Do you keep all your books in one place, or have them scattered through out the house? I have bookshelves or bookcases in every room in the house. Decorating books are in the guest room, craft books are in the craft room, recent fiction is in the living room, the bedroom has overflow books from the living room because I seem to be able to buy books faster than read them...and this cabinet in the front hall has (mostly) my antique reference books.
I've been selling on and off on Ebay for twelve years, and some of these books have been invaluable in telling me just exactly what I have- identifying glassware and flatware patterns or finding the name or maker of tableware.
Antique And Collectible Buttons by Debra Wisniewski has pictures of thousands of buttons. In all my hours of sorting hundreds of pounds of buttons, I don't think I've ever run across a button that isn't in this book.
Another book that I can look through over and over again is Costume Jewelry (DK Collector's Guides) by Judith Miller.
Besides having beautiful pictures and a great index of maker's marks, this book has helped me to have a better "jewelry vocabulary". Instead of describing a pin as "curvy with shiny green things", I can say "C-scroll pin with green lava stones and aurora borealis crystal rhinestones set in silver-plated metal".
It's also helped me identify smaller genres of jewelry collecting like
If you read my blog often, you probably know I have a soft spot for old children's books. Collector's Guide to Children's Books, 1850-1950: Identification & Values, Vol. 2 by Diane McClure Jones has charming pictures.
Along the same lines, another book I can page through and enjoy over and over is a Collector's Encyclopedia of Children's Dishes. an Illustrated Value Guide by Margaret and Kenn Whitmyer.
For me, these books are kind of like the old Sears Christmas catalog that I'd go through over and over, making lists of what I wanted. These are just four of my favorite "browsing" books. I guess with the amount of time I spend looking at antique guides, it's not surprising the bedroom has overflow books that I've not gotten around to reading. I'm just too busy "armchair junking".
For the past three years, Lili and I have done a swap- I'll send her little paper things like wallpaper, postcards & valentines and she sends me FABULOUS things like European sewing treasures. She said she got these at a "boot"- I think that's a Dutch word for flea market. The boot is the trunk of a car, and in theory, people sell out of the trunk of their car.
Inside was this sweet box- and inside the box:
(I know one other word that is used only in crosswords- "ort"- which is a scrap of food. That has nothing to do with this post, I just thought I'd throw it in there to see if you were paying attention.)
I don't know how I can come up with a swap gift for Lili to come anywhere close to what she found for me...
I might just have to put on my boots and go to Texas to do some shopping....Karla and I should be on the road in an hour or so on our way to Round Top.
I'd planned on reading the book during slow times at the show, but really didn't start actually READING until I got home, because I was so sucked in by the wonderful images. For a "pots & pans domestic history" girl like me, this book is like the holy grail. I found myself wanting to fondle it, just for its shear beauty.
It's based on newsletters published by The Woman's Institue of Domestic Arts and Sciences between 1916 and 1934. The Institute was founded by Mary Brooks Picken, who was a pioneering businesswoman in a time when I'm sure it was difficult to be a woman in business. Mary made many contributions to the domestic arts, but I think one of the most significant is how she encouraged woman to use their "home skills" to enhance their lives, including making money from their talents.
The book reminds me of a "best of" the 1920's & 1930's Modern Priscilla, Needlework & Ladies Home Journal magazines. Some craft projects, some sewing ideas, some inspirational articles and some recipes all with those wonderful illustrations.
Speaking of notions, I've been loading up my Etsy shops-SugarPinkMoon
When I'm selling at an antique show, I like to have a project to pass the time. Unfortunately,shows are not all selling, rearranging and shopping- sometimes shows have long blocks of down time, and I can't stand to just sit. Sometimes I bring a book, but I don't think that looks good to a customer- they might just pass by my booth because it looks like I'm busy, engrossed in my book, and they don't want to bother me.
I just used little bits and pieces of lace that were too small for much else, but too pretty to not do something with them, buttons and white, ecru, gold & green floss.
One more thing about stitching- see my needle in the picture above? NOT a good idea to leave your needle in your work. I can't tell you how many times I've bought an auction lot of linens or "fancy work" and found a beautiful piece that had a needle still in it- a RUSTY needle that stained the fabric.
