Sunday, April 26, 2009

The City Wide Strikes Again

You'll soon found out there will be many posts about the City Wide Garage Sale. We go every time and undoubtedly we leave with something we cannot live with out. Isn't that the way every Collectorator operates, though? No matter how much you tell yourself I do not NEED this....somehow you still rationalize it.

After we finally got there (between construction and weird weekend city events, it was a challenge) and had sufficiently griped about the new paid parking, we did a quick search for our favorite vendor and again she was not present. Granted, we had just seen her at Warrenton, but it's never too soon to see what amazing items she'll have in her tubs. It's a surprise every time. She took over the stock her mother had from a vintage clothing store years and years ago. The merchandise sat in tubs untouched for years until she finally started selling it. It's all completely fabulous and you never know what will be in the tubs each time.

Disappointed but not thwarted that she wasn't there, we carried on like good little collectorators! My Collectorating day was overall slow. I surmise it is because I had the parking voucher this time which meant I had to find something to buy so the dealer would give me $4 back on my parking. Usually it is not a challenge for me to find something to buy, but the parking voucher is like a anti-collectorating spell. So I pounced on the first thing I saw I liked, which was this stunning deco vintage rhinestone bracelet. I really like the design of this piece. It is unmarked but very well constructed. The rhinestone settings are attached to a chain instead of each other so they move a little independently of each other. It's pretty neato and will look great with all the light blue dresses I have. Of course in my excitement I completely forgot to use the voucher to get my $4 back, but the dealer was nice enough to take it after the fact.

My collectorating day was pretty much over after that until the very end. On a return trip to another booth I spied this tiered cake pan set. I love to bake, and cake is my absolute favorite thing. I am an admitted cake snob and I am 100% fine with that distinction. I know it sounds bad, but I am really picky about the cake I will eat. Why waste the calories on sub-par grocery store cake? There is one grocery store exception and that is Randalls. They make a pretty good cake for a grocery store. my absolute favorite "store" bought cake is from Texas French Bread Bakery. It's called the Hyde Park Fudge Cake and that name says everything you need to know about it. yummmmmmm. But other than that, I say why not just make the cake? It's usually cheaper in the end. I have always wanted tiered cake pans, and while I have 9 and 8 inch pans two tiers just does not cut it when you want to make a fancy tiered cake. Not that I have an occasion often to make a tiered cake, but I am ready now when the need arises. CollectoratorOne has already requested that her birthday cake for next year be made with the tiered cake pans so I already have justified spending the money. I love instant justification.

I have had one tiered cake in my life time so far and that was for my 30th birthday party. CollectoratorOne organized a smashing great party for me and our friend who makes the best cakes ever (I pale considerably to him in this department) made me a fabulous orange flavored tiered cake. OMG it was AMAZING. I told him he needs to make me a 4 tiered cake for my next milestone birthday. Hey, I even have four tiered pans now he can borrow...haha... justification #2!

Anyway, back to the story at hand...CollectoratorOne had the best day overall. Granted, she is still in a recession so she should not be spending money. Therefore she had to make a decision on which item she'd take home with her. It was a hard choice. She found many tantalizing things to lure her money out of her pocket book including a very nicely priced pink Miramar planter, a great deal on a deer vase she had been wanting, and the Anchor Hocking version of the Kitchen Utensils mixing bowl set she wants. So the biggest thrill of the day was waiting for her decision. We happened by a friends' booth on the way out, before she made her ultimate decision, and she snagged a white, pink, and gold bird for her bedroom for $2. It matches a set I got in Warrenton a year ago that are blue and gold. That purchase primed the pump to stick with the pink and so she got the Miramar planter. It's so cute. Here's a picture of it on her flickr site The planter was only $8 so she got out of there for $10 which is probably a record for us! Especially when you think she went home with two items for $10. Amazing recession-time collectorating!

I picked up a record for $2 while she was paying for the planter. I collect records (what do I not collect???) although only half-heartedly. Anymore, if it doesn't fit into my theme of either a Frank Sinatra record or cover art with hearts or stars I tend to lose interest. This one fit into the star category and turned out to be a good record. My favorite track on the record is by the Willis Brothers called "When I come Driving Through". It's a catchy little tune about attracting girls with your truck. hahaha... I love it! I didn't know much about the Willis Brothers but it turns out they are famous for another trucking song called Give Me 40 Acres to Turn this Big Rig Around.

