Thursday, 28 July 2011

Timeless Milk Glass

I've recently become a collector of milk glass items after decades of not even really noticing its existence. I'm not sure why I find it so appealing now. Perhaps it's the pure, clean whiteness of it or the seemingly endless shapes it is blown or pressed into. 

Milk glass was first made in Venice in the 16th century in a variety of colors, including white. White is made by adding tin dioxide or bone ash to the glass to produce the milky white opague glass known as "opal glass". 

During the Depression Era, it grew in popularity because of its ability to be produced cheaply yet look elegant.

This type of glass has been made into items such as decorative dinnerware, lamps, vases, candy dishes and jewelry. Notable manufacturers include the Fenton Glass Company, Imperial Glass Company and Westmoreland Glass Company, just to name a few.

For collectors, the original milk glass pieces of the Depression Era fetch about the same price as the "reproduction" pieces. It's becoming increasingly popular for wedding decorating, as well as home decor. 

I think it's popularity is due to its ability to look vintage and modern at the same time. It's equally at home in the country cottage and the suburbia mansion and it's available at a price most people can afford.

Do you have a favorite milk glass item?

Saturday, 23 July 2011

Doranne of California

Today I'm inspired to write about an American pottery company called Doranne of California. It was established in Los Angeles in 1951 by Irving Deitz and went out of business in 1991. 

They produced this beautiful two-tier tidbit tray I recently acquired and feature in the Retro Junction shop on Etsy.

Smooth, pastel pink ceramic with brown flecks, the oblong shaped trays are 9" and 7" inches wide. 

It stands 10 inches tall to the top of the brass handle. Bottom imprint on trays says T-11, Doranne, Cali, Made in USA. It's absolutely gorgeous and one of those items you instantly fall in love with.

During its lifetime, the Southern California potter produced many fantastic pottery cookie jars, kitchenware, giftware, and planters. In particular, the cookie jars are in demand by collectors. They were made in many unique shapes such as chickens, coca cola bottles, ducks, chefs, cupcakes and nursery rhyme characters. They can range in price from $25 to $300. Definitely something to watch out for at garage sales.

There's not that much information out there on the kitchenware and giftware produced by Doranne of California. I found a few snippets here and there. 

For more information on Doranne of California cookie jars, you could check out the website of The Old Cookie Jar Shop. It seemed to be a nice source for dating these items and estimating their worth. 

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Checkers Anyone?

I recently acquired this vintage Chinese Checkers game board from my mother. She received it as a Christmas gift in the late 1940s and she recalls playing with the neighbor's son.

I remember my grandfather teaching me how to play the game and we spent a lot of evenings honing our skills. I also remember how I loved the largeness of it and the tinny sound the marbles made when you moved them around the board.

The board is metal with painted on colors. It's dented up quite badly in a few spots, but there's no rust and the colors are still bright.

I also remember my older brother and I chasing each other around and whacking each other with it. Hence the dents, I suppose. We also used it as an instrument in our pretend marching band because it makes a really loud bang when you slap it. It was also good for spinning across the floor at high speeds. It seems to have been good for a lot of things, especially stimulating the imagination.

When my sons were younger, we enjoyed a lot of evenings playing rousing games of Lord of the Rings Risk, Pokemon Monolopy or Battleship. Then they discovered xBox, Nintendo and Facebook. 

Maybe the next time the power goes out, I can interest them in learning a new (old) game. 

Checkers, anyone?

Saturday, 16 July 2011

Hot Summer Days and Ice Cream

What is it about a hot summer days and ice cream? 

I recently came across a batch of small ice cream dishes (or sherbet bowls) and re-discovered my love of  the frosty stuff. There's something about the bowls that make the ice cream taste even better!

Hot summer evenings also brings back memories of ice cream floats at my grandparents home and huge banana splits that my Dad used to build.

We're heading into a a mini-heat wave here in southern Alberta and after the cool, rainy spring it feels nice. Bring it on! I've stocked the freezer, bought the bowls, found an awesome scoop at a garage sale and have postponed dieting for another few weeks!

How do you like your ice cream served - in a cone, waffle bowl, shake, float or sundae?

Saturday, 9 July 2011

A Look at Vintage When It Was New

What a hoot! I've been browsing through the 1970 Eaton's catalogue my grandmother had tucked away in a trunk of keepsakes. My mother acquired it when Grandma passed away and we recently came across it when I was helping Mom downsize for her relocation to an apartment.

Here's a picture of the cover. Notice the knit caps and scarves - fashions that never seem to go out of style:

I can't believe I told my Mom to "take it to the recycling bin" when she asked me if I wanted it. I'm so glad she didn't listen to me! I found it tucked inside a box of treasures she delivered to my house on the final day of her leaving the farm house for good.

It's been a blast looking through it and especially after the Sears Fall 2011 catalogue arrived on my doorstep. Here's a picture of that cover. Some of the scarves and caps look familiar!

It's kind of surprising how some of the clothing styles are coming back in fashion and hopefully some other ones never do. I don't know about you, but I can live without the big, loud plaid pants. And do we really need to dress like our partners?

The jumpers are kind of cute and similar to the 1970 ones (new ones below in case you were fooled!). 

How do you like the dining sets from the 1970's? Nothing like them in the new catalogue, but I would love to get my hands on some for my vintage shop on Etsy! 

Stay tuned for more retro inspiration from this old catalogue! There's 465 more pages to go!

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Country Cemeteries and Small Town Treasures

Today I took a road trip with my mother and two aunts to visit some dearly departed loved ones in two different country cemeteries. We travelled down some dusty roads and had some marvelous views of the mountains. This picture is taken from one of the cemeteries. We decided it was a beautiful, peaceful final resting place.

It was really cool to see the grave markers of my great-great grandparents, as well as getting a lesson in our ancestry from the older generation. Hopefully this is something I can pass on to my children someday. 

Afterwards we ate about a 2000 calorie lunch in a great little drive-in restaurant. (Hey - it was hot and we needed those chocolate shakes!) Then we hit a few vintage shops on our way home where I bought this awesome 1950's Koben-style Dansk enamel pitcher.

 All in all, it was a great way to spend a vacation day away from the office!

Saturday, 2 July 2011

Pet Sitting Gig Almost Over

Well, my son comes home today from a week's vacation and I'm  proud to say his animals all survived.

He has two incredibly cute Chinchillas, four sweet degus and three fresh water fish tanks. Each one has a name and personality, including all the fish.

I was left with a long, detailed list of instructions of what to feed when and when to turn lights on and off, etc. and I'm glad my week of "worry and responsibility" is over.  

Some people ask me why he has so many pets and I just reply, "Pets are a lot of work, but I suppose well worth the enjoyment they bring into our lives or we wouldn't bother."

Now time to sign off and feed the cat before I take the dog for her walk. Have a great weekend!