Capital City Antique Mall

The Art of Manliness - What your lunchbox says about you!

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If you are reading this thinking of your sadly wrapped, sea foam green fabric covered, misshapen lump of a lunch with its printed elephants, unfortunately knowing that it closely resembles a large child's diaper - perhaps you should re-evaluate what your lunchbox is saying about you. As it sits in the over crowded work fridge, silently labeling you as the man whose wife shops for him and has no sense of fashion of his own merit. It is time to rebel, and allow your playful, ironic or manly side come into play - and invite co-workers to notice, nay, openly gawk and admire the box of tin and aluminum that has survived decades and says, " I AM a lunch of a deeply interesting and stylish person."  

So obviously a box of this caliber can't come from Walmart - to inspire conversation and ensure lunchroom envy it has to come from the antique store. Duh. Take a look at a few of the gems I found and what they will say about you and your epic lunch.

1 - The Bonafide lady-killer. You can rock a man mullet fro with the best of them. You have a dead sexy car that talks to you and basically -- You are in for a helluva ride.

2 - You are patriotic, protective and extremely Pro-Second Amendment. This is your version of tupperware....and Bambi jerky is inside.

3 - A truthful, mysterious, ruggedly handsome boy scout. You are all about righting wrongs and you truly believe justice will prevail. And you wear the white hat well.

4 - And of course, the James Dean of lunch boxes. This says you are a legend. A rebel, a free spirit who rides a motorcycle just to feel the speed and the wind in his hair. Manliness incarnate.

So take your pick - or switch it up as you go back to school or back to work. Know that the pink printed butterflies and rainbow kittens on your old bag are doing you no favors and getting you no respect or new attention - so drop that bag off at goodwill and find a unique bag that tells your story - and keeps your food fresh and unsquished.

Oh and I lied about the rainbow kittens, that would actually score you points...I was trying to be dramatic...but I went too far. I can see that now. Keep Calm and Get Your Lunch On.

Does Your Marriage Date Predict Your Happiness?

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Do you believe a date can predict the happiness in your marriage?  We have reached the summer of love, when weddings are almost every weekend, taking advantage of the warm weather and relaxed atmosphere.  In every culture there are superstitions and traditions that surround the union of a couple. Wearing white, in addition to something borrowed, blue and old will ensure your luck and success in marriage.  

Traditionally, verses were followed to dictate the most auspicious or lucky date to marry. Each global tradition is different - see if your marriage month predicted your happiness correctly! Also look at these lovely antique brides for some fashion inspiration :)

"Married when the year is new, he'll be loving, kind and true.
When February birds do mate, You wed nor dread your fate.
If you wed when March winds blow, joy and sorrow both you'll know.
Marry in April when you can, Joy for Maiden and for Man.
Marry in the month of May, and you'll surely rue the day.
Marry when June roses grow, over land and sea you'll go.
Those who in July do wed, must labour for their daily bred.
Whoever wed in August be, many a change is sure to see
Marry in September's shrine, your living will be rich and fine.
If in October you do marry, love will come but riches tarry.
If you wed in bleak November, only joys will come, remember.
When December snows fall fast, marry and true love will last."

“Married in January’s hoar and rime, Widowed you’ll be before your prime.
Married in February’s sleepy weather, Life you’ll tread in time together.
Married when March winds shrill and roar, Your home will lie on a distant shore.
Married ‘neath April’s changeful skies, A chequered path before you lies.
Married when bees o’er May-blossoms flit, Strangers around your board will sit.
Married in month of roses - June - Life will be one long honeymoon.
Married in July with flowers ablaze, Bitter-sweet memories in after days.
Married in August’s heat and drowse, Lover and friend in your chosen spouse.
Married in September’s golden glow, Smooth and serene your life will go.
Married when leaves in October thin, Toil and hardships for you begin.
Married in veils of November mist, Fortune your wedding-ring has kissed.
Married in days of December’s cheer, Love’s star shines brighter from year to year.”

"Monday for health
Tuesday for wealth
Wednesday best of all
Thursday for losses
Friday for crosses
Saturday for no luck at all."

o time to go to the antique store - pick up some gorgeous photos of weddings past - or an antique veil or small blue earrings - after all it will be something that is old, new to you AND blue! So keep up the traditions and share any photos of your antique or vintage wedding inspiration!

