June 29, 2010

Purple Coneflowers

My Purple Coneflowers are in full bloom.


Now their name is Doubledecker Coneflower (Echinacea Purpurea Doubledecker) which would lead you to believe they are maybe, I don't know, maybe doubledeckered, but the first year they were single flowers, the second year they had a cute little coneflower on top of the main coneflower and then ever since then it has been back to just one coneflower like your run of the mill coneflowers.


In the background is a chrysanthemum that is not doubledeckered either (lol). I know you're supposed to keep them from flowering now so that they bloom better in the fall, but I just can't ever remember to nip them back in the late spring.


Looks like we have a visitor.


A little Monarch Butterfly stopping by to see what's happening on the flowers.






Come back soon Mr. Butterfly!


My Astilbe is in bloom also. It is a Bridal Veil Astilbe (Arends' Astilbe). This plant is probably five years old and is just now getting to a substantial size. I have a few other Astilbes in my yard and they all pretty much grow very slowly.


On the other hand my Purple Palace Coral Bells (Heuchera Micrantha Purple Palace) has grown very quickly. This was just planted last year and has grown at least 5 times it's original size.


My Endless Summer Hydrangea (Hydrangea Macrophylla Bailmer) has been blooming for three weeks now. It strangely has both blue and pink blooms on the same plant. Since it is supposed to bloom pink in alkaline soil and blue in acidic soil, I'm not sure what that says about my garden. Does anyone else have this phenomenon with their Hydrangea?


I just love the color of my Limelight Hydrangea's blooms (Hydrangea Paniculata Limelight).


It's not in full bloom yet, but just getting started. Like the name implies it has lime green flowers (as opposed to certain Coneflowers that don't live up to their name).




Pitcher Collection

I have a small collection of pitchers that I wanted to show you. It all started with a pitcher that was originally my grandmother's. It is a Fiestaware disk juice pitcher in Harlequin Yellow.



This pitcher was a gift from my sister who found it at an antique store. It is a Fiestaware disk water pitcher in a lighter yellow color than the first one. This water pitcher is about 7 1/4 inches tall, whereas the juice pitchers are about 6 inches tall. I think this yellow is the original yellow that Homer Laughlin produced.

These two pitchers are vintage Fiestaware. One major way to tell whether it is vintage or not is that after 1986 they started putting a raised H on the bottom of the pieces, prior to 1986 there was no H on the bottoms.



This green Fiestaware disk water pitcher is a new pitcher that was flawed. I bought it at a local shop that has some 2nds in Fiestaware. The color is Shamrock Green and is quite bright.



This gorgeous red Fiestaware disk juice pitcher was another gift from my sister. I believe the color is called Scarlet.



There are many different Fiestaware items available. Dan at Yesterday Once More has an awesome collection of Fiestaware if your are interested in seeing more colors and items. I'm sure you would enjoy his blog if you don't visit there already - he has a lovely home and three very cute Miniature Schnauzers!

I am afraid to start collecting more than just the pitchers, because I think it could be addictive!

These next two pitchers are unmarked pitchers that I picked up at local antique malls mainly because I liked the colors. This one in green



and the identical pitcher in Burgundy.



This is also unmarked and looks to be either a large creamer pitcher or a juice pitcher.



And this is where they all reside. On top of my kitchen cabinets along with some Longaberger baskets and a chicken.

The chicken was bought on a whim at Hobby Lobby and since I didn't really have a good place to put him, I thought he'd like to oversee the basket and pitcher display (my counter tops are black so he just blends right in if I put him down there).



In the glass doored cabinet I have a few vintage items. I change this area out a lot, but I think it looks best with larger items in it rather than a bunch of glassware or china.



A closer view.



This is a casserole dish that I bought at a local craft store a few years ago. It is not vintage, but I love the soft yellow color and details on the handles and lid.



I have no idea what this green bowl is supposed to be. The woman I bought it from thought it was a bulb bowl (like in tulip bulbs I guess). I think it may have been a soup tureen that is missing the lid??? It may be McCoy since it has the USA mark on the bottom, but since there were other companies that used that mark also, it's hard to tell.

I love the cream and green color combination though. It was love at first site on my part.



The last item in the cupboard is a blue bowl with flowers on the lid. I found this deep in the recesses of my mother's basement one day and brought it home to my house. It was absolutely filthy and I'm afraid I may have over-cleaned it because there seems to be paint missing from the berries on the lid.

It is marked Monmouth, USA on the bottom which is a company that produced pottery in Illinois. I've never found a piece exactly like it on ebay or other auction sites, so I'm not sure of it's age, but I would guess pre-1950's.



I hope you enjoyed the tour of the pitchers.

I am participating in the Colorado Lady's Vintage Thingies Thursday party. Check out the other vintage items by going to her blog.



June 27, 2010

Bowl Covers Making a Comeback

When I was shopping at Big Lots Thursday (heh, they have some cute things), I ran across packages of these bowl covers in the housewares aisle.

My mother used to have these bowl covers in a jadeite green color and they were all the rage in the 1940's and 1950's, so I picked up a package to give them a try.


