Tuesday, April 24, 2018

A to Z April Challenge: U is for Underappreciated


When my sister and I cleaned out our parents’ home, we had to make many decisions about what to do with all the stuff. Which things are truly “valuable” and which have only sentiment in their favor? Should we sell it, keep it, or throw it away? To help ensure a future for our family’s heirlooms, I plan to leave a booklet for my daughters telling the stories of what they will inherit one day. (Not TOO soon, I hope!) With this challenge I begin my book of Heirlooms.

is for those heirlooms that are “under-appreciated.” Frankly, that could be almost anything in my house! But I will limit myself to the silver.

My grand-aunt Helen Martha Killeen Parker knew she was dying in 1981, so she labeled her possessions with the names of the recipients. My dad’s sister was very close to Aunt Helen, so she received quite a few things. Whether she thought she had inherited too much for one person or simply had no interest in another tea set, my aunt gave the set to me knowing I would appreciate fine silver. 

Helen Killeen Parker silver tea set  https://jollettetc.blogspot.com


I always thought the silver service was a wedding gift until I did a little research. The pattern is Shell and Gadroon by Gorham dating from the 1950s, almost 30 years after Helen and Herbert married. I found a set online selling for $789. Unlike the set for sale, mine has a different tray and does not include the waste bowl.

My aunt also gave me Aunt Helen’s silver punch bowl. If you’ve never drunk punch from a silver cup, you are missing out on an extraordinary experience. Silver holds the cold like no other. 

Helen Killeen Parker silver punch bowl set https://jollettetc.blogspot.com


Yeeaah, hardly anyone loves silver anymore. Hardly anyone wants to bother with polishing it. They should be happy with recent decorating trends that celebrate tarnish. While I do not LOVE polishing silver, I do not mind putting in the effort. All that sparkle is reward enough.

Wendy
© 2018, Wendy Mathias. All rights reserved.

Monday, April 23, 2018

A to Z April Challenge: T is for Table


When my sister and I cleaned out our parents’ home, we had to make many decisions about what to do with all the stuff. Which things are truly “valuable” and which have only sentiment in their favor? Should we sell it, keep it, or throw it away? To help ensure a future for our family’s heirlooms, I plan to leave a booklet for my daughters telling the stories of what they will inherit one day. (Not TOO soon, I hope!) With this challenge I begin my book of Heirlooms.


is for the table built by my husband Barry’s paternal grandfather John Mathias. It was made from scraps of oak left over from the construction of Barry’s childhood home. His dad and grandfather built that too in 1948.

Mathias table 1948 https://jollettetc.blogspot.com 



John and Essie Mathias late 1940s https://jollettetc.blogspot.com
John and Essie Mathias
Barry's grandparents


















The table was never intended as “fine furniture.” They never lived that way. The table was sanded, stained, and varnished, but still it has a roughness to it. The wood of the table top is not perfect; in fact the back left corner is pocked with dips and holes that suggest the wood may have come from a diseased tree.

Mathias table 1948 https://jollettetc.blogspot.com

As for construction, there are no fancy cuts - all straight. Nails attaching the frame to the legs are clearly visible, no attempt to disguise them with wood putty.

Barry remembers the table always under the double windows in the upstairs hall. That is where his mother grew her African violets and other flowers because the light was so good there.

Mathias table 1948 https://jollettetc.blogspot.com
Now we use it as a side table in the family room. On it sits an old chicken feed scoop from the family farm. It makes a good gathering spot for extra glasses and remote controls.

Wendy
© 2018, Wendy Mathias. All rights reserved.

Saturday, April 21, 2018

A to Z April Challenge: S is for Singer


When my sister and I cleaned out our parents’ home, we had to make many decisions about what to do with all the stuff. Which things are truly “valuable” and which have only sentiment in their favor? Should we sell it, keep it, or throw it away? To help ensure a future for our family’s heirlooms, I plan to leave a booklet for my daughters telling the stories of what they will inherit one day. (Not TOO soon, I hope!) With this challenge I begin my book of Heirlooms.

is for Singer sewing machine which belonged to my great-grandmother. Since Mary Frances Jollett Davis was my mother’s favorite grandmother, she always intended to do something special with it. As it turns out, she never did, and so the sewing machine sat in the garage for years while other things just got piled on top.

