Tag Archives: antiques

The Library: My Office Away from Home

Hello Monday

Since this weekend was a bust, I decided to show you our library, my office away from home.

I mean, I could talk about how FringeMan came down with the stomach bug, but that’s not a good Monday morning topic.  Let’s just say I declared the second floor of our house a contamination zone and I slept on the couch.  The kids and I stayed as far away from home as possible, so of course that meant at least one trip to the library.

Library: my office away from home

This room is my office away from home.  I plant myself here every time I come to the library.  Usually the entire table is covered with my junk, a few books, and a random magazine or two.  I use the power strip on the floor to plug in my laptop and I go to town.

They have a coffee machine too.  What more do you need?

Books – Coffee – WiFi

Antique bookcases in the public libraryThese bookcases are in my office.  They help me feel smart.

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Our library is part old house and part 70’s mod addition.  If you walk from room to room too quickly, you end up in a time warp.

I’ll just show you the old part today.

conference room in library

sitting area in libraryIsn’t this a pretty little nook?  It’s the perfect place for a game of chess or lunch with a friend.  At Christmas, they had a pretty tree right in front of those windows.

vintage lighting fixture on old tray ceiling

The ceilings and moldings are the true masterpieces.  They just don’t build modern houses with such artistic details.

antique lighting fixture, mirror, American flag

As the story goes, and I hope I remember all the facts, our library had a great big fire that made their building unusable.  A family in town donated this house to be used as the new library.  Some time after the addition was built.

antinque light fixture in library

The library is right in the center of town and we often walk to it.

reflection of a women in the mirror

You would think I wouldn’t have any late fees, but I do.

I have long history with libraries.  I’ll leave it at that.

libraries conference room antique furniture

vintage Jaddte lampThis lamp looks like Jadite, but I’m not sure.  Maybe I should convince them to let me bring it the antiques roadshow or something.

collection of vintage ceramic dogs

The library also has random collections of old things, like these ugly ceramic dogs.  They change the collections out from time to time so the patrons can enjoy them.

antique bronze statue of a man

And no library tour would be complete without a naked man on the mantel.

Yes, this is in my office.

So that completes my library tour, at least the really old portion of it.  Despite the antiques, the card catalog is computerized and the librarians are absolute dolls.  They teach us the history of the town and area, get us whatever books we want, and know us by name.

I love my library.

What about you?  Do you visit your library very often?

Heart of A War Bride

Today I am linking with a Mom2MemphisAndRuby for Thrifty Finds Link Party. Hope over and see lots of other great finds…after you read this post and see mine. 😉

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My name is Ade Johnson.  I was born in Brooklyn, New York  on a warm summer’s night in 1920.  I am the oldest of four children, three of us girls and my brother, Patrick.  He was drafted nine months ago and his last letter arrived in October, eighty-three days without correspondance.  My mother sits in her room and cries for hours.  My sister’s can’t understand her melancholy, but I know.

Now, I do know.

I met Jim at the spring dance.  Every available person under the age of thirty was there.  War loomed near and we took full advantage of any excuse for a little fun.

I could smell the garbage on eighteenth street and yesterday’s rotting fish from down at the wharf, but only faintly.  Perfume was the smell that whirled around girls skirts, little wafts escaped with every flip of the hair.  It was intoxicating.

Well, that and Jim’s blue eyes.  I hadn’t ever seen eyes so blue, like the lake in that child’s book my mother read over and over to my little sister Betsie.  I got lost in those lakes, dance after dance, until he stopped me to go for drinks.  Told me he couldn’t dance another minute, not even with a pretty girl like me, until he had some punch.

I knew that night – I think I knew by the end of the first dance – I would love James Johnson the Third till death do us part.

Only I never figured death as part of our lives.  We were too young, too strong, too in love.

We were to be married on May tenth, my father’s birthday.  He would have loved Jim, but an accident down at the warehouse took him from us just after Betsie was born.  I feared my mother wouldn’t make it, but she clung to Betsie like she was her lifeline, her last connection to her husband of eighteen and a half years.

The day Jim received a letter saying his draft card was pulled is the day I began to die inside.  I had a bad feeling, but I kept a smile on face, right up to the time Jim boarded that train.  I didn’t let him see me cry.  Mother said I should be strong for him.  He needed to know I would be well, that I would wait for him.

I tried to convince him to marry me before he left.  I wanted to elope, to run far away with him, far away from war and the army, and I never wanted to return.  He said we couldn’t do that.  He was glad to go to war.  Oh, he would miss me, I knew that, but the call of duty was stronger than love itself.

