Thursday, March 31, 2011

Picking in The Old Days Part 5

My grandmother genuinely loved that I wanted to tag along with her . . . I believe she enjoyed
 having her eldest grandchild enjoy her passion.
It's only now, with my own little grandchild wanting to tag along with me, that I have some understanding of how wonderful that feels.  Your grandchild believes you're the smartest person in the world, and everything you teach them is incredible evidence of your wisdom!


We attended auctions on occasion, where she instructed me on the fine points of the
pre-sale inspection.  

Check furniture for worm holes 
examine joints
check the slide of drawers
look at the back to see if it's original
has the piece been "married"
(a top and bottom that weren't originally made for one another)
check depth of mirrors for quality
evaluate warping
the list was endless.

I was bored with the inspection process -
  I wanted to 
 on something!
We continued to "examine" for hours.  

She always carried a bag of necessities : 
magnifying glass
tape measure
(to detect various metals)
a silver cleaning cloth
a paper fan from the Methodist church
a thermos of coffee
peanut butter crackers
her notebook
Crystalmint Lifesavers!

Finally, the auction would begin!

I learned the fine art of appearing disinterested in an item until the time came to surreptitiously 
move the bid card . . . ever so slightly . . . to notify the auctioneer of my bid.  
(No one but the auctioneer should ever know that you were bidding.)

I learned to predetermine the exact amount I would be willing to spend on an item, before the auction began.  This would keep me from getting caught up in the frenzy and from over bidding.

Mostly, I learned that auctions were not my cup of tea . . . too long and drawn out a process for me.
I didn't like the competition, or the losing.

I did like the peanut butter crackers, and watching other people's faces and their bidding techniques.
That was where I created my poker face.

To be continued in tomorrow's post.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Picking in The Old Days Part 4

There is a grace . . . an art . . . to picking.

There in the barn or attic, 
I used to make a mental list of the items I desired,
 and defer to
my grandmother's wisdom and dickering expertise.
I'd wait patiently for her to add my items to her pile, as she had taught me.
I had learned there was more bargaining power in multiple items, which form a bigger net sale.
That part I understood.
(I couldn't imagine how a price could be determined for a piece of family history!) 

Who was to estimate the value of the stories and the experience, the heartaches and joys attached to a 125 year old handwoven basket that made it's own journey from the east to the west?
Did it survive typhoid and starvation and freezing temperatures and unending loneliness?
Did it's owner?

I was in awe of the process in which these women engaged,
 as easily as if they'd been considering the price of fresh eggs or a gallon of milk.

Mamom never showed a sign of excitement . . . 
never a hint of disappointment if the asking price was too high.
She gently laid the item back where it had been found and continued the easy cadence of conversation of the price of beef and how many acres were under cultivation.

It seemed they were attempting to avoid the reality
 of one woman's need to surrender her belongings 
to another.

There was a give and take.  
On occasion, my grandmother would overpay for some sweet piece, while another time she would choose to let an item stay behind.  
Looking back, I believe
  she had an understanding 
of which item was too precious
 to remove from it's owner's hands.
Some things were to be praised and admired, and left for another day.

In turn, the homeowner's gratitude in being able to hold onto the cherished belonging would spark a generosity of spirit in pricing the balance of the inventory.

Like playing a violin, 
the heart and the hand were ever so important.

To be continued in tomorrow's post.







Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Picking in The Old Days Part 3

There was nothing I'd rather do than immerse myself in the history of 
women's culture.

  From the time I learned to read, I loved stories of the way women lived in
 "the old days". 

 I grew up with a fascination of the settling of this country: 
the first east coast settlements,
 the Revolutionary War,
Ellis Island,
 the Appalachian communities of Scotch-Irish immigrants,
 the Civil War era, 
the gold rush and westward movement in wagons,
the industrial revolution.

Something about the survivalist nature of these women appealed to my little heart.

By extension of that, the
household implements they used
were of importance to me.

They had actually touched and used
 these very things!

These pioneer women had the ability to make do with a minimum of utilitarian inventory, sometimes rudely fashioned, broken and mended . . . 
while creating homes for themselves and their families.

It was the women who continued civilizing this country, with homemaking, sewing circles, schools, church socials and harvest dances . . . 
planting flower gardens, teaching manners, making their homes as lovely as they could with curtains or quilts . . . 
weddings, midwifery, and every sweet touch they could bring to life.

simple hand fashioned objects 
such as wood bowls, gourd ladles, tin boxes, blanket chests, oak splint baskets . . . 

these tactile but humble pieces carried me back in time.

