Wabi-sabi: The Art of Imperfection

Wabi-sabi. What is it, and what does it mean?

Wabi-sabi is the Japanese art or aesthetic of accepting and appreciating the beauty of the imperfect. Three characteristics among many that make up the fundamental basis of wabi-sabi include simplicity, asymmetry, and asperity- roughness or irregularity of surface.

I tend to embrace the imperfect, because in the world of vintage there are many beautiful pieces which include some with small imperfections from their journey along the way. At Audrey I work hard to offer pristine vintage pieces, but you will find the odd perfectly imperfect treasure in the mix, which will be noted in the item’s details.

This image is the inspiration behind today’s post.

Wabi-sabi Dish

I love the unusual shape of this dish, and the cheerful little flowers. If you look closely you will see a pretty finish to the glaze… and if you look again you might notice a white spot on the front edge of the dish. This is an example of wabi-sabi. The white spot is actually a small chip. One could be disappointed about the chip, or choose to embrace the imperfection and appreciate the dish as a whole for its overall beauty.

I was not dining at home, I was enjoying a meal out. To be served my dessert in a chipped dish intrigued me, because as you can see it did not take away from the presentation, yet this confident move is not generally anticipated when dining out.

What’s your take on wabi-sabi. Would you embrace the chip of this dish, or would you be disappointed and tuck this dish away?

Thanks for stopping by!

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PS – the dessert is grilled pineapple up-side-down cake. Have you seen my latest HOUZZ picks?

Photograph by Sheila Zeller. Please link and credit if you choose to use!

 

Why Do I Love Vintage?

Why do I love vintage?

I attended an estate sale yesterday that was run by the family members, and as pieces were contemplated by those of us looking to buy, stories and memories were shared. I felt privileged to be in the midst, as it was clear the pieces for sale had seen many years of family love… and as each member shared another moment connected back to their treasures, the reasons that I love vintage were underscored for me.

Vintage pieces are the stories in peoples’ lives.

Vintage pieces have stood the test of time.

Mikasa Cera Stone Creamer by Jonas Roberts, c.1960s, D1800 Brown

Like this Mikasa Cera Stone creamer by Jonas Roberts, circa 1960s. 50-ish years this piece has been around, and it’s in perfect condition!

Vintage pieces have seen more than we’ll ever know.

Mikasa Cera Stone Creamers by Jonas Roberts, c.1960s, D1800 Brown

Like these three Mikasa Cera Stone creamers all lined up in a row. Each has lived a separate life, and yet somehow their paths have crossed to become a family of three. All are in mint condition. What are the chances after 50 some odd years in existence?

Vintage pieces come from their very own family.

Mikasa Cera Stone Cream & Sugar Sets by Jonas Roberts, c.1960s, D1800 Brown

They’ve traveled around, have stories to share, and some of their stories we’ll never know…

But as we bring vintage treasures into our own lives, we get to continue their legacy of ‘being’. And we get to build our own stories in to the tapestry of their past.

I’m sharing these thoughts with you, because of…

The Beauty

Yesterday I witnessed vintage treasures being lovingly moved on. It was a special moment in time that I won’t soon forget.

The Tragedy

And then a little later on I experienced a stark contrast to that. I was in a ‘shop’, the name I won’t disclose, where glassware was being cleared from the shelves, apparently destined for another ‘shop’. The glassware was a mix of vintage and not so new, and it was literally being tossed into a cart without care. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing… and more disturbing, what I was hearing. The sound of breaking, chipping glass. Why? It made me so sad that these unsuspecting pieces were being handled this way, that their chances for survival were so carelessly disregarded…

The Opportunity

We’ll never know why… but we do know there are great pieces out there waiting for a loving home. If you shop vintage, go find them before it’s too late! If you aren’t a vintage shopper, do you think you might want to give it a try?

These are just a few of the reasons why I love vintage!!! I hope you’re having a great weekend. Pop by tomorrow… I have a very special guest joining sZinteriors, and there just might be a connection to this post! ;-)

Thanks for stopping by!

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Photographs by Sheila Zeller

What Does Treasure Hunting Look Like Anyway?

By now you know I love to get lost searching for treasures in tucked away places. And if you’re not into this, then I bet you’re wondering what a day of digging for gold really looks like, right?

