Monday, August 6, 2012

I've been antiquing in Cape May!

I've been antiquing in Cape May. Today was a non-beach day with a heavy gray sky, so I did my errands and then headed to town to do a little shopping. Alas, everyone else vacationing in Cape May had the same idea. This region is dense with antique shops that today were also dense with people.  I try to stay away from these places during this time of austerity, but last month I made the mistake of going into a shop in July with a visiting friend. I'm drawn to china and linens, and anything to do with needlework. I managed to limit my purchases to two McCall's Needlework magazines from the 1940s, but let's just say the snowball started rolling down the hill then.

1940s needlework magazines
I left four 1950s McCall's Needlework magazines behind, but I thought about them, and today I went back to adopt them. Someone had rearranged the old magazines (LIFE, LOOK, and some more obscure titles) and I thought I had missed my opportunity. Rest easy, reader, I found them. Here they are posing on my quilt.

1950s needlework magazines
Also last month, I was working on a little project about drinking tea promptly at 3:00 daily to alleviate stress. I thought how lovely it would be to take tea in an antique cup and saucer. I found this White Dogwood pair in the West End Garage and made it mine. I have this vision of someday hosting a little tea party with like-minded people, and everyone has a different teacup and saucer set. The china itself would inspire conversation. We'd use antique linens, of course, and nibble on tasty little finger sandwiches and cookies. Well-behaved shopper that I am, I left behind another set just like it plus an extra saucer. But again, I kept thinking about the second cup and saucer and saucer, and today I went back to make them mine.
Stangl Pottery White Dogwood cup and saucer and saucer
Scammell plate
These are Stangl Pottery's White Dogwood design; Stangl Pottery is from Trenton (and Flemington, NJ); Trenton is where I live most of the time. This isn't the first time I bought Trenton pottery in Cape May--years ago I found this cool plate at a flea market. It's from the Scammell company which closed in the 1950s. Trenton was huge in pottery back in the day. Locals are familiar with the "Trenton Makes The World Takes" Bridge. Pottery, china, tile, and ceramics (the kind used for toilets/commodes/potties) are some of the things Trenton made in its heyday. Luckily, I remember the company names from my nascent librarian days at the Trenton Public Library and I snap pieces up when I see them. Here's a history of Trenton pottery from Ellarslie, the Trenton City Museum.

I like European-made stuff, too. Check out this cool Czechoslovakian set from my Grandma Douglas (complete with doilies):

What color would you call that? Goldenrod?
Collecting antiques can be fun, imagining who might have owned an item before or imagining your own grandmother using it for a special occasion. Today held a special reward for me, though, because I found the missing link! I had been musing over the very last entry in my forthcoming Christmas Kindness Advent Calendar ebook. I had decided to use that tea-as-stress-relief idea, but just not hitting the right angle for the little essay. Then I saw this beauty, and it all came together. I sacrificed my haircut money for it, but I drove home with a big grin on my face. There it is posing on the porch bistro set!
Christmas teacup and saucer, made in the USA

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