Sunday, September 26, 2021

Buying Vintage China

My well-documented china fetish started a long time ago when I was in high school.  As someone who has always had a job, my first job other than mucking stalls and delivering flowers was in a department store working in the china and linen departments.  That's where I first encountered Wedgewood, Aynsley, Lenox, Minton, Noritake, Mottahedeh, Coalport, Johnson Brothers and others.  My friends have never left.  To this day I used some of the knowledge garnered way back when to guide me.  So when I look at vintage china the first thing I look for - who made it?  I am a china snob.  Some brands I just won't ever touch - Rosenthal for one.  I have to like the "feel" of the china.  Quality is king.  

Look on the back of the plate.  The maker's logo should be there and in some cases you can date the china by the marking on back.  If there is no marking, pass. If you want to hang the plate or if you are buying for odds and ends, go for it.  But if you are splurging on an entire set, go for quality.

Some brands I look for other than the ones mentioned above - Haviland, Limoges, Royal Doulton, Ginori, Royal Worchester, and Herend, 

These Spode plates are fabulous.  Looks like they are a Williamsburg collaboration and according to Replacements, Ltd. these are discontinued and were made from 2001 to 2004.  See the Spode logo on the back.

See the logo and the name of the pattern. Not all will have the name of the pattern on the back.

I used to sell this pattern and rarely ever see it, Chinese Tigers by Wedgewood. This is so chic and "in" today.  This was produced from 1984 to 1993. Pair this with white dinner plates and tartan for the holidays:

Lenox is not one of my favorite brands but they make Kate Spade china and most of my Lenox (if not all) is Kate Spade. But I remember this pattern and it was one of my favorites.  Lenox is often more of a beige color than a true white.  Rutledge is lovely:

Another tip - buy only salad plates or dinner plates. I almost always try to find salads and if I can find enough dinner plates I buy those too.  But I don't set a formal table that often anymore so you don't need bread and butter plates or cups and saucers. Bowls are typically expensive. I have some glass bowls that I can use if I need them.  Then you can add to your patterns as you find pieces.  The fun is in creating a new set from scratch too.

Bianca by Wedgewood is another pattern that I love and once sold:

Make sure you get the right sized plates. Years ago they made luncheon plates which are like small dinner plates.  And sometimes the sizes will vary even for salad plates.  The older dinner plates are also smaller than our dinner plates today. I much prefer the smaller ones and they set a prettier table. Clunky and large?  No thanks.

This is another pattern that you may not be aware of - Les Oiseux from Ceralene.  It looks a lot like Herend's Rothchild Birds and it is less expensive.  You can find this pattern out there from time to time. I knew someone who picked this china when she was married in the 80's.  The plates are numbered much like Herend as they are different and you'd want to try and collect all the numbers.

Happy hunting!

Saturday, September 25, 2021

Collecting Glass - Become a Collector

My fascination with glass started in 2000 when we relocated to an area where elegant glass was once made.  We just happened to drive by a "glass show" in our new town and went in. To our delight the room was filled with vendors selling some of the best "elegant" glass ever made in the US.  Most of the glass that I like was made in the 1920's, 30's and 40's.  Vendors are numerous and are all gone but you can still buy the glass at glass shows (the very best source), online and sometimes you can find this stuff in antique malls. I have a "picker" who knows what I like and sends me photos of glass.  He picked out some glass for me at a show in Houston and it is being shipped next week.  My new purchase is all stems - some Cambridge, Fry and a vendor I had never heard of (will share those photos when it gets here). 

Today our collection is quite large and I have a similar collection of glass books.  The books are important to assist in determining the names, vendors, colors, patterns and of course the history.  I have loved every minute of collecting. There is always something new to learn about the glass.  You can date glass by color.  Some colors were not introduced until later and the color often dictates price. There are glass clubs and while the glass shows are dwindling there is one coming up near me (three hours away) next month that I hope to attend.

So how do you go about collecting?  Find companies and patterns that you like.  I tend to migrate to Cambridge (Ohio), Fry (PA), Morgantown (WV), Heisey (OH), and Tiffin (OH).  There are some patterns I collect (Imperial Hunt Scene - Cambridge), bulb boxes (made by Tiffin mostly), and I collect almost exclusively stems (wine, water, cordials) but I have a lot of odd pieces in Imperial Hunt Scene.  Collect what you love.  

My most recent purchase was a Heisey Octagon Ice Bucket which I picked up for $40 at an antique mall. The color is yellow. This is a green one, which I also like.  Mine did not come with tongs.

