Friday, December 30, 2011

Modern Uses for Vintage Jewelry

We all have boxes of jewelry inherited from family members including clip earrings, beads, old brooches, charm  bracelets and more.  While we may not be interested in wearing them as they were intended, this is certainly an option!  Layer the necklaces using two or three at a time for a new look or clip vintage earrings onto a chain for a unique pendant!  Clip vintage earrings to your shoes to decorate!  Clip vintage earrings or brooches to a metal barret to decorate your hair (I once had a young lady use brooches in this way to make a unique headpiece for her vintage style wedding!).

At Memories we receive piles and piles of great vintage jewelry that is no longer wanted and we have beautiful cases full of unique selections!  After working with the jewelry for a while, we have come up with some creative uses which may interest you.

It can certainly be taken apart and made into new and unique jewelry pieces if you have a knack for designing jewelry.  We have just such a customer who comes in from time to time looking for some unique find to add to his custom jewelry which he sells all over the country!  Various beads and pieces can be glued to wooden box tops, lamp shades, purses, picture frames and mirrors for a new and romantic look.

I have another customer who purchases large unique brooches and mounts them on velvet or some other elegant fabric and frames them and has them arranged in her bedroom.  She can then just unpin them and wear them as she desires.  Another way to use colorful brooches and clip earrings (with the clips removed) is to glue them to a background in the shape of a Christmas tree, frame and enjoy during the Christmas season.  Another customer has covered a dress form with elegant fabric and covered it with vintage jewelry for her dressing room - so elegant - and the jewelry can still be taken off and worn when desired. 

I went to the home of a customer one time and she had pretty rhinestone and angel pins placed all over her bathroom lace curtains!  Also, they can be used to decorate tie-backs for your drapes, hung from chandeliers, placed in your Christmas tree, pinned onto a scarf to hold it in place - so many uses other than the traditional and a wonderful way to treasure family keepsakes!

My Mother makes the most beautiful Christmas ball ornaments decorated with jewelry from our family or other jewelry she finds and beautiful tassels and trims to accessorize.  She has made 100's of these and each one is unique and a keepsake to hand down over the years.

So if you have that vintage jewelry collection from Gramma, be sure and don't just get rid of it - use one of these great ideas to put them to use.  Or bring them to Memories, and we will sell them for you to someone who is designing some new jewelry!  What's Old can be New Again!  And besides, recycling is the "in" thing these days!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas in My Hometown

Growing up in Henderson, KY, was a wonderful thing, and especially at Christmas!  I remember watching the Christmas parade downtown with my Daddy and almost crying with excitement when the bands marched by playing Christmas carols.  Later on in life, I got to be in that band marching down the street!  I remember shopping downtown in the evenings with the Christmas carols playing from the Salvation Army booth that was set up in front of J. C. Penneys with people on the loud speaker calling out your name and asking for donations for a good cause.  I remember living on my little street with all the neat little houses in a row with their Christmas trees in the windows with wonderful families inside celebrating being together!  I remember the Christmas Eve service at my church at 11 pm - it was a candlelight service and when it was over at midnight we all lit our candles, held them up and sang Joy to the World!  And what a joy it was to remember the birth of our Saviour in such a special way.

Now, after living away for many years, I am blessed to be able to return to my Hometown and experience all the wonderful things offered by a small town.  People smiling and wishing each other a Merry Christmas, families coming home for Christmas celebrations, little children laughing, and all the traditions and wonders of a small town Christmas.  I used to only dream of coming home for Christmas.  This morning I was thinking of this familiar song:

I'm dreaming tonight of a place I love
Even more than I usually do
And although I know it's a long road back
I promise you

I'll be home for Christmas
You can count on me
Please have some snow and mistletoe
And presents by the tree

Christmas eve will find you
Where the love light gleams
I'll be home for Christmas
If only in my dreams

Here's hoping that you are blessed to be celebrating Christmas with family and friends and continuing old fashioned traditions!  We may be living in a newer, faster paced world today than it was in our past, but we always keep coming back to the old traditions.  That is where we are most comfortable and happiest.  Merry Christmas from Memories Past and Present, wherever you are!  Share some of your childhood memories with us - we would love it!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Reflections of an Antique Dealer - Why Am I Doing This?

In the current society, we are surrounded by stuff - stuff that we have accumulated over the years, gifts received, treasures inherited, things we bought to decorate our homes, stuff we made such as needlepoint, painted items, cross stitch, and more - the list goes on and on!  Many people are coming to the realization that they don't need all this stuff around them - in fact, it only adds to the confusion of an already busy and rushed world.

But yet, here I sit in my antique/gift shop surrounded by thousands of treasures yet to be bought  and accumulated in different homes throughout this world.  People still like to give gifts and decorate their homes, but are a little more selective these days and want the item purchased to mean something.  Memories is full of such treasures waiting to be loved once again!  Everything here has a history and has been once loved!

Our treasures come from all types of circumstances and people.  Many items have been inherited and packed in boxes for years and never used, the person not even really knowing what they have.  We also help people who have parents or grandparents who have passed away and need help gleaning the treasures from their homes.  Some come from individuals who are downsizing or moving to assisted living and having to keep only their most treasured items and let go of the rest.  In many cases the transition of giving up these treasures is difficult and stressful.  That's where Memories comes in to help make it easier.  When I say we, and Memories, I mean myself - I am Memories and am very sensitive to people's feelings and anxieties.  It somehow seems easier to hand these treasures over to me to research and place in my beautiful store and find a new home for them, than to send it to an auction to be picked through by strangers who don't know or care where it comes from.