Singer sewing machine Mary Frances Jollett Davis https://jollettetc.blogspot.com
Singer that belonged to my great-grandmother
Mary Frances Jollett Davis

Now I have it. For a time, the Singer was just a home to piles of “stuff” in my house too. Like mother, like daughter. However, I finally got around to redoing the room over the garage as my “Gene Cave,” in other words, the room where I have my computer for genealogy research and blogging. The sewing machine serves as a table prominently placed under all the photos of grandparents and great grandparents.











Singer sewing machine Mary Frances Jollett Davis https://jollettetc.blogspot.com


Look closely at how beautiful these old machines were and ARE. The base is like decorative scrollwork in iron.



















Notice the intricate patterns in the face plate:

Singer sewing machine Mary Frances Jollett Davis https://jollettetc.blogspot.com


Singer sewing machine Mary Frances Jollett Davis https://jollettetc.blogspot.com
According to a “Machine Dating” chart online, Mary Frances’s machine was built about 1923. It’s called a “Red Head” or “Red Eye” machine because of the beautiful red and gold ornamentation.


Mary Frances must have eased and pushed and shoved a lot of fabric through here over the years to wear away the finish. Most of these models did not have a reverse. I guess hers didn't either. So far, I don’t see any reverse button that I’m familiar with on modern sewing machines.

I wonder what she was making with this last spool of thread.

Singer sewing machine Mary Frances Jollett Davis https://jollettetc.blogspot.com


I hope that one day one of my daughters will be thrilled to own her great-great-grandmother’s Singer treadle sewing machine. And then maybe one day one of my grandbabies will look at that machine and proclaim, “I think it was my great-great-GREAT-grandmother’s sewing machine. I remember seeing that thing in my grandmother’s gene cave under the pictures of all those old people.”

Family Wall https://jollettetc.blogspot.com

Wendy
© 2018, Wendy Mathias. All rights reserved.

Friday, April 20, 2018

A to Z April Challenge: R is for Roseville


When my sister and I cleaned out our parents’ home, we had to make many decisions about what to do with all the stuff. Which things are truly “valuable” and which have only sentiment in their favor? Should we sell it, keep it, or throw it away? To help ensure a future for our family’s heirlooms, I plan to leave a booklet for my daughters telling the stories of what they will inherit one day. (Not TOO soon, I hope!) With this challenge I begin my book of Heirlooms.


is for Roseville. I own 4 pieces: 2 large vases or urns and 2 candlesticks, but only the vases are truly “heirlooms.” They once belonged to my grandaunt Violetta Davis Ryan. The candlesticks, however, were a fairly recent Christmas gift from my Aunt Betty who thought they would look nice with the vases.

Roseville Dahlrose https://jollettetc.blogspot.com 

Roseville pottery is highly collectible today. It was produced by the Roseville Pottery company, one of three major producers of American art pottery in the 19th and 20th centuries. Most of the pottery was made for simple household use as flower pots, candlesticks, vases, wall pockets, baskets, and garden pedestals. The Art Nouveau and Arts and Crafts-inspired designs have proved to be almost timeless in their appeal. The revival of Mission-style furniture and Craftsman-style architecture has made prices on Roseville soar.

My urns are in the Dahlrose design which was introduced in 1928. It is marked with a paper label, of which only a black sliver remains.

Roseville Dahlrose https://jollettetc.blogspot.com


One of the urns has a badly chipped handle. However, the other is in perfect condition. A seller on Etsy has this very urn for $675. Obviously the chipped one would be worth very little, if anything.




Roseville Magnolia candlesticks https://jollettetc.blogspot.com
I have turned one around to show both sides -
a full bloom and a bud












The candlesticks are in the Magnolia design introduced in 1943. If it were not for several small chips, my candlesticks would be desirable because of their color; collectors prefer the candlesticks that came in blue or green. My aunt knew they were not pristine, and that is what made them affordable. When I display them just right, though, the chips do not show.


Magnolia is marked with the raised Roseville USA mark and shape number. 

