Capital City Antique Mall

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.

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 don't toss it out until you check the first few pages.

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.

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.

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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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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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- - 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- - 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!


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.

Let's hear it for the color of the year!

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Every year for the past fifteen years the Pantone Institute of Color chooses a new gorgeous shade that will represent the coming year. This color of the year will appear on fashion runways, in interior design, and in makeup palettes and beauty lines. Believe it or not this small but mighty committee is very influential. 

So as we bid adieu to last year's radiant orchid, drumroll please.....we usher in 2015, the new, the rich and sumptuous color of Marsala!


Marsala is a robust wine red that is flattering to skin tones and easy to pair in design! Its earthy, dense hue surrounds us with warmth and vibrance. Some people have been overly critical since the hue's unveiling - saying it reminds them of rust or refried beans. But I think its refreshing to have a mid-shade that isn't a pastel for spring. I think the color palette for this year harks back to the seventies - but not the pea green and sick yellow, its the warm oranges and muted rich tones that created a decade that still stands out. 

So lets break out the paintbrushes, ink pads, color swatches and get shopping, because this color is going to be big! Here are some color inspiration shots to get you thinking on how you can get ahead of the trend incorporate this color into your new year with some unique vintage style!


Let the festivities begin!

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Hark back to a time before tablets, phones and devices,  when families still gathered to entertain themselves with Charles Dickens' story of Scrooge, delighting in his ghostly adventures and sharing egg nog and cocoa.  Bright eyed with excitement, children placed a small offering of a cookies and milk in hopes that a rather obese elf would be enticed to stay a little longer - perhaps leaving an extra gift under the tree if the cookies were especially delicious.  Every Christmas morning - I would race down to see....and there it was! Irrefutable proof that Santa did exist! His plate of crumbs said so! 

This year start the magic with the gift of Christmas sweets! Because Santa shouldn't be the only one that gets to enjoy gingerbread men, chocolate pie and crumbcake! Break out the rolling pins, sifters, mixers and cookie cutters and lets get some flour on our faces. Start a new tradition with heirloom bakeware that will warm the season with treats this year!  

O Tannenbaum - How to keep your Christmas tree happy.

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Has your living room recently been the recipient of a rather large woodsy new friend? Is it tall and green and somewhat lacking in decoration? Does it miss the mountain forest or tree lot from which it came? Well let me tell you it needs a little frosting? Frosting you absurd! No, I say an evergreen tree is happier when the snow falls like sparkling diamonds on its branches, deck your tree with shiny treasures, that remind us of the beauty of the season. At Capital City Antique Mall we have vintage glass baubles and chandelier prisms that will make your tree sparkle. Keep Christmas looking its best with ornaments that are well kept and cleaned.

Glass and painted ceramics can be dusted with a soft cotton cloth that will not scratch or mar the vintage patina or decoration.  Any stubborn marks can be removed with a little rubbing alcohol and a cotton pad.  Sterlings and metals should be treated as such and cleaned with special cleansers specific to each unique metal. 

As for the needs of your tree - keep it well watered in a stand that has a waterwell at its base, as evergreens are quite thirsty and its needles tend to fall off if it is not watered.