This is my specialty - making the transition easy for others if I can.  I lovingly arrange items in my store into beautiful displays so that someone else can discover them and take them home with them.  They know they are buying something once loved, and that makes it unique and more special in many ways.

At Memories, we are more than just another antique store - you can ask anyone who has ever entered the doors and they will tell you that it is just different from any other they have ever entered.  When I'm tired of being surrounded by stuff every day, and overwhelmed by all the pressures of trying to market my business and keep up with all the stuff coming in, I take a deep breath, look around and remember those who have brought me their treasures - and I am once again inspired.  It's a good life - being an antique store owner, helping others,  and being a friend to my clients and customers.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Vintage Teacup Collection Ideas

Have you been collecting beautiful vintage bone china teacups, or inherited such a collection?  You could use them with a different teacup at each place setting at your afternoon tea table, but besides having a lovely tea party for your lady friends, how else can they be used or displayed?  Here's some creative ideas for you!

Arrange in a grouping at your next gathering and light floating candles in them or place one at each place setting - this will show off the cup and saucer and also create a welcoming warm glow!  Make a small rose topiary by filling with a water filled oasis and moss and tying together a group of rosebuds in the center with a pretty ribbon - add a single rosebud in the saucer and you have an instant, beautiful arrangement for your table or desk. 

At Christmas try tying each teacup with a pretty ribbon onto a special Christmas tree, either in the dining room or kitchen - what a delight!  Display the saucers at the base of the tree.   Serve miniature iced cakes in a cup and saucer - what a delicate and delicious alternative to serving on a dessert plate!  Make a beautiful teacup bouquet at each place setting at your next dinner party!  Tie a teacup with pretty ribbon from each branch of your chandelier for a festive and delicate change!

Use your special teacups to treat your guests with an after dinner treat of tiramisu - a combination of ladyfingers, espresso, eggs, sugar, cream, liquer, and rich mascarpone cheese!  What a delight!  You can find a recipe on and prepare it ahead in individual teacups, refrigerated and ready to serve topped with whipped cream and cocoa!

Do you have other ideas?  This would be a great place to share them! 

If you don't have a collection of teacups and saucers, this would be a great time to start!  Either start a collection for a friend as a special gift and include teabags and a pretty teaspoon - or give to yourself!  At Memories we have quite a collection of teacups and saucers and demitasse cups and saucers with which to start your gift giving or collection!  Come check us out or go online to see what we have listed at

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Christmas Gifts on a Shoestring Budget

Christmas is here, and we are all considering what gifts to give our family and friends.  Money is short this year because the economy has been bad.  But we still want to give something special because, after all, this is the season of giving!

Instead of getting caught up in the rat race of finding bargains at the department stores, what color or size, or in trying to impress others with the brand name of a gift, consider giving a recycled treasure, a gift with meaning and given from the heart!

We all have accumulated so many things in our lives that we are overburdened by the sheer volume of stuff in our homes in the closets, display cases, cabinets, etc.   Who can use or even appreciate things when they have too many?  Be innovative with your gift giving this year and look outside the norm and consider recycled treasures, either from your own collection or from the collection inside an antique/vintage store which specializes in recycled treasures!

You could dress up an old doll of your own to give to your grandaughter (she will cherish having something that was yours) or give your grandson one of your favorite little toy metal cars or vintage train set that you have kept all your life.  Or maybe you have a favorite book that you have read that you can pass along to a friend, or perhaps find a copy to purchase for them.  If you have a teacup collection, or a crystal collection, ornament collection, or lighted Christmas village collection, etc. - part with some of it and help your child or grandchild start their own collection.  You can always consider giving a gift of your time - take a child to a movie or take your Mother to lunch or on a shopping trip.  There are so many ways to give that don't cost a lot - besides the gift is not meant to impress but to say "I love you" or "You are important to me".

Of course, at Memories this is what we specialize in - the recycling of treasures from the past.  Our store is filled to the brim with items that bring back memories of a cherished Grandmother and times and places of the past.  Consider giving the gift of "memories" by purchasing an item that reminds you of your past for a member of your family or a friend - they will cherish it and the memory forever.  The cost of an item is not what is important - it is what is in your heart when you select and give the gift.

"A generous man will prosper; he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed."  Proverbs 11:25

Give the gift of love and memories this year for Christmas - you will be blessed for it.  Take the time to browse you own home for special items that could be gifts, or stop by Memories and we will find the perfect treasure for you to pass along to your friends and family as a thoughtful reminder of your love for them.  Merry Christmas!

Update:  12/7/12 - It is a year later and these words still have great meaning.  But I have something new to add.  In early November, my little grandaughter (16 months) old was diagnosed with Acute Myeloma Leukemia and we have all gone into shock as a result.  Suddenly, all the things that were important in life paled in comparison to the importance of getting the proper treatment for her so that she can live the long and wonderful life that we had envisioned for her.  As a result, I have basically closed my store (except for brief openings) so that I can care for my 3 year old grandson while the parents are keeping watch over their daughter in the hospital - she will most probably be hospitalized for 6 months of treatment.  I have realized that of all the things I have to give, my love, encouragement, support and time are the most important.  So many friends and even strangers have stepped up to assist this family in any way they can, and it has overwhelmed us and humbled us in the process, to discover so many people with love in their hearts to share during this terrible time for us.  It has helped us to find the joy that is in each day, even with the tragedy that has fallen upon us.  Please remember in this time of Christmas giving, that the gift of your time is probably what people want and need the most.  Give of yourself this Christmas.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Thanksgiving Blessings From the Past

As I look around my home which is furnished with a mix of antique and vintage items, new gift items, and collectibles, it causes me to reflect on my home and family and friends and all the blessings that I have this Thanksgiving and every day.

