Friday, December 19, 2014

Christmas Memories of Nan

     My mother was a crafter, knitter, crocheter, sewer and follower of trends in the do it yourself era when it was popular in the 1970-1980s era.  Of course there are DIYers these days but usually the crafts involve more industrial elements, lots of rusty relics and repurposing.   My mom never went by a yarn display or fabric bin that didn't beckon her with siren songs, so when she passed away, there was an array of boxes with unused "planned" projects to be sorted through plus endless supplies.  However, she also loved making things for her family at Christmas time so basically I never felt the need to be terribly crafty because there are only so many sweaters, mittens, afghans, quilts etc. that any one family could use, and more importantly, make room for.  Now, as I'm in the process of looking through Christmas boxes in search of particular ornaments to pass on to the next generation as part of their yearly bonanza of family treasures, I have to smile at several things that were revealed in some of the many tubs and boxes I pulled from the storage area under the basement stairs.  Now I have to say that I was an only child, grandchild, niece-----you get the picture so you understand my responsibility in preserving, or as my three sons say "hoarding" things that will be theirs.  I should mention that my mom always made things in triplicate so that all three boys would receive gifts of equal value-----in other words, handmade with love!  They know that I usually am able to find things that have been carefully packed away so as to preserve those items they enjoyed as children.  This also includes items I saved  that came from us, their mom and dad.   The nice thing about being able to share these treasures and memories of Christmas past are the stories which invariably arise and the laughter that results so now our grandsons can join in the fun of remembering and learning more about their daddy's childhood celebrations.  In my estimation this is lots more fun than unwrapping another electronic device........So, I hope you enjoy looking at the examples of my mother's loving hand-i

-work through the Advent style Christmas trees on felt banners, a few of the Christmas stockings to be filled with goodies, one remaining Wise man created from a plastic dish washing bottle filled with sand (!), and an honest to goodness ca 1940 hunting stocking (there are two) which I had used and later was filled with stuff for our first two children.  When the third son arrived my mom started making stockings from kits.   Merry Memories

Friday, November 21, 2014

A Gargoyle?

We recently bought an assortment of "grandma's" items from a fellow that brought his barn treasures to us in the trunk of his car.  Several boxes of rough and relics that he had just tossed in boxes since he didn't really know what we might be interested in.  Several weeks ago he had stopped in our shop to talk about the stuff he was trying to get rid of since he was downsizing his grandmas farm.  Of course, we were interested to see what he might find so we were finally able to agree on a day last week.  In the midst of lots of canning jars (!) and other this and that was an interesting Mobiloil can with the logo Gargoyle and a strange looking animal---not the flying pegases, but an orange thing.  It was marked "E" and especially recommended for Ford cars, made in the U.S. for the Vacuum Oil Company. This round can isn't in mint condition by any means, but after all it is OLD; probably ca 1914-1920 and it has been in the barn for a long time :)  Well, since research is among my favorite hobbies, I looked and looked to see what I might find  on line.  Not much on 1 quart cans as it turns out.  The price varied from $30 to several hundred for larger or square cans and found only one round one that had been sold, but of course the selling price wasn't available.  I did learn that the Gargoyle logo was used between 1904-1932 and that this particular brand was used in magazine ads featuring Ford automobiles.  There are resources that describe the transition through several well known oil companies and how they grew, changed hands and names.  Included in the history you can find Vacuum Oil Co that merged to Socony, Socony and Vacuum Oil Co that became Mobile and Standard Oil Co.  Lots to learn about this area of petroliana and automotive collectibles.  So another lesson learned in the antique/vintage objects area.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Old Stuff $3..00