All in all it was another fun day at the City Wide. There won't be another for awhile... sigh... what will we do? I know what I will do! Bake a cake in my new pans!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Time for a Luau

So this is my fifth post on this blog, and for a second time already I am going to take back something I said. As with the last time (when I said that CollectoratorOne and only go once to Warrenton), this time is also for a good Collectorating reason. In my recent Seibel blog, I discussed how I wanted to start collecting the Vision pattern from Seibel's Impromptu line, well this weekend I've acquired a small starter set of the Luau pattern from this line. Now I realize that I said the reason I wanted to collect one of the original 8 patterns offered was because it would make it more likely that I'd find the pieces offered the pattern, including those that are more rare. However, actual availability in this case (as in available to me to purchase for a decent price at a local store) overrode desirability.

CollectoratorOne further justified the purchase by deducing the Luau pattern had to be in the next set of 5 offered through an ad in the Richard Racheter Seibel book. This ad was for the gift sets which include the rarer pieces so we know at least they were offered. Whether that many people actually bought the set is another question and is what keeps us collectorators going. The Luau set and the other four offered in that series (Garland as an example) were different from the first eight in that they offered an interesting use of accent color on the pieces a la the Informal line. For instance, the plate and platter have a solid spot of color in the center, the sugar bowl and casserole have a ring of color on the rim under the lid, and the cup and saucer has a solid accent color saucer.

The other justification is that it really does fit better into my previous justification of getting a fancy dish set for the spring/summer seasons (can you actually justify a previous justification??). The whimsy of the tropical flower design is also reminiscent of the Sleepy Hollow clematis vine which is my informal spring/summer line, so overall it is a better fit for spring/summer than the Vision line. Are you with me yet on the justifying???

Stayed tuned to see how I fair collecting this set. Currently I have 8 soup/cereal bowls and 8 bread and butter plates. Luckily they go together as the bread and butter plates make a nice pedestal for the soup bowl. I think the first thing I will serve in these dishes will be tomato soup. How awesome will bright red tomato soup look in that bowl!?

Also this weekend I landed a few other new items as well. A set of four ceramic birds that can either sit on a shelf or be hung on the wall. They are posed in flight. This is adds beautifully to my collection of flying bird sets (who knew I'd have a collection!) CollectoratorOne gave me this awesome wooden carved set of blue birds in flight for Christmas one year. I've never seen any other ones carved out of wood. It's always exciting starting a new set.
The other new item I acquired this weekend was a chartreuse Horton Ceramics long planter for my chartreuse dining room collection. Horton Ceramics was a ceramics company out of Eastland Texas. I couldn't find out much about the company other than they made a lot of head vases and animal shaped ceramics but they also made some planters and pots including this one. It is marked Horton Ceramics Texas 012 on the bottom. CollectoratorOne and I recently discovered this Texas pottery company in Warrenton when we saw an interesting pot that we did not buy but noted it was from Texas and therefore we've been keeping an eye out for it since. This piece has very interesting lines and a dash of black speckle.

All in all another good collectorating weekend. At some point I need to slow down on this collecting! My pocketbook can't keep up!!! Stayed tuned because I am sure I will have to soon take back this last statement as well.... =)

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Got Gravy?

Today I got one step closer to completing my Ben Seibel Sleepy Hollow dinnerware collection with the addition of a new gravy boat! That makes two gravy boats I now have for the Sleepy Hollow pattern. It seems that the Iroquois Informal patterns have both the plain white accent color boat with its attached underbase (below) and a stand alone boat with the pattern on the inside, which is the piece I obtained today. I only knew of one (the plain attached underplate version), so I was surprised to find this one. It was an ebay find that I couldn't pass up. It's not listed on my pattern brochure, but maybe it was a piece added later or discontinued previously.

The yellow on the plain yellow and white one is a little lighter than the yellow of most of my other dishes, but it's likely just a variation. As CollectoratorOne and I have since read in Richard Racheter's Tableware Design's of Ben Seibel: 1940's -1980's (a super great book if you collect Seibel) there were four accent colors only so any seeming color variation is likely just from the production differences or use. We didn't find any discussion of two gravy boats in Richard Racheter's book either but maybe it was just common knowledge that there were two variations so no need to discuss it.

