Saturday, December 29, 2012

Minnesota Sewing Machine Model H

This was my Grandmother's sewing machine. She received it from my Great-Aunt Stella.

Although I haven't done much with it while I have had it, surely the next owner will find out more about it.

We have more old sewing machines, so this beautiful one (do not mind the poor photography) was just hiding under an old TV and video player. And collecting bedroom dust!

As my niece E. was named after my Mammaw, I have asked her if she wants this family treasure for her new home. If it is the model H from 1900, then she will have a genuine antique. Even if it were made in the 1910's, this is an antique family heirloom.

E., when you have had enough of this sewing machine, pass it on to a family member. Since Mammaw had nine children, those of us down here in Louisiana do not have many keepsakes from that side of the family.

Actually we have even less from the other side!

Ah, well

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Snuffer Scissors

Blowing out a lighted candle can be disastrous to your carpet. How many times have I blown liquid wax onto the table or even floor? You would have thought that I would have learned.

That was before I bought candle snuffers. Most everyone knows the cone shaped candle snuffer, but below is a scissors model that I found at a second hand shop in The Netherlands many years ago. That was back when my spending budget was 2,50 guilders (comma is correct), so this little pair of brass snuffer scissors were cheap. I am sure they are worth more today. I just found a similar one on Etsy for $17.50.

According to :
Candle snuffers were a scissors like device that was used to snip off the ends of the wick, and they often had some specific features a regular scissors or snips did not. Many candle snuffers would have an enlarged lip on one of the blade used to catch the cut off pieces of wick so they would not risk dropping a smoldering piece of wick on something that could potentially catch fire. Most candle snuffers were also made somewhat ornately, and would be put in a place of display when not in use. As such, they would also either have a special stand, or even small legs incorporated in to the body of the snuffer so they did not have to be placed directly on a surface, risking soiling nice linens.

Here is my little treasure:

Saturday, December 22, 2012

The Three Vases

These three vases sat on my mother-in-law's china cabinet for as long as I can remember. Actually they were there before I joined the family in 1980.

When we read in my in-laws' codocil that my sister-in-law had inherited the cabinet, we did not think too much about the vases. They "went" with the cabinet.

But my sister-in-law had other ideas. Before the movers came to pack up for the transfer of goods to Wetcreek, she told us to take the vases. But they "go" with the cabinet!

The three vases are probably of Japanese origin (from the footmark) and are a little sad. Only one of the side vases seems to be undamaged. The other two have been glued and reglued so many times that I was afraid to even wash off the years of dust.

The middle one with the cap lost its little lion figurine many ages ago, and the cap is staying together by some strange glue. But they are a lovely design of red and blue with hints of gold and green and white. They almost look like a Japanese quilt top, although I am sure the person who made this never had that in mind.

As we do not have a china cabinet like the one they governed for ages, we will still find a suitable and respectable place for them to be displayed. Filled with sand to guarantee that they don't tip so easily, they will sit on our coffee table waiting to be moved for yet another time.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Clay Pipes as Trash

Two days ago I showed you pottery shards that I collected from our bike path in Zoeterwoude. Well today I have 17th century clay pipe pieces to show. And they were picked up from the same bike path over 10 years ago by me.

I can still hear a little boy from the caravan camping across the street from us asking, "Lady, what are you picking up off the ground?" To him the pipe shards would have been trash, but for me they were real treasures.

We even visited the Pijpenkabinet in the city of Leiden (of Pilgrim Fathers fame) to find out more about the clay pipe artifacts. At that time, there wasn't much info on the Internet, so I bought two books to help me identify my findings.

Today the Internet has lots of valuable info. is a good source. As far as I can tell from my collection, The most interesting are a few Henry Bedford pipes made around 1650-1665. I can tell that by his HB mark on the heel of the pipe head. The rest of the pipe heads and stems are a bit generic and difficult for this amateur to identify.

I found the following information at

Ever since the late 16th century, clay pipes have been manufactured in Europe – particularly in England and the Netherlands.

European clay pipe making first began in England in the 1570s, when potters began producing clay pipes as a sideline to their regular business.

During the war between the Netherlands and Spain, Queen Elizabeth of England sent soldiers to aid the Dutch. Among these soldiers were many skilled pipe makers who stayed in the Netherlands after the end of the war.

