Monday, October 31, 2011

COLLECTION #87: Halloween!

I'd love to have a fabulous vintage Halloween collection, but alas, I don't. I do, however, have some amazing vintage inspired Halloween decorations, which I display every year right inside my front door.  It seems to mainly consist of leering Halloween characters: pumpkins, witches, cats, dracula. I hope you enjoy, and have a wonderful Halloween!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

THE WEEKEND COLLECTOR: Vintage Halloween Collector

 I collect a lot of things, I have oodles of wonderful vintage Christmas treasures, scads of old Valentines. Some precious Easter collections. But I don't really have a Halloween collection. So, I'll have to leave you in the good hands of this week's featured blog: Vintage Halloween Collector!  Jenn has a lovely blog chock full of amazing vintage Halloween finds- from eBay to Etsy.... also tons of Halloween projects and crafts based on fun vintage imagery. There's also an awesome FaceBook page with discussions about projects, parties, and general Halloween fun. It's a Halloween Party every day!  Stop by and check it out!  

Friday, October 28, 2011

COLLECTION #86: Basic Science Education Series Books

 Along with my traditional vintage school textbooks, I have a few interesting school books I have picked up along the way. Included in this category, are a number of these Basic Science Education Series books, published by Row-Peterson in the 1940s and 1950s. They were used as supplements to the regular science textbooks, each one covering a particular subject such as light, gravity, the seasons, electricity, etc. They were written to appeal to the interests and academic level of the different age groups.

Some of the books are illustrated with photographs, others with lovely, realistic artwork, and others with fun, stylized illustrations.  I thought you might enjoy seeing my little booklets.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

COLLECTION #85: Treasures of the King Tut Exhibit

In the Winter of 1978, my friend Sophie and I attended the King Tut exhibit at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. We stood in line for hours waiting to get in, but it was so worth it! The artifacts were stunning, and the history was fascinating! You can read a little more about King Tut and this exhibit here: King Tut

 One of the things that enchanted me was the beautiful gold jewelry, much of it encrusted with semi-precious stones like lapis lazuli. I loved it so much, that a few months later when Bruce and I were married, I designed my wedding ring with lapis as the main stone. (You can read about THAT here!)

Although I didn't have enough money to buy all of the gorgeous books and reproductions that I would have liked, I did pick up a few treasures that make up my collection today: a book entitled Tutankhamun The Last Journey by William MacQuitty, the fabulous packet of stuff called Tutankhamun & The Discovery of the Tomb, a few souvenir postcards, and a little replica charm. This charm, which is still as bright and shiny as it was 33 years ago, represents a hieroglyph of a quail.  I still have the little shop bag and info sheet about the quail.

The packet of King Tut stuff, on the top right on the top photo, was filled with amazing treasures. Copies of the newspaper articles from the 1920s when the tomb was discovered. Drawings, letters, historical information, even a little punch out 'tomb' so a child or adult could make their own 3D model. Since that time I've occasionally seen books that have lots of little treasures packed inside, but back in 1978, this was a new concept to me.  You can see all the stuff in the photo below:

 I hope you enjoy my little collection of King Tutamabila! (Click on the pictures for a closer look!)

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

COLLECTION #84: Franciscan Ware Desert Rose Pottery

 I owe it all to my dear late mother-in-law, Betty. Or perhaps to her mother. But this summer we finally closed out the storage unit where her possessions have been residing since her passing in 2008, and brought it all down from Sacramento to Moorpark. We inherited several wonderful pieces of furniture including a pretty spinet piano, and a beautiful china cabinet with curved glass and intricate carved details. Stored safely inside that china cabinet, is my 'new' lovely set of Franciscan Ware, the Desert Rose pattern. Desert Rose was the second of the hugely successful patterns of Franciscan Ware. (The actual name of the company was Gladding, McBean & Co. who got their start making ceramic tile for California homes). Franciscan Ware rose to fame in the 1940s, where their lovely stoneware dishes became the epitome of the California lifestyle.  As a little girl, I remember that my Mom loved Franciscan Ware, and we had many dishes and pieces of Franciscan pottery in our home. I also remember visiting their headquarters and outlet store in nearby Glendale, where my Mom loved to browse.

 I really love the Desert Rose pattern. Although the most common and popular of Franciscan's pottery, it's easy to see why. Creamy white background with a sweet, rather simple rose and leaf design, with a clever vine design on the handles- it's a pattern that can go with any decor- modern or traditional.

I love the little egg cups, the butter dish, the sugar and creamer (alas, the sugar dish has a missing lid). There are divided platters, a small mixing bowl (my favorite piece), and many plates, saucers, cups, and salad plates. I only photographed the 'unusual' pieces, but perhaps I'll photograph the rest some day.

 The hallmark on the bottom of most of these pieces show that they were made between 1949 and 1953. So, they're not the earliest examples, but they're not the latest either. I'm hopeful that one of my daughters or daughters-in-law may want to add these dishes to their homes someday.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

COLLECTION #83: Girl's Toy Sewing Kits and Dolls

 Welcome to Toy Tuesday! Today's sweet little collection is little girl's sewing kits...I had one as a child, although mine wasn't like either of these.  The larger kit- Junior Miss Sewing Kit by the Hassenfeld Brothers (Hasbro) is from the early '50s. It features lots of fun fabric pieces (I assume they are original, but I can't be certain), a measuring tape, needle, thimble,  patterns and instructions, scissors (which would hardly cut fabric- but even in the 50s toy companies were safety conscious!) and a little dolly model to dress. I'm sure there was once some thread. It also includes some sort of hard rubber eraser, but again, I'm not sure if that's part of the original kit.