Game Night

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Long nights of card playing, laughter and good-natured rivalries was the magic of game night. Our family bonded over Boardwalk and Park Place, shooting the moon and the little black bird known as a rook. We celebrated family birthdays with dinners and cake always followed by the ritual clearing of the table and few rounds of Hearts or Rummy. Game playing is an ancient tradition - one that holds more value than just that of a past time. It teaches how to operate within parameters, with clear rules and consequences. It demonstrates how it isn't always fair and you must deal with the hand chance has dealt you, although as your skill increases so does your luck.

My father taught me how to play chess with a beautiful carved set he bought when traveling. Each piece was intricate and beautiful. The lessons I learned were more than anticipating my opponent. I cherish those times with my Father. Many games have changed through the years and therefore are worth snatching up if you want to share them with your family. Game tiles can be quite valuable as they used to be made from bone, ivory or ceramic.

Some games have fallen completely from popularity...My grandmother had a card game called "How Silas popped the question." It was a victorian era card game where Silas had questions for his beloved - they were mostly silly questions until you got the one where he asked her to marry him, and then the game was over. Now, it may not be as titillating as some of the LARP games online, but hey I remember my sister and I laughing pretty hard at the antiquated game. All I am saying is June is an excellent time for late nights of family bonding. So skip the grocery store games and get one that is vintage or antique that will challenge your mind and make your soul sing. There are plenty to choose from - so get shopping!

Who Patented Patent Leather?

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There are always a few questions when talking about Patent leather: Is it real leather? Was it ever patented?  And why is it sooooo shiny?? Antique and Vintage patent leathers ARE real leather with several layers of linseed oil and lacquer to give it that mirror like sheen that makes it easy to double as a mirror for your lipstick application ;)  The high gloss finish was waterproof, durable and popular with the upperclass.  It was brought to the US in 1818 by Seth Boyden - and ironically he NEVER patented his process.  Modern patent leathers usually have a plastic or synthetic coating and can often be made of other materials. So to recap, patent leather is not patented, and yes it originally it was real leather.

The glass-like finish that catches the light has been captivating trendsetters and fashionistas for decades and still rules as the most formal version of leather one can buy. It dominates men's footwear for formal occasions, such as weddings and formal balls, and it often accompanies dress military uniforms. Women can choose from footwear and accessories with the high flying sheen. Even royals like Kate Middleton turn to its everyday stunning elegance in a favorite pair of nude patent pumps. 

If you choose to buy a high gloss item - beware these pretties scratch and scuff easily - but not to worry a little clear lacquer or acrylic gloss gel will fix it perfectly. Add some patent leather to your wardrobe to glass or class it up a bit! Fifties pumps or a shiny black clutch and you will be set for high shine adventure!


Unlock the mystery...

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Skeleton and closet, door and dresser. Keys themselves evoke a slight thrill of mystery and secrets. These ancient door and lock openers lend suspense and promise. The rust and patina of the years is captivating and the mere presence of a key makes one curious where it came from and what it opens. Most antique keys that you see are "bit" or "barrel" keys. The bits are the teeth at the end of the shaft of the key that operates the lock. Sometimes these same keys can be called barrel keys when their long shaft is hollow - like the barrel of a gun. This style of key was used for more thank 1,500 years a duration that holds little merit because the companion locks to these keys were super easy to pick. Now, some of these keys you find are skeleton keys - which open many doors, a master key of sorts. But generally speaking the odds are your key only opens one lock. 

But beyond its value of securing doors, cabinets and attics full of treasure - the keys themselves are representatives of history and make beautiful statements in a purely artistic way. So even if you never discover the origin or the lock to the lost key you possess, here are my favorite ways to incorporate these antique keys into your life and to unlock new meaning and purpose for them.

1. Use a handful of old keys as table markers for the guests at your wedding, to show you and your beloved are unlocking a new era! This idea and photo were found here.