Pipe manufacturing in the Netherlands started in Amsterdam in 1607, followed by Leiden and Gouda around 1617. Before long, Gouda became the epicentre for European pipe making and a pipe makers’ guild was formed there in 1660.

The manufacture of clay pipes in Sweden probably began in the 1660s. The earliest archaeological evidence of this comes from a pottery in Örebro. As early as 1650, however, two Dutch men were granted permission to produce clay pipes in Stockholm, although it is not known whether production actually started.
Tobacco was very expensive at that time, which is why the clay pipes were given small bowls. The stems on the earliest pipes were often short and stocky, but this changed over time with the first longer and more slender stems introduced toward the latter part of the 17th century.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Archeological Shards on our Bike Path

The Wetcreek Museum is open for viewing. My dear mom asked if we were charging admission. Ha, I am too lazy to even put together a sign for that. But while dusting the artifacts, I took a few quick photo shots for this blog.

The photos below are of my shard collection that I gathered more than 10 years ago in Zoeterwoude, The Netherlands. Yes, that is the same Zoeterwoude that you have seen on Heineken beer bottles and cans. Zoeterwoude is the home of Heineken brewery and an old farmhouse outside of the village was our home for almost 20 years.

Anyway, while watching the municipality construct a new bike path next to our property, we regularly walked the newly made path and found treasures. These shards of old plates, cups, and handles from jars were exposed for the taking. Although the path traverses beautiful fields of grass where Dutch cows and sheep graze, in the early stages of development I rarely enjoyed the view. After finding the first of many archeological finds, my eyes stayed glued to the dirt path. My pants pockets became too small for my collections. Shirt tails did not help much either. Then I made sure to always take along a plastic bag.

Why so much "trash" out in a field divided by small canals? Well, there are a couple of theories.

One is that where we lived (de Hel/the Hell) was at the end of the road from our village and also far away from the "big" city of Leiden, so there must have been a city dump located there back in the day. And you know what treasures can be found in garbage heaps, especially after all the real garbage rots. The only thing is that throwaway items are almost always broken. Thus the shards of pottery and porcelain.

The other theory is that long ago farmers may have thought that bits of pottery contained calcium or nutrients that would improve the soil if they were mixed into it. Sounds a little far-fetched to me.

I go for the garbage dump theory. You can tell a lot about people by looking through their trash. Remember that and recycle as much as you can. I try to.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Dutch Friesian Staart Clock

Our Dutch Friesian Staart Clock works! Well, almost. We just need to get the bell to ding on the hour and half hour. It tries, but it just can't ding. I have faith that my hub can get it to ding like the other two clocks. If you can't stand ticking, better steer clear of here. Sounds like Corrie ten Boom's clock shop.

Since we bought our clock treasure at an auction on our last trip to The Netherlands the day before the arrival of the movers, I am going to cut and paste that blog post here. Too lazy to tell it again.

Today is a day of rest in the eye of the storm of events around here. Last night we spun everything out of control with a last minute visit to an auction.

Here is the story:

We had been following a local auction in search of paintings or such that we still want to own. Well, last night we participated in an auction for the very first time for both of us. We were there to bid on a clock. Our item was number 340 of 400 items, and as usual we were the first to arrive and our bidding number was 1.

The auction began at 7:00 pm, and things began rolling. There were really not enough bidders in the room, so most items went unsold. The auctioneer could not even give some things away, it was so bad. But he kept up his enthusiasm and his speed. I bid on some pottery and never knew whether I actually bought it. Luckily it wasn't too expensive. Then the Persian carpets came up for bidding. As we are going to leave behind here a big red one, I bid on a big blue one. Again I wasn't sure if I was the winner of the bidding, since the auctioneer raced through the whole deal. That was almost too much for my hub. At that point the whole auction hall heated up for him. I think he panicked. His whole demeanor changed. Maybe he was afraid I was going to put him on the auction block (No Chance!), but everything was going too fast for him. And for me, too. Can you imagine sitting through and bidding in a foreign language?

Finally hub got his color back in his face, and we got closer to the clock we had come for. #329 was a similar clock, and we said we would see how that went and then bid on #340. The first clock came in way cheaper than we had expected and went unsold. So we waited for "our" clock. And we got it for a reasonably cheap price! Mission accomplished!