I'm not one of those people who hire an interior decorator and do away with every mismatched item in my home and go with the suggestions of the decorator to have everything perfect and matching.  I prefer to display all my favorite things, put together in a pleasing arrangement, so that I can be comfortable and cozy in my home. 

For example, in my living room the featured item is the grand piano that my husband surprised me with 25 years ago.  I had always wanted one, and my daughter was traveling to Kentucky from Florida to spend the summer with her Dad.  I was so uptight and depressed that he chose this time to have it delivered and surprise me on the day that she got on that plane.  Each time I see it or play it, I remember that day when I walked into my living room and said "Who put THAT there?!?"  What a gift of love - I would never dream of replacing it.

Also, in the living room is a beautiful bookcase with glass doors that belonged to my husband's father - it holds all my music books, and is a clear reminder of the past and the books and treasures that his father must have kept there.

I also have an antique corner cabinet filled with old ironstone serving pieces accumulated by my Granny and left to me when she passed away.  She loved antiques, and I think of her when I look into that cabinet. 

There are also little trinkets and gifts that friends and family have given me displayed throughout that room - a silver tussie mussie filled with flowers bought for me by my parents, a hummingbird figurine given to me by my Uncle Charles, Hallmark ornaments featuring a choir and bell ringers given to me by friends, a little dish my brother gave me where I keep my glasses for use at the piano - you get the idea.

Memories Past and Present is filled with items such as these with a past - and they can be given as a loving gift to someone who will cherish them and display them in their home.  When they see them, it will remind them of you and the occasion of the gift.  Life is made up of memories from the past and special events of the future.  Treasure your memories - and display your treasures!

This Thanksgiving take the time to look around you and remember all the blessings that God, your family and friends have bestowed upon you.  No matter what the circumstances, there are always blessings to be found!  Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

The Thanksgiving & Christmas Spirit Can Last All Year Long!

I've been hearing a lot lately about how awful it is to rush the Christmas season - all the stores are starting to put out their Christmas trees and merchandise, Christmas music is playing, and some of the big box stores already have reduced their Christmas items.  I mean, we even skip right over Thanksgiving - how terrible is that?  Truly, Christmas has become a very commercial season; however, just like anything else in life, there are two ways of observing and reacting.

To me, the true spirit of Christmas and Thanksgiving can last all year long!  Every day we can be thinking about all the blessings we have and say to ourselves and to others how thankful we are.  We can just look around and find the simplest things to be thankful for - the beautiful, colorful Fall leaves, the sunshine, our families, our health, our friends - all these things that God has given us.  We take the time to look back at family celebrations from the past and remember those who are no longer with us and all the fun times we had together.  And we look forward to our family and friend gatherings this year!  Oh, so much to be thankful for in our lives!

When we see the Christmas trees and lights and ornaments already up in the stores, instead of reacting to the negativity of commercialism, we could instead be reminded of all the good that there still is in the world.  Remember the birth of our saviour, Jesus, and the star shining on the world the night He was born.  When we look at all the sparkling lights and ornaments, we can think of  friends and family with love and start to plan on something special that we can buy or do for them during the Christmas season.  It is a wonderful time to remember and love each other.

When I decorate my trees, whether it be at home, or in my antique store, I think about the beautiful nativities and music boxes, angels and ornaments, and who gave them to me, or whose home they will bless.  When shopping for Christmas (and we all do), let's try to take our time, take a step back to a quieter, simpler time, and reflect on each gift as a gift of love for the person we are buying for.  It's OK for Christmas to be commercial in a way - it gives us a special way to show our love for each other, and to remember the birth of Jesus and just how much his presence means in our lives.

Oh, I could go on and on about Christmas and Thanksgiving Past and Present!  Reflect on your blessings - and shop for Christmas gifts with joy in your heart this season!  No "Bah Humbug" allowed inside Memories Past and Present!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Christmas Past and Present

The Christmas season is upon us, and the stores are starting to display all their Christmas trees, decorations, cards, etc.  It's time to start thinking about how you will decorate your home and what treasures you will choose to display. 

The Christmas tree is the main focal point of the decorating for the season.  Are you one who goes with the modern trends purchasing all new ornaments for your tree and having it professionally decorated?  Maybe lime green or hot pink this year - all silver or all gold?  Well, that's not for me.  For me, Christmas is all about tradition and memories - bringing family together in a home filled with the warm glow of Christmas past and Christmas present.

My main tree (yes, I do have more than one) is Victorian in style.  It is a slim tree filled with decorations that go with the Victorian style, but I didn't go out and buy all new ornaments to decorate it - oh yes, maybe a few to fill in here and there - but mostly it was a gradual thing.  Each year a few new items are added that are special ornaments bought for me by a friend, or one I spotted in a local store that took my eye, or even hand crafted ornaments that are one of a kind. 