2. A WIND CHIME!! Here are two examples of easy DIY wind chimes with antique keys.  
his charming teapot/key concoction was a DIY project that you can find here. But just looking at it for inspiration might be enough. The second is an even easier approach using a wooden needlepoint hoop, some twine, old jewelry and of course, a generous helping of those unique keys. 

3. String a piece of leather through the bow  or top of any antique key for a gender neutral necklace that is really chic and lends an air of mystery to any outfit. 

4. Or do what I have done and add one of these keys to blank ring for an easy and stylish keychain.

Well hopefully this has unlocked a few ideas for you! 

Is it Vintage, Antique, Retro... or is it just out of style?

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The words antique, retro, and vintage still leave collectors in open combat as their meanings and their proper use. Our language is ever changing, and we continue to redefine words and use them in different ways. For example, try to read Chaucer's Canterbury Tales in its original middle english vernacular you will see just how far the english language has changed. HINT: Try reading out loud - or just read the translation below.

And of the feste that was at hir weddynge,
(And of the feast that was at her wedding)

And of the tempest at hir hoom-comynge;
(And of the storm at her homecoming;)

I wol nat letten eek noon of this route,
(I will not hinder not anyone of this group)

Lat every felawe telle his tale aboute,
(Let every fellow tell his tale about this,)

And ther I lefte, I wol ayeyn bigynne.
(And there I left, I will again, begin.)

Cars only need to be 25 years old to be considered antiques - According to that definition I am already an antique!

Cars only need to be 25 years old to be considered antiques - According to that definition I am already an antique!

Um, yep...words like "bitwixen", "weddynge" and all of the crazy spellings can drive a modern american english speaker to madness. This illustrates to how a language can evolve. In 2014 the words hashtag, selfie, tweep and duck-face were all added to the dictionary - and I can almost guarantee in five hundred years english speakers will have no idea what those things area....I laugh to think of the futuristic wikipedia entry that will describe duck-face.  

ANYWAY, getting back to the topic on hand - should you list it as an Antique? Or when you buy something how do you know if its vintage? Or just someone's old clothes that went out of style, like the chunky square toed heels your mom used to wear in the 90's? What is the difference?

Often modern conversation has attributed these definitions to the following words:
1-Antique. Something that is really old, dusty, possible made of carved wood... maybe it came from your grandma's parents attic or basement.  My niece equates antique with old and ugly, i.e. "That dress is practically an antique!"...but vintage is old and totally adorable...or "totes amazeballs."
2-Vintage. Old but cute enough to charge double the price for it. Usually nostalgic is some way or could be useful as a movie prop.
3-Retro. Either something that is in the style of something from the past and its brand new or its something that is outdated and coming back into style.

As you can see these definitions are totally nebulous and inconclusive. Easily interchangeable in common conversation their true meanings have been lost except when we look in the dictionary. Here are the official definitions that I found in an article by Apartmenttherapy.com

What is antique?
According to Merriam Webster, an antique is "a relic or object of ancient times" or "a work of art, piece of furniture, or decorative object made at an earlier period and according to various customs laws at least 100 years ago."Ruby Lane, an online marketplace of independent antique and collectible shops, offers a similar definition, explaining, "Most authorities consider the actual definition of the term 'antique' to mean an age of at least 100 years. If an item is not definitively datable to 100 or more years in age, it should not be directly referred to as an antique."

What is vintage?
If antiques are things that are 100 years old or older, what are vintage pieces? The defnition of vintage is trickier. According to Merriam Webster, the term vintage relates primarily to wine and is an altered form of the French word vendage, meaning "the grapes picked during a season." One of its secondary definitions is "a period of origin or manufacture" (e.g., a vintage 1960s Mercedes) or "length of existence: age." Ruby Lane provides a much more helpful explanation, noting that "an item described as 'vintage' should speak of the era in which it was produced. Vintage can mean an item is of a certain period of time, as in "vintage 1950's" but it can also mean (and probably always should) that the item exhibits the best of a certain quality, or qualities, associated with or belonging to that specific era. In other words, for the term vintage to accurately apply to it, an item should be somewhat representational and recognizable as belonging to the era in which it was made." Ruby Lane also suggests that'vintage' should not be used in reference to objects less than 20 years old

