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Saturday, November 27, 2010

Gift Ideas from the Antique World

Do you have any antique lovers on your gift list this holiday season? I know I do. There are many antiques and collectibles available from your local antique mall and shops that may fit your gift giving budget.
Depending on what your family members and friends collect, you might get another item for their collection. You also might get them another type of collectible you think they will like.

For family and friends who do not collect antiques, there are also gifts from the antique world that will fit with their modern lifestyle.

Gift Ideas $30 or Less
  • Depression glass vases in ruby, green, cobalt or clear colors.

  • Glass or brass candlesticks - singles or pairs. I love grouping several individual candlesticks in the same color instead of using pairs. Bonus: they are easier to find and less expensive.

  • Ball jars - great for kitchen storage or workbench storage, as well as for display.

  • Vintage postcards, stamps, coins.
  • Costume jewelry.
  • Vintage Barbie dolls and clothing without the original packaging.
  • Other vintage dolls and toys.

  • Hand mirrors for the dresser.
  • Lanterns.

Gift Ideas $30 to $100

  • A rocking chair - still amazingly comfortable after all these years!
  • A wall or mantle clock.
  • A wall mirror.
  • Vintage clothing for the fashionista.
  • Vintage jewelry, handbags.
  • A yellow ware bowl.
  • Ironstone platters and bowls.
  • Vintage Barbie dolls in the original packaging.
  • A child's rocking chair or school desk.

  • A great occasional table or end table.
  • A lamp.

You can find many more unique and unusual gift ideas just by browsing through your local antiques mall. Go this weekend while the sales are on.

Still unsure what to buy? Many antique malls also offer gift cards!

Please comment to share other ideas you have for unique and antique gifts.


Friday, November 26, 2010

Hope You Had a Very Happy Thanksgiving

I spent Thanksgiving at my sister's home in the mountains. My other sister and her family also came, as did my niece's boyfriend's family. We had a larger gathering than usual. My sister borrowed a second table and set up the longest dining table I have ever seen!

We had a terrific turkey dinner, with all the trimmings. Great job sis!

It was wonderful to have everyone together on the same day, especially since it just doesn't happen very often any more. I am thankful that I have such wonderful sisters and that they share their families with me!

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving too!



Sunday, November 21, 2010

Simple Holiday Craft with a Vintage Dish


I am sorry I have not written a posting for the past week or so.  I was away, but now I am back to work again!

I have accumulated several clear vintage cut glass dishes and decided to use them to make holiday candle decorations.  I am using the vintage dish as the plate for a pillar candle.  You can easily find many types of small plates that will work for this craft at a flea market or garage sale.

Buying pillar candles in a multi-pack saves a little money over buying one pillar candle if you want to make more than one decoration.  I found a multi-pack of red pillars at Michaels.  Select any color that you like for your decoration!

Also at Michaels, I found a holiday garland to use in making a candle wreath.  Both Michaels and A.C. Moore have a selection of garlands to choose from.

I measured around the circumference or edge of the dish to see how long the garland should be.  Then I used a pair of wire cutters to cut the garland to the desired length plus about 2 inches of overlap.  Then I overlapped the ends of the cut piece of garland and tied them together with green floral wire, which I also found at Michaels.  To finish it off, I cut a length of wired ribbon to make a bow for the candle ring.

The finished holiday candle decoration looks like this:

I hope you enjoyed reading this post about a simple holiday craft.  Please comment on this post and let me know what topics are of interest for future posts.


Thursday, November 11, 2010

Making Christmas Ornaments from Vintage Items


A little ribbon and a couple of hooks and these lamp prisms from the flea market make fantastic Christmas tree ornaments. They really reflect the tree lights too! I found quite a few prisms in ruby, amber, cobalt blue, and clear colors, also in a variety of shapes.

Vintage cookie cutters in holiday shapes such as trees, stars, bells, reindeer, and gingerbread men and women also make great ornaments, with a little ribbon to hang them on a tree.

I also found some vintage keys at a flea market that make simple ornaments too.

Just the other day, I thought of hanging colored glass swizzle sticks on the Christmas tree too! I love colored glass, especially when it reflects the light. I used a little floral wire to wrap around the top of the swizzle stick and then form a loop above it where the hook can be attached.

I am sure there are quite a number of other vintage items that would also make fantastic Christmas tree ornaments. Please comment to let me know how you have used vintage items in your holiday decorating!


