Friday, July 27, 2012

1000 Sales

I have reason to celebrate... Overnight, my little etsy shop hit the 1000 sales mark!  HORRAY!!! When I first started this venture a little over 2 years ago, shops with sales numbering in the thousands seemed like giants. No giant here... just a grateful girl, giving glory to God. 

To celebrate the milestone, I'm including a FREE full-size bar of handmade soap (your choice) with every order placed this weekend (Friday, July 27 - Sunday, July 29). No need to do anything special... just let me know when you checkout what kind of free soap you'd like :)

A huge "thank you" to everybody who's visited the shop and the blog over the last 2 years...
You guys are THE BEST!!!

Humbled and Blessed,

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Tales from a Nebraska Estate Sale

Let me begin by saying that estate sales are serious business. If you have never personally gathered with a hoard of "regulars" in the early morning hours before an estate sale begins, you may not believe it. But take it from me, these guys mean business. Yes, there are casual shoppers that show up at estate sales, too, but I can guarantee that they are often disappointed. Because the serious shoppers, the "regulars", have gotten there hours before the sale opens. They've gotten their number, secured their place at the front of the line, and then probably gathered for coffee at a McDonald's while you are still drooling on your down pillow, with visions of estate sale treasures dancing in your head.

I know this, because at my first few estate sales, I was puzzled as to why I kept finding myself at the end of a long line when I was showing up right on time. It turns out that "on time" for an esate sale just means you'll be the first one to get to pick through the leftovers. The antique dealers, serious collectors, and local estate sale junkies will have come and gone, taking the good stuff with them, before you even make it in the house. This I am still learning... I am not one the "regulars" at estate sales yet. But occassionally, when I find an ad for a local sale that looks good (and I can sweet-talk my hubby into giving up his one day to sleep in), we gird up our loins and join in the competitive treasure-hunting ritual of an estate sale. Such was the case this past Saturday.

It all started with a big beautiful ironstone pitcher. You all know how much I love ironstone, and I found a local sale advertised on Craigslist - with lots of pictures of the contents of the house - and lo and behold, I spotted a beautiful ironstone pitcher in one of the pictures. Score! I wanted that pitcher. The sale started Saturday at 9:00 am, so I set an alarm with plans to get there by 7:30. Well, we showed up closer to 8:00, and sure enough, we were handed numbers 56 and 57. Boo. Not great. Let's hope there are 55 people here who don't care about antique ironstone. With an hour to kill before the sale began, we ran down the street to McDonald's, just like the pros.

When we got back to the house, the crowd was beginning to form. Many of the eager shoppers knew each other, and were swapping stories of their recent finds and comparing numbers. I heard one of them mention that he had gotten there at about 5:50 that morning... and he had gotten number 11. (Note to self!) At a few minutes before 9:00, the front door of the house opened, and one of the ladies running the sale stepped out. Like sharks that smelled blood in the water, the crowd took a huge collective step forward. She began calling numbers, and the hardcore early birds were off and shopping. Hubby and I loitered at the back of the crowd, certain that we would have to wait. But, she kept calling numbers. She called all the way up to 50, paused, and then... miracle of miracles... she kept going! The first batch of people allowed in the house went up to number 60. We were in!

 With strict instructions to keep an eye out for that ironstone picture, hubby and I fanned out. I bounced in and out of the first few rooms rather frantically, until I saw it... The table beside the fireplace where the ironstone pitcher had been in the photo online. The empty table. Ack! A few steps more into the next room, and I spotted a happy lady... carrying my pitcher. Boo again. I had missed it! With a sigh of disappointment, I adjusted my focus and kept going. Through the crowd, into the little back bedroom with some folding tables full of trinkets. And then I spotted IT. On the floor, leaning against the leg of a table. No, not ironstone. Better than ironstone...

Way better... 

Something that I have always admired online, but have never seen in person...

Something that normally sells for way more than I'd ever be willing to spend...

Probably one of my favorite finds... ever.

The most amazing thick slab French style antique bread board.
At an estate sale in Lincoln, Nebraska, of all places.
For $20. Eeeeekkk!!!

Just look at that old wood!!!

LOOK AT IT!!!!!!

Needless to say, I left that estate sale a happy girl... even without a single piece of ironstone!

So hopefully this inspires you to roll out of bed a couple hours early on a Saturday... You never know what you might find!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Collecting Butter Molds

Remember the antique strawberry butter mold I found this winter? Well, I recently bought him some friends... I think I might now officially collect butter molds.


There is a feathery starburst pattern...

A miniature mold with a tiny flower or thistle design (this one is in my dining room instead of displayed with the other molds in the kitchen).

A shaft of wheat.

And the one that started it all, the strawberry vine. How fun that butter used to be so fancy!

I think the patina of these old butter molds is just as beautiful as the hand-carved designs. Just think of how many (slightly buttery) hands have used it, over a hundred years ago.

They are a beautiful piece of history... and just perfect for decorating my little farmhouse style kitchen!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Vintage Monograms

As promised, here three examples of beautiful vintage monogrammed linens that I've picked up recently at sales and antique shows. All of them are newly listed in my etsy shop. Buy them... before I decide to keep them all for myself!

