Saturday, September 5, 2009

THE IRONIES OF OLD & NEW AND EVERYTHING IN BETWEEN

I am joining our friend, the beautiful Chari from Happy To Design,for the 1st time on Sunday Favorites. After you have finished reading my post, please visit our sweet friend and see her contribution and all of the other ladies who are posting oldies but goodies!! This is my first time joining and this is one of my favorite posts. I must warn you...it is LONG!!! Longer than the normal 'Blondie Long' , but I had so many reason to love what I was writing about. I hope it makes you smile!!
I really enjoy reading blogs with pictures of sweet little daffodils poking their yellow heads through the ground in West Virginia, the blue delphiniums waving in the breeze in Texas and the azaleas blooming in all their glory down in Florida. Well, the above picture is about the only sign of spring I have here in the cold midwest. I promise this is not going to be a post where I report and complain about the weather (although the temp is 4 degrees above zero and the wind is picking up...) but rather an uplifting post about looking forward and looking back and some of the small ironies in life that make a big impact.
I love seed catalogs. I began gardening almost as soon as I had my own first home (this one). Our home was sold as a "fixer-upper" and priced accordingly, so my husband jumped on it. He is not a fixer upper type of person but he knows a good deal when he sees one! Our home was also in a nice parish, just a few short blocks from the schools and church. Anyway, if the house was a mess, the yards were a disaster. The original owner surrounded the whole perimeter of the house with maple, oak and black walnut trees. All available space inside the yards was filled with evergreen trees. Hence, the house was absolutely shrouded and actually looked haunted. Not one bit of sunlight came through and nothing could grow, not even grass. I certainly had my work cut out for me. And "cut out " is what I did. Out with all the evergreens, out with some old maple trees with roots that were lifting and cracking the sidewalk and driveway, and after a lot of preening & pruning (and a lot of new sod) I finally had the groundwork to start planting my gardens.
I'm rather a bookish person so I probably spent the whole winter planning said gardens. I thumbed through the seed catalogs, checked books out of the library and made notes. I pretty much immersed myself in this whole gardening thing until The Husband warned me that if I didn't stop showing him diagrams and reciting the Latin names of my favorite flowers, he was going to plant rows of corn in the backyard and blacktop the front!
To make a long story short, I grew my flowers, my vegetables, my vines and ivy, and of course every year you switch things out or add something new, so it's an ever changing process and I love it. And that is why I love seed and plant catalogs. I can almost feel the cool soil in my hands and the warm sun on my back. Sitting back in the evening with a tall glass of iced tea watching the sprinkler flow back and forth, splattering the flowers and making them glisten. Oh, I am in heaven. And these sweet catalogs make it seem so much closer, even if it is frigid outside now!

Hooray!!! Look at this! This is my first piece of transferware! I am so psyched!! I don't even have a china cabinet!! Hee Hee! I bought this last week from the shop I photographed in my last Pink Saturday post. (I didn't include it because it is more red than pink). I am not really a collector of anything. My brain is spread way too far out to want any more than one of anything. (Does that makes sense?) But this transferware is definitely something I could get in to! Isn't it pretty? Next...a china cabinet???


Yesterday was a thoroughly enjoyable day. It was my birthday (yeah, yeah, yeah, another year older). But I am only telling you because the irony part of my post plays in to this, which I will get to sooner or later. I treated myself to another visit to an antique shop, yeah, two in one week!! I'm still sneezing!! This shop was listed on the last page of Romantic Home magazine and I went wow, this is really close by! So off I went. I have to say that this shop had more treasures than trash, and the prices were out of sight. I was actually looking over my shoulder to see if anybody was going to attempt to snatch up something I was drooling over!! I purchased the above porcelain pitcher and saucer. I would say it is about 32 oz. and in mint condition. See the detail on the saucer below.



