Thursday, September 29, 2011

Collectorators On the Road - Warrenton Day 2, Fall 2011 or How We Survived Day 86 of 100 plus degrees

First here's some fun weather facts in my fair city (Austin TX)  as of our Warrenton Day 2 adventure: it was the 86th day of 100 degrees  or higher this year (an all time record), 26th day of 105 degrees or higher this year (all time record), 152nd day of 90 or higher degrees this year (record is 159 in 1925) and it is now Fall and we might just hit 90 days of 100 degrees or higher this week. Now doesn't that make you want to move to Austin???

Day Poo, I mean Two (hahaha, thanks CollectoratorOne for that assessment of Day 2), started off with a dust-bowl magnitude windstorm as a supposed cool front started to come into the area. We had been forewarned it would be hotter than Day 1, but the promise of a possible cool front gave me some hope. Well, that pesky cool front stalled out in the no man's land between Waco and Austin. By the time we reached the first tent, we were completely windblown and covered in dirt. We had to give up all hope of looking cute for the day. Not that it matters what you look like at Warrenton, but I am not sure we were meeting even minimal standards of being presentable by the end of the day.

Now you may have heard me talk before about the Warrenton curse in previous posts. I think it's some old Indian curse for settling on their land, but I'd say in the past 10 years or so that we've been going to Warrenton having a "nice weather day" is, well, countable on a couple of fingers. Normally, it rains on us (well it did before we entered into our latest drought period). But like clockwork, there for awhile if we were going to Warrenton you could expect rain. Now, I'd have to say the curse has evolved lately into just unpleasant weather. It's been hot in the past, but this was beyond hot especially for the fall show. It's been known to be 40 degrees when we first arrive.  Not this time. By the time it was 105 degrees, we were strategizing our moves like a chess player from one shade spot to the next debating on how we would get to the next spot and perhaps find liquids in between. It was brutal. Somehow, and I am still not really sure how, we managed it and still ended up with some quality stuff.

Overall, it was not the Warrenton we had hoped for, no furniture, no really exciting finds, but it was productive to some extent. I was VERY good this year and with the pending move I did not buy things I normally might have bought so that was good for me, but CollectoratorOne did not find the furniture pieces she had hoped for. I'd have to say this is the first Warrenton in a long time where we did not see any nice and affordable sets of mid-century furniture. There was some, but it was in bad condition and expensive. Last year we saw two very nice Heywood Wakefield bedroom sets and two really good couches but the timing was not right to buy last year.

I did make my first forays into a new hobby. Flower arranging! This is a hobby though I am not starting until we buy the new house mostly due to lack of space and a good work room. Regardless, I  had to buy this awesome love birds on driftwood planter because it was only $5!   I also bought an awesome 1940s table settings and flower arrangement magazine complete with lessons on "what's wrong with this table and how to fix it" lessons.  I've always wanted to learn vintage flower arranging techniques, but I resisted buying more flower arranging supplies than I need to have right now! My other favorite find was this Enid Collins purse.  It's called Mille Fleurs, but it always looked more like starts in the sky to me.  I had three of her purses on my list and now I have two! I have one more to go (the For the Birds purse, of course!). I was super excited to find this one in black as it is more rare than the plain wood and looks more like the night sky that way.

CollectoratorOne found a nice piece of fabric to recover her dining room chairs from the fabric lady tent. That lady has tons and tons of upholstery and curtain fabric. I can't imagine how long it takes to load it all in! The fabric she bought is cream and has that fabulous blue of her dining room walls running through it. I can't wait to see how awesome it looks on the chairs. Stay tuned!!! She also got this really neato plant green plant shelf for her Alamo pots on her patio. She doesn't even have to repaint it as it's the same green as the trim on the patio! It's metal but has really cute white plastic decorations on the sides. The whole thing snaps a part too. On the ride back we swore we would not want to go back for awhile but by the time I woke up and went to work the next morning, I already wanted to go back!  Crazy I know.