Now why would someone NEED two gravy boats. I actually have four at this point so no need to argue why one would need two when you have four! I have two for Sleepy Hollow and two identical ones for my Royal Star Glow pattern. I started with one and realized sometimes you just need more. Obviously, there's a need to house gravy, but imagine the scenario when you serve a vegetable with a mornay sauce in addition to the meat with a gravy, then what? You "could" serve the sauce on the vegetable but not everyone wants an equal amount of sauce so quite the dilemma develops. The Collectorator-girl would say "oh wait! I have two gravy boats! That'll solve the problem!" and everyone eats happily ever after.... As you can see things can get complicated pretty fast in a culinary serving situation without at least two gravy boats! I wonder what Meta Givens would say about all of this...

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Collectorator Heaven Part II

Ok, so remember how I said that CollectoratorOne and I rarely go back to Warrenton more than once during the festival in fear of draining our bank accounts? Well, we threw caution to the wind and headed back out there this past weekend. As a precaution, we took my car this time instead of CollectoratorOne's SUV. Not that taking my car has stopped us from buying some large expensive items before (you'll have to read about that in my next post "Collectorators On the Road"), but we thought it might persuade us to at least keep things somewhat in check this time given both of us are currently lacking in space and funds.

The drive out was nice. CollectoratorOne has a new book about Ben Seibel dinnerware, which we have been collecting for awhile now. She read aloud about our two favorite Ben Seibel for Iroquois dinnerware lines, Informal and Impromptu, and it inspired me to go ahead and launch into that Impromptu collection I've always wanted. CollectoratorOne started the Seibel craze among us, and she has lots of good pieces. She collects Lazy Daisy (Informal) and Stellar (Impromptu), and I collect (so far) Sleepy Hollow (Informal). I originally thought I'd collect the Rosemary pattern, but a set of yellow Lustroware canisters and this very cool yellow kitchen cabinet I acquired early on determined for me that my kitchen color would be dominated by yellow. I began to ponder during our Seibel conversation the feasibility of having three, maybe four sets of dinnerware. Right now with my two sets (I also have a set of Royal China's Star Glow), I use the Star Glow in the Fall/Winter and the Sleepy Hollow during the Spring/Summer. Everyone plays along nicely with this at my house, although I am sure most people think I am nuts. Who has seasonal dinnerware....I started thinking, could I possibly have a set for every season? CollectoratorOne was quick to point out that the Informal line of Seibel is just that, Informal, and the Impromptu line is fancier. So before the car trip was over I decided I could have two Spring/Summer sets and two Fall/Winter sets: Seibel Impromptu and Raymor Universal sets for nicer occasions throughout the year, and the Seibel Informal and Royal China sets for your every day informal occasions. Now where to put all of those sets of dinnerware... I really need a bigger house....

I found out on the trip as well that my Sleepy Hollow dinnerware was not among the first 4 patterns offered in the Informal line. Although that was disappointing to find out, it's really nice so I am happy with it. It just means I have no chance of ever getting that lazy susan with the separate buffet serving dishes in my pattern! However, since I am starting from scratch with the Impromptu line, I figure why not get something from the initial patterns offered. Since CollectoratorOne already has the Stellar pattern, I decided upon Vision. Search for it here on the Flickr Seibel Group and check out the other Seibel Patterns while you are there. Vision is whimsical and modern enough, and the pattern makes me think of rain, albeit very abstract rain. So there you have it, my fancy Spring line, as it does rain a lot during the spring ...ok maybe I am stretching it a bit with the abstract rain part, but I really like this pattern best among the initial Impromptu patterns, and I'd like to stick with the original set of patterns mostly because you have a better chance of getting the offered pieces including some of the original interesting pieces such as the condiment set and candelabra set that were offered in the Impromptu line.

I decided before the end of the car ride that I'd venture into Siebel's Raymor Universal line as well. That will be harder to collect, but the pieces offered are amazing. My favorite pattern and hopefully the most prevalent is the Golden Burst (which you can find by searching the Seibel Flickr group as well). It is like a star burst, and it will make for a nice Fall/Winter fancy pattern. I really want the Spaghetti Server from this line. How practical and cool is that? My guess is that the sauce goes on the right hand side under the lid and the spaghetti on the left. Yum!

