Saturday, September 3, 2022

Vintage Folding Chair Clean Up


Estate sale season has been fun this year!  Lots of great finds . . . some were sold to put money towards my daughter's wedding gown.  Some are going nowhere - like this adorable little folding chair!  I paid a mere 3.00 for this.  It was in a dark, dank basement under piles of boxes and junk but the vinyl print was peeking out and I'm SO glad I rescued it.

Considering the age, it was in suprisingly (although gunky) condition. Three of these clips were broken but fortunately I have a very handy brother who was able to make me three replacements!

Mainly, it was just plain dirty . . . but I had no idea just HOW dirty until I began to clean it.  After doing a little research online for how to clean old vinyl, I mixed a paste of baking soda, dish soap and water and just slathered it on.  I only let it sit for about 15 minutes and then began wiping it off with a rag (not even brushing or scrubbing . . . just wiping!) and I couldn't believe my eyes!!

On the right you can see just how much dirt there was! The great thing is this didn't bleach out or damage the beautiful colors of the vinyl.

Look how bright and pretty this pattern is!

This was the back of the chair . . . you can see the paste sitting on chair in the 'before' picture.

The aluminum was in pretty good condition.  There was a lot of 'gunk' on it so I used the same solution to clean it and then went over it very gently with a VERY fine steel wool.

It even still has the original tag stapled to the bottom.  I did a little bit of research and it's interesting the on the Balcrank website (which is still in existence) it mentions NOTHING about aluminum chairs in their history.  It seems that a man named Allen Shott had some involvement in the company and his company made the aluminum chairs, most of which we think of today when we remember the beautiful shell-shaped metal chairs and gliders of the 1940's-50's. A March 14, 1955 edition of Life magazine mentions that Shott was a division of Balcrank, Inc. It's so interesting that there is no mention of him or the chairs on the Balcrank site/history.  Hmmmm . . . 

I don't have a spot for this in my house as none of these colors go with anything BUT, I'll definitely be using it as extra seating when we have groups over.  I'm so glad I kept this purchase!!

Thursday, July 28, 2022

Need Vintage Dinnerware Replacements? Contact Hoffman's!


While attending a wedding in Princeton, Illinois last weekend I stepped into the most AMAZING store I've ever seen!  Hoffman's is a treasure trove of all things vintage and like their sign says, if you're looking for replacements for 'patterns of the past' to complete your vintage dinnerware, glassware or flatware -- you've come to the right place!!

After being greeted by two of the sweetest gals (I'll get to them later), I was instructed to head to the lower level which took my breath away.  Narrow aisle after aisle after aisle with twists and turns leading to nooks, crannies and corners filled with stacks and stacks and STACKS floor to ceiling of dishes. (Side Note: After just a few minutes in the basement with me, my sweet hubby said, "You take your time.  I'm going back to the hotel".  Haha - he KNEW I'd be awhile.

Every stack is neatly grouped by manufacturer.  Now that's incredible enough but THEN, each stack is displayed alphabetically by pattern!

Just look at these beauties!  Some patterns had many pieces, some just a few but everything is neatly labeled and if you can't find what you're looking for, just ask and they seem to know exactly where find it!

Like a kid in a candy store I was talking out loud to myself in utter amazement at so many beautiful patterns and styles of dinnerware.  

I just loved all of these gold and silver gilded plates!

Lots of serving pieces like these tureens, casserole dishes and other serving pieces.

Don't forget to look up because there are also shelves and shelves of gorgeous glassware and stemware! And right above your head on all of the cross beams are 'orphan' tea cups. The signs below most of the stemware tells you to ask for help if you want to handle these and I can see why! Many of these goblets look SO delicate!

Rosenthal is one of my favorite manufacturers - I fell in love with the shape of the creamer and sugar bowl!

This really caught my eye!  I have never seen such a translucent tea cup before - you can literally see the inside pattern from the outside!! 

