Thursday, September 13, 2012

My Love Affair with Stangl....and letting go

I'm not really certain when it happened. My obsession with dishes, that is.
The best I can remember is this: I grew up in a "throw away" house. We moved 4 times between my 11th and 18th year. Things got discarded, quickly. My mother never saved anything from my childhood. This always made me sad.
I remember her buying a set of dishes that were to be used for my communion. Simple white porcelain stored in our NEW Colonial style (bleck) Pine hutch.
It was the only thing I ever remember that was purchased "only for me". My sister (5 years younger) and I shared a bedroom, wore matching clothes etc.(very NOT fun for me)
I asked my mom one day, "what ever happened to those dishes?" she explained that she sold them after she divorced my father.
End of that story....and so it began
When I was 20 or so my interest in "vintage" started. I loved wearing vintage clothes and started hitting flea markets and garage sales for anything "cool".
A couple of years later I moved into my CO OP and had a home. I obsessed over my first set of dishes and searched and searched for the right set.
The pattern I chose was Mikasa Anthurium.
(the one and only time I bought NON American dinnerware.) It was love at first sight.
While I had been baking since I was 10, I had only begun to teach myself to cook. I had dreams of dinner parties (reeeeally in 500 square feet?) and friends packed in my little space.
So it was a dream come true when I found this beautiful set. I bought every matching piece and filled my apt with fresh exotic flowers. Anthuriums included. I loved my home but never did get around to dinner parties.(sigh)
(by now you all know I go on and on and get off topic, often... sorry)
Eh hemm.
As my collecting bug merged with my dinnerware obsession, my desire to support my own country grew. I began researching American dinnerware companies of the early 1900s through the 60s.
Being creative and "artsy" I became interested in the companies that created hand painted dinnerware lines. I found that there was actually a company in NJ that produced dinnerware right up into the 70s.
Stangl. Hand carved brightly colored dinnerware....Being The "Jersey Girl" that I am I searched and hunted for as much as I could. I began collecting Thistle, Wild Rose, Magnolia and the elusive Carnival. It was my goal to have 4 complete place setting of each along with all the extras.
This collection has been at least 20 years in the making.
(I never completed it)
When I moved to Boonton over 2 years ago my collection (all 6 crates of it) got stored away.
I have not ever used any of it, not ever. Pre Boonton my kitchen was decorated in Pink and Green and My Stangl was displayed on shelves....and everywhere.
But I needed to put the past behind me and start fresh.
(those of you who really know me, know why)
Well yesterday I pulled it all out. I unwrapped each piece like it was Christmas.

 As I type this my reservations grow and I do have a sick feeling in my stomach. You see, I guess growing up in the "throw away" home really had an affect on me.
I crave grounding and stability.....and all the things your own home symbolizes.
I save everything (NO I am not a horder) everyyyyything that has meaning. Savannahs report cards, hand made ornaments and dance trophies and costumes.
Oh yes...and my dishes.....
But I feel change coming and I need to clean out and organize.
So this summer as business on Main St is at a stand still, I vowed to list all of my vintage....and my stash....and my "creating supplies", and fill my Etsy shop with all of these wonderful things that have meant so much to me all these years.
I've needed them for security. I've needed them because for so long I never felt at home. But here in this falling down Victorian I have made a home for Savannah and I. It fees so good to walk in to my space. MY home.
And I know deep down in my heart that where ever life takes us now.......where she and I are, no matter how large or small the space is.....we will be home. truth....I don't need all of this stuff anymore. Yes I am queasy, but I know it will pass because I and the home I have created is enough for me. I feel safe and grounded.

