German Eglantine Biscuit Jar

There are a few weeks left in the year, to share two or three more stories behind vintage items I own. I rescued the German Eglantine Biscuit Jar. Greg’s grandparents had stopped using it and tucked it away in their storage shed. I had no idea what it was, I just thought it was uniquely pretty. As a newlywed, I displayed the jar for a while and then I too quit using it and stored it away.

After many moves and the passage of years, I recently uncovered the biscuit jar again. Thanks to Google, I now have the ability to learn more about this vintage treasure.

German Eglantine Biscuit Jar

Eglantine Biscuit Jar

The mark on the bottom of the jar has a crown over a stylized O and H, with the words “Germany” and “Eglantine” printed beneath.

Eglantine is a type of rose. This piece has dainty roses painted around the jar, and the handles and top of the lid are made from porcelain roses. The glaze finish is clear and gold details adorn the edges.

When Americans hear the word biscuits we imagine small fluffy rounds of bread, dripping with butter or smothered in gravy. However, in Europe a biscuit is what we’d call a cookie. This small exquisite beauty is a cookie jar!

German Eglantine Biscuit Jar

German Porcelain

The Eglantine Biscuit Jar is German in origin. The mark with the fancy O and H indicates Hermann Ohme manufactured it between 1920 and 1930.

The factory was located in the town of Nieder-Salzbrunn (today Sczawienko). Ohme mainly produced full dinner sets and accessories which were available in two types of finishes. Clear Glaze and Old Ivory wares were both made from the same quality of porcelain but the Old Ivory type received an additional light ivory colored matte glaze. The Clear Glaze, decorated with a wide variety of floral and geometric patterns, was produced for the European and US market.

In 1913 Hermann Ohme, E.M. Bauer and Hermann Ohme Jr owned the company. Together they increased production for the export market, which proved to be a fatal decision. While pushing those exports, they missed the beginning signs that indicated a financial crises was coming. When the bottom dropped out of the export business, shortly after the collapse of the stock market in October 1929, a world wide economic collapse began. The company filed for bankruptcy in 1930.

German Eglantine Biscuit Jar

German Ancestry

The significance of the biscuit jar, with its origins, is that Bill and Ruby Kygar Moore both had German ancestry. The Siegfrieds and the Kygars, whether they shared connections in Germany or not, definitely tracked together in America. Greg continues to research his family roots through Bill Moore’s mother was a Siegfried. And Ruby’s father, a Kygar. Several items passed down to us came through those family lines.

I am honored to be the keeper of the German porcelain pieces that include a Hertwig china doll, the biscuit jar and a Bavarian china bread tray, seen in the picture. Traditional cookies aren’t part of my diet any longer. However, I have several healthy, plant based cookie recipes. Perhaps that biscuit jar will enjoy a new life, holding a different kind of treat.

Tonight, the jar cradles a tea light candle. I’m on Pinterest though, searching for healthy versions of traditional German cookies. How fun will baking those be?

German Eglantine Biscuit Jar

Grandpa Bill’s Shaving Mug

Grandpa Bill’s shaving mug came to me 30 plus years ago, when my mom and stepdad downsized and moved to Arizona for a time. The vintage piece belonged to her father and I felt honored to become its keeper.

Although I displayed the shaving mug for a few years, fear of it getting broken caused me to pack it away, out of sight. And out of sight eventually does become out of mind. I forgot about my grandfather’s mug and lather brush until a few days ago.

In recent years I’ve brought keepsakes and treasures out of storage, incorporating them into my décor. It’s time again to display this vintage item.

Grandpa Bills Shaving Mug

Shaving Mug History

It was common for men to have shaving mugs and lather brushes, between 1880 and the 1920s. They either kept a mug and brush at home, or the barber they frequented kept a personalized set on hand for them.

Those purchased for home use were usually bought through local stores or the Sears catalog. The home mugs had more variety in shape and size but typically went un-personalized.

Many shaving soap manufacturers gave free, inexpensive mugs to customers as a sales promotion, hoping the customer would continue to purchase their shaving soap. Probably the most famous example of this is the Old Spice “sailing ship” mug.

The soap was dropped into the mug and a wet brush used to create a rich lather for shaving. Lather was applied to the face with the same brush. A razor blade whisked off lather and whiskers.

Barbers used personalized mugs for clients, believing the practice prevented shaving rash. In reality the rash wasn’t caused by sharing soap. It was caused by unsterilized razors.

Read more about the history of shaving.

