Thursday, February 25, 2010

Oh, how I love brown transferware

A couple of weeks ago, I was in Michael's looking for something to hang christmas ornaments (yes, I do realize I don't need to do so for another 10 months), and saw they were selling calendars for 30 cents.


Well, I'm not one to turn down a bargain when I see it.  This calendar is about collectibles, and this month's picture was of brown transferware cups with a couple of quails.  When I saw it, I immediately knew I had to have it.

TransferwareII You see, I've got this thing for brown transferware.  I collect it. I've got some really old pieces, and some quite new ones.  I have a bunch of brown transferware plates hanging near the ceiling in my dining room. (Here's just a sample (above).) 

Quail pitcher  But even cooler, when I studied the quail pattern, I realized I have a piece of quail pottery in my transferware collection.  My mother's friend gave it to me to sell back in the days when I had a booth in an antiques arcade, but I loved it too much to part with it. 

As you can see, it's marked FURNIVALS QUAIL 1913 -- I don't think it's that old--but I've been wrong before.  It has other markings, but I haven't yet investigated them.  I just like it and think it's pretty. 

Furnivals Quail It's getting harder and harder to find the older brown transferware for reasonable prices (probably because so many decorating magazines keep telling people it's worth a LOT of money).  Then again, my definition of a reasonable price is a lot lower than these magazines.  And have you noticed that the magazines based in New York tell you that something is reasonable when it's under $2-3,000.  Yikes!  What real person has that much to blow?  Not this girl!

But that won't stop me from keeping my eyes out for more transferware.

What do you collect?

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

HGTV Magazine?

Yes, just what we all need--another time sink.  It's not enough that I'd live in front of my TV 24/7 watching Spice Up My Kitchen, Divine Design, Rental Property and International House Hunters, now they want me READ all about the shows I've missed (like Neighborhood Curb Appeal, ad nauseam) in HGTV Magazine.

And you know what:  I'll do it!  Just let me sign up for it.  Now.  In fact, yesterday!

I've actually dumped a lot of my magazine subscriptions.  These days I'm only getting Victoria, Tea Time, Celebrate, Romantic Homes, and yes, I've sighed up (after a long absence) for yet another subscription to This Old House.  (And for some inexplicable reason, I'm getting Country Living again . . . but I never asked for or paid for it.)

Actually, that seems like quite a few magazines, doesn't it.


What magazines do YOU read?

Monday, February 15, 2010

A Clock With Roman Numerals

What is it about Roman Numerals that's a royal pain when they show up at the end of an old movie (I can never figure them out.), but is cool on the face of a clock?

I searched for over a year for over a year for the perfect clock for a certain place in my home.  (Think of that old silent film where Harold Lloyd hangs from the minute hand of a giant clock hundreds of feet above a busy street.  And NO! I am not old enough to remember it first run.  It's th classic shot biographers of the actor always use.

I have a beautiful oak Grandfather clock my Dad made for me and--yes!--it has Roman numerals, too.  I have to be honest; I have NEVER seen another oak Grandfather clock--they're usually made of a dark wood (walnut or cherry).  That makes my clock all that more special.  (And as it ages, the color is mellowing, too.)

Do you have a clock preface?  Arabic numbers, Roman numerals, or (ick!) digital?

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

A Dish To Pass

Cup & Saucer I collect Syracuse China Americana dishware. It all started when I visited a bed and breakfast in Stowe, Vermont. They served their magnificent breakfasts on that dishware. When I saw a piece at a yard sale, I decided then and there that I would like to use the same dishware.

Ah, but finding pieces of this restaurant (think diner) quality china has not been so easy. In the past 10 or 12 years I've managed to find:

2 dinner plates
14 cake (or sandwich) plates
6 cups and saucers
4 soup cups
1 salad bowl
3 relish dishes
1 coffee mug
2 roll plates
and an assortment of odd-sized plates.

Syracuse plate I traveled to the Syracuse China outlet store on a number of occasions, but in all my searches I only found one piece (the salad bowl). I was told it was no longer a popular pattern and had a limited run. Since then, of course, the company has folded. So now my only option is to buy used pieces.

I bought most of my pieces at yard sales, antique stores, and thrift shops. I have yet to really look online--mostly because restaurant china is so darned heavy the shipping charges would be out of this world. (Okay, I did peek on Replacements Inc. (which sells odd pieces of china) and would be a good source--if I wanted to pay astronomical prices. That's not my goal.)

