Thursday, September 30, 2010

Vintage 1940's and 50's Halloween Decor

Yesterday, I celebrated unpacking the last box from the trailer. The last boxes were water damaged and really moldy, but one in particular answered all of my questions of WHY? It was worth the mold and dust and the hour or so of reading I took time out for. In the last row of boxes I found newspaper clippings, a journal and a packing list. The newspaper articles documented the eviction process and condemning of the property. The journal correlated with personal interesting to read from both perspectives.

For the sake of privacy for the remaining family members I will not elaborate, but I will say I was both right...and WRONG. I thought all along that the family was so thrifty and saved and reused lots of things because they were a Great Depression family. This was probably true. I thought that the Mrs. must have been sentimental about all the letters and cards from her children, and maybe even the notes written to and from her deaf husband. This too was probably true. I thought that the family must have had financial troubles when they lost their home and belongings. This was definitely true....but in the end...all the stuff that was saved was because the last remaining relative in the house was a hoarder. Some of it was boxes of things from garage sales of the 80's and early 90's....and the kicker is...when the packing was done for storage no one realized that some of the boxes were actually trash. Yes, I opened boxes of trash.

....but many of them contained some really cool stuff! Not gold or silver but long forgotten things that people like me get real excited about.

Chocolate Pot
I thought this had Halloween written all over it. It's a chocolate pot similar in shape to the French ones by Limoges. It is signed Colonial Mold USA. I don't believe it was ever used...and why would you need two of them?

How about the paper plates? I found them safely stored in a plastic bag. Besides Halloween, I found Christmas, New Year and a pack of unopened Easter plates. I think they were all by Reed and from the 40's or 50's. Everything I've found online is unclear about the dates.

There are multiples of the plates, so I can have a set for myself and plenty to sell...and yesterday I imagined how great the chocolate pot would be with the snack set and...Voila!

So cute! All of these things are in my Etsy shop for immediate purchase at fixed prices OR if you like the excitement of bidding and getting a great deal, the duplicates are also listed on Ebay until Saturday Oct. 9, 2010. See the links in the side bar for Etsy and at the top of the page for Ebay.

Monday, September 27, 2010

New at the Ranch

Today begins a new week and with that comes a few teaser photos of some of my favorite finds from the trailer that will go into the shop....

This first one I just found and since I am a cat lover I'm tempted to keep it for my, they are not smokers! but don't you think they would love eating their dry food from the tray? Well, after the initial hissing was over I think they would.

Vintage painted chalkware ashtrays were once won as prizes or purchased as souvenirs at the circus or carnivals back in the 1920's - 50's.  These old ashtrays are hard to find today because they were so easily broken. I've found two other pieces of chalkware in good condition and unfortunately a rooster that was smashed to smithereens. He was one of only two or three casualties I've run across in the whole lot of breakables in the trailer.

These next beauties were in a desintegrated cardboard box within a wooden fruit crate. Perfectly protected and preserved.

I'm almost sure they were not saved for their beauty but there is something special about their shape and the pressed glass labels...and yes, three of them still have some of their paper White House Vinegar labels intact.
( The bottle to the right isn't a Whitehouse)

And the last one for today...

I snapped this while it was still wet on the line last week with some quilt squares and curtain panels, but it is the sweetest little black eyelet dress. I've found some super cute dresses and jackets among the throwaways. This was in it's own bag (a clean, re-used cereal box bag) so I'm thinking it was a favorite. The label inside says's 2 I imagine. It's tiny.

More to come...stay with us!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Shop Update 9/24/10

As we near the really and truly official opening date I want to write a longer update than usual. I know it's not good to write such a long post, but I've been asked quite often lately "when are you opening?" and when I say, "I don't know", I can see the question on their polite faces..."what the heck have you been doing for a year?"

Well, first off, for the last month, I've been incredibly busy sorting through lots of boxes, trying not to breathe in too much mildew and dust, cleaning lots of glass, china and pottery, clothing and linens, and then researching what I've found. I do this trying also to keep some balance in my already busy life with family, animals, and maintaining a home, farm, business and hopefully a handful of good friends.

On September 16th last year I started this blog to document the process of this endeavor and then in October we had the trailer pulled in here to start unloading. Remember how full it was? I believe this stuff was stored in there 15 years before it came here. From what I can tell from some papers I found the house was condemned by the city in 1994 and it must have been in horrible condition judging from the looks of some of the things. As I've gone through the boxes and drawers and found squirrel nests in with the clothing or water damaged things it makes me think of how Jackie O's rich cousins lived with cats and raccoons in the delapidated house in the Hamptons after the money ran out. Remember that story?

