December 22, 2008

More Exceptional Christmas Gifts

Really, you must drop in. There is something for everyone, and I can't tell you how delicious the beeswax candles smell.
The Continental Construction, Memphis Tenn. sign is getting positively lost behind the other goodies--It would be delicious in a kitchen. Don't you want to put all your Obama campaign parenphenalia inside the Camelot hat box for safekeeping?Note the handmade paper victorian chair. The paper is inprinted iwth a wicker design. It's too wonderful, totally unique, and only $12. The handmade wooly sheep also must be a hundred years old, at least. Note the solo bisque doll head at the back.
The perfecty distressed doll table. At about 8 inches high, it holds a miniature tea set perfectly (You can pick one of those up from us too-- I'll post a picture of it tomorrow.)
Handrolled beeswax tapers. Handrolled by Kate and Elise, personally, and wrapped with a collection of unique papers and ribbons. At 16" they are gloriously, decadently tall-- tall enough to last all through Christmas night, even if you forget to blow them up becasue you're having such an uproariously good time. $12 a pair.

December 21, 2008

Christmas treasures

These are what you get people who have everything already, including exquisite taste. Come in while they're still available!
Mint-condition 1930s silk nightgowns, in sizes for normal women. I can't overstate how perfect these are. And we're giving them away at $20 each. They feel divine. The lace is exquisite. I might go over right now and take them back.

Lust after a gold embroidered opera cape. (Mama already has one, so I didn't need to keep it.Mine's coming to me). But if you don't have one in the family, I suggest you work on improving your children's inheritance today.

a 19th century wool bird applique, that, thank goodness, some one had the good forethought to snip and remove. Wouldn't it be lovely packaged in...

a burnt-wooden box with bluebirds, with carnations in the corners. Someone lovingly made this, and it's in bright, clean condition-- it was obviously well-cared for.

a rusted child's stove. It almost deserved a glass cloche to preserve it in the perfect state of wear.

December 18, 2008

New Plaster for old spaces

I wrote a review for The Tranquil Parent about American Clay's colored plaster wall treatments. It's an interesting product, and if you're renewing an older home, I'd recommend taking a look at plaster as an alternative to paint, especially if you have chemical sensitivities of are concerned about off-gassing and VOCs. (Which, frankly, you probably should be). I especially like the Porcelina finish. Here's my take on it.

November 3, 2008

A brief post, with a promise of pictures later this week. I do want to remind readers of this week's first Thursday event at Toad Hall. The store will be open until 8 pm, with wine for you to drink, and all purchases will be 10% off. Take advantage and get a head start on your Christmas shopping!

We have a wonderful selection of objects for Christmas gifts, and we've tried very hard to amass a great variety in the $10-$20 range. We've also made beautiful hand-rolled beeswax candles, which make a perfect hostess gift, and a have a wonderful collection of vintage glass ornaments, none over $8.

And wait until I post photos of the handmade mouse house! You're in for a treat!

September 23, 2008

Posts about spaces

I've begun blogging with the new family of Zrecs blogs at The Tranquil Parent. My posts there will be broader incarnations of some of the more tailored opinions expressed herein, and I hope you'll visit the site (and all of the blogs-- Zrecs pulls together some of the best parenting info I've seen) and enjoy the posts!

Recent posts include:

An homage to the screened porch.
An old, fantastic sheep painting.
Joys of mismatched dishes.

August 22, 2008

A Corner Hideway and an Altar of Beauty

Corner cabinets are often charming, quirky pieces that are engaging because they're always a little bit unexpected. We don't quite expect a cabinet to fit in a corner, so once we realize what it is, the piece always feels playful. I think this makes them seductive objects-- You buy it because it makes you happy, and of course, doesn't everyone have a spare corner somewhere?

We have a lovely one to show you that came out of a fine local estate. It's painted a cheerful yellow, with yellow doors that are a slightly different shade-- I think they are the original paint, and the other paint is a bit newer (60 years or so "new"). The interior is turquoise, which is why it almost stayed with me permanently. (I have a fetish for old turquoise-painted furniture). It's a solid, heavy piece -- I helped carry it up the l-o-n-g flight of stairs, but the suffering was worthwhile. It is so good! I think it's from Pennsylvania. (I think this because I was told it was.) [sold!]

The textiles hanging on it are *real* Guatemalan textiles-- not the chintzy touristy things. Or, maybe they were the touristy things, but that was in the 1940s, when they still sold the good stuff to tourists. Textiles like the one draped on the lower door, and like those rolled in the basket, are why you've heard of Guatemalan textiles, but then been disappointed. We're asking under $20 a pop for each, and I think we have to, because not many people will get it. (But you, dear reader, will).

