Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Shop, Kitschy Vintage, Shop!

I might not be posting much for a while.  Or if I do, my posts will look like the pages of the old Dick and Jane books -- lots of pictures with very few words.  

Dick, Jane & Sally
My job at the church is 95% computer work and I do a lot of computer work at home.   I knew it would catch up with me eventually... I'm suffering right now from really painful carpal tunnel in my right hand and can only use my left hand for mousing and typing.  That doesn't make for very efficient (or fast) blogging!

I'm on drugs and wearing a splint and am hopeful that a few weeks of hand-rest will allow it to subside.   In the meantime:

 See Kitschy Vintage.
See Kitschy Vintage shop.
Shop, Kitschy Vintage, shop.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

California Pottery and Metlox Poppytrail

Lately, I've been buying a lot of California pottery -- Bauer, Franciscan & Metlox.  Two of the more recent pieces I've gotten were a swordfish vase & two swirl candlesticks by Metlox, and they made me want to know more about their history.
Sailfish vase & swirl candlsticks
Over the years I've become pretty familiar with the whole whole West Virginia/Ohio/Pennsylvania pottery industry (including the factory tour at Homer Laughlin -- a must-do, if you ever get the chance).  I didn't know much about California pottery, though, so I did what any so-last-century person does:  got a book out of the library!
This is a great book by Carl Gibbs Jr. -- all the information (and book pictures) in this blog post come from this book & he gets full credit!
1920s:  Metlox was started by TC Prouty & his son, Willis.  They'd moved from Michigan to California and began working in tile in 1920.  They started Metlox in Manhattan Beach, CA in 1927 & made outdoor signs and insulators for neon tubes.  The name Metlox is a combination of Metal and Oxide, which refers to the pigments in their glazes.  In 1931, Willis took over when his dad passed away and, after seeing what Bauer was doing with pottery dinnerware & how popular it was, he started the pottery lines we're familiar with now.
Their dinneware was equally colorful and pretty as Homer Laughlin's Fiesta line!
1930s:  In 1934, he had the '200 series' or Poppytrail line (my swirl candlesticks), followed by the artware line in 1935 (my swordfish vase -- which I found out is really a sailfish).  My sailfish was designed and signed by Carl Romanelli.  That was followed by Pintoria, Yorkshire and Mission Bell.  All of these were solid color pottery pieces.

1940s:  They stopped production during WWII and Prouty sold to Evan Shaw in 1946.  Shaw hired Bob Allen and Mel Shaw (no relation), who were animators & created lots of animal lines for Metlox.  They started doing painted pieces, like this California Ivy relish dish.  The hand-decorated lines were their most popular and rivaled Franciscan's Desert Rose line.
Vernon Kilns plaid salt & pepper and a California Ivy relish dish
1950s:  They bought Vernon Kilns (of the Blair plaids, like this salt and pepper and painted pot) and started using their molds & patterns.  This is the same way Homer Laughlin continued to produce pieces for companies they bought out in the midwest.
Blair handpainted decorative pot
1954 Free Form gravy boat -- I love this line, with its atomic-era shapes!
My newest find at the antique mall -- a large (13") Free Form platter!
1960s:  This was the high point for Metlox -- by then, their only main competitor was Franciscan.  They sold lots of their lines to department stores.

1970s:  Hand-decorated and open-stock dishes went out of style and people wanted boxed sets.  Metlox couldn't compete with foreign manufacturers (mainly Japan).  They still had the little animal line, though, and some planters called 'Poppets' that were designed by Helen Slater & which were very popular.