photo courtesy of CollectoratorOne

PS I totally forgot to mention that in Day 1 CollectoratorOne got this awesome chalk pin up girl wall art. We had never seen anything like it especially in the stand up pose. It was cheap too for something so cool. I still need to find chalk fish for the bathroom, but I am putting that wish on hold until I see what colors I end up with in the new house!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Collectorators On the Road - Warrenton Day 1 Fall 2011

Warrenton, day 1. The day we impatiently wait for every 6 months. This time CollectoatorOne was ready to finally buy one of those big ticket items (bedroom set, couch, club chairs, tables) we always see time and time again but never can buy because it's not the right time. She's recently bought a new house (see her Flick photos here There's No Place Like Home Too) and is ready to stock it with fabulous new furniture. The way Warrenton works though is you always find what you are NOT looking for. I kept telling her to start looking for Alamo Pottery because that's the last thing either of us needs! Unfortunately, Day 1 came and went with out the need to rent a U-haul, but we did walk away with some pretty cool stuff. CollectoratorOne found a new light copper light fixture that we hope will work in her dining room and some star backplates for door/cabinet pulls that she has a special purpose for in the new house. Not exactly what she was hoping to find but neat stuff to make an already cool house even cooler.

photo courtesy of CollectoratorOne
I was very reserved for myself which is VERY rare. I found several things I wanted that I passed up, some very good buys even. But embarking on a move in the near future has made it less desirable to by things even if I like or want them. I was joking before we went that I should just take some boxes and just pack things right then and there. hahaha. Instead I decided just to be good. For instance, I found a yellow Lustroware canister set for $12 that had lettering much brighter than mine. Now, normally I would have bought that without thinking about it to replace my current set, but who knows if yellow will even work in my future kitchen (frankly it better, as I have a TON of yellow plastic-ware), but I was trying to demonstrate some reserve and CollectoratorOne aptly said if I buy that then there will be no way that yellow will work in my future kitchen! I walked away.  I bought two things on my list, a quilted hankie box to rescue my overflow of hankies from the ziploc bad they are currently stored in, and a set of Manhattan candle holders to go with my "fire and ice" tablescape. I am getting ready to pack this up so it'll be featured sooner than later. =)

The one thing I refused to pass up was this  GIANT Gilmer pot with it's original stand. This pot is huge, and it was about half price of what we've seen this large of Alamo pots go for in the past. Not to mention its pink and totally goets with my trio Gilmer plant stand that is currently full of dead plants so it is not pictured. Probably the main reason I wanted it though is that it's the same Gilmer pots and stand (albeit it a larger one) that are outside my dream house in CollectoratorOne's new neighborhood. The universe keeps sending me signs that there's a reason I am drawn to this house and finding the same pots as the current owner has, who likely bought them back in the 1950s originally, really sends me good vibes. 

Probably the best part of the day aside from the chicken salad sandwiches at Legal Tender, was seeing our favorite dealer. I think he is as happy to see us as we are to see him which makes it all the better to see him. He had these really amazing chairs that I cannot even describe but they weren't what CollectoratorOne was looking for in the "club chair" category. Still very cool.  I bought a dress and a Neiman Marcus lambswool coat from him and the third time we went back by to say hello I bought a nice black and silver purse. We are looking forward to day 2 and hope that it will the furniture gods will shine down on CollectoratorOne! 

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Remember the Alamo - Remember the Spring...

Of 2010 that is.... It's safe to say that we barely had a spring this year. We had come of a long winter where we actually got a decent amount of snow one day and then basically by April we were already in summer. Oh I went through my usual diligent spring planting of annuals, but they didn't make it long in the Texas drought and 85 days of 100 degree weather this year (usually we have 12 days of 100 degree weather). I don't know why, but I failed to take any pictures of the spring flowers while they lasted. That's too bad really because I have acquired 6 more Alamo pots for begonias since the last time I took a picture of them back in spring of 2010. You can get an glimmer (or is it Gilmer,...haha inside joke) of an idea what my Alamo collection looks like from this picture, but you'll have to wait until next time to see the whole kit and caboodle. Trust me you do not want to see it right now, everything that is left  is barely hanging on.