Syracuse mug I have other dishware (Stoneware--that chips like crazy), but because I so enjoyed my time at that Vermont inn, I long to eat off the same tableware at my own home. I wonder how long it will take to find/accumulate all these place settings.

Is there something you collect that seems like an impossible dream to find?

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Saved: One keyboard

Imac keyboard I've had a lot of computers over the years, which also means I've had a lot of keyboards.  I think I've ranted before about the horrible flat keyboard that came with my iMac.  I cannot (and WILL NOT) get used to it.  Ever.  It was made for man.  A man who bites his nails.  I don't have long nails, but I they do go over the tops of my fingers on occasions, and when they do:  TYPO CITY!

That's why I'm glad I do the majority of my typing either on my PC or my laptop.  Oh, yeah--I don't use my laptop's keyboard, either--not if I can help it, at least.  It, too, was designed for a tech guy who bites his nails.  And that mouse--forget it!

The keyboard that came with my Emachine is WONDERFUL.  I love it so much, I bought a second one that I use with my laptop.  Even when I travel, I take that keyboard with me.  It's just so ... wonderful.

The problem, though, is that quite a few of the white letters have worn off the old black keyboard, and are beginning to wear off from the one I use with the laptop.  Two years ago, I bought some rub-on letters and applied them to the old keyboard.  They worked, sort of.  I painted them with clear nail polish, but eventually they wore off.  They weren't very pretty, either.  *Sigh*

Keyboard I was in the craft store the other day, looking for cute kitty stickers and instead found stickers of old typewriter keys.  Aha!  That will be just great for my keyboard.  So, I bought them, brought them home, and applied the stickers to the keys that had worn off, and again painted them with nail polish.  Hubby had a look and shook his head.  "That looks dumb.  You should just put all the letters on."

So I did.

What do you think?

What kinds of creative things have you done to keep something useful from ending up in the trash?

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Anybody got a good fish chowder recipe?

PotSoup If there's one thing I've given up ordering in restaurants, it's soup.  Why?  Too salty.  But for the last year or so, I've been making soup like crazy.

I am not a huge fish fan.  I like cod and haddock, and that's about it.  (Although I've heard raves about deep sea bass.  I'm just too cheap to order anything "market value" in a restaurant.)  But several years ago, on a trip to Maine, I got brave and ordered fish chowder.  It was DE-LISH! 

I've been thinking about that fish chowder for a l-o-n-g time.  The last time we had lobster, I kept the skeletons (what other word is there for it?) and boiled them up to made lobster broth, and then I froze it.  Now every time I see that container of broth, I feel like i ought to make the fish chowder.  The problem?

Fish2 I can't find a fish chowder recipe I like.

The chowder I had in Maine was not milk-based, but every recipe I've found in books or online is.  I suppose I could just make a milk-potato-fish chowder and would probably enjoy it.  But what I guess I'm leading to is this:

Does anyone have a good fish chowder recipe?

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Oh, how I love LUNCH!

Too often these days, my working day (where I actually tear myself away from my computer) starts about 12:30 pm -- after lunch. To me, lunch is the best time of the day. It's always filled with possibilities. Will it be leftovers? Sandwiches? Aloo Matar (curried peas and potatoes) with naan? Still, I think I love to have a sandwich best.

Chopped onion For years, I had lunch with my Mom and Dad on Tuesdays. The menu was the same for a long time. Dad's egg-salad sandwiches. Nobody on Earth made egg salad like my Dad, with just the right amount of mayonnaise and chopped green olives. Yum!

I like crunchy stuff in my sandwiches. That was also because of my Dad. I'd come for lunch on a Tuesday and there wasn't much in the fridge. We used to joke that he could make half a dozen chicken salad sandwiches out of one wing and an onion and celery. Yup, the meat to crunchy ratio was pretty low, but I got to like them that way, and now when I eat out, I try to order extra onions because they NEVER put enough in the chicken or tuna salad.

Ham sandwich 2 Lately, we've been eating ham sandwiches on rye bread. Or rather, I have. My husband buys a ton of cold cuts--ham, cheese, salami, hot capicol, and mortadella--then only eats the mortadella. I don't like to waste food, so guess who eats the rest of it? But I've got to have crunchies in my sandwich--and here's where the green leaf lettuce comes on. I like it. A LOT of it. In fact, Frank says, "Have some ham with that lettuce sandwich," but I think it tastes just fine.  A friend of mine suggested I try cucumbers either with or without lettuce for a crunch factor.  Now that's an idea!

What's your favorite lunch?