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Friday, July 31, 2009

Mother Of Pearl!!! Is That An Heirloom, Batman?

Sometimes it pays to reach 'way up high on your shelves. . . .

I'm tagging along for the Heirloom Party, hosted today by Marie at Emma Calls Me Mama.
Click here for more hand-me-d0wn treasures.

And as usual on Fridays, I am Hooked On something . . . this time, finding heirlooms I forgot I had!
Join Julia at her Hooked On Houses blog, here, too see what else folks are hooked on today.


The other day I was rummaging through my old kitchen cupboard shelves, looking for a misplaced cell phone charger,
and I reached up and took this chubby little guy down from the top shelf:

I think he is silver plate, but he's quite tarnished -- in finish, if not in reputation.

He belonged to my mother, one of her many yard-sale and church bazaar finds.
I am not sure if he is an open sugar bowl, or maybe . . .

a spooner!

Sometimes it's hard to tell the difference between the sugar and the spooner,
but -- no matter. What is interesting about this little fellow is what I found inside him:

Can you guess what they are?

They are hand-carved.

And very, very old.

They were used every day by my grandparents.

Yes, these are my grandparents' napkin rings.

Years ago, napkin rings were not just decorative items for table settings; laundry was no easy matter,
so you used your napkin for more than one meal, and your own ring identified your napkin as yours.

I remember these on the sideboard at Grandma's house; I always loved them.

Last year, when we were clearing things from my parents' beach house, I found these on a kitchen shelf and,
wanting to make sure they were safe, I brought them home -- inside my Mom's little silver plated bowl.

And forgot about them.

They are in perfect condition, if you look past some schmutz.
I'm a little afraid to clean them. What is safe to use on shells?
Or should I leave more than a hundred years of schmutz right where it is?

And ... anyone have a suggestion for a good, mild silver cleaner?
Friar Tuck here needs a little help:

It's Friday, folks -- go have fun. We are picking up a coffee table tomorrow; 99-cents! -- Cass

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Vintage Linens, Garden Flowers, and a Tea Set from Nepal

Take vintage linens, old china, a doll's teacup, a gift from Nepal,
fresh flowers from the border, and what do you get? Tea for One!

My daughter Anne is the guest designer today, with a Tea for One setting for Tablescape Thursday (hosted by Susan at Between Naps On The Porch) and Vintage Thingies Thursday (hosted by Suzanne at Coloradolady). Click on their highlighted blog titles to see what everyone else is up to.


Anne loves tea.

For her birthday, her sister sent her a tea set -- pot, sugar, and creamer -- handmade in Nepal.
It was a perfect gift!

Anne partnered this Eastern-looking set with a handle-less tea cup and saucer
that actually belong to her American Girl doll, Felicity!

Felicity is the Colonial-era doll, no longer featured in the American Girl Catalog since
Mattel took over the company and turned it -- well, we won't go there. Let's just say
American Girl and Pleasant Company are not what they used to be. Bigger is not always better.

But historically, Felicity would have drunk tea out of this type of cup --
no handles, and made in China for the export market.

What is tea without a cookie or two? Chocolate is always good, especially when served on a blue and white dish, Indies Blue, from Johnson Brothers. The napkin is damask, smooth vintage Irish linen, with a woven-in border of blue:

Underneath it all, a bridge cloth, one from the box of vintage family-made linens my mother-in-law sent me two weeks ago. This one is heavy, loosely-woven linen, beautifully hand-embroidered in what looks to me like perle cotton:

A closer look at the Nepal-ese tea set. Sugar and creamer:

The tea pot is a beautiful shape;
love the bent wooden handle, so practical -- no pot holder needed!

The blue looks "rubbed" -- it allows the base color to glow through; lovely.

You must have some pretties on every table. On this one, Anne used the bottom of a covered Asian-inspired blue and white casserole I got years ago at a Bombay and Company outlet store.
She filled it with flowers from the borders at That Old House. We only had to chase down two stowaway ants.

Also visiting, a little good luck Lenox elephant, and a small figurine . . .
we don't know who he is, but he seems to fit in!

Put it all together. . .

It's an Asian-Vintage-Fusion Tea for One!

Have a wonderful Thursday! -- Cass

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The Blooms At That Old House

What is in bloom now, in late July, at That Old House?

Join the fun at A Southern Daydreamer, for Outdoor Wednesday, hosted by blogger Susan. Click on the blog title or here to find more stories and some great pics!

(By the way, Susan shows Gazania in an amazing full display of blooms in her post today.
Why don't mine do that? My Gazania like to keep their blooms hidden.)


Last week, I discovered that what I thought were old iris leaves just hanging out, waiting for the axe to fall, were, in fact, fresh green gladiolus leaves, just hanging out waiting for their flowers to pop.

And pop they did!

I really like this color, with the dark border; so pretty in pink.
(Calling the real gardeners: is that called a picotee edge?)

Sadly, some heavy wind and rain felled a couple of the spikes, so they will be nipped and moved into That Old House;
she loves getting gussied up with fresh flowers.

Nearby, the trusty cosmos:

and amazingly prolific hibiscus are still pumping out the blooms.

Up along the driveway, it's rioting daisies:

On the stone wall side, the daisies are collapsing under their own weight:

Ack! Weeds! Cover your eyes.

I love over-the-top, devil-may-care Rudbeckia; we've got them all over the place:

They are doing their best to choke out this blue hydrangea;

Perhaps this poor guy needs a new home come fall:

The purple and lavender hydrangea are blooming, also, up above the stone wall:

And a tomato is happily ripening.
We don't have too many tomato plants but they are all Fertile Myrtles.

(Oops -- the Myrtle plants growing in the border are filing a protest over the unauthorized use of their name.
Never allow your garden plants to unionize. They get ideas.)

Also along the stone border -- some old-fashioned phlox:

That's a funny name.
Who came up with that for such a pretty flower?
Phlox. Phlox. Nope, doesn't get any better.

"Honey, get the paper towels! Dion's phloxing on the good rug!"

Is there another name for these guys?

Up on top of the border, on the driveway level, the "Autumn Joy" sedum is looking like anemic broccoli.
With this sedum, that's a good thing; it will reward us in the fall.

I never much liked wax begonias, till I realized how amazingly easy these scrappy little things are, and how they can suffer brutal gardening abuse and neglect and still look like this:

Oops. I think I just confessed to brutal gardening abuse and neglect. Guilty.

One more outdoor shot, this one from Sunday:

We went to a family baptism on Long Island.
That's baby Andrew, at the party afterward, hanging onto Uncle Howard.

And I guess it is Great-Uncle Howard, actually. Yikes.
My great uncles smoked stinky cigars and wore their pants hiked up under their nipples.

I think Dion is telling me it is time to leave the computer, and give him a treat.
He may be right. Enjoy your Wednesday! -- Cass