There was an empathetic kinship with them . . . a desire to know them . . . a vivid imagery of their lives . . . I was hooked!

Now Mamom was interested in fine china, flow blue platters, crystal glasses, 
silver and the like.  She had refined tastes.
While she was sorting through the beautiful and feminine dining room pieces, 

I was scratching around in the corners
 for the cast iron kettle that had hung in a rudimentary cabin fireplace, the tin cup that spent it's days tied to a saddle, the hand thrown pottery born in the backwoods of Appalachia, and bread boards worn smooth with generations of use and scrubbing. 

 I longed to know the stories behind coarsely woven Irish linen towels
 and dull brass sleigh bells,
 or the quilts pieced by wives of soldiers off  fighting the war between the states.

What valuables had they locked in box or cupboard that those rusty keys could unlock?

We searched for different kinds of treasures, she and I,
 but our minds held the same sort of questions.  
Our hearts each beat faster when we unearthed some piece of the past.

Our souls were old . . .
Our imaginations vivid.

We were in our glory!

To be continued in tomorrow's blog.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Picking in The Old Days Part 2

In yesterday's blog, I began the story of learning to pick with my grandmother. . .

So we'd get to picking.  
That is, we'd enter the barn 
and while my grandmother continued to carry on a polite conversation
 with the homeowner, I'd wander and stare and touch, in amazement.  
Trust me, she was eyeing everything . . . but she was a canny old girl, and never let on that the platter she was handling was as important as the conversation about the hardships of farming.

Folks would use their barns or "out" buildings,
(not outhouses, though they were often still on the property),
the way we use a garage or a rented storage unit to stack those
unused but too good to get rid of items.
Things they might need sometime.

Tables their grandparents had had in the house,
barrels of dishes,
trunks that had brought their immigrant forbearers to this country
(oh . . . the trunks . . . and the things stored in them . . .  aahhhhh).

I believe I can still smell the sweet fragrance of an old trunk,
filled with carefully laundered and gently folded linens, 
quilts, a wedding dress, a christening gown.
Tiny shoes . . . 

There were generations of items stashed, because these folks lived through
The Great World War 
The Great Depression of 1929
World War II
and every other inconvenience, hardship and shortage you can imagine.

Now, let me tell you, these folks were old!  

And the fact was, they owned things their parents had set up housekeeping with,
 and the things their grandparents received as wedding presents.

They saved everything. 
 Harnesses for horses that no longer roamed their pastures,
wagon parts from the days when their great grandparents crossed the prairie,
quilts grandmother or great auntie had made from
 clothing scraps, tobacco bags, and feed sacks.

To them, it was simply old stuff . . . and now they were ready sell out what they could,
in need of the cash, more than the history.
It was all they had . . . their history.

My grandmother had a saying she taught my mother,
 my mother passed on to me, and I taught my daughter:

"Use it up, 
Wear it out,
Make it do,
Or do without!"

The humble, hard working, gentle folks I met in those days had it figured out.
They saved it up until they were just plain unable to use it anymore, 
and then they sold it to someone like us!

To be continued in tomorrows post.

Picking in The Old Days

Today is Monday and I'm off to hunt for 
some new old stuff.  
I mean treasures. 

I'll be scouring, digging, unearthing, tromping,


Tho' rarely a day goes by that I'm NOT hunting and buying, 
somedays are dedicated to the pleasure.

 Grandmother Thelma, was my role model.  
When my Aunt Lo' was an antiques dealer in Fairbanks, Alaska, many, many years ago, Mamom "picked" for her.

  Let's not even go into how long ago . . . 

suffice it to say I began picking at the tender age of about 16. 

 I'd pack our lunches and follow along behind Mamom, as excited as could be, because you just never knew where she'd take us.

Having eaten a proper hot breakfast,

 (Mamom believed big hearty breakfasts were high on the list . . . right after cleanliness and Godliness and using proper manners),

we'd leave before 'first light' . . . 
  We'd drive forever across two lane country roads to the place she'd chosen for our adventure. 

 It was usually a farm or old property in a wonderfully remote area, seemingly untouched by time.   I recall the feeling of having stepped back 100 years on those journeys.

When the early morning mists lifted, we'd pull in, uncork the coffee thermos to fortify ourselves for the task ahead, and jump from the truck to begin our "work."

(Just dawned on me . . .  that's where the superbly delightful association of coffee and my life probably took root!)