Roseville Magnolia candlesticks https://jollettetc.blogspot.com

What I enjoy most about Roseville is how it feels - the smoothness of the field, the smooth edges of the raised flowers. It is probably a good thing that most antiques dealers keep Roseville out of reach or behind glass doors.

Wendy
© 2018, Wendy Mathias. All rights reserved.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

A to Z April Challenge: Q is for Quilt


When my sister and I cleaned out our parents’ home, we had to make many decisions about what to do with all the stuff. Which things are truly “valuable” and which have only sentiment in their favor? Should we sell it, keep it, or throw it away? To help ensure a future for our family’s heirlooms, I plan to leave a booklet for my daughters telling the stories of what they will inherit one day. (Not TOO soon, I hope!) With this challenge I begin my book of Heirlooms.



is for Quilt. Well, of course. You weren't expecting anything else, I'm sure. The creativity and artistry among members of my family are evident in the quilts they sewed.
Dresden Plate by Velma Davis Woodring https://jollettetc.blogspot.com
Dresden Plate

My great aunt Velma Davis Woodring made several quilts, which are now mine.  The Dresden Plate pattern was very popular in the 1920s and 1930s. The elaborate center suggests this is a variation on the typical Dresden Plate which had just a simple circle. Judging by all the floral prints in this lovingly worn quilt, this one was probably made in the 1930s.
Dresden Plate by Velma Davis Woodring https://jollettetc.blogspot.com
This quilt is really worn. So many parts of the "plate" are gone.
I like to look at all the prints and imagine they were once dresses Velma and her sister Violetta might have worn as children.

Hexagon by Velma Davis Woodring https://jollettetc.blogspot.com
Hexagon - Variation on Grandmother's Flower Garden
The hexagon pattern is thought by quilt historians to be one of the oldest pieced patterns. This hexagon quilt in violet and yellow with coordinating floral print is Velma’s masterpiece, if you ask me. She was the quintessential purple girl long before the color was fashionable. The pattern is very precise forming diamond-shaped groupings. I KNOW this pattern has a name, but I can’t find it. It is probably some variation on Grandmother’s Flower Garden. 

Hexagon Variation on Grandmother's Flower Garden by Velma Davis Woodring https://jollettetc.blogspot.com
The purple fabric has not held up as well as the floral and yellow.

Greek Square by Helen Kohne Mathias https://jollettetc.blogspot.com
Greek Square
My mother-in-law Helen Virginia Kohne Mathias made a quilt for each of her 7 children. Upon her death, we each took one. Apparently she made many more because somehow we ended up with 2. This is my favorite. I love the bright green and orange fabric arranged in the Greek Square pattern. She machine stitched the top but knotted instead of quilted. 

Squares and Triangles by Helen Kohne Mathias https://jollettetc.blogspot.com
Squares and triangles


This gold patchwork of squares and triangles amuses me because the fabric is so unlike Helen. It looks like an animal print in a way, but certainly a smaller scale and more subtle than something obvious like leopard or giraffe. I’m not sure what it is. Like the previous one, the top is machine stitched and the quilt is knotted. 


My mother appliqu├ęd and quilted this sampler quilt around 1977. It was her first one. She set two challenges for herself:  make no 2 squares alike and use only 2 shades of pink. She used a pattern from a magazine but then had to design more center motifs herself. The beauty of this quilt is the balance of the two colors. 

Appliqued quilt by Mary Eleanor Davis Slade https://jollettetc.blogspot.com

Wendy
© 2018, Wendy Mathias. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

A to Z April Challenge: P is for Purple Glass


When my sister and I cleaned out our parents’ home, we had to make many decisions about what to do with all the stuff. Which things are truly “valuable” and which have only sentiment in their favor? Should we sell it, keep it, or throw it away? To help ensure a future for our family’s heirlooms, I plan to leave a booklet for my daughters telling the stories of what they will inherit one day. (Not TOO soon, I hope!) With this challenge I begin my book of Heirlooms.

is for purple glass. More specifically, it is Wisteria by Fostoria. It was the fine wedding crystal of my grandaunt Velma Davis Woodring. In the division of “THINGS,” my mother took the crystal for me, and my cousin Bobbie took Velma’s china. It was the sweetest pattern of yellow and purple flowers on ivory colored china. I imagine the china and Wisteria crystal made a beautiful table.

