Tuesday, July 26, 2011

DC Big Flea, Part 2 ... What I Collect

My husband and I have spent many hours during our marriage hunting for treasure at antique shops, thrift stores, and flea markets.  When we were first married, this was a wonderful way to feather our new nest with objects that had character and meaning.  We learned a lot about each other by the items that each of us are attracted to.  After 31 years of marriage, our home is full of the fruits of our collecting.

While I was at the DC Big Flea on Saturday, I saw lots of really nice things that would have fit perfectly into our collections.  Here are a few examples:

LuRay Pastels Dinnerware.
I have always been attracted to the restful colors of these dishes.  They were introduced in 1938 by Taylor Smith & Taylor to compete with Homer Laughlin's hugely popular Fiesta, and they continued to be manufactured into the early 1960s.  The Husband and I started buying these dishes a piece or two at a time, as we could afford it, in the mid 1980s.  Occasionally, we would find a box-lot and end up with some great pieces for a good price.  As of now, we could probably adequately feed a whole banquet hall full of people using our china.  (We still haven't unpacked most of what we have from when we moved here four years ago.)

We keep a controlled number of pieces on display in the cherry cupboard in our dining room.

This is a stitched photo showing two of the cabinets in our kitchen, with pieces that we use all the time ... we served pasta using the soup plates at dinner yesterday evening.

The pieces this dealer had at the DC Big Flea were very reasonably priced.  Now that I see this again, I probably should have bought the green creamer and sugar bowl ... I don't have these pieces in green.

Trunks and Chests.
I have a thing for antique trunks.  There was at least one trunk in every room of our last house.  In this house, I haven't really decorated all the rooms yet ... but you can rest assured that trunks will figure into the plan.

This trunk is in our unfinished living room, and it holds yarn.

This pine 6-board chest at the foot of our bed stores sheets and blankets.

A stack of trunks is stored in the attic of our garage, waiting for a place in the house.

This little trunk at the DC Big Flea is the type that I go for ...

... this kind, too ...

... and these are the ones that I walk right past.

Miniature Stoves.
I don't know when we bought our first miniature stove ... it must have been in the late 1980s.  Over time, we collected six of them in varying sizes.  In one of our houses, we displayed them in our kitchen on a Victorian corner what-not shelf with the smallest stove on the top shelf, the largest on the bottom, and the others in order of increasing size.  We haven't decided on a place in this house to display them, so they are still packed away.  (No photos of our stoves this time, sorry.)

This little stove at the DC Big Flea is actually a pencil sharpener.  It was only about 3 inches high.

These little stoves were reproduced in huge quantities, and most of the ones you see on the market are reproductions.  You can tell a reproduction at a glance because most of them are put together with Phillips-head screws.

It's a shame that this one was in such awful condition, because I have never seen a six-burner stove before.

Watering Cans.
In our last house, we kept our collection of antique watering cans displayed on our screened porch.  It's the same story here with the watering cans as it is with the mini stoves and trunks ... no place yet to put them.  Right now, they're stored on the workbench in the garage with much of our other cool garden stuff.  One day we will have everything organized and displayed ... she says optimistically.

I loved this watering can because it shows wonderful signs of having been used.  Look at the shiny spot on the handle where the finish is worn.

I laughed at the label on this can.  After what happened to my '66 Mustang last fall, I probably could use one of these.  (Click the link if you don't know what happened to the Mustang.)

Stuff with Roses on it.
It seems perfectly natural, since I have a huge rose garden and own a rose nursery, that I would also collect and display things that have roses on them. 

My mother-in-law recently gave me these two old TV trays.

I love these amateur rose paintings.  These three will soon hang in my sewing room.

This one at the DC Big Flea was a bit TOO amateur ... even for me.

This dealer was selling pages from an old Victorian-style photo album individually.  Each of them had wonderful floral designs.

It's been a while since I have seen a nice floral theorem painting like this one.  Now that I look at it again, I think the flowers may be peonies.

Maps and Prints.
I am a sucker for most things that represent places where we have lived.  Fredericksburg (where we live now) is a very historic town, and there have been many prints and post cards printed depicting its most historic features.  I graduated from high school in Heidelberg, Germany, and images of its castle and old bridge can be found on all sorts of things. 

Over the years, I have collected seven Currier and Ives prints of historic Fredericksburg sites.  This one is Kenmore, the home of George Washington's sister.

For a while, I collected and displayed old postcards of Fredericksburg.  I am not sure if I have the space to display them at this house.

I bought this map at an antique mall last week.  Though it's a map of the next county to the north of us, it shows the part of Stafford County where we live. 

This cross-stitch of the Heidelberg Castle is one of my favorite pieces.

