Sunday, December 4, 2016

December's Antiques Faire Loot

Chronica Domus
Photo: Chronica Domus

I know, I know, it's a tad too soon to be thinking about Christmas so early in December but when one happens across a basketful of fragile vintage glass ornaments, one must act rather sharpish, which is exactly what my good friend Jeanette and I did today at the monthly Alameda Antiques Faire.  Funny thing is, we dithered around not fully committed to attending the faire this month, what with our schedules being so full.  We almost stayed home.  What a shame that would have been.  You see, not only did we brave the crowds and have a marvelous time chitchatting and catching up on our week's news, but we both managed to haul home some serious loot.

Many of the dealers had saved up their year's worth of finds to sell at the market today, and luckily for us, many of them were selling vintage Christmas ornaments.  I snapped up several in fading shades of green, silver, and gold, and in varying shapes that I was more than happy to add to my burgeoning collection.  One of those ornaments was a gold German kugel, much like the ones I photographed for this post a few years ago.

Chronica Domus
Photo: Chronica Domus


"Oh no, I'm done" was the running joke between Jeanette and me throughout the day in response to one of us asking the other "Are you going to buy that ornament?"  You see, we have a shared obsession for these beguilling tree ornaments and each year we swear that we "are done" with our collections. We have to remind each other that we shall never quite be "done" because each year the inevitable happens and we both suffer losses at our clumsy hands when the time comes to decorate our trees.

Lady Luck had carried me successfully through the day with my haul, but just as Jeanette and I were walking towards the car, I spotted this gilded Paris Porcelain reticulated basket for a song.  How fortuitous, I thought, my new old ornaments can be safely and beautifully squirreled away in the basket for their safe passage home.

Chronica Domus
Photo: Chronica Domus


And, just when I thought our visit had come to an end, I was stopped in my tracks by this coin silver spoon.  It measures just four and a half inches long, and was crafted by the New York based silversmith Jared L. Moore, circa 1830.  The spoon is inscribed with the monogram, H E W.

Chronica Domus
Photo: Chronica Domus

I have long admired the wheatsheaf design on old silver and could not resist this diminutive spoon which will be a joy to use for anything other than its intended purpose, salt.  I am a firm believer in repurposing antiques so that they once again become useful and beautiful objects in one's life.  I have written posts about this philosophy in the past, so you won't be surprised to learn that this particular utensil will be serving up dollops of mustard in its new life.

I hope you've enjoyed sharing in my excitement at my new finds.  I must say that all this talk of vintage ornaments has prompted me into considering how I am going to decorate this year's Christmas tree.  Ah, well, there's still plenty of time left.  Twenty-one days to be exact.


16 comments:

  1. Hello CD, It's funny how I can go to a show these days and find little, yet you achieve score after score. Your sheaf-of-wheat salt spoon was a real prize. A good place to look for old ornaments is house sales, especially in older houses. There is frequently an entire room devoted to Christmas decorations, and the old ornaments (and also real tinsel) can often be obtained for very little.
    --Jim

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    1. Hello Jim,

      This month's faire was particularly fruitful as I think the dealers were saving much of their loot for the last show of the year and possibly figured that attendees were on the hunt for Christmas presents. I rarely go to house sales due to time constraints, but may just give one or two a shot in future, thank you.

      As you might have guessed, I was over the moon when I spotted the spoon for sale. I recall you put the idea into my head when I published my post last year on the cranberry sauce I make at Thanksgiving. The thought of serving it from an autumnal-themed spoon sounded positively divine. This example is obviously too small (and shall be used for mustard not salt), but a small ladle may very well be in my future (fingers crossed!).

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  2. I'm done. Famous last words!! Yes it seems it was worth going for and you always manage to find such charming things.

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    1. "I'm done" may very well do me in one of these days, especially when the subject revolves around these unforgiving fragile glass ornaments. Without fail, I always manage to break at least two each December as I decorate the tree. I suppose the excuse to replenish one's stock keeps me collecting.

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  3. So gorgeous and I have to tell you I like the Paris Porcelain basket best of all, so lovely. What finds!
    Now you're ready to decorate for Christmas... I started in November this year, my family thinks I've gone mad. But I do notice they are enjoying the festive baking.
    Thanks for sharing your "I'm done" trip to the fair! xx

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    1. Hello DaniBP,

      Yes, that tired old "I'm done" line plays in my head often I'm afraid.

      I was surprised to see the Paris porcelain basket as I've not seen one for sale in quite some time. It will join the other, much smaller ones in my collection and I'm thinking of bringing them all out again this Christmas and filling them with goodies.

      I think you get the prize for the most enthusiastic cheerleader for Christmas this year. November start is quite unheard of around here!

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  4. Oh I was so thinking of contacting you to ask if I could tag along! This year has just kicking me until it's hard to sit, if you know what I mean. I hope the fair will be there next year, and me, if you would permit, with you.

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    1. Hello Lisa,

      Oh, I really wish you'd been able to accompany us last Sunday for I know you would have found a treasure or two to take home with you, and we would have had so much fun in your excellent company.

      You are always welcome on future excursions so just drop me a note and we'll fix a date.

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  5. What terrific finds. I love repurposing antiques as well. It so nice to breathe new life into old treasures.

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    1. Hello Jen Lawrence,

      How right you are! What antiques have you repurposed? I'd be curious to learn.

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  6. Congratulations on finding so many Yuletide treasures. That silver spoon caught my eye as I collect vintage silver serving pieces. The wheatsheaf is a popular design motif on mourning items too. We see it on gravestones in our historic MA cemeteries. Do you serve your mustard from a silver lidded mustard pot?
    KL Gaylin

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    1. Hello KL Gaylin, and thank you!

      How interesting that you should mention the connection to mourning symbolism. No wonder I've long admired the image! I also consider the wheatsheaf to be a perfect depiction of what autumn and harvest time is all about. I look forward to using my spoon when I've found the perfect period silver mustard pot (on my Christmas list!).

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  7. What a delicious haul, indeed! Such a memory those old pumpkin-swelled roundnesses kindle, in their shine between burnish and tarnish, and of all the large and small hands which have placed and removed these baubles from generations of trees.

    The heft of them, like fat babies in your hand, belies the fragile bubble of glass, and so they're made more precious in memory of all those lost to error and floor and time.

    And the SPOON! How I so want her name to have been WHEAT, though trite be the message, and I cannot remember when last became middle in the monogram sequence. And there must have been a dozen of them, nestled neatly into a velvet-lined chest, along with the oyster forks and marrow spoons. It seems to be an aesthetic fact that they, like ladies of a certain age, show to best effect in candlelight.

    Much candlelight, champagne and golden reflections to you throughout the season.

    r

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    1. Hello racheld,

      I believe, as this is a largish salt spoon, or master spoon, it might well have been a lone example and not one of a dozen. I wonder why it is that twelve is the magic number when it comes to dining implements? My mother had everything by the dozen too.

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  8. I too am a big fan of Christmas Ornaments and would have loved to tag along with you and Jeanette.
    Nothing smells better than walking by the Christmas Tree lots bulging with Frazier Firs brought down from Northern Michigan...after the season many thousands are tossed into Lake Michigan to serve as fish cribs.

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    1. You are so very right about the smell of Christmas greenery, GSL.

      I had no idea about the tree tossing that takes place in Lake Michigan, a fascinating fact to be sure.

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