Wisteria by Fostoria https://jollettetc.blogspot.com
Water goblet and tall sherbet
Juice glass in front 
One of the unique features of the Wisteria crystal is that it appears to change colors. APPEARS to. Fluorescent lighting makes the glass look blue. Collectors know if they see blue glass to take it into natural light to test for that beautiful wisteria purple.

Unfortunately, much of Velma’s crystal was chipped, so Momma and Bobbie threw many pieces away not knowing that some crystal can actually be repaired. Such a pity. So I inherited a few water goblets, a few champagne/sherbet/martini glasses, and a couple juice glasses (or maybe they are shrimp cocktail glasses??).

The pattern is rare but Replacements and eBay occasionally have Wisteria available for purchase. I toyed with the idea of adding to the collection, but it is pricey. Currently Replacements is selling the champagne/sherbet for $22. One dealer on eBay wants $27 while another is offering 3 for $96. Replacements has no water glasses, but there is one - and ONLY ONE - on eBay for $45.

Velma did not limit her love of purple to fine stemware. She also had candlesticks and a bowl which was either an ice dish or a flower bowl used as a centerpiece. One Wisteria double candlestick on eBay is on offer for $92 (plus another $22 in shipping costs).

Wisteria candlesticks and bowl https://jollettetc.blogspot.com

One more purple glass piece is this one.

Purple glass pot possibly chocolate pot  https://jollettetc.blogspot.com 


We have always called it a chocolate pot because of its size and shape, but I am not sure chocolate pots were ever made of glass. It is too tall for a syrup pitcher. I thought it was too small for lemonade until I remembered that there is a picture of it on display with Velma’s wedding gifts.


Look - the pitcher is surrounded by small tumblers which appear to be of the same glass. OK, Lemonade Pitcher, it is.

But wait - Lemonade pitchers didn’t have lids. So I’m back to “I just don’t know.”

I wonder what became of the tumblers.



Wedding gifts Velma Davis Woodring https://jollettetc.blogspot.com
The Lemonade Set is on the buffet, next to the silver platter.
I have designated Velma’s purple glass to go to my younger daughter who is truly Velma’s rightful heir. Just like Velma, she loves jewelry and she loves purple.

Wendy
© 2018, Wendy Mathias. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

A to Z April Challenge: O is for Oak Table


When my sister and I cleaned out our parents’ home, we had to make many decisions about what to do with all the stuff. Which things are truly “valuable” and which have only sentiment in their favor? Should we sell it, keep it, or throw it away? To help ensure a future for our family’s heirlooms, I plan to leave a booklet for my daughters telling the stories of what they will inherit one day. (Not TOO soon, I hope!) With this challenge I begin my book of Heirlooms.


is for oak table.

I admit it - I’m finally at the age when my friends and neighbors are using the D word - DOWNSIZING. In this house, downsizing is not even discussed. But sometimes I do look around my house and play the “What If” game. What if we decided to downsize? What if we really had to move out of this house? Which pieces of furniture would we take with us?

Always my answer is my round oak pedestal table.

Oak dining room table  https://jollettetc.blogspot.com
Oak table in the dining room
In the 1970s when the antiques craze was driving up the prices on desirable large furniture like pedestal tables, my husband had a brilliant idea. He remembered such a table in the basement of his parents’ home. Nobody was using it. Maybe his mother would be glad for us to take it.

Oak dining room table https://jollettetc.blogspot.comBut as Murphy’s Law goes, she sold the table to an antiques dealer two weeks before we thought to ask for it. So off to the antiques dealer we went to buy it back. Drat the luck, he had sold it already, and it was across the street being refinished.

Everyone felt bad, not just us. The pangs of guilt sent the dealer and his refinisher on a mission to find us a round oak table.

And they did! The pedestal had been painted black, but we all agreed that even though the black would never be stripped off completely, the table would be enhanced by the black paint seeped into the grain. The gentleman refinishing the table even made a couple leaves for it so that we can seat more people.

I suppose that since WE bought the table, technically it really is not an heirloom, but it will be one day when our daughters have to decide about its future.

Wendy
© 2018, Wendy Mathias. All rights reserved.