My Mother makes the most beautiful decorated ball ornaments, fashioned out of satin balls decorated with vintage jewelry, beads, sequins, tassels, braid and trim - each one is unique and full of her creative ability.  I probably have about 20 of those on the tree, and each year add at least 1 or 2 new ones.  She has literally made hundreds of them over the years, and I treasure each one that I have! 

Added to those are about six similar ornaments made by a favorite member of our church lovingly called "Aunt Kat" who gave one to each of our Church choir members each year.  She has passed away now, and it brings back fond memories of her each time I hang one on the tree and imagine her aging fingers making them even into her late 90's and even over 100 years that she lived.  (She was my craft teacher at the YMCA when I was a child - and a real treasure of a person!)

Added to those special ornaments are little birds nests, bird cages, glass birds with tail feathers, other glass Victorian style ornaments, little Victorian people ornaments given to me by friends, and then to top it off burgundy and gold glass ornaments to reflect the light and burgundy poinsettia blooms.  This year I will lovingly add 6 Thomas Kinkade Santa ornaments which I was lucky enough to acquire on Ebay.

This tree is filled with memories, acquired over time.  When you are shopping or looking around at decorations to place on your tree - think about what you already have and add items of meaning to them.  Shop for the unique in little out-of-the-way specialty shops, antique stores, thrift stores, etc.  Make the tree a part of "your" personality - not something that is just bought straight off the shelf and impersonal.

Each year when you decorate that tree, you will be filled with "memories" just as I am when I decorate this special Victorian tree in my home!  Of course, at Memories Past and Present, we have such a selection of treasures for you to feast your eyes on!  Each of our trees is decorated with specialty ornaments where you can pick them right off the tree - a perfect little gift for a friend or family member perhaps that they will hang on their tree year after year - and remember you with a smile on their face!  Have a Blessed Christmas!

Stay tuned for other Christmas tree ideas based on the trees I decorate in my own home!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Vintage Crystal Better Than New!

No matter how much your Mother or Grandmother used her crystal, it probably still looks like new, especially since she washed it by hand and stored it away very carefully!  If you are lucky enough to inherit some of this beautiful sparkling crystal, count yourself lucky.

I know many of the younger generation is not interested in fancy glassware - they are more "into" pottery items that can be used every day and they prefer casual entertaining.  But still it is good to add some sparkle to your table at the holidays!  And one pattern that just keeps on being the most popular is Fostoria Glass Company American pattern! 

It was made between 1914 and 1986 and in various colors including clear, amber, blue, green, yellow, pink and even purple.  The most popular is the clear - it is heavy and durable and because of the block pattern it reflects the light whether it be sunlight, a chandelier, or candle light!

It is being recycled and recollected even today!  Many people who got it for wedding gifts back in the 1940's and 50's are aging and not entertaining anymore, or they are downsizing and need to get rid of it.  They would give it to their children, but some are not interested. 

There are new collectors made up of mostly people who have inherited the pattern and wish to add to their collection!  If you have never owned any crystal or are interested in purchasing some for your home, this would be a very good choice of vintage crystal.  The pricing is fairly reasonable, and certainly less than most "new" quality crystal you could find - and it is good to recycle for so many reasons!  It also would make wonderful gifts and perhaps get someone interested in starting their own collection!

Be careful when you buy that you know that it is indeed Fostoria - there are some reproductions that are not the same quality.  In general, you can look for three seams (where the molds come together) rather than two - and generally the base is ground instead of formed in the mold - and check the glass for clarity.  Most dealers will be sure to have any reproductions clearly marked.

Close your eyes and imagine your Christmas table set with a beautiful deep red tablecloth, your favorite Christmas china, and sparkling American Fostoria crystal water goblets, iced tea glasses, juice glasses, sherbets, and all the beautiful sparkling serving pieces available!  Now get ready, go out looking, and start your collection of sparkling American Fostoria today!

Think of your favorite antique store as a matchmaker - helping someone find a new owner for their "treasures"!  At Memories, we are full to the brim with treasures, including over 150 pieces of American Fostoria!  We can help you put together a beautiful holiday table, all from vintage treasures in our store!  Your Mother and/or Grandmother would smile if she saw you using vintage items on your table!

You can take a peek inside our store no matter where you live at

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Recycle Old Christmas Cards!

If you are like me, I never like to throw beautiful cards away - especially Christmas cards!  They are so colorful and meaningful to me, I want to find a project to use them in sometime in the future.  So there they are, all piled up in a drawer ......... waiting for my inspiration!  Well, here's just a few ideas off the top of my head that maybe you will find useful!

First off, they could be used again for new cards - just cut the front off and glue to nice index paper folded in half and write your own personal message inside!  This would be great for a Christmas note to a friend or relative!

Another idea would be to decorate a Christmas tree with them.  Just use your hole punch and punch a hole in the top left corner - tie on a pretty ribbon - and hang on your tree - add a little tinsel for sparkle and it will be beautiful.  This is a very inexpensive and creative way to decorate a tree for your family room or guest bedroom.  The cards will remind you of all your friends each year who have remembered you at Christmas!

Under the tree they can be used as gift tags - again cut off the front and punch a hole in it and tie it on your package for a beautiful decoration with the TO and FROM written on the back side.

