I wiped away the weeds & foam. / I fetched my sea-born treasures home... Ralph Waldo Emerson

Tuesday, January 30, 2018


Hi everyone! I've been working on the final touches of the winter decor here at the beach. Mel, you'll be happy to hear I put the black flannel/ wool applique Pokeberry quilt on my bed! [Color me not thrilled with the way the black flannel looks in the relentless winter sun.] I did home tasks, like wash the windows, wash the curtains and throw rugs, ran the oven cleaning cycle on a day when I could open a door to vent the icky fumes. [lasagna , it always spills, doesn't it?] And I finally switched out the red/ pink Staffordshire china for the black version.

I collect many things. With the destash, declutter movements of our current world, is collecting out of favor? Probably that  won't faze me---if you look at my Pinterest profile you will see board after board, all filled with things I love and collect. Quilts, Swedish horses, furniture painted blue; white dowry textiles, 19th century christening gowns, thimbles, decoys, crocks, ships in bottles, Shaker pantry boxes, wooden spools, baskets, souvenir buildings, shells and sea glass, on and on. Obviously everything cannot be out at once, the clutter would be horrifying. Therefore I rotate. I have a lot of English Staffordshire transferware  [think Blue Willow or Pink Italian Castles] in many colors. It ranges in age from early 1800s to just-made-yesterday.

I remember buying my first bits of blue and white china, many years ago. We had just gotten married and bought our loft in Brooklyn. We took all my then-husband's art deco lamps, Japanese prints, juke boxes and my Fiestaware to the loft; we wanted an eclectic urban look, with black furniture and beautifully redone rock maple floors, oriental rugs. The beach house then had to be redone, in, I decided, all white with blue accents. Only blue because we only lived there [here] on summer weekends back then.
At that time I collected just the Fiestaware , silver snuff boxes, and delicate gold Victorian rings.The silver and jewelry were stolen from my old Brooklyn apartment so I just had the Fiestaware, the cottage rooms were bare. We found  beachy furniture in Pennsylvania and at a shop in Manhattan that had Nordic and Irish country  pine. The plate rack came home from a flea market  one October;

---the next day I went to a shop on Court Street and told the dealer/ friend I needed blue and white china to fill the new wall cupboard. He obliged with a stack of what is some of my best blue transferware. Then over the years I added pink [called red]; sepia, my fave; purple, brown, and a few polychrome or multicolored bits. I am especially fond of my small collection of black and white transferware. I enjoy getting it out, washing it gently and carefully arranging the plates on my shelf.

I mix it with blue and also with white ironstone sometimes.

I don't mind if the china is chipped or crackled or stained. In fact I prefer that.

And I especially love the reverse sides of the china. The stamps and decorations are so interesting and beautiful. [actual plates are after the back stamp pics] ~

Back of a very old Wedgwood? small plate. C. 1830-60? [The plate is stamped Wedgwood but this ink logo obviously is some other company. Perhaps Wedgwood made the blank china piece and this WS & Co is the pattern decorator and seller?  :

This is a much-copied pattern, Asiatic Pheasant . I have pieces of it in blue from T J Maxx, but this is the real thing, about 1850; a weird paste china not the usual ironstorne of most transferware.

Very old, "flow" black. The ink was made deliberately so it ran or flowed. This is beautifully decorated on the reverse.

Often too the edges or borders are interesting and beautiful,

Like a wonderful calico or chintz of the same era.

They speak to me of a long ago time.

Even if they were made just yesterday.

What do you think, collect or declutter? Which is more fun, which is ''you''?



gone to the beach...

We had a little snow this AM.

Paperwhite daffs update, yesterday, exactly two weeks from starting, first flowers have bloomed.

So cute and tiny!

Behind it is the jelly ''safe'' I often mention, a family piece, faded red paint over mystery wood. Dovetails and old white china knobs. Made by a German ancestor in Pennsylvania,  to store jams and jelly and potted fruit. C. 1840-50.

What IS transferware? here

Lovely online shop for transferware HERE