Sunday, February 22, 2015

Capital Crepe Murder and Other Winter Garden Sightings

February is a good time to get outside, in the garden, and survey what's going on (if you're not snowed under), see what might be showing early signs of spring, what looks dead, and what needs pruned. We won't talk about what needs chased away this time of year, but it has something to do with flocks of Canadian geese that think our river property is ideal for mating and growing the gaggle.

February is also the time for Southern Living's Grumpy Gardener's (aka Steve Bender) annual Crepe Murder contest. It's a shameless display of the worst of the worst in this southern specimen's owners' most ugly chop pruning jobs via email submittals and Grumpy's judgment. The winners receive a copy of the The New Annual Southern Living Garden Book. This is my first-time submittal, titled, "Capital Crepe Murder 2015".
Capital Crepe Murder 2015
Those are not my crepe myrtles, but I suppose if I had them, mine would probably look very similar after pruning.  These guys look like they're raising their fists to the sky, screaming, "why'd you do that to us?!!", don't they, lol? That's our state capitol building in the background, and this property is a neighbor's, along our walk path. It's all in fun, and it's Grumpy's way of avenging the plants' bad haircuts.

A walk through my own garden on a couple of warm, sunny days the first week of February (2015) has, indeed, provided glimpses into the Spring weather to come - soon!
Annual beds of pansies, with perennial daffodil bulbs inching their way out of the ground.
Although my pansies (above) look pretty downtrodden after a few weeks of really cold weather, a couple light dustings of snow, the warmth perks them up, and also nudges the daffodil bulbs to inch their way a little further out of the soil. These are King Alfred variety, nice and tall, in a mass planting that will be my first spring blooms.

Screeeech:  We interrupt this post for a snowstorm that occurred February 16, 2015. Photo below taken hours before the final, 10" accumulation, followed by week-long, frigid temps, with power outages and sleet at week's end.
Winter snowstorm, mid-February
We now take you back to the interrupted post previously in progress.
Speaking of first blooms, I spotted this one in the neighborhood the weekend of February 7-8, but you have to look really hard to see it. It's there, in the center of the spotlight in the upper, left corner - the first crocus! Mr. Rock by the Tree is happy, and so was I!

Front garden winter screen
Red twig dogwood and nandina (above) provide year-round interest in the garden.  The azaleas just in front of the nandina will bloom sometime in April in my region. The nandina can be invasive, and I have to stay on top of pulling and/or digging shoots to keep them from overtaking the azaleas and anything else that gets in their way.
Back garden landscape
The photo above is a view of the back landscape in winter, taken from a second story window in the house.  You can see another nandina plant I transplanted in the back corner for some additional winter interest, and a few patches of promising green candytufts I planted last spring within the right side of the picture view. Beside the flag are my hydrangea bushes, which are already showing their buds of blooms to come. The benches are gliders, and they're pretty much on their last legs, literally.
Hydrangeas, old and new growth (with buds)
A closer view of the hydrangea shows where they were pruned hard a year ago. Although they grew nice and full last year, no blooms came, as expected. This year should yield a good display, fingers crossed.
Iris patch
This will be my third year of iris blooms, received from a friend, and they're also showing signs of rebirth in the photo above. The few in back of the small fence piece were newly planted last year. I'm mixing yellow with purple - two of my favorite color combos in the garden.
Poppy sprouts
Barely visible, yet hopeful for success this year is my attempt at planting poppies. My sister had given me seeds from her plants in fall 2013, but they didn't make it through the bitter winter of 2014. So, last year, she let me dig a few starter plants after they bloomed in spring, and I planted them, hoping to see them take off this year. What green you do see in the center of the photo above are the signs of viable poppy plants to come.
Germinating lemon seeds
Speaking of seeds, I am at the beginning stages of a new planting experiment - growing my own lemon plant(s). I don't necessarily expect lemon trees with fruit - although that would be nirvana for me - but I understand the leaves of the plants are amazing in and of themselves for their fragrance. I'll let you know how it goes. It was a tedious process already, so they better "GROW, dammit!" (that's me, lovingly yelling talking to my plant seeds).