1989:  Metlox closed its doors for good.  They were the last California pottery works to go out of business. This is all that's left of the Manhattan Beach factory.
The old Metlox sign -- all that's left at Manhattan Beach
Here are some other California pottery pieces:
Franciscan Autumn Leaves divided dish
Franciscan ceramic tray, Gladding McBean (Franciscan) butter dish and Patio line salt & pepper
Franciscan condiment set
That's what I love about buying, selling & collecting vintage:  no matter how much I know, there's always something new to learn about!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Soggy Friday Sales

Last week, I took Thursday night off, which really means that I didn't get anything ready to take to the mall.  Instead of fluffing the booth, I hit a few sales to the south of our town.  It was a chilly, rainy day and the yard sales are almost all gone, so it was lots of windshield time with very little shopping.  I went to an estate sale where everything was super-high, except for the unpriced stuff in the basement (always a good place to dig).
A great old camera -- lovely for display
I filled up a bin with Christmas stuff from several piles in a corner.  The sellers priced the whole bin at $5!  I was pretty happy then, but even happier when I put this little beauty together at home:
This is a 'Crystal Pine' tree from the 1940s.  It's layers of clear plastic 'boughs' separated by plastic tube dividers.  It's wonderful!  
Next stop was a Craigslist sale about a 1/2 hour away.  It was a woman (in her 50s) and her mother (70s) who had a very interesting ad. The opening lines were about how they were both avid collectors and were having a sale so that they wouldn't be on TV in an upcoming episode of Hoarders: Buried Alive.  I can relate.

They had 3 portable car-port tents in their tiny front yard with everything sorted by category & organized (nice), but most of what they had was priced like an antique mall (not nice).  There were a few goodies that just jumped out at me, though:

 This sweet set of Royal Sealy kitties, Made in Japan, from the 1950s:
This Made in Japan Santa.  I love his happy look, but can't figure out what he was made for.  He has slits all around his back and sides and little holes in his hat (like salt & pepper shaker holes).  Not enough room underneath for a light bulb and no place for the cord and too big a hole in the bottom for a stopper.  He  almost looks like one of those napkin lady dolls, but that doesn't make sense on a Santa.  Any ideas?

This was under a table in the kitchen tent -- I was so excited and did the happy dance through the raindrops all the way to the car!
A Pyrex red with gold holly.  AND the serving rack  AND a lid!
I'd seen these in books, but not in person -- I'll definitely be keeping this one!
I had thought these were casseroles -- it's actually a 404 bowl.  
Last stop was Treasure Mart in Ann Arbor, an 3-story resale shop that has really fast turnover and usually has great items.  I was disappointed to see that their prices are getting higher -- almost as high as mall prices.   they have a 10% discount per month on anything over $5, but there were very few things therethat were even one month old.  I did find a few good buys, though:
A custard glass plate with ruffled edge
Metlox Californial Ivy divided relish and a Vernon Kilns salt & pepper set
A Monmouth Pottery Western Stoneware bean pot.  I really had to dig to find out about this one.  Monmouth Pottery was in Illinois and Western Stoneware was one of their main lines.  I like its art deco look.
I've been picking up so much more American pottery than I used to (Franciscan, Vernon Kilns, Metlox, Monmouth, Paden City).  I'm going to have to learn more about it!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

My Etsy-versary Sale!

I've been so busy this month that I forgot to post this!

October marks my two-year Etsy-versary!  I didn't really get into the swing of it until last year, but two years it has been -- the time has just flown by!

I'm celebrating by having a sale.  Just enter the coupon code HAPPYETSYVERSARY at checkout and receive 10% off of anything you buy that's $10 or more.

You can visit my shop here.   Even if you don't want to shop, I hope you'll just stop by to visit!   Blog-friends are the best!

Friday, October 19, 2012

In the Mail Today: Mid-Century Clip-On Bird Ornaments!

Look what came in the mail today -- these 1950s clip-on bird ornaments.  These aren't classy and beautiful like their mercury glass 'elder sisters' from the early 1900s, but are totally kitschy plastic birds!  They have a spring inside and they open and close like a clothespin.  People used to put them on their Chrstmas trees in winter and their outside trees & bushes in the summer.  I saw some on Etsy a while back and that particular lot was priced well beyond my budget, so I've been watching for them ever since.

These little guys definitely need a trip to the bird bath, but other than that, they're great!  I plan to keep some, share some with some special family members (you know who you are -- I hope) and sell the rest.   Mid-century kitsch is so much fun!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Worth a Second Look

Sometimes a sale doesn't look like much the first time through, but is worth a second look.  I went to three sales on Friday and found one just like that.

