Saturday, April 4, 2015

Happy Easter everyone!

Well, I have definitely been absent from my blog for a little while, I haven't posted since Saint Patrick's Day. In that post I mentioned that I had't put out the Saint Patrick's Day items for quite a few years, two weeks ago I realized why that was the case when my wife said that Easter was only two weeks away, it takes a while to unpack, display, and put away everything, plus I like a bit of a break between holiday displays.

Here is this year's Easter display. Compared to last year's display (here) this is minimal. I was going to put out my egg cups but with two large boxes, the ones that hold computer paper, I was overwhelmed and opted for a few that I had purchased this year along with what had been put out last year.

The images are quite large so enjoy perusing the photos.

The full view of this year's display. I decided to hang quite a few of my Easter baskets from the ceiling this year. The lowest hanging baskets have cardboard eggs in them.

 The baskets on the hearth are filled with cardboard eggs The one long basket on the right is holding a pink plastic egg tied with a green ribbon and a clear pink egg with silver glitter embedded in the plastic.

The rabbit tin and the pansy tin are British and would have had toffees in them. I think the small half egg tin is early. The large pink tin with the chicks may be English, I'm not certain because some of the address on the tin has been rubbed off.

I put a long strip of wood on some risers to hold some of the eggcups and assorted decorations on the mantle. I always put out the Mr. and Mrs. Easter Bunny salt and pepper shaker set, they are one of my favourite items.

A chocolate box with a very dapper rabbit wishing the recipient "Easter Greetings". On the mantle are a few  assorted goodies.

Hanging below that is a ceramic plaque from Israel that I purchased one Christmas, it was in a bag of assorted Christmas decorations. It depicts the moment when God is telling Abraham not to sacrifice his son but that He would provide the sacrifice, a ram caught in a thicket, that ram is a reference to Jesus, the Lamb of God. (God had asked Abraham to sacrifice his son, this was a test to see if he trusted God. Abraham kept telling his son that God would provide the sacrifice.)

More eggcups, eggs, and milliner's flowers.

At the far right of the mantle is a bag of some of the first plastic eggs in their plastic mesh bag, a Dresden Easter image of two gold bells and a chick in a Japanese basket, a pink 1960s bunny with chenille feet, paws, and ears, a glittered candy container of a top hat and cane toting chick, with a wooden rabbit in the background.

Check out other Easter blog posts that I have done over the years here, here, here, here, here, here, and here.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Happy Saint Patrick's Day!

 Happy Saint Patrick's Day to you! 

I haven't had my Saint Patrick's Day collectables out for quite some time. Most of these items were bought several years ago. Several friends are always on the lookout for items and they have added a few items each year, you know who you are and thank-you very much.

Here is the requisite long shot of the mantle just to give you an idea as to how it looks. Many of the items are small so I have added lots of close-ups for you to look at.

The little pink plastic pig with a shamrock in his mouth is a windup toy. The Irish boy in front of a shamrock, the green top hat, and the leprechaun behind the shamrock are florist vases.

A pack of Reed's St. Patrick's Day paper napkins stand behind the unmarked teacup and saucer. I love that tie, 1940s possibly, and do wear on March 17.

A green silk covered candy box rests in the green top hat vase, in front is a plastic pipe resting on a green Japanese ceramic shoe. To the left of the little plastic Irish doll, one of three, is another chocolate box in the shape of an Irish top hat.

Sheet music, "How Are Things in Glocca Morra" from Finian's Rainbow, stands behind a leprechaun sitting on a rock with a pot of gold at his feet. That leprechaun is rather creepy, I much prefer the other one to his right, your left.

The donkey and the leprechaun were bought by my mum when my mum and dad went to Ireland in the 1960s.

The tankard holds a cardboard fan advertising Shamrock Sunkist Valencias. I was given the Irish flag when I was in Ireland in 1969. Below the fan is a pack of paper plates and another tankard. The tankards were possibly used as vases.

This close-up shows two small shillelaghs, a pin back button, a bottle of Guinness, and a brooch that I think may be papier mache.

The 2 1/2 inch tall bottle of Guiness is a metal cigarette lighter. You hold the silver bottom and pull the bottle up and off to reveal the lighter.