Grandpa Bills Shaving MugStock photo of vintage razors

Grandpa Bill’s Shaving Mug

My mother remembers watching her father use his mug and brush. As a wee girl, she found the process of shaving fascinating. Grandpa Bill used a long bladed razor to carefully remove the shaving lather and his whiskers.

My grandfather was killed in an accident when my mother was only four years old. Memories of him are few, and all the more precious because of their rarity.

Since he passed away in 1944, the mug and brush now in my possession are at least 74 years old, and possibly older. Mom knows nothing about where her dad acquired his shaving set or how long he had it. Perhaps because of her fond memories, the mug and brush passed to her as a young adult.

Grandpa Bills Shaving MugA clean shaven Bill Gregory with his wife Mildred and baby daughter, Patty…who is my mother.

A Keepsake Uncovered

I’m grateful that Mom passed the shaving mug on to me. Although I never had the privilege of meeting my maternal grandfather, I have felt a close connection to him all of my life. He has been my guardian angel, a presence in Spirit who has watched over me and comforted me. I call him Papaw Bill.

I’m even more thankful that when I suddenly remembered the mug and brush, I knew exactly where I had stored them for safekeeping. Holding the simple mug and the brush with the chipped paint, I can imagine Papaw Bill holding them as well. The mug hums with the long ago energy of a kind and thoughtful man who loved his family and cared for them. Closing my eyes, I can almost catch a whiff of the clean, soapy scent of shaving lather.

The shaving mug and brush are on display in my bedroom tonight. They seem right at home on a bedside table, resting among vintage Christmas pieces. I’ll light a candle before going to bed, next to the mug, in honor of my grandfather. I’m thinking of William Gregory…Billy to his wife and friends, Daddy to three children, Papaw Bill to me.

Grandpa Bills Shaving Mug

From Popcorn to Treats: Mimi’s Vintage Bowl

On this Halloween night, the air is chilly and a steady rain is falling. It’s not likely that many trick or treaters will come calling tonight. However, I’m ready. The porch light is on. Candles are lit on the front deck as well, welcoming beacons in the twilight.

Indoors, candles continue the cheery warmth throughout the house, a cozy barrier against the darkness and the chill. And on the entryway table rests Mimi Leta’s vintage aluminum bowl, filled with packets of fruit snacks.

From Popcorn to Treats: Mimi Leta’s Vintage Bowl

A Bowl for Popcorn

I quickly learned two things about Leta Moore, the kindhearted, generous woman who would become my mother-in-law: she enjoyed cups of hot tea, and she adored a bowl of popcorn in the evenings.

Greg’s dad, Bob, popped corn over a burner on the stove. He added kernels and a bit of oil to a rectangular metal box with a very long handle. A wire mesh cover kept the popcorn in place, which was crucial. As the oil in the pan heated up, Bob shook that container vigorously, until every kernel popped.

While Bob popped the corn, Leta melted a small amount of butter in a pan on the stove. The fluffy popcorn was transferred into the aluminum bowl with the floral border, drenched in butter and sprinkled with salt. It’s the only bowl I ever saw Leta use for her special treat. She shared the popcorn, of course! I always smiled, however, over her obvious enjoyment of this simple snack.

From Popcorn to Treats: Mimi Leta’s Vintage Bowl

Vintage Aluminum Salad Bowl Set

After both of Greg’s parents passed away, I found the old bowl in a cabinet in the kitchen. Memories stirred as I held the container. Researching the keepsake tonight, I learned the big bowl was actually part of a set. Manufactured in the 1950s, the aluminum set included a large bowl with the stamped floral border, and four smaller salad bowls.

Greg vaguely remembers the smaller bowls, but we did not find them in the house as we packed up items. The larger decorative bowl came home with me. Although I don’t pop my own corn, and only occasionally eat a healthy non-GMO brand of popcorn, I have precious memories of Leta associated with this simple item.

And, the old bowl is the perfect size for holding Halloween treats.

From Popcorn to Treats: Mimi Leta’s Vintage Bowl

From Popcorn to Treats: Mimi Leta’s Vintage Bowl

From Popcorn to Treats: Mimi Leta’s Vintage Bowl

Be Happy

As I predicted, the cool, rainy weather kept most of the children indoors or influenced their parents to take them to indoor venues, such as the mall, for treats. That’s okay. I’m enjoying hot tea and cozy candlelight, and I have a new book to crack open and read.