Here’s a little run-down, a few tips before you set out:

1. Take your own bags.

Heather McLeod - Makaria Farm

Some thrift stores are starting to charge for their bags, and many rely on bags by donation. Why not save a bag – notice my friend Heather’s cloth bag slung over her shoulder?

2. Plan to pay with cash.

Cash Only Sign - Etsy - Cinda Shop

{via Etsy – Cinda Shop}

Some thrifting outlets will accept cash only; smaller bills and coin are best.

3. Keep handi-wipes and/or hand sanitizer with you – if you thrift you’ll know why!

Vintage Cannisters Turq&Blk $3

4. If you see something you love, buy it.

Angie's Fondue Pot Find

Like this vintage fondue pot my friend Angie pulled from a pile! If you wait, chances are it’ll be gone next time you’re in.

5. When in doubt, snap a quick photo.

Butt Ugly Mushroom Cookie Jar

Text it to your trusted voice of reason for a second opinion! There are times you’ll be glad you did, LOL! Heather pranked my poor, unsuspecting hubs – had him second guessing whether or not I was really serious about this keeper of a piece. Might be rare vintage afterall! ;-)

6. Know your prices.

Baribocraft Bowls Salad Side Bowls

I’m noticing a shift upward in the pricing, and that’s fair, but just beware that thifting isn’t always the bargain basement you’d think.  These are vintage Baribocraft bowls I just happened to spy, and I can tell you that I’ve seen them priced all across the board!

7. Practice the one-in, one out rule. Hand over a bag of donations along the way!

8. And last thing…

Dinner at the Noodle Box

Don’t forget to eat, and drink lots of water!

Treasure hunting can be so much fun… you just never know when or where you’ll find something cool and unique.

Like this vintage West Bend cake carrier, c. 1950s-60s. Pretty cool, huh?

Retro West Bend Cake Carrier

It caught my eye when I was spending the day with my Kelowna pal, Carol (The Design Pages and mastermind behind The Bright Box). Did you enter the Bright Box giveaway yet? Better hurry, there’s only a few hours left!

Happy hunting!

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Photographs by Sheila Zeller unless otherwise indicated.

Vintage Tins & Railroad Tracks

Vintage tins and railroad tracks. What do they have in common? Well…

This is a vintage MJB coffee tin commemorating ‘the’ monumental moment of 1869. The completion of the American Transcontinental Railroad.

Vintage MJB Coffee Tin - Building of the Transcontinental Railroad 1868

Even though I peeled the tape back I know it’s hard to read the fine print, so here it is retyped for you.

The building of the Union Pacific Railroad started westward from Omaha, Nebraska, in 1868. This monumental work culminated with the driving of The Golden Spike at Promontory, Utah, on May 10, 1869, completing the Transcontinental Railroad. The photographer, A. J. Russell, traveled with the construction crews, carrying several hundred pounds of glass plates and a darkroom on his horse-drawn wagon. This photograph reproduced from the original 10 x 13 glass negative, is one of almost 200 Russell plates documenting this important part of Western history. [Photograph courtesy of The Oakland Museum.]

Remember when I promised to share one more hidden treasure from my Gran’s sewing box? Well, this vintage coffee tin is the other bit of treasure that was tucked away inside…

Transcontinental Railroad 1868 MJB Coffee Tin

Not only was it filled with more beading and sewing supplies, but when I discovered the brief history lesson on the side I felt like I had struck gold! Click here for a little more background on The Golden Spike moment… it’s a short read, and what you learn might surprise you!

Vintage MJB Coffee Tin - Transcontinental Railroad 1868

I love the way a vintage coffee tin and a piece of railway history resurfaced together. That’s the thing about all these pieces from the past – you never know when or where they’ll turn up again, but when they do, if you’re lucky you’ll discover a story or two… right Nicole Scott? This tin made me think of you!

A special thanks to Andrea for the feature…

Junkin Joe Linky Party - I Was Featured

And thank you for stopping by!

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Photographs by Sheila Zeller

Warming It Up Vintage Style

My hubs just celebrated his birthday… here’s a little peek at some of his birthday bootie! Vintage Brandy Warmer The black C R letters in the background are vintage metal letters from old signs – you guessed it, in his initials! I picked these up at Trade Roots in Victoria, a great vintage home & decor boutique that my pal Nicole made me aware of.

On the left is Buffalo Trace bourbon, ‘the’ bourbon hubs uses when he makes Old Fashioned cocktails. Have you ever had one? And on the right is Courvoisier cognac, apparently the cognac of  Napolean! My point? Well, it’s actually the vintage piece in between the two! This is a brandy warmer.