That's an entire can't even see the furniture against the walls.
So...Our plan was to work on that during the winter after Rick's workshop was finished and use that space as a staging area while we sorted and priced and repaired or painted things. We would be ready to open our doors in May...or so we thought. Those of you that have followed along for this last year know already that our plans were worthless! Rick didn't have any walls up on his shop until April of this year because of all the snow and rain and then he's had such a heavy work schedule putting in sometimes more than 60 hours a week, that it's taken until recently to get his shop finished much less get moved into the store.

So, for the last month, I've been spending my days digging through boxes and sorting things according to what I should do with them.. 1) for the shop, 2) donate, 3) ebay, and 4) Trash...yes, with a capital T. Tons of trash.

We've already hauled one pick up load to the dump and the next one will have to go on the dump trailer.
These folks saved everything. Broken things, pieces and parts of things, every piece of mail that came into the house since the 1940's, greeting cards, letters, bills, receipts, clothing, shoes, newspapers, magazines, notes written on  everything from old envelopes to cereal boxes, bread bags full of miscellaneous goodies,...lots of good stuff...depression glass, pottery, furniture, glassware, china, old radios and vinegar bottles, blue canning jars...I could go on...I can't just look in a box and decide if it's junk and chunk the whole thing. I have to literally pick through every piece of paper or article of mildewed clothing to make sure I don't miss anything. I've found many a treasure so far, and 14 cents. So you see there is much to sort through and all dusty and stinky. Claritin is once again a staple item on my weekly shopping list

An emptier trailer today

Rows of  sorted boxes ready for Goodwill and Ebay...this is where our firewood usually stacks up.
 Glad it's not cold yet!  
My fire barrel for all the packing paper, worthless grocery lists, directions, etc...and Rick's finished workshop there in the background. Yay!

I will have to say reading some the letters I've found has been fascinating. I haven't read them all by any means, that would take months...literally. I read enough to learn way more about this family than I should have...even read one yesterday that said "burn my letters, I don't want anyone else reading them" ...and so I did.

From the letters I've learned much about family life during the Great Depression through the recession of the 1970's. I want to do a post on the letters sometime when I have my thoughts together a little better. It is so interesting to compare lives. I will say what stood out the most is that women have always thought they had too much to do. In nearly everything I've read written by a women, it begins...I'm sorry it's taken me so long to write or it's past my bedtime but I wanted to get this written today...because I have just been so busy with_____________.

So to you that have asked or to you that have wondered...I've been just been so busy with....

Tornado? No, just  organized chaos.
You know I would have to have a section for advertising tins, boxes and bottles...and most of them will be in this very cool fruit crate case piece I found in the trailer.
Wonderful Marsh Cabinet...I need a porcelain top...anyone?
Another sweet kitchen cabinet
When we are finished going through every last item in this trailer I think we can officially call ourselves "Pickers". Although we didn't have to ride though the countryside to find all this stuff we've picked through our share of snake skins, rat droppings, squirrel nests and spider webs. In my opinion that makes us official!

On Monday I will begin showcasing a few of my favorite finds. I hope you'll stop back by then.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Straight from the Witches Tea Party

Witches Tea Party
Now that it's officially Autumn I believe it's okay to start thinking about Halloween. I won't put out any decorations until October, and I don't really have many compared to some of my friends, but it sure is a fun holiday to decorate for!

I have always loved this photo and I really don't know the history behind it but it inspired me to create my own little tea party set this year.

" New" Vintage 1950's snack set

It's a Federal Glass Company Homestead pattern snack set from the 1950's. I found the spider web lace at the craft store and had no idea what I would do with it...just knew I loved it and it would be gorgeous on something. So, really it's just one of those things that just happens. Before I knew it, I had a light bulb moment and the rest is history.

They are fun to make...a little tedious in places, but fun! I have one listed in my etsy shop and several more in the studio if you'd like one. It's a nice elegant touch for your Halloween decor that would be stunning with a black candelabra and maybe an enlarged framed version of the Witches Tea Party.

I'm working on a shop update for tomorrow afternoon. I know it's been a while since I've had any news, but I've been working in the trailer unpacking boxes, sorting, cleaning and trying to get an idea of what I have and values. It's been a monumental task...but, more on that tomorrow.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

It's a GO! Free Rein Art and Design has a new look.

We've officially re-launched our website as of midnight Tuesday and are so happy to have all that behind us! It's a simple design with a cleaner appearance than the version we've been sporting for the last few years. Now all that is left to do is get in the studio and produce new work for the new website!

This is our new back ground...I love the bright different from what we had.

Normally, I wouldn't send you away, but today, I'd like you to take a look and see what you think. If you find any bugs please tell me.
You can find it at Free Rein Art and Design