There was always the beginning:  the pleasantries exchanged between homeowner and visitor . . . "come set awhile . . . have a cup of coffee . . . I jes' made hot biscuits" . . . don't this weather beat all? . . . My bean's have gone to shrivellin . . . don't know what the corn'll do.  Child, come have some biscuits . . . she's jes a skinny little thing . . . Henry's out workin' on the tractor . . . you 'girls' come on up and set on the porch while I call him up." 

It was all wasted time in my book - I was ready to get into the cellar or the attic or the barn and 
get to the 

 But I have an idea now, that that was where the negotiations began.  

And I can still taste those biscuits . . . 

Continued in tomorrow's blog . 

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Road Trip With Joy

Good Morning Dear Friends.

Welcome to Antiques By Joy!


Joy has a contest going on,
 and you can enter to win a spot in my
 antiquing trip caravan. 

 If you've ever desired to go on a hunting expedition for antiques, now is your chance.
Join Joy and company as they pack up their boots, jeans, hats and granny carts and set off on the journey for hidden treasure. We'll be gone for a week, scouring the countryside, searching through so many exciting venues for the sort of antiques you'd find at Patina.
 It's a roadtrip! 

****To Enter ****
It's simple, simple, simple!

'Follow' my blog. 
 Just scroll down to where it says
with Google Friend Connect
in the right hand column and click on follow. 
Be sure to leave a comment in my comment box, with your name!

Scroll up my blog to the
 Antiques by Joy is on Facebook
 and click to my Facebook page. 
"LIKE" my page on Facebook.
Be sure to leave a comment there, also.
If you're not on Facebook, just follow me here!

Now you're entered in the Roadtrip contest.
In two weeks, I will draw a name from the hat, and the winner will be going on the jaunt with Joy and company!

There's nothing quite so much fun as getting to know you. 

 Even if you cannot join me on the road this time, you're invited to follow the blog, and learn more about Joy here and at 
Antiques by Joy on Facebook.  
You're invited to tell me something about yourself and your love for antiques at my Facebook wall,
 or in comments here
 on the blog.
Happy Trails!

Friday, March 25, 2011

New Gallery Space

Today was a blessed day - 

I set up a new antiques vignette at the Colorado Antique Gallery.  This is my third Gallery space filled with an ever increasing number of wonderful items I couldn't resist.  I began with a wonderfully mellow pine armoire.

(I'm sure you know about the Gallery - but if you don't, it's only 2.2 miles from Patina Antiques and Home.  


There is a decidedly euro flavor to this design scheme, with lots of tin, wire, pine, cloches and ironstone.

It's calm, simplified, modest, French/European country at it's best.

Stop over and visit Patina, and we'll direct you on to the Gallery.  You can peruse even more of our treasures!

By the way . . . 
Joy will have a dozen fresh furniture pieces delivered tomorrow morning!

Joy's Antiques Road Trip - Day Two

Check out my blog post from
 to see how simple it is
 enter the contest! 

Get your name in the hat, to win a spot on the
 Antiques Road Trip
 Joy and Company 
in May, 2011 !

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Take an Antiques Road Trip With Joy????


It's just about 5 weeks away - one of my favorite antiques jaunts, across the country.  
Would you like to win a spot in the caravan?

I'll be on the road with my favorite traveling junk junkies, searching through
 the most wonderful parts of the country for the

We'll be on the road again from 
May 1st - 9th
hitting all those secret spots where treasures are waiting to be unearthed.

Here's how to win a spot:

1. Go and "like" Antiques by Joy on Facebook. Leave me a comment here, so I know that you did.
2. If you're not on Facebook (and you really should be!) then "follow" my blog here instead. Just scroll down to where it says "FOLLOW with Google Friend Connect" in the right hand column and click on "Follow". Be sure to leave me a comment on this post.

I wish I could take you all along, but only one lucky winner will be chosen.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Aging Your Terra Cotta Pots

If you've ever bought terra cotta pots and they seemed too pristine, 
there is a simple process for "aging" them and achieving that sweet patina many of us insist upon. 

 I've heard of several "recipes" for mellowing the clay, but this one is simple.  
Take a piece of sandpaper and lightly scuff the pot - not all over, but here and there. 

 Soak it in water for a few minutes.  (While you scuff the next ones.)