Now, they say they are washable over and over again, but I would say you could probably only wash these a few times since they would probably melt in the dishwasher and they aren't that heavy of a plastic. They have an elastic band running along the edge so that may be a place for germs to congregate.


For $1.00 you get 6 covers in various sizes. Look like little shower caps don't they?


I tried one out on a bowl of pasta salad and it worked out great. These have a cute cherry design on them so they coordinated perfectly with my little cherry patterned bowl.


Wonder if these will make a comeback and will be the next great gotta have "green" product. They would save a lot of tin foil and plastic wrap from the dump!



June 26, 2010

Garage Sale Finds (aka Picnic Basket!!!)

I am officially addicted to garage sales now!

People who know me IRL will find that amusing because I would never in a million years go to a garage sale when I was a kid. No way, no how, never going to happen. I found it totally embarrassing that my mother would go to garage sales and drag other people's stuff home.

But then a few years ago a neighbor down the street had a yard sale, I stopped and found some neat vintage items


and


Then this year, since I had more time on my hands, I decided to stop by a few and just see what they had. Maybe the garage sale from a few years ago was not a fluke?

Yes, the majority just have over-priced junk that no one wants anyhow, but occassionaly I would come across some antique or vintage items at FAR, FAR LESS than I would ever find them at the antique stores.

Take for instance yesterday. I went to one "estate sale" waaaay out in the country that was pathetic. No price tags on anything and the items I did ask about were priced way higher than you could buy them for at the fanciest antique store. **sigh**

I thought the day was a bust, but on the way home I ran across a street in the older part of my town that had numerous garage sale signs on it. So I stopped and found this these little beauties


Now, who would not buy this fantastic cookbook for 25 cents? There's a recipe for Charlene's Hoot Owl Pie (can substitute chicken if you want), Rodney Darling's Blackened Pig, Coca-Cola Pork Chops and many more tasty dishes.

Remember the Aunt Bee's pickle episode? They even have her Kerosene Cucumber recipe!!

BTW, I named my son's cat Otis, after Otis Campbell the town drunk so I just may have a weird fascination with The Andy Griffith Show.


And for 50 cents who could pass up a huge blue ball jar - no lid, but still a good find since I have never seen one that size before (1/2 gallon???).


A cute,little, never been used before straw Croft & Barrows purse for $1.50.


This wooden stand was only 50 cents. It has a slight bowl shape to it and the woman who sold it to me said it used to sit on her Mom's coffee table with wooden fruit in it when she was a kid.


This metal cake plate/holder/carryingcase was only 50 cents also so I couldn't pass this up. Now when I take a cake to my next cookout I will be all set. I mean I would have to take the cake out of the plastic container that it comes in from the grocery store first, but it will look real pretty sitting in this!



And when I saw this little guy I almost fell over. I have been wanting a vintage picnic basket forever, I just never found one I liked enough to part with the money for. This was only $3.00, so I snapped it up.


I love the diamond pattern on the side of it!!!

I am linking to Debbiedoos Garage Salen party. Go over to her blog to check out what other great finds people have made this weekend!





June 25, 2010

Refinishing Dresser

This is a furniture refinishing project from a few years ago. I thought you might enjoy the transformation.

This is a dresser I confiscated from my Mom when she moved out of her house. It had been in her house for years in various locations, but the last few years it had been used for storing linen in her bathroom.


This side was close to the shower so it had some water damage and some cat claw marks on it.


The finish on the entire piece was bubbly and in pretty rough shape.


After having it sit in my garage for YEARS mocking me, I finally decided to refinish it.

I used Minwax Antique Furniture Refinisher to remove the built up varnish. This product is amazing. It takes off the varnish or shellac, but leaves the stain. It is specifically designed for antique furniture and does not remove Polyurethane or paint.


You just dip a piece of steel wool in the refinisher and rub it on the surface in a circular motion and the finish dissolves. You'll have to repeat this until all the shellac or varnish is removed from the area and trade out your steel wool for fresh pads every once in a while.

The reason it took me so long to start this project was that I was dreading the stripping process, so I am so glad I used this instead. It was fairly effortless and pretty quick.

You must wear heavy gloves with this. I originally had my normal blue nitrile gloves on and it ate through them in two seconds flat. So I switched to some Playtex gloves and they worked fine.


I have to tell you that I had absolutely no idea that this was an oak piece. From the darkness of what it looked like before I assumed it was walnut or something similar.

I was shocked and not necessarily pleased when the varnish started to come off and it was a golden oak underneath. I have a walnut dining room table, so I was assuming this dresser would be a close match to it. Didn't work out that way though.


After I got over the original disappointment in the color of the piece, I decided to keep on going. I used Minwax Tung Oil Finish to put a protective coating back on it. This gives it a hand rubbed low luster finish. I could have used their Antique Oil Finish or their Paste Wax if I wanted something a little shinier.


And I decided to stick with my initial thought and put it in my dining room with my walnut table. The theme in that room is antique furniture so it still looks fine.

Here are the before and after side-by-side.




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