pickles and pine cones

I have a vintage ornament problem. As in I love them.  Among my favorites are pinecones.

I have in my ornaments that I have collected mercury glass pinecones that are Ukrainian, Russian, German, Czechoslovakian, and from the United States. I even have some mid century Japan-made pinecones.

I buy them for how they look to me and their color and often their size. I like to have a range of sizes because if you look in nature pinecones on a tree come in a range of sizes.

Above are three vintage ones I bought recently. Below are some others I acquired recently along with acorns and other shapes:

Pine cones are something my late father always put on the Christmas tree along with mercury glass birds. As I have written before, he always did silver and gold Christmas trees so his most hung mercury glass pinecones were in those colors.

After my father died when my mother gave me some of the ornaments she actually gave me a box of blue mercury glass pinecones both large and small. I love the bright aqua color, and they now go on my tree every year along with his other pine cones. And they look brand new because he never used them!

On my own I have collected mercury glass pine cones of every color except white. I have been on the hunt lately for the green mercury glass pine cones but I find them hard to come by. As a matter of fact, it seems like vintage pinecone ornaments have become quite collectible in general because when I do find them I often pass them over because I think they are just too expensive.

What else goes on my tree besides glass birds and pine cones? A couple of mercury glass pickles among other things!

Hanging the glass pickle ornament on a Christmas tree is a custom that some say stems from people hiding one one their tree on Christmas Eve and the child who found the pickle first got an extra present or getting to open the first present. Others attribute hanging a glass pickle on your Christmas tree as being a symbol of good luck. 

People attribute hanging the Christmas pickle on your tree as being a German tradition. Except article after article I have read says they’re actually isn’t such a tradition in Germany and a lot of people think it was an age old marketing ploy when glass German ornaments started being imported into this country!

And F.W. Woolworth was credited with being the American retailer who started importing German glass ornaments around 1880. And people continue to write about German-made pickle ornaments being created for the export market, not necessarily the Christmas trees of native Germans.

So sadly it seems the tales of Weihnachtsgurke is just a 19th century advertising ploy that took off. But I don’t care. I love my Christmas pickles anyway! I have German, American, and Ukrainian mercury glass Christmas pickle ornaments.

I recently purchased a new old mercury glass pickle. Made in the Ukraine. Mid-century is what I was told as far as the age goes. I also purchased two more for a friend of mine who liked my new old pickle.

What ornaments will you be hanging on your Christmas tree this year?

exploring and antiquing


Today my friend Karen came over and we went exploring. I had wanted to take her to the Smithfield Barn but they weren’t open. So we headed to Spring City and Kimberton instead.

First stop was Samuel G. Hultz Antiques at 820 Pughtown Road in Spring City. They are the big old place on the corner of Route 100 and Pughtown Road. Their phone number is 610-469-9491 and they are open most Saturdays and Sundays noon to 4 p.m.

Like most of the old school country dealers I have come across since moving here, they were friendly and hospitable people. And their pricing was reasonable and fair.

Like my friend Dave told me it would be, their barn was loaded with kind of things I love to go through. They have some beautiful vintage and antique quilts, different odd lots of depression glass and china and furniture and all sorts of things. Old tools, linens, vintage kitchen items, candles, and Christmas ornaments too. Blue glass, milk glass, clear, ruby red, you name it.

Flow through blue plates and teapots and fabulous antique wash stands and an amazing black walnut farm table I wish I had the room for.

They had some neat old advertising pieces, and sort of a bargain basement downstairs where I found the most awesome hand quilted pillows to use on my bed as throw pillows as well as vintage heavy duty aluminum loaf pans to bake with. I also found the cutest handcarved folk art Santa to decorate with for Christmas.

And I also noted that this was a place where I could get antique lamp parts! As in oil lamp parts. Shades, globes, all sorts of things and complete lamps. I have a lot of converted oil lamps which are now electric as well as others which can burn lamp oil that I love the look of, and I never know where I can get parts. I am so happy to have discovered that I can get them here! You see, the only other place I knew to get so many parts before this was in Adamstown, PA.