What is retro?
According to Merriam Webster, retro is "relating to, reviving, or being the styles and especially the fashions of the past : fashionably nostalgic or old-fashioned." Retro furniture may not actually be old but it references styles of the recent past. Retro can also mean something that is not very old but is old enough to be more than just "so last season". (i.e., the woman wearing the early 80s high-waisted jeans because she hasn't updated her wardrobe since the Reagan Administration is not retro. She is just outdated.) I am still not entirely clear on the difference between retro and vintage, I must admit. There seems to be some overlap. --Apartmenttherapy.com

So as you can see - clearly defined - but people will still use the words interchangeably so its always best to meet a buyer or read all the information so you know how old that "vintage" piece really is. Happy antique hunting folks!

100 year old Throwback Thursday

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Few people on Facebook can do a throwback of about a hundred years! But that is the beauty of the decades past - they define us and give structure to our modern society.  Our lives and our cities build on the memories of our collective history - a foundation that gives us a unique and rich past, one that is should be preserved and celebrated. 

Salt Lake City was founded by sheer pioneer will and was fortified by the entrepreneurial western spirit of its settlers.  They tamed a wild uninhabitable desert and made a thriving city.  They used their skill to construct beautiful architectural gems all over our fair city, some of which still survive today. If you are a fan of antiques and antiquities - at one time or another you may have become enchanted by the gorgeous and ornate victorian architecture of the past. Take a look at what life was like in Salt Lake then AND now.

Here is that borderline crazy and definitely plucky pioneer attitude again. Pretty sure that wasn't good for the car or the steps - the cops must have been pretty lenient back then. 

Here is that borderline crazy and definitely plucky pioneer attitude again. Pretty sure that wasn't good for the car or the steps - the cops must have been pretty lenient back then. 

Yes that is a legit steam-shovel working away at completing the Utah State Capitol building in 1915

Yes that is a legit steam-shovel working away at completing the Utah State Capitol building in 1915

Um, how adorable is the River Queen paddling on the pond at Liberty Park...can we bring this back puhleease!

Um, how adorable is the River Queen paddling on the pond at Liberty Park...can we bring this back puhleease!

This is George A. Smith next to his car, right next to the Salt Lake City Temple

This is George A. Smith next to his car, right next to the Salt Lake City Temple

Old timey fire engine, two horse power.

Old timey fire engine, two horse power.

Ladies waiting for the street car to take them home after shopping, they are right across the street from the Social Hall - which no longer stands, and The Belvedere is the large building being built behind them. They are right next to the east side entrance of the current City Creek Mall.

Ladies waiting for the street car to take them home after shopping, they are right across the street from the Social Hall - which no longer stands, and The Belvedere is the large building being built behind them. They are right next to the east side entrance of the current City Creek Mall.

Don't you love how they have a giant sign that says "beware of pickpockets"!?

Don't you love how they have a giant sign that says "beware of pickpockets"!?

1910 City and County Building 

1910 City and County Building 

The Lion House

The Lion House

The Crane Building

The Crane Building

Argh! This streetcar is so cute!

Argh! This streetcar is so cute!

Take a look at the archived Deseret News article with the full gallery of 88 pics here.  Happy Thursday!

Surprising device that stops rain!

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Of course its an umbrella! But not just any umbrella!! Its a vintage one! The vintage umbrellas were often made of solid wood with details like lucite or bakelite handles.  Their stylish fabrics and shapes are unique and beautiful. In addition to being valuable, the higher domes they sported compared to today's modern counterpart are more effective in keeping you dry from the rain...AND they are much better suited to those of us that are tall - so we can share our umbrella and still stay dry ourselves. Although April is almost over more showers are still headed our way - so i think you should definitely get one...lets just call it an investment for a rainy day - wink wink :)

Cat Lady Chic

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Time to embrace your inner cat lady and indulge in all things feline. There are a host of superstitions, stories and stereotypes that surround the mysterious cat. Are cats unlucky? Well it depends on where you live.  In America, black cats are unlucky, in Japan and Britain the opposite is true. Egyptians revered cats as an incarnation of Bastet, the playful goddess of protection - thought to be the daughter of Ra.  