I paid a whopping $12.00 for this. The bottom shows a little wear and there is nothing on it as far as origin, but I don't profess to know my antiques, I just know what I like. Maybe it's from K-Mart. Behind the pitcher on my quilt rack is a round tablecloth I also bought that needs a few stitches here and there but is going to look wonderful on my table. Can you feel me smiling? :-))





And this is what I was told is a very old chamber pot. Is that what I think it is?? If so, why is it so fancy? Why the delicate handle? Am I going to use it for anything other than a receptacle for flowers or the like? Nope!!! $10.00. Need I say more? By the way, it's big, the top is probably about 16 inches in diameter.





Finally, I saw four little plates hanging on the wall. They are about 5 inches in diameter. The artwork caught my eye. It's sort of whimsical. Quirky, if you will. Like me. Upon scrutiny I discovered the artist is none other than...Norman Rockwell! Who would have thought? The same guy that illustrated the Saturday Evening Post for 500 years. The guy with the museum in Stockbridge, Massachusetts. The guy that did the pictures of the poor, frightened little kids in the doctor and dentist offices that used to hang in every doctor and dentist office I ever went to as a kid? Yep!!






These collector plates were limited editions of hand-colored private postcards that Norman sent to his friends when he traveled in Europe in 1927. You will see that when you get down to the photo of the back of one of the plates. He was 33 years old at the time.






There is one plate each from England, Germany, Rome and Paris. Since I really didn't associate this type of illustration with Norman Rockwell, I did a little research. I learned that when he traveled he liked to use watercolors and oils and went for an impressionistic and less detailed look. I so much prefer this to his later, more commercial work.









I also learned that sadly, when Norman was at the Prado Museum in Madrid, Spain in 1927, the sketchbook that he always carried when he traveled was stolen. Thirty years later he said about the sketches, "I'd done them for my own pleasure...I still almost cry when I think about it. I've never lost anything I felt so bad about".

I can't help but think that I have a little bit of Norman's sketchbook here. I feel very badly that his private work, the work he shared with his friends is gone. But I have come to know a little more about this man and I think I like him.









And the irony is, I bought these plates yesterday, February 3, 2009, my birthday. The same day that Norman Rockwell was born in 1894. Priceless.









My birthday dinner last night (minus Kevin :-( ...). I came home and hung up my Norman plates.



xoxo

Janie













51 comments:

Terrie's Lil' Piece of Serenity said...

"Happy Birthday" my friend. My birthday is going to be on Friday. I won't be buying myself any nice little treasures. I have to save my money for vacation next week. But, you have me wanting to buy transferware. You know I love to garden, too!!
Hugs, Terrie

The Quintessential Magpie said...

Janie! Happy Birthday belatedly! I wish I had known, and I would have thrown you a party!

Happy Birthday to you!

Happy Birthday to you!

Happy Birthday, Dear Blondie (Janie)!

Happy Birthday to YOU!

I love your goodies(those plates are wonderful as are the pitcher and transferware and everything you showed us... great finds!), and I'm happy that you had such a nice celebration with your family. You are a beautiful bunch!

Hope you have a whole year filled with happiness and dreams come true!

I'm so glad we met, and I look forward to blogging with you for a looooooooong time to come!

Happiest of Birthdays...

Love ya, girl!

XO,

Sheila :-)

cityfarmer said...

I lovd love love red trasnsfer.
You are sooooooo kind....here's hopin'


hugs

cityfarmer said...

p.s.HAPPY BIRTHDAY

mbkatc230 said...

Happy Birthday Janie! You found some wonderful things! The transferware is just beautiful. I have a theory about the chamber pot, it probably originally belonged to a decorating diva - that's why it's so ornate! Great post, Kathy

Liz said...

Hey gurl! If I'ld of been there we would have had a throw down for those NR plates. Those are awesome!! Love all your birthday finds.

Happy B-day!! ;)

~Liz

P.S. I have anew appreciation of seed catalogs :)

jewelstreet said...

I love seed catalogs! My only problem is I pretty much want one of everything so my garden looks a little jumbled and messy. I really need a landscaper.

Love the transferware! The pitcher and basin is beautiful. My dad bought some pitchers and basins cause I love them. They can be so ornate or so very simple.

Smilingsal said...