Two cardboard leprechauns stand behind two pixies sitting on a stump; they are over for a visit. The pixies are salt and pepper shakers and the stump is a mustard pot complete with a ceramic spoon, this set belonged to my mum. A small plastic pin is in front of another top hat vase.

Tucked into the top of the vase is another St. Paddy's Day tie. A March angel holding a shamrock stands beside a black ceramic pig. In behind the pig is an unmarked ceramic plate with shamrocks around the rim.

The Irish children are part of a set of items for the table, she is a condiment pot, the boy on front of her is a salt shaker, the boy with the basket is an ashtray, and the boy standing behind him is a toothpick holder.

Here is a close-up the items on the fire place ledge; a green pig to hold your canap├ęs at your Irish cocktail party, another florist vase, a Hallmark table centre piece, lapel pins, and cupcake picks.

The three small shamrocks stuck in the back of the pig are chenille backed with cotton netting; one is plain, one has a cotton pipe in the centre, and the other has a cotton top hat in its centre.

The large chenille shamrock has an embossed paper top hat in its centre; it is on its original backing in the original cellophane package.

More small items, mostly lapel pins. I love the two place cards complete with their place card holders. The little fellow sitting in the oak leaves is actually a Cornish pixie, he stopped by for the festivities.

A small souvenir dish from Ireland sits in front of six antique diecut scraps, to the right is a box of eight four leaf clover coasters.

The green wooden tray holds cards and postcards, go to this link to see the antique cards and to this link to see the postcards.

This series of three smoking leprechauns is interesting as it shows how one design is used over the years and adapted to different manufacturing processes; the first one is painted  plaster, the second one is glazed porcelain, the third one is plastic in its original box.

The last figure is similar but he is holding a basket of shamrocks in his left hand and a single shamrock in his right hand. He is hand painted ceramic. Why antiques dealers call paint cold glaze is beyond me, paint is paint folks.

I picked up this counter top display box about twenty years ago, the box itself is water damaged but the cards are not, go to this link to see the cards that are in the counter top display box. The pig was my mums when she was a child. It is an antique ceramic chia pig, the modelling of the pig is superb.

A set of paper plates stands behind these leprechauns from the late fifties or early sixties, some still have their oval stickers that say, "Made in Japan". The tall doctor leprechaun is a liquor bottle, the back of his head is a stopper with cork that when removed would dispense the medicine; was it Irish whiskey or a green liqueur? In behind him is a green flocked Leprechaun.

Postcards, a wooden plaque and a gift book sit along the top of the fireplace doors, go to this link to see the plaque and other items, and to this link to see the gift book that I have scanned.

I was given this postcard last Christmas, I was stunned when I saw it, the Horse shoe is stamped from thin silver coloured metal, is about 1/8 of an inch deep, and attached to the postcard with four metal brads. It came in a metal frame but I have taken it out to display it. I have an antique Christmas postcard with a small metal Santa and sleigh attached to it but I have never seen a metal decoration this size before, not that I have seen that many of this type of postcard.

Here is one last link for you to check out; there are two images from books that I have scanned but more importantly a recipe for Irish soda bread that I got from a woman in Ireland when I was there. The bread is really good! 

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

"The Top O' The Morning To You" - a 1913 gift book

I am not certain that this is a Saint Patrick's Day gift book. The title "The Top O' The Morning To You" by Mabel Dunham Thayer sounds very Irish, in a stereotypical way. It was published in 1913 by P.F. Volland And Company, Chicago. There is no mention of Ireland in the poem but the title is good enough for me.

Friday, March 6, 2015

I realize that Spring is almost here...

 but here is an update on "The Winter Party".

My apologies for not posting on my blog sooner, a few things popped up with my computer that were finally fixed and then I got sick. All of that is behind me, so onward!

There are a few pieces in my studio that seem to take longer to finish than other pieces, "The Winter Party" is one of them. I do not mind this snails pace that some of the pieces take on. Did you notice how I blamed the sculpture for the slowness, my wife would notice what I had said and then point it out to me; deservedly so!

In my blog post from January 20 of this year I posted the image above...

and finished with this image of what had been accomplished so far. There was, surprisingly, a lot of work involved in that small area.