Brandy warmers go waaay back to at least the 1700s, though back then they were far from the design above. Then, the warmer was a very simple, very tiny sauce pan filled with a drink of brandy and heated up on the stove.

Antique Barndy Warmer c1700s -

 {via}

After about the 1830s a burner stand was introduced. This stand supported the tiny pan over a spirit lamp, a lamp that burns alcohol or other volatile spirits, but not oil.

Scottish Silver Brandy Pan & Warmer c1904-05

 {via}

The heat from the flame warmed the brandy rather than setting the pan on the stove.

As you can see from hub’s gift, brandy warmers are still in use today, but a glass snifter has now replaced the silver pan!

Brandy Warmer in Action

This is the test run of the ‘new’ vintage warmer in action! And that’s not a dirty snifter, all that foggy white you see. No, that’s the steam and condensation from the brandy warming up!

What cool and interesting object from the past have you come across lately? I think this one is kind of fun! In case you’re wondering, this gift was purchased at the Highway Antique Emporium, aka the Antique Barn, outside of Chemainus. Would’ve been kind of fun if I’d thrifted it though! ;-)

Thanks for stopping by!

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Photographs by Sheila Zeller unless otherwise stated.

The Reveal of Gran’s Hidden Treasures

Remember my Gran’s sewing basket from last week? Well, today I’m revealing the other vintage surprises I found inside.

Let’s start with these…

A partially strung necklace of pearls and a handful of loose pearl beads stored in an old Bayers Aspirin bottle! Do you remember seeing the bottle in the sewing basket?

And this…

Another partially beaded necklace, this one a double strand of pearls, tucked inside an old Pentracin Lozenges bottle.

Gran had lots of partially beaded pieces, and I often wonder if she was creating or salvaging. Having lived through the Great Depression, she was known to save all kinds of things. She would be a great role model in today’s world of the three R’s!

I really love the red beads. The little red flowery ones are painted brass, and I think they’re pretty old. Do you know how old they might be?

And I wonder about these ornate clasps… what kind of necklace did they secure?

Did you notice the rhinestones? Aren’t they pretty little clasps?

And here’s another clasp mixed in with vintage round disc mother of pearl beads.

I found similar beads on Etsy, 20 for $10! Who knew? The flakes you see are from a few of the broken beads…

I can’t figure out what this little strand of amethyst beads might be from.

But I love them anyway. My Mom’s birthstone was amethyst, so these create a little extra special meaning for me.

When I discovered this rare vintage cigarette tin c. 1930s-40s, I started to laugh.

My Gran WAS.NOT a smoker. Oh no siree. She did not drink alcohol, did not wear makeup, and definitely would not have put a cigarette to  her lips. Which might explain the mint condition of this tin!

Here’s what was inside…

Vintage seed beads and strands of black sequins. And of course, a few more partially strung pieces.

Did you notice the beaded lattice in the bottom right? Here’s a closer look at it.

Two beaded lattice pieces, and a little glass bottle with matching beads. I’m thinking this was, or was going to be a choker. How about you?

Here’s a look at a few of the old glass bottles Gran stored some of these beads in.

And here’s a look at a few I’ve added to the mix.

Dollar Store Glass Craft Bottles

I found these at the Dollar Store!

And just for fun, here are a few of the other things that were tucked away in the sewing basket.

Vintage fishing line…

I’m guessing this was used to bead with, but isn’t fishing line a staple for every crafter’s kit?

What do you think about this glitter glue pen? I bet today’s glitter pens are a lot easier to use!

And how about this mirror metallic glitter in a glass bottle? I love it!

I saved this last little treasure for last…

I don’t know if my grandmother embroidered these butterflies, or if she saved them from the work of another. I do know this could easily be her work, because she was incredible with her hands, and her embroidery was almost flawless.

This is the front of the piece…

And this is the back!

Isn’t it hard to tell the difference? The butterfly in the middle is the clue.

It’s so much fun to find hidden treasures inside of treasures. I don’t know what I’m going to do with everything yet, but I do know one of these days I’m going to do something. What would you do?

Oh, BTW, there was one more very cool item in the bottom of the sewing basket, but I thought I’d save it for another day. I’m hoping I can unearth a little bit of its history first! Nicole Scott, it made me think of you ;-)

I’ve been featured over at Junkin Joe’s once again. Thank you so much Andrea for being such a super-duper host!