Usually,  I don't have a lot of luck at garage sales but every now and then I find treasures or other good stuff at estate sales.  Recently, my daughter in law and I managed to "escape" while grandpa was in charge of the grandsons,  and stopped at a few neighborhood sales that included one that was advertised as an estate.  These days we head for the garage and basement since the garden and industrial goods seem to be what customers in antique shops are looking for. (if you've read my biography, you know that we have space in three locations!)   Eventually we perused the main floor before heading up to the bedroom area.  I just happened to scan one of the tables and found a little box marked "old stuff"  $3.00.  I could see clearly through the plastic cover that there were some little treasures to be had-------tiny pin back and lapel pins.  I really didn't open the box  to look at each one but just handed it to the lady in charge and asked her to add it to my little pile of goodies.  Later at home, I checked out my little treasures and I can only say they reminded me of my grandmother.  I have her sewing machine and years ago I found similar little buttons from WWI and II  era in the drawers.  I have to wonder where these latest pins lived and if they also might have been tossed  in a grandma's sewing machine drawer until the owner or the relatives had the responsibility of selling a life time accumulation of wonderful goods.  There are several buttons which I found particularly charming:  the little goat which you can see in the top left hand side which reads "you can't get my goat" ,  For the boys over there and the sweet little oval framed photo of a young lady.  The photo pin is similar to one I have of my Grandpa George which is in my box of special keepsakes of memories.  I think that little box of old stuff that cost  $3.00 was a real treasure!

Monday, April 21, 2014

Token token who has the tokens?

My husband is but one of many avid collectors of tokens which seems to be an ever increasing area of interest.  Tokens were in use long before the present day coupons or perks or any of the other adjectives used to attract customers or followers.  There are wonderful sources of information about the history and continued use of tokens available on many internet sites so I encourage you to check out the various resources to learn more.  At any rate the use of tokens in the United States increased as the west was settled-----think remote villages, mining camps, stage coach stops, military bases and you'll get the picture.  Tokens were created in the absence of government issued coins and paper money.  They were made in a variety of shapes and  materials ie:  tin, copper, cheap metals, but not precious gold or silver.  Grocery stores, saloons, restaurants, small towns and even individuals gave them away as a way of attracting customers to their retail establishments.  Often, small businesses   in mining towns needed to compete with scrip which was issued to miners in order for them to shop at the business owned by the large absentee mining companies.  In addition, there was a scarcity of ready cash in the far off west during the 19th and early 20th centuries, largely due to slowness of transportation.  Later, buses, subways, car washes and states also issued tax tokens.  (hmm, wonder if they could be used instead of cold hard cash these days?)   Tokens now  provide us with an interesting source of information about  local businesses and small towns that are no longer in existence.  How much fun it would be to find the name of your ancestor on a grocery store token or one from the small town settled by your great, wish I could be so lucky!  I have included photos of a few of the tokens including many from area businesses in local towns near Grant County in Minnesota and eastern North Dakota. 

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Hand painted china----a DIY project for young ladies?

In my collection of glassware that has come to me from mother, grandmothers, great grands, aunts etc. etc. I have one little cup and saucer that is quite delicate and fragile.  It was apparently painted by one Mamie Williams McCleod of Tacoma, Washington who was my grandfather's niece.  She moved with her family that included mother Clara, father Frederick and sister Lena after a devastating fire of a mill at Pomme de Terre Village  in Grant County Minnesota.  Frederick had been in business with his father in law, August Schaeffer, who had come to the area in 1873 with the intention of building a large flour mill.  I have done a lot of research on the family and it appears that Frederick and Clara decided to head west and establish a new business called  the California Winery Warehouse, in Tacoma.  They apparently were quite successful attested to by the fact they lived in a grand house with extensive gardens, accumulated an impressive collection of art, Chinese artifacts and LOTS of exquisite china.  Mamie appears to have been the favorite since in pictures she is decked out in what I would describe as "over the top" fashions with hair done up in latest dos.  Meanwhile, sister Lena appears to have been the dowdy one and not much is documented of her growing up years.  Mamie also apparently married "up" and continued to live in an upper class social circle.  She was involved with charities and other activities which were mentioned favorably in news articles.  I found that her artistic talent was considered to be good enough to be included
 in several articles and books.  Now I have only the little lavender Haviland cup decorated with pansies and with a sizeable crack to remember Mamie, who lived to be 100 years old.  Wish I had other pieces to remember her by.