Last but not least - do you remember this Succulent Orb Experiment that I nailed (hahaha!) from a Pinterest-inspired photo last June (2014)?
Well, I promised an update on that experiment to readers. Keep in mind, when I bought my starters, succulents, in general, were a) not easy to find and b) expensive. Seems the Pinterest demand drove up the price, and chicks and hens, the most logical choice, were not available - at least not for my ready and impatient self at the time.
The photo above was taken mid-January, seven months after the initial planting. Look at those wild and crazy plants! NOT your typical orb variety succulents, wouldn't you agree?!
Here's another shot of what the specimens looked like back in June 2014 (above, bargain priced - I should've suspected). The idea was to have a nice and tight orb, not some outer space looking monster that looks like it wants to eat you. My intention was to later plant the flip side of the orb with my leftover container specimens, but I'm afraid if I flip my orb as it looks now, the sky will be falling, if you know what I mean. So, once it warms up for good, I'll see what I can do - maybe pin some of the trailers, pull a few of the plants and try to source some chicks and hens succulents (sooner than June) to fill in the gaps.
Succulent in Winter - Sunroom
Houseplants are so much needier than landscape plants, I may just decide I'm too busy in retirement to go on with this nonsense. I'll keep you posted.

So, what's in your garden?  Snow? Blooms? Buds? [Crepe] Murder? I'd love for you to share your dirt with me!

NOTE:  I am fully aware of the spelling I chose for crepe myrtle. Here's an interesting link on the debate as to the correct spelling: "Is it Crape Myrtle or Crepe Myrtle?"
Rita C. at Panoply
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Thursday, February 19, 2015

Jadeite Collection - Part 2 of 2: Tableware

I shared a part of my jadeite collection, the kitchenware, in my last post, as well as a sneak peek into the rest of my personal collection (see photo below). After reading Country Living's article in their March issue on collecting jadeite, I was prompted to pull mine out. Today I'm sharing the rest of my jadeite collection - the tableware - and setting the table.
I don't know of too many things that beckon spring any better than a table set with the happy color of jadeite! Whether or not the weather is moody, as on the day these photos were taken, the jadeite color just has a way of lifting the mood to happy, regardless of the sun being out or behind a cloud.
Jadeite Tablescape for Four
Oh my goodness, I love jadeite! I have collected it for nearly twelve years, mostly in random acquisitions from flea markets, antique stores, and fellow collector friends. My favorite line of dishes are Anchor Hocking's Fire King Restaurant Ware, because they are so nice and heavy. I have twelve dinner and salad plates, but fewer accompanying tableware items.
My Jadeite Tableware Collection, Other Smalls
The chili bowls in my collection were the only pieces I scored from eBay, in order to round out my collection of tableware for a decent number of place settings (six, equal to the number of D-handled mugs). I don't know if you've ever checked jadeite prices on eBay, Etsy or Ruby Lane, but they have been ridiculously expensive for several years. It is currently a seller's market for jadeite. The CL article I referenced above quotes some of the current pricing on jadeite pieces in the various patterns, by the various makers.
I already had a grocery store bouquet on hand, so I freshened the cuttings for my jadeite vase and set a table with my Restaurant Ware. A few other - not made for commercial use - jadeite patterns round out the tableware. The covered butter dish is also vintage Fire King, but in the milk glass (ivory).
The oval platter and creamer/sugar bowl with lid are the Jane Ray pattern. The vegetable bowls are in the Swirl pattern. The glass pitcher is vintage Blenko, the silverplate utensils and salt/pepper are also vintage, as are the tablecloth and napkins. The drinking glassware is everyday, contemporary with a faux bois (false wood) design.
All of my jadeite tableware is vintage and authentic. It is what I prefer to collect, but I am not a jadeite snob. There are many reproductions that are very attractive, even unusual. One such example I own is what's known as the "Bottoms Up" shot glass (not pictured, so as not to offend any readers). It has a female nude bent over a glass, the original from the Art Deco era. I know mine is a repro because of the heavy side seam from the glass mold, a telltale sign which I learned after buying (inexpensively). A couple other small items in my jadeite collection include the ink blotter and flower pot pictured (below).
Jadeite ink blotter, flower pot (upside down)
I love jadeite (I know, I already said that). In my mind, it is the perfect color choice for a cottage look. I think I'm subconsciously hoarding for my someday dream cottage. I'm consistently drawn to the soft colors of yellow, aqua, jadeite and white. I refer to them as my cottage colors. I even have a storage tub in my basement stash that's labeled "cottage pottery" in those colors. My guest bedroom and bath are done in those colors and I never tire of them.