Where the Hultz Barn is located is so beautiful and picturesque. We took a right out of their driveway, drove past the Agway and headed down Pughtown Road into Kimberton village. This weekend is also the Kimberton Antiques Show at the firehouse/fairgrounds. (The show runs tomorrow, Sunday, November 17 as well from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and admission is $5.00. Don’t eat lunch at the antique show, go right up the road to the Station Bistro. It’s a fabulous little BYOB with a roaring fire in the fireplace and amazing food.)

The Kimberton Antiques Show is still one of my most favorite things to go to in the fall. I have been going for years. It is a show where I find a lot of my favorite antiques and collectible dealers who only do shows.

I bought some more vintage Christmas ornaments from a pair of cute little old ladies who were tough as nails and sharks in cardigans in the bargaining department! Sadly that was pretty much all I purchased, because the show prices this year were higher than ever.

Don’t misunderstand me, I love that show and have been going for years. But the problem is the prices of gotten high enough now that I just don’t really buy there anymore. I mainly look. This used to be a show you could actually buy at . But my late father always said that antique shows existed to educate your eye more than buy.

There was a dealer who had very reasonably priced vintage garden ornaments that I forgot to go back to, and that’s a real shame. His stuff was cool.

The Kimberton show is a great place to wander around for a few hours. It is two buildings on the firehouse/fairgrounds property loaded with dealers of antiques, vintage items, and collectibles. Some of the dealers had some truly amazing vintage and antique Christmas ornaments. I also love tole trays, and there were a lot of dealers with some gorgeous trays.

The lunch didn’t look outstanding one way or the other, so we opted to get lunch after we left the Kimberton Antiques Show. Boy am I glad we did!

We wandered into the center of the village of Kimberton and decided to try the Station Bistro. It is a cute little BYOB that is much larger inside than it looks on the outside.

You walk into Station Bistro and you’re greeted by a large country fireplace with two comfortable when chairs on either side. The dining room is not huge, but the tables are spaced nicely apart and the place is clean and bright and cheerful. As opposed to some places there is a feeling of space. Artwork of local artists adorn the walls. I saw a watercolor landscape of Chester County that I thought was one of the most beautiful I had ever seen.

The prices were moderate, the service exceptional, and the food delicious. Their address is 1300 Hares Hill Rd. Their phone number is 610.933.1147 and they do breakfast Saturday and Sunday too. The rest of the time I think they’re open Monday through Saturday for BYOB bistro dining between 11 AM and 9 PM.

Station Bistro was a completely serendipitous find and I look forward to going back.

Was such a beautiful day to go antiquing through Chester County. We had a great time. Of course it is one of those days I could’ve kicked myself for leaving my camera at home, because the scenery was spectacular.

We also did learn of a business closing today. Friends near Pottstown told us that the place that was the old tea room, and had been known in recent months are about a year or so as Tacie’s Café and Bakery had closed. It was located up on Ridge Road in Pottstown. The business was owned by soon to be former West Vincent Supervisor Clare Quinn.

We had a great time at the Kimberton Antique Show and found out that a lot of the same dealers will be at the Leesport Holiday Antiques Show in Berks County Saturday, December 7th.

We ran out of time and day so we couldn’t check out some of the other antiques stores in the area. Also on my list to check out are the Olde Knitting Mill in Spring City, and Inslee Antiques in Guthriesville.

I also want to get over to Conebella Farm on Chestnut Tree Road in Elverson. They are a fifth generation dairy farm that have over 15 varieties of cheddar and Colby-based cheeses and also sell milk yogurt and free range eggs.

I had so much fun today and part of it is because this is another one of my friends who also shares my passion for similar things as far as antiques and collectibles go.

My final note is I did feel like I was cheating on the Smithfield Barn today. And thanks to the Smiths who run the barn I actually recognize what a lot of country antiques actually are now!