If you like to create your own cards on the computer and you are equipped with a scanner, you can also use the beautiful artwork on the cover or inside the card to scan and print your own individually created card!  The art can be saved on your computer and used time and again!

If you have a coffee table with a glass tray top, they can be placed under the glass and maybe paired with some lace doilies or family pictures for a beautiful addition to your Christmas decorations in your living room or family room.  Also think of framing them with a background of a solid color or wall paper print! This could be used as a framed picture to hang on the wall during the Christmas season, or better yet, use it as a tray to serve tea on!  Or just stand up the cards in a display cabinet where you have your sparkling crystal to add some Christmas cheer!

I know these ideas have sparked some ideas of your own - so get out those old Christmas cards and start making plans of how to use them this year!  What's old can be new again - with just a touch of creativity!  Please feel free to share any additional ideas you have here on this blog!  Merry Christmas!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Selecting Vintage Wedding Gifts

Many people can't imagine giving something that is not "new" for a wedding gift, but we have a lot of experience here at Memories with people who are looking for exactly that!  They don't want to buy the regular, off the shelf gift that just anybody can buy.

It's easy, really!  If you know anything at all about the couple or even their parents, you can come up with an idea whether it be a certain color scheme, pattern of old glassware, or anything that might "bring back memories".  I recently had two sisters in my store who spotted a large pressed glass bowl that they remembered their Mother having one like.  Well, they each wanted one so we went in search of others.  It ended up that they found four different bowls that reminded them of their Mother's bowl, so they bought all four!  One for each of them, and one for each of their children for future wedding gifts so that their children would remember their Grandmother and use the bowl for fruit salad like she did!  How thoughtful of a gift - unlike any other they will receive.

Another idea is to buy a particular item for its collectible value - such as a piece of Fenton art glass, American Fostoria crystal, antique lamp, vintage crystal stemware, EAPG compotes, antique china, vintage hand crocheted bedspread, discontinued collectibles, etc.  These items can encourage a lifetime of collecting that can bring much joy!  We have sold vintage crystal stemware instead of "new" simply because it is uniquely beautiful and not something that will be duplicated among the wedding gifts.

I have been told that many brides are now electing to have a Victorian wedding!  Everything was so elegant and formal back then!  In the day of jeans and T Shirts, it is exciting to think of getting dressed up in fancy vintage dress and jewelry.  From the antique china used to serve at the reception to the sparkling crystal punch bowl - all of these items can be found in antique stores all across the nation.

One of my customers said once "A gift from Memories is a gift they will always remember!"  Think outside the norm and shop in antique stores for your next wedding gift - at Memories we can help you pick the perfect item that the couple will always treasure!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Bring Vintage Linens Back to Life!

I once had a craft/antique shop in Cocoa Village, Florida - a quaint shopping village located on the Indian River in Cocoa, Florida.  I had a customer who was enthralled with vintage hand embroidered linens of all kinds with hand crocheted edges.  She had an inspiration to put together quilt squares using bits and pieces of these old linens.  She would cut out her 12" X 12" muslin square and start working with her linens, cutting and arranging them on each unique square until she got it just right.  She brought her works of art into my shop to share with me one day, and I've never seen such a beautiful collection.  She then put them together into a quilt for her bed.

This would be a wonderful use for any old crocheted doilies or hand embroidered linens from your family (or you could purchase and collect them as she did).  We always have a great selection of linens at Memories for you to browse.  Once her quilt was finished, she also made pillows for the head of her bed - so romantic and beautiful!

I have also seen ideas for using vintage hankerchiefs the same way by using one hanky for each square of a quilt and trim with crocheted lace or doilies.  Another way to use old hankies is to hang them from corner to corner on a curtain rod to make a valance - so sweet for the bathroom or feminine bedroom.

I have used old embroidered pillow cases and inserted an 18" X 18" pillow form, folded down the embroidered edge of the pillow case for a lovely pillow for the bed or bedroom chair!

Of course, you can always use the doilies and linens on your furniture and chair backs as they were designed for - for a romantic look that softens the decor of your home!  The ideas are endless!  Think outside the box when you are browsing in the linen section of your local antique store or when you are going through your Grandmother's hand stitched treasures.  Reuse and recycle - that's what we do here at Memories Past and Present!  It's a fun and unique way to decorate!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Creative New Uses for Old Frames

I had a customer in the other day who works in a framing shop, and she told me that she will never look at framed prints and pictures the same way again!  She has a renewed interest in just the frames - and not particularly the pictures in them.  After you read this blog, you will have a new interest in frames!

One creative use for old frames is to take out the picture and insert vintage photographs, wedding invitations, special greeting cards, your Grandmother's hand crocheted or tatted doilies, old music, old decorative hankies, or whatever strikes your fancy.  Place them on a background of fabric that matches your room or even wallpaper or wrapping paper.  These can either be fixed to hang on your wall just like you would a picture - or you can purchase two handles at your hardware store and mount them on the ends of the frame, and you will have a beautiful tray on which to serve your next cup of tea.

These look so pretty just sitting on your coffee or side table for a place to sit your coffee or tea when you are relaxing to read a book and sip your tea!  Another way to make your tray even more special is to purchase little decorative brass or wooden legs and affix them to the bottom of the corners.  The ideas are limitless and are guaranteed to make you never look at antique framed pictures in the same way ever again.  Also, this would be a perfect, one of a kind, gift idea!