But onto to sing the praises of Alamo. CollectoratorOne first discovered Alamo pottery several years ago, and I bought a large yellow one for the sake of having one. Well my mistake came when I bought the pink one and left them alone together. Now for some reason I have 19 pastel colored scalloped pots from both Alamo and it's step-brother Gilmer Pottery. CollectoratorOne and I mainly collect the scalloped pots they produced, but we have several other pieces from both Alamo and Gilmer as well. Such as this little tulip shaped pot and  deco-ish ashtray.  This is Texas-bred pottery, one of several companies I have been learning about and collecting over the years.  Alamo Pottery only operated from 1945-1951, but Gilmer came in tweaked the colors and molds and continued on with the scalloped goodness until 1965. You can tell the scalloped pots apart because Alamo Pottery is right, down to the right. Gilmer is down to the left. We used to despise Gilmer because we thought they were knock off pots, until we learned the full history. Now we embrace them equally which is good because they have some super cute items in their line including little scalloped pots with a scalloped base hooked on of which I have two! Can't be that. You can tell a piece of Alamo or Gilmer when you pick it up. It's super heavy for it's size as it was made out of vitreous porcelain of the ilk that is used in bathroom fixtures, not surprising given they also made bathroom fixtures! What we'd give to find a pink Alamo sink and toilet. egads.... It's safe to say that I've drank the Alamo koolaide, and I think that I need one more pot because 19 is just not a round number...

Oh before you go, Check out CollectoratorOne's Alamo/Gilmer collection here:

Friday, September 23, 2011

Corn Curlies, Wheat Whippies, Peanut Pippies, and Potato Poopies!

Ahhhh the Dick Van Dyke show. My absolute favorite show. I've seen every episode countless times, but I still crack up at the wit  and physical comedy that ensues each and every time I watch an episode.  Bewitched is a close second for me as both Samantha Stevens and Laura Petire inspired me both from a fashion sense and the powerful yet homemaking female role they each play. I've also derived a lot of collectorating inspiration from the Dick Van Dyke show. There's a list floating around the internet of the most wanted props from the show and of course the ottoman Rob trips over in the opening credits is highest on the list. (Note thought some times he doesn't actually trip but manages to skirt by!) For me, the number one item I covet is their couch! I currently own a curved couch and round coffee table a la the Petrie's living room, but my couch is new and not exactly right. I'm waiting until I move to see what space I have, and then I am going on a quest for the perfect Dick Van Dyke curved couch!

Second on my list would be the neato-frito serving ware Laura has. In fact, the first time I decided I wanted a lazy susan was when I saw an episode from Season 2 called "It's a Shame She Married Me." In this episode, the Petrie's are throwing one of their numerous parties (see where I get my love for parties from too??) and in one scene Rob is setting out the lazy susan complete with yummy 50sesque sounding snacks such as Wheat Whippies and Potato Poopies... lolololol! He quips that the snacks are getting cuter ever year. =) What I'd give to throw a party with those snacks! Now I have to say, nothing against Laura or anything, but my lazy susan beats the capri pants off of her lazy susan hands down. I don't even remember where I got it, but I know I didn't pass it up for anything when I saw it,  fully imagining taking it home and serving some fun Dick Van Dyke episode party-inspired snacks! The party will have to wait as it's now all packed up, but maybe I'll throw a Dick Van Dyke show style formal dress house warming party complete with fun snacks in the lazy susan and a song and dance show in the living room!

Monday, September 19, 2011


As promised, it's Kromex time! In my zeal of packing up extra things I think I've completely hampered my ability to have a swanky chrome-based party now! oh well, it's worth it to get a head start on packing and to show off my Kromex collection on the blog. As you can see I have a LOT of Kromex trays. My favorites are the tidbit trays especially the spacey looking two armed tray. The most amazing thing is I was able to get these ALL in on box, and probably more amazing they were all in my dining room buffet and hutch. I still don't know how I stored all of these!