I had to add a back to the top section as you will see in the next photograph, build up the back opening behind the small forest scene at the bottom, cover the entire area with a layer of composition, add mounds of snow, let the whole thing dry, and then give it an initial coat of white paint to see how things were progressing.

Four times the number of icicles than I had initially anticipated had to be made. Each icicle is a length of wire wrapped in cotton batting and rubbed with glue. Once they were dry the icicles of different lengths were sorted into possible groups, holes drilled into the composition covered wood, and then the wire end of the icicle glued into the hole.

After the icicles had dried in place I began to build up the base of the icicles with composition, this was done in about three to four stages using a small palette knife, each time fattening the base of the icicles making them look like they grown in place from dripping water, not just been plonked there as a decorative element. I do tend to get obsessive with how they, or any other item in my sculptures should look.

Here is it is so far. I did not like how the snow was "politely" covering the ground so I added more composition along the front of the ledge as though the snow was slowly creeping over the edge eventually to create more icicles or fall off in chunks to the floor only to be replaced by more snow and icicles.

The cake stand filled to over-flowing with cakes, cookies, candy, and sugared grapes was slowly assembled; the base first being nailed in place, then the cakes, cookies, and sugared grapes were glued in place on the bottom tier with the "candy rocks" finally glued in place . The top tier was then glued in place, let dry and then filled with the goodies. Sitting there on the snow it looks deceptively simple but that little abundance of sugary delight took quite a while to accomplish.

Looking down at the cake stand you can see the detail of the confections to be had at the party. I was just going to write that I am particularly pleased with the bunches of sugared grapes that I created but then I saw the small cakes... I love detail, I can't help it, I love getting lost in my work.

Now to get to work on the Snowman and the Snowgirl, add in some berried bushes, possibly add some balloons or paper lanterns or both, create garlanding; see you later.

Do check out my Easy Shop, there are lots of little goodies to add to your collections.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Valentines Day book, "Un Petit Livre D'amour"

OKAY... I REALIZE THAY VALENTINE'S DAY WAS ALMOST A WEEK AGO... this post was supposed to go up last Sunday just extend the day so that it was "Valentine's Weekend". Little did I know that I would not be able to get onto the internet until yesterday. I will not go into the details as it will make me look as uninformed about downloading the newest edition of Safari as I really am.

I debated about posting this but here goes anyway. Enjoy this last Valentine's Day post that is one week overdue.

This little book has been scanned to size so that you can see how small it is, just the right size to place in a pocket, purse, or to hold tucked in your hand.

Unlike the last book that I showed you this book has been hand bound using handmade paper, some of the pages have a clean cut edge while others have the deckle edge of the handmade paper.

There is no date on the book but the design is Art Nouveau putting it at the turn of the last century or possibly a little earlier. If anyone has any information about the book let me know.

This is from a series books; the title, "Les Petit Livres D'or"  translates as, "Little Books of Gold".

The title of the book, "Un Petit Livre D'amour" translates as, "A Little Book of Love".

I am doing a literal translation here, so anyone that speaks French please correct me if I am wrong.

The colour  image of the woman on the front of the book has been hand glued in place.

The rest of the colour images have been hand glued to the inside edge of existing pages.

The lines on the paper are from the frame that the paper pulp was hand moulded in.

You can see that the edges of the paper and the deckle edge don't match up perfectly; this is a handmade book with a quaint quality to it.

Unlike the book, "Friendships Token", the paper has not yellowed and gone brittle; the paper for this book is made from rag pulp. Paper made from wood pulp is broken down with acid. The acid causes the yellowing and disintegration of the paper.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Happy Valentine's Day To You!


I haven't had all of my Valentine's collection out in a very long time, we don't have the room to display it all. Since we have stopped using our fireplace, it was too dusty and smelly, I now have an area that I can do a large display in.

Here is a picture showing the full display, there are close-up shots of the items for you to look at.

Starting on the left hand side of the mantle...

The box of "Kiddies Valentines Assortment" is in mint condition but minus its contents. The bust of the coy young lady was used as a boudoir doll pincushion I believe. I bought it when I was in art school a very long time ago, she seems to suit the Valentines collection. She sits, do heads sit, in front of a cloth doll dressed in red and white felt.