These are a few pictures I took of little displays in my booth when I wasn't stitching.
I've added some "leftovers" from the show to my Etsy shops. You can find these at Gathering Dust.
And this (and more) at SugarPinkMoon.
On Tues at our craft day, Karla surprised me by telling me I was getting one of her puppies for my birthday. She and my husband had been planning the surprise for about three weeks. Karla wanted to wait until my birthday to tell me, but my husband just couldn't keep the secret any longer.
We already have two dogs- Maddie, a thirteen year old golden retriever, who likes little dogs; and Buddy, a five year old Brittany, who has lots of energy and sometimes still seems like a puppy himself- I hope his new puppy brother or sister can keep up with him.
I'm excited about a little dog- I've never had a dog that I could dress up, or carry, or would fit in a purse, or I could lose in my backyard--- (note: get chicken wire).
I "borrowed" all the pictures on my blog (except the pink buttons) from Karla, because we don't have Button yet. My husband is spending the next week on the BAK (bike across Kansas)...
... and I'm the lucky person who gets to drive him and his bike from the green dot that says KC on the right of the map all the way to the yellow star that says "Goodland" on the left of the map. Then he'll spend the week riding his bike to Leavenworth KS. Its an organized tour, so he won't be lonely on the plains of Kansas and there's help on the road if he gets a flat or his chain falls off.
Anyway, we decided that we both should be home when Button comes to live with us, to make sure that all of our dogs get enough attention, so Button will stay with Auntie Karla for another 10 days or so.
In the meantime, I'll be starting on a wardrobe for that little Yorkie.
This bow pin is my favorite- whenever I wear it, I get compliments- or maybe just comments. It is kind of unusual to see vintage plastic jewelry- it's much more common to see vintage rhinestone style jewerly.
Bakelite jewelry is one of the most popular plastics. This carved dress clip and half of a buckle are both Bakelite. (I'm not sure what the flower pin is made of.) Sometimes you can identify Bakelite just by looking at it- it has a "chunky" look and is usually thicker than other plastics.
If I'm not sure, I'll use the "Simachrome" test. I put a little bit of Simachrome polish on a piece of jewelry and wipe it away with a tissue. Simachrome polish is pink. If, when you wipe it off the jewelry the tissue is yellow or gold- the piece is Bakelite.
Bakelite was invented sometime around the turn of the last century, along with a lot of other types of plastic- celluloid, Catalin, Pyrolin. What most of these plastics had in common is how brittle they were- and flammable. If you've spent any time looking at antiques, you've probably seen vintage celluloid dresser sets- a combination of trays, hand mirrors, powder boxes or hair receivers- and you've probably seen dark gold spots on them- that's a burn.
(These buttons don't really have anything to do with jewelry, I just LIKE them.)
Plastic jewelry became popular during World War II, when so much of the metal produced was going towards the war effort. I'm guessing that the bright happy colors of the jewelry were also a "distraction" to the war, much like the bright and cheery linens and kitchenware of the time.
So, that's how I'm spending my Valentine's Day- it all looks really nice with my pajamas.
And now I have a question.
I knit- a lot. I LOVE to knit. As much as I sell on Etsy, I've never listed anything I've knit, because I live in the The House of the Shedding Dogs. I had an Ebay customer complain about finding a dog hair on the outside of a box, and how it caused to her eyes to water and sneezing attack to start, so I added this to my Ebay listings.
My home is smoke free, but I do have a big hairy Golden Retriever named Maddie. Maddie isn't allowed to play with Ebay items, but sometimes her hair ends up in a package anyway.
I don't know if I've lost any sales because of this, but at least I don't have to worry about causing health problems. I have gotten several emails from customers saying they really like my message and to please give Maddie some scratches from them.
I do have two dogs, and although they are NOT allowed to try on, help with or model my scarves, it's entirely possible that you could find a dog hair in the scarf. I generally do my knitting on the couch with a dog beside me and a dog at my feet, and I consider it good karma to knit near my dogs-but you may not, so I think its only fair to warn you.