A few trick or treaters have braved the elements and knocked on the door. I’ve seen Spider-Man tonight, and a princess, monsters and two young ladies wearing long gorgeous dresses and lavish makeup. It’s fun to step outside, with the vintage bowl full of treats, and speak to the kids.

One young girl, about five years old, surprised me. She’s my neighbor actually, and this child already understands that life is magical and that it’s okay to be who she is. She dances in the rain and plays with my cats and always calls out a friendly greeting when she sees me outside.

As I offered her a treat, she sang a little song. And then she reached into her bucket of goodies and handed me a Jolly Rancher lollipop. “For you,” she said. “You are giving me a treat?” I asked. “Yes,” she answered, with a big smile. “I just want you to be happy.”

I’m still smiling over her sweet generosity. Mimi Leta would have loved this girl. I’m never going to eat that lollipop. It will serve as a reminder that there are amazing people in the world. And one of them happens to be five years old, and living next door. I am happy.

From Popcorn to Treats: Mimi Leta’s Vintage Bowl

Fore! A Vintage Golf Story

Tonight’s post began as a story about a miniature golf club that Greg’s grandfather, Bill Moore, whittled when he was a young man. The story grew as the research expanded to include Grandpa Moore’s greenskeeper card and an early 1900s hickory golf club with a metal head.

I love when a story takes off!

Fore! A Vintage Golf Story

A Tiny Golf Club

Bill Moore enjoyed a long association with golf. He played the sport, becoming a golfer sometime in his late teens or early twenties. And he spent years working as a greenskeeper in the Wichita, Kansas area.

As a young man, with a wife and growing family, Grandpa Bill worked as a golf course superintendent, hired by the Wichita Board of Commissioners. He oversaw several of the golf courses in the area, responsible for the greens, grounds and landscaping, designing greens, and monitoring the health and environment of the golf courses. He held this position from 1923 to the early 1940s.

Grandpa whittled the miniature golf club in June, 1920, when he was 22 years old. His interest in golf predated, and perhaps led to, his job as a greenskeeper. Late in his life, this sweet man with the dry sense of humor, gave the tiny golf club to his son Bob, who mounted the keepsake and added the little number 9 pin to it. He in turn passed the vintage club on to his son, Greg. I marvel at the exquisite detail of this whittled piece of art and I’m grateful for the info written on the frame backing.

Fore! A Vintage Golf Story

Fore! A Vintage Golf Story

Fore! A Vintage Golf Story

Meadow Lark Golf Club

Discussing the whittled club with Greg led to digging out Bill Moore’s official greenskeeper card, issued to him in 1927. The National Association of Greenskeepers of America was founded September 13, 1926 and Bill was a charter member of the organization.

The Meadow Lark Golf Course, one of the courses that Bill Moore cared for, was renamed the LW Clapp Golf Course in 1956. The 18 hole public course still exists today and is in use. Grandpa Bill carried guest cards that he could give out, that entitled the card bearer to privileges at Meadow Lark.

Fore! A Vintage Golf Story

Vintage Spaulding Golf Club

Ultimately, digging into the story of the little whittled golf club led me to a vintage Spaulding club that also belonged to Grandpa Bill. This old club has a hickory shaft and a narrow, metal head.

Engraved on the back of the club head is a wealth of information. I know from the words there that this is a Kro-Flite custom made club endorsed by the Professional Golfers Association. Researching online, Greg and I discovered the history of the Spaulding Sport Company that manufactured these sweet spot clubs in the early 1900s.

I enjoyed the trek into history tonight, launched by a tiny replica of a larger wooden golf club. Even more, holding the framed art and the vintage golf club resulted in reminiscing about Greg’s grandfather. We had fun piecing this story together. Several times we wished we could ask Grandpa Bill questions. Instead we relied on information online and Greg’s detailed genealogy notes.

How amazing it would be, to have an old photo of Bill Moore on the golf course, taking a swing with one of his wooden clubs. I don’t possess such a photograph. I can imagine the scene though.

Dressed in knickers, with a jaunty cap on his head, a young Bill eyes the fairway, calculating the distance to the pin and the lay of the land. He executes a perfect swing, hitting the ball solidly. No need for him to yell out “Fore!” The ball lands with a soft thump, on the edge of the green, a green that Bill Moore helped to design and now cares for. He chuckles as he strolls down the fairway.

Well done, Grandpa Bill…well done.

