Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Dust Catchers

"Too much to keep dusted!" That is what a Dutch woman we interviewed to be our housekeeper said. Later on she saw me while shopping and reminded me that we had too much clutter. She did not want our job, and we did not want her. Now I "dust" whenever I feel like it.

Here is some of my clutter on an old brick mold in our mudroom hallway.

About five years ago, my in-laws gave us this heavy brick mold made of wood. It had just missed our shipment of household goods to the States, but we brought it home anyway. I think it actually fit in a suitcase! Some of the knick knacks are original to their home, but most are things I have gathered over the years of "gathering." (I really like that word instead of junking, don't you?)

Beginning at the bottom first. No Louisiana shelf would be complete without an armadillo. This one says Texas Turkey, but nothing like that will be on my Thanksgiving menu. Then comes Delft Blue klompen and a pelican ( probably Floridian).
A better shot of the shoes that Americans pay big bucks for when they visit The Netherlands.

We see lots of rabbits here on our property. I found the mamma and baby rabbit on a throwaway shelf at a local thrift store. The one on the right was another 10 cents give away at my mom's church bazaar. Then a Dutch souvenir cup and saucer, and the most valuable is the Wade of England goose. Those Wade animals are easily worth a couple of dollars to avid collectors.

This miniature coffee mill, the Evil monkeys (speak no evil, see no evil, hear no evil) and jumping German urchin (Duesseldorfer Radschlaeger) were on the shelf in Deventer. My mom added the little Dutch boy figurine when I added the real little Dutch-American boy to our family almost 30 years ago.

The Hazy Days (Hallmark Limited Edition 1249 of 5000) was a gift. Then there is Brussels' famous Manneken Pis, Dutch blue/white windmill, and a lovely metal pitcher.

All of these objects (mini-perfume bottle, metal pot, and telephone were original on this shelf at the Beltway Apartment.

 I just loved this rustic blue/white clay vase from the moment I saw it. Another coffee grinder, but this time in blue/white. We picked up the Greek vase on our February vacation to Greece. And this Louisiana pelican was a thrifty from Mom's church bazaar.

As most fragile objects from my MIL's home, there are a couple of missing edges. But this sweet set has been spending time on this shelf for many years both here in the US and in The Netherlands.
And then there is the blue/white pot to keep it company.

Finally at the top of the shelf is my Ganesha, which was a gift from a very special 7th grader from India. This little figure protects our home and has either been here or on our bookshelf since I received it back in the 1990's. (more on Ganesha at another time)

Wednesday, August 14, 2013


You can see the reflection of my life as a collector in this beautiful old mirror.

I do not remember where everything we have collected came from, but some pieces have a memorable history.

Let's look at the photo and mirror reflection above.

This is a photo taken in our front foyer (or hall). The lovely mirror is an inheritance piece from my in-laws, and it could have been included in the purchases that my hub's grandfather made in the first years of the 20th century. We still have the invoice, so I will check that out. If that is the case, the mirror is over 100 years old. The mirror was the only piece of inheritance that I personally wanted. Besides being so grand and beautiful, I remember it from my first visit in my in-laws' home. It has always been hung in a hall or hallway.

The rustic two sided bench was a purchase I made when my hub was on a business trip. My small son and I visited a furniture store in Leiden (former home of the Pilgrim Fathers), and we bought a small (but heavy) round wooden coffee table and this bench. For years we have been trying to surmise its original function, but I think it was a bench for a waiting room. We saw some modern ones similar to this in a train station waiting room in The Netherlands last year.

In the reflection, there is a mirror I purchased many years ago from our favorite thrift shop Het Goed in Deventer. (It was my mother-in-law's favorite shop, too.) You never know what you will find there.

You can almost not see the small watercolor painting of a shepherdess with sheep, but that came from the charity shop Het Graalhuis in Zoeterwoude.

Below the thrift shop mirror is a demi-lune table from the family inheritance. It is just "hanging in there" literally on its last leg. The gong and grooming set on top of the table have provenance, and I will write about them at a later date and include a better up close photo.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Privacy or Plant Screen at Het Graalhuis

My favorite thrift shop in The Netherlands is located next to the Catholic church in Zoeterwoude. It is called "Het Graalhuis" and opened for business during the 17 years we lived in Zoeterwoude (the home of Heineken beer). 

They specialize in the following:

huishoudartikelen (household articles)
meubelen (furniture)
speelgoed (toys)
decoratie (decorations)
schilderijen (paintings)
potten/vazen (pots and vases)
boeken (books)
kleding (clothes)
kerstartikelen (Christmas articles)

Treasures locked behind glass. You will not even believe the low prices.

Christmas offerings upstairs in the attic.

A glass collector's heaven!

These prices say it all. 30 - 60 cents!

My favorite time to visit Het Graalhuis was on Saturday mornings while my guys were still sleeping. The charity shop was also open for a couple of hours on Tuesday afternoon, but as I taught school I could rarely make it there before they closed.

Over the years, we (my son and I) spent a few cents in that shop. 

The plant screen below is an example of one of my purchases. I never used it to shade indoor plants from the sun, but it always has had a place in a sunny window.

Dutch girl and windmill on lace. 
Typisch Nederlands!


Sunday, August 4, 2013

Blue and White Tealight

There was a time that I could not resist buying tea warmers or tealights. I have a large collection of glass Verkade tea warmers and some others that are made of other materials. I even have a few that need polishing :((((

But the one below was my mother-in-law's that I rescued from the trash. You decide if it was worth it. Oma used some strange glue to keep it together. And I found the little candle holder somewhere in a drawer. No maker's marks, so I have no idea how old it is and who made it. I think I remember a teapot precariously perching on the top.

See the little uneven glue job.

Chipped and all, the old scene and hearts are charming.

I know I have seen these exes somewhere before.

The candle holder on its own is a keeper.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Blue and White Circles

There is the old expression "halfway around the world." Well, the blue and white plates on the plate rack in our dining room have probably passed that halfway mark.

From left to right top shelf:
Left--Very old Chinese plate (many cracks, but repaired and back repainted) that my in-laws gave to us over 25 years ago.
Middle--Gift to my father-in-law while he was in the automobile business.
Right--Another old Chinese plate (cracks and all) given to us with the one on the left.

 Bottom shelf:
All I know is "Chinese" plates that hung for years in my in-laws' home.

If I had the time or desire, I would try to track down if they are "real" or valuable. It does not matter to us, since they were part of my hub's inheritance. 

We just enjoy them all.