I generally excuse my TV watching habits by saying things like "I love PBS documentaries" or "I watch a lot of the History Channel". It makes me feel like a psuedo intellectual to have such high brow tastes.
So, I have to tell you about a new TV show I just found on The History Channel. It's called Pawn Stars and it's a reality show set in a Las Vegas pawn shop. The pawn shop is a family owned business, and besides the family being characters, it's interesting to see how a pawn shop figures out how much they can loan on a given asset, or how much they can buy it for.
A customer will come into the shop with some prints that have been appraised at $3000. They want $2500 for them. What the customer doesn't realize is that the appraisal is an insurance appraisal for replacement value. Replacement value is NOT fair market value.
The pawn shop has to tell the customer, I'm sorry, I can't give you more than $1000 for them- there aren't a lot of buyers out there for your prints, and I have to leave room for my own profit.
The show also passes along information like how to spot a fake Rolex, or how to tell if something is REALLY old, or just made to look like it. And I'm tellin' ya- they just don't teach those skills in school.
My other big TV news is the purchase of a Roku Player. If you have a subscription to Netflix with a "watch instantly" option and a wireless internet connection the Roku player lets you instantly watch movies on your TV.
This has opened whole new worlds of TV for me- watching all of Leave It to Beaver episodes IN ORDER, watching Pretty Woman and Caddyshack over and over....this has to be pretty close to TV heaven.
And if you're wondering what all these pictures have to do with TV- well I listed a bunch of stuff on Etsy with the Roku delivering constant entertainment as I typed.
I haven't done a post about buttons in awhile. I think that's probably because I haven't gotten any really great buttons in awhile- these things seem to go in streaks.
But really, I have plenty of buttons to play with.
I've been sorting buttons (and jewelry and other doodads) into these hardware bins. I know, they're kind of obnoxious- but I'm having fun sorting. My masking tape labels look kind of sad- maybe I should get one of those high tech label makers and be REALLY obnoxious.
I had forgotten how much fun buttons can be- here's my favorite pink button.
Green buttons- I'm not really strict about my color sorting- anything from lime to olive to forest green is fair game for the "GREEN" drawer.
Black glass- I labeled this drawer jet, but technically I think jet is a special kind of black glass.
This one is kind of different- I believe that's the Capitol.
And what's in the drawer marked "Special"? Well, pretty much anything that I couldn't figure out where else to put it.
Humpty Dumpty and Old King Cole.
Here's a sampling of "special" buttons- these have kind of a "fall" theme- leaves, acorns and fall colors.
Thanks for sharing button time with me. Any appearance of dog hair is strictly a bonus. It's not intended to deceive anyone into thinking it's necessary to store your buttons in dog hair.
And now, I'm off to buy a new belt for my Bissel Pet Hair Eraser Vacuum Cleaner.
My theory is that everything looks better under glass, and even humble objects can look interesting if you put enough of them together in a glass, under glass, or in a glass jar. For example- this pink pom pom trim in a glass canister makes a nice backdrop for these darling bunny picks that Miss Barbara gave me. The bunnies are now living in a old glass flower frog.
Even Bingo markers and buttons look better when they're in a fruit jar.
Craft supplies in an old Tang canister. Remember Tang- the powdered drink you mix with water that the astronauts took to the moon? It was a breakfast and after school staple at our house.
And, starring in a 50's fish bowl- white buttons. Of course, white buttons are appropriate anywhere- and they're much easier to take care of than fish- because if you have fish, you have to clean the fish bowl.
More uses for fish bowls- and for game tiles. I don't know the name of this game, but its pretty common- the tiles have a number on one side. The tiles are great for adding to a collage. Just glue a picture to the tile, outline with a metallic paint marker and glue to your collage- it gives it a little bit of depth that adds interest.
More craft supplies under glass- these are glitter letters- keeping them in a jar keeps the glitter under control.
A jar of old watch faces. These kind of intrigue me- let's take a look.
They came from a watch repairman's auction.
These technically aren't under glass- that's a plastic container that was in with the pocket watch faces.
Each is about as big as the tip of your finger- or the tip of my finger, I should say.
Here's a little peek at the project I was working on when I stopped to look under the glass in my craft room.
What do YOU keep under glass?