Happy Birthday yesterday! I love Norman Rockwell, and I think your plates are gorgeous! The chamber pot might have been matched to the lady's chosen decor. And, your red transferware is just beautiful.

Deb said...

Happy Birthday!
What wonderful treasures you found & I love the irony of you and Norman Rockwell sharing the Feb 4th birthdate :-).

Ms. Tee said...

Happy late birthday!! I'm late visiting everyone this week cause a virus has hit our house, but this post made me feel cheerful! ;)
I love everything you got, but the pitcher is my favorite - so pretty. And also the Norman Rockwell plates, because I've always been a fan of his. I never knew all that about him, either. How interesting! That is sad that he lost his journal - it might be like us losing a diary, poor thing.
The plates are so neat & so glad you got to spend your special day with your family! {{{hugs}}}

thelaundryisneverfinished said...

Oh, the seed catalogs! The found treasures! The Birthday! Wow...your posts always make me happy. :) I need to collect some seed catalogs of my own so I can envision some color out there!
Happy Late Birthday!!
Jen

Pug1 said...

Hi I'm Michele, I saw a post you left on Miss Janices blog, it caught my eye because you mentioned Chicago style pizza....so I had to check you out! I'm on the southside too!!!!!!
CHEERS! Michele

Bo said...

Hi Janie...you made a great haul on your birthday...watch out, that gorgeous piece of transferware can start you craving more & more...it always starts with just a piece...LOL...Happy Birthday!
;-) Bo

Kathleen Ellis said...

HAPPY BIRTHDAY!
Great finds! I love that transferware piece...pretty!!!
;-D

PatQ said...

I love that transferware. I don't have any either. Perhaps I should go shopping?? Happy Birthday.

Lavender Dreamer said...

Happy Birthday! Love your blog and happy celebration! The plates are amazing! WOW!

The English Cottage Collection said...

Happy Birthday my cyber friend. Ok, there is no turning back after making your first purchase of transferware!! Hang on! YOu can never have too much...LOL! Your post was delightful and better yet the family picture of your birthday dinner, sooooo cute! I'm a midwesterner so the memories of the seed catalogs made to smile....I can soooo relate!
Cheers Debra
P.s. thank you for the warm welcome back comment xxoo

beth at aunties said...

Happy Birthday! I hope you enjoyed your celebration with your family. They are the best!
We won't be with our son tomorrow on his but his new bride was able to fly from Montana to VA to be with him! YES! They haven't seen each other since the first of Jan. when he had to head back to school. We wouldn't wan to interupt the honeymoon kids anyway:)
Seen catalogs are a favorite reading material at our house also!
I enjoyed all your pretty plates.

Thanks for sharing and enjoy an awesome weekend!
♥♥♥

JudyBug said...

Love all your pics! What neat treasures you have. Happy Belated Birthday to you!

Thank you for your sweet comments on my blog!

Kathleen Grace said...

Happy Birthday! Although a little late, but the good wishes are still there:>) I LOVE the transferware piece you found and the white ironstone pitcher and chamber pot too!

DESIGN BY CATHLEEN said...

HaPpY BirTHdaY sounds like you had a great day,

xoxo,
Cathleen

Lori E said...

Seed catalogs are like catnip to me. I always order too much and never get it all planted.
Very coincidental the whole birthday thing. I like stuff like that. Makes me go hmmmm.

Diann @ The Thrifty Groove said...

Oh, I so agree with the love of seed catalogs! Fortunately my hubby is just as bad so, we spend many cold snowny days wrapped up in a quilt and pouring over different seed catalogs.

Sue said...

Janie, Isn't it just a little special to know that you share something in common with someone you admire. Mr. S. has your birth date, so now I cannot forget you! And what a prize you found in those very unique plates. I have never heard of this edition of his.

I am not a gardener by any means. I deal with guys that help me control my weeds and my pests, and that is about it. LOL I DO plant a few pots, though! So I really admire the talents of those who have the knack and the green thumb to grow bushes and flowers and I can understand the fascination with the seed catalogs and the gardening magazines that can let you dream of the beauty that can be created and enjoyed by many.

:-) Sue

Marsha said...