As with my prior post, I am providing my recommended reference book for anyone interested in knowing more about jadeite. The caption on the photo below provides the link that will take you to the Amazon site for buying information. (As mentioned in my post prior, no compensation was received for any mentions or links).
Jadite, An Identification & Price Guide, by Joe Keller and David Ross
Is it just me, or do you love jadeite too? I'd love to hear from you. Tell me about your collection, whether you've scored some really good (or really bad) deals. Does it evoke the idea of what cottage looks like to you?

If you missed my first post on my jadeite collection, you can read about it here:
My Jadeite Collection - Part 1 of 2: Kitchenware
Here is  another tablescape I did, incorporating my jadeite with a couple other lines of my china collections:
Spring Themed Luncheon Tablescape
Also, if you're interested in other tablescapes, mostly created with my vintage china collections, you can type the word "tablescape" in the search block on my sidebar, and several posts should appear. Thanks for your visit!
(Thank you, Jann, for sharing this post at Share Your Cup Thursday #138!, also to Tammy for the feature on Share It One More Time, to Karin, at Something to Talk About #8, as well as Jill at Let's Talk Vintage! #23).
Rita C at Panoply
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Sunday, February 15, 2015

Jadeite Collection - Part 1 of 2: Kitchenware

After reading The Collector's Guide to Jadeite article in the March issue of Country Living magazine, I decided to unwrap my own personal collection of jadeite kitchenware to see just exactly what I have amassed over the years. I admit, I didn't even know what I had insofar as the kitchenware was concerned until I unwrapped it all for this post. I also own jadeite tableware, and I already had a good idea of how much of it I own because I actually use it, and I store it where it's easily accessible. I collect jadeite because I love the fresh, green color of the glassware, and I love the fact that it's so utilitarian and durable in purpose.
My Jadeite Kitchenware Collection
The term jadeite, jadite, jad-ite, or jade-ite, depending on which manufacturer's nomenclature you refer to, originates from the production of this opaque, jade-green colored glassware (made in other colors also) stemming from the Depression years. First produced by the McKee Company in 1930, and then followed by the Jeannette and Anchor Hocking companies, it was the literally and figuratively the much-needed bright light to kitchens and businesses of the time. With low-cost production, jadeite was made and distributed heavily, much of it being offered as premiums for purchases of household items.

Due to the fact that it has withstood both industrial and home use, jadeite remains a highly collectible glassware, and vintage pieces are still readily available. Jadeite also enjoyed a renewed enthusiasm from consumers when Martha Stewart introduced her line of jadeite, reproducing new pieces and often using vintage molds. Have you ever taken a look at Martha Stewart's Jadeite Collection? Oh my goodness!
Jadeite Kitchenware Collection in Storage
After working to organize all of my 'stuff' last summer, one of the benefits was knowing exactly which storage tub to go to for much of my jadeite. Today I'm sharing what's in my jadeite kitchenware collection.
Hamilton Beach Drink Master shake mixer; McKee and Jeannette Measuring Cups, Juicer, Refrigerator Storage Jars (Anchor Hocking Batter Pitcher, Bowl on stool in background)
Even though I used natural light for my photos, there are slight variations detectable in the intensity of the jade colors, due to the changing amount of light exposure I had in my sunroom or basement, where my photos were taken. As you can even tell from the photos, there are also slight color variations in the different manufacturers' items (brands noted in captions).
Jadeite Anchor Hocking Batter Pitcher, Bowl; Tulip Grease, Salt & Pepper, Swirl Pattern Nested Mixing Bowls
Without going into too much detail, I can, with 95% certainty, say that what I am showing here are all authentic and original, vintage jadeite glassware. The only certain exception is the Hamilton Beach Drink Master (Model 65250), made to look retro with the jade color (and is actually plastic). Another possible exception is my jadeite rolling pin (standing, right corner of display), of which I know the metal, screw-on lid is not original, but cannot determine with certainty if the pin itself is or not. Though a different brand, the working, Fitzgerald Magic-Maid mixer - a really unique find - dates from the 1930's, and still has its original instruction booklet.
Fitzgerald Magic Maid 2-speed Mixer with Original instruction booklet, two bowls
After collecting for a number of years, I have come to learn many, not all, nuances of the real deal from the reproductions in jadeite glassware. Though a collector may own both (old and new), knowing the subtle difference in the two is important, and can save one from making costly mistakes. Authentic, vintage jadeite, being a highly sought-after collectible, is currently in a seller's market. In other words, demand is high, so prices to purchase can be outrageously expensive. The CL article referenced above gives some insight into current pricing.

