Monday, April 30, 2018

A to Z April Challenge: Z is for ZZZZZZZ


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 ZZZZZZZ we enjoy when sleeping in high back oak beds inherited from my grand aunt Violetta Davis Ryan. I do not recall ever seeing them in her home, but I do recall her saying she had old beds in a shed behind one of her apartment buildings. Something about former tenants leaving them behind, maybe? Or maybe they had been in her family? I really don’t know.

I only know that my mother was the next owner. She used the beds in her guest rooms. Now I have them. After my girls moved out, the beds moved in to make pretty little guest rooms.

High back oak bed https://jollettetc.blogspot.com

However, like most antique beds, they are full size (also known as a double bed). I know of no married couple that owns a full bed anymore. Queens and kings are what modern couples are used to. That is why I bought a new queen bed for one guest room. The other rooms with the high back oak beds are fine for children.

High back oak bed https://jollettetc.blogspot.com


Jordan and rope bed https://jollettetc.blogspot.com
Whew - that room was a mess!
I do not know what memory I was trying to capture here.

In addition to these two beds, we have another high back and a cannon ball rope bed in the attic. The ¾ rope bed was my daughter’s “big girl bed” after she graduated out of her crib to make room for her baby sister. The bar at the foot end rolled so that people could roll their blankets and quilts onto it.

The bed frame has knobs around which ropes originally were tied to support a mattress. People routinely tightened the ropes for better support. The expression “Sleep tight” comes from these beds. Of course, we didn’t use ropes – we attached metal braces to hold the box spring and mattress which we had cut down from a full to ¾. When she was little, we used a safety rail since that mattress was pretty high off the floor.

*    *    *    *    *    *

OK, I have completed the challenge. Now give me that A-to-Z Survivor Badge. It’s time to catch some zzzzzzzzzs.

Wendy
© 2018, Wendy Mathias. All rights reserved

Saturday, April 28, 2018

A to Z April Challenge: Y is for Yard Tools


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 yard tools. I did not inherit my grandmother’s green thumb, but I did get her grubbing hoe and watering can.

Watering Can and Grubbing Hoe https://jollettetc.blogspot.com






My maternal grandmother Lucille Rucker Davis always had beautiful flowers and delicious tomatoes growing side by side. Her garden was not the beautifully planned and dedicated space that drives aficionados of Pinterest to pin and repin. But she did know the value of digging a $5.00 hole for a 50¢ plant.

As I looked for pictures to show off Grandma’s beautiful camellias and peonies, I just laughed at the sorry state of her flower beds.


Lucille Rucker Davis  https://jollettetc.blogspot.com

Sadly, we didn’t catch them in their glory. Our pictures are of beds that needed weeding and a little mulch. In my mind’s eye, though, I see the sparkle of white Spirea in bloom. Camellia bushes bursting with pink and red blooms. Blue hydrangea bending under their own weight. Tulips and daffodils. Tall gladiolas in pink, purple, white, and yellow held upright with a stick. Forsythia in March. Azaleas in April. Creeping Phlox and Candy Tuft dotted here and there to mark the outer limits of foundation beds. 

Wendy in Grandma's back yard https://jollettetc.blogspot.com
Me in Grandma's backyard
Grandma didn’t invest a lot of time in a vegetable garden. She simply made room in the flower beds for a few tomato plants because even in the 1960s good tomatoes, “real” tomatoes, were not to be had in the grocery store. She also had a reliable fig tree that supplied all she needed for everyone’s anticipated gift of fig preserves. 

I’m no master gardener, but I like changing my flowers out with the seasons. Grandma always emphasized the importance of frequent watering to get new plants established, and so I try to follow her advice. Admittedly the watering can requires more trips than the garden hose, but I do believe flowers prefer its soft rain. And the hoe - it is always by my side if I need to chop out a stubborn root or dig that $5 hole.

Wendy
© 2018, Wendy Mathias. All rights reserved

Friday, April 27, 2018

A to Z April Challenge: X is for X-tra Punch Cups


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 X-tra punch cups. Not only do I have a punch bowl with matching cups, I have EXTRA punch cups. Yes, cups that do not match anything else.

I display my punch bowl in the dining room. The Jeannette Glass Feather pattern is a common one in the punch bowl world.  (This is the same pattern as my pink party plates featured on Day J, only clear.) Maybe that is why eBay has 2 complete punch bowl sets like mine (bowl and 10 cups) - one for $32 and one for $50. Meanwhile at Replacements, the bowl is $70 with cups selling for $8 each. Yeah, they’re dreaming!

Jeannette Feather punch bowl with Ice Blue Radiance on top https://jollettetc.blogspot.com

The 12 blue punch cups resting on top belonged to my paternal grandmother. The pattern is Radiance Ice Blue by New Martinsville.

Radiance Ice Blue by New Martinsville https://jollettetc.blogspot.com


The rest are odds and ends, mostly singletons, but no more than 2 or 3 of the same pattern. Some fit in the punch bowl but others are stored in a plastic bin to be called on as needed.

