Visit My New Shop on Etsy

Please visit my new vintage shop, Antiques for Today's Lifestyle by LMACKERELL on Etsy. Go to .

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Collecting Vintage Graniteware


I love to have a little of the country look in my home, especially in my kitchen.  If you like the country look, you can go all out or just use touches of country antiques to add some color and that homey touch.  Collecting graniteware or enamelware is a great way to add some color to your kitchen or your home, since it comes in a variety of colors.

A Brief History of Graniteware

Immigrants from Europe brought enameled kitchen items to the United States toward the end of the 19th century including their methods for producing enamelware.  American enameled items came to be known as graniteware,   Graniteware was made in this country up until the 1940's.  During the 1970's, newer graniteware pieces were again produced, but these pieces are typically lighter in weight and don't look quite the same as the early pieces do.  Many vintage graniteware pieces have chips from daily use, which I believe gives them more character than the newer pieces.

Collecting Graniteware

With a variety of kitchen and household items made in graniteware, in many different colors and patterns, it is very easy to start a collection of graniteware.  While some pieces that are rather scarce can be expensive, there are many affordable pieces still available at flea markets and antique centers.

My favorite color is blue and I collect graniteware pieces in blue to hang in my kitchen.  This pie plate hangs over the entrance from the kitchen to the dining room.

This kichen pan, in a different shade of blue, hangs on one wall of my kitchen.

Showing graniteware or any other antique items in groups of an odd number can be very visually appealing.

Graniteware mugs are great for hanging on pegs or using outdoors in the summer, since they are unbreakable.

I picked up this small bowl on a recent flea market adventure.  It is in great condition and my favorite shade of blue.

My mother handed down several gray graniteware items that were handed down to her, including a pitcher, a pan, and two lunch boxes.  I use the lunch boxes for storage and have the other items on a shelf in my dining room.

This summer, my sister brought me a planter made from a large gray graniteware pot, that had been rusting out on the bottom.  This was not a great collectible pot, but holes in the bottom are great for plant water drainage.  I still have it on my porch and will bring it in for the winter.

Please comment to let me and other readers know if you collect graniteware and what your fave color is!


Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Using Antique Mirrors


As I have been on my antiquing journies the past month, I have seen a wide variety of antique mirrors for sale.  A good mirror can give character to any room.  It can also reflect light around a small room to make it feel larger.  There are as many styles of mirrors as there are styles of furniture.  Antique mirrors are also readily available at flea markets and antique centers, often for less than you would pay for a new mirror.  While the mirror surface may have a few imperfections, this is part of the charm of an antique mirror.  If you find a mirror that is in really bad shape, but love the frame, it is possible to have a professional resilver the mirror for you.

This hall tree that I bought for my living room is placed by the door, since I have no entry hall.  I love the beveled glass mirror as well as the hanging hooks and storage bench.

Mirror frames do not need to match the furniture where they are used.  This gold painted carved mirror looks terrific over a cherry dresser with brass hardware.  Of course a cherry framed mirror also looks good, if your tastes tend to be more traditional.

How abour placing a small mirror near your door to check your reflection on your way out?  This mirror has a country white painted finish and is just the size for a narrow space next to a doorway.

This ia a beautiful oak framed mirror that would look great in any room.  You could use it in a room with other oak furnishings or in a room that just has furnishings with a similar wood tone.

This is another oak framed mirror, much simpler with the rectangular frame.  Either this mirror or the oak mirror above can be used in the same way.  Which mirror is used is all according to taste.  Some people prefer a simpler rectangular shape, while others prefer a more interesting curved shape.  If you use what you love, you will never be disappointed.

This is another rectangular mirror, though with a fabulous pine frame.

While the mirror shown below is new, it was placed in an antique shutter to create a terrific frame.  A hook was added as well.

I have shown you a number of antique mirrors that I absolutely love.  There are places for mirrors throughout a house.  The mirrors are available in a lot of different period styles, with wood frames, gold painted frames, and other types of frames.  They are also available in a wide range of sizes and shapes.  So, why not try using a beautiful antique mirror in your home?


