Friday, September 23, 2016

Finally! I found a Swiss Cow Bell!

Hello friends!  It has been far too long since I've posted anything and I must say that I have really and truly missed blogging these past few months.  I think about it every day but am having several difficulties...technical, financial, physical, emotional, blah, blah, blah who really cares.  Life just has a way of getting in the way!   But, I was determined to post THIS week and seeing as it's Friday, which is to say the week is almost at its end, I decidedly carved out a little niche of time today for a post and am sharing a minor acquisition that I've been seeking out for a couple of years, which is coincidentally almost as long as it takes me to write post to post...ok, just kidding,  I haven't been gone that long.  

 As you come through the entry way of the house and into the family room, there is a short, open hall to the left.  The wall below is what you'll see which blocks from seeing directly into the kitchen (on the right...the fridge is directly behind this wall) and the butler pantry / bar that leads to the dining room (on the left).   After we'd lived here a few months or so I found the large bull head and felt like it would be a great topper to this wallscape between the kitchen and dining rooms.   A few months later my step sister, who is currently living in Geneva, Switzerland, posted a photo that showed rows of brass cow bells from one of the antique markets she had taken my Dad and Stepmom to while they were visiting.  I just knew I had to have one to hang on bull head!

Finally, after about two years of casually looking,  I found my own vintage Swiss cow bell!

The importance of the cow bell is highlighted in Swiss folklore.  It reflects a period when a large cow bell, or a great Trychel, was a very rare, highly coveted item. The legend of the Simmental tells of a young cowherd who strayed into the inside of a mountain and runs into a beautiful fairy who offers him the choice of a treasure of golden coins, a golden Trychel (the cow bell) or the fairy herself.  The cow herder chooses the Trychel.

Mine is a later copy of a very famous Swiss bell, but it is still a vintage piece and dates to about 1920-30.  These bells have been made continuously in Switzerland since 1878 up until around 1941 when brass became scarce due to wartime utilization and production had to be stopped.  Vast quantities had been exported and American firms bought molds for the bells and made thousands of them, all dated 1878.    By 1900, Sears and Roebuck purchased over 55,000 bells from one firm alone and began marketing them.  They were used not only for making freely roaming livestock easier to locate should they wander off but also for sleigh bells, carriage bells and even door clapper bells!


I have conveniently borrowed one of Ashton's leather braided belts (though she hasn't yet noticed and probably blames Kalyn for it going missing) to hold the bell around the bull's neck until I can find a real strap for it.

Some of my oldest and favorite pieces of transferware are displayed below the bull head, along with an antique oil painting of sheep. On either side of the painting are two reproduction cow/bull head plaques but I've got a little project going on that will replace these so I will try to post that when it's done.   I don't really see changing this up too much though as I really like everything in the vignette.  Every so often I will put something seasonal in the amber pedestal bowl which now holds several apples. 

 If you like the look of the cow bell and want one for yourself, they are readily available on auction sites for as little as $10 (if you are a cheapo and can hold out a long time like me) and up depending on age, condition, etc.  I just held out for so long because I'm super duper cheap =), and as I have said before, "I'm on the low budget program" which means that money is exceedingly tight around here these days years.   

The cow bell was worth the wait!

Have a wonderful first weekend of Fall, everyone!

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

So Long Summer Sale!

When poppies in the garden bleed,
And coreopsis goes to seed,
And pansies, blossoming past their prime,
Grow small and smaller all the time,
When on the mown field, shrunk and dry,
Brown dock and purple thistle lie,
And smoke from forest fires at noon
Can make the sun appear the moon,
When apple seeds, all white before,
Begin to darken in the core,
I know that summer, scarcely here,
Is gone until another year.

~Edna St. Vincent Millay~

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Mothers Day Sale

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Thursday, April 28, 2016

Mothers Day Tablesetting with Wedgwood Queens Ware & Necklaces!

It has only taken me 3 years to get around to doing a tablescape with these very rare and special Wedgwood plates and listing them for sale in my shop.    I have been holding onto them because I've wanted to do a Spring or Summer tablescape with them.      

Each plate is truly a work of art and features a different castle, is hand painted in cobalt enamel, and signed 'A Holland', who,  after my research I have found is Arthur Dale Holland, a prolific landscape artist working for Wedgwood at the time.  The artist additionally put the name of each castle on the back of the plates.

  The plates are called Queens Ware, a term you may have heard or read about before.  Queens Ware is Wedgwood's innovatory cream colored earthenware named after the successful completion of his first commission for Queen Charlotte which was secured in the Summer of 1765.   With the delivery of, as Wedgwood wrote, " a complete set of tea things' which included a dozen cups for coffee or tea, six fruit baskets and stands, six melon preserve pots and six hand candlesticks, Josiah Wedgwood was permitted to title his cream colored earthenware 'Queens Ware' and was appointed the title of 'Potter to Her Majesty'.  

The plates have intricate embossed Wellesley borders of various fruits and rope motif's.  The blue painted castle landscapes are framed with a 2mm silver overlay followed by a line of fine, dark green and then with the wide, mint green band.  I am a sucker for the embossed plates. 

In lieu of placemats I anchored the plates with lace trimmed Jacquard napkins allowing the tips to hang over the side of a table as a tablecloth would do.

The tips of the napkins touch each other creating a checkerboard effect on the table top.

