Monday, November 28, 2011

We Couldn't Pass Them Up

Now that Thanksgiving weekend is over, I thought I'd show you some of the other stuff we've been doing besides eating.  We've been taking little, impromptu road trips lately to our favorite haunts, namely graveyards (where my new status as a geocacher-er is being put to good use, incidentally) and if an antique store or three should happen to pop up on the way, well, of course, we have to stop in at them, too.

A word here about my 'decorating/furniture style''s non-existent.  I overheard a rather feline visitor tell another guest long ago that the decor in our home resembled 'Early American Hodge Podge', which I took as a compliment, despite the snarky way she hissed it.  That is, until I found out it wasn't meant to be a compliment. (I guess that's why she was whispering?)  Then I was a tad hurt. 
This marble-topped table belonged to my mother's mother.  Since my mother is now 91, this table is Old.  It was the first piece of antique furniture I have ever owned, and the only thing I have from my grandmother who passed away at the age of 41 when my mother was 8 years old.

But I got over it and decided to embrace my trendsetting ways. Actually, the lady was wrong, our furniture was more like 'Early Marriage Too Broke to Afford Anything New' style, really.  And though she's never been back to visit us again, we haven't changed much of anything since.  Instead we keep adding to the mish-mashed collection.

When we got married in 1978, my mother-in-law gave Carl and I a pair of little tables she had gotten from a thrift store which had at one time been a  bedroom dressing table connected by a mirror.  Somewhere along the line, someone had sawed the tables (with three drawers apiece) apart from the mirror and they began their life as independent pieces.   My mother-in-law had painted them a rather chalky blue color which looked nice in her home but my plan was to someday strip the paint and restore them to their original wood finish.

Our youngest son, Dave,  had them in his room as bedside tables for years until he grew tired of them and stuck them out in the upstairs hallway.  Since he had seeming disdain for them, I nabbed one when we finished the stained glass Iris shade a few years ago and stuck it in the corner of our dining room.   (On that horrid orange vinyl floor of ours, it made quite the 'statement'.  I was really going to strip the blue paint eventually...)  The other table stayed put upstairs.

When Dave moved out a month ago, he came home to pick up more of his stuff and surprised me when he brought the little blue table downstairs with him.  "Where's the other one?" he asked me.

I stammered, "In the corner of the dining room, under the lamp."

Well, he felt bad then.  "Oh, I never noticed it there....did you want to keep them?  I thought they were mine, but I won't take them if you don't want me to."

Of course they were his!  They had been in his room since he was little and I was glad to see he wanted to put them to good use as bedside tables for his new apartment.  (He is in the process of refinishing them now.)

Plus, this gave me the excuse to go hunting for something new for us.  Well, I should say something old for us.  We both love old furniture.  Carl was all for the adventure.  You never know what you'll find.

Like Yammie.......(short for Yawman & Erbe, an old office furniture maker extraordinaire) who came to live with us two years ago.  There's 30 drawers here, yes, Thirty....and they're all put to good use.
 Yammie (pronounced Ya -me, not yammy, like a yam, sheesh) is now instrumental in keeping my canned goods and recipes in order and freed up a huge amount of cupboard space in the kitchen:
Notice the inordinate amount of space in this drawer for 'Bar Recipes' aka anything with chocolate in them, followed by an Apple Crisp.....

And, another confession....I use canned corn.  I just never have much luck with growing our own.  It's all the raccoons around here, they get to it before we do.  (That and I'm too lazy to can it.)
This is our First Aid drawer.  We play with stained glass quite a bit and we're a clumsy bunch at times, so this drawer is used far too often.

I don't know what I'd do without this huge, old cabinet. We found him in a tiny antique mall, sitting in a corner.  Yammie is made of quarter-sawn oak and is all in pieces, you can arrange the stacks of drawers in any configuration. 

So, since Dave took his corner cabinet, we needed something to stick that lamp on.  Time to go antiquing!  On a rainy night a few weeks ago, we headed to a few antique stores.  One we love to browse through is a huge gallery of antiques that have all been restored.  They have the most beautiful furniture.  If I had a huge house, (and a huge bank account) I could easily furnish my entire home with the absolutely gorgeous pieces in their store.  Alas, our home is much too small for most of the lovely furniture, but we can dream, right?  Their prices are not that high, though, considering the workmanship and materials that went into the furniture.  They just don't make stuff like that anymore, at least not in stores we can afford. 

 We left the luxurious antique gallery and headed to another antique mall, arriving within fifteen minutes to closing.  We decided to split up.  Carl went left and I went right. Just as the announcement of the store closing came over the loudspeakers and as the lights were being flicked off, I came around the corner and there it was.

An old cabinet, the kind that held phonograph cylinders before the days of CD's.

I have a 'thing' for quarter-sawn oak and this little cabinet was so sturdily built, it just had to come home with us.  Just look at the drawers; I love drawers.  In this small house of ours, every inch has to count.  We crammed it into the backseat of our Pontiac and off we went.