Veterans Day

What a beautiful, sunny, crisp, cool morning it is today!  There is a strong breeze blowing, just perfect for flying your United States flag in honor of our veterans who served our country!

Thank you to my Dad, my grandfathers, uncles and cousins who served our country!  Thank you to ALL of this great country's veterans!

My Dad gave me this flag many years ago and I have flown it every year since then, not only on Veterans Day, but on other holidays as well.

A neighbor's high flying flag.

Have a great day!


Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Vintage Sleds for Holiday Decor


Do you remember sledding on a wooden sled, hanging on to the rope as you flew downhill?  I still love looking at the old wooden sleds I see at various antique venues.  It isn't even Thanksgiving yet, but I am excited about preparing for Christmas.  I actually must prepare early for Christmas in my shop.  This year I decided to buy several vintage sleds to decorate for the Christmas and winter seasons for my shop, Antiques for Today's Lifestyle, at Rosebush Antiques Mall in Levittown, PA.

So far, I found 3 sleds and have decorated 2 of them and placed them in my shop.  The one shown below sold in just 2 days!

Isn't it just beautiful!

The second sled is still at the shop and looks similar to the sled above, but with no rope and gold ribbons instead of red ribbons.

The third sled is the most "vintage" or worn of the bunch.  I will be decorating this sled to put in the booth this week too.  I think I will go with red ribbons again.

I hope you enjoyed seeing these vintage sleds.  Please comment on this post and let your friends know about my blog at


Monday, November 8, 2010

What a Great Find!


I frequently visit the Golden Nugget Antiques Flea Market in Lambertville, NJ.  It is not too far from home and, on a good day, there are a great many vendors.  Although  I was not specifically looking for one, yesterday I found a fluting iron that I have wanted.  My mother had one and it now belongs to my sister.  Now I have one too!  One of the vendors had quite a few antique irons for sale.  It can be easy to find vintage irons, though fluting irons are somewhat harder to find.

This is the fluting iron I bought.  It is known as a rocker fluter.  The rocker fluter is the most commonly found type of fluting iron.

This photo was taken of the underside of the base of the iron.

If you are not familiar with different types of antique irons, you may be wondering, what is a fluting iron?  A fluting iron was used to create pleats in clothing on hemlines, cuffs, and so on.  The person ironing the garment would heat the iron, insert the fabric to be pleated between the top and bottom of the iron and manually roll the top of the iron back and forth over the fabric.  Typically the garment would first be washed, starched and wrung out to damp dry prior to ironing.  The fluting iron was often used on petticoat edges and dress trims to give them the desired flare.

I find the fluting iron, even the most common type, to be very interesting and beautiful to behold.

Please comment on this post.  I would love to read your comments and so would other readers.  Please tell your friends about my blog too.  They can view it at .

Lynn MacKerell

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Antique and Vintage Christmas Ornaments


My favorite decorating season is Christmas! I love remembering all the ornaments I have as I decorate the tree. I have accumulated many ornaments over the years from various places and each one has a special memory. Some are new ornaments, some are antiques or vintage glass or china ornaments, some are repurposed antique items. This is my absolute favorite antique ornament in cobalt blue glass. Since I found this many years ago, I have never seen another one like it!

When my sisters and I were growing up, our mother had a full set of white china bells, complete with clapper, that have a glorious ring to them. Now my sisters and I each have a few of these beautiful bells! Unfortunately, a few of them were broken in years past, so there is no longer a complete set.

Like many other families, we also had lots of Shiny Brite glass ornaments. Shiny Brite was one of the brands of beautiful thin glass ornaments. My favorites were the indents, with indented sides to the ornaments.

My newer ornaments are each unique and evoke memories of places I have visited over the years and Christmases when my sisters gave me ornaments they made or purchased just for me.

Please comment on this post and share your favorite antique or vintage ornament stories.


Thursday, November 4, 2010

I Found a Fiesta Ware Shop


It is a cold rainy day in NJ.  BRRRR.

I really like the bright colors of Fiesta Ware, but have never really known that much about this collectible, so I did a little research for myself and to share with you.  I also found a shop specializing in Fiesta Ware at the Tomato Factory Antique Center in Hopewell, NJ.  My photographs of Fiesta Ware were taken there, with permission.

A Brief History of Fiesta Ware

In 1936 the Homer Laughlin China Company introduced the Fiesta dinnerware line.  Five colors were available, including red, cobalt blue, yellow, green and ivory.  The colors were selected to blend well together in order to be able to mix pieces of different colors together.  Early in 1937, turquoise was added.