I hate the war.  I hate the army.  I hate duty and drab green uniforms.

The night before he left, Jim and I sat on the water’s edge.  The wharf was busy with activity, day and night, but for us, there were only two people on the dock that night.

He reached into his pocket and pulled a little silver ring out, a promise ring – a promise to return, to love me forever, to make me his wife.

Taking my hand, he slipped the ring on my left ring finger, where my wedding should have been going.  He told me that he would think of me every single day and when I started missing him, all I had to do was look down at his heart, the heart I was wearing on my fourth finger.

Our names were inscribed – Jim + Ade.

Right next to our names was the year, 1942.  The year we should have been married.

I said it was bad luck putting the year on the ring.  1942 wasn’t the end, only the beginning.  Our love would last so many years, as many years as forever.

Jim laughed at me.  He didn’t believe in luck, only love.

Now it’s 2007, a lifetime of years away from 1942.  I still look down at the fourth finger on my left hand every time I’m missing him.  Jim never came home.  He was killed in Berlin on February 25, 1943.

I’m so old now.  I’m almost glad Jim can’t see me with all my wrinkles and thin hair.  My eyes aren’t so good anymore, but in my mind, I still see his blue eyes.  Every time I close my eyelids, his blue lakes look down on me.  Some days I will my eyes not to open.  I just want to get lost in a sea of blue, in the memory of love.

I won’t be around much longer.  I never married and have no children.  I am not alone in this world though.  Jim is with me in my heart.  I do hope I am burried with the ring on my wedding finger.

vintage war bride ring of loveI don’t know if Ade’s story is similar, but every time I look down at this ring I rescued from a pile of old junk, this is the love story that comes to mind.

I really hope Jim + Ade lived happily ever after.  1942 may have only been the beginning for them, but I’ll never know.  I’ll think of them though.  Every time I look down at my hand.

Sorry I can’t get a clear picture of the inscription.  I tried.  Oh, boy did I try, but I lack photography skills and a good camera, so you’ll just have to trust me.

Did you ever find a treasure and imagine a story to go with it?

Minor Changes

I don’t have much for you today, because this is my second day fighting off a migraine.  I’m not winning.

So instead of whining, I’ll show you a few small updates in my house.  First you’re going to need to tilt your head.  Although my house slants, it’s not this bad.  If it were, I’d roll out of my chair.

100_4392I’ve finally settled Agnes and Hunter.  If you haven’t met them, please click HERE on the post that caused some controversy over my being pretentious.  I came clean of all my pretentious ways HERE.

Anyway, I found this crate wooden crate that I flipped on its’ side and hung on the wall.  It’s now a little bookcase and duck house.

100_4391I also painted that little end table black…sorry this is another lousy picture, but remember, I have a migraine.  That’ll be my excuse today.  Make sure I don’t try and use it tomorrow.

100_4382I also painted this little table black, but I’ve already moved it to the living room.  It presently sits below the crate/bookshelf with my laptop on it.  I just grew weary of the laptop burning my legs.  If it were burning fat, I’d be ok, but it just singed skin – not ok.

100_4393Finally, a bottle has been added to the collection on my mantle.  It’s the white milk glass bottle to your far left with the rusty lid and it was a gift from my son.  FringeBoy has single-handedly built this bottle collection for me.  From the time he got his first shovel, he’s been digging up old bottles.  He would run into the house yelling, “I found an antique for you mommy!”

I’m not sure if I was more proud of him for bringing me gifts or for being able to define an “antique” at three.  This latest bottle is extra special because he unearthed it at a neighbor’s house.  The little boy whose land it was on thought this bottle was really special, but my son knows how much I like milk glass and he traded his toy rifle for it.  I couldn’t believe it!

That’s true love.

I couldn’t even get mad at him for leaving dirty hand prints all the way up the stairs on the walls I just painted.  In fact, that little bottle put him in such good graces that he could have done a lot of damage that day and gotten away scott free.  I’m glad his little mind isn’t that conniving yet.

Have your kids done anything extra special to surprise you lately?

That’s a loaded question, I know.  Those extra special surprises are usually not so great things – like the time my daughter powdered her entire room.  I never knew there was so much white stuff in one bottle of baby powder.  I’m still coughing up white clouds.

As a bonus, this song by Chris Tomlin has been running through my head all week, so I thought I’d share.  If you’d like to listen to ‘How Great Is Our God’ with me, click HERE.