There were two in the same little community and the first one was a family-run estate sale.  Like lots of family sales, the sellers had watched TOO MANY episodes of Antiques Roadshow and American Pickers!   They had some nice green depression glass, but it was so expensive.  One glass jar with a lithograph on the lid was $50!  There was a cake platter, a couple of bowls and a cream and sugar.  I asked the lady if the $50 was for the set and she explained that each piece was priced alone.  The cheapest one was $20!  She told me she was asking what she'd paid for each one at an antique mall about 10 years ago.    No point in arguing economic downturn, tastes that have changed from depression glass to mid-century or yard sale vs. antique mall.  I just said thank you and walked away.

I got to the next sale really early because of that and was #6.  My friend Bargain Hunter and a few more people I knew from the antique mall were there, too.  Inside, almost everything was marked and they had lots of people in the rooms to help with pricing and running items -- always a good thing.  Their prices were on the high end, though.  Bargain Hunter left almost as soon as she got there -- empty-handed.  I was getting ready to go and decided to do one more walk through...I'm glad that I did!

There were some deals (though not steals) to be had.
I found this Replogle globe bank (9" high with a 6" dia. globe) from 1960.  How do I know that?  I always check this website -- one of my favorites -- to date globes and maps!  I love to see when countries merged, separated and changed names.   Globes are really popular right now, too (probably because they're being replaced by online maps & GPSes).
This postcard folder was in a box of postcards.  It looks, at first glance, like a regular Mackinac collection.  Check out the bridge, though!  It was printed when the Mighty Mac was being built -- the pictures are great!
This Hermes typewriter in in mint condition!  It has all the books, brushes and original stuff.  It also types really well -- the ribbon isn't dried out very much at all (they often are).
BEST BUY OF THE DAY:  This Lefton 'Christmas Kids' -- it was on a table on a porch (not in a place of honor), is in perfect condition and was priced dirt cheap!  First I did a double-take, then I did a happy dance!   This little sweetie is just going to stay out until Christmas (and maybe all year around)...

The next sale I went to was run by two really nice guys -- I'd been to their sales before and they're always so nice to deal with (and their prices are fair.
I got this ceramic Christmas tree.  These are the hot collectible this year!  I think this one is nice because it has a music box in the base that plays White Christmas.
Little Golden Books are always nice to find
These 1950s kids' books are very interesting. I like the illustrations and projects in the  'Let's Play'
Maybe I should keep a few of the children's books for a grandchild-yet-to-be!
I got this box of 24 pieces of W.S. George Sierra dinnerware.  Sadly, one of the dinner plates broke when I hit a bump.  Michigan's dirt roads are a real pain!
The Sierra pattern is from 1955.  I found an 
The Sierra pattern is from 1955.  The backstamp reads 'W.S. George Half-Century of Dinnerware'.  There isn't much to be found online, so it must be fairly rare.  I found a old ad for it, though -- a 16 piece set sold for $7.50!  I think the atomic pattern is lovely.
 This is a box of wooden poker chips.  I wish the box weren't so beat up -- it's interesting all by itself.
 BEST BUY FROM THAT SALE:  A 1930s Hendryx birdcage and stand.  I don't know if you can see it very well in the picture, but it's very cool.  That's the third birdcage I've found in the last 2 months.  I don't know if other people like them as much as I do or not...I guess I'll find out!

So, the moral of this post is:  The next time you go to a sale and think there's nothing there to buy, take another look -- there just might be a treasure hidden away somewhere!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

A Thrift Store Adventure -- Stop, Thief!

We've been cleaning out closets and I had to take bags of clothes to our local Salvation Army.  Since I didn't have Mr. KV in the car with me to tell me I didn't have time to shop, I got to stop in and see what was new.