Column Thumbprints by Westmoreland
Column Thumbprints by Westmoreland https://jollettetc.blogspot.com

Cosmos by Imperial Glass
Cosmos by Imperial Glass https://jollettetc.blogspot.com

Fruit by Jeannette Glass
Fruit by Jeannette Glass https://jollettetc.blogspot.com

Shuttle by Indiana Glass
Shuttle by Indiana Glass https://jollettetc.blogspot.com

One unidentified

Unidentified https://jollettetc.blogspot.com

Most of the punch cups came from my grandaunt Violetta Davis Ryan, which means some might have belonged to her sister or mother. Equally possible is that someone just picked up individual cups at thrift stores or antique shops in order to have enough cups for some upcoming party. Punch was ALWAYS served at weddings, showers, retirement and birthday parties, right?

Wendy
© 2018, Wendy Mathias. All rights reserved.

Thursday, April 26, 2018

A to Z April Challenge: W is for Wash Stand and Washbowl


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 wash stand and washbowl set. In the 19th and early 20th centuries, the days before indoor plumbing, these were found in bedrooms, or at least among folks that could afford them. The washbowl set was the forerunner of the bathroom sink allowing people to wash themselves in the privacy of their own room. Usually water was carried by bucket to fill the pitcher and then poured into the bowl or basin where one could wash his hands and face. Afterwards the bowl was emptied either by throwing the water out a window or by dumping it into a “slop jar” to be carried away for more discreet disposal. Sets were made in plain white ironstone as well as fancy hand-painted china.

Washbowl Set https://jollettetc.blogspot.com
When my parents gave me and my husband a washbowl set for Christmas 1973, it was complete. The large pitcher was for cold water and the smaller one was for hot water; the bowl or basin was for washing. Completing the set are a small bowl with lid which held a cake of soap, a shaving mug, a toothbrush holder, and a chamber pot or “slop jar."

Unfortunately the toothbrush holder and lid to the chamber pot are broken thanks to little children throwing a ball in the house. (GRRR)


But back to the story. Washbowl sets were almost always placed on a small piece of furniture called a wash stand. Some had marble tops to protect the furniture from water stains.

Some had a rack for towels; some people used to hang a small quilt to protect the wall from water splashes. Almost all had a drawer for towels and a storage area large enough to hold the chamber pot.

In the 1970s and 80s, antiques were very popular but very expensive. On weekends Momma, my sister, and I scoured many a thrift store and antique shop in search of a bargain. Wash stands were high on our list, and we found quite a few.

 
Wash stand dining room https://jollettetc.blogspot.com
This wash stand in my dining room
holds serving pieces and candle holders.
Momma gave new life to an array of stands from the primitive to the more refined, although none with marble tops as those were too expensive. However, I inherited a walnut wash stand with marble top from my grandaunt Violetta Davis Ryan.
 
Living room wash stand https://jollettetc.blogspot.com
Walnut wash stand with marble top
from Aunt Violetta
Notice this one has a large back splash
plus small shelves to hold parts of the
washbowl set.









The wash stand currently in one of our guest rooms was in pieces when Momma found it. The top was separated from the rest and the doors were stacked inside. The towel rack was in pieces as well, and the rod for holding a towel was missing. The cost - $4. Since this project required quite a bit of gluing, Momma went to Sears to buy some clamps.

 
Wash stand in guest room https://jollettetc.blogspot.com
Bedroom wash stand in oak
is the most rustic piece.












The clerk was surprised that a woman was clamping anything. He obviously had not met my mother! She owned a drill as well as a belt sander, jig saw, and a host of smaller tools like screwdrivers, pliers, wrenches, chisels, saws, and hammers.
Wash stand in family room https://jollettetc.blogspot.com
Wash stand made of poplar in the family room is just big enough
for a 52" tv. The drawer holds some DVDs, and the bottom part
of the cabinet holds the DVD player. 
Our neighbor once said, “It wasn’t officially summer until the garage door was open, old furniture was in the driveway, and Mary E. was in her white work shorts.” Those shorts were so covered in paint and wood stain that they probably could have stood on their own.

Oh, how clearly I remember those summer days as Momma’s assistant, both of us in rubber gloves with putty knives, a wire brush, and paint remover scraping through layers of paint to find that beautiful oak or poplar. My clearest memory, though, is that flicks of paint and chemicals STING!

Wendy
© 2018, Wendy Mathias. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

A to Z April Challenge: V is for Vaseline


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 vaseline glass. It is actually glass that contains uranium. The most popular color of uranium glass is this yellow-green. It was nicknamed “vaseline glass” in the 1920s because of its resemblance to petroleum jelly as it was sold at that time.





Vaseline glass https://jollettetc.blogspot.com


To be honest my Vaseline glass is not an heirloom at all. These are pieces I bought at antique shops specifically to fit the color scheme of one of our guest bedrooms. However, I need to include the story in my book of Heirlooms so that my daughters will know that there is no family history and certainly no sentimental value attached to these bowls and cup.

Wendy
© 2018, Wendy Mathias. All rights reserved.

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.