 

and…

Thanks Savvy Mom for publishing this article in Savvy Stories ‘Home’!

Thank you for stopping by!

Photographs by Sheila Zeller

Thrifting… Lamp It Up!

Featured by

 Thank you so much, Heather!

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I haven’t had a chance to get my thrift on since before the Holidays. Can you feel my pain? Well, finally that all changed :-) A few friends and I hit the trail to look for treasures just waiting to be found! Did you catch my last post? I’ve been doing the January declutter, so today a bag of donations came with me. Donations out, new treasures in!

Something in this pic caught my eye…

Way up on the top shelf…

See them? Yes, the lamps!

I wandered around the store asking myself if I liked them as much as I thought I did, or was I just falling into the gold trap. I sent a phone pic to my hubs, and I badgered my friends, too.

In the end these gold gems came home with me :-)

And their sad, mismatched shades were promptly removed!

My hubs loves them, and my daughter only likes the gold teardrop section. She thinks I should paint all the wood black. How about you?

I’ve done a little research, and the best fit I could find was this MCM lamp by designer, Tony Paul on eBay.

Danish Modern MCM Lamp c1950s - eBay

 eBay

According to the ad, this one is a Danish modern brass & walnut lamp, c. 1950s. And I say, with a much softer sheen to the brass! Is it just me, or does this wood look like teak to you?

Now I’m trying to decide on a shade. I love this shallow drum, but somehow don’t think that would look right on my new finds. What kind of shade would you pick?

I know I weighed in with you on my Murano glass lamp here

And I did find a white drum, which I’ve been living with and trying to decide whether or not I’ll gold leaf the inside…

Now that you see the white shade on this lamp, what would you do? And do you think the shade is too top-heavy for this lamp?

Can I have your first born, too? No, changed my mind on that!

I’m dying to hear what you think!

I was featured over at Junkin Joe’s!

Why not pop over to see the other great finds :-)

Thanks for stopping by!

Photographs by Sheila Zeller unless otherwise stated.

Sparkling, Spectacular Vintage Murano!

Yes, I did a little thrifting on the mainland a few weeks back, and even brought home some treasures. My friend Carol showed me the NorthShore stops, and she sure knows how to pick them! Check out what she found here. I looove her antique lantern lamp… it was definitely a score!

But guess what? I found a pretty sweet lamp, too! If you’re into Murano glass, then you’ll see what I mean. I wrote about vintage Murano pieces here.

Anyway, let’s take a look. And please ignore the missing shade!

Vintage Murano Glass Lamp c1950s

Murano glass was popular into the 70′s, but this lamp, I believe is circa 1950s, though I’m not totally sure. And from the colours in the glass, this may be a Sommerso piece – certainly has that flair!

Sommerso (lit. “submerged” in Italian), or “sunken glasses”, is a form of artistic Murano glass that has layers of contrasting colors (typically two), which are formed by dipping the object in molten glass; the outermost layer, or casing, is often clear. Sommerso was developed in Murano during the late thirties and was made popular by Seguso d’Arte in the fifties. This process is a popular technique for vases, and is sometimes used for sculptures. [Source: Wikipedia]

The clear base is definitely cut glass – there are no seams.

Vintage Murano Glass Lamp c1950s

And the base is actually one of the reasons I think this may be a 50s piece – the older pieces didn’t usually have this kind of base…

The craftsmanship and quality of the glasswork is incredible.

Vintage Murano Glass Lamp c1950s

Did you know Murano pieces are hand blown? Can you see the tiny air bubbles inside?

There is a beautiful layering of wear that comes with its age…

Vintage Murano Glass Lamp c1950s

Tiny little surface scratches and rubs that add to its grace.

And the burnished brass of its ornate neck has a patina that only time can create.

Vintage Murano Glass Lamp c1950s

I think this was a pretty great find.

And now I’m on the search for a shade. And I’m thinking a gold foil drum might work just fine. Vintage would be nice, but they’re not easy to come by.

Vintage Murano Glass Lamp c1950s

What do you think? What would you envision for the shade?

I’m pretty excited by this find. It’s not every day a vintage piece like this comes along… and I just happen to love green!