Hi Blondie,

I love going through junk shops. Did it just yesterday. You never know what you will find.

Also, enjoyed your post below of your summer house. It looks like such a tranquil place to relax and enjoy life. We would love to have a lake house like that. Maybe someday. Happy Labor Day to you!

The Summer Kitchen Girls said...

Happy, Happy Birthday! Love this post...this Norman Rockwell story is so facinating - love those plates - we prefer them over the later work too...how fun - love that "when in Rome..." one - too cute! As far as collecting - we're with you...sometimes we have no idea or reason why we collect - actually we laugh when people ask "what to you colect" - we never know what to answer! Have a lovely post birthday week!

KarenHarveyCox said...

Happy Birthday. I hope you had a beautiful one. I love all of your beautiful things, and I love to collect china.

May all your Birthday wishes come true.

Karen

Lynn@ The Vintage Nest said...

Happy Happy Birthday Blondie. Had I been there I would loved to have gone with you to the antique shop and then treated you to a birthday surprise. xo Lynn

Cathy said...

Happy Birthday!!! Mine is coming up soon!!! I love birthday time!!!

All of your goodies are wonderful...the transferware is gorgeous...I may need to start collecting it;)!!!

Have a wonderful holiday weekend!!!
XOXO
Cathy

cityfarmer said...

YOU ALWAYS LEAVE ME THE SWEETEST COMMENTS ...I THINK SINCE WE LIVE CLOSE .....we should arrange to meet....yeh????

GIVEAWAY OVER AT CITYFARMER ... POP ON OVER!
thanks for entering♥♥♥

Cindy (Applestone Cottage) said...

Hi Janie,
I realized your b-day is back when you first posted this. I love the treasures you found, way pretty! We're only 2 hours from Galena. Now that would be a good meeting place some time, so much to do! So much to shop for! hehe! Have a great Labor day too. Hugs, Cindy

Creations from my heart said...

Happy Birthday! Thanks for visiting on Pink Saturday and all your sweet comments about pincushions. Have a wonderful holiday weekend. Blessings...Sherry

bj said...

Hi, sweet Blondie..
I just loved this post. I'm so glad you reposted it...
xo bj

SmilingSally said...

♪ Happy Birthday to you
Happy Birthday to you ♪
♩ Happy Birthday Dear Janie, ♫
♬ Happy Birthday to you!

I love, love, love Norman Rockwell and have one collector's plate. What a collection of treasures you have!

Florida Sue said...

Great repost. I once went ape with seed catalogs on our old farm. Only about half of the stuff germinated and another quarter expired. I set the seedlings out too soon in the cold ground, impatient woman that I am. I think I figured out that your birthday is actually in February. Anyway, this is very lovely transfer ware, and a chamber pot worth bending for.

XOSUE

xinex said...

What a beautiful post, I am glad you reposted it Janie. AJ and I just got back from Michigan. The weather was beautiful and of course, our team won. The vodka in the Russian decanters remain untouched,, LOL! No one would dare!...Christine

Penny @ The Comforts of Home/Lavender Hill Studio said...

Happy Belated Birthday! I know you had a wonderful time.

Your goodies are all wonderful!
Penny

KarenHarveyCox said...

Hi again, just stopped back to say your package is on it's way. I waited until I got my order from the printer. I packaged up a few orders and some things I sent to friends and my sister in North Carolina.

So, besides "Blondie's Inspiration" note cards, I put some new note cards in there. You are the first to have a set. I still have to photograph them for etsy, and I am going to try to create a fun video about them. So many ways to create in the Land of Blog.

Have a lovely Monday.

Karen

C'est Moi, Julie Marie said...

Hello Janie, everything is wonderful! I love your piece of transferware! You certainly do know how to go treasure hunting!... Bisous... Julie Marie

Jane said...

Hi Janie!
So glad to meet you and find your post. It's delightful! The transfer ware platter is so lovely...what a wonderful find. And I love the Rockwell plates. Thanks for sharing the story, too.

