Tag Archives: homer laughlin

Winter blahs…

It’s finally gotten cold, well sometimes cold, and sometimes just warm enough to turn the backyard to mud again and then refreeze overnight.

january-pecker

It’s been a pecker party outside the kitchen window – red bellies, downies, nuthatches- mostly policed by a downy pair.

Our house has been troublesome – hot water heater, newish refrigerator, and well parts giving up varying degrees of the ghost within a couple weeks of each other – as well as our bodies with a mild but lingering cold since just before the new year, and routine and not so routine medical tests which required healing downtime and acceptance scenarios involving amputations, but turn out normally abnormal in the end.

We’ve been thrifting and antiquing a bit more, though on weekends when crowds make it a bit more unpleasant, but perhaps improve focus and curb impulse.

We said we had enough Heywood Wakefield * in our lives, but then a decent china cabinet opportunity came up and we took it – the scale is perfect for our small but not too small dining room and overflow Fiestaware.

furniture - heywood wakefield china cabinet

We’ve also had good luck finding more cheap and fun mid-century lamps.

january-lamp

And I still haven’t culled my vintage china herd, but I’m rotating through it with a use it or lose it tactic.

january-cakes

These meat on a spit plates have been a favorite for years but I rarely use them because they are large – perfect for part of a roasted ribcage – and we tend to eat on a smaller scale. I only have three plates and two cups and saucers that don’t officially match but do, so a meal that requires a large plate and coffee cup is rare, and all I can come up with is pancakes, which we make only maybe twice a year and usually with a souvenir bag of Polly’s pancake mix from the summer before.

N has been building some built-in bookcases and doors to previously un-doored closets, so the house is becoming more our own and finally has spaces for things, but I’d gotten used to our still semi-packed minimalism, so striking the balance between delightfully interesting and my previous states of delightfully cluttered is a bit tricky. As much as I loved my previous live-in cabinet of curiosity life, it was awfully dusty and too delicate (and a grand bitch to move).

january-door

I’m still unpacking hastily thrown-together boxes of supplies and organizing my work space.

january-studio

And doing a bit of use it or lose it on some old WIPs – nothing much to show, just a bit of slogging through to see if I want to keep slogging through…

* When editing this post, I clicked on the link to make sure it was the right one – and good god, is my life so routine that every January has me shopping for vintage lamps, watching woodpeckers, and obtaining more Hey-Wake furniture?!?

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Filed under collecting, home, home decor, thrifting

Nothing in my oatmeal but oats…

Last summer, my mom sent this silky little ditty my way:

cigsilk-whole

She found it at a church rummage sale and described it over the phone as something that had lace and was probably silk with a bunch of flags and was from a factory in New Jersey.

I didn’t know what the hell she was talking about.

When it arrived, I immediately recognized that it was made of cigarette silks – little fiber freebies that used to come with a pack of shit-sticks to entice women to smoke, or encourage the men in their lives to smoke more…

Mad quilts and other decorative home textiles were made from these little beauties.

cigsilk-bather

My favorite patch in the above piece is the “Michigan Beach Girl” poised to dive in what was undoubtedly a woolen swimming costume and stockings that would have done more for drowning than swimming…

As much as I hate today’s overabundance of factory made shite, I’m quite smitten with the original versions of the stuff – the explosion of goods and advertising from the late 19th century to nearly halfway up the last.

I would have loved to open a box of oats (though I would have hated it was called “Mother’s Oats” and would have written a terse letter to the company to rename them “My Oats” or “Oats Aren’t Just for Children” or “Men Eat Oats Too” or “Woman Does Not Always = Mother” or “Women Without Children are Busy and Desirous of a Fast Breakfast Too” or “My Mother Ate Gruel Made of Ground Corncob with Stones, So Don’t Remind Me”) and found a new teacup inside. Perhaps I would have been so strapped for cash working at the shirtwaist factory, I could only dream of buying the oats with the swag and only been able to purchase a box a year or every other year, and by the time I was wasting away from an early death of consumption or radium poisoning I’d have had just a service for one and a half…

OatChina

(Image yanked from page that didn’t identify its source and was selling butchered publications – shame on you!)

But the past is past – thankfully, for the most part.

And I’m slowly dealing with all of my collected old things that I purchased with less sweat and toil than that of my predecessors, and for much less, even factoring in the cost of oats, since they were discards at the thrift stores.

HLwild rose

But in researching some of the things I’m thinking about selling, I found out I had a few pieces of oat china!

HLpastoral

See?

HL Pastoral in oats

I think both of these were made by Homer Laughlin (the company that makes my beloved Fiestaware) and date from the 1940s – ’50s, not the 1930s which I had originally guessed them to be…

So that didn’t get me any closer to getting rid of them, but at least I’m a more informed hoarder, right?

I’m disappointed that we don’t get free things in boxes of oats and soap powder and whatnot these days – and the free things in the cereal boxes of my childhood were always a disappointment (that is, when I got real cereal, and not that godawful desiccated puffed wheat bullshit…)

But then I remembered Red Rose tea.

I drank gallons of the stuff along with a brand of coffee too embarrassing to admit in my poorest student years as they were the cheapest sources of caffeine. I think I still have some of the figurines that came in the tea (somewhere) but I wanted that small rush again of finding a little porcelain freebie.

Red Rose tea mermaid

But now I find the tea undrinkable – it gives me a stomachache – the product and/or processing has gotten so cheap to be able to afford putting in the swag? My delicate system only tolerates organic, fair-trade, ripened by the harvest of the solstice moon?

So I’ll just call it dye instead.

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Filed under collecting, dyeing, home decor, quilts