Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The Innocuous Bowl

I stumbled upon this bowl at the World Market Thrift Shop in Hagerstown one day. AhA! It had the highly desirable Franciscan mark on the bottom. At the time, I did not know much about Franciscan except for that Mr. P continually had plates and various forms of dinnerware for sale made by this 20th century pottery manufacturer. "Desert Rose" and "Apple" were the two favored patterns of collectors. Well, nowadays, just about anything that looks like it has a mark on the bottom that doesn't say "Made in China" is something I have to have and research. Though it was a drab putty gray color, and was rather plain, I purchased it for a whopping $2.00.

I researched all the Franciscan sites I could find, and found out that prior to being called Franciscan, the company was know as Gladding & McBean, and had their start manufacturing various tiles in California in the early part of the 20th century. I was getting somewhere, but still could not identify the bowl. It didn't seem to match any dinnerware pattern that I could see. But I did narrow the mark down to being produced between 1948 and 1952. Well, at least I knew it was somewhat OLD, and not a new bowl.

I joined the GMCB Franciscan collectors board, and they were able to identify it promptly! It was El Patio, matte gray, a design that was produced from the 30s to the 50s. Interesting, but not necessarily a pattern I would pursue collecting. Some of the various shapes of pieces were quite interesting and modern, some not so great. The group members assured me that this pattern had many, many pieces and could readily be found. That in turn meant to me a challenge: WATCH ME FIND THEM ALL! Not that I want a bunch of "el Patio" sitting around, but it is something to keep my eye open for. And the bowl is innocuous enough. It could sit here for a while.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Pride of the Peacock

They haunted me all weekend. The darling little set of dishes at my Goodwill that I saw on Saturday. I called Mr. P from the Goodwill to see if he could find anything out about them. They were labeled Steubenville *Peacock Garden* on the back. I knew they had to be something, Russel Wright designed for Steubenville after all. Nicholas couldn't find anything on Ebay for them, and even didn't have a picture of them! Hmmm. So tempting. But, after conferring we decided they probably weren't worth anything.

But so cute! So adorable they haunted me all the rest of the day and night. I noticed a woman picker-type looking at them after I did. Surely they were gone by now. Would I have liked them 6 months ago, I pondered. Have I completely lost my mind? Are they just kitschy 50s junk? Or are they really cute?

They now sit on my dining room table, along with the big set of Taylor Thomas & Taylor Cathay dishes, something else I wouldn't have looked twice at 6 months ago. My dining room table has become an Ebay's seller store. The listings should go up within the next few days, and I will have something to watch while I sit in front of my computer and stare at Ebay.

Friday, January 22, 2010

The Ugly Duckling

This will be FABulous, I thought. I THOUGHT! A 1970 vintage dress pattern and a slew of vintage fabric I had in my attic, combined with some new vintage fabric pieces I just got at World Market Thrift Store. Woo hoo! What a project.

After the holidays, I went into a non-creative slump and couldn't pull myself out for a bit there. It was cold, it was January, and I was pretty miserable for a while. So off to the thrift stores it was for me, shopping always makes me feel better. I picked up some new old fabric and that inspired me to get sewing again. The vision in my head of my new dress was fantastic, a mod peachy dress with poofy sheer polka dot sleeves. I'm not sure when exactly I went off course, but the outcome is not what I had originally envisioned. In fact, there's no sheer poofiness anywhere. Just a very, very boxy ugly peach drab dress that does absolutely nothing for my figure. Oh yeah! That was the 70s. The worst fashion ever. What was I thinking? That something from the 70s actually would look good in its reincarnation.

But, there's hope! I am determined to turn this ugly duckling into a swan. The dress now hangs on the closet door behind me, with a sheer piece of blue flowery fabric puckered and pinned to the front of it. It has potential. I'll save it. I will wear it. Maybe.

My "Unique" BF

Following on the coat tails of my dearest BF while he goes from thrift store to estate sale to ebay to is worthy enough of its own blog.

"What did you buy today Mr. P?" I inquire. "I won the bid for four pipes on Goodwill!" he replies proudly. Surprised that he would make such an unlikely purchase I ask him "Pipes? What do you know about pipes?" He explains "I know enough to look them up and see that they are worth some money. I paid $76 dollars for them." I see. Hmm.

Okay. Pipes. The kind you put tobacco in. We'll see how that pans out in the end when he lists them on Ebay. I asked him if the ones he saw were moving and he assured me they were. At least they don't take up a lot of room. Like yesterday's purchase.

The day before we were at Unique. We did our usual circuit around the store, finding nothing. I wandered off to inspect the drapery section when I espied Mr. P. looking happily and smugly at something in the furniture section. Uh oh, I thought to myself. Just then a voice came over the loud speaker…as if to read his mind, the store clerk announced that all furniture was 50% off today. Darn it, I thought, that clinches the deal for him no doubt.

The "find" of the day was a 500lb. metal flat file, the kind you would put architectural plans or something flat in. But, there was a rub, we had MY car, not enough room to put the file cabinet into. So I thought. That didn't stop him, he was determined to have that file and bring it home to put...somewhere. So for half price, $12.50, it was his and the store employee was wheeling it out on the cart to the front door. I was instructed to get my car and pull it up front. After much maneuvering and finagling, they had it in my trunk, sticking WAY out of course, with some nylon rope holding it, hopefully, in place.

We got it home and he found a place for it in his closet, which meant removing half of his closet's contents, opening up a whole new can of worms. Now there is no longer any room to walk about in his dining room, for the flatware cabinet that WAS in his closet is NOW in the dining room, and there are the 44 pieces of Russell Wright china on the floor there that he bought last week, and the drink cart is blocking everything. But we'll work on that. That's the latest plan, anyways.