Thanks for listening to my recounting of my rambling through Chester County today! If you have free time tomorrow, go check out the Kimberton Antiques Show. And definitely stop at Station Bistro in Kimberton!


ho ho ho…the hunt for vintage ornaments continues


So the vintage ornament haul continues. Yesterday at AngelFest at St. Paul’s in Exton I scored a vintage tea towel and a professional grade loaf pan…and a Santa nutcracker !!!

Yes, you know about my vintage ornament disease, but if you know me, you know it extends to nutcrackers too! Not just any nutcracker, either. I tend to go for the more traditional nutcracker, leaving the golfing and fishing and nutcrackers like that for other people.

Yesterday, when I got to AngelFest the things the church was selling directly in their cute house on the church property was pretty picked over, but upstairs where they had ornaments and holiday decor, there was this Santa nutcracker with his $5.00 price tag…he was standing in between two nutcrackers priced at $40 or there abouts (and truthfully the other nutcrackers were priced too high). So I snapped him up! He was so cute I could not believe he was still there!

And yes, then yesterday on the way to a friend’s house in Elverson, we stopped at the Smithfield Barn. I had to pick up my vintage Christmas tablecloth…and go through more vintage ornaments!

Apparently some of my friends went out yesterday looking for vintage ornaments and didn’t see enough. LOL I was not the only one buying them on Friday, but ornaments like that do not last— you should see how they fly on eBay! When someone says they’re going to be selling vintage ornaments at a barn sale or a fleamarket, go early. And be prepared to dig through ornaments. (Carefully because if you break it you buy it.)

Anyway there were MORE ornaments out at the barn when I got there…so sigh…I bought a few more.

And no, I do not need a Christmas ornament intervention, there is a method to my madness. In addition to the Christmas tree of a traditional size, I have decided I am going to have small trees in multiple rooms.

So I have been scouring church sales, garage sales, flea markets and the Smithfield Barn for small table top and even smaller sized trees. Most of what I have acquired look like the traditional feather tree. If you can find real goose feather vintage feather trees they are incredibly expensive, so I decided to seek alternatives. And I have not paid much for these trees.

Putting little trees in multiple rooms, means that I will have to be very disciplined with my other decorating or it will look like Walmart burped in my house. And that is not the look I am going for. I have no desire to have people feel like they’re dizzy when I walk in my house at Christmas time. I just want people to feel the magic.

My parents always did the more traditional silver and gold dominated Christmas tree when I was growing up, but my taste sort of evolved in a different direction. I love the look of vintage ornaments, and I also love the look of nutcrackers and folk art Santas.

How do you dress up your home for the holidays? Tell me!

And also, before I forget, the Smithfield barn is open today. You can also often find vintage ornaments at Frazer Antiques and sometimes at Resellers Consignment too. Also worth noting is a store in Ardmore, PA on Lancaster Avenue that always has fabulous vintage reproduction ornaments and unusual new ones that are quite beautiful. The store is Past*Present*Future.


love vintage ornaments ?


….. Then you will want to hit the Smithfield barn this weekend while they still have them. This is part of what I acquired today.

I also scored two vintage artificial tabletop trees, also known as feather trees. The “feathers” are artificial which puts them on the newer side of vintage, but I do not care as they are the exact dimensions I need for a Christmas Day tablescape!

I love decorating for Christmas, although you will not find me decorating now as that’s a little too American big box retailer for me.

I have been collecting vintage ornaments since before Martha Stewart made it cool. And why I like finding the ornaments at places like the Smithfield Barn is the prices are modest, and that way I can afford to have a beautiful looking house for the holidays. And I think vintage Christmas ornaments make everything more beautiful!

Anyway if you like vintage ornaments, and fun holiday decorating, you’re going to want to see what Kristin has out at the barn, the Smithfield barn in Downingtown. PA. Check out their Facebook page for hours of operation this weekend and their address.

Also tomorrow is the second day of AngelFest at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church on Route 30 in Exton!