The first thing I saw was a dark green Harlequin creamer -- for less than $2!  I was so excited and snapped it up (doing a mental happy dance the whole time).  Then I saw a small maroon pitcher that looked old -- it was incised (not ink-stamped) Fiesta on the bottom.  I still have to figure out if this is old or contemporary (I think it might be Cinnabar).  I think it's the cream pitcher that goes with a sugar bowl on a special serving plate.  But I digress...
Do any of you know if this is Cinnabar?  Or if it's old?
I found a few more mid-century things (my lucky day, I guess) and went to the check out line.  As I mentally added my stuff, I saw that the harlequin creamer was gone!  I said (no, actually, I yelled) "Someone took something out of my cart!"  All the other shoppers in line were horrified, of course.  If it could happen to me, it could happen to them.  I went to each check-out clerk and told them (I think, a little loudly) that a green cream pitcher that came up was mine and that it had been taken out of my cart.

I spent the next 1/2 hour looking in everyone's carts and what they were carrying.  No creamer anywhere.  Finally, I admited defeat and got back in line.  There, on the jewelry counter right next to the front of the line was my pitcher!  The cart-thief had apparently dumped it when I raised the hew-and-cry.  Crime foiled again!

I'm still wound up about this -- and also about finding a Harlequin creamer.  Harlequin is my favorite Fiesta pattern and I don't have a creamer AND I never find deals like this.

Doing the happy dance once again!
That which was stolen has been found!
Have you ever had a cart-thief adventure?  Did it end happily or sadly?

Friday, October 5, 2012

Fall Friday Finds

I was just lamenting that I hadn't been to any good sales lately -- none of the kind where you do the happy dance all the way to the car.  I still haven't, but today's sales were a little better!

Fall has come to Michigan.  The trees are all turning and leaves are falling.  It was chilly and damp when I left this morning to go to some late-season garage sales in a nearby town.  One had been listed on Craigslist and the seller had used words like 'destashing', 'mid-century' and 'anthropomorphic condiment dishes', so I knew I had to go.

She lived in a condo and her garage was barely wide enough for a car, but she had tables with 2 aisleways set up in there.  It was a tight fit for the 5 or 6 people who where there when I was.  Still, I got some good buys -- mainly old photos from the 1930s and 1950s.  The anthropomorphic condiment dishes?  Well, I was hoping they were Holt Howard, but they weren't.  They were just big vegetable & fruit heads and were $25 each -- not what I wanted.
An Argus camera with full flash equipment & original box, plus more photos . 
These are from the early 1950s and included Christmas and kiddie football pics.
A photo album with pictures from the 1930s -- mostly from a trip to the Catskills
Her condo development was supposed to be having a community garage sale, but I only found 2 other sellers.  At one of them I bought an old fiberglass & metal mail bin.  It has 'North Campus Library Annex' painted on it and, since we have several universities around here, I wondered if the old man I bought it from had stolen it.  I was afraid to ask him its history, though, because he was very crabby and a little scary.
After the condo complex, I went to a couple more sales in a couple more towns (it seems nothing in our part of Michigan is really close together) and ended up filling the car!

One thing I was happy to find was a tall unit of 4 shutters (door-height) hinged together.  I've been looking for shutters like this for over a year, because they're great for creating an instant wall in the booth.  You can also turn them slats-facing-up and hang things on them with S hooks.  These are perfect because they're painted a soft green that will look good with my booth walls.  One of them is broken, but I don't care about that.  I might even repair it...
All in all, it was a good shopping day, even if I didn't do the happy dance.

Here are some of my fun finds:
An old sled
A fifties stepped end table & a shabby red chair
Driving-range sized baskets
A framed cutwork & embroidered 'Welcome' motto
A silhouette jar and some sweet 1920s button on cards

A pyrex casserole, Moon & Stars compote and a Stetson 'Scots Clan' cream & sugar (sweet!) 
This  little golf bag holder with plastic golf club drink stirrers. 
A McCoy large jardiniere.  It has a small (and short) hairline crack at the top. Other than that it's perfect!
A wooden box with etched mirror and a bakelite knob
A pair of mid-century wall pockets with elves.  Honestly, who would want to hang these on their walls and put plants in them?
 I hope you had a fun junking week!  I'll have to check all your blogs to see what you found.