Tuesday, October 12, 2010

From the Bookshelf

I've had the cast iron shoe form/last for so long, I forget where it came from. It's about 6 3/4 inches long, and marked only with a "C". Over the years, it's been moved around from bookshelves to tabletops, settling (for now) on top of some books, sitting on my coffee table. Who knows where he will travel to next?

I recently purchased these two books because of their subject matter: A Treasure Book of Homecraft (1934) and the Ontario Public School Health Book (1925).

Although I wasn't looking for information on the benefits of leeching, I was disappointed to find a lot of up-to-date information in the health book. Yet there are some interesting little tidbits, such as:

"Since all agree that the excessive use of alcohol is the cause of much crime, disease, and misery, and since the effect of even a small quantity is insidious in lessening self-control and will power, it is surely foolish in the extreme to have anthing to do with alcohol."

"The best way to take care of the hair is to wash and bush it regularly. Boys should wash their heads every week. Girls may wash theirs less frequently, for as a rule they seldom get it into the condition requiring such frequent washing as do the more active boys."

Published by The National Girls' Work Board of the Religious Education Council of Canada, A Treasure Book of Homecraft was a pleasure to read. Below, the table of contents and a page listing sample budgets for families earning $125 to $200 per month (click on photos to enlarge):

The book advises married couples: Probably the finest and happiest safeguard against undue interest in this factor [sex] is the arrival of a child to bless the home.

Some advice never gets old.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Biscuits and Cigarettes

Vintage Tins
I don't consider myself a collector of vintage tins, but these cigarette and biscuit tins appealed to me. When I purchased the Players tins a few years ago, I thought they'd be perfect containers for holding all sorts of goodies in a vintage swap. Unfortunately, I've not yet registered for a swap -- it's on my list of things to do.

Vintage Cigarette Tins
I'm especially fond of the Black Cat tins because I have a black cat (though she doesn't smoke). Written on the inside of the lid: Extra Mild Quality Superfine. Black Cat Cigarettes are Guaranteed made entirely from 100% pure mild unadulterated Virginia Leaf. Naturally Matured. Carreras Limited Famous for Fine Quality Since 1788. Fact No. 6, Made in Canada, Port 13D.

Vintage Huntley and Palmer Biscuit Tin
This sweet tin once held biscuits from Huntley and Palmers -- famous for their uniquely shaped containers. This one is called the Worcester Caddy and was manufactured in 1959. Go here to read more about the company and its tins. If you're interested in collecting Huntley and Palmers, their tins are well-marked (click on photo to enlarge):

Huntley and Palmer Biscuit Tin Manufacturers Marks

Friday, October 1, 2010

Hey, Hey, It's the Monkees

In the 60's, when I was 11 or 12, I was a huge Monkees fan -- I had their albums and never missed their silly, but fun television show. I loved all the band members, but liked Mike Nesmith best (must've been the hat). One Christmas, my sister and I found these scarves under the tree:

Monkees Memorabilia

Monkees Memorabilia
The scarves measure 27 X 28 inches, and one still has a sewn-in tag attached: Glamour Crepe / Hand Rolled / Water Repellent / Made in Japan.

Of course, as much as I adored the gift and the band, I wouldn't have been caught dead wearing the scarf. I am glad I kept them, though.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Autumn Leaves

Just one week ago, the leaves were green, still clinging to branches. Today, many of the leaves gather along the roadside, swirling and dancing to the beat of the wind. I don't mind autumn -- it's fresh, crisp and colourful, but we all know what comes next: winter. And winter is a season I'm not too fond of. I've shoveled enough snow, bought enough over-stuffed jackets and boots, and battled enough icy patches. I'm kind of over it.

So while it may be time to pull out the fall-themed tablecloths, I'll continue to wear my sandals for a few days more while enjoying the last drops of warmth.

Fall Autumn Vintage Tablecloth
Fall Autumn Vintage Tablecloth
Fall Autumn Vintage Tablecloth
I have this mushroom and leaf-decorated vintage cloth with a burnt orange, and a lime border (which is hardly fall-like, at all). The 'bouquet' reminds me of a dried flower arrangement.

Fall Leaves Vintage Tablecloth
Fall Leaves Vintage Tablecloth
The scattered maple leaves on this vintage tablecloth look just like the leaves that have fallen onto my street.