Although not truly jadeite, another company - the Akro Agate company of Clarksburg, WV (originally of Akron, OH) - produced marbles primarily but, in the 1940's, made other items. Also highly collectible, the photo below captures a jade-colored, Akro Agate child's 10-piece tea set I sold in 2010. Akro Agate items are also fairly expensive to buy, unless the seller doesn't know what they have.
Akro Agate Child's 10-piece Tea Set in Jadeite
Another Akro Agate item, which I currently have in our retail booth space, is the standing lamp you see in the photo below, taken last fall (with new shade).
Akro Agate floor lamp
I have one reference book that I can recommend, if you collect or are interested in collecting jadeite. Though last updated in 2003, it is still one of the best references (with price guides that remain close to market pricing even now, twelve years later) for this glassware made from the 1930's through the 1970's. Not only does it include history, original makes, and good photos of the wares by McKee, Jeannette and Anchor Hocking, it also expounds on the topic of reproductions and ways of determining real from reproduced items. The captioned link in the photo (below) will take you to the Amazon source (I received no compensation for any of these mentions or links).
Jadite An Identification & Price Guide, by Joe Keller and David Ross (3rd Edition)
What I've shared so far is only my jadeite kitchenware, a portion of my personal collection of jadeite. I also have another subset of jadeite that I'll be sharing in an upcoming post (tableware). For a preview of what's to come in my tableware collection (Jadeite Collection - Part 2 of 2: Tablescape), here's a sneak peek (below).
Jadeite Sneak Peek
My jadeite collection has been curated over the last twelve years, and it may appear random because it pretty much is. I would only pick up items as I saw a fair (to me) price at flea markets, antique shops, with fellow dealers and the occasional estate sale. I think I am ready to sell much of my kitchenware, just keeping a few pieces, Putting it all back in the tub for storing was like working one of these puzzles. Remember how frustrating those were??
Do you collect jadeite glassware? Do you use the items you collect?  Is there a piece or pieces you would love to own but haven't found yet? I'd love to hear from you! Also, I'd love for you to come back later in the week when I share the tableware.
(Thank you, Jann, for sharing this post at Share Your Cup Thursday #138!)
Rita C. at Panoply
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Wednesday, February 11, 2015

A Little Gratitude, Love

I want to take this opportunity to give a shout out to my friend and fellow blogger, Diana Petrillo, over at Adirondack Girl @ Heart.  Diana does a feature on her blog called 'Vintage Blog of the Week', and she kindly asked if I would allow (!) her to feature my blog, Panoply. 

I am humbled, Diana. What a wonderful gift from you, a sort of valentine from my perspective, and I want to send a little love back to you. Thank you, I so appreciate you!
Love, from home
Love, from the shop
If you visit Diana's blog, why not browse her topics? You may very well find you want to follow her posts and/or other social media. Diana is a smart, creative, and faith-filled woman. She's a great picker, too, and she sells many of her vintage picks in her Etsy shop by the same name as her blog. 