Tuesday, September 28, 2010

My First Trip to Adamstown, PA


I have been hearing about Adamstown, PA from other antique enthusiasts and decided to check it out myself this past Sunday.  Adamstown is known as the antique capital of the USA for good reason.  There are over 1000 dealers along a 7 mile stretch of Rt. 272.  From Central West NJ where I live, it took approximately 1 and 1/2 hours to drive there on the PA Turnpike to Exit 286.  Sunday was the end of the September Antiques Extravaganza event in Adamstown, an event held three times a year in April-May, June and September.

Sunday was a perfect day for antiquing, with the temperature in the low 70's, a little bit cloudy skies and a light breeze.  With the huge number of antique markets, shops, malls, co-ops and outside vendors offering antiques and collectibles, it is virtually impossible to see everything in one day.  I will tell you about the places I saw on Sunday, and I am definitely planning to go back another time to see more of the Adamstown antique world.

My first stop was the Adamstown Antique Mall.  This is a large antique mall, also with an outdoor flea market.  At the outdoor flea market I got a couple of antique crocks which are destined for my booth at Rosebush Antiques in Langhorne, PA.  Inside the mall I found a Coca-Cola lighted fountain building for my own colletion of lighted buildings I put out with my train at Christmas time.  I also got a terrific antique pitcher and wash basin there..

My next stop was Renninger's Antique Market, with indoor booths and outdoor tables.  This center seems larger to me than the Adamstown Antique Mall.  At the outdoor booths I got an antique hand mirror and two small wall mirrors.  In addition, I found a beautiful brown bean pot that still has its lid, for a great price too.  While strolling the outdoor market, I also bought a mahogany end table with a shelf and book rack.  Indoors, there were lots of booths with furniture, pottery, glassware, vintage clothing, toys, and more and much more!

Then I went to Shupp's Grove Antique Market.  This is an outdoor market in a large grove of trees offering shade for the customers and vendors.  The grove area is fenced in and gated and many booths have plywood flooring and large tents with flaps to close when they are closed.  They leave the merchandise there and do not have to haul it to and fro every weekend!  Of course there is also the usual assortment of table vendors you might see at a flea market.  It took me more than two hours to stroll the Shupp's Grove.  This is definitely a must see if you go to Adamstown, but beware of the tree roots at ground level.  I tripped on a few because I was looking at the merchandise, rather than the ground I was walking on.

At this delightful grove, I found a precious doll cradle and an adorable Shaker pine plank seat nursing rocking chair with painted decorations on the back, front of the seat, and rocker blades.  When I turned it over, I found that it was signed "C.S. Breneman, May 20th 1933, Lancaster."  I also bought a few smaller items.

Next stop: the Mad Hatter Antique Mall and their sister shop, the Pine Hills Antique Mall.  While there was some furniture at these malls, most of the vendors offer small items for sale, with lots of glass showcases in addition to the vendor booths.  I found a white ironstone platter and a pine hand mirror for good prices.  I also got a pair of cobalt blue glass candlesticks and a couple of jadite pieces.

I know I bought more than I have mentioned and I will have fun rediscovering these pieces as I unpack my boxes and bags!  While I really enjoyed this antiquing trip, I am still exhausted from the many hours of walking around the malls and booths.  For me, Adamstown will likely become a two or three times a year outing.  I still love the convenience of the more local antique sources for weekly visits.

Please share your experiences and fave spots for antiquing with me and my other readers.


Monday, September 27, 2010

Gracefully Blending the Old and New


It is a rainy day here in New Jersey, but a great day for writing to all of you.

Many people wonder how they can blend antique items with their new decor.  What they may not realize is that antiques actually tend to soften a contemporary decor.  Antiques work well when combined with traditional, French, or other styles.  Each antique item represents a piece of history and has a story that goes with it.