My favorite memory in using these was at my wine and cheese party. My friend from Norway brought about 10 different kinds of hard cheese from Norway and Europe and we filled my kitchen island with trays of cheese, meat and fruit (turns out you can bring cheese into a foreign country as long as it's hard cheese. Who knew?!) I have to say those were some of the yummiest cheeses I've ever tasted. The best, although weirdest cheese, was a bright orange Parmesan cheese. No one wanted to try it because it was as orange as sweet potatoes which is weird because we'll eat Cheddar cheese all day long and that's orange, but this cheese was electric orange.  Everyone finally did try it after I wore them all down, and it was gone first!

Packing is going slow, and so far I haven't found anything I am ready to part with which is supposed to be part of this early packing exercise. CollectoratorOne will not be surprised to hear that! I don't think I can get rid of any of these trays, they are so handy! The best part about packing in this organized way is that for the first time in a long time like pieces are hanging out with their counterparts!  I think that's the trouble with  over-collectorating, either you have to keep reorganizing or live with things in different places. Course if I would purge as often as I collect then maybe the re-organization would not be such a chore!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Hors d'Oeuvres Anyone?

One thing I really like to do is throw parties! That is fully evidenced by the amount of party-ware I own. Now the problem is I don't actually get around to throwing as many parties as I'd like to or rather would warrant the amount of party-ware I do have. Probably among the most used set of party-ware I have this variety set of aluminum trays.

These are all different makers, and I have double of the smaller ones. I love all of these so I profess no favorite here, although I found the black and gold starburst ones last time at Warrenton for $1 so that was nice deal. Actually, I think those are the only non-sliver or glass trays I have, but I couldn't pass them up because they have stars on them, (yet another love)!  I have bunch of different Kromex trays too which are also in the most used category of party-ware, but they call for their own box and blog given the amount I have of those!  I threatened CollectoratorOne that when I move I am going to make her come over often for fancy tea sandwiches and Skip-Bo so I can justify all of these trays!

The bad thing is I packed all of these trays for the eventual move, but I will probably need them if not in October by March of next year. oh well. I can always unpack them or use some other party-ware set! hee!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Crazy About Chartreuse Too!

Update: Finished my first box of packing!! I felt like when I taped up that box I sent the universe in motion to begin to locate my new house! Go universe go!

I don't know if it was just closing up the box up, or if it was the act of packing some of my favorite pottery into a box CollectoratorOne had labeled Shawnee Vases (one of the first boxes she unpacked into her new house), but I felt our always parallel universe working in my favor.

I'm excited to see what I'll feature and pack up next! Oh, and just in case you didn't think the first batch of chartreuse pottery necessitated the label "crazy," here's part two! Also a nice picture of my favorite round plant stands by the way. Two for one!

Crazy about Chartreuse

Not so crazy that I am going to dye my hair chartreuse like in the Louis Jordan song BUT I have collected chartreuse pottery beyond my fair share most likely! When I was looking for my current house, I had to put a dining room set on layaway  because I hadn't found the house yet. Thank goodness for layaway because this was the perfect dining room set for me. 1960's  honey colored wood and chartreuse covered seat cushions, so I couldn't pass it up just because I didn't have silly thing like a house for it! Now normally I like dark wood which is kind of anti-mid century modern I'll admit, but I inherited a few pieces of dark furniture so I've built around it. I've done just fine in finding darker wood pieces in the era, but I drew the line at the dining room set. Regardless of the color it was coming home with me. Once I settled on the house, I realized that the existing paint color in the dining room lent itself quite perfectly with chartreuse. For those who want to know, the paint is Kelly Moore Everglades. Kind of a greenish bluish medium grey (it looks bluer than it is in the pictures).  I highly recommend it for blonde or honey colored wood, although i do rather like the color CollectoratorOne chose for her new dining room, that same medium grey but with more turquoise.