This dealer at the DC Big Flea had a set of three lithographs of Fredericksburg landmarks.  This one is the Hugh Mercer Apothecary Shop.

This watercolor of the Heidelberg Castle was dated 1945.

Greyhound Stuff.
When we adopted Emma in 1999, I discovered that there are some wonderful items out there that depict greyhounds.  After all these years of collecting, we have great greyhound items in just about every room of our house. 

This is the gallery wall in our home office.  (I see I have to get in there and straighten things after our cleaning lady dusted the other day.)

A dealer at the DC Big Flea had this set of greyhound figurines for sale.  The seated one, with the missing front leg, reminded me of my friend Kim's dog TJ.  (We celebrated the one-year anniversary of TJs amputation surgery on July 2. If it seems odd to you to celebrate something like this, remember that one year survival is above average for a dog diagnosed with bone cancer ... this survival is indeed a cause for celebration.  TJ is a happy, happy boy!!)

As I sorted through my photos, and composed my words for this post, I was constantly aware that the collections we have in our home were gathered by my husband and I together.  It is especially appropriate today to be thinking about what we have collected and accomplished ... because today is our 31st anniversary.

Happy Anniversary.
I Love You!!

What did I bring home from the DC Big Flea, you ask?  Not a single thing.  I loved walking the aisles, looking at all the items, and there wasn't anything that I loved enough to buy.  It was enough for me to just be there and browse ... and take photos to remind me of my finds.  I hope you enjoyed the show with me.

Now that you have seen what we collect, go visit Privet and Holly to find out what other folks say about their collections.


  1. HAPPY ANNIVERSARY to the two of you! Blissful years I am certain. :-)

    As for trunks and chests, well... you can never go wrong in purchasing one. Would love a nice blanket chest for my loft. Saw a nice one a couple of years back but hesitated and it went home with someone else instead... dang.

  2. You have some wonderful collections...love all the beautiful chests, especially! Happy Anniversary!

  3. What varied collections you have!
    I totally get what you mean about not loving something enough to buy it, but enjoying the browsing. I am downsized and can't bring anything home unless it really speaks to me!

  4. May you have many more happy blessed years together! Your collections are very interesting. I especially enjoyed the little stoves and the trunks. I also am drawn to rose images all though I am hopeless at growing anything but the knockouts!

  5. Great stuff. I like maps too, not even sure why, but I do.

  6. Sewing Room!!!! When do you have time to sew?

  7. Happy Anniversary and I loved seeing your collections!!!

  8. Wow- You and your husband collect such varied items, Connie! Luv the LuRay dinnerware- the colors are gorgeous! And I really like that map you found recently! Hope you eventually find spots to display all of your collections. :-) Thanks for taking the time to visit and leave a comment!
    ~ Sue

  9. Happy, Happy Anniversary!!! Hope you have a very wonderful day!!!

  10. Happy Anniversary!!! and I am drooling over some of this stuff... you must love those vintage rose paintings especially.

  11. Sounds like you realize how
    lucky you are to have a hubby
    who collects along with you!
    Happy happy anniversary.....
    Love each collection. I have
    the trunk my g. grams brought
    to the USA from Austria. My
    dad lovingly restored it. He also
    made me a cedar hope chest.
    (Do they even make those any
    more?) Thanks for the beautiful
    Look into your collections and
    xx Suzanne

  12. Happy happy 31st anniversary! Collecting wonderful memories and life experiences over those years are the best "things" to collect!

  13. Shoot, shoot, shoot! I totally forgot about the DC Flea being this past weekend!

    I love the roses!

  14. Awesome collections! I think it is great that you and your husband have done these collections together. Sweet! Love the LuRay! I have a few pieces and really enjoy them.

  15. Thank you for the fond memories seeing your minature iron stove brought back from my childhood. You have so many pretty collections and how nice that you share this interest with your husband. Happy Anniversary.

  16. I adore those trunks. I have 2 and sometimes I am tempted to buy another. I love them for blankets down the shore. Your collection of pastel dishes is stunning I would love that. I have small cubburd with a few pastels bowls and cups but not all the same make.We use them for salads and ice cream. I love those pale greens and blues and pinks.

  17. Happy Anniversary to you both! Interesting collections, your pastel crockery is super.

    Just popped over from Privet and Holly.

  18. What impressive collections you have written about today. Love the old trunks....also loved your last post too.

  19. 31 years of collecting beautiful things together . . . wonderful!

    I am coming over from Suzanne's at Privet and Holly.

    Glenda (link #27)

  20. Happy Be-lated anniversary!!
    Wow to the collections!!!

  21. I loved this post. It was so fun seeing all of the many items of interest to you.

    I often browse shows and bring nothing home. I always learn so much and see such interesting things.


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