It can be exciting to use your imagination to come up with other ways to use vintage furniture.  An element in common between the new and vintage furniture can help pull a room together.  For instance, you might repeat the wood color of the antique pieces in the new pieces.  Antique accessories also make interesting topics for conversation, especially when used in different ways.  In this family room photo, an antique school desk makes a fabulous end table.  The color of the wood in the desk blends well with the sofa and the color in the pillows and quilt.

Contrast can make antiques look their best.  For example, you might use an antique dining room table with new upholstered chairs.  This can look terrific, not to mention the chairs are more comfortable.  The dining chairs that go with the antique table can be used as side chairs in other rooms.

Try using an heirloom quilt with a modern sheet set in the bedroom.  Antique baskets are as great for storage on a new wall unit as are the new baskets on the market now.  Repurposing antiques may also make use of "parts" remaining from antique items.  In this example, the base and treddle from a vintage sewing machine now form the base of a terrific table.

Centerpieces made with antiques can be delightful.  A bowl can be used on a table to display a collection, such as antique door knobs or vintage glass ornaments during the holidays.  Try using a dough box on a large table to fill with flowers.  This centerpiece was made by my sister Lisa with a beautiful yellow-ware bowl.

Antique photographs or letters from your family members may be framed and hung on the wall or placed on a shelf.  Other art can be made by framing a crocheted doily against the backdrop of a cloth napkin, or try hanging one or more plates as artwork.  You can also try vintage frames on new art.  Some antique enthusiasts hang a row of door knobs on the wall to use as coat hooks.

Besides using contrast, you can create an interesting display of accessories such as a single color grouping of glass.  I do this with cobalt blue glass bottles and vases.  You might display a collection of green depression glassware or of vintage white ironstone pitchers.  If you buy and use what you like you will never be disappointed.  One rule of design you might try following is to group items in odd numbers, which surprisingly is more visually appealing.

Your selection of window treatments and area rugs can also help pull together a room with different periods of furniture and accessories.

The blend of homey antiques with a more modern group of furnishings is eclectic and tells a story of who YOU are!  Be confident when you combine the old and new, as this creates a richness and depth to your home environment.  So get that imagination going and start blending the old with the new!  Please comment on this post and share your ideas with me and my other readers.


Thursday, September 23, 2010

I Love Cobalt Blue Bottles!

Like many others, I love cobalt blue bottles and have been collecting them for years.  These bottles have historically been used for several purposes.

One of the main uses was for POISON.  These bottles are very decorative to make it easy to identify the contents as poison.  Because no standard was adopted in the 1800's, despite efforts of the American Pharmaceutical Association and American Medical Association, poison bottles were made in a wide variety of shapes, sizes, and patterns.  Many were manufactured with a skull and crossbones, or skulls, leg bones or coffins.  Ribbed or quilted surfaces on the bottles and diamond or lattice type patterns were used to be able to identify by touch that the contents of the bottle were poisonous.  Most poison bottles were produced in dark blues and browns, rather than clear coloring, to help aid the identification of the poisonous contents.

Ink well bottles were produced in several colors, among them cobalt blue.  This ink bottle, while beautiful, may be a reproduction.  It does not have the characteristic conical shape of an antique ink bottle.

Medicinal bottles were also made in cobalt blue and other colors.  Medicine bottles include all those made specifically for PATENTED medicines.  Bitter and cure bottles are not considered medicine bottles because the mixtures were of questionable efficacy and were not patented.  I love the medicinal bottle below on the left, with its early "measuring cup" style of lid.

While some collectors may admire many different colors and types of early bottles, we each collect according to our own preferences, with mine being the cobalt blue color.  You may wish to collect other colors or types of bottles.  There is a great resource book for bottle collectors, Antique Trader Bottles Identification & Price Guide by Michael Polak.  I love the color photographs in the book too.

Please comment on this posting or the topics you would like to see in future postings.


Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Antique Stoneware Crocks

Antique stoneware crocks are beautiful to use around your home, are fun to collect, and are a great investment.  Values are going up every year for good quality antique crocks.  I have several I inherited from my mother and others I have bought over the years and I love them.