Fore! A Vintage Golf Story

You’re Going to Need This Juicer, Honey

As I used my vintage juicer this morning, to create lemon water, a warm fuzzy feeling overcame me. This simple gadget that was commonly found in kitchens in the mid 1900s, is more of a novelty now. There are more modern versions of juicers available.

I love my juicer, however, and I enjoy the homey practice of twisting half a lemon, lime or orange on it, to extract fresh juice. As I considered the source of the warm feeling, I thought of my Aunt Annie, who passed away in March of 2015. This was her juicer.

You’re Going to Need This Juicer Honey

Clear Depression Glass Juicer

I researched vintage glass juicers and quickly located exact matches to the one I own.

Depression glass is clear or colored translucent machine made glassware that was distributed free, or at low cost, in the US and Canada around the time of the Great Depression, which lasted from 1929 until 1939. Much depression glass is actually uranium glass. The Quaker Oats Company, and other food manufacturers and distributors, put a piece of glassware in boxes of food, as an incentive to purchase.

During its years of production more than 20 manufacturers created 100 plus patterns, with entire dinner sets available in some patterns. Common colors were clear, or crystal, pink, pale blue, green, and amber. Less common colors included canary yellow, ultramarine, opaque pale green, opaque pale blue, cobalt blue, ruby red, black, amethyst, monax, and white milk glass.

You’re Going to Need This Juicer Honey

Taking Home a Juicer

Five months after my aunt passed away, my mother, sisters and I met two of my cousins at Aunt Annie’s house. We sorted through memories and items. My cousins graciously allowed us to select keepsakes to take home.

In the basement we opened cardboard boxes and examined items that Aunt Annie had collected over a lifetime. We all chatted and told stories about pieces we recognized. And some items we wondered about. How we wanted to ask my aunt questions.

I was drawn to the juicer as soon as I saw it. I like vintage kitchen gadgets and this one was in perfect condition without chips or cracks. I couldn’t remember ever seeing my aunt use it, but she surely did. I tucked the juicer into my “take home” box, pleased with the find.

You’re Going to Need This Juicer Honey

You’re Going to Need This

This morning, as I made lemon water and thought about my aunt, an image came to mind. I could imagine Annie there with all of us, in spirit, in the basement. She stood among her family, peering into boxes and remembering with us as we pulled items from long sealed cartons. I could hear her soft voice with its southern drawl, exclaiming over old treasures. She smiled as we told stories and added to them, even though we could not consciously hear her.

When I picked up the old glass juicer, I now wonder if my sweet aunt whispered into my ear, “You’re going to need this juicer, honey. Take it home.” In 2015 I had not yet taken charge of my health. That shift would not occur for another 11 months. We operate in linear time. Spirit does not.

Is it possible that my aunt knew that a time was coming when I would not only cherish this juicer but use it every day? Could she have foreseen how important creating fresh juice would become to me, months before I switched to a plant based lifestyle? I like to think so!

This little depression glass juicer, that perhaps came to my aunt via a box of oats, helps me maintain my good health. I am grateful that in the flow of life, that sometimes operates outside the flow of time, what I need comes to me at the perfect moment.

And that warm fuzzy feeling I experienced this morning? Maybe that was Aunt Annie, giving me a hug.

You’re Going to Need This Juicer Honey

This Old Lamp of Mine

With the vintage family pieces that I own, such as the old lamp that rests on my bedside table, perfection is not required. It’s okay if the item has a missing part, or proudly bears scratches and dents, or doesn’t work properly anymore. I embrace the Japanese philosophy of wabi sabi…beauty in imperfection.

The vintage double globed table lamp came to me after Greg’s mother passed away in 1999. Bob Moore gave me two such lamps, actually, with the larger one being a fancier parlor style version. From my research, these lamps was produced in the 1940s and 50s.

Sadly, the bigger parlor lamp was destroyed as a result of the 2011 tornado that struck Joplin. Debris crashed through a window and shattered the lamp. I was heartsick about the loss. As a protective measure, I moved the smaller, more plain lamp away from windows. It has served as my bedside lamp since.

This Old Lamp of Mine

Imperfect Lamp

The double globe lamps have a three way switch. One click and the lower globe lights up. Two clicks and the upper globe shines. Three clicks and both globes turn on, illuminating the area. However, for as long as I have owned this lamp, the lower globe has not worked. It perhaps hasn’t lit up for many years. That’s one of those questions I never thought to ask of the Moores, along with requesting to hear the story of the lamp’s purchase.