Here is a Tiffin Bulb Box for sale on Ebay right now.  I have this color already.  I own a black one, this green one, an aqua one and then another green one (a different shade).  They are hard to find.

Another company I love is H.C. Fry.  This glass is harder to find as less of it was made. This is lovely glass for sale right now on Ebay:

My favorite without a doubt is Imperial Hunt Scene by Cambridge. It was only made for a few years and Cambridge made a ton of different sizes so it is difficult to get enough glasses in the same size to set a table. Working towards that goal and I am close. This is a lovely set of tumblers.  I prefer to buy the wine and water glasses.  Most that you see are green, pink or pink and green. Light blue is very rare. I have two black glasses with gold trim (even more rare). Some are etched in gold (drives up the price).

You can also find the pattern on what they call the "Tally Ho blank."  This is a plate in "Tally Ho" which I have not seen before. I don't like the Tally Ho blank as much as it is much heavier but I have 6-8 Tally Ho blank stems that I bought years ago.  They are not as elegant as the colored glass. This is a plate:

Here is a goblet:

You need some lovely crystal to go with all that china when you set your table.  I know people don't do this anymore but I do! Good manners, lovely decor and a fabulous table never go out of style!  Become a collector. And love this Instagram account, @Denvercocktails. They have some great glass. Enjoy!

Thursday, September 23, 2021

My Fall Fixes

Fall finally arrived last night with torrential downpours and heavy winds pushing mother summer out of the way. But alas summer has left us and to be honest, this year, I was glad to see that sucker leave. It's been a long summer filled with much disappointment (for another day) but looking forward to a new day and a new fall.

All of our fall and early winter travel plans have been cancelled due to Covid (and please tell me you are fully vaccinated).  Our hospitals are filled to the brink, our numbers and huge and sadly people are dying that could have lived.  But enough of that - this is a choice, and an obvious one for sure.  But I am readying for fall around the house and in the closet.

I won't do a lot of shopping this fall as I am not going anywhere but will find a few new things to brighten the closet.  I wear a lot of sweaters and I like this one, due to the half-zip.  Navy was my first choice but this color will go with more and I'll wear a t-shirt underneath with an Hermes scarf.

I also like this one for colder weather.

I was really trying to get away from the sweatpants but the reality is that is what I wear these days at home.  These are really cute for fall.

I also like these black clogs from Loft.  Almost sold out however. 

Big fan of Everlane pants and I like this style.  They are great quality and offer many sizes.  I bought two pairs of pants similar to these last spring from Loft and have not worn either yet.  But I like these in black corduroy for fall and winter and wear with the clogs above.

Love these shearling mules.  I don't think I'd ever take these off!


I am also preparing the house for the fall and winter weather.  I ordered a set of four aqua Christopher Spitzmiller salad plates with a bonus I received in early summer and have debated about ordering more.  With more bonuses I am going to pull the trigger on the dinner plates and debated about the color.  Going to order the hunter green as I can mix them for fall with my Juliska orange plates (sadly discontinued) and my L.V. Harkness plates (which I love and use mostly in the fall).

Here are the orange Juliska plates that I have:

Santa says that he is sending tortoise flatware my way (Sabre).  Cannot wait for Santa.  I also love these plates for fall.  They have the salad plates now at the Juliska Outlet online. 

Here are the L.V. Harkness plates that I will use with my green Spitzmiller plates when they arrive:

Now that it is colder, I'll add some pumpkins, cabbage, kale and flowers to my steps.  Let's celebrate the fall season before mother winter arrives.

Monday, September 20, 2021

More Fall Finds

Love this J McLaughlin sweater, perfect fall colors.  I'd wear it with jeans - white or otherwise.


A new pattern from Ariat is fun as usual:

Love this mint puffed jacket, perfect for these early fall nights.

While I have not shopped at J Crew in almost two years (and have not missed it) I do like this cashmere sweater.

Also like this version in navy, but not cashmere.

Also like these pants from Talbots to layer for fall.  They come in many fall colors:

Love these Barbour boots for fall and beyond:

These ankle boots are classics.  Love the navy ones.

Also like the brown leather version:

Friday, September 17, 2021

Friday Musings - Fun Finds and Facts

We made a quick trip to the Virginia Hunt Country this week and it felt so wonderful just to "get out" and the weather was perfect. If we had made the trip a day later, it would have been pretty wet. So what's on my radar this Friday morning?