Now angry cats, cats with hats and cats that speak are memes on the internet,  and we have coined phrases like 'crazy cat lady' insinuating that if woman owns a cat - she must slowly be losing her sanity or she is just trying to fill a hole in an otherwise unfulfilled life . False! Look at all the talented, incredible women who have owned cats and all they have accomplished! If you are a cat lady, fear not - you are in excellent company. Here is a list of cat ladies to look up to....former First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton (current presidential hopeful), Taylor Swift, Holly Golightly (Audrey Hepburn), Elizabeth Taylor, Dolly Parton  - and about a million more!  Along with the leading ladies above the gents have a soft spot in their hearts too! Abraham Lincoln, and JFK had cats in the white house; Mark Twain and Albert Einstein sang the praises of the furry, purring pets. “When a man loves cats, I am his friend and comrade, without further introduction.” - Mark Twain

Karl Lagerfeld says his fluffy white siamese, Choupette, is a 'famous beauty' and is his muse.  She even has her own twitter account.


Karl Lagerfeld says his fluffy white siamese, Choupette, is a 'famous beauty' and is his muse.  She even has her own twitter account.

I am not saying you need to buy the real thing - but maybe a little cat decor to bring some luck into your own life. Hey if cats are good enough for Elvis....then why wait?!

So jump on the cat wagon, and catch on to a trend that is only going to get bigger. Shed these silly stereotypes from your life and we can return to our pre-internet days where cats and humans co-existed peacefully and stylishly. Embrace your inner cat lady and buy a lamp or replica of this feline divine. I guarantee it will lift your spirits - and bring you luck, no matter the color!

 





 

Which one is worth something?

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Schools in session! So take a guess....can you see it? If you guessed the second stamp, the one with the inverted plane for 24 cents, you would be correct. The 2 dollar stamp is a reprint and the stamp with the plane right side up was the most common representation of the stamp.

If you are a newbie to collecting or just want a general idea if your antique is of value or not, here is your education in a nutshell. Five things that will help you with a purchasing or determining value of a vintage or antique item are: Rarity, Aesthetic, Desirability, Authenticity, and Condition.

1-Rarity
How rare is it? If there were only a few made...or if its made special by an artist mark or a misprint then congrats it is generally more valuable. The inverted jenny stamp is an extreme example of this. There are only seven in existence. And only one that was acutally postmarked and used. Your chances of coming across one are about as high as you being hit by a comet. Extremely low. But for the rest of us mere mortals take a look through what you already have. An old family heirloom? Vase? Wedding present? I recently had a bookseller friend of mine tell me that although trade paperbacks aren't generally worth anything...if you have a first edition or a signed copy it could be worth hundreds...so don't toss it out until you check the first few pages.

2-Aesthetics
Does it please the eye or does it leave something to be desired? Bizarre things may sell just because they are strange but is the exception rather than the rule, and generally if it pleases it will sell better. Etsy is a great example of this...just because it doesn't have any value it may appeal to someone, such as a collector or enthusiast just because it has a great aesthetic.

3-Desirability
Are there people clamoring for it? Is it on trend right now? Mid century modern furniture is valuable now because it is so en vogue and on trend - in another ten years it may be worth less...or more depending on the demand for it. So watch the trends to help determine value.

4-Authenticity
Can it be authenticated? Do you have a certificate or signature or something that proves its origins, if so cha-ching! It just got more valuable.

5-Excellent Condition
This goes without saying...a well kept piece that has no flaws is worth infinitely more than that dirty mistreated pile of broken junk in the garage. So keep it nice or prepare to be surprised at the drop in value!

So pay attention to detail and don't miss what could be valuable right under your nose! Happy hunting to you all!

 

Spring! The Beginning of Planting Season

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springblog2.jpg
springblog.jpg

If you have ever yearned to dig in the black earth, be one with nature and and bring forth a fine crop of juicy strawberries, peas or tomatoes....Now is the time to get planting! Spring is a time to enjoy the blooms of the perennial bulbs such as the cheery daffodils and the satin shine of the rich hued tulips.  As most avid gardeners know - with the warming temperatures and melted snow the earth yields easily to spade and trowel - allowing seeds to take route and flourish. Here in Utah it is short lived, however, as the summer progresses and the strong desert sun bakes the earth - the ground becomes about as soft and yielding as concrete. So its time to take stock, and replenish your garden toolkit.  