In any case, upon move in I had NOTHING that was chartreuse to decorate with. GASP! So I promptly remedied it and bought several pieces to display. I've slowly expanded my collection to the current state.  I really wish I knew who the manufacturer is of the set on the left in the picture. Can't seem to find anyone that knows. My favorite piece is in the center which is Claire Lerner California Pottery.  I'd like to find the free form shallow bowl to stand the birds in, someday. Lastly there are two Bennetts California Serpentine vases. I've seen a 4 inch tall one as on my list!

As much as I love looking at this cheerful chartreuse pottery I am packing most of it away. Yes, you read that right packing it away because I have started the tick tick tick of the moving timeline! It's time that we found a bigger house, only partially due to my Collectorating habit (is 80% really partial?) Granted, it may be six months to a year before we move, but I want to be ready to move fast when I find that perfect house. It's also the perfect opportunity to start a new blog series to highlight everything I'm packing away! I'll think I'll leave the Claire Learner birds out for staging so someone else sees how perfect this paint is with chartreuse!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Game Day 2011 - Collectorating Style

Ok it's no secret that I am a big UT Longhorn fan, not a big football fan, just a big UT Longhorn fan. Those two things are VERY different.  I earned every bit of that right to be a big fan given my 13 career as a professional student at UT. Before anyone pokes fun, I did get three degrees out of it including a Phd so by averages, three degrees in 13 years is just about right. I would have tried for 14 but I got a little tired of as an adult having to say "I am a student" to the question of "So what do you?" Not to mention I was well into my Collectorating addiction by that time and I needed a real source of funds to support said habit.
Even though I've put almost a decade between me and my last day on campus as an official student (October 1, 2002 for those who need details), I am still a UT Longhorn fan through and through. Now, for me it's not about the game, although I do care if we win but for me it's mostly all about the century old team spirit, traditions, and burnt orange fashion (of course!). I have almost enough outfits (shoes included!) to make it through the whole season of game day outings, but I can always use more.

Lately I've begun collecting accessories to make it all come together or go overboard as it may be... My favorite is this vintage basket purse adorned with a vintage cartoony Bevo. But my orange rhinestone and white bracelet is a close second . Pair that with some burnt orange gloves and hankie inside the Bevo purse and you've got yourself one touch-down-cannon-shooting-game-day outfit! Now, if we can win today, that will be even better, and I can go out and buy a new accessory item! Oooo, I see the start of a new tradition! Go Horns!!!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Extreme Collectorating = Tablescapes!

Well meaning friends say there is a fine line between collectorating and hoarding... To them I say you haven't found the beauty of well functioning tablescapes yet!!! So there... cough... In any case, my new favorite thing of late is creating works of art with my favorite collectibles. Only trouble is it gives me more excuses to buy more things (like I need anymore excuses). Case in point these two lovely birds. I can honestly say I bought them for the sole purpose of standing next to this McCoy Floraline vase.

A worthy purchase I think.  My favorite trio of late though is one that came together on its own over time not through a tablescape-need-justification. A nice, sunny yellow combo of Alamo and Shawnee vases and a Maddux Chinese Pheasant. It makes me happy just looking at it even though the bright yellow reminds me that it has been exhaustingly sunny for waaaaaay too many days this summer. What would make me feel better is if I could find the running pheasant in the same Maddux series which still frustratingly alludes me! Ok, I'd settle for 80 degree weather for awhile instead.

So what may seem on the outside as over-collectorating is really functional on the inside. I found that I actually make the effort get the pieces out and arrange them in new ways and funny so does "the boy." I'll come home and find his own carefully assembled scape filled with flowers. Now that's love. So not only am I enjoying all the pieces I've found, I'm actually using them too which makes me very happy even if I don't have the Maddux running pheasant! oh that fast 'scaping bird... Tune in for more tablescapes coming soon!