Greg took the lamp apart several years ago and tested connections and added new bulbs, to no avail. I didn’t mind. I still use the lamp every evening. As darkness gathers in my room, I switch on this keepsake, the upper globe providing plenty of cozy light. Before sleep, the last thing I do before snuggling beneath the covers is to reach over and click off the old lamp.

This Old Lamp of Mine

A Light in the Darkness

Last night was no different. Except…lying in the darkness, feeling a strange restlessness, I crawled back out of bed and left the room. I exited a dark room, knowing my house well enough to wander around without benefit of lighting.

Therefore I was startled when I returned to my dimly lit room. To my great wonderment the lower globe of my old lamp was lit, guiding my way back. I sat on the edge of the bed and smiled, staring at it. Because it’s never worked, since I owned it, I apparently turned the switch one too many times without realizing it. The circuit was open. And now…for some reason…energy flowed to the bulb.

This Old Lamp of Mine

Perfect Lamp

I sat for a long time, watching the lamp. The light remained steady. I clicked the switch. The upper globe lit, as it always does. And then both globes shone softly when I clicked a third time. Remarkable. The lamp joins a short list of items that I own that have miraculously “repaired” themselves, without human intervention, after not working for ages.

In my magical life, nothing happens by coincidence or accident. So the question became, as I sat quietly thinking, “Why is this lamp working now? What’s the deeper meaning for me?”

I’ve had distinct themes going on this week: don’t give up on my dreams, and connected to that, don’t be afraid. I was reminded a couple of days ago that I had overcome a lifelong fear of the dark. The significance of this light, glowing in the darkness, was not lost on me.

This Old Lamp of Mine

Be the Light

The renewal of this lamp, which continues to work perfectly today, does more than cast a glow into the room. It’s light reaches my soul. I feel seen, and heard, and understood, by the Divine. El-le (my name for God) hears my deepest thoughts and knows me at a level that no one else can. We have daily, ongoing conversations that often defy logic or tradition, and signs and wonders are part of that conversation.

Spirit is energy. And energy, or Spirit, found a way to flow again through the circuits of this old lamp, lighting the darkness, drawing me to it. My doubts and fears from past this week? They burned away in the soft glow of the miraculous light. I am reminded, yet again, that the universe is bigger and more mysterious and infinitely more glorious than the small stories I sometimes allow myself to get caught up in. And I am reminded to be light, in whatever darkness I find myself in.

There are other connections that I made. Light is symbolic of many things to me. Freedom from fear of the dark, hard won. My heart is whole and full of light. I’m still creating comparisons and analogies from last night’s experience.

Before clicking off the lamp again, I felt the invitation, more than heard the words: Open to Spirit, let energy flow to you and through you and beyond. Be light. Be Cindy, Going Beyond.

Beyond what? Well, that will be the fun part, discovering what’s next on this amazing journey.

This Old Lamp of Mine

Leta’s Curls

Greg’s dear mother, Leta Mae Davidson Moore, passed away in 1999. She was a generous, loving, kind hearted woman who never lost her child like sense of wonder for the world. When I married her son, I became the daughter she had always longed for, and we spent many happy hours together over the years, talking, shopping and simply spending time together. She loved being Mimi to her three grandchildren and my kids carry precious memories of her.

A few years after her death, Greg’s dad allowed me to bring home a set of old curling irons that belonged to Leta when she was a girl. Even though her hair appeared to easily arrange itself into natural curls, Leta must have used these irons often. She kept them into adulthood and although she stopped using them on her hair, she had the irons mounted on a bright pink backing board and framed. I am honored to be the keeper of these vintage curling irons.

Leta’s Curls

Vintage Curls

Curling irons have been used for thousands of years, and not just by women. In Babylonia, Greece, and Egypt men used heated irons to curl their hair and beards. And women have depended on irons to keep up with fashion’s demand for curls for just as long.

In 1866 Hiram Maxim obtained the first patent for a curling iron. These tongs were heated in a fire or atop a stove and hair was wrapped around them, creating curls. By 1890 French inventors Maurice Lentheric and Marcel Grateau used hot-air drying and heated curling tongs to make deep, long-lasting Marcel waves.

Leta’s Curls

Leta’s Curls

Born in 1922, Leta was the youngest of four children and the only daughter in her family. I’m not sure when the curling irons were purchased, however I know Leta used them as a child and teenager. I can imagine her mother heating the irons on the stove and then carefully creating curls in her young daughter’s light brown hair.

