Thursday, November 28, 2013


Regular readers to this blog know that my Dear Husbola writes a very technical but sometimes not so much technical  blog on water and water law industry issues.  (Insert collective yawn here!)

But, allow me to toot his horn as a very good general writer as evidenced by other writing he has done over his life for various publications.

Let me link to his Thanksgiving edition of his blog, that is a more seasonal   Thanksgiving theme--but tied a bit to water of course.

Because his blog is often technical, the average reader is not his target.  So if you are inclined to click through to his, and his readership has a spike, we will both be so thankful.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Victorian Scrapbooking

The current scrapbook craze of the past several years has nothing on the craze that actually began in Victorian times--both in America and England.
On buying trips over the years--we have come across some incredible examples.  This rather tattered book has a cover that belies its contents.

So many lithographed scraps were sold very cheaply and Victorian girls just snatched them up.  Here are Victorian lady cream bottle covers used as scraps.  Some of the nicest scraps were printed in Germany by the Raphael Tuck Company--they did spectacular Christmas cards as well. Dogs, zoo animals, flora, fauna, soldiers, stereotypes (another place another time!) all filled the pages of the albums.  Unfortunately the paper used for mounting crumbles badly over the years--but the horse hide glue wears like iron--so the scraps stay in good condition.

The craze died away in after about 1910 in this country.

As the vintage songs says "Everything old is new again."

Monday, November 18, 2013

Jeremy Brett, Judy Dench and I Breathed the Same Air

I don't have to tell regular readers of this blog that I love Most Things British.  Their regular television is not much better than the US--but when they have a winner program , they have a real winner.
Yes--for this generation of viewers,  must see TV  is Downton Abbey.  Previously it had been Brideshead Revisited or the Forsyte Saga.  If you have not seen either of these series, do yourself a favor and view them.  Superior even to Downton in my book.

Some of us remember the flawless characterization of Jeremy Brett as Sherlock Holmes in many series of his casebook in the 1980s and early 1990s..  Before that, the  entertaining and authentic performances of Dame Judi Dench in As Time Goes By entertained both sides of The Pond.

In the early 1990s, my mother and I and Dear Husbola went to London in December.  At the same time Jeremy Brett and Edward Hardwicke were performing in the west end a play about Sherlock Holmes and reprisign their rolles as Sherlock and Dr. Watson.   I was groupie.  My mother was a groupie.  We met him backstage and I prayed Dear Husbola took an in-focus photo of Mother, Sherlock and Me.  He did.

Years earlier, I was trolling around the off-west end theatres in London looking for obscure performances.  Little did I know that this petite theatre in the round was featuring  a woman named Judi Dench in a play and that she would years later become Queen Victoria in Mrs. Brown  and James Bonds' M in several films.

Jeremy Brett died suddenly in the late 1990s.  Judi Dench is still around--thank heavens. 

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Trying Not to Rush to Christmas

I am sure I am not the only person who hates the early rush to Christmas that retailers push on us each year.  It really does start at a beyond ridiculous level when I see a Large Warehouse Store starts with their sparkles in late September.

Antique stores lag a bit behind with bringing out the Christmas inventory--but not by much.  A dealer friend tells me that he makes his seasonal antique and vintage sales in November and by the first of December his Christmas merchandise no longer sells. He feels people have bought all their personal decorating bits by then and for the rest of the season are focusing on other people--not their own decorating needs

We don't sell much Christmas merchandise.  I actually don't really look for it as we are inventory shopping.  It doesn't make much sense to me to shop specially for things that you can only have in a booth for a month-ish.  Nothing looks more stale than leftover Christmas inventory that seeps into January or February.

This year we have found a few things--but you won't find them at Odana Antiques in Madison until after Thanksgiving.
I love to fill sleighs with vintage ornaments--ready to use centerpieces.
 Bottle brush trees are a great seller when I can find them.  This one is quite large and in great original condition.  Don't be fooled by the million reproductions on the market.
 This is the side panel detail on a great store display sleigh from the 1930s.
Remember these you children of the 1960s???  This is a very large pine cone and nut cluster table tree.  Really great condition and the base is made out of old advertising wood.
 Here is a larger view of the store display sled. 
A real find.  How many of these can there be???  I can't even fit it in the same picture.  This is one of those 1940s canvas Xmas Trees banners with ropes that would hang on the outside of a Christmas Tree lot.  This is particularly neat as my grandfather had a Wisconsin Tree Farm and sold trees each year.  This treasure is about 12 feet long and will soon be in out booth.  Not for sale this year though....
I guess people do look for Christmas early.  The staff at Odana had to pull this out of our storage as a customer who saw it last year wanted to buy it.  An incredible 1930s motion store display.  And we sold it at Halloween.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

A Major Antique Infusion

We have just gotten back from a trip to the Odana Antique Mall in Madison Wisconsin.  Since earlier this year--we have made Odana our single antique shop location.  We took over a very large selling space with excellent lighting and no other booths on either side of us.  So far--excellent decision.  When we got there this month--the booth had very little left in it and needed a major antique infusion.
 Neat dry cleaners advertising.  Notice the hangers as hangers.

We are not going full tilt Christmas yet--just a sleigh with some ornaments--there will be plenty of time for that with our booth reset over Thanksgiving. Let's not rush our lives by overlooking such a beautiful fall holiday.
 This is a lovely 1919 oil on canvass of a quiet corner in Paris.  Really draws you in and is mesmerizing.
 Three lovely "pull up " chairs.  Vintage, clean and room ready.
A bit hard to see maybe--but a Thanksgiving themed table.
 A delightful 1930s drinks cabinet from England.  Those gold pieces are hammered brass victorian valence pieces.
Blue and white chinese themed porcelain lamps.  That little mustard chest is from a tree farm cottage in Hancock Wisconsin.  All room ready.  An interesting Native American chief painting on canvas.

Time for you to make a trip to Odana Antiques--off hwy 12/18 west.  Take the Whitney Way exit--then west on Odana Road about a mile.  You won't be disappointed.

No More Concrete or Cast Iron Please

Dear One  and I spend many good hours wandering around looking for quirky things to sell.  There is nothing that makes a dealer smile more t...