Our next scene should evoke what I hope your dresser already conveys-- an air of feminine luxury. If your dresser doesn't make you feel like a 1920s, or 1930s, or 1940s, or whatever- you've-chosen-your-decade-to-be-glamazon, then it's not doing it's job. Get some good lighting, some pretty trinkets, and a fine chest and set yourself up. This chest of drawers is substantial, marble-topped, and has lovely carved pulls.

But my favorite thing here is the lamp. I can't say enough about what a very special piece this is. It's a hand-turned walnut lamp, which is well and good, but the original shade is spectacular-- it's pleated printed paper from the 1920s. These things almost never turn up. And the photo doesn't do it justice. Whenever I go up to see it I stand close to the lampshade and coo at it.

She hasn't talked back. Yet. But when it does, she will say,

"Elise, why are you trying to sell me, you greedy little monster! Take me home, set my on your vanity, and let me illuminate you, very softly, every morning. I will provide just enough light for you to apply mascara. I will not make your one gray hair apparent. I will not make you wonder, is that my first wrinkle? I promise."

August 16, 2008

Crusted with dirt, languishing in the corner of an old garage, Kate rescued this fantastic Monte Christo Toilet Preparation display, nursed it back to health, and brought it in. We're pleased as punch to show it to you, and even happier to fill it full of the most delicate and exquisite niceties, including an old paper maché marionette head, a handmade Victorian sheep, a tiny Victorian paper chair, imprinted in faux wicker, a vintage fish hook box, and finally (and do forgive me for not having a photo of this yet) a wonderful box of old hairpins called "Scoldy Lox."

The display case seems inspired by the Crystal Palace. It's four tiers, and each part of the case has its own door, fastened with a tiny brass latch at the case's back.

The middle tier currently houses old passamenterie silk flowers. The bottom holds a bisque doll's head, a good-tacky tea cup, and some tiny paper roses.

I haven't been able to find out anything about Monte Christo Toilet Preparations. "Christo" seems misspelled on purpose to lead you off the trail of Dumas's count, but still evokes that hero's glamor.

It's a glamor that this beheaded marionette could use. He's no Edmond Dantés, though his paper collar shows he's a man who cares about personal appearance. And his probiscous suggests that a toilet preparation attracting ladies could help him.

August 7, 2008

in the details

filigree treasure box

I keep photographing these 1920s doll torsos. They are too wonderful. The little lost legs belong with them

This carved angel bookend belongs in a cozy velveted library.

July 31, 2008

More Art

We've found some more shockingly good art for you. First, an inspired painting that must be a copy of part of a larger Renaissance work. Its nicely done, on board. I like that it's not trying to fake you-- it's just a copy someone had fun making.

Nest up, a paint-by-numbers barn which feels entirely too painterly to be paint by numbers. So, for $15, you'll walk away with a charming watercolor. It almost fooled Kate, and she used to run an art gallery! (For more info on paint-by-numbers popularity and history, try reading part of Karal Ann Marling's chapter posted here.) [UPDATE: sold!]

Oh, everybody loves a baby.

A really very good chromo-litho, on linen, in its original matting. You aren't familiar with chromolithography, the first truly new form of printing introduced after movable type? Explore it here, at U of Delaware's online exhibit.

These are close-ups of 2 of 3 very interesting collages-- each is made of nineteenth-century engravings, artfully arranged and framed. A wonderful collection. Many images focus on Scotland.

Finally, we offer you this serene angel engraving.

Too, too busy searching out (and cramming in) treasures in Memphis to post in detail-- so the next few posts will catalog some of the recent finds-- The store is packed with amazing stuff- I'd say we have our best mix yet up there right now!

Today's post will focus only on things that are very, very cute. And also a mange remedy.

1920s doll torsos and a lovely pair of legs....

Lady lamp, baby print, and wonderful , old plaster bookends of children.

Lovebirds planter with golden feathers

Little lamb planter

A large wallpaper box, a pair of rusted skates.

Imperial Mange Remedy for Dogs, Horses, and cattle. Only 50 cents a bottle.

July 23, 2008

Vintage Ventriloquism

. . .
Originally uploaded by undream
Admire this tremendous Flicker set of Vintage Dummy Photographs.

The set is 4 pages long, with hundreds of photos, and it's well worth a few minutes.

[UPDATE- the set seems to go up and down, but here's another link to another set]

The set made me think about how the timetable for the rise in the popularity and technology of photography and of ventriloquism parallel each other. Both share the process of half-representation and both seem magical, perhaps even occult, in interesting ways. Early photos (and films) on dummies are good and rich. (An essay topic brewing here. My freshmen students should watch out...)

Rest assured that Kate and Elise are searching for vintage dummies throughout the region. If one turns up, we'll let you know so you can adopt it. In the meantime, we'll be hungrily imaging like with one via the magic of photography.