From my research I’ve learned one had to be very careful indeed using these old curling irons. Unlike today’s electric curling irons, there was no way to regulate the temperature. The metal irons could become hot enough to scorch the hair, or worse, burn the hair badly enough that it broke off from the scalp. Leta’s mother must have taught her girl how to heat the irons to just the right temperature and how to test the warmth.

Leta’s Curls

Leta’s Curls

Leta’s Curls

Photos of Leta Mae throughout her childhood and youth reveal her beauty and graceful poise, and also her carefully coiffed hair. She apparently mastered the feminine art of styling her hair.

By the time I knew this wonderful woman, she visited a salon weekly, and allowed her favorite stylist to cut and curl her hair. Leta was the only adult female I ever knew who depended on another to wash and style her hair for her. She had the charming custom, however, of adding small pink spongy curlers just around her hairline every night, before bed. To hold those curlers securely in place, she wrapped strips of toilet paper around her head.

My children still giggle over the memory of Mimi Leta in her robe, with her bedtime curlers and toilet paper wrapped head.

Leta’s Curls

Leta’s Curls

Keeper of the Curling Irons

I am happy to have Leta’s curling irons. I stood many times with my mother-in-law, in her bedroom, looking at her childhood keepsakes hanging on the wall. She spoke fondly of them and the long ago days when they were used.

I wish I had asked her more questions about them. Or that I had sat on the bed or the carpeted floor and asked her to tell me stories of her childhood. I heard a few. But now, with her gone almost 20 years, I’d love to hear more, know more.

I think of Leta every time I look at these vintage irons, and I miss her. I hope she knows how precious they are to me. My own daughters have a bit more wave to their hair than I do, and they have certainly spent time before a mirror, coaxing their long hair into curls. Someday I will pass Leta’s curling irons on to her granddaughters, perhaps breaking the set apart and giving one to each girl! I think Mimi Leta will smile about that, and reach up to pat her shining curls into place.

Leta’s Curls

Old Handkerchiefs

Tonight’s vintage story, about a collection of old handkerchiefs that has come into my possession, celebrates the people they once belonged to. It also reveals the evolution of this almost obsolete item.

Old Handkerchiefs

I am fond of old linens, from pillowcases and embroidered dish towels, to tablecloths and crocheted doilies. I appreciate the practical functions they provided in the past and how they can still serve me beautifully today. Vintage linens are often featured in my vignettes as a backdrop for a grouping of items.

Handkerchiefs are a bit different, in that they have fallen out of use with the invention of paper tissues. Today I rarely see a handkerchief in use except as a neatly folded accessory in a suit pocket.

Old Handkerchiefs

The old hankies that I cherish belonged to dear women in my family. Some were once carried by Leta Moore, or slipped into her purse. She was fond of the Estée Lauder perfume Youth Dew. That scent clings faintly to her delicate hankies.

Others in my collection belonged to my grandmother Mildred and my great-grandmother Cynthia. I am named after both of these amazing women so it gives me joy to have these little scraps of silk or cotton, knowing they tucked them into a blouse pocket or up a sleeve.

Grandma Mildred favored rose water and I can imagine that subtle fragrance when I press a handkerchief to my nose and inhale deeply.

Old Handkerchiefs

Curious about how these squares of fabric came into use, I researched handkerchiefs.

I discovered that handkerchiefs date back to the 10th century. They show up in many different cultures, serving as head coverings for the Chinese and French, appearing in Turkish literature, and in Anatolia they were used to wrap packages. The British changed the name from kerchief to handkerchief after they began to carry the cloths in their hands. Later men tucked handkerchiefs into their hats and women slipped them into their cleavage.

The handkerchief has long been associated with lovers. A woman sent her handkerchief to her lover to suggest a meeting or as a token of her affection, or waved it to say “I am available.” If a woman dropped her handkerchief purposefully in front of a man it meant “I love you.” If her gentlemen picked it up and put it in his pocket it signified “I love you too.”

Old Handkerchiefs

Handkerchiefs were used for other purposes as well. Knotted in one corner they secured coins or a trinket that the owner did not want to lose. Dampened with water they scrubbed a child’s face or soothed a fevered brow. Handkerchiefs blotted perspiration from a face or wiped away a tear trailing down a cheek. They could be opened to serve as a makeshift tablecloth for a picnic lunch and a white handkerchief waved symbolized surrender.

Eventually handkerchiefs primarily became a cloth to wipe the nose on…and the delicate cloths shifted to sturdier practical squares suitable for sneezing into! As tissues gained in use, handkerchiefs ended up folded away in drawers, forgotten.