First up are these old handmade napkin rings. It's a complete set of 12, and they are so incredibly detailed and beautiful - so much time and love went into making these heirloom napkin rings. And even more special if your name happens to begin with a "B"...

Next, a gorgeous oatmeal colored linen towel, with a sage green K monogram. The cross stitch color is so beautiful, and one you don't see all that often. This is my favorite colored background - light, natural, flax linen.

And lastly, a vintage white-on-white embroidered guest towel. I love the hempstitch detail along the edge. So classic.

Find them all HERE

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Collect: Yellow Ware

It's time to stop rearranging the yellow ware and get to work this morning...

But decorating is so much more fun than folding laundry and scrubbing the tub.

Oh well... Wednesday, here I come!

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Collecting Pewter

A quick peek at the slowly growing antique pewter collection... I found the really early dark plate (top shelf, on the left) at a little antique shop in Nags Head on the Outer Banks, NC on our vacation this summer. (Nebraska to Ohio to North Carolina by car... we get around!) It's the first piece of nice old pewter that I've actually bought in person, instead of online, so it was a fun souvenir from the trip. My souvenirs are always antiques... Hubby bought 3 T-shirts.

These little English bar measures are also new additions. They're so cute! The smallest one is not even 2" tall. There's a complete set of measures like these on Ebay right now that has all 9 graduated sizes, all the way up to a one gallon size... for $2,500. Just in case you're interested :) I bought these two little guys from separate places, and I'm keeping my eyes peeled for more sizes to help build my own "patchwork" set someday.

The PW on this large pewter charger is so charming. There's a tiny MB at the top of the small plate below, too. I always love a monogram!

I stopped at a garage sale this morning in the neighborhood, and I picked up a couple other wonderful vintage monogrammed items that I'll be listing in my shop soon - a set of fabric napkin rings, and a linen towel. I'll show them to you later this week when I get them photographed! 

And speaking of garage sales, I've been mentally preparing for a sale of our own this summer, and today I started the tedious process of going through boxes, closets, and cupboards, not to mention the mountain of decorating cast-offs I've been stock-piling down in the basement. No date set for it yet, but I'll keep you posted! 

Friday, July 6, 2012

Collecting Ironstone

I sincerely hope that you don't get tired of seeing pictures of my ironstone... If so, just avert your eyes :) I realized that I've not yet been able to show you this cupboard in it's entirety. The bottom shelf is very tall, so for a long time it's been either half-empty, or filled with other things, like large crocks, baskets, or stacks of painted boxes.

But I recently found these two large pitchers - one I bought on our Ohio trip, and one I found just last weekend here in Nebraska - and they fill in the tall empty space on the bottom shelf perfectly. I have been looking for a few more large (affordable) ironstone pitchers for a while, so I was tickled pink to find these.  

This little tureen is not new, but it's still one of my favorite pieces. I love the embossed vine pattern, and the bud finial. I've found some really great ironstone plates lately, too, and I love having stacks of them in my cupboard. My favorites are the old ones with embossed patterns. like wheat or flowers or simple ribbed details.

Over the last few months, I've gone through and sold off quite a few of the small pitchers, platters, and other pieces that I wasn't loving anymore. For my own collection, I'm gravitating more towards earlier English pieces with a bright white or even blueish white glaze, rather than the more creamy off-whites of later American pieces. I guess I'm becoming a bit of an ironstone snob! But I think that is the natural progression of collecting, no matter what it is... At the beginning, you buy whatever you find and whatever you can afford, and you love all of it. But as your collection grows, you'll usually find a certain style or shape or size or pattern or color that becomes your favorite, and you get more choosy about which pieces you bring into your home, and which you leave for someone else to love.

Or maybe that is just how I convince my husband that I am not actually a hoarder...

Speaking of hoarding collecting, I found some wonderful new crocks to add to the collection on top of my ironstone cupboard. The large, low number 2 crock was just what I needed to go with my number 1 and number 3, don't you think? I love finds like that - something I wasn't necessarily looking for, but should have been all along.

Happy weekend, everyone!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Farmhouse Cutting Board

I bought this rustic antique footed cutting board last month while we were home in Ohio. I wasn't sure what I wanted to do with it, but it was too fantastic and too reasonably priced ($28) to pass up. It's made from a single 18" wide board, and my dad, the wood expert, said he thinks it's butternut wood. The patina on the old wood is so beautiful.

I ended up adding the cutting board to my dining table centerpiece. I loved the ironstone and grain sack combo before, but that layer of rustic wood makes it perfect. It looks like a piece of an old farmhouse table. It was my favorite find from our trip!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Happy 4th of July!

Pete and I went a July 4th festival in the small town of Seward, NE this morning. There was a little antique show going on there, along with tons of fair food, a gigantic craft show, and other festivities. We only survived about an hour and a half in the mid-90 degree heat, but that was plenty of time for me to nab this red and white antique quilt.

I love the red cross design - there's something very modern about it, but still classic, simple, and traditional. And I'm a sucker for a red and white quilt. I threw it over the couch, where it's providing a touch of patriotic country charm. Very Ralph Lauren, don't you think? I don't know that it will stay here, but for today it's perfect.

Happy 4th!
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