The Production of Stoneware

Antique stoneware crocks are made of clay and fired in a kiln to the strength of stone.  The salt glaze was formed by throwing salt into the kiln, which bonded with the silica in the clay forming the glass glaze.  In different areas of the country, different glazing methods were used to produce different colors from yellows to deep brow.  Unique cobalt blue decorations were also created with cobalt oxide.

A Brown Crock I Recently Purchased

A Cobalt Decorated Crock I Inherited from my Mother

The Value of a Stoneware Crock

The manufacturer, condition of the piece, the cobalt decoration and still having a lid are the key factors affecting the value of your crock.  It is very difficult to find crocks that still have their original lids.

The popularity of stoneware crocks has led to numerous reproduction crocks being sold today, so ask the antique dealer if it is original or a reproduction before you buy one.

I am sure you will enjoy having an antique crock or two in your home as much as I do!


Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Mason Jars

A Brief History of Mason Jars

Canning or fruit jars became known as mason jars, named after the inventor, John L. Mason.  As most everyone knows, the mason jar is a reusable glass container with a thread in the top.  It is used with a zinc lid and rubber ring to seal it.  These jars are embossed with "Mason's Patent Nov. 30th. 1858."  Manufacturers of mason jars continued using this embossing until approximately 1920.

Other types of closures for mason jars followed, including zinc screw lids with a white milk-glass insert, glass lids with a thumb screw clamp, glass screw on lids, and glass lids with a wire bale.  In the 1920's, came the Atlas E-Z Seal and Atlas Strong Shoulder jars.  Then Alexander H. Kerr  used patents held by Julius Landsberger to product the Economy jar with a metal lid with a permanently fastened composition gasket.  The Economy jars were inexpensive, and easy to use and fill.  In 1915, Kerr invented a lid composed of a metal disk with the same gasket attached.  The lid sealed the jar and a threaded metal ring held it in place.  This new Kerr lid allowed for the re-use of canning jars.

In the late 1880's, the Ball brothers built an empire to mass produce and distribute canning jars throughout the country.  During World War II, an effort was made to conserve the use of steel and tin for the war effort.  Glass lids temporatily replaced the tin and zinc lids on mason jars.  After the end of the war, home canning began to decline.


The value of a canning jar depends on the embossing, color, shape, mold marks, size and type of closure.  Very common mason jars are worth under $10, while some rarer versions can be worth $100 or more to collectors.  Square jars tend to be worth more than round jars, since fewer square jars were made.  In addtion, jars with the number 13 seem to be sought after by some collectors.  The number identified the glass blower and his/her team.

Dating Your Mason Jars

You should look at the bottom of your canning jars to see if there is a pontil mark, left by a glass blower.  The oldest bottles were made by glass blowers and have no seams.  If so, the jar is probably pre-1855.  Older jars will also have a rough lip compared with newer jars.  Seams are indicative of a jar that is machine made.  Machine made jars had mold seams from the bottom to the top of the jar.  These jars are circa 1915 or later.

Do you collect mason jars?  Please comment to share your experiences!


Monday, September 20, 2010

My Latest Antique Expedition

I love going shopping at flea markets, antique shops and antique malls, don't you?  This week I went to the Olde Engine Works antique mall in Stroudsburg, PA.  This mall has a large number of booths that truly offer antiques in every booth.  There was some furniture in some booths, but mainly a lot of pottery, porcelain, glass, toys, pictures and frames, jewelry, vintage clothing, etc.

It took me about 2 hours to explore all of the booths at the Olde Engine Works.  I had a great time!  I bought a beautiful caned seat chair, a lovely brown crock and a large blue mixing bowl.  I also got a cobalt blue glass bowl and a perfume bottle, also in cobalt blue, my favorite color.

