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Monday, September 26, 2011

For Whom the Bell Tolls

This week, our bell tolls for toleware. We treasure these beauties for the detail in their artistry and quality of each piece. They are loved by collectors and museums around the world for their decorative art form. 
Tole comes from the French, Tole peinte du lac which refers to painted tin. Tole began in Europe and was initially produced on tin and later on other metals, papier mache and  wood. These items were mean’t to be quite utilitarian. 
Paula uses this child's tole bed warmer to keep some of her favorite pearls safe and sound.
Tole trays were enameled and beautifully painted. These decorative trays were known to rust, so a way to combat that problem was to use a coating that was a mixture of asphalt and shellac. This created a surface that looked like the lacquer on beautiful Japanese trays. The term was then coined Japanning. 
We seem to have a preference for the classic tole tray that has a matted black background with beautiful colorful designs painted on the front. However, toleware comes in a variety of background colors which include, green, yellow, red, white and cream. The paintings always standout beautifully on toleware. Generally they are brightly colored still lifes such as flowers, animals or people hand painted with oil paints. 
These beautiful geishas are the reason Paula fell in love with this beautiful tray.

You can see the brush work that shows every detail of the actual painting, especially in flowers.  Some of the older tole trays have gorgeous inlaid mother of pearl or trimmed in gold leaf. Paula is forever on the lookout for a tole tray with a nautical scene of a sailing ship on an ocean. In the mean time she highlights the beautiful flowers in the picture by hanging tole trays around it, creating a garden of floral paintings.

In the late 1700s to early 1800s tole pieces were also gilded. During this time the fine folks from Scandinavia introduced tole painting to the New England area. Paula placed this adorable child's lunch pail on top of the refrigerator creating a diverse vignette. The colors of this toleware are a dark green background with yellow and gold flowers painted around it. 

This coal scuttle toleware with the beautifully painted rooster sits in Paula's guest bathroom. 

Toleware is very functional for everyday use. Paula fills this coal scuttle with soaps, shampoos, conditioners, and lotions she collects from various hotels when traveling.
Toleware trays can also function as snack or breakfast trays, hung as wall art in any room, or set up on legs as tables. 

Paula placed this tole tray on top of a small table from Ghana to hold her bath oil and salts which are in easy reach in preparation for a luxurious bath.

Patti loves that this tray is pretty enough to display but sturdy enough to serve tea.

She also had not thought much about tole trays for the bedroom, but this one seemed to be the right compliment to this wall vignette.

While traveling down to the Florida Keys, Patti found this beautiful magazine rack. This was a cool find from a cute little shop in Key Largo called the Pink Junktique.  

Patti almost forgot about this little table. It's so handy with lovely fitted tray, it goes just about anywhere, in a living room, a bedside, or impromptu tea. The floral stand has the most amazing painted flowers. She loves it!!!

We hope that toleware has captivated your hearts as it has captivated ours and collectors around the world for decades.

Do you have any toleware? Tell us how you display yours.

Stop by next week as we "Air our Dirty Laundry".


Patti & Paula

This week we are partying with the following fabulous folks:

Inspire Me Monday @ Singing Three Little Birds
Masterpiece Monday @ Boogieboard Cottage
Glitter Link Party @ Running With Glitter
Amaze Me Monday @ Dittle Dattle
Metamorphosis Monday @ Between Naps on the Porch
Pink Hippo Party @ Pinkapotamus
Market Yourself Monday @ Sumo's Sweet Stuff

Creative Blogger's Party @ Homemaker on a Dime
Metamorphosis Monday @ Between Naps on the Porch
Making The World Cuter Monday @ Making The World Cuter
Making Monday Marvelous @ C.R.A.F.T.
Show Off Your Cottage Monday @ The House in the Roses
Thrifty Treasures @ Southern Hospitality
Table Top Tuesday @ A Stroll Thru Life
Debbiedoos Newbie Party @ Debbiedoos Blogging and Blabbing

Nifty Thrifty Tuesday @ Coastal Charm
Craft Link Party @ Polly Want A Crafter?