Between the coy young lady and the two love birds florist vase is a porcelain Art Nouveau vase. The only mark on it is 7983 stamped on the back. It is standing in front of a red, white, and silver roll of Valentines garland made by Biestle.

In front of the chocolate box there are two different size glass tumblers with the same design, a raspberry pink celluloid doll standing beside a vintage florist vase, an old metal cookie cutter, and a pair of salt and pepper shakers that together form the shape of a heart.

Up behind the heart shaped florist vase with cupid in front is a plastic fan that is resting on an old Avon Valentines soap box. The little boy holding the heart is one half of a salt and pepper shaker set, I wish that I had the other, the modelling is superb. Resting in the top of another florist vase is a sleeve of embossed paper napkins made by Perkins. These are from the 1940s, the fellow is dressed in a Zoot suit. I bought these from an old stationary store in Victoria when we were first married.

 In the centre of the mantle hanging below the ledge is this beautiful deeply modelled cast metal plaque.

In front of the red foil chocolate box with the very deeply embossed metal decoration is a heart shaped jug and beside that a small heart pin cushion with button eyes made by a child for his, or her, Mum.

On another roll of paper garlanding is a vintage book of children's paper Valentines, two floral picks and a plastic cake top decoration.

In front of the other book of children's Valentines is a small vase, cupid pushing a heart in a wheel barrow. To the right of cupid and his heart is a heart shaped vase that has a small opening for flowers at the top. In front is a heart head cat playing a bass; one of a pair of salt and pepper shakers. In behind him is another fabric doll dressed to the nines in tulle and lace holding a single flower.

The hammered brass fireplace surround that I use under the Christmas tree makes a great "walled garden" for the Valentine's tree with most of the heart chocolate boxes massed at the base.

Tucked on the mantle ledge in behind the tree are three vintage heart shaped florist vases resting on a blue vintage head scarf covered with hearts, ribbons, and gold keys, a gift from my daughter-in-law, Nicole. In front of the white vase is a plastic decoration of two cherub heads, possibly for a cake. The base of the vase holds another vintage handkerchief in place.

The right side of the hearth is filled with more tokens of affection...

This close-up of the ledge shows more vintage hankies, florist vases, a cookie cutter and heart shaped chocolate boxes. The small red box the Valentine with the cupids is resting on is marked Shackman on the back, I discovered this the day that I was putting the display up. I have only recently found out about the Shackman Company, wholesalers of holiday and novelty items.

I wanted to show you a view of the two little girl vases, they are the same design but the modelling and the colours are different on each one. The vase in front has a gold foil shield shape paper seal on the bottom marked, Thomas A. Ivey & Sons Port Dover. It is stamped on the bottom in black, JAPAN; there are also mould impressions on the bottom that look to read, Relpo and below that 6657. This vase may be from 1957and be the earlier of the two.

The other vase has a gold foil paper seal printed with, Relpo Chicago Illinois Made in Japan and stamped in black, A-1986 JAPAN. 

The paper tablecloth coth is my favourite of the ones that I own, it has lots of great Valentines images on it.

Just in behind the small deep red heart shaped box is a dull red fabric heart with lace around the outside. I made that heart shaped pin cushion in grade four or five I believe for my Mum for Valentine's Day.

The two clear glass dishes have hearts and cupids in relief around the outside edge of the dish. There is the head of an arrow on the upper left hand side of the dish with the tail of the arrow on the lower right hand side. The bottom is marked, SAFE BAKE U.S.A.

The "walled garden is filled with vintage chocolate boxes, paper tablecloth covers, two Dennison sticker books, and at the base of the tree on the purple cloth two gold foil cake or cookie decorations.

On the vintage marble table beside the stuffed chair are a glass heart shaped bonbon dish with a crocheted heart topped with two plastic cupcake picks and a gold metal cupid. Behind the dish is a 1950s red foil decoration of a lady in silhouette and to the right is a sheet of Valentines die-cuts from Germany.

A few days ago I came across another wooden decoration/napkin holder that had a larger base than this but I didn't buy it as I felt that this was the better of the two.

Again, have a "HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY"!

If you don't have a "Sweety" of your own at the moment do something loving for someone else, it will change how you feel about Valentine's Day!
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