Thanksgiving Autumn Fall Vintage Tablecloth
Thanksgiving Vintage Tablecloth
I have two of these gold, orange and brown vintage tablecloths. With their homey, fall motifs, they'd be perfect for Thanksgiving.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Squirreling it Away

I'm a true believer in the old adage, "A place for everything and everything in its place". I hate to admit it, but I think I spend more time finding practical, yet attractive storage for my things than actually putting those things to use.

Wood Carousal Stand
I found this, whatever it is, at an antique mall. It rotates, reminding me of an old rubber stamp carousal, but it has small nail-like hooks instead of clamps. I use it to store and display inexpensive gem embellishments that I've attached to tags. I'm still not sure if it's the best use for this find, since I don't use the gems all that often. Any ideas as to what its original purpose was? What would you use it for?

Library Catalogue Artist Tray
Many years ago, I worked in a bank library. It was the 80's, and the bank was changing from a card catalogue to an automated system. The obsolete card catalogue was free to any takers -- it was big and old and beautiful, but I lived in an apartment, at the time, and simply didn't have the room. So now, I've settled on this two drawer unit for storing hundreds of old photos, purchased for about $30, from a dealer who recently closed shop:

Vintage Photos

Later, I'll devote a separate post to the photographs.

Below the card catalogue, are three old artist's trays. These divided drawers are great for storing my ink pads and stamping tools. I purchased them, for a few dollars each, at a garage sale held by our local SPCA. I wish I'd bought more, but at the time, I just didn't know how useful they'd be. Very useful, as it turned out. Lesson learned: if it only costs a few dollars, pick it up. If it doesn't work out, donate it to Goodwill.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Yesterday's Hoarders

I'd like to give thanks to those pack rats of the past who, long before hoarding became prime-time television, hated to toss anything. Me? Other than my few vintage goodies, I toss, donate and recycle as much as I can. Historians and vintage hunters of the future will curse me and my kind.

So, because of yesterday's hoarders, I can share these with you:

Half Pint Milk Bottle Old Milk Tops
A half-pint milk bottle, surrounded by old milk bottle tops. I purchased both at the Queensville Antique Mall last year where, I think, the lot of tops went for about $5.

Canadian WWII Meat Ration Tokens

My parents passed along these Canadian meat ration tokens and handy dispenser. There's so many of them, it makes me wonder why my grandparents hoarded the tokens -- didn't they ever serve meat during the war? There are lots of these tokens available on eBay, going cheap. Click on the photo for a closer look.

Vintage Bingo Cards

A handful of old bingo cards. I haven't been able to date them,

Valentine Foldees

Valentine Foldees were popular in the early 60's. I purchased these, for a few dollars each, at the Queensville Antique Mall, just because they were a cool reminder of when I was a little girl. Who knew they'd be collectible? I have seen the Babe Ruth cards listed for $100 to $150 on eBay, but I've not seen anyone bidding for them.

Vintage Old Maid

The deck of Old Maid playing cards may be incomplete, but I remember having the exact same set. Dealers must love people like me -- those who will buy anything that reminds them of their youth.

Old TTC Tickets

A couple of old Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) tickets. One is a "scholars" (student) fare that sold 7 for $1.00. I can't make out the TTC Chairman's signature, so am unable to date it. The other, an adult ticket priced at 4 for 25 cents or 16 for $1.00, is signed by William C. McBrien, Chairman from 1933 - 1954. If you're looking to date your own tickets, here's a list of past chairmans.

War Amps key tag toy car

Remember when War Amps issued these little, metal-trimmed key return tags? Nowadays, they're simply plastic (what isn't?). This one is dated 1965. My dad found the toy car in our front garden, many years ago, but the poor driver is missing his head (a real safety issue -- even back then).

Vintage tokens and coins

Vintage tokens and coins

And, finally, some tokens and coins (front and back) my mother gave me. My favourite is the silver token from Fran's Restaurant, celebrating it's anniversary with an offer of 50 cents toward the "purchase of any dinner or plate order". Fran opened his first restaurant, in Toronto, in 1940. I have no idea when this token was given out. Click on the photos to see the fine print.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Strawberry Shakes

I have many vintage tablecloths featuring apples, pears, grapes, cherries and pineapples, but these, with strawberries, are two of my favourite (hmm, maybe not ... tablecloths just might be like one's children -- it's impossible to have a favourite):

Vintage Tablecloth with Strawberries

Vintage Tablecloth with Strawberries
This one is off-white, just 31 X 35 inches, and feels like a heavy cotton.