This brings me to another thought I had along the way. CollectoratorOne and I both actually use our collectibles for their original purpose. I wonder if we are a minority in doing that? I know a lot of people may not, but it seems so unfulfilling not to. Understandably, the pieces are rare and if it breaks you may never find it again and ruin that chance for someone else finding it in the future. So, obviously there's some caution and care you have to take when using them (and some people only get to use your plasticware because they cannot be trusted), but if one doesn't use them then do the collectibles just feel left out? All I know is that, if I could serve spaghetti in a Seibel Raymor Universal Spaghetti Server at a dinner party and hear my guests go “oooo” and “ahhh” they might just forget that I am serving spaghetti at a dinner party instead of a fancier meal. =)
Anyway.... with all of the Seibel discussion I felt like I had already gone shopping before we got to Warrenton! And I was determined to start my fancy Seibel collection that day! The second Saturday is officially the last day of the festival, however some people stay through Sunday. Regardless it's the day to get the best deals. We resolved that we'd try to go every last Saturday now as well as our usual day during preview week so we can be a little more leisurely and ensure that we see everything we want to see. This time, we decided we'd hit the other side of the street first which was an area we missed on the first day, but on our way past the booths where we parked, CollectoratorOne had the first find of the day. It's a lovely Shawnee leaf vase to go on her new Heywood Wakefield desk!!

Once we made it across the street, we wandered into the area where the guys with all the good McCoy reside. Normally we wouldn't dare enter the booth because we can't afford the usual prices, but being it was dealing day you never know. Luck would have it for us that almost everything in the booth was 40% off! CollectoratorOne spotted me another yellow Gilmer pot with its attached saucer! It's the same size as the one I found the other day. I was thinking earlier in the week that the poor little Gilmer was all alone but not anymore! We both hemmed and hawed over a few other things in the booth, namely a McCoy pot for CollectoratorOne and an awesome deco plant stand for me, but we left just with the Gilmer pot.

We wandered along leisurely, enjoying just looking at things, and we happened upon the lady with all the good hankies. Now, I am not allowed to buy any more hankies as I have way too many, but she also has a lot of other nice stuff. CollectoratorOne dove into the lingerie, and I spotted a white satin robe that had to come home with me. It's super fancy and nuptial-esque, but I love it. Course as always these kinds of robes are too long for me but that's what they made boudoir shoes for...

After another lunch of chicken salad sandwiches at Legal Tender, we went back to the McCoy booth since we couldn't stop thinking about the good deals in the booth and got the pot for CollectoratorOne and the plant stand for me. We had to go back to the car after that because even though the plant stand was light, it was definitely unwieldy to carry. When we were almost to the car, after I drug that plant stand halfway across Warrenton, CollectoratorOne found a plant stand of her own! Lucky for her she only had to carry it a little further It's very unique and a perfect little house for the baby Alamos.

We went up north of Bar W in hopes of finding some more stuff but it was pretty lame up that way this time. That area can hold really good finds sometimes because it seems that's where a lot of the random dealers set up with somewhat “junkier” stuff. Sometimes you can score the amazing piece that they don't know they have in that area. This time we were out of luck, also most of the dealers had packed up in the big tent that I usually look forward to. Maybe they had had it with the wind. It was pretty brutal for most of the week. CollectoratorOne found a cool kelly green Alamo planter but regardless of the fact it was dealing day it was No Deal(!) for that pot. We had to leave it there. It was neat though because it had a sticker instead of a stamp like Alamo's sometimes have.

We ended up in this one large building that is like a giant antique mall. The same dealers are there every year and that's where you can find all sorts of wondrous things you have never seen before. Pricey is also the key word. But after trudging across miles of fields in the sun, the AC, indoors, and real bathrooms are always nice. I just consider some booths like a museum. Look but don't touch. One of our favorite booths in that building is a kitchen collectibles booth organized by colors. We were just a few steps into the booth when CollectoratorOne shouted “Oh Deer!” I knew that was the signal that an amazing deer find had been spotted that she must have....She has a lot of deer that were obtained just in this way, check them out...

This deer was on a Fire King mixing bowl. The dealer told us it was rare and it was priced accordingly. Course it is so rare, the dealer had it makes you wonder just how rare it is. Granted maybe she has two because she doesn't sell them... if you think $75 is high for a set of the Pyrex Primary Color mixing bowls, this one bowl by itself was $75! And I thought only the Fire King Tulip bowls were that bad. The dealer said that they only made this one large-sized bowl in the gazelle pattern, and that it wasn’t part of a nesting bowl set. This seems hard to believe, but then again you never know – this is the first time we’ve ever seen this pattern in all our years of collectorating! Alas we had to leave the gazelle bowl there too. CollectoratorOne is in her own personal Recession, or rather Depression probably by this point, so there was no justifying $75 for that bowl. Too bad. I am sure we'll find another one for her someday.