Tuesday's Treasures @ My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia
Twice Owned Party @ Creating a House of Grace
Club G.W. @ Charm Bracelet Diva
Time to Shine @ A Diamond in the Stuff
Anything Goes @ Type A
Knick of Time Tuesday @ Knick of Time Interiors
Tuesday Time Out @ Reasons to Skip the Housework
Wow Us Wednesday @ Savvy Southern Style

Primp Your Stuff Wednesday @ Primp
Wednesday Link Party @ Very Merry Vintage Style
Home Sweet Home @ The Charm of Home
Market Your Biz & Giveaways Blog Party @ Homemaker on a Dime

Treasure Hunt Thursday @ From My Front Porch to Yours
Open House Party @ No Minimalist Here
Time Travel Thursday @ The Brambleberry Cottage
Thrifty Thursday @ Tales from Bloggeritaville
Transformation Thursday @ The Shabby Creek Cottage
Vintage Thingie Thursday @ The Coloradolady
Pearls and Lace Thursday @ Faith, Grace, and Crafts
Potpourri Friday @ 2805
Saturday Nite Special @ Funky Junk Interiors

Thrifty Things Friday @ The Thrifty Groove
Farmhouse Friday @ LaurieAnna's Vintage Home
Feathered Nest Friday @ French Country Cottage
Inspiration Friday @ At The Picket Fence
@2nd Time Around @ A Picture is Worth 1000 Words 
Flaunt it Friday @ Chic on a Shoestring Decorating
Fridays Unfolded @ Stuff and Nonsense
Show and Tell Friday @ My Romantic Home
Weekend Wrap-Up Party @ Tatertots and Jello

Seasonal Sunday @ The Tablescaper
Sister Sunday Link Party @ Sisters of the Wild West
Newbie Party @ Debbiedoos Blogging and Blabbing

Monday, September 19, 2011

A Puzzling Situation

This week we are sharing a unique and (we hope) interesting post. It is a small collection of ivory puzzle balls. These amazing feats of skilled carving fascinate me!

Puzzle balls are made in China, usually of ivory, but sometimes jade, bone, or other materials are used. The ivory ones often come with a tall and elaborately carved stand.

To make the balls the sphere is first turned on a lathe and then conical holes are drilled toward the center. Layers are carved from the inside out. The more layers it has, the more intricate the piece. The largest can be over six inches in diameter and have over twenty balls inside! I just love the delicate and lacy look of the stand on this one.

Puzzle balls are very fragile and easily damaged. They are a tempting puzzle of trying to line up all the holes; but if you do try, use something soft and thin like a quill or a toothpick. This handsome guy was once a piece from a chess set. Wow! Imagine, it must have been fabulous!

 This is my latest find, and it’s incredible. 

Look closely! This one has eleven smaller carved  balls that are free moving on the outside layer! Way cool!

It takes very little force to damage the inner shells, and dropping them is usually fatal! So, one must use delicacy and patience to solve a puzzle ball. Since I have neither, I just look at mine, lol! 

Hope you enjoyed looking at them too!



Monday, September 12, 2011

The Eyes Have It!

We depend on our eyes more than any of our five senses. So of course much attention is focused on aiding and enhancing our sight. Victorian women were known for sporting long gold chains that were either looped or draped across the front of their gorgeous dresses. Watches, lockets or magnifiers were often suspended from these fabulous chains. This charming gold and mother-of-pearl treasure features a beautiful petit point flower. I can just imagine the well-dressed lady that wore it with such grace.

This is a folding lorgnette that can be worn or carried. 

Ladies of the period would not wear glasses but would use the lorgnette or magnifier to see more clearly.

These lovely mother-of-pearl opera glasses would be tucked into a lady’s evening bag and then taken out to use during the performances.

These were just as much decorative as utilitarian.

Now, let’s play I spy. Do you spy two eyes in this picture? These are Georgian lover’s eye pins.

This one has an intricate gold casing. They feature just the eye so they can be worn without disclosing the identity of the secret lover.

This one is encircled by garnets. They were also made into rings as well.

Can you guess this one? It is an old eyewash cup in cobalt blue. You would fill it with water or medicine, place it over the eye with one hand and hold the eye open with the other.

 This type of eyeglass is called a “pince-nez”. They fit tightly on the nose with no handles.

 They, too, fold and fasten with a clasp that can be suspended on a chain.

A pair of early wire framed glasses.

 Notice the small size that speaks to the small stature of people during the past century.

 This stereoscope is the Victorian home theatre. You could purchase scenes of famous sites and enjoy viewing them at home. 

 This view is the Winter Palace of the Czar of Russia.

Let’s end with this man’s pince-nez with attached ear hook, displayed on my favorite eyeglass holder, that also has storage for false teeth. It always makes me smile.