Trowels, hoes, shovels, spades and rakes are by far the most common tools you will find and often they have a character that is all their own, ranging from lovely patinas and hardwood handles to mixed metals or a more elegant design.  Inspect the tool for any makers marks, metal content, which can make the tool valuable, and then make a purchase. Check the joints, condition of the wood and metal to make sure the structure is still sound - ensuring the tool will be strong for a long time. Better to have a garden tool that has many successful seasons under his belt that one from a big box store that is mass produced and has little soul. Did I mention these tools are usually a bargain? Antique tools are often cheaper than those you find brand new. So get out there and start the hunt for the perfect gardening companion...and if tilling the earth isn't your thing, well tools make for excellent rustic decor!

Novice gardener? Want a little advice on how to get started? Amazon has a wealth of books on the subject here. As well as your local library- which I love to patronize :) Just search for the subject "gardening" or even by state to get the best results. This book is one I am going to read next! 

A-tisket a-tasket come and get your basket

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A-tisket a-tasket
A green and yellow basket
I wrote a letter to my love
And on the way I dropped it,
I dropped it,
I dropped it,
And on the way I dropped it.
A little boy he picked it up and put it in his pocket. 

The first ten people to come into the store, and say "A tisket a tasket, can I have a basket?" will get a free little spring basket with their purchase! First come, First serve! There are only ten freebies and once they are gone they are gone! So hop on over here, and bring your peeps! Just a little spring surprise for our loyal readers! 

Check out this Dual Action Superstar

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Tired of those black padded backpacks that lovingly cradle your camera yet ruin your outfit? They scream, "Hey I am a utilitarian camera bag - and I couldn't care less if you are stylish!!" Want something that can be a dual action superstar - make you look fashionable and create a small safe haven on your shoulder for your camera? WELL...look no further I have the best idea for you!

First, Go find your camera and measure it. How large is it - be generous with the measurement to include room for padding.

Second, get you to Capital City Antiques to buy a super awesome leather tooled bag from the seventies...okay you can choose ANY bag....but I really like leather as it wears well and is totally on trend right now. Make sure the camera will fit - bring your measuring tape...or the camera itself. Remember to leave room for the padding.

Third, buy some foam padding from Hancock Fabrics, I got the cushion foam in 1/2" You don't need very much just enough to line it or if you want to be super fancy to create a divider and multiple compartments for additional lenses etc.


Last, use your measurement, cut, snip and put the foam inside the bag. Easy peasy. Then put your camera in :) I just lined the inside and not the bag flap but do it however you wish! Voila! Instafab! Now you can snap pics in style - just in time for the spring flowers :)

Get your greens - Jadeite!

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jadeite.jpg

One week left until St. Patrick's Day when we have a bit of fun - so start collecting green things to guard against getting pinched and bring a bit of the luck o' the irish into your home.  Parties themed around the cultural celebration of the Irish could include these gorgeous green glassware known as Jadeite.  Jadeite was originally designed as food storage containers with flat lids for stacking in the mid-20th century, but it expanded to include everything from measuring cups and butter dishes to cake stands and glass chickens!  There are many fans of this dreamy green glass and Martha Stewart has an extensive collection.  Scroll through the gallery to take a peek at her gorgeous collection here. Don't be jealous or green with envy, you can start your own collection at Capital City Antique Mall for a fraction of the price online. 

Real Book Value $$

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I have a number of books that are from my great grandfather's collection. These books are priceless in my eyes because of the family connection.  I cherish the bookplates inside that say "from the library of" and bear his ever so elegant signature, I would never sell them. 

That being said, I am somewhat of a book hoarder and I have piles of books from various locations and trips that I need to sell.  Now if the books aren't modern enough for an ISBN number you have to search by individual book.  Here comes the fun part!