What’s it Worth?

I’m a sucker for a salesman.  I could be talked into needing a rotating plastic hanger if someone knocked on my door selling one.  It’s my sympathetic heart.  I actually feel bad for salesman, so I’ll listen to them and feel like I need to buy something from them…just because.

I’ve been sold on vacuum cleaners, sets of knives, and even this aerosol spray that promises to remove marks, stains, and spots from just about any surface possible.  A college student once cleaned everything from my tires to crayon on my son’s wall.  I was convinced I needed a case of miracles in a spray can.

FringeMan doesn’t let me answer the door anymore.

Deep down I wish I were a good salesman myself.  I don’t know why, but I’m always drawn to sales jobs.  I get a rush when I talk someone into making a purchase.  It’s not quite as good as eating chocolate, but it’s better than cleaning the toilet.

Do you know what I mean?

Probably not.

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I’ve failed miserably at sales jobs in the past.  You think I would take a hint, but no.  If nothing else, I’m determined and just a bit stubborn.  So from time to time, I try my hand at selling things.  In recent years it’s been selling vintage type items on Ebay, Craigslist, or at yardsales.  Sometimes I just throw a coat of paint on some wooden table I pluck from the trash and then sell it for a slight profit.  Since I’m still furnishing my own home with castoffs, it’s pretty obvious that I’m not making a bundle, but I do generate some cash every so often.

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I’m intrigued by how value goes up or down according to geographic location.  For instance, I bought an old chenille bedspread in Maine last summer for $2.  I sold it at a yard sale in Long Island for $10.  I saw the same bedspread being sold here in Upstate NY for $5.  Go figure!

Some of you do this “antiquing/junking” for a living and others stay clear of fleamarkets/yardsales/antique stores because you cannot stand the thought of sitting your bottom on a cushion that someone’s grandpa may have fluffed.

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Regardless, how much do you think this trunk is worth?  It’s used as FringeMan’s nightstand.

Just curious…

100_4341That’s the inside.  I generally don’t open it because it smells fiercely of moth balls.

A Recycler at Heart

Here’s the plain ugly truth about me.

I pick through people’s garbage.

Sometimes.

I often complain that my daughter looks like a bag lady no matter how much effort I put into her appearance.  She only stays neat and clean for precious few minutes.  She could do a commercial where she plays a poor English peasant girl begging for a mite with a tin cup.  Unfortunately I’ve realized that the apple didn’t fall far from the tree.

I’m no better than she.  I’m just a grown-up bag lady which is much, much worse.

I wish my ultimate goal of rummaging through trash was that I’m a great environmentalist determined to live a life that reflects my ideals; however, I hide soda bottles in my own trash.  Please don’t tell the rubbish removal engineers who pick up my cans.  I also create a bigger pile of trash on garbage day than the twelve family tenement around the corner.  So I stand without excuse.

I pick through garbage because I like the thrill of a find.  I also like FREE stuff.  That either makes me cheap or poor or maybe a little of both.

I already showed you Fringeboy’s toybox that came out of the trash, but now I will show you how I am decorating my living with nothing but other people’s castaway junk.  The thing is that I’m loving the look.  I guess it helps that I have no defined style.  I like some mission furniture, traditional, a little modern, retro, and odd.  I don’t think garbage picking would work for me if I actually had a defined style.

Enough words, I’ll give you picture.  Before and after!

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Obviously this was before.  Notice the drop the ceiling, the ugly paneling, and the nasty green carpet.  That carpet was much worse than it looks.  You should have smelled it!  The paneling went to the ceiling, but they painted the top portion.

Next came stripping the walls.

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Yes, that’s me on the ladder.  Not a flattering picture.  I know!

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Next came the sterile looking room.  Many have doubted my non color choice for this room.  You’ve joked about it being the padded room, but I’m not completely crazy yet.  Have some confidence people!

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Yes, the leather chair came out of the trash…last Thursday night to be exact.  It’s well-loved, worn to a comfortable fit for FringeMan, and has a small hole in the bottom left corner, but I love it.  It’s exactly what I wanted for the living room.  I also have a brass swing arm floor lamp that will sit slightly to side of the chair.  I just need to buy a new linen color drum shade for it.  That came out of the trash two Thursday’s ago.

