look perfect in that arrangement.
    Hugs,
    Meredith

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  26. Love the bracelet, it is just gorgeous!!!! The color of the plates is beautiful!!!! Lovely post!!!! Have a colorful and creative week!!!
    Love
    AMarie xxx

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  27. Great finds and great gifts. I hope you enjoy deciding what to do with the patchwork. I love the letters you've chosen for your wall. We made a mistake giving our children names with the same starting letter really didn't we?! Oops :-) They both have Rs up in their rooms though!

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  28. You have so many interesting things, Jennifer! The Fire King plates remind me of going to my grandma and grandpa's house, and the quilted pieces also remind me of ones my grandma used to piece together with scraps left over from clothes she would make me and my cousins. I especially love the charm bracelet. I have a weakness for them, and plan to do a post on the one I own some day.

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  29. love those plates. there is something so beautiful about old things. the stories they tell and the characters they have.

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  30. The charm bracelet is lovely! It's all beautiful, and I love the shade of green of your Jadeite. :). I could spend hours in thrift stores too. And I'm the same way in bookstores. Especially used and vintage bookstores!

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  31. Such wonderful finds, the bracelt is very beautiful, such a special thing to have. The wall is looking great with the letter and photo's
    Clare x

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  32. What great finds at the thrift store! The charm bracelet is a real treasure ... it sounds like your grandmother-in-law was very down to earth judging from the things that were special to her. The patchwork pieces are a wonderful way to bring a little family heritage into your home. Great job on the photos & initials for your wall, a nice grouping :) Enjoy your week Jennifer! Wendy x

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  33. What a lovely post. I especially love the charm bracelet. I have a couple. I wonder if they will be passed on in future years? x

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  34. I think you and I have lots in common. I love your hand stitched quilt blocks, how wonderful to be the receiver of such beauty. I think they would work well as cushions, and I am sure back in the days when everything was hand stitched, children were having cushion fights, too. You could machine quilt them for extra stability. The Jade-Ite plates are really cool, too. I am ashamed to admit that we don't have a family wall. I must change this, yours looks great. Cx

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  35. I would love to go thrifting with you! It's one of my favorite fun things to do. I have been cleaning out and donating like crazy (just donated 7 more bags off stuff!), so I don't feel guilty when I bring a few "new" things into my home. Though I'm being much pickier than I used to be since I'm trying to clean out and declutter the basement. I love your Jade-ite dishes; like you, I love vintage dishes and table linens. And that charm bracelet...be still my heart! It is beautiful. And talk about sentimental - wow. Are you going to wear it?

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  36. Wow, you have found some wonderful things at the thrift store, Jennifer. I never have any luck in the charity shops over here, I just never seem to be there at the right time. I think there must be a knack to it! I love the fabric and I am looking forward to seeing what you decided to do with it. Your wall display looks so good, you must be very pleased with how it turned out. And good news about Penny laying eggs! I know our neighbour's eggs are different shades and also different sizes. Isn't it fascinating? I bet you cannot wait to try them. Have a great week. :)

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  37. I love the story behind the patchwork and the charm bracelet. What lovely, mysterious things your husband's grandmother left behind. And how fortunate that they could pass into such appreciative hands.

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  38. What a lovely bunch of finds you have there. Those patchworks are very special. I look forward to seeing what you use them for. I have a beautiful old patchwork quilt that was sewn by a blind lady and given to me by my great aunts when I was born in the 70s. It is on my son's bed now, and he loves fingering the fabrics as much I used to.

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  39. Jennifer, The reason I love your blog is you write about what is really the most important things in life, which is family and their treasures. If I feel sad and I visit here ,my frown gets turned upside down. Thank you.
    I'm sure I have asked before but can I come a live with you all??? haha

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  40. Hi Jennifer - lovely post you have shared and love all the new and old treasures you have.
    The plates from the thrift shop are a great find and how neat that you have inherited the precious charm bracelet and the handmade quilt.
    the family photos and initials look lovely.
    Happy weekend
    hugs
    Carolyn

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  41. There are so many great things here! The plates are really pretty, I like that soft green, and the patchwork is incredibly beautiful. Those fabrics!! I love your family wall, the initials look really good up there. Will you wear the charm bracelet do you think? I hope so, it's really lovely. X

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  42. So many gorgeous things here Jennifer. I've been noticing Jade-ite popping up here and there in blogland recently. The green is a gorgeous colour. Good luck in adding to your collection. Your patchwork pieces are precious too and in amazing condition. I like the lap quilt idea. A perfect showcase for those lovely fabrics. Bee xx

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  43. How I miss those amazing thrift stores in Canada! I, too, have spent hours in many, just so much to discover, wonder about, and imagine, regarding their personal history! So glad you appreciate colour, Jennifer, and use it in such creative ways around your home and garden! Happy weekend!

    Poppy

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  44. I am completely with you on in with the old! I absolutely love old things, they hold memories, value, character, history, mystery of untold stories but most of all they add charm to your home! I love your new additions, the green plates are gorgeous as is that very beautiful patchwork pieces. A tablecloth would be lovely or throw, but personally I would want to turn it into a bag for my sewing or crochet goodies so I can look at it everyday in admiration, it just is too beautiful not to see it and use it! I hope you have a lovely weekend. xoxo

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  45. Beautiful pieces - all of them! The best part for me is your statement that giving away something makes it easier to bring something else home. I have big bags of things I really need to donate, yet I develop "separation anxiety" when it comes to actually taking them to the thrift store. Now I am going to school myself on this version of that: "It's better to send things OUT of the house than bring them home!" That works for me! Thank you!

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  46. Just catching up on blogs Jennifer, and love this post. The vintage patchwork is really pretty, and I would love to see it made up into a lap quilt. That would not be too stressful on the hand-stitching, and it would be gorgeous. Charm bracelets are always interesting, and I love this one very much. The coloured stones, and the sweet heart photo locket are very special. What a nice gift to receive!

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  47. I love the initials! Your gallery wall looks so great! I have always wanted to do a gallery wall in our family room with family photos. The charm bracelet is extra special, too!

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  48. Another lovely post, Jennifer. I really like your wall display - so effective and personal with all your initials. The patchwork fabrics took me straight back to my childhood in the 50s, when I saw and wore clothes made from similar fabrics all the time. I love the charm bracelet, not only because it is pretty, but for the wonderful personal mementos which form part of it. Very special.

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  49. I can't remember which blog I read it on but the author said that thrift stores were basicslly like cheap storage units... take in the things you don't need right now and pick up the things you do... I liked the theory! Your new-old plates are lovely and the patchwork and charm bracelet are beautiful, more so for being family treasures! I love having things passed on to me, so special! I hope we get yo see what you decide to do with the fabric... it'll be wonderful whatever you decide, the colours are just marvellous! x

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