So I am using a 1927 edition of Advanced Geography by the Macmillan Company to use as my test book.  Its old and doesn't have an ISBN so it fits the bill.  So I entered the book title, year and publisher - Presto! Comparative pricing :)

1- Book Finder - Easily found my book, there was a seller who priced it at $23.00
2- Amazon - could not find my book :( I recently met a bookseller who said 80% of books are sold on Amazon but most of them are modern - vintage and antique books are harder to value and sell.
3- Biblio.com - Easily found my book, and it had the most comprehensive information, including pages, publishers and contributors. Very nice. Similar copy valued at $20.00
4- Addall.com - I really liked this search site because it searched halfprice, amazon, abebooks and others showing three books from different sites. If you only use one site I would go to this one! Copies from $20-23.00

Now you could search through the internet for hours or simply box up the books you want to get rid of and take them to a bookseller. Sam Wellers takes rare and and vintage books and so does Capital City Antiques.  A quick solution to overstuffed bookshelves and leaves you room to peruse for more! We will explore book arts next week as my tribute to NATIONAL BOOK MONTH continues!

Dyed and gone to heaven

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So what do you do when you buy a vintage piece of clothing that has a spot on it. *Gasp* Its already been worn!!! Shocker. Most used, vintage or antique clothing has been previously loved and may have a few repairs to make.  I found this gorgeous white silk blouse with an unsightly orange spot on it on the ARMPIT, Cordon Bleu - its ruined - the gorgeous winter white is not worth having….but wait….there may be hope. So I go through the rigors of trying to remove the stain with ALL kinds of things - nothing worked, not spot remover, color remover, era, tide, bleach, vinegar, club soda….nothing…I promise I tried it all. So I turned to the talented team of people who developed color dye palettes at Rit Studios.  They have the latest colors in easy to follow recipes. Check the spring line out here.

What luck I could have an on-trend color in my closet with a vintage look! So I decided to try toasted almond.

Toasted Almond

2 tsp Tan
1 tsp Petal Pink
1/8 tsp Pearl Grey
1 Quart Water

 I followed the instructions on the Rit dye box:

1 - First I got a large tub of water that would completely cover the shirt, filled it with about a quart and a half of hot water, let the shirt sit in the water.  

2 - I added a cup of white vinegar to help with color steadfastness 

3 - I mixed the powder dyes into liquid form then measured them according to the directions.

4 - I stirred the shirt constantly for about 15 minutes ...and because I wanted it a little darker I added more tan and grey.....and then let it dry on a rack....AND THEN!!! (Scroll down to see the finished product)

Voila! Gorgeous warm toasted almond - A little toastier than the original color, I added extra dye to cover the stain completely. The unexpected thing was the thread didn't take the dye like the shirt did. I learned natural fabrics take the dye so much better than poly blends and the shirt was silk but the thread must have been polyester.  Added bonus as it turned out beautifully! Bring on the spring!

Lace-shirtblog.jpg

Quick Investment for a Rainy Day

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Tired of investing your money in stodgy ways that never see the light and bring you no pleasure until they are once again liquid assets? Consider your hand at collecting original art. Many think that collecting original works is out of their budget but often contemporary works are quite within reach. 

Antique stores carry art gleaned from forgotten estates that may prove to be valuable.  Look for signatures, dates on the back of the canvas or any essential clues that might lead to knowledge of its identity. Use image search and ebay to determine if they are any similar pieces to judge its value.  Often the best clue is the frame, much like fashion and architecture, each decade bears a unique look which like a stamp advertises its age. 

Art evokes feeling, and should move you to possess it.  Above all you should enjoy and love the works you purchase - allowing you to reap some of the reward of your investment now, instead of having to save it all for a rainy day! 

Can Pink make you happier?

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Flamingos, salmon, sunsets, prosciutto, and most disney princesses are all pink. The history of the super light red shade is a long one...but what we know for sure is it lightens our moods and makes us feel a little bit better!  Studies have shown that looking at warm, bright colors such as read or pink, releases dopamine (aka the "feel-good hormone) which can improve our mood, heighten our attention span and even boost our sex drive.  So find something that will pink you up a little this February! Brighten up that totally drab home office desk with a pink phone! Even if you don't have a landline. Show your kitchen a little love and gift it some rose colored glass to adorn its cupboards.  Vintage glassware can really perk up a dinner party and why not indulge in the color of love, maybe its pink shades will inspire a little amore at a dinner party for two.