A cobalt blue gravy boat and bowl circa 1936.

A green creamer circa 1936.

An ivory sugar circa 1936.

A turquoise coffee mug circa 1937.

The most popular color is red, despite the higher cost due to the greater cost of producing this color.  Uranium oxide was added to the glaze to create the red color.  During World War II, the government confiscated the uranium because it could be used in atomic bomb construction.  The Fiesta red color was no longer available until 1959, when it was produced using depleted uranium in the glaze.  In 1981, the Food and Drug Administration determined that the radioactivity level was low enough not to be a health hazzard.  However, in 1994 it was determined that the red pieces were leaching radon into the air through cracks in the pottery glaze, so it is best to stay away from the vintage red pieces of Fiesta Ware.

In the 1950s, Fiesta Ware was produced in different colors, including forest greem, gray, rose, chartreuse, and finally medium-green.  Here is a rose bowl circa 1950.

By the 1960s the brighter colors were back in style.  Then trends moved toward the earth tones.  The entire Fiesta Ware line was retired in 1972.

In 1986, a new line of Fiesta Ware was developed.  The new line did not include the exact original colors.  One new color has been introduced each year and Fiesta dinnerware has become one of the most collectible items on the market today.

Pieces in the new Fiesta line are more angular/square in shape than the original round shape.  It is important to learn the difference in the original and newer lines so as not to be taken advantage of by an unethical dealer.

Three makers marks were used on the original line: “Fiesta/HLC USA”, “HLC/Fiesta/Made in USA”, and “Fiesta/Made in USA/HL Co.”.  Fiesta has been widely copied and since about 1940 the company also used the mark “Genuine”.   Color also helps determine the age of a piece of Fiesta Ware.  If you know when a specific color was made, then you know the age of the piece.

Knock-offs of original Fiesta Ware also have circles near the rim of each piece that are all equidistant from each other, rather than getting closer and closer together as on this true Fiesta Ware piece.

I hope you have enjoyed reading this post.  Please share your comments and also share this blog with your friends.  They can find this blog at .


Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Cobalt Blue Depression Glass


I have always loved the color of cobalt blue, especially in glassware.  Whether antique or reproduction, glass in this color just reaches out and grabs my attention like a little girl in a candy shop.  Daylight really shows off this color, like no other.  I have been collecting cobalt blue glass for many years and I still have the same reaction every time I see cobalt blue glass in a shop or magazine.  While some collectors are only interested in genuine articles, if cost is prohibitive, the reproduction pieces are also extremely beautiful.

Authentic cobalt blue depression glass was made in the 1930s and 1940s.  There are many pieces that are popular collectible items, though genuine pieces may be difficult to find in the cobalt blue color.  Several companies made depression glass in cobalt blue, though Hazel Atlas Glass Company manufactured the Moderntone and Royal Lace patterns that are favorites among collectors.  This is a cream and sugar set in the Moderntone pattern.

Collecting cobalt blue depression glass can be quite pricey, even for patterns that are not as well known as the Modertone and Royal Lace.

This is a chevron milk pitcher in cobalt blue.

Here is a nut or candy dish with its metal handle.  While many glass serving dishes are still available, it is difficult to find them with the metal handles they originally came with.

This refrigerator storage box in cobalt blue glass is relatively rare by comparison with refrigerator boxes in other colors.

As with any collectible, beauty is in the eye of the beholder.  Perhaps you love colored glass too, but in another color such as green, ruby, amber, or pink.

Please share your comments on this post with me and other readers.  Also, let your friends know about my blog at .


Monday, November 1, 2010

Look What I Found!


Last weekend on my way home from a trip to Atlantic City, I took Route 30 instead of the Atlantic City Expressway and stopped at several antique shops I have never been to before.  I had a great time.  You never know what you might find when you venture off the beaten path.  I found a couple of desks and chairs that I will write about another time and I found a unique lamp.

Although I have seen many antique light fixtures and lamps during my antiquing expeditions, I have not seen any of these small lamps before.  In one week I found two of these lamps in different parts of NJ and PA.  I found the second lamp in a shop I visited one day this past week in Southeastern PA.

I believe they are hobnailed green depression glass lamps typically used on a dresser, though I am not sure if the shades are replacements or original.  While not identical, I think this "pair" of lamps looks beautiful together.

Please comment on this post and make suggestions for future topics to cover in my posts.