I prefer to hold onto the beauty and romance of my handkerchiefs, rather than use them in practical ways. I created cloth roses out of them. It’s easy to do. Simply fold the handkerchiefs lengthwise three or four times and then twist the strip of cloth. Starting at one end, wrap the twisted cloth in a circular manner, forming a rose, and tuck the loose end beneath the completed spiral. I display mine in a simple ceramic dish.

These old handkerchiefs, fashioned into pretty little roses, remind me of three strong, beautiful women who impacted my life, and of another era in time. I smile every time I look at them.

Old Handkerchiefs

A Cupful of Love

After my grandfather passed away in 2007 family members gathered at his home to sort through memories and belongings and keepsakes. My grandmother had preceded her husband in death, 17 years before. As my mother and aunt set aside the items they wanted to keep, they allowed my sisters and me to claim some small mementos for ourselves.

I knew what I wanted, and rummaged through kitchen cupboards to find it. Lost among bowls and mismatched glasses and countless plastic containers, I found what I was searching for. The old aluminum measuring cup was a bit scratched and dented and had not been used in many years. That did not matter to me. No one else wanted it and my family allowed me to claim it. I was thrilled.

A Cupful of Love

My grandfather, Pop, taught me about gardening. My Grandma Mildred taught me two things…how to crochet and how to bake. I have such fond memories of standing on a chair in her homey kitchen, an apron wrapped around me, watching carefully as Grandma prepared a cake from scratch or whipped up a cream pie or stirred together a batch of gooey chocolate chip cookies.

When I was young, I was given the important job of measuring out ingredients such as sugar, flour and Crisco shortening. Grandma would plunk down that metal cup and her big old aluminum shifter and I would get to work. It was so satisfying to measure out the ingredients and magical to my young and curious self, to see flour and sugar and eggs and shortening combine and become something more, something beyond what they could be alone.

A Cupful of Love

Those times spent with my grandmother in her kitchen created a lifelong desire to cook and be creative with food. Grandma Mildred was patient with me, answering my questions and not minding if a bit of eggshell got mixed in with the cookie dough. She laughed often, told stories about being on the farm and taught me that a good cook cleans up her mess after the fun is done.

That measuring cup become more to me that a kitchen tool. I loved to drink out of it, although being aluminum, that probably wasn’t the best of ideas! I liked how cold the outside of the cup got when I filled it with chunks of ice. It made a great container to eat chocolate chips out of, mix flour and water in to make paste for craft projects, and to hold a stash of sharpened pencils ready for my young artist’s hands.

The cup came to represent my grandmother and my childhood. It represented love. I am grateful to have it.

A Cupful of Love

I’ve owned the measuring cup for 11 years now, and I have not really known what to do with it, beyond storing it in my own kitchen cupboard. Because it is made from aluminum, I do not use it to measure out ingredients. And at this stage in my journey, I no longer use refined sugar or white flour or shortening in my cooking.

However, this past week I discovered another use for the priceless cup. Earlier this year I located and purchased a children’s book, in two different versions, that was significant to me when I was a toddler. You can read about A Penny for Candy HERE. In honor of the book, I’ve been collecting pennies that I find on the ground. In the story, the children use their found pennies to buy candy. I figured when I had collected enough pennies I’d purchase a lottery ticket. I’m not actually very good at finding money on the ground, primarily because I rarely look down as I walk. So my stash is small, but growing.

I’ve wondered what to use to hold my penny collection. Now I know. The measuring cup is the perfect receptacle for the coins. I estimate it can easily hold 100 pennies, which would add up to a dollar. And there’s a triple connection to my grandmother. She owned the cup. I have wonderful loving memories of laughing and cooking in her kitchen when I look at the cup. And, the story goes, when you find a penny on the ground, it is a “penny from heaven” placed there by a loved one who has passed away.

I think about the cup as a pennies from heaven holder, and my perspective shifts. Beyond picking up coins to save for a lottery ticket, this has now become a new game to play, between my grandmother and me. I found a penny today and I loved the sound it made as I dropped it into the metal cup. I suspect I’ll find more pennies now and when the cup is full, I’ll ask my grandmother what she wants to do with them. I can hear her amused chuckle already.

A Cupful of Love

Grandma & Grandpa’s Shed

Back in 1977, the summer after Greg and I were married, we were visiting with his grandparents. They lived just down the road from us south of the tiny town of Noel, Missouri. I don’t remember the exact conversation, however two things contributed to what happened next.