Something to keep in mind about Murano pieces – they are one-of-a-kind pieces. They are not mass produced, and there are no two exactly alike. There may be similar pieces, as in a pair of lamps, but because they are hand blown, there will be slight variations. That’s one of the reasons Murano pieces are so valuable. Sadly, there are a lot of knock-offs touting themselves as the real deal… [For more on Murano Glass, click here.]

Now I know I’m a little late to the party, but I’m taking my Murano find over to Junkin Joes Linky Party! You know the one, right?

The Cottage Market

Hosted by the fabulous Andrea from The Cottage Market!

Thank you for letting me party with you :-)

And thank you for stopping by! I’m dying to hear what you think about this thrifty find.

Photography by Sheila Zeller 

 

Treasure Seeking in a Thrifty Kind of Way!

Last week my treasure hunting created a mystery with the large vintage shortening bin I picked up at a garage sale. And Andrea was super sweet in featuring it this week! Thank you so much for the feature, Andrea!

Well my mystery is no closer to being solved, but this week you might think I was becoming a tin collector!

Here’s what came home with me from a little treasure hunting excursion :-)

That’s right. A vintage Empress jam can, c. 1940s-50s! That’s the tin collecting part, but I’m not actually ‘collecting’ tins… yet!  ;-)

I came home with this great little vintage piece. Love the old cardboard luggage, though this one might have been a briefcase!

This old glass bottle was also part of the mix. The glass at the bottom is super thick, and poured on an angle.

I don’t know what it was used for, but I thought it was kind of cool. I also liked this wine carafe because of its shape. Most the ones you find are round from bottom to top.

So these are my treasure finds this week! A little vintage and a lot of loooove!

When I bought the jam tin, the cashier asked me what I planned to do with it. I told her it might hold pens and pencils on my desk! What would you do with it?

Today I’m heading back over to the Junkin Joe Linky Party, ’cause the last one was just way too much fun! I hope you pop over and check out all the other vintage treasures, projects and thrifty finds!

And here’s a special shout out toAndrea at The Cottage Market for hosting! Thank you, Andrea!!!

Thank you for stopping by!

Photographs by Sheila Zeller; please link and credit if you choose to use!

Vintage Swift’s Jewel Shortening Bin

When we were in Victoria last weekend, I just so happened to stumble upon a garage sale… and coerced my family to stop! Actually, they were indulgent. Hubs wandered with me, and teenage daughter, well she stayed in the car ;-)

So I have another semi-mystery for you.

This is the vintage bin that caught my eye… and ended up coming home with me!

Swift's Jewel Brand Shortening Bin - Swift Canadian Co Limited

I call this a bin instead of a tin, because it’s 15″ high x 12″ in diameter. And if you look closely, there’s a faint black 50lb mark on the label. Do you think 50lbs of shortening would fit in this bin?

Anyway, I asked the gentleman if he knew how old it was. He told me it belonged to his mother back on the Prairies, and that it originated in the late 1800s.

The stamp on the Canadian label might be a clue.

Swift Canadian Co - Shortening Bin 12"x15"

I have done a bunch of searching on line since, and I can’t find an.y.thing. on the Swift Canadian Company. It’s hard to even find any bins that look like this one.

This is the closet I could find, and though it’s similar, it’s the American Swift Company’s bin.

Log Cabin Antiques

Notice the difference in the labels?

Here’s a close-up of Swift Canadian Co.’s label.

Swift Canadian Co Limited - Shortening Bin

The Canadian label is without the jewel symbol, and its layout and font are different.

From what I could gather based on trademark information, it seems US Swift and Company was the original registrant, later replacing ‘and’ with ‘&’. According to this information, I learned the name ‘Swift’ had been in use since 1890, and ‘Jewel’ since 1902. Swift’s Jewel Shortening was noted as the pseudo mark, and its trademark details filed in 1940. It appears the trademark events for Swift & Company – Swift’s Jewel Shortening – were renewed in 1981, and expired in 2002.

And that’s all I could really find out!

This scenario is kind of like the vintage case I wrote about here, which this bin is sitting on in the first photo. I never have gotten anymore information on the case of the vintage case!

So, tell me. Do you know anything about this bin? Anything about Swift’s Jewel Shortening history at all? How about the vintage case? I’d love to learn more!

Today I’m linking up to the Junkin Joe Linky Party!

 Thank you to Andrea at The Cottage Market for hosting!

And, thank you for stopping by!

Photography by Sheila Zeller unless otherwise stated.