Monday, January 19, 2009

eBay today - Wedgwood basaltware

I've stated before that I consider Wedgwood basaltware to be the little black dress of the butler's pantry. It's super tradish, so it has applications in those settings. But I could also imagine it on a more modern table.

Check out the tea pot, cups and saucers and bowl on eBay.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

eBay today - unique baby and shower gifts

If you read my posts regularly, you know that I love old things. I find such joy in giving life to lovely/sweet/beautiful/useful things from our past.

Children's pottery is a wonderful example. When my boys were babies, I had a collection of vintage (and a few vintage-syle repro) plates, bowls and two handled mugs that they ate from regularly. I even had them eat with those little sterling silver spoons and forks.

Yes, I suppose you do take a chance in putting something breakable on the tray of a high chair, but I just saw it as a teachable moment. What better way to gently teach them not to throw? And what did mommies and daddies do before plastic? They taught their children not to throw. Besides, the vintage ironstone bowls pictured above are extremely durable - I bet they've been thrown quite a bit in their day - and are perfect for learning to eat. The heavy bottoms keep the bowls from sliding across the tray.

I know, I know... clean up is a little more trouble with something you don't throw in the dishwasher, but if you aren't feeding multiples, try to take the time. It's not as if an oatmeal bowl will need a lot of heavy scrubbing with steel wool. Handwashing with soap will only be a few seconds more than prewashing for the dishwasher.

Check out the bowl with the puppy, the bowl with the chicks and the 1920's plate on eBay. Each of these, and others like them, make wonderful gifts for an expectant mommy whose style runs toward the vintage and unique.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

New Year's Resolutions for antique booth owners

I antique a lot. (Yes, a noun as a verb. I'm on the bandwagon. Sorry.) Most of the antique shops/stores around here in the greater Nashville area are what's called antique malls. They are large, although not always, spaces broken up into booths. Each booth is rented out by a different dealer and they fill the space with whatever they want. There is a booth rental fee and the store owner pays all the utilities and staffs the register. Most of you are probably familiar with the set-up, but I thought I would explain.

It's a great system IF you have a good eye. I shop a lot, though, and I keep up with the wares in various booths and the turnover and sometimes it's frequent. Booth rentals are generally not that high ($300 - $500 a month around here, depending on the size) and it's a great way for a stay-at-home mom or creative full time accountant to break out and make a little extra money doing what they love. Unfortunately, I sometimes think people think "I can do this" and jump when they shouldn't.

So here is my manifesto of things booth owners should keep in mind:

1. Painting it white: Simply painting something white and replacing the knobs will not enhance furniture's value. If it's cheap, it will only look like cheap painted furniture. Just because something is old, doesn't mean it's quality. I'm sure the booth owner in the first photo was going for "cottage" but that look is so over. If you have a hard time understanding when something is over, just ask yourself this question... are they knocking this off at Target? If the answer is "yes", then don't put it in your booth. I'm not even sure they are selling Rachel Ashwell's "cottage" line at Target any more, so that's more proof that the look is really really over. (Sidebar: I would be more interested in this piece if it was painted a high gloss pink.)

2. Fringe on a lamp shade: I'm totally baffled as to why an antique mall operator would allow a booth owner to sell this in an "antique mall", but go figure. Anyway... if you can buy it at Kirklands, don't put it in a booth.

3. Tapestries: These were machine made in massive quantities. Just because you saw it on Dynasty doesn't make it quality or in style. Stay away. And the quasi-Mediterranean feel is not a plus, it's a minus. Also stay away from anything "Tuscan". Yuck.

4. "Chippy": I wasn't crazy over this trend when it came out, but it's really over. Stop doing it.

5. Hideous oil paintings: These are painted in massive quantities in sweat shops abroad. There is nothing artistic about it. Just because you're selling an oil painting doesn't mean you are selling something valuable.

So in conclusion, an item isn't worth putting in your booth just because it's old or has the perception of value. There was lots of crappy furniture made in the 50's, 40's, 30's and before. At the moment you think "oooh... an oil painting. That's good, right? Maybe I'll buy it and put it in my booth" remember this and don't. Please be discerning and study. Read House Beautiful, Southern Accents, Domino, even Southern Living... anything current. Pay attention. I love the booth owner. It takes dedication and a sense of adventure to do what you do, but I want you to still be around a few months from now. Keep these tips in mind and maybe you will.