call it a tablescape and I might have to hurt you

In the Sandra Lee-ification of America we can no longer just set the table for anything, let alone a holiday.  It is a “tablescape” or worse yet a “holiday tablescape”.

It is a phrase to me that is like nails on a chalkboard. It brings up visions of outfits that match kitchen decor that matches seasons and unless you are Sandra Lee or Barbie who the heck does that???

It also reminds me of a Christmas party we went to every year as a kid.  The entire family had matching/coordinated outfits and the wife always had them all lined up at the staircase by the front hall door when you entered – like they were the Patridge Family or something.  My old, old friends will know exactly what party I am referring to.  We. All. Went. Every. Year.  Mind you the wife in this equation has long since remarried and we think she just settles now for matching her and hubby #2 to decor.  Does white marble come in pants I wonder?  She’s a tablescape kind of gal.

I am sorry, I know I am being supremely irreverent. The phrase tablescape just does it to me…like when people say too often that is how they “roll” (I wonder, are they a wheel of cheese or something?)

I am all for dressing up the table and having fun but we call it setting the table in my neighborhood.  Sometimes with a centerpiece, sometimes just a collection of fun candlesticks or oil lamps.  And I don’t need Martha Stewart to tell me how to set my table, either. Lordy women of America!  It’s not rocket science, just have fun.  As long as the cutlery and glasses aren’t plastic and the plates paper, it’s all good.  That is the stuff picnics and cook outs are made of.

So anyway, my table was looking for some vintage Thanksgiving fun, so I stopped into a new favorite local haunt, Frazer Antiques.

I found the cutest vintage turkeys – they are salt and pepper shakers only I am just using them on my table as a decorative touch.  I also wanted inexpensive vintage dishes for dinner.  Found those too – Steubanville Adam Antique.

And best of all, I finally found a turkey platter I couldn’t kill.

And speaking of Frazer Antiques, they have a holiday sale starting November 23rd which runs through December 31st! 

They have a special Holiday Open House on November 30th from 3 pm to 8 pm.

Frazer Antiques is located at 351 Lancaster Avenue, Frazer, PA 19355 –

(610)-651-8299 and they are open daily (except holidays) 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Check them out.  They are loaded with all sorts of fun stuff! And as one of the most frugal women in captivity when it comes to antiques and vintage collectibles I can honestly tell you the pricing is pretty darn good and a lot of stuff has wiggle room. And they must be a go to place for holiday table accessories because while I was there this afternoon a couple of husbands were sent in by their wives to hunt for extra serving pieces and other table accessories.

old things, new uses

I am learning not to take in what I can’t use.   Mind you, saying that, I like a lot more around me than my sweet man.  He is definitely guy minimalist, and well I like layers.  (He will tell you I like lots of things on the walls which is entirely true.)

So yesterday we went out to my favorite barn, the Smithfield Barn on Little Conestoga. He found a couple of tools and I found a couple of little things too.  Now I am also guessing the lore of the barn is spreading, because they were doing a brisk business. (saw the name of a high school friend in the guest book for the barn too!)

I was sick of my spoon rest in the kitchen – a plastic souvenir plate was the latest one and it was  beat up and ready for recycle day- and looking for a replacement.  No, I don’t use traditional spoon-shaped rests I like using funky dishes I find.  Orphans from garage sales mostly.

Yesterday at the barn for literally a couple of bucks I got a funky old pressed (molded) milk glass plate shaped like a big strawberry but is actually a bunch of grapes embossed on the bottom. Circa 1950s to 1960s I believe.  (Ironically I saw them way too much expensive  on EBay and Etsy too )

I also found another pretty glass dish (Depression era I think) that probably had a life once holding pickles or  relish or something, a funky vintage locket that I think is from  somewhere around  the depression (some sort of mystery base metal and a fabulously long chain), and a really super cool wooden box that looked like a book.

Made in Germany for I *think* a shipping line whose name I am trying to decipher, when I got it home and cleaned off a couple of layers of dirt gently, I could see what was faded on the lid of the box: one of the Yardley Cries of London ads, which were based on the Wheatley’s Cries of London Series. “Fresh Gathered Peas, Young Hastings” to be precise.  I will note there are a LOT of reproductions of these “Cries of London” series, so although I think the series is fun, I would never pay much for any of them unless I knew for sure what I was getting.

