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Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Fostoria Jamestown Ruby Red

Oh my! A quick trip into the Goodwill looking for more milk glass (yes I found a few pieces),
 but here is what really got me excited!
 Twelve Fostoria Jamestown Ruby Red goblets all in perfect condition. I grew up drinking from Fostoria as my mother has a couple of sets of Jamestown in green and brown.  
Fostoria glass was founded in 1887 in West Virginia. They made many, many kinds of glassware for the table and other decorative pieces.  Jamestown was a popular pattern and it comes in several other colors including green , brown,  pink, amber, blue and clear.

 The glasses have a slightly flared trumpet shape and a curvaceous swirl.
 I believe these are actually the ice tea sized glass. They are slightly larger than the water goblet.

I'm excited to use my new red glassware in a variety of table settings. They will look fabulous with my red and white transferware, 

 and add some rich color to my Spode Christmas plates.

Red goes with so many holiday color schemes! 

It's fun to find something so beautiful that evokes fond memories and oh yes, cost only $2 apiece! 

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Friday, May 22, 2015

Marvelous Milk Glass

You know milk glass when you see it. It's that opaque, milky white glassware that is blown or pressed  into a wide assortment of shapes. There are vases, bud vases, candy dishes, drinking glasses, serving bowls, pitchers, plates etc.

Milk glass dates back to the 16th century where it was first made by those master glass makers the Venetians. It's popularity hit a high during the late 1800's and then again in the 1950's and 60's. I remember as a child having several pieces in our home.

My dear friend Jeannine who is a whiz with flowers will be helping with her nephew's wedding in a few weeks. She called to see if I had any milk glass vases that she could borrow. It's not something I usually collect but I have bought and sold a few pieces over the years.
 I told her I would keep my eye out for some while thrifting this week.

Her plan is to use an assortment of shapes filled with hot pink and tangerine colored blossoms.

Aren't these charming?
 Won't they be perfect for a wedding?

Without any trouble I found 5 vases at my local Goodwill and spent only $9.

Jeannine loved this  this hobnail vase. Hobnail is glass ware covered in raised "polka dots". It reminds me of dotted swiss fabric.

So here's to vintage milk glass, as charming as ever!

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Monday, April 13, 2015


Is it a cake? Is it a cookie? They are French Madeleines, sort of a cross between the two. They are light and buttery little shells with a touch of lemon and are very easy to make.

 Basic ingredients, you probably have all of these on hand. They combine to make a creamy batter.

The key is having one of these Madeleine molds. You can buy one of these special pans at kitchen or baking supply stores.

Bake until the edges start to brown.

Remove the cookies from the pan and cool completely , then dust with powdered sugar.

And enjoy!

Lemon Madeleines
1/2 cup melted butter
2 eggs
1 cup flour
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon grated lemon rind
1/4 tsp salt
powdered sugar

Grease Madeleine pan. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a large bowl beat eggs, sugar, yogurt, and lemon juice until light and lemon colored about 5 minutes. Add flour, lemon rind, salt, and melted butter. Mix until well blended. Spoon 1 tablespoon batter into each shell. Bake 10-12 minutes until edges start to brown . Remove to wire rack to cool. Grease pan again before refilling. Dust cookies with powdered sugar. Makes 30-32 cookies.

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Monday, March 30, 2015

Lemon Blueberry Cake

A birth and a death. That's what happened in my neighborhood yesterday. We celebrate one and mourn the other. And we do it by taking food to the families.
 So this morning I baked.

Blueberries were on sale last week at my local market so I stocked up and froze some for the future and left some to eat fresh. Perfect for some Lemon Blueberry Cake. One of my favorite cookbooks is the Cake Mix Doctor. You know, the one that takes ordinary cake mixes and with a few modifications turns them into something special.  I added my own twist to come up with this recipe.

Start with a box of lemon cake mix, add Greek yogurt, eggs, oil, and  water. Dump it all into the mixer and mix for 3 or 4 minutes. Then fold in one cup of fresh blueberries. 

You can make one bundt cake but I chose to do several mini cakes, easy for giving.