One of the pieces of the pattern sheet is missing... the idea was to trace the pieces onto lightweight paper, then cut the fabric, so some naughty little girl must have cut into the original patterns. Now I'll never know what lovely fashion is missing!

I love the fabric pieces included, especially the fun 'ski' pattern that looks like it was illustrated by Lois Lenski. Very colorful & charming!

 The second little sewing kit is called Gingham Girl, by Alma De Journette. It's a 'sewing free' kit- you simply tuck the fabric around the paper doll, and add paper trims and accessories. The styling and artwork is so cute!  Alma De Journette was know for her Curly Top Paper Dolls, and I think technically this would fall in the paper doll category, not the sewing category. But alas, I don't have a paper doll collection!

I never quite caught on to the whole sewing thing. I took sewing classes in junior high, and made a few dresses and outfits for myself in my younger years. But the magic of sewing eluded me. I've always been an impatient person, so I think the Gingham Girl would have been more my style.

*Just as I was posting this, I found this charming Lois Lenski illustration of... you got it, little girls sewing! How cute is this?

Monday, October 24, 2011

COLLECTION #82: Vintage Doilies

Beautiful tatting and crochet work, these doilies were made by ancestors long gone....(both mine and Bruce's.) I wish I could remember who made what, and how they came to be in my hands. But they are lovely little treasures that I display all the time. I love to put them under my pottery or glassware, in a cabinet or on a side table. I haven't quite gotten to the point where I put them on the back of a sofa yet, but I'm sure the day will come when this grandma will act her age, and decorate with doilies and little glass figurines.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

A Collector's Adventure

Anyone who is a collector understands the joy of the hunt, and the challenge of trying to solve those little unsolved mysteries of our finds. Who owned this item? Why would someone give away, sell or lose their precious family treasures? What the heck IS this thing? What is it worth? Is it rare?

Last weekend I was at my favorite local antique mall, and I came across a small, slim book with a plain paper dust jacket, printed with the words "Merry Christmas".  When I peeked inside, I discovered it was the children's book "The Littlest Angel" by Charles Tazewell. It was only $4, so I added it to a couple of other things I found.  When I got home, I decided to find out what I had.  In researching the book, I discovered that I had a fairly special copy of "The Littlest Angel". It appeared to be a first edition, printed in 1946. It seemed that it was possible that the book had never been opened, or read, as it was in pristine condition. No writing inside, no smudges, bent pages or marks of any kind. There was a bit of damage to the outside upper spine where the dust jacket was torn. When I opened the book, it split cleanly along the spine binding, as the paper was so fragile. I'm not an expert, but it seems that would be easy to fix, and almost undetectable.  I immediately loved the sweet story, and lovely stylized illustrations by Katherine Evans.

I went to several online rare book sites, and discovered that similar editions of this book were listed at fairly high prices- anywhere from $100 to nearly $500, depending on the condition. Some of the higher priced books even had names or inscriptions written inside, mine did not.  But the big problem was that all of the higher price books had their dust jacket. Mine had this odd Merry Christmas dust jacket. So what was up with that cover?  When I first saw it, I thought it might be a Christmas gift given by a corporation, church, or organization. Disappointed that my funny dust jacket might preclude it from realizing its highest value, I decided to investigate further.   There was also a name printed on the cover, C. C. Moseley. Who was this guy? Was he a pastor, business owner, teacher?  I wasn't sure I'd even be able to find anything out about him, because his name was just listed as C. C. But I discovered that Mr. C. C. Moseley wasn't just any guy. He was an important guy! C.C. Moseley was actually Corliss C. Moseley, a decorated WWI air pilot, who began training others for combat, and taught flying for decades.  He was a co-founder of the Western Air Express in 1924 (which eventually became Western Airlines), and he managed the Grand Central Air Terminal in Glendale, California for decades. In his later years, he was a member of then-Governor Ronald Reagan's famous "Kitchen Cabinet", which was made up of self-made entrepreneurs and patriots.

Major C. C. Moseley during WWI
Maj. Moseley on the left

C C Moseley in 1932
 I read a lot about Mr. C. C. Moseley over the next few days, and never once did I further regret that that copy of  "The Littlest Angel" didn't have a regular, valuable dust jacket. Although I'll probably never know exactly to whom Mr. Moseley was giving his little Christmas books,  I think "the rest of the story" is much more interesting!  One of the things that I discovered in my research, is that C. C. Moseley presented many gifts and awards to his pilots and trainees. There are great numbers of pilot wings shared by collectors, inscribed from C. C. Moseley. I think it's very likely that this sweet little story about an angel and his wings, has a connection to those wings Major Moseley often awarded his trainees.

So, just a fun little story about the interesting things I've learned as a collector, and the most important lesson of not judging a book by its cover!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

THE WEEKEND COLLECTOR: Tracy's Toys (and Some Other Stuff)

 I discovered Tracy's Toys through Brian Carlisle of PaperSponge and Gadget Sponge, and her blog is so much fun! She's a woman after my own heart- finding and collecting random toys and other things that strike her fancy! She even went to England on an antique Teddy Bear hunt a few months ago! How awesome is that?

Tracy is a children's librarian, which seems to suit her perfectly. She enjoys collecting and organizing old things, and it's fun to see how she displays her finds. She also loves handmade dolls and teddies from contemporary artists,  and collects them as well.  You'll have to stop by her blog and check out her latest finds!