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This torch lamp was a real find…3 weeks ago.  Yes, Thursday night.  It’s a true antique.  That’s a milk glass shade on top and it’s been retrofitted to fit modern bulbs.  FringeMan says we can remove the adapter and buy old fashion large bulbs to put in it if I’d like.  I recently saw a lamp just like in an antique store for $65.  The cost of mine – $0.

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You need to understand that this room is still evolving.  It’s far from done, but I’m not good at waiting to show pictures.  The table between the two chairs, also garbage, is going to get a coat of black paint.  I think that will spiff it up nicely.  The white table in the middle is going to be converted into an ottoman…a winter project.  The golden chairs are something I actually purchased.  $30 for the pair.  Some may think I’ve been ripped off, but I actually like these chairs and they are very sturdy.  I will recover the seats with new fabric this winter also.

Did I mention the rug came from the garbage?  Yes, an old lady was done with it and it came to live in my living room.

It’s ridiculous isn’t it?  I just can’t stop myself from going out on garbage night.  It all started when I was walking the dog and I found this fabulous old window I was going to decorate with.  I made FringeMan go back with me to get it, but it wouldn’t fit in the car.  I still regret not walking home with it.

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This little set-up isn’t staying in the living room.  The table is going to be painted black and is making it’s way upstairs to my bedside.  The wooden folding chairs will probably go on the porch or just remain folded for extra seating.  The wire hanging from the wall is temporary of course.  A work in progress.

My question for you is what kind of curtains would you hang in this living room?  I’ve got three long windows with 10 foot ceilings.  I think I’ll actually have to buy curtains since I limit myself to picking obvious garbage.  I don’t actually rummage through cans or bags.  You can all breath a sigh of relief.  I do shop in stores from time to time.

Please visit Sanctuary Arts at Home and Between Naps on the Porch for more great Before and Afters!

For even more up-to-date photos of my living room, click HERE.

My Milk Glass Collection

If you tell the truth you don’t have to remember anything.  Mark Twain (1835-1910) 

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Collecting milk glass is a passion of mine.  I guess my number one reason for loving milk glass is it’s color – WHITE.  I realized I was becoming compulsive about painting everything white when my 3 year-old son brought me a toy car and asked me to paint it white for him.  White is a relaxing, soothing color and everything pops against its’ backdrop.

Milk glass is extremely easy to collect.  It’s generally cheaper than depression glass and much easier to find (especially when you can’t tell depression glass from any other colored glass).  You can find milk glass at yard sales, flea-markets, and of course, antique stores.  I’ve accumulated all of my milk glass from yard sales.  Pieces range in price from twenty-five cents to twenty dollars or more.  Price varies depending on the age of the glass and its’ scarceness.

I bought my first piece of milk glass when I was about nine years-old.  The old crotchety woman across the street was moving and had an indoor sale.  I trembled at the thought of entering her home, but my friend and neighbor was a few years older than I and of course much braver.  Hiding behind her, I entered the house of doom.  You see this woman wasn’t your typical jolly grandmotherly type of woman.  She was skinny, had a puff of white hair, and a mean glint in her eye that flamed when she saw a child.  Waving her cane in her bony hand, she’d yell at us for riding our bikes on “HER” sidewalk, messing up her pebbles, and being too noisy.  For me, daring to enter her home was a lot like David daring to face Goliath, except I didn’t dare bring 5 of her smooth stones.

As it turns out, I purchased a milk glass candy dish for my mom with my fifty cents.  I wish I had that dish now, but my sentimental mother doesn’t keep anything I give her.  Thanks mom.  I’ll always remember.  Moving on…

I always assumed all milk glass dated to the 1940’s – 1950’s; however, Milk Glass dates all the way into the 1800’s.  While most of the items found in yard sales today are from the 40’s and 50’s, older Milk Glass is highly valued and more expensive.  According to what I’ve learned, Milk Glass that has markings on the bottom is newer (circa 1940’s – 1950’s).  Here are a few pictures of my collection.

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I love this little lunch collection.  Anyone want to join me for sandwiches?  I got these glasses and dishes in Maine this summer.

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I use the glass on the right for our toothbrushes and toothpaste.  It sits prettily on my bathroom counter.

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I have several different patterns of milk glass.  I believe this is called the quilted pattern.

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This cake-stand is easily my favorite!  I love making cakes and they look so pretty (and often lopsided) sitting atop a great glass stand like this one.

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These jars are the most recent addition to my collection.  Aren’t they cute?  I love the red lids.  At only twenty-five cents each, I think they were a steal.

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So what do you collect?