The box is pretty beat up, not sure if it could be restored, but wow is it fun.

Plus I got a hostess gift for where we were going to dinner last night.  Wish I had taken a photo – very cool leather box that was lacquered on the inside.

I was also checking out the depression glass Kris had at the barn yesterday. There was some really pretty pink and green pieces, but they were more than I wanted to spend.  Kris said she has had a hard time finding it reasonably priced lately.  Wonder if it is the Miller effect?  You know that ridiculous blonde who always pays too much on that new show Market Warriors?  She is the worst treasure hunter ever and can’t dicker worth a damn and she is obsessed by glass.

I am not sure I like the show Market Warriors because they don’t make much sense. And the auction houses they chose after they went to Renningers and Brimfield made less sense.  They should be going to auction in regions closer to where they are buying.  BBC’s Bargain Hunt is a much better show.  American Pickers is a fun show BUT since they started those guys seem to be a little big for their britches and well I am beginning to wonder what kind of advance team goes out and scouts ahead of time?

I am a firm believer that price in some of these collectibles is driven by what people see on TV.  However, one of my favorite shows of that genre is Cash and Cari. Host Cari Cucksey has an estate sale and repurpose/antiques/collectibles business in Michigan and it is so nice to see her show because the sales are what you used to see around this area, but not truly any longer.  You know the ones with reasonable pricing as in things are priced to move?

Some of the “estate sale” people around the Main Line and Chester County are not so true.  And some who shall remain nameless actually bring things into the sales – they are not in the houses at all and that is not ethical.  They aren’t all or even close to Garage Sale Chic Chester County  or Susan Vitale whose sales are well worth it.  (Well Susan Vitale used to have one of the best known antiques stores on the Main Line so you know she knows what she is doing!)

If you are doing a garage sale or estate sale, price to sell – not like you are in a store front setting. Sales by Helen is one of those. Don’t quite know how she got so big and why most are willing to pay her prices, but I am not.  I find Helen’s sales overpriced at best.

There aren’t too many Smithfield Barn weekends left, so I encourage you to go have a pick.  But don’t fear, when you move into the fall there are great opportunities to be found at places like St. David’s Fair or the white elephant tables at Historic Harriton House’s Annual Plantation Fair.  And a whole new season of Clover Market in Ardmore.

When you go treasure hunting, buy what makes you happy.  Unless it is a velvet Elvis painting, you probably won’t go wrong. Happy hunting!

a fine how-dee-do

Readers, I have been sitting on something.  I have debated writing about it for nearly a week, and that is my litmus test on writing about something.

I make no apologies for my opinions. After all, we all have them, it is what makes this country great.

A little over a decade ago I became a community activist in Lower Merion Township.  What spurred me towards something I was hardly raised to do was respect and love for my friends the Foos who own a restaurant in Ardmore called Hu Nan.

It all started one night long ago, when my friend Betty, who is one of the most serene and lovely women I know said to me with tears in her eyes “they want to take my building.”

That was it.  That was my defining moment that I could no longer just be a casual observer in the place I called home.  Eminent domain for private gain just does that to a person.

Over the years I have worked hard on issues important to me and those I care about.  I have the respect of many in municipal government and politics, some who scorn me, some who fear me.  It is what it is. Of all the amusing things there is even a regional Patch editor who has never met me but who cut my freelance for certain Patches because I was a community activist and blogger. (yes, she has never met me.)  I found that very limited in her, but then again, if you are looking for someone to photograph and write about disposable diapers, that is not me anyway, so we’re cool. But I am grateful that I have the respect of many others in the local, regional, and even national media. And ditto for many people in many different communities.

When I heard about the Ludwig’s Corner Horse Show Grounds being threatened by eminent domain for private gain late in the fall of 2011, I couldn’t keep my mouth shut on the topic.  I just despise eminent domain for private gain. The Daily Local even published an editorial I wrote on December 13Main Line Media News  picked it up a couple of days later.

But being active in the communities where I live has never been all I have been about.  I volunteer not just for community activism purposes but to help out friends who do cool stuff – like my friend Molly who was the driving force behind the establishment of the now very popular Bryn Mawr Farmers Market.  I lent her my voice when she needed it and a few photos in the beginning because I believe in what she was doing.  And then there is my friend Janet, the brains behind Clover Market in Ardmore.  I love vintage and antiques, so when I can take photos for her at one of her markets, it is absolutely my pleasure. And on a monthly basis, save major holidays, you will find me in Ardmore with my dearest pal Sherry, snapping away for First Friday Main Line and so forth.