Among the glass there, I saw a lot of depression glass in various colors, canning jars, vases, etc.  I bought a Kerr's Mason Jar and a Ball Jar, both with glass lids.  I also got a couple of things for this year's Christmas gifts!

The staff at the Olde Engine Works was very helpful, coming down the aisles to take selected merchandise from me and put it on the holding table for me.  This was a big help!

It is always nice to combine an antique expedition with another activity for the day and this time I got the chance to visit my Mom in the nursing home where she lives.  We had a very good visit!

If you want to visit the Olde Engine Works, it is located at 62 N. Third St., Stroudsburg, PA 18360 (570-421-4340).  It is definitely worth the trip if you live in Southeastern PA or Northwestern NJ.


Saturday, September 18, 2010

Depression Glass

From the late 1920's through early 1940's, depression glass was made to be sold to the average person who could not afford to purchase much finer glassware.  Machine made, rather than handmade, depression glass was made in large quantities and numerous colors.  You can find depression glass in pink, green, amber, yellow, pale blue, clear, ruby and cobalt blue.  By far, green is the most popular color among collectors.  Cobalt blue and ruby are among the more difficult colors to find.

This glassware was priced reasonably and small pieces were also included in purchases of other products, either in the package itself or handed out at check-out.  Many women collected sets of glassware through weekly dish nights at the local movie theaters, which gave away a new piece each week.  Popular "refrigerator boxes" for storage were given away by Westinghouse with the purchase of a new refrigerator.  Today, depression era glass is one of the most popular collectible items.

Depression glass was made by a number of companies such as Hocking, Jeannette, Hazel-Atlas and Federal.  Collectors each have their own style of collecting depression glass, either by pattern and manufacturer, type of piece such as candy dishes, or by color.  Due to its popularity as a collectible, depression glass is gradually becoming more scarce.

There have been a lot of reproductions of depression glass, so buyers need to educate themselves.  Has the item of interest been reproduced?  What are the signs of a reproduction?  There are many books available on this subject.

If you are interested in collecting depression era glass, I recommend you consider looking into membership in the National Depression Glass Association.  They have a wealth of information available on their website, as well as a newsletter by members.

In the next blog posting, look for "This Week's Antique Expedition."

Kind regards,

Friday, September 17, 2010

Antique Mirrors

"Mirror, mirror, on the wall, who is the fairest of them all?"  We have all heard this famous quotation.  While new and antique mirrors are plentiful today, mirrors were a rarity in early America.  Nowadays, we hang many mirrors, not just to look at our reflections, but to reflect our home design preferences and to reflect light around the room.

Have you shopped for new mirrors?  They can be very expensive, even in a discount home products store.  Antique mirrors can be even more beautiful and less expensive as well.  There are many types of antique mirrors, though the vertical rectangular wall mirror is most prevalent.  Some of these mirrors have beautiful carvings or gilt on the frame.  Other mirrors have simple oak frames or primitive pine frames.

Shaving mirrors can still be found in antique shops and flea markets.  These are small tilting mirrors with their own stand designed to be used on top of a chest of drawers.  Some of them also have a drawer under the mirror.

Mirrors designed to go over mantels are short and wide.  Sometimes they are made in three horizontal sections.  These over mantel mirrors can still be found fairly easily.

Bull's-eye mirrors are convex and reflect a smaller area than conventional mirrors.  These are sometimes called a butler's mirror because the butler could keep an eye on the dining room with this mirror.  Often created with elaborate gold frames, bull's-eye mirrors are also widely reproduced.

Antique hand mirrors are also fairly easy to find, sometimes with other pieces of a dresser set such as the brush and small storage boxes.  I recently found a miniature antique hand mirror dsegined for a woman's purse.

Mirrors with a beveled edge are a lot more beautiful than flat mirrors, however they can be more expensiove.

It is interesting that mirrors float in their frames, with about 1/8th of an inch space left around the mirror.  This is done so that changes in temperature that expand the wood frame will not result in a broken mirror or frame.