Place them in a container and pour buttermilk or yogurt over them. 
 Make sure you smear them up well.
Cover the whole smelly mess and place it outside for a few days. 
 The pots will soak up the acidophilus and it will grow in the nice moist clay.
Voila: aged pots!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

What to Look For in an Antique

Those of us who collect are always on the lookout for the perfect piece to add to our displays. 
 A larger piece, a smaller piece, a better piece, a slightly different piece, an older piece - any reason to add one more of those items that warm the cockles of our hearts.  

For me, "treenware", or wooden items are the most enchanting.  The soft touch, the mellow tone, the depth of color, the signs of having been handcrafted, (perhaps 100 or more years ago . . . ). 

 These are qualities to look for in an antique.  Was this item well crafted . . . was it well cared for over the years?  Did someone love and appreciate it enough to wax or oil or polish it and protect it from the elements?

Does it feel good to the touch?  Can I sense the many years of use that have worn a permanent "hand hold"? 

 Can I close my eyes and imagine the person who needed this item and how she used it in her home?  

Was it created specially for the user, perhaps produced by an itinerant tradesman who travelled from farm to farm, designing and creating specifically what the homeowner needed? 
 Did a husband or father, wife or mother labor long into the night by candlelight or oil lamp to make this item as a gift for a loved one? 

Does it relate its' story in my imagination? 
 These are the things that bond me to a piece of the past, and make it worthy of my collecting.

Monday, March 21, 2011


Happy Monday! 
 Today was warm and sunny and windy in Denver . . . and we reached 74 degrees.  
What an incredible day!  

I was possessed by spring fever - and happy and carefree and energized.

The Round Top Texas antique show is just around the corner - and I'm staying here, looking after
 Patina Antiques and Home
while partner goes to shop in the sunshine.  That's OK - I'll be off to parts east in no time, trekking across the country with girlfriends, picking the best old junk!  You'll want to visit the shop regularly to catch the new things before someone else snatches them away!!!

There's nothing more fun than setting off with the girls on a serendipitous foray into parts unknown.  One contact hooks me up with another, and we travel from barn to shed to farmhouse to warehouse to old store to flea market . . . sifting through eras of incredible pieces, limited only by the space on the trailer and the money in my checkbook.  

We eat, and we shop . . . then we eat, and we shop.  I feel it's my civic duty to try the bakeries in each little community - and Zoe and I have been known to buy one of each item in the bakery display - just because we can!  I'm pretty sure that one day last year in Iowa, We ate 4 different kinds of pie. 
 Hey - we were working really hard!

Yep . . . I'd better start dieting right now - so I can eat my way across country next month!

  antiquesbyjoy blog
was awarded 
by Online University!!!
see it @

Sunday, March 20, 2011

There is much to be thankful for

There is much in my life to be thankful for .... (and many of you dear friends know the road I've travelled).  Today I simply have to tell you, that I'm blessed beyond comparison.  Life leaves us a little rumpled and tattered sometimes, but the sun comes out, the flowers bloom, temperatures find that perfect level, and I know that God's in His heaven, and all is right with my world. 

 Here's to Lauri, who has just begun chemo: you are in our prayers - and we're here for you. 

Hello to Beth, who brightened my day Saturday, with her sweet visit to Patina.  Looking forward to our journey on the open road.

Alice L. - can't wait to get to Iowa and plow through the pickins' with you.  You're missed here in Denver!

Lisa M.  You need to be sending me some of your beautiful handmade/vintage creations, to wow my customers here!

Clara B. - I'm waiting for your visit one of these days soon!

Thanks for your friendship, ladies!


Antiques by Joy is now on Facebook!

I'm back . . . rather long coffee break eh??
Thanks to my beautiful daughter, Kellie, I'm now on Facebook! You can visit me there and link to my blog, to my (soon to be stocked) Etsy Store, Patina's Facebook page, and loads more places I don't even know about yet!
Why would I do that you may ask . . .
Joy is offering a great big happy serendipity for followers. When my followers reach 100, you'll find a special, secret password on the Facebook page that grants you, (and only you special few), a discount on a "JOY" item of your choice at Patina Antiques. When we reach 150 followers . . . . an even BIGGER discount . . . and you get the picture.
(Isn't this how Martha Stewart started out?????) In the old days, to be "branded" wasn't such a good thing. Now - they tell me - I must be branded. (And linked-in, and socialized, and so on.)
I'm still trying to figure out where the photos went to live when I transferred them from the P.C. to the Mac, but daughter dearest is untangling my wicked web of missteps, and may eventually have me sorted out. Hang in there fellow and fellowette antiques lovers - we're in for a wild and happy ride! I promise to make it worth the wait.


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