The old phonograph cylinder cabinet makes a wonderful stand for our assorted stained glass lamps, too.

I haven't named it yet. (You know I have a name for almost everything, right?)  I guess I could call it Phony, but that seems rather mean.  Or Cilly? (For the cylinders it used to hold?)  Goodness.  Some people call these Edison Cabinets, so I guess this could be Eddie, but somehow, it doesn't look like an Eddie, either. Any ideas out there?

Moving's something we found this past week at an antique store-aganza. Now, you may wonder what in the world we are going to do with these, and you'd be right.  We don't know yet.

Do you recognize them?  They are tree grates, used in cities to allow water and air circulation for trees growing in sidewalks.  These four incredibly heavy grates are our Christmas present to each other this year.

 (I put the old bow there to show how I would wrap these if I was giving them as a gift.  That's right, I'd just tie a bow on them.)
They are big, about 5' wide and almost 3' tall.  I was thinking a gate of some kind, because I especially like the way they look upside down with the ribs sticking up.  Like a sunrise or a sunset.  The guy at the antique place didn't really want to part with them all that much; he had plans to take a torch and do some creative cutting and welding, but I love them just the way they are.  I was seeing them mounted on a lovely pedestal of some kind and used as a driveway entrance.  Or something.  That's the problem with us, it's always something.

I also thought of using stained glass as an insert.  These could be used for boot grates, too, to wipe your feet off on (that was Carl's idea). 

One thing is for sure, we'll use them.

For something.


Karen said...

Oh, well.

africanaussie said...

I love Yammie, although I would have trouble without labels - how do you remember what goes where? As I have said before I love your stained glass. That lamp on the new chest of drawers is stunning. You are so talented, and I am sure those grates will be showing up on your blog as something very creative.

Karen said...

africanaussie, thank Goodness someone else can read this! I was just about ready to give up, lol.

Labels would be a great idea, and I could easily do it. I have most everything memorized, but Carl doesn't, so he goes on a merry chase through each drawer for what he's looking for, at least for food. He knows where the First Aid drawer is though.

I have been having issues with the blog the last few days. I was trying to set up a slideshow of the stained glass and then weird things started happening, so I gave up. One of these days, I'll try it again, but right now I'm afraid to touch the template.

Thank you so much for letting me know you can 'see' me!

Junebug said...

I can see it and love all your finds. Those grates are fabulous. I will be patience to see what you and Carl come up with. I was really trying to have a name suggestion but as usual I'm blank. So good luck!!

Zoey said...

I love Yammie. I have always wanted an old library cabinet.

Those grates are amazing and I can't wait to see what you and Carl come up with.

Every year we buy something for the garden for Christmas presents. Last year it was the two big urns by the garage. The year before the potting table and an arbor.

I bet it warmed your heart that your son liked those end tables after all. :)

I can also see the post above. Sometimes Blogger misbehaves and it drives me nuts. I still can't get mine to show a preview.

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FlowerLady said...

We love oak too and that little chest is a fantastic find. So are those grates. I know you two will come up with some GREAT/ARTISTIC way of using them there.

I love that piece with all the storage space. WOW.

Have a wonderful Christmas holiday season.


P.S. Our little cottage isn't decorated in any one style, but it makes us feel comfortable and we enjoy the bits and pieces we've collected over the years.

myomyohi said...

I saw this post pop up over the weekend but couldn't open it at that time, then it was gone, so you're not losing it, so stop pulling your hair out girl. :)

First of all: I absolutely love Yammie. I have a drawer fetish. Love anything with drawers for some reason. Yammie is awesome. The new cabinet is very cool. I don't remember seeing a cylinder cabinet before.

The light on the new cabinet is FABULOUS. It is so pretty. Love it.

and those grates.... I would have drug them home too. They'll speak to you when the time is right, and you'll know exactly what to do with them.

My decorating style has been called early attic eclectic. I guess that means I like a bit of everything, mixed with lots of old stuff :)

And your comment about my scrap metal fish.... I hadn't thought about them looking like fossils but you're so right. You know how I love rocks, and of course fossils, so it really makes sense. Thanks for the insight. Now I know why I like them even though they're quirky.


Indie said...

Oh I think I'm in love with your Yammie! My in-laws have an Asian looking one that I also love. They are so much fun with all those drawers!

Fantastic finds! The tree grates are awesome - I can't wait to see what you do with them! I love pretty much anything in iron. Sometime I'll get to the big flea market in Raleigh and find some treasures to spray paint and decorate my fence and garden with. It's much harder at the moment to find treasures while chasing little kids, but one of these days :)

Gatsbys Gardens said...


I would have a great time with all of these. I use an old armoire for my kitchen pantry. Your cabinet is a lot more useful with the drawers.


Tufa Girl said...

First, anyone that has been invited into your home to then make a snarky remark about the decor was just raised wrong. Your home is homey with things that matter to you.