If you have a mirror that is in very poor condition, it is possible to have the back of the glass stripped and resilvered by a professional.  If there are only a few smaller impurities in the mirror, I find this to give the piece a lot of character and would not have it resilvered.

If a mirror is broken, you may wish to have a new mirror placed in the antique frame.  The frame is the most beautiful part of the antique to begin with.

Please comment on this post and also let me know what topics interest you for future posts of Antiques for Today's Lifestyle.


Thursday, September 16, 2010

Caring for Antique Furniture and Wooden Collectibles

While we all know how to dust furniture, caring for antique furniture and wooden collectibles requires a bit more effort.  First of all, it is best to keep antique wooden items out of direct sunlight or, if placed near a window, to occasionally move pieces around so that different spots are in the sun at different times.  In addition, it is a good idea to keep wooden pieces away from radiators.  Heating systems can cause wood to dry out too much.  Also, storing antique wooden items in the hot attic is not a good idea.  Use common sense and  place items on tabletops on coasters or placemats to protect the table surface.

When you buy a new wooden antique, you should inspect the piece for furniture beetles so you don't bring the insects into your home.  Wood worms leave wormholes and fresh sawdust near the holes is a sign of an infestation.  Check under the piece and near crevices where the beetles may hide.  If you find beetles, you can purchase an insecticide from your local hardware store to brush onto the wood or spray into the worm holes.

Wood is porous and can absorb dirt and grease.  Protective finishes can be marked by water, other liquids and heat.  You can remove white marks or rings with a mildly abrasive cleaner and a soft cloth.  Be careful not to rub so much that you take off the protective finish.

Check fittings such as hinges or castors and, if too worn, have them replaced before damage is done to the wood near the fittings.

Repair and restoration of wooden antiques is best done by an experienced professional.  If you want to try this on your own, consult with a professional first.  You can also pick up one of many books that walk you through the processes of removing or filling scratches, repairing holes, raising dents, stripping the wood to be refinished, replacing the finish, repairing veneers, and repairing or replacing decorative edges or inlays.  One book I have is Care and Repair of Antiques & Collectibles, by Albert Jackson & David Day.  I find a better selection of books about antiques online than in book stores.

If you take good care of your antique furniture and wooden collectibles, they should last for generations to come.

Kind regards,

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Antique Furniture

In the current economic times, antique furniture is more popular than ever.  Not only is antique furniture beautiful, it is often available at far lower prices than new furniture.  It is also a great investment.  In years past, furniture makers crafted beautiful, high quality pieces that were made to last.  New furniture may not be of the same high quality construction as antique furniture.

These days, people are combining the old and the new to create beautiful eclectic\room designs.  There are many styles of antique furniture to fit the tastes of many different antique lovers such as Queen Anne, Federal style, Victorian, Mission/Arts and  Crafts, and many others.

Need a place to hang your jacket when you get home?  A beautiful old hall tree near the front door can fill the bill.

What about a dining room set?  Antique tables, chairs, china closets and side boards are readily available.  Just need a few more chairs for your current dining set?  Mix in several antique chairs.  If the fabric seat covers are worn or out of date, it is very easy to recover the seats with new upholstery fabric from your local fabric store that will combine beautifully with your decor.

In the bedroom, times have gravitated toward larger beds than in the past.  However, antique bedroom sets can still be used.  Place the full size headboard on the wall behind your queen bed.  Use the his and hers dressers from the antique set.  Or use an antique mirror in your bedroom.  Many styles of antique mirrors are available, often with beveled glass, at lower prices than for new mirrors.  How about an antique occasional table or washstand as a night stand by the bed.

In the living room, consider antique tables by the chairs and sofa.  An antique sofa or settee can be reupholstered to fit into your decor and the sturdy construction of the piece will last for years.  What about a rocking chair in that reading nook you have?

The most popular antique furniture pieces tend to be those that many people need, such as desks, chairs and dressers.  Smaller antique furniture pieces are extremely useful because they are easy to move around.

