Monday, July 28, 2014

Jasperware Clean Up

My very first piece of vintage was a Queensware vase I purchased in high school.  Ever since then I have had a soft spot for Wedgwood, so I couldn't pass a deal on some pieces at auction.  Luckily, I think the dingy appearance of most of the pieces kept most bidders away.  My theory is if it isn't a huge investment, there is always a way to clean a piece.

So after purchasing this montley crew of dingy Jasperware I unleashed the power of google to figure out the best way to clean them.  I decided to test a Mr. clean Magic Eraser on a dirty broken lid as a test.  I had a box under the sink for use in cleaning crud off of Pyrex.

After the first swipe it was looking promising.
I was happy with the results so I cleaned the rest of my purchases, including a couple of nice tricolor pieces.
Before and after...
The final results drying.  Now to decide what to list and what to keep!

Sunday, June 29, 2014

bent glass- the poor girl's mcm choice

Bent glass is under appreciated.  If you are looking for a reasonably priced mid-century piece, you can pick up some very cool bent glass for under $10 at your local flea market, auction, or thrift store.  Retail will be more, but still a good deal.  My first bent glass purchase was George Briard Persian Garden plates from the Salvation Army.

I also came across this Jena MollĂ© serving tray and was unsure what to use it for aside from displaying it.  According to Mad Men (Season 1, Episode 3) you can use it to offer cigarettes during a party...

Scene from Mad Men - Season 1 Episode 3

Friday, June 27, 2014

Spunky Cats

I could not pass up these very spunky (or sort of evil) cats.  Their eyes said take me home, we are your new overlords.  I would bet money that this embroidery kit is called "cattails".  The cat on the left looks especially miffed at his ironic juxtaposition.
This addition to my embroidery/needlework collection is from the Burning Bridge Antique Market in Columbia, Pennsylvania.  I liked it so much I paid retail!

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Mad for Pyrex

Season 1, Episode 3 (Marriage of Figaro).  It finally happens.  Pyrex makes it's debut on Mad Men, ever so subtly. Betty serves chips in a yellow 404 mixing bowl at Sally's party.  Some things have not changed since 1961, putting chips in a Pyrex bowl at a birthday party is one of them.

 Kitchen Scene from Marriage of Figaro

 I am going to be on the look out for the other mixing bowls in the typical Primary 400 series set the rest of the season. I wonder if the set decorators went old school and purchased a whole set or just the yellow bowl. 

As the party gets going, the chips start disappearing...

 Kitchen Scene from Marriage of Figaro

Monday, June 16, 2014

A 1950s Grand Tour - Libbey Style

A 1950s Grand Tour - Paris, London, Venice, the Taj Mahal, a bull fighter, a castle, and a camel.  What is not to love?  They remind me of the 1950s movies I watched on Saturday afternoons when I was growing up.  I love them so much I haven't found an occasion special enough to use them. 

A set of eight up was purchased at the local flea market for a few dollars.  I have not come across them else where (in person and online), which leads me to believe that the are not very common.

Excerpt from 1956 Spring catalog from

Libbey Grand Tour circa 1956

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Friends don't let friends put Pyrex in the dishwasher

When I give Pyrex as a gift I probably sound like a crazy woman as I beg the recipient to NEVER put it in the dishwasher.
This is Pyrex.

This is Pyrex that has been through the dishwasher one too many times.  These used to be bright, shiny yellow dots.  Now they are just yellowish matte dots. My heart breaks when I see less common pieces of Pyrex that have been abused.

End of rant.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Mad for Haeger

Looking back at Episode 2 (Ladies Room) of Mad Men, I am struck by how young 1960 Betty and Don are compared to themselves at the mid-point of season 7.  In this episode we are introduced to the Draper dining room.  I like the juxtaposition of traditional elements to the the modern, remnants of the past with glimpses of the 1960s. The Drapers were married in the mid-1950s, so it seems logical that a fair amount of their housewares would date from this era or earlier.  Wedding presents, items purchased for their first home, and family heirlooms would be expected.  It will be interesting to see if this was taken into consideration in set decor as I go back through the episodes.