Thank you for stopping by my blog. So glad you liked my paintings. I am reorganizing for the fall and will eventually post the items I am using for the season...still tropical.
Hope to see you again,
Jane (Artfully Graced)

Rita said...

I have been collecting the red transfer-ware for a long time and love your new bowl. It is quite a nice fine. Items like that are very rare these days.

Enjoyed this post very much.

Thank you for the visit my way as well. Your comment was much appreciated.

Lorrie said...

Jane enjoy your Norman Rockwell plates. I am a big fan! Used to live in upstate NY not far from his town of Stockbridge, Mass. I've loved visiting the museum there and seeing all of his wonderful paintings.

June said...

Happy birthday Blondie! I loved the oldie. I feel the same way about gardening...fingers in the dirt, sun on my back...I loved reading about how you acquired your house and what you had to start with. What a big job to undertake, but worth it I know. Those flowers you asked about in my blue bucket are 'David' Phlox. Funny when you talked about speaking Latin to your husband.
The treasures you found are so cool. Way to shop, girl.
Hugs,
June

Chari said...

Hello Jane...

I'm so sorry for being so late at getting over...it's been a busy holiday weekend for us, my friend! I'm so glad that you joined in with the fun of Sunday Favorites...welcome!!! Sure hope that you'll join us again! I just loved your post...really enjoyed seeing all of your treasure finds! My friend, I just adore the beautiful red & white transferware bowl!

I sure did enjoy seeing those fabulous Norman Rockwell plates...what a treasure find! Loved reading some of Rockwell's history too...so interesting!!! I have always liked Rockwell's work...it's certainly a piece of Americana history!!!

Well my friend, thank you so much for joining in with Sunday Favorites...great post!!!

Warmest wishes,
Chari

Blushing hostess said...

I am a seed catalog girl too, and these are lovely pieces.

Terrie's Lil' Piece of Serenity said...

Hey, I was the first one to post a comment on this last Feb. I still love your beautiful transferware. it was very interesting to read about your yard renovations again.

Yes, as far as the walking trail. You adopt a section and maintain it. It works out really well. But, you have to remember we are a town of about 1500 people. So, I am not sure how it would work out in a big city. Something to consider though.
Hugs, Terrie

xinex said...

Hmm, don't know what happened to my comment, Janie, it disappeared before I even finished typing so I'm going to retype again. We enjoyed the beautiful Michigan weather last weekend. I don't like football either and no matter how much John explains, I cannot understand it, must be due to my lack of interst. And yes, John graduated from U of M with 3 courses, BS. Chem, BS Animal Behavior and Medicine. Tina lives about an hr. away from Naples. How nice that you have another place to visit. And don't forget, our home is waiting for you too. Abby will be fine, I am sure of that! For the meantime, enjoy your freedom! I like your ugly roosters so pick my name, LOL!...Christine

Rebecca said...

Happy Birthday!
Loved the post about gardening, I used to put in a huge garden and then can it all when the kids were Little. We had a hobby farm north of the twin cities. There is something theraputic about digging in the dirt and watching it grow.
Blessings
Rebecca

Chari said...

Hi Janie...

Girl, I just read your sweet notes that you left for me on my new autumn dishes post...so happy to have you come by for a visit! I always enjoy reading your notes!!! Hehe...yes, Cindy and I are facebooking! Guess neither one of us can get enough of this computer!!! Actually I got a facebook acct. so I could visit with my three daughters who all live in Texas...it's a great way to keep up on a daily basis! Do you facebook?

Well my friend, have a great day!!!
Warmest wishes,
Chari

Maggie B said...

Dear Blondie or may I call you Janie?
Bonne Anniversaire, Madame!
I loved reading this post, I know just how you feel when you read a gardening catalogue, the possibilities for "next year" are always endless.
I have one or two very pretty chamber pots around the old place, but just for decoration, of course!!
Many years ago we visited the NR Museum and I have a print of "Main Street" which shows his studio. Your plates are wonderful, a real collectors item.
Love & best wishes on your Birthday.
Maggie & Normandy Life

Janie's World said...

Happy Birthday!!! Love your birthday goodies and am happy you got to spend your big day with your family!