I expressed an appreciation for vintage items and, being newlyweds, Greg’s grandmother was aware that we could use some household items. She gestured down the hill to the old shed and told us to help ourselves to anything in there. It was full of stuff she no longer used or wanted. “Just watch out for spiders!” she called out as we made our way to the old structure.

Grandma and Grandpa’s Shed

The shed’s dusty interior was indeed crammed full of a variety of fascinating items. What I wouldn’t give to see all the contents again. Now I would hire a truck and load it all up. Back then I was a bit shy about accepting gifts that were offered to me. On that afternoon, I eyed everything with a practical eye. What could I actually use?

Greg and I spent a happy afternoon, sorting through items in the shed. There were spiders, poisonous brown recluses that can inflict a nasty bite. We tried to ignore them, hoping they would do the same to us. I hauled out items that caught my eye, either because of usability or beauty or both. We received a final approval from Grandma Ruby and Grandpa Bill before we loaded up the car. They waved us on, chuckling over some of my choices.

I still have those items, 40 years later. Many of them are used on a daily basis. The rest are on display or have been repurposed in my backyard garden.

Grandma and Grandpa’s Shed

Many of the items I selected were destined for my kitchen. The blue and white enamelware colander gets used so often, draining cooked gluten free pasta or vegetables, that I almost forgot to retrieve it from the dish drainer, to include in tonight’s display. I also use the colander when I pick veggies from my garden and to hold washed veggies as they dry.

Grandma and Grandpa’s Shed

I don’t use the vintage ceramic pie plate much anymore, although I make a raw blueberry pie with a cashew and date crust in it occasionally. The colorful plates are from Bauer Pottery in California, and were made in the mid 1950s.

Grandma and Grandpa’s Shed

Grandma and Grandpa’s Shed

I used the cut glass silverware holder and the small white ceramic toothpick holder when my kids were younger. Both are display items now. And the tiny wooden butter mold is a keepsake as well. The vintage glass pitchers are frequently used. Years ago they held juice or lemonade or black cherry kool-aid. For months after acquiring the pitchers, Greg or I would pick up packets of black cherry flavored kool-aid from the store. I thought it was his favorite flavor, because he always bought it. And he thought it was mine, for the same reason. Finally one day we both admitted that neither of us liked black cherry kool-aid! We never purchased it again, thankfully. Today those pitchers hold ginger water or lemon water.

Grandma and Grandpa’s Shed

Grandma and Grandpa’s Shed

The old glass canning jars with side wires were made in the 1920s – 1930s, before metal ring lids were common. I’ve used them to hold a variety of dry goods or tea light candles. Greg was able to figure out the age of the Ball jar by the style of the lettering. And the vintage milk bottle and cream bottle still have their original cardboard toppers.

Grandpa Bill worked as a milk delivery man when he was a newlywed and living in Kansas City about 1918. He drove a horse drawn wagon, filled with his customers’ milk orders. He used to tell the story that he would hop out of the wagon to drop bottles of milk on doorsteps and his horse, who knew the route well, would walk on around the corner and wait patiently for him there. Grandma Ruby laughed at me for wanting those bottles…but those old containers are now 100 years old, and I love the story that they represent. These items are for display only.

Grandma and Grandpa’s Shed

This afternoon, as I thought about these items, in preparation for writing this post, I realized that these were “wedding gifts”, of the most precious kind, for a young couple who didn’t have much. I’d rather have an old item, even one that is practical, that has a story attached to it, than something new from the store.

Which made me wonder…what did Grandma and Grandpa Moore give us as an actual wedding gift? Money? Dishes? Oh, I remember…they bought us a bed, with a nice set of mattresses. And then I remembered something else. Grandma Ruby made us a tablecloth, for our little second hand dining table that I repainted. Greg reupholstered the chairs. Ironically, my grandmother made us a tablecloth too as a wedding gift, and she was the one who gave us the dining set. I rummaged through my storage chest upstairs, another vintage piece that I will write about soon, and I found both tablecloths.

I haven’t used the tablecloths in many years, but they are still in great shape. The one from Grandma Ruby became the backdrop for the vintage pieces tonight. I can hear that beautiful and grand woman laughing with amusement over my display of items from her old shed, resting on a now vintage tablecloth that she lovingly made. She would be so pleased to know I’ve kept it all. These pieces give me pleasure as well.

Grandma and Grandpa’s Shed