I also want to wish everyone reading this a Very Happy Valentine's Day! I so appreciate your readership and interaction here, and the friendships built on this blog's foundation. Be sure to take the opportunity to show others some love, and don't wait for a certain or special day to do it. Letting someone know you appreciate them - when they least expect it - can immensely help the way they feel. Don't forget to show yourself some love, too. Being good to yourself increases your ability to be good to others.
Rita C. at Panoply

Adirondack Girl @ Heart

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Panoply Booth Resets - Open For Business

Thanks everybody for your feedback on my Goodbye, January post. I am normally content with the quiet which January brings, but getting sick this year really did a number on my mood and energy.

I am happy to report I am back in the swing of things, and just finished a major overhaul in our Panoply booth spaces with sister M this past week. Allow me to guide you through the first [major] leg of our 2015 booth space overhauls, designed to be more open for business, both literally and figuratively. This practice is what's commonly known in retail as merchandising, or displaying for the purpose of customer appeal and sales enticement.

These first two photos are macro views of the new arrangements for our two spaces. The first I'll refer to as the Panoply Proper Booth, as it's typically a little dressier in furnishings and details.
The second space will now be referred to as Panoply Casual Booth, formerly known as Primitive Booth. Sister J is our primitive expert, and while those items consistently sell well, they also seem to loom in darkness when approaching the space in the past. The goal was to open it up and lighten the space. We know some customers would rather dig in clutter displays, so we tried to leave a few corner cubbies for rummaging, too.
We had a plan in mind before going into this work day, and it mostly involved switching up the Casual Booth, but that inevitably led to several changes to both spaces. The first switch involved this major furniture flip pictured below.
We had just brought the secretary in after the holidays, and slid it into the space where our Christmas corner was previously (as seen above - our path of least resistance at that time). However, we knew the piece was more suited for the Proper Booth, so the blue dresser came from Proper to Casual, and the secretary went from Casual to Proper.

The next major flip was with the two pieces pictured below. The black painted stepback went from the Proper to the Casual, and the china cabinet went to the Proper from Casual.
This is how the black cabinet now looks like in the Casual Booth:
Pictured below is how the china cabinet looks in the Proper Booth. I did a photo splice of the Proper Booth's left side because I didn't get this entire wall in the overall leading photo of this space. However, the china cabinet stands flat on the left side of our space, while the blue chair and secretary both stand at the same 45° angle just beyond the china cabinet (better seen in the leading photo).
Back to the Casual Booth space and what we really wanted to accomplish: opening up the center section and doing something different on the center wall space. After more heavy lifting with plans A and B not working, we ended up with a very similar look as before. This was due to the fact that the breaker box is situated on that wall, staff must have access to it, and the wall has no option of hanging anything. The primitive cabinet ended up right back where it started, but with a different, lighter base.
The crate display in the center of the floor was the result of gathering the boxes and focusing on making them available vs. using them to corral a bunch of junk treasures which otherwise prohibited purchase. We moved the treasures into things other than crates, and took a few things out (mortal sin of antiquers).
Previously, the shelving unit we installed last fall was set where the crates are now, and it cut this space in half, lengthwise. We moved the shelving units to stand parallel to the main traffic aisle and flow of customers, anchoring the right side of the Casual Booth space.This is directly across from the stairway to mezzanine and upper floors.
Cleaning up the wall just to the right of the center of Casual Booth, we ended up with the following:
As you can see, this wall is tricky for creating displays also, with that wonky HVAC ductwork and the thermostat right smack in the middle of the wall. Hanging the ironing board similarly to how we've hung chairs before really helps minimize clutter on the floor space. To the left and right of the bench, as well as on and below it, are galvanized pieces, another conscious effort to group like items for customers looking for those type wares.
From the angle you see pictured above, there is a space, albeit narrow, to walk through the area, just beside the shelving unit.  You can see the perspective better in the photo of the shelving unit a couple photos above this one.

We Sister M wants to change up the wall of mirrors, so I suppose that will be next. Gardening items need to be brought out and fully displayed also. Our locked cases (not visible in either of these spaces pictured) need to be changed up too, so there's plenty to do in the coming weeks. We fully intended to make a section for sale and clearance items this past week, but for now we're running an overall sale of all items. We'll see how things look in the coming weeks and whether or not the sale section materializes.

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