Another great idea is to hang an empty frame on the wall and inside it hang a smaller picture or even a pretty vintage plate!  If the frames are damaged when you find them (and many of them are in antique stores), just paint them in whatever color you want, or paint them white and then sand lightly to give the cottage or shabby chic look.  If you are looking for the perfect mirror for your bathroom and just can't find it - check out your local antique store for old framed prints and take the frame and get a mirror placed in it. 

I promise you that you will never look at pictures at antique shops, garage sales, or flea markets in the same way again.  What's Old can be New Again!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Owls Popular Again - Who Gives A Hoot?

Again, I will mention the 1970's as I was a young married woman, just out of college and starting housekeeping.  I remember the avocado green, harvest gold, mushroom cookie jars, and owls - owls were everywhere!  I'm sure you've noticed that lately, there are those "hoots" again - everywhere!

My daughter has recently had a new beautiful baby girl - while she was expecting, she was working on a theme for the baby's room and she would chat with me on facebook and send me links to decorating ideas she found that she liked.  I couldn't believe it when the theme she chose was these cute little owls sitting on branches in trees.  I mentioned it to the lady next door to my shop who operates a kids clothing store, and she said when she went to market that was all she could see - owls everywhere!!!  And so I helped my daughter decorate little Sadie Caroline's room in pink, green and brown owls sitting in pink polka dot trees!  And, believe it or not, it is so cute and feminine - there's even a soft owl pillow in the rocking chair.

Young girls have come in my antique store (girls in their teens) and gotten so excited over my owl jewelry and anything else with owls on it.  I asked them if they knew that owls were popular 40 years ago?!?  One punched the other and said "I TOLD you it was the 70's" like that was so long ago - I mean ancient!  Hmmm....I smiled.....doesn't seem that long ago to me!

Well anyway, when you are going through your Mother's or Grandmother's things, don't discount anything as being old and silly and outdated - you just never know what trend will come back around and be the next, new hottest thing.  So at Memories, we are seeing vintage owl items make an appearance - necklaces (those big ones with the bright colored beady eyes), brooches (even one from Avon that holds solid perfume), needlepoint purse, crystal paperweight, salt and pepper shakers, figurines, and more!  There you go - what's old is new again!  Who woulda' thought - owls!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

The Colors of Fall

When the seasons change, it is always a time of reflection and new beginnings.  We start to think about changing out the decorations in our homes to prepare for the coming season.  When I think of Fall, I think of colors - red, orange, gold, green and brown, that represent the colors of the leaves as they turn and start to fall to the ground.

When I was a young married woman in the 1970's, the "in" colors were avocado green and harvest gold - all the really modern homes had these colors in their carpet, kitchen appliances, and accessories.  Today we would say "yuk" because the trends are different and these colors are not in favor.  But when it comes to decorating for Fall - there they are - and we need to be able work them into our home to reflect the season.

I remember in my dining room in the 70's I had a large bay window with glass shelves - they were covered with sparkling glassware in green and gold - I had little bells, bowls, toothpick holders, etc. in those colors proudly displayed all year long for the sunlight to reflect through.  One of the favorite patterns of that time was "Moon and Stars", a lovely glassware pattern that came in all colors - it is still popular and collectible even all these years later.  Another beautiful idea for Fall is amberina glass - it is a beautiful glassware that blends from red to orange to yellow - each piece is unique and the colors are vivid. 

When thinking about decorating your kitchen and dining tables, consider these items from long ago as your accent pieces and centerpieces!  At Memories we have a multitude of beautiful items to choose from, including sugar and creamers, baskets, banana stands, compotes, bowls, and more!  Think outside the box this year, and consider the idea of decorating with someting "vintage" rather than purchasing new!  The glassware is durable and will give you pleasure for many years to come.  Stop in for some great Fall decorating ideas at Memories this season!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Needlework in the Modern Home

In Victorian times, the art of needlework whether it be needlepoint or embroidery, was taught to the young girls.  Today, it is sadly a dying art!  But you can still find beautiful pieces, lovingly hand stitched during the past 100 years in antique shops and at yard sales and flea markets, and they deserve to be rescued!

My home is filled with needlepoint - dining room chair seats, bell pulls, framed pictures, and decorative pillows - all done by either my Mother or some other wonderful lady from the past.  I do counted cross stitch and have many pieces framed and hung in my home.  Each item represents hours and hours of patient hand work done while sitting in the evenings maybe in front of the fireplace or while listening to music or watching the television.  I believe that this kind of artwork adds warmth to a home.

Hand embroidered guest towels and pillow cases can also be used in the modern home!  There is nothing more pleasing than for your guest to lay their heads on a soft, freshly pressed hand embroidered pillow case from the past and to dry their fingertips on a dainty guest towel embroidered with a pretty flower.  One way I have used the pillow cases is to purchase an 18" X 18" pillow form and place it down inside the pillow case - then fold over the decorative edge and display proudly on your bed or bedroom chair.

Whenever I see a piece of needlework, neglected and poorly framed - something that took someone hours to stitch - I just have to rescue it!  I once found a counted cross stitch bride picture complete with tiny little beads stitched into the dress and stitched onto light blue fabric.  It was framed in a cheap gold frame and not pressed and stretched properly.  I found a decorative antique frame which had been painted white, took the needlework out of the frame, hand washed it carefully, pressed it, and took it to be professionally mounted and framed in that antique frame.  It is proudly hanging in my home today along with others that I have stitched.

