June 30, 2014

Getting All Handsy!

Over the weekend, I popped into a local thrift shop, just to see what they might have tucked away and found the most amazing little piece. It’s a milk-glass footed dish with a lid. Doesn’t sound like much, does it? But it’s the lid that makes the piece.

It’s a hand, holding a small bird, and there’s a ring on the hand with a clear claret-coloured stone, and the bird has one eye. I checked the piece, and the way it’s being held, doesn’t show another eye. Not even an indentation for one, no evidence that one was ever there.

The piece is very interesting, with the looped edge, which is in perfect condition. IMG_1195

The detail around the wrist of the hand is a band of flowers, which could either be a bracelet or the sleeve of a blouse.

Funnily, I have a couple of other pieces which are hands. The top one might be an ash tray, but that kind of makes my hand hurt.IMG_1191

These two pieces have gold-painted accents on them, delineating the joints of the fingers on one hand. I use them to stash small items like spare earrings and cuff-links.

I looked on Pinterest, which is basically my second choice after google, for images, and only found a few. imageimageimage

Many of the hands that I found were actually glove moulds. image

Like these that I saw at Fish’s Eddy in NYC.NYC 078[2]

Creepy or fun?

June 29, 2014


My dear sweet Connor is about 13 years old now, and I am not sure he’s going to be around this time next year. So when a good friend offered to have him immortalized in a painting, I jumped at the offer. The artist, Sam Robinson, about whom I have written several times, is a friend, so that made it all the nicer. He suggested we come out to his studio and he would take some pictures of Connor and get an idea of Connor’s personality.

It was hot out and Connor was panting a bit, so it actually took Sam and his sweet wife, Barbara to get enough good pictures of Connor with his mouth closed.

Barbara got the brilliant idea of distracting Connor with a squeaky toy, but all she could find was a RUBBER RAT! Clearly, he’s totally disinterested in it!

Although when she held it up and made it squeak, he started barking furiously!

The setting was just beautiful and it was such a gorgeous afternoon.

Barbara is a landscape designer, and there are some gorgeous plants, including these bottle-brush plants, which are native to the area.

After all of that hard work, we needed a drink, and Sam whipped up a batch of mint juleps. IMG_1171

Then we headed over to the studio so I could see some of Sam’s paintings, both old and new. IMG_1151IMG_1154IMG_1155

Here’s Sam looking at an early painting he made of his sister. IMG_1152

He’s converted an old house on the property into a gallery/studio, so we got to see where the magic happens.IMG_1158IMG_1159IMG_1160

As we finished up and drove out the gates,IMG_1166 and back into the city, I reflected once again on how lucky I am to have such amazing, talented and generous friends.

I can’t wait to see the sketches and the finished painting, which will be shown at an exhibition and sale at Halcyon House Antiques in the fall.

June 27, 2014

Better Blues

I was nicely chided for having bad images of the Real Old Willow on the blog, so please forgive me! I took them when I got home from the auction in very bad light. So in the clear afternoon light today, I took some more pictures, and hopefully, this will give you a much better idea of how beautiful the china actually is!

Sugar bowl and two creamers

The two creamers are actually different.

The gravy boat

Medium-size platter

This is the side view of it.

There are three sizes of plates, with 12 in each size.

The dinner plate

Tea cup and saucer


The saucer is actually quite deep.

Vegetable dish or small tureen

Details of the lid

Two of the different marks. There are several other marks, all of which are slightly different.

Buying at auction is a great way to be green. It’s also a lot of fun, especially if you can stop yourself from getting carried away.

If there’s any interest, I will organize an auction trip later in the summer. I’ve done this on an individual basis and it helps people get over their fear of bidding on some crazy item for an outrageous amount of money, just by scratching their ear!

June 26, 2014

Auction Blues

I unexpectedly went to an auction Thursday. I had received the catalogue and glanced at what was on offer, so when pal David texted to say he was going, I decided to go to.

The lots that I was interested in were at the end of the auction – starting at number 414. The auctioneer can do about 100 items an hour, so with a 5:00 start, that meant my items wouldn’t even come up until 9:00. Luckily, he was a bit quicker, and after we zipped out to grab a bite for dinner, we got back at around number 360.

Just for practice, and to see if the auctioneer was paying attention to me, I bid on a lot. When it only went for $5.00 more than I bid, he chided me to keep on going. After several no’s from me, he moved on.

Lot no. 414 soon came up, and after some fast bidding, I was the proud winner of 89 +/- pieces of Booth’s Old Willow with Gold. I’ve always loved Blue Willow and really loved this set.

There are some fun pieces in this set, like the tureen above, which I just found on-line for more than $1,000!

I love the sugar bowl and its lid and finial… The gold accents really elevate the Blue Willow pattern to something special.

Lovely small platter.

Creamer or gravy boat?

I love the cups – they have the Blue Willow pattern at the bottom!

This set has at least two different marks on the bottoms. I need to check my handy-dandy source to find what years these are.

The piece on the left is from Thomas Goode in London, which still exists. All of the china desperately needs a good scrub, so when I am doing that, I will make note of the marks.

I took a short video of the auctioneer with his distinctive sing-song auction cadence. Click here.

June 24, 2014


There’s an exhibit in London this week of the works of Emma Hack, an Australian body painter. You might know her work from the video “Somebody That I Used to Know” where the two characters in the video are painted.emma-hack-gotye

She’s quite a good painter on canvas, but when you consider that she actually paints people into her images, it’s quite amazing. Here are some of her recent works.

Peregrine Falconimage

Vreeland’s Cockatooimage

Camellia & Peacockimage

Peach Blossomimage



Emma Hack at workimageimageimage

Pretty amazing, isn’t it?

No blog post tomorrow. Huge lecture at work and then a meeting immediately afterwards. I will be lucky if I am home by midnight!