I have also spent years off and on volunteering for Historic Harriton House in Bryn Mawr, where my first volunteer gig was when I was 12 years old. A memorable adult volunteer experience was getting Willard Scott to wish the house happy 300th birthday a few years ago live on the Today Show.

And when I had breast cancer a year ago, these people  were among my supporters to get me through.  Paying it forward – it is what it is all about. And these people are fully and completely aware of my activism side when a crazy issue arises, and they respect me for that. And they do not judge me for it.

I just like people, and I like cool community stuff, so when I stumbled upon the East Goshen Farmers Market I was thrilled.  So I wrote about it a couple of times up here on this blog and have taken some glorious photos the past few markets.

About ten days ago, one of the market organizers contacted me about this blog and said they would like to link to this blog, chestercountyramblings.  I was so happy at that news.  But then the link didn’t happen.  The woman who had e-mailed me was very apologetic, she had been out-of-town, etc.  But to make sure to stop by their table at the market to say hi.

So last Thursday, along with taking more fabulous photos, I did.  The ladies were super nice, but the one who had corresponded with me pulled me aside and said she hoped I understood, but everything was so political that they couldn’t link to my blog.

Huh?

Aha.  I knew immediately – it was because I have written about West Vincent Township politics and the supervisors Ken Miller, David Brown, and Clare Quinn.  And I like to read Chickenman and say so. Who would have thunk the warped Mayberry of Chester County had a reach into pristine East Goshen?  Well they do, because Ken Miller’s farm, Birchrun Hills Farms sells product at the East Goshen Farmers Market.  And I have said, and I mean it, that I will NOT purchase products from his farm because of the part he played in an attempted eminent domain land grab of the Ludwigs Corner Horse Show, along with being part and parcel of what ails that beautiful community.

Now trust me, that is very tame for me.  If I decide to get my Irish up, it can often be much worse.  But because I took that position, the people who created the East Goshen Farmers Market won’t be able to  link to my blog and I doubt will ever use my photos.  That is their right, they are uncomfortable, that farm I won’t support is one of their vendors.  I am sad that they had to go all super political PTA mom on me, especially since I am now a resident of East Goshen, but hey I am different, I get that.  Some women can’t handle that.  They see what they want to see, and do not take the time to get to know the person.  It’s cool, it’s life.

So anyway, I had told some of you that the market people had approached me to link up my blog to them, but since they hadn’t, I wanted to let you know and why it wouldn’t happen.

Life isn’t fair sometimes, but for the record I am not sorry about what I have said about West Vincent because there is a big bag of wrong going on there.  With publicly stated opinions come consequences – my blog has been shunned by my local farmers market so to speak.  And that is o.k.  People have to do what they are comfortable with, and play politics the way they know how.

I will of course continue to support the East Goshen Farmers Market because I think it is simply awesome.  I will support my favorite vendors too.   And I strongly encourage all of you to do the same.

Have a great day y’all. And if the spirit moved you, remember to nominate this blog for a Blue Ribbon Blogger Award with Country Living Magazine – it is very politically correct to do so :<}

 

 

 

chester county comes to clover market

So I have this friend Janet Long who thought up this fabulous outdoor market in Ardmore, PA called Clover Market.  Like First Friday Main Line, it has bought new life and crazy amounts of foot traffic and visitors to what was a sort of sleepy Main Street town.

Eliver Designs

Clover Market is a hybrid cross between a high-end craft show, antiques and collectibles show, meets art show.  It is, in a word, fantastic!

Clover Market has a website, Facebook Page, and Pinterist Boards.  They also feature a lot of folks from Chester County.

Two of my favorites from yesterday? Cupcakes Gourmet and Eliver Design.  Elizabeth at Eliver Design has amazingly fair prices, fun stuff, and right now only does shows.  E-mail her at EECoast@gmail.comCupcakes Gourmet is from Frazer and they have awesome cupcakes! And they ship, so you can send their baked goods all over!!! Carlinos as well as A Taste of Olive  of West Chester and Ardmore was there too! (always have to give them a shout out!)

I am told   some Milk House folks were there, but I don’t know all the vendors there (yet, LOL!), so you’ll have to check.

See more photos of Clover Market HERE.