Upstairs, the main level is packed with gift items that are not vintage but so many pretty things including jewelry and wedding themed gifts. There are cases and cases of figurines including lots of Snow Babies (which I collect).  You can't tell but the figurines on the left are miniature replicas of the larger figurines.  I was told that the manufacturer only made these for awhile and then stopped because they had to create special molds for these and it became cost-prohibitive. I bought one but plan to get more in the future!

There is also an upper level (Pictured on the left). Just look at those amazing, original tin ceilings! I found two treasures up here that came home with me.

I love these vintage figurines with a 'mama' animal and her babies.  You can find them in just about every animal you can think of but these I'd never seen these. They are described as "hound dog" but I thought they looked like Cocker Spaniels and since we have one of those . . . I had to get these to display in my mom's 1955 shadow box in my living room.

I was SO excited to find this set (and on sale . . . 38.00 for the entire set!) from Japan.  It came with four dessert plates, tea cups and saucers, the teapot, creamer and sugar bowl.  It will go right into my little china cabinet and be used often!

As I said, the store is run by these two lovely ladies.  Sue (on the left) has been helping out at the store for quite a few years.  She was at the desk researching the set I was looking for, making phone calls and it's my guess she probably can tell you where everything is!

Jill Morse (on the right) had so many stories to share about the store and it's history.  I'd sure love to sit down to tea with her for an afternoon and hear more!!

The store began in the 1850's as a mercantile and was originally across the street from the current location.  Jill's dad started at the store in 1944 and immediately realized the potential.  Already filled with china and dinnerware, he realized that people were probably looking for those dishes and he began collecting more. Mrs. Hoffman had the store until 1970. Jill told me 'that's when olive green and rust were the top colors' so that's why you still see the olive green carpet!

 Are you ready for this?? They have SIX, yes SIX warehouses FULL of inventory that they are still trying to get through!!  I believe she said there are 14 rooms full from floor to ceiling in every room above THIS building as well. 

Jill has a young girl helping to photograph, catalog and list online nothing but vintage jewelry and her brother is working on the other warehouses.  I can't imagine growing up with constant access to all of these beautiful things!  You can certainly tell that Jill and Sue love what they do!

SO, were they able to find MY pattern (This was my mom's wedding china that needs four soup bowls replaced in the set.)? NOT YET . . . 

Manufactured by Crooksville Pottery in Ohio, the pattern is called Iva-Lure Dinner Rose.  Now here's the interesting thing . . . I have YET to find for sale any bowls or even dishes with TWO rose patterns like mine. My dishes are also slightly squared and are slightly 'rippled' . . . they're not flat like a typical plate.

Everything I find has just ONE rose decoration and the plates are completely round.

Jill told me that one of the warehouses has lots of Crooksville and Homer Laughlin (another favorite of mine!) and it's possible it is in there.  They have my number so I hope one day I'll get a call saying they found it!

If you are ever in the area, you simply MUST stop in.  And even if you're not and you're looking for a replacement . . . give them a call.  Jill said this year alone they have shipped to many countries including Australia, Germany and lots to Canada.  She said 'the Canadians really like their things' haha! Well I can't fault them . . . I'm a lover of vintage 'things' too!

Tuesday, July 5, 2022

Chelsea House Victorian Inn


Recently we attended the wedding of our friend's son in Michigan.  Since the week of our wedding anniversary was so busy, we decided to go a day early and stay at the Chelsea House Victorian Inn in Chelsea Michigan.

We had a beautiful room! There was much to love and enjoy about this wonderful Bed & Breakfast including lovely inn keepers.

Complimentary drinks from a local bar (The Ugly Dog)

Tucked into a quiet neighborhood but just steps away from the downtown shopping and restaurants, you can sit and relax on their lovely front porch.

Cozy sitting room and coffee tea bar with lots of little snacks to tide you over in between meals

I loved this working reproduction record player! I totally thought it was vintage.  The owner said it's even equipped with blue tooth!