I love how you use Yammie, I have to be creative with the storage around here also.

I would use a light behind those grates to create shadows on the walls. (Of course I have a lot of wall to fill up.)

Dragonfly Treasure said...

I am in love with Yammie!! I kick myself now for passing up an old card cabinet from a library at a sale for $20.00. I just had no where to fit it in this crammed house ( and he would have killed me)....little did I know I would be getting a divorce and with "his" furniture out I would have had plenty of room...grrrr.
Just love all your drawers and the way you've put them to use.

Those grates are awesome!! anything you do with them will be cool!

What a find on the "eddie/cilly/phony" way cool!
I love your lamp. That must have been a task to create that round shade. Gorgeous.

Your posts are showing up fine for me.

Oh and BTW, forget that lady. I have my own style too...I like to call it "whatever makes me smile style". I have a bunch of what others would call quirky, but they make me smile so they have a home here.

Still haven't figured out what to do woth the screen. If that darn crack wasn't there I'd leave it alone, but you can still see it pretty clearly through the rust...that's it, I need more rust!! LOL
My only concern is that if I remove it (let it all fall to pieces) I'll want it back...there isn't going back on this one.

Ah, well, no hurry to decide...(thats what I keep telling myself anyway.) LOL
Have a great day!!

Karen said...

Junebug, no worries! I'm blank too, especially after fighting with my computer the last few days. Goodness, thank you for letting me know I am not Invisible.

Zoey, I hear you! I was ready to chuck it all for awhile there. I think buying something you both love is a great way to cut down on the holiday gift-giving madness, don't you? I can walk around in stores and just start to zone out, nothing appeals to the people I need to buy for and it all melds together. But, alas, antiques are not for everyone. Hey, to each his own, right?

Rainey, your home is the very epitome of 'Home' and all the word evokes. Comfort, shelter, peace, beauty, serenity and Love. No one could ask for more!

Karen said...

Myra, I know! Aren't drawers and cabinets just essential to organizing? (Not that I'm organized, lol.) Early Attic Eclectic? Love it! Sometimes I see those magazines or TV shows where an interior designer goes nuts with someone's home and I think, Ewwwww....that's not who these people are. That's who the designer is. The home was much nicer before, filled with mementos that meant something to the people who lived there.

Your scrap metal fossil fish are just perfect, Myra.

Karen said...

Indie, you know, we kicked the tires (er the ribs) of those grates for quite awhile before deciding to buy them and then we had to convince the guy he wanted to sell them. They'll probably sit around here for some time before we find the perfect application, but we don't want to really alter them in any way. Would seem a shame to cut them apart, wouldn't it?

Alison said...

I love your Yammie cabinet, it is too cool! I love antiques, but I have absolutely no eye for decorating, so I don't feel right about spending money on them.

I like your idea of making a gate with those big tree grates, I can totally see that in my mind. We have quite a few cute little antique stores and malls here, but I know if I get started buying things I will end up filling our house and garage and shed with stuff that I plan to do something with someday...

Karen said...

Eileen, I've been eying armoires for years at antique stores, I think they would be the THING to have for a pantry! I'm also fantasizing using one in my Fantasy Mud Room as a closet to hang coats in. Some day I will have a mud room and not a mud house!

Karen said...

Cindy, I could see those grates in your home, I really, really could. They would make a wonderful architectural statement and with lights behind them, it would be awesome. More ideas!

Deb, there was a twin to Yammie in Ohio last fall and we almost dropped everything to drive there and buy it. We even called the person who had it advertised, but unfortunately the weekend we could go and get it, he wasn't available. Oh, we were bummed. I have no more room for another Yammie, but believe me, I'd find a place for one somewhere. We were lucky that the price was fairly reasonable, they go for alot at auctions, more than we would want to pay most the time.

That screen does pose an interesting dilemma, I've been thinking about it, too. I bet one of these days the perfect idea will pop up and you'll be so glad you kept it the way it was!

Debra said...

Karen, we are kindred spirits. I love old things and think your acquisitions are pure gold. My home is full of finds also.

I garden much the same way as I style our home - largely with found objects. I had a garden cottage constructed around two reclaimed doors and 5 discarded windows, and just love it - it's the center of my backyard space. If you have an opportunity, I have a picture of it on my blog (the article is called It is time to hibernate).

I'm a bit jealous of your iron grates.

Rosemary said...

Karen Love your pieces and can see why you love the cabinet with all the drawers is fabulous...... new find perfect for your lamp. Will look forward to what you do with the grates they are interesting.

Dragonfly Treasure said...

I just saw yammy in this Months Country Living Magazine!! I was so excited when I saw her.

It's so very similar to her. Page 52. If you cannot get a copy (or peek at it in the grocery line) let me know and I'll scan it and send it to you.
It's in The What is it whats it worth section.
I wa sso excited when I recognized it...then had to remember whose blog I saw it on! yikes! LOL

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