July 22, 2008

Refashioning wind up toys

A lovely little foray into the archives at Z Recommends hooked me into this idea of repurposing a windup-toy to make a drawing robot, courtesy of Finkbuilt (a fantastic blog) courtesy of, etc., all the way back to Zoom.

A little wind-up toy motor works as a power sources to shake a shimmy the pen-legs about the paper. What a wonderful project!

Not for sale at K& E, but well worth noting by those who like the find new life for old things, and for anyone looking for an unusual piece of art for their wall!

June 26, 2008

Sofas are nice, but paintings are better

Some people live without original art! Of course, when you make art, it's easy to have art for your home-- (so, yeah, it's cheaper for painters). But if you don't feel that confident, there's no reason to despair. There's so much good art that's cheap (and so much bad expensive crap). Online, galleries like 20X200 provide just plain cheap art. You could make an octopus wall hanging with your scissors and felt, like my sister and her college roommate, or (big sell) you can turn to some of our scores for awesome things to put on your walls.

I recently painted on a shoe box lid belonging to aforementioned sister to fill up wall space in her Berkeley apartment. It made things better.

You need original art. The more the better.

I was reluctant to hang any of my own paintings in our space, but one screamed out, "I need to be shown on a feverish-pink wall!" and so we brought it down (It wouldn't fit in Kate's Subaru, and I was without car that day, so we walked the 5 and a half-foot painting down Cooper Street and across Central Avenue. I felt quite a Midtowner.

The bunnies do look fantastic in the room, and perhaps they'll find a home this way. They have good artistic company. I'm fascinated by some of the paintings we've turned up in our gleanings.

This is a watercolor of a canoe full of violets. I truly love this. It;s old, maybe 1920s, and maybe by a girl scout? (That's the back story I've created, anyway). We're asking about $120 if you're interested. (But I'll have to check that figure. It may be less).

And if you need a 4' by 5' painting, here's one of my bunnies.

June 18, 2008

Cigar Flannel Flags

We share a love of vintage textiles-- mine is less educated, which is one of the great pleasures of working with Kate-- the woman knows her fabrics. One collection we have for sale is of tobacco flannels, often known as "cigar flannels" or "cigar felts". This is a misnomer though, because there's no evidence that these little pennants were ever found in cigar boxes (perhaps they have been assumed to come from there because their size is so often cigar-box-dimensioned) and they are never made of felt.

These small printed pennants were usually male-oriented in design. Flags of the world are common (most of ours are of flags) but butterflies also show up, aimed at female consumers (we also have some of these).

The flannels were distributed in or on cigarette and tobacco products, and larger felts were available in catalogs that consumers shopped in with coupons distributed in tobacco products.

The flannels are charming pinned to a string, as we show them in the shop, or lovely framed. They were often incorporated into quilts, which are highly collectible. Just one makes an interesting gift, while a grouping makes quite a visual statement. We are offering these for ten dollars each.

June 15, 2008

Hat Party!

For the new First Thursday event in Cooper-Young, we showcased a cache of vintage hats and various accessories and had a little impromptu hat party. Of course, we donned hats ourselves (Elise wore a little black-velvet number and Kate was dashing in a 1920s brimmed lovely. We snapped a few pictures of customers modeling chapeaus, though most were (understandably) blog-shy, everyone looked fantastic.

We met some lovely people, drank sweet white wine, and enjoyed lounging in our feverish-pink room.

Perhaps we'll showcase hats next first Thursday too, In July-- Would you like to come to our next hat party?

Elise and Kate

cell phone and a chic floral topper!

skillful modeling of vintage Dior chapeau

Update on sweet good-byes

Good-bye to the kangaroo and baby, good-bye to the wooden rolling dog, good-bye distressed table, good-bye amazing Hollywood lamp I neglected to ever photograph, good-bye two of the four deco-rugs, good-bye art-nouveau wing-back,good-bye, good-bye good-bye to so many friends.

June 12, 2008

Lullabye in Birdland

Thoreau, who is not my favorite writer by any means, although we share some value systems, wrote, not very pithily, that,

There is some of the same fitness in a man’s building his own house that there is in a bird’s building its own nest. Who knows but if men constructed their dwellings with their own hands, and provided food for themselves and families simply and honestly enough, the poetic faculty would be universally developed, as birds universally sing when they are so engaged?

P. D. James, who's not quite the literary elite, said it better when she wrote that
God gives every bird his worm, but He does not throw it into the nest.

People, you've got to work to make your home beautiful. Thanks to all our customers who helped make May a good month for us, and who are happy to let us play early bird for them.

Our little nesty area changes as birds fly in and out. Here are some current pictures.