The next time you see needlework, take the time to examine it - if it is in good condition and just needs a little TLC - rescue it!  Every time you look at it you can think of someone who took their precious time to lovingly stitch it, probably as a gift for someone, and consider it a gift to you and your home!  We always have many pieces of needlepoint and other needlework including embroidery, cross stitch, and hand stitched quilts in our antique store that have been rescued and can advise you how they can be used in your home.  Warm up your home with some needlework from the past today!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Romance Your Home With Roses!

Perfect for the bath, the bedroom, formal living or dining room, or any room - the soft colors of roses can add romance to your home!  Keep the walls and floors neutral, and you can add florals to your heart's content!

In the bath add a beautiful vintage wash bowl and pitcher filled with roses, soft rose covered curtains and shower curtain, towels, etc.  Add the soft light of candles and you have a romantic bath!

Adorn the entrance to your home with rose covered wreaths on your doors!  Accent your living room with floral pillows, lace table runners, mirrors to reflect the beauty, floral drapes, pretty accent rug, needlepoint pillows and wall hangings, vases and urns filled with greenery and roses, a pretty rose teapot and teacup on your coffee table and sit back and enjoy the beauty as you read your favorite novel!

In your dining room enhance your light fixture with a rose garland, lace tablecloth on the dining table with a beautiful floral arrangement in the center, candle holders of various heights, mirrors again to reflect the beauty, set the table with lovely antique china in a variety of rose patterns (mix and match makes a beautiful elegant, yet casual setting), accent rug beneath the table, silver and crystal on the buffet filled with roses!  What a lovely tea or dinner party you could have in this setting.

Memories has a store full of beautiful crystal, rose covered china, hand painted cabinet plates, garden statues and angels, antique silver and needlepoint bell pulls, mirrors, lamps and more to help you romance your home!  If you are not sure where to begin, just select pieces that you love and we guarantee they will work into your romantic space!

Fresh roses are always a nice addition to your home - I just picked some pink roses from my "Memorial Day" rose and brought them inside for the eating area of my home - and now the whole house smells sweet and romantic!  What are some of your ideas to romance your home?

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Pick a Garden Theme!

One wonderful way to decorate a room or a corner of a room is to pick a theme and decorate around it using vintage items that you have or find while you are shopping antique stores!  We will explore other ideas in the future, but today we will talk about a garden theme!

If you love flowers and gardening, you can search for items to fit that theme - it makes the decorating and the shopping both more fun and interesting.  There are no rules when decorating your home - use the colors, themes, and items that make you happy and are pleasing to your eye.  Layer and group your collections to get a more dramatic effect.  If you need lessons on layering and grouping, stop by Memories - we are experts at this as you can observe throughout our store.

If you love gardening, you probably already have items that you can use.  In the eating area of my kitchen, I decided to go with the garden theme - I have Ray Harm and Audubon bird prints, bird figurines, battery operated wind chimes, bird houses, stitchery pictures with garden verses, gardening books, seed packets, a small indoor fountain, watering cans, violets and more.  Other items that can be incorporated would be old garden benches, wreaths, bird cages, green plants displayed in old pottery pieces or baskets, old garden tools - the ideas are endless!

We have lots of garden theme items at Memories including old wagon seats, picket fence shelves, primitive birdhouse lamp, bird cages and bird figurines, and much more!  All you have to do is tell us what your "theme" is and we'll help you find something perfect to fit your decor!  The idea in decorating your home is to make it "you" and to have fun with it.  If you see something you love, purchase it and you will find the perfect spot in your home for it - I promise!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Old China = Great Gift Ideas!

Many of us have odd pieces of old china - perhaps a teacup and saucer, a teapot without a lid, mixed dishes and saucers.  There are so many uses for these pieces, plus you can put together great friendship or hostess gifts!  Even if you don't own any items like mentioned, antique stores and flea markets have an abundance, and if you see something in a beautiful pattern, you won't have to pass it up if you have a great use for it!

A pretty cup and saucer makes a terrific gift for a friend - just place a tea bag and some chocolates or small candle or potpouri inside!  If you know your friend's china pattern, seek out a cup and saucer or other piece to add to her set!  If you want to spend more, purchase two or three varied cups and saucers - stack them and tie with a pretty bow!  What bride-to-be wouldn't want a cup and saucer to match her grandmother's china! 

If you find a teapot, coffee pot, or chocolate pot with a missing lid, the price will be right, and it can be filled with a beautiful flower arrangement for a special gift or the center of your own table!

Find a beautiful saucer and purchase a pillar candle or pretty bar of soap to sit on it - tie a bow on the candle or soap - perfect and thoughtful gift! 

Plates don't have to match to make a lovely place setting - the next time you serve your friends lunch, mix up your china pieces so that each place setting is different.  Set it all on a table covered in a vintage brightly colored printed tablecloth!  Fun and inexpensive!

Anyone have more ideas?

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Milk Glass - Shabby to Chic!

When you think of milk glass, you probably think of all those cheap bud vases that you see in all the thrift stores!  But there is much more to this sparkling white glass!  And even those cheap bud vases, when grouped together with flowers from your garden, can make a beautiful centerpiece, or used at each individual serving place at your tea party with a single flower and perhaps a ribbon!