Lovely staircase leading up to the guest rooms and beautiful, antique, yet comfortable furniture and decor throughout

There were several very nice gift shops and a wonderful toy store that we visited. In the toy store I couldn't stop carrying this chicken around.  I had planned to go back and get it for our grandson.  I was so in love with it haha!  Hubby surprised me by getting it for me!

Did you know that Chelsea, MI is home to the Jiffy plant? 

We had so much fun at the wedding.  The bride's father had several antique cars so we were able to snap some fun photos!  Chelsea, MI is a beautiful little town - we really enjoyed the mini get-away!

Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Healthy BUT SO GOOD Apple Wontons

I've been trying out the air fryer option in my new oven and one of the first things I made were these healthy, but oh so good, Apple Won Tons.

These vegan won ton wraps were talked about on the Weight Watchers chat board so I thought I'd give them a try.

I peeled and chopped up about 5 apples (I could have done just three as this made a lot extra but I used extra to put on yogurt for breakfast so all good!)  I put the apples into a pan with about 1/4 c of monk fruit (sweetener substitute) which has ZERO aftertaste.  It's all I use now - it tastes and bakes just like regular sugar without that nasty, bitter, aftertaste.  You can find different brands on Amazon but I prefer Lakanto and can often find that in my local grocery store. You can also purchase directly from their website.  (Note: Not ALL of the Lakanto products taste good - stick to the sweeteners and the drinking chocolate and avoid the baking mixes!)

After simmering for about 20 minutes, the apples and monk fruit make their own, sweet caramelized apple mixture.

About a tablespoon goes into the won ton wrapper.  Wet the four edges with your finger dipped in water, fold over into a triangle and place on a parchment covered baking sheet.
I air fried mine for about 8 minutes, flipping halfway through.  You could also just bake these in the oven and flip half way.

Terrible, fuzzy picture but I must have been in a hurry to eat them haha!  I would have dusted with powdered sugar but didn't have any!

Proof that a healthy dessert doesn't have to taste healthy!


Tuesday, June 7, 2022

Vintage Step Stool Makeover


As my kitchen remodel is nearing completion, I knew I would eventually need some sort of step stool to reach the very top of my cabinets.  Before I had a soffit that was 1 foot long so my cabinets didn't go to the ceiling but that's all changed now (thankfully!). I found this beauty at an estate sale marked 12.00.  It was the last day so it was 50% off and I asked the lady if she'd take 5.00 for it and she said yes . . . SOLD!  It was very solid but not super heavy.

The top came off easily as it had four 'tabs' that slipped into holes in the top seat.  The bottom was missing the rubber piece altogether.

I had purchased these vintage bark cloth curtains at another estate sale.  I knew the faded sections wouldn't stand up (and they didn't as you can see) but there was still a lot of fabric to be used on projects even after washing and drying, including the step stool.

I also wanted a LITTLE more padding on this so I decided to add a layer of 1/2" batting.  I used the old seat to cut the batting and the bark cloth fabric.  I added a few inches when cutting the fabric so I could wrap around the seat back.

I made sure to keep the 'prongs/tabs' on back poking through the fabric so I was able to just snap this back into place.  
Like I said, this stool was in great shape so I didn't even have to sand it before giving it a few coats of spray paint.

The rubber step was a bit more tricky.  I found a chair tread at Home Depot but it wasn't quite deep enough. There was the 'bent' edge that is supposed to go over the edge of the stair so I used my heat gun and kept pressing it as flat as I could. It still has a bit of 'bend' there but I put that at the back of the stool so you really don't notice it. I used Gorilla glue to attach it to the metal.

And here she is!  All spiffed up and ready to live a new life! I'm pleased with the way it turned out!

I love the little curved back . . . this will also make a nice little extra seat if I'm working in the kitchen or when friends or family are here and we are hanging out in the kitchen.

And when it's not in use, it folds nicely and will slip between my new little china cabinet and the wall in the dining room right outside of the kitchen.

A very satisfying, practical and economical makeover!