Please comment to share your ideas for using antique furniture for your lifestyle today.  I am always interested in new ideas for my home too.


Monday, September 13, 2010

What makes an antique worth saving or buying?

For me, saving an antique that was handed down by my mother is a no-brainer.  Of course I will save it  - it's a family heirloom!

For other people, ask yourself: Do I love it?  How will I use it?  As the saying goes, beauty is in the eye of the beholder.  Only you can decide if an antique you inherited is something you want to save.

Factors that you may consider when deciding to save or buy an antique include:

Beauty - Do you love the item?  How will you use it?

Age - Typically an item is considered an antique when it is 100 years old, however this is not a hard and fast definition.  There are many items considered antiques that are not yet 100 years old.

Rarity - The fewer of an item that remains in existence, the more valuable it may be, though not necessarily.  Some older pieces are beautiful and others make me wonder, who would want that?

How easy it is to find a desired antique piece - Just because it is hard to find a particular type of antique, that does not necessarily mean it is rare.  These days, more people seem to be hanging on to their family antiques.

Restoration already done - An item is still considered an antique if at least 60% of it is still original.  It is certainly understandable that old pieces may be in need of repair.  Dealers will usually tell you if an item has been restored and what has been done to the item.

Need for restoration - If you want to buy an antique that is in need of repair, consider whether you want to repair it yourself or have it restored.  Can you afford to have it restored on top of the purchase price?  Also, do you have the skills to do the restoration yourself?  Your local hardware store representative can assist you with tools required, paints, stains, varnishes, etc.

Price - What is the item worth?  You can certainly check the value of antiques with reference books such as Kovels' Antiques & Collectibles Price Guide 2011.  If I am making a purchase for my own use, I think about how much I love it and what it is worth to me.  If I am purchasing an item for resale, of course I think about how much I may be able to sell the item for.

After all is said and done, what makes an antique worth saving or buying is different for every individual.

If you are enjoying this blog, please tell your friends about it.

Best regards,

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Have you ever wondered what to do with Grandma's antiques you inherited?

If you are like me, you have inherited some antiques that were passed down from generation to generation.  While you may have a love of antiques, do you wonder what you can you do with them besides put them on display in your home?

Certainly the display of antiques can be quite beautiful, but my sisters and I believe antiques were meant to be used.  Of course you can use an antique for its intended purpose, a table is a table after all! If you use your imagination, you may find quite a few more uses for your antiques.

For example:
An antique pitcher can be a vase.
A butter pat from Grandma's china set can be a votive holder.
A bone dish from Grandma's china set can be a spoon rest.
A blanket chest can store quite a few things besides blankets.
An antique bottle can be a bud vase.
A candy dish can just as easily be used to serve nuts.

Plates make unique wall art, either hung with a plate holder or enclosed in a shadow box.  My sister gave me two plates covered with pansies and I am working on a project to put them in shadow boxes to hang in my living room.

An antique chair combines well with a new vanity in place of the vanity bench.
An antique oil lamp can be used as an electrical lamp with a simple light kit from the hardware store.

Similarly, any item you wish can become an electric lamp.  My sister had one of Grandma's Ball jars converted into a lamp with a light kit and shade.  It now sits on my desk where I can enjoy it every day.

Mom always had a large antique crock by the front door to collect and store umbrellas that were not in use.

Doll furniture can be used for other purposes as well.  At Christmas, I put out my stuffed reindeer, Santas and snowmen in various doll chairs and sleds.  I have also seen doll china closets hung on walls to display smaller collectible items.

You can also try collecting an odd number of glass candlesticks in the same color or complementary colors to put out your candles.  Who says that candles always have to be displayed in a pair of matching candlesticks?

My sister uses an old child's school desk as an endtable and it looks terrific!

How you use your family or purchased antiques is entirely up to you and your imagination.  Do you have a unique way that you have used an antique item?  Please share it with me and the readers of my blog.

Antiques are a great way to put the "reuse" in "Reduce, reuse, recycle."  This is especially true during the current economy.