Almost every serving piece has been made out of milk glass - pitchers with matching glasses, sets of dishes, cups and saucers, punch bowls and cups, compotes, and specialty pieces such as perfume bottles, epergnes, fairy lamps, bride's baskets, lamps, fairy lamps, and much more! 

When looking for milk glass, the best in my opinion is Westmoreland Glass (Marked with a WG on the bottom) or Fenton (marked with an oval with the name Fenton in it).  There are several beautiful patterns including hobnail and paneled grape, which we have in our store!

When thinking of how to use it in your home, be creative!  There is nothing prettier than a whole display of white milk glass grouped in a cabinet or against a pastel or dark background.  Imagine in the Spring, using your milk glass pitcher and glasses to serve lemonade on the porch with colorful tablecloths!  And at Christmas with your red, green, navy or burgundy accessories!  It's making a comeback!  Start looking at milk glass in a different way - a creative way - to use in your home!  You'll be glad you did!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Quilts Are Not Just for Beds Anymore!

Ever admire those beautiful old quilts in an antique store such as Memories Past and Present and wonder what you would do with it?  Or maybe you even have some treasured quilts made by your Grandmother in your closet or trunk.  They don't fit your bed or match your color scheme!

Quilts originally were made from scraps of fabric and sewn together with love to cover a loved one and keep them warm.  But these days, what could you do to use these old quilts that you desire or treasure?

At Memories we use them in many ways:  As a tablecloth when setting your country table; as a wall hanging either hung from a rod or from clips as decor behind a couch, over a table, or behind the bed as a headboard;  over the back of a wicker settee on your back porch or in a sunroom; wrapped around the base of your country Christmas tree for a tree skirt; cut up into pieces and lovingly made into pillows so that each family member can have a piece of Grandma's quilt; cut and used for clothing for dolls, covers for doll beds, angel wings on hand-made dolls; folded neatly at the foot of your bed; draped on an old trunk; and more!  You can even take a full size quilt and turn it sideways on your Queen size bed - then add pillows at the top to fill in the space to the headboard!

The ideas are endless!  What are some of your creative uses for antique quilts?

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Sell at Yard Sale/Or Not?

One of the most common questions I get at Memories is from people trying to downsize or sell their inherited "stuff" - I am afraid I will sell something really valuable at a garage sale price - how do I know the difference?

There is no way to be an expert overnight at what is valuable and what is not, and research on each item takes volumes of time, and you have to know where to look!  We have helped many people out at Memories by selecting those items that are true treasures out of the pile of "stuff" and researching and selling for a good price in our store and in our on-line store at 

Don't be afraid to ask a dealer for help when sorting through your "stuff" - most would be happy to assist and either buy for a reasonable (not garage sale) price, or take it in their store to sell for you. That way you can avoid costly mistakes or feeling guilty for getting rid of something precious without knowing it's true value. 

Monday, August 1, 2011

Treasures in your Attic

Had a consignor at Memories who had inherited a lot of  "stuff" from his grandmother.  He knew that she had nice things, but he had no need for those things.  He began to go through them after several years and bring a few items in to Memories to sell for him.

Memories had a customer who had left her name on our "wish list" looking for sterling silver and coin silver.  When we opened one of the boxes, we found a coin silver mint julep cup made in 1857.  After researching the item and coming up with a value, which was no insignificant amount, we contacted the customer.  Within just a few minutes, the match was made. 

This old item that had been stored for years in a box in the garage had found a new home - someone new to "treasure" and cherish it in their collection for many years to come.

What treasures do you have that are stored away as just "stuff" that has no value to you.  I know my consignor is wishing he had more mint julep cups!  Maybe you had better go and unpack some of those boxes in your attic!

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Old Wagon Seats

When you enter an antique store, do you ever stop to think about the history behind all the "stuff" you are looking at?  I have often wished that I could know about the places that these items have been and the people who have touched and cherished them.

I recently received two primitive wagon seats - wonder who sat on them and where they were going?  Did they travel long distances, or were they used by a family to go from their farm into town for supplies.  Oh, the stories these wagon seats could tell.  I can imagine a father and son on the seat riding around the farm and sharing stories as they rode.  You ask "What would anyone want with an old wagon seat and why on earth would anyone save them?".  You can bet that they were saved because they meant something sentimental - maybe their grandparents had a farm and they remembered riding in that wagon! 

These days they would be a great addition to a rustic family room as a coffee table, or placed on a porch for a small table or seat for children, or even used as primitive decor for your log cabin, country retreat, or lake home!  As you enter Memories, let your imagination go to work when you are browsing.  Think outside the box and find a "new" use for these "old" treasures!

Friday, July 29, 2011

Memories Recycled

When I had my shop in Florida called Simple Country Pleasures, it was a craft shop where I sold handcrafted items and I gradually added antiques.  Many customers who came in began to tell me that the items they saw in the store brought back "Memories" of their childhood and their grandparents' homes.  Some even came to tears telling me stories about their "memories".

I decided at that time that if I ever opened a different store it would incorporate "Memories" in the name.  When I moved back to my hometown of Henderson, Kentucky, I opened an antique and gift shop called Memories Past and Present.  Such a good choice because it describes exactly what I do - give old items a new life in the present.  I call myself a matchmaker, as I find a new home for treasures from the past.

Do you have treasures from the past that you would like to find a new home for?  Bring them to me, tell me the story about them, and I will find the perfect match!  Share some stories about "memories" that you have encountered when visiting Memories Past and Present!