And for those of you looking for a little history of the holiday of pink and red... the legends of St. Valentine are many, and most convey that the priest helped couples in love to marry or that he wrote the first note of love inscribed with "your Valentine" (wikipedia article here) we aren't sure of his role in history, but we can thank him for giving us an annual reminder to think rosy thoughts, and give tokens of love to show our affection for others. It isn't just a romantic holiday - we can show love to friends and family - really anyone!

So get out there, show some love...and THINK PINK!


Cleaning Silver For Free …did I mention I did it without chemicals!

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WELL it is free if you have a few kitchen items handy.   If you don't have these items lying around in surplus - sheesh go buy some baking soda and salt!  Besides anything that doesn't involve toxic chemicals is a must!  So gather the following items and get ready for some shiny metallic fun!

1) Boiling water - enough to cover item

2) 1 tablespoon baking soda (per cup of boiling water)

3) 1 tablespoon white salt (per cup of boiling water)

4) 1/2 cup white vinegar (per cup of boiling water)

5) 1 sheet of tinfoil, shiny side up

6) plastic bowl plastic tub, or plastic storage box 

7) Polishing cloth - towel, old cotton T-shirt or natural fiber cloth

I got this idea from this article on the Clean my Space Blog - but the recipe does not have to be exact - because I did a large silver antique bowl I had to use a lot of water to cover it….and well….I am too lazy to measure everything out…but not to worry it still worked. I placed the foil shiny side up covering the bottom of the plastic tub. Then sprinkled a generous amount of baking soda and salt on the bottom so that the foil was almost covered. I placed the bowl on the mixture on top of the foil - then poured the boiling water/vineagar mixture onto the baking soda mixture - you have an immediate reaction between the metals that produces a bit of sulfa (that stinks but isn't harmful) and cleans the tarnish from your silver. 

Now if your silver is stubborn or has been tarnished for years, or if it is a silver plate….this may not work perfectly - and you may need to repeat the process or use additional measures to get it clean.  I used an old toothbrush and plain white toothpaste (as it is just a baking soda base) to get in between the flowers and stubborn bits.  For my bowl I liked the lived in patina that age had given it so I only left it in for a little as I wanted to retain some of the unique coloring. But the longer you do it the silver can come out looking completely new.

I tried this on several things - silver baby spoons, bowls and silver rings and necklaces. My mom had a silver ring from when she was sixteen that we cleaned, it was practically black with tarnish, It came out looking new!! Forty years later! I was shocked.  Remember to only use pure silver jewelry - no enamel or stones as they can be ruined by the mixture.  

Managing jewels and accessories in a pretty and pleasing way

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I got a lovely silver cuff from my sister as a present, and heart necklace from my step-mom. Where to keep all of these small treasures? Sometimes it becomes somewhat tedious to sift through a pile of tangled chains and pendants to just find one. Or you may be like me and have a small cat that thinks its her job to push any unattended item on the dresser onto the floor. She has a particular fancy for rings and earrings - scattering them in short order under beds and behind closet doors - making the hunt for good accessories truly maddening. I found that putting them in groups or hanging them is often the best way to store my baubles and pretties without hiding them in a drawer or box somewhere to be forgotten. This way they are safe from being scattered by the furry jewel thief and yet they are displayed so prettily it almost becomes part of the decor. At Capital City Antiques there are an array of curiosities that could be used for display. Anything from old rakes, hooks and nautical equipment to large wooden bunnies, glass statues, and carved ethiopian antelopes.  Really your imagination is the key. 

 

Don't feel left out if you are a dude. My dad likes to have a caddy for tie clips, cufflinks and safety pins, since he uses them with when putting his dirty socks in the laundry so they don't lose their mates. He is so organized it puts everyone else to shame really:)  Small tin compartments that are partitioned - old cigar boxes, reusing plates and tea saucers.  My favorites are ideas window panes with hooks, a girl who used old silverware in a totally creative way - and of course my own bunny fantastic. I sense a recurring post!! Perhaps I should showcase new jewelry stands and storage - as we like to change and continue to organize for the new year! Happy organizing ladies and gents.