Le Sabre Flatware

I've had my eye on this for years and really want a tortoise set but this is on sale! We saw it at a store in Middleburg and the quality is so good and it is so French.  Add this to your tabletop.

RdV - The Very Best American Wine?

While at the Ashby Inn in Paris, Virginia, we were offered a taste of RdV's Lost Mountain wine.  OMG! It is by far the very best wine I have ever tasted and is reflected in the price.  Read about this impressive wine maker and what he has achieved here. Hard work does pay off.  And with some luck and great brain on the side.  Wow!

Ariat's New Countryside Collection

I saw this at a tack store yesterday and really loved it but they did not have my size.  Love this new collection for fall.

Stay safe!


Sunday, September 12, 2021

Fall Finds at Target

 I have managed to find a few finds for fall at Target.  We all love a bargain, right? 

These are very soft and comfortable, perfect for wearing around the house.

I've been searching for a pair of black mules with a little bit of heel to replace a pair I bought from Target and literally wore them out.  These are very soft and my aching feet can actually handle these.  They come in other colors but for the price and for the comfort why not have them in every color?

The brown ones are not as soft and not as comfortable as the black ones, but what a great shoe to wear with jeans for the fall.

I saw these leggings on a manequin and picked them up in the dark gray for fall.  I can wear them with the mules above and cozy sweater.

Another one of my favorite finds is Target socks. When I ride at home, I wear tall boots and need a tad bit of padding.  I was buying socks from Dover and Smartpak ($15 a pair) and wearing them out.  Then I discovered Target socks for $2-$3 a pair.  And they rarely wear out.  These are the perfect weight and I wear them year-round except in the coldest winter months when I wear wool. These come also in solids but the solids are a bit thinner and wear out a little more quickly.  Try these, you'll love them.

I tried this coat on in the store but really did not need a rain coat but it is very cute.  I wish the color selection had been a bit better - black, green, rust - and the green is a funny green.  But it is very cute and it ran a little big on me.  But if you need a coat like this one go for it.

I bought a fun pair of tie-dyed sweats a month or so ago in the children's department.  The L and XL girls actually fit me better than the ladies' sizes.  They are out of stock but I liked these (but alas are too big) but would be perfect for fall lounging at home.

What would we do without Target? Hoping they will be coming up with more collaborations in the future and I miss their great quality home goods like they used to have. Stay safe!


I remember that day like it was yesterday.  On my way to Pittsburgh for work, I remember hearing an NPR news story that said a small plane had hit the World Trade Center in New York.  Half an hour later I stopped to get on a conference call from my car and my boss at the time who was in Dallas, told of the carnage at the Pentagon.  Twenty minutes later I was in downtown Pittsburgh.  Ironically, it was my first visit to Pittsburgh and I was not familiar with area.  It was a lovely fall day, the windows were open in my car.  My instructions were to go to the CSX Tower, the tallest skyscraper between New York and  Chicago (that is truly what I was told).  At a stoplight, a man on a corner told me "lady get the hell out of here if you can, there's another plane out there somewhere near here. If you don't have to be here leave."  How right he was about that as Shanksville, the area where the last plane went down is only about a half hour or so east of Pittsburgh.  So I left and made the hour or so trek back home. My parents were in Canada on a trip and could not get back home. It took them almost a week to get back.  My brother-in-law was in Miami for work.  He rented a car and drove back to Atlanta. 

It was a tragic day.  So many lives were changed forever.  It was a senseless act but the country came together after that and the unity that we all felt for a period is sadly missing now.

A year after 9/11 I went to the Shanksville site for the one year anniversary event that I will never forget.  It was still so raw and fresh in our minds and there was not a huge crowd.  The site was pretty much like it was when the plane went down, the area of impact fenced off and you could see it in the distance.  A bus took us to the site from the small town and one person there took all of our information and sent us all photos from that day which I still have.  It was again, a very unified country back then.  I am glad I made that trip.


While no one I knew personally was lost that day, it still does not change the event that unfolded that Tuesday morning in early September. Those of us who experienced it have an imprint in our souls from 9/11.  May those who were lost rest in peace and may their families find solace that comes only in time.

Read this article from Reuters about two arborists who worked at the Shanksville site.

Monday, September 6, 2021

It's Hampton Classic Time

 Labor Day weekend in New York means the US Open but it's also Hampton Classic time.  I've never ventured out to the Hamptons for this iconic horse show that's just as much about people watching as it is watching the horses.  The table settings are on another planet. Here's a few peaks.  Inspiring to say the least.

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