Now the next part. Paying for whatever we actually bought!!!! We stood in the short line to the paymaster's office and giggled that we were so stupid that we didn't even know what we were going to take home. Then the big moment came. I had bought the big, heavy rug, and Hub had his clock. We paid and stuffed the treasures in our rented car and drove towards the apartment.

While lugging the too awkward and too heavy items up to the apartment we had to laugh again. Why are we doing such crazy things as this in our retirement age? Because we still can. Short and simple. TeeHee.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Mashed Potatoes

If the truth be known, I rarely make mashed potatoes the conventional way. We regularly eat Dutch stamppot with boiled potatoes smashed with our favorite veggie and served with fried bacon and its fat. But that isn't mashed potatoes like I know mashed potatoes. So when I heard that in order to make the best mashed potatoes that you needed to use a potato ricer, I began looking for one. Who knows? I might decide to prepare mashed potatoes, and I want to do it right.

One day at our local "antique mall," I saw the red potato ricer in the photos below. The price was in my budget and the red color is in my kitchen palette, so SOLD! Or rather I bought it, brought it home, and put it on the kitchen table. It has been a conversation piece for a year now, but I am still waiting to make the best mashed potatoes with my mid-1900's potato ricer.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Coalport Country Ware Celery Dish

While placing all of the small vases in the bottom of the buffet, I picked up this gem from the inheritance table. I had rescued it from going to the Dutch kringloopwinkel three years ago, since I saw the bone china mark on the stamped bottom.

It is obvious that my mother-in-law used it as a vase, since the inside is stained and has two hairline cracks. I do not think that she knew that this is a celery bowl. Nor did she know that to replace it you would need to shell out $115.00!

To me that was an expensive posey vase!

Monday, December 3, 2012

On the Veranda on December 3

The cup of tea says it all. This is why we choose to spend winters in Louisiana. This morning at 9:00 I can sit outside on our front veranda in my sleeveless duster and drink my morning cup of tea. The temperature is 65F (18C), and the sun is trying to break through the clouds. So warmer temps are on the schedule for later today.

This wood and metal garden set has been in our Dutch family for as long as I can remember. So that makes it at least 35 years old (or many more!). The layers of green paint have preserved it from the elements, plus the owners have kept it hidden in the winter months. So now it sees the light of day outside on our front porch in December. And it will stay outside here permanently, unless we have a really bad wind storm. Then my hub and I will hide it away until nicer weather.

My mother and oldest niece probably remember sitting on the bench by the kitchen door back in Olst. I remember a comfy cushion on the chairs and bench, so I guess that means a sewing plan.

In the meantime, this is the first of the "museum pieces." In the process of downsizing for their move to a new apartment, my sister-in-law and hub added this family heirloom to our shipment. It has a perfect fit in the Deep South!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Unpacking the Museum

We spent two days in the heat (December and 80F) unpacking, cutting tape, smushing wrapping paper into gigantic black bags, prying open wooden boxes, and ripping off plastic bubble wrap. And we are still not finished unpacking the shipment.

Today we pried open the wooden box around the grandfather clock and found it was actually not as heavy or as scary as we thought it would be. But there are still wooden boxes and a few heavy cabinets that are still resting in the garage waiting for a final resting place in the house.

The two display areas are the kitchen and dining room tables. They are packed! The dishwasher has worked overtime cleaning up the glassware and some new pasta bowls. The real crystal will get a hand scrub another day.

Now I wonder what happened to that huge plastic container of dishwasher powder I thought we included in the shipment? Haven't found it yet!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Treasure Chest Arrived

Around 10:00 am yesterday the container with Dutch treasures arrived on our doorstep (actually driveway). Our kind neighbor organized a small crew of guys to help us unload the goods. My ingenious husband had turned his trusty tractor into a lift, and for the next two hours the men unloaded the container.

The two of us started unpacking the boxes yesterday afternoon, and we still have over 50 boxes to go. Our biggest problem will be getting the grandfather clock out of the wooden box, since the box is nailed shut except for the top end. And the hall closet is a super heavy piece that the movers kept intact.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Flea Market?

Although this looks like a visit to a local flea market, it happens to be contents of our latest shipment from my husband's inheritance. More on that later.

Wetcreek Museum is Open

My nieces say that our home here in Wetcreek is a museum. Well, that is probably true, since we have a lot of old stuff!

In this new blog I plan to showcase our museum pieces and give a little background (or provenance) information. Stay tuned.