Ladies Room dinging room scene

I was immediately taken with the centerpiece on the table.  A modern spaceship between two old ships.  At first I did not know what exactly this piece is...a covered casserole with a warmer was my first guess.  It looks like a heat source (votive or Sterno perhaps) could be concealed on the bottom.  The color scheme made me think it was a piece of Stangl Antique Gold.  Google says no, try again.  Maybe a fondue pot, nope.  It turns out is a covered Haeger dish with a decorative base in their Gold Tweed glaze which was introduced circa 1959/1960.  I found this mint example on ebay for $14.99 plus shipping.  I think it is going to end up in my office, we have a total Mad Men staircase between floors and that has inspired me to go mid-century in my cube decor. 

My ebay find!
This episode also reminds you (yet again) how smoking was allowed everywhere back in 1960.  I especially like this footed ashtray.  One of my jobs as a child was cleaning out the ash trays.  My parents didn't smoke but it we would have company who did. 
Ladies Room office scene
 More great mid-century pottery.  Love the planter and the sculptures (or candlesticks?) - perhaps some more Haeger.
Ladies Room - Betty at her therapist's office

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Swept Away by Libbey

I have come across this pattern of Libby glass a few times and could never find the pattern name.   I identified the decoration as dandelion seeds floating through the air.  So I searched dandelion, seed, wisp, ruderal, all to no avail.  Now with the help of the catalogs on I finally know!
Thy name is Windblown

From 1962 catalog - source

Monday, June 9, 2014

Roly Poly - the mid centry icon

After finishing the first seven episodes of season 7, I decided to go back and re-watch Mad Men from the beginning.  I have to say going from 1969 back to 1960 made me realize how things really did change in the 1960s.  The world of the first season seems so very formal, ladies are ladies, gentlemen are gentlemen.  And the housewares are glorious.

In my opinion, the glassware that is the epitome of Mad Men is the roly poly glass.  And it makes it's first appearance in the very first episode (Smoke Gets in Your Eyes).  Our first glimpse... on the table top bar in Don Draper's corner office.  And then Sal comes in and pours himself a drink.  Oh, Sal, how I have missed you.

When looking for these glasses online you often see them attributed to Dorothy Thorpe, who often did not sign her pieces.  Large manufacturers of glassware, such as Javits Crystal and Libbey, produced mid-century silver/platinum rimmed roly poly glasses on a much larger scale. Be very wary of purchasing silver rimmed glasses that are attributed to her directly versus being described as in the style of Dorothy Thorpe. 

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Libbey Catalog Heaven

I am in vintage Libbey glass resource heaven now that I have discovered Libbey History!  Up to now I have relied on eBay and to research Libbey glass patterns.  Sometimes I come up empty on both accounts because I find a pattern that is not common, hasn't sold lately, or has an official Libbey name completely unrelated to how I would describe it.
I am especially gaga over their amazing catalog page.  I don't want to admit the hours I have spend this week looking at them.
Soon I will know your name animal pilsners!!!

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Mad Men - I watch for the housewares

I have to admit my most exciting moments in watching Mad Men are when I recognize a familiar face, namely one of my favorite vintage housewares.  My husband thinks I am absolute nut when I blurt "Oh my God!!! Megan is drinking wine from a Libbey Accent wine glass! CAN YOU BELIEVE IT!"

Now my inner Libbey nerd is thinking "Wow. Megan has a secret time machine!"  The wine glass she drinks from one her California deck in 1969 appears to be a tawny Libbey Accent wine glass, but as far as I can tell Accent was not introduced until  April 1970.  Or maybe she just has inside connections.  Maybe Don had the Libbey account and they never mention it on the show...
Source -

Still, I was very excited to see one of my favorite Libbey patterns on the show.  And I am sure the set designers will continue to rock my world when season 7 resumes.  Until then I think I will look back at each episode.  More to come.