 I'm so grateful for good neighbors and that we share our lives, both the joys and the sorrows. I'm also grateful for the faith that assures me that one day we will be reunited with those whom we have lost. That's what Easter is all about.

Lemon Blueberry Cake
1 box lemon cake mix
1 cup plain Greek yogurt
1/2 cup oil
1/4 cup water
4 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup blueberries

Mix everything except the blueberries in mixer 3-4 minutes. Fold in blueberries. Pour into 5 mini loaf pans.
Bake at 350 for 30 minutes or until golden. Cool, then dust with powdered sugar.

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Monday, March 23, 2015

Blue Transferware

Recently while antiquing with my good friend Lora I picked up a piece of transferware and commented on its beauty. Lora loves dishes too, but transferware was not a term she was familiar with. 
So what is Transferware? 
Last week I posted about white ironstone which you can read about HERE. I mentioned that not all ironstone is white, in fact it can come in every color imaginable mostly in the form of either hand painting or transfer patterns. Transfer patterns are created by etching a design onto copper plates, then inking the plate and copying the pattern onto paper sort of like a lithograph. The thin sheets of paper are placed onto the unglazed ironstone plates and then glazed and fired in the kiln. The designs were usually pastoral countrysides, historic sites or botanicals.

Cobalt Blue was an exceptionally popular color because of the richness and stability of the color upon firing.

Staffordshire Liberty Blue
Wedgwood Countryside

classic Blue Willow
Flow Blue
 The English took inspiration from the exotic Orient and incorporated Chinese motifs into their dinnerware.
 I recently found this charming covered serving dish with the Blue Willow pattern . I love how it is decorated as beautifully on the inside of the bowl as it is on the outside.

Johnson Brothers Covered Wagons
Staffordshire Fair Winds

As usual, I'm not afraid to mix and match various patterns of transferware! 

The English exported countless pieces of transferware to America where it remains sought after by collectors. 
Look in  your grandmother's china cabinet and you may be lucky to find some. Otherwise come check out my booth at Merchant Square Antiques in Chandler, AZ!

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Monday, March 16, 2015

Irresistible Ironstone

My love affair with English ironstone started with these. This pattern is Johnson Brother's Heritage White and I registered for it when I got married almost 38 years ago.
I think it is as stylish today as it was then. 

In fact, ironstone is more popular than ever and highly sought after by collectors. Last week while antiquing at a new shop I spied a heavy ironstone platter. Unfortunately it was out of my price range.While chatting with the owner we discovered we used to live in neighboring towns in New Jersey. She lamented how pricey ironstone has gotten. She says she used to purchase it by the box full and now feels lucky to find stray pieces.

The term "ironstone" was coined back in the early 1800's by Charles Mason, an English potter. He patented a particular process for making durable, mass produced earthenware dishes.  He dubbed it "ironstone" for it's strength. (It does not contain iron in the clay as some believe.) It is opaque as opposed to translucent like porcelain. The term became popular and was adopted by other pottery manufacturers.

 I felt extremely lucky to find eight of these rimmed soup bowls recently while thrift shopping. I love the way they look mixed and matched together. 

In fact, that is one of the great joys of white ironstone. The body (or clay) used is usually very similar from maker to maker so the pieces harmonize. These three pieces are all Johnson Brothers- Athena, Regency and Heritage.

There are countless serving pieces to fit every taste. 

While ironstone is durable it is not unbreakable. A common problem in old pieces is crazing, or the appearance of tiny cracks in the surface.  
To see if a piece is genuine ironstone look on the underside of the plates for the makers mark.  There are too many manufacturers to mention but I like Meakin, Spode, Adams, Johnson Brother's, Mason's, 
Wedgwood Queen's Ware, and those marked Staffordshire.

You can see how the mark on my plates have changed over three decades. The pieces are now dishwasher, freezer and microwave safe. 
American companies got into the act and there are lovely sets made by Red Cliff, Pfaltzgraff, Buffalo and Homer Laughlin among others. 

I can't resist an ironstone tureen or creamer! 

Of course, not all ironstone is white, but that's another post!

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