 Patti & Paula

We're linking to the following parties:
Inspire Me Mondays @ Singing Three Little Birds
Pink Hippo Party @ Pinkapotamus
Market Yourself Monday @ Sumo's Sweet Stuff
Mosaic Monday @ Little Red House
Masterpiece Monday @ Boogieboard Cottage
Glitter Link Party @ Running With Glitter
Amaze Me Monday @ Dittle Dattle
Creative Blogger's Party @ Homemaker on a Dime
Metamorphosis Monday @ Between Naps on the Porch
Making The World Cuter Monday @ Making The World Cuter
Making Monday Marvelous @ C.R.A.F.T.
Nifty Thrifty Tuesday @ Coastal Charm
Tuesday's Treasures @ My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia
Twice Owned Party @ Creating a House of Grace
Club G.W. @ Charm Bracelet Diva
Time to Shine @ A Diamond in the Stuff
Anything Goes @ Type A
Tuesday Time Out @ Reasons to Skip the Housework
Wow Us Wednesday @ Savvy Southern Style
Primp Your Stuff Wednesday @ Primp
Wednesday Link Party @ Very Merry Vintage Style
Treasure Hunt Thursday @ From My Front Porch to Yours
Open House Party @ No Minimalist Here
Time Travel Thursday @ The Brambleberry Cottage
Thrifty Thursday @ Tales from Bloggeritaville
Transformation Thursday @ The Shabby Creek Cottage
Thrifty Things Friday @ The Thrifty Groove
Farmhouse Friday @ LaurieAnna's Vintage Home
Home Sweet Home @ The Charm of Home
Vintage Inspiration Friday @ Common Ground
Feathered Nest Friday @ French Country Cottage
Inspiration Friday @ At The Picket Fence
Potpourri Party @ 2805
Flaunt it Friday @ Chic on a Shoestring Decorating
Show and Tell Friday @ My Romantic Home
Oh-la-la Link Party @ Shabby Chic Girls' Club
Saturday Nite Special @ Funky Junk Interiors
Seasonal Sunday @ The Tablescaper
Sunday Favorites @ Happy to Design
Sister Sunday Link Party @ Sisters of the Wild West

Monday, September 5, 2011

The Spice of Life

They say that variety is the spice of life, and “spices” come in many varieties and ways to store them.  This is a German spice box from the 1800’s. It is hand carved from oak. It can stand alone or be hung on the wall.

My favorite part is the porcelain knobs and name tags. The lady that I bought it from even gave me the translations for each spice.

The fact that it has survived with all the gorgeous detail intact is amazing.

This spice box is equally as old, but American made. It is tin with hand stenciling. I love its worn exterior. Would you believe this little footed stand is not attached, but a later find that fits just perfectly!?

Inside the six tin canisters are stenciled with cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, ginger, allspice, and mace.

Can you guess what this is? No? It is a French nutmeg grinder, with tiny air holes to keep it fresh, carved from a coquilla nut.

People also use them as pomanders or thimble holders. I would love to have a silver one, but they are so-o-o expensive! They date back to the 1700’s.

This beautiful pepper mill was made in Italy. It looks gorgeous adorning any table or shelf.

Notice the ornately carved details and painting. Even the filigree handle is a work of art.

On top of that, this pepper mill has a secret! It plays music when you pick it up, and stops when you place it on the table. I wish I knew the name of the tune.

The earliest known spice is salt, and over the years, it has been refined and brought to the table in many ways. This open salt with serving spoon is made of silver and crystal. The wings open in back for easy access. Each place setting would have its own. Classy, huh?

So the next time you reach for the Morton salt box or McCormick pepper tin, know that people the world over are “spicing” it up!



We're linking to the following parties:

Seasonal Sunday @
Sunday Blog Love @
Masterpiece Monday @
Making the World Cuter Monday @
DebbieDoo's Newbie Party @
Today’s Thrifty Treasures@
Show Off Your Cottage Monday @
Mosaic Monday @
Metamorphosis Monday @
Blue Monday @
Nifty Thrifty Tuesday @
Club G.W. @
Tuesday’s Treasures @
Twice Owned Tuesday
Table Top Tuesday @
Anything Goes @
Time to Shine @
Primp Your Stuff Wednesday @
Wow Us Wednesday @
Sizzle Into Summer Party @
Share the Love Wednesday @
Open House Party@
Vintage Thingie Thursday @
Transformation Thursday @
Thrifty Thursday@
Time Travel Thursday @
Treasure Hunt Thursday @
Pearls and Lace Thursday @
Tablescape Thursday @
Show off Your Stuff Party @
Vintage Inspiration Friday @
Fridays Unfolded @
Home Sweet Home @
Show and Tell Friday @
Inspiration Friday @
Feathered Nest Friday @
Potpourri Friday @
Thrifty Things Friday @
Farmhouse Friday @
Sat Nite Special @
Silver Sunday @
Sunday Showcase @
Sunday Favorites @

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Gratitude is the Memory of the Heart ~ French Proverb ~ We are so grateful that you stopped by ~ Please visit again soon! ~ Much Love, Patricia and Paula