We continued along and came across a booth that happened to have a lavender colored Alamo pot priced at a nice price for a change. It seems that dealers in Texas think that Alamo pots are rarer than they are. Maybe they really are rare, and they've just scooped them all up. I'd have to argue with that rarity point though given CollectoratorOne has somewhere on the order of 15 and I have 8. They seem less and less rare all the time. Course it doesn't stop anyone from telling us how rare they are to justify the price of them. We have never paid very much for one and yet you still see them for $40 plus for some of the smaller sizes even. So I couldn't pass up this lavender one for $15. Now granted, it was probably an off color garage sale item because it's probably supposed to be pink, BUT for me it's a nice additional pastel color. I started collecting the yellow ones first of course, BUT I decided to aim for lots of colors like the colors of flowers. Pictured here is my new Alamo plus the Alamo and Gilmer one that I acquired last week all on the new black plant stand from earlier in the day. I think they really do multiply.... As I was paying, CollectoratorOne spotted a marked Gilmer planter as well. We never see marked Gilmer anything. That IS rare. It has a huge crack in it, but it was only $5 so I rescued it for my chartreuse collection in my dining room. Now I don't have a problem with cracked pots unless it's so cracked it won't hold dirt and water. I just turn the crack where it can't be seen and get over it. Every piece of McCoy I have (which is not much) is cracked. Maybe that's wrong and breaking another collector code, but to me it's like rescuing the older broken down dog in the pound. No one wants it. I have a soft spot for such discarded items and animals.

The funny story in that booth was we saw this really cool lamp that had amazing colors, red, green and black and we both simultaneously exclaimed WOW! What a lamp! We checked out the price tag and believe it or not it said WOW! right on the tag. I guess that's the general reaction one gets when they see the lamp.

We continued along without much more luck. CollectoratorOne spotted an elusive large white Alamo, but it was priced way too high because it had its supposed original stand. See earlier discussion, this dealer too wanted to explain to us how rare this pot was as a way to justify the high pricing! We finally managed to escape that booth and left the “rare” pot there. The only other thing I scored that day was a wall lamp sconce that I've been dying to own. It's one that Dick Van Dyke had in his office on the show and that Mad Men have in their office. It’s a 1960’s double cone sconce (one pointing up and one pointing down). The only ones I've seen new, even in the restoration stores, are either up or down but not both. It was cheap, so it had to come home with me. I'll admit right now that I have a fixture problem. I keep buying them and not installing them. I am sure we can add this one to the list that includes the amazing dining room fixture I found (it has birds on it!), the deco foyer hanging lamp, and the two really cool lantern style hallway lights. I should do a whole post devoted to that. I can't help it though. Someday I will have the perfect house to install them in and if I don't get them I now I will regret it later. Until then I will just enjoy them off the wall. I'd really install this one if I had a sconce already on the wall somewhere in my house, but I do not. Probably easily remedied if you know what you are doing in the electricity department which I don't.

We wandered back through Bar W a little at the end of the day, realizing we had missed a lot of the booths given the whole Bar Triangle experience of the previous trip, but we didn't last long. Warrenton tiredness accompanied by Warrenton amnesia (that's when you keep asking yourself did I come in this booth already) had gotten the best of us so we headed home. Overall we were successful, got some good deals, and managed to NOT empty out our bank accounts...this time anyway... I spent the most money this time, and the find of the day, which we had to leave there was the deer bowl, we were tied on the deal of the day thanks to the McCoy booth that had such great deals. Had either of us had an extra empty bedroom in our house, the deal of the day would have been this amazing Heywood Wakefield Rio bedroom set. It was there the first day we were there, and it was still there the last day. Why no one got it I'll never understand. It was very reasonable to begin with - $1200 for the bed, the vanity with mirror AND original stool, and tall dresser. By dealing day it was marked down to only $1,000, and they offered to make us an even better deal! Both of us really wished we could have justified buying that set. We really need larger houses....The disappointment of the day for me was no new Seibel. We didn't even see a single piece of it. Not even Harvest Time which we usually see too much of. I guess the universe is also waiting for me to get that larger house...