Vintage Tablecloth with Strawberries

Vintage Tablecloth with Strawberries

This much larger tablecloth has nine blocks of strawberries bordered by white blossoms. Although there are no holes, rips or stains, the somewhat faded colours prove that it was well-loved by the previous owner.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Neat Button Find

I recently purchased this large stash of buttons at Goodwill for about three dollars. Unlike my last find, this one did not disappoint. I pulled out a few of the most interesting pieces (click on photos to enlarge):

Vintage Buttons
A large shell and a few clear glass buttons, plus some interesting metal (pewter?) buttons. It's always nice to find a set like the three gold twinkle buttons, on the right. I love the large rhinestone button, pictured in the bottom row. It has a white metal backing and all the stones are intact. I have no idea what the oval, brown tortoiseshell-like piece is.

Button hunting can be a precarious hobby. With so many pins, nails and other sharp items, I'm surprised I didn't stab myself while carrying this bag of goodies to the cashier. I believe the metal tool, in the centre of the photo, is called a bodkin, used for making holes in cloth. I also found three tiny teeth -- I'm not sure if they were human or the remains of a beloved pet. Interesting (and a bit gross) that they'd been tossed into the button tin.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Pressed Glass Goodies

Pressed Glass Cake Stand and Covered Cheese Dish
A pressed glass cake stand, from a thrift store, and covered cheese dish, from my mom -- both are lovely, and I hope to actually use them one day. Because of a repaired break (hardly noticeable), the cake stand was only a few dollars. I would love to collect this stuff, but I really haven't the space -- far better to collect buttons, I think, though they're not much good for serving food.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Bakelite Buttons, Bangles and Buckles

Simichrome Bakelite Buttons Bangles
Apparently, using Simichrome is the most reliable method of verifying whether or not something is made of Bakelite. Unfortunately, the product isn't available in Canada. I was about to order it online, when I remembered that a friend often travelled to the U.S. on business, and he agreed to buy some on his next trip. I was so excited when I started testing -- it was a bit like a treasure hunt, looking for the tell-tale spot of yellow on the end of the Q-Tip.

Vintage Bakelite Buttons Bangles Buckle
I was sure I'd discover loads of vintage Bakelite buttons, but this is all I've found in my collection. I remember the bracelets from my childhood, but it's the red and apple juice-coloured buckle, from my mom's button box, that's my favourite.

The search continues ...

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Good Hair Day

Boxed Vintage Hairpins
I recently discovered this box of British invisible hairpins/bobby pins at Value Village. Although priced at around $10, and not something I normally collect, I still couldn't resist. It's amazing these flimsy, little things were able to hold any amount of hair in place (I've tried them on my own hair without success). I believe this type of hairpin is still used on updos, but usually has an embellishment of some sort at the bend. And now that they've been photographed, whatever am I going to do with them?

Vintage Mirror
I thought this would be a good time to include a photo of my grandfather's hand mirror. The wooden back must have been broken and glued at some point, but the bevelled mirror is intact. And look how wonderfully worn the handle is!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

A Touch of Grey

Years go, when my dining room was painted grey, and matching the colour-scheme was important to me, finding a tablecloth with grey in it was a bonus.

Harmony House Vintage Tablecloth
This lovely, heavy-weight tablecloth belonged to my grandmother, and was given to me by my mom. For years, I believed it was a piece of vintage fabric. It wasn't until I looked more closely and saw the "Harmony House" signature that I realized it might be a tablecloth. Click on photo below for a close-up of the signature and the lovely pink and yellow carnations:

Harmony House Vintage Tablecloth
"In 1940, Sears introduced the Harmony House brand as an interior-decorating scheme that used four basic colors that could be coordinated with each other..." Read more about it in the Sears Archives.

Apples on Vintage Tablecloth

Apples on Vintage Tablecloth

The reds and pinks of the apples (or are they plums?) are still vibrant on this light-weight cotton tablecloth. I like how the fruit arches over the corners of the cloth.

Vintage Tablecloth Yellow Grey with Wheat

Vintage Tablecloth Yellow Grey with Wheat

The cheery yellow squares and stylized wheat save this crisp, mid-weight vintage tablecloth from reminding diners of a rainy day.

Vintage Tablecloth Yellow Grey with Red Flowers

Vintage Tablecloth Yellow Grey with Red Flowers

I'm not sure what kind of flower this is, but I love the leafy vine borders dividing the pattern.