And you may have wondered why there is a necklace at each setting.  Well, just look at them...the plates and the necklaces just begged to be at the same place at the same time.  They look like they were made for one another, so I placed a gift for the Mom's at each setting, curved around the base of each plate. Isn't this a fun idea for Mother's Day or any type of ladies tea or luncheon? (by the way, I am closing out all jewelry in my shop and it's 75% off)

For the centerpiece I pulled this absolutely gorgeous and humongous, circa 1880's antique wash basin and pitcher off a table in our sunroom.   I was going to fill it with fresh something or other...well let me say I was going to fill it with free fresh something or other.   I spied some way overgrown, out of control bush, but with the prettiest white flowers, at the park the other day  and was going to run back up there and cut a couple branches of it off.  Unfortunately time didn't allow for that.  So, silk flowers it is. 

 I just can't quit looking at the way the mint green and cobalt blue work so beautifully together.  

I really love the color combination.  Do you?


Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Crazy for Cow Butter Barrels

Butter tubs with cows on top.  How cute!  These are part of a new curated collection I'm posting in my online shop.  I adore these vintage butter tubs and dishes.  What each of them has in common (besides being originally used for holding butter or cheese) is that they have a cow resting on top. They come from all over the world.  My collection contains butter tubs from Germany, France, Japan, Portugal and England.  Some are hand painted, some are Majolica and of course some are transferware.  Let's check them out!

I found this one pictured below sometime back and I liked it so much that I decided to keep it for awhile and display it on my Pure Butter slab.  It is Portuguese majolica and dates to about the 1950's.

Then I got this one, almost like the one above, but a little taller.  I displayed it on the opposite side of the kitchen. Then I put the one above up for sale in my shop.

This all white German one sold the day I posted a picture of it to Facebook.   

But then I found this one, it's really cute with a grayish colored body and a little larger cow.  I'd never seen the gray body before so I thought that was unique to these dishes.  So I then put the big one two pics up for sale.

But wait! Then along came this one.  It's English dating to the 40's-50's and the little green band around the rim stole my heart because I've been working on adding green touches to my I thought I might have to keep this one...

...until this one had to come along and it stole my heart as much as the last one did...

Do you see what's going on here?  lol

 I wound up with all of these + a couple more + more on the way!  Most of them are now for sale in my shop and you can see them and others HERE  I'll be listing more as they arrive.

  I'm expecting a big shipment of transferware any day and it includes some more of the cow butter dishes.  I love the ones that have the type of cow transfer printed on the lid like this Guernsey one has. 

I still have my two cow transferware butter dishes too! I may be listing these soon as well! Who knows?

I think each one has its own unique charm... which is probably why I have trouble deciding on just one.  Do you have a favorite?

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Caledonia - Highlander Transferware & Entryway Dressed for National Tartan Day!

 If you are of Scottish ancestry, as were half of the signers of the Declaration of Independence, simply a lover all things tartan, or as I am; are both,  then it's time to get your tartan on!  

 Tomorrow, April 6th, is National Tartan Day which commemorates the Scottish Declaration of Independence (The Declaration of Arbroath 1320), which is said to have been unequalled to in its eloquent plea for liberty of man and from which the American Declaration of Independence was modeled on.
National Tartan Day is a day of recognizing the many achievements of Americans of Scottish descent.

I've put together a tartan vignette on the entry table.

Let's take a closer look, shall we?   This red tartan tole planter has black bamboo legs and hand painted roses with gold accents.   I found this on one of our antique jaunts a few months back- and though I bought it to resale, I think I'm going to have to enjoy it at my house a little before I put it in the shop.  When you are on the low budget plan as I am, there isn't much money for fresh the next best thing is to run outside with scissors and clip some fresh greenery from a bush!  The new Spring growth is a lovely shade of red and looks nice with the tartan planter.  A couple of Scottish clan books set underneath gives a little height to help balance with the large lamp on the opposite side of the table.

I have a thing with hand shaped objects as well (my logo might come to mind).  There is something so feminine and delicate with the hand pieces I have.  They make me think of small offerings.  This little hand holds a brooch inherited from Shawn's Grandmother and sits on an antique transferware plate in a wavy tartan by Spode.  

Now, I may not like tartan quite as much as transferware but it definitely ranks very high on my list of interior (and fashion) loves!  This transferware plate represents them both. 

It dates to 1830 - 40 and was made by Adams.  The Adams' family potteries can be traced to as early as 1447!  Officially, they were established in 1657 and rose to great prominence during the 18th century as Master Potters in Burslem and other parts of the North Staffordshire area.  As pioneers of the trade, the earliest generations of the Adams family helped pave the way for some of the worlds best known potters such as Thomas Wieldon, Josiah Wedgwood, Josiah Spode, Thomas Minton and more of the well known Adams family of potters.   They worked side by side with many potters' families, including the Wedgwoods, and intermarried with many of them.

The pattern on this piece is called Caledonia (Scotland).   Caledonia is the Latin name given to the land in today's Scotland, by the Romans.  This pattern depicts Scottish highlanders in full, ancient kilt dress engaged in stag hunting.  

Each of the pieces shows a similar stag hunt scene.  Caledonia was produced in blue, brown, purple, red and sometimes in a two color transfer, as shown below on this platter and large pitcher. 

Did you know there was a National Tartan Day or what it was all about?  Will you celebrate?  I'd love to know!

I'm signing off with a view looking into the dining room and a sneak peek of my Tartan tablescape...

....and this...

For as long as but a hundred of us remain alive, never will we on any conditions be brought under English rule.  It is not for glory, nor riches, nor honours that we are fighting, but for freedom---for that alone, which no honest man gives up but with life itself.
~From The Declaration of Arbroath 1320~