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 ...