And this is the happiest I have been for a very verrry long time.

oh yes.....I still have 5 sets of dishes that I actually DO use! (wink)

Friday, May 18, 2012

Champagne Reception! Let the Fundraising Begin! (Oh and Happy Birthday to me)

On June 17th I am turning 50.(ugg)
Typically I do not "mark" my milestones with anything that remotely resembles a parr tayy however I have decided to embrace this one and honor it with a personal challenge.
Since 2007 I have been raising funds to help find the cure for cancer through
 The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's Team In Training.
Basically, Team In Training is an endurance training program that helps you to achieve the goal of completing a marathon, half marathon, triathlon, century ride or endurance hike.
The concept is agree to raise a set amount of money and in return you are trained, coached, escorted to and assisted race week end by coaches and staff of The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.
Win, Win. 
You raise necessary dollars to help scientists research new drugs like Gleevec and directly assist people and families who are desperate for financial help and counseling due to the effects of cancer.
And in achieve that which many cannot. You run 13.1 or 26.2 miles and cross a finish line(and get a huge honkin medal...unless of course you run Nike in San Francisco then you get a Sterling TIFFANY medal read necklace given to you on a silver tray by some very and I mean verrrry hot SF firemen in Tuxedos). Or complete one of the other events. (again big medals)
Many people join Team In Training and become endurance athletes as a result.
Sadly I am not one. My sense of accomplishment never ever comes at the finish line. It comes in the dark, at the start line,standing among thousands waiting for the gun to go off.
It is then that I have time to reflect on the past few months and how hard I worked to assist families, and knowing I have done all I could to move us one step closer to finding a cure.
Yes, A Cure, for cancer.

And sooooo..........

Since my first race I have raised over 30,000.00.
And I have run one full marathon (yep 26.2 miles in the hills of San Francisco)
and five half marathons.
My goal is Lofty (to say the least) 
I would like to end my 50th year with a medal from yet another half marathon.
BUT, more importantly....I would like to bring my total to 50,000.00 raised.
50 in 50.

So to honor this goal and to celebrate the big five o I am having a Champagne Reception at SHV for First Friday.
June 1st.
The bubbly will be flowing, and I will have lots and lots of sweet treats.
I will be giving out gifts to those who make a donation, and have raffle prizes.
It's gonna be fun.
So COME, Lets and health and happiness and lets fund The Cure!

And if you can't make it...but still want to donate you can do so here:


Monday, April 2, 2012

Honoring Earth Day this First Friday

Earth day was founded in 1970. The same year Jimi Hendrix died and the last Beatles Album.
It quietly stepped onto the scene as war raged in Vietnam.
Vietnam, they call it the war that should have never happened. It killed many men within 10 years of my age and destroyed the lives of most who returned. I know a few guys who made it home. They never ever speak about it. Not ever.

Being a kid I was insulated from the war and protest. When I reflect back I don't really focus on much more than my cat Puffy, purple polyester bellbottoms
(ohhh my favorite) minibikes, football with the boys, "Free to Be You and Me" and a few commercials that left an impact.
One of these commercials was the "Don't Litter" commercial.
If you were alive back then I am sure you remember the Indian with the tear in his eye as he looked at his land, our land, with litter being thrown around.
Two words flashed at the bottom of the TV screen.....Don't Litter.
That commercial has always left an impact on me.

I grew up with a "pseudo hippie" mom who adapted to the changing times as best she could. Being divorced and a mother of 3 back then was not an easy thing.
I learned many life lessons back then. I became "color blind" at a very early age and learned that in order to grow we all must adapt, and yet change and be concerned citizens.

Life happens to us all but it seems I have carried into adulthood all of the life lessons I learned about equality and respect for people and our world back then as a child of the 60s and 70s.
Thank Goodness, because it seems racism is still alive as well as living in a "throw away" world.

Many people come into SHV and state "Wow it must be great to live your dream". SHV is not my dream...It's merely an extension of who I am.

And so April's "Theme" for First Friday is very important to me. More so than most.
While all of Main Street gets ready for the huge "ART WALKS" and restaurant weeks....I will be focusing on  helping you to see how we can make our planet a safer, healthier place.

Stop in this Friday, First Friday from 4-9. I will have samples of eco friendly laundry detergent
(yes it is safe for HE machines)
Along with a recipe to make it yourself. I will also be raffling off a basket of earth friendly products.

And so as Earth Day quietly stepped onto the scene back in 1970 I will honor Earth Day April 22, 2012 quietly, and hopefully lead by example and show you that small changes make big impacts on our world.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Annie Sloan Chalk Paint...At this point, it's a love LOVE thing..

Back in September I wrote about the new paint I had been using. It's an English Paint called Annie Sloan (real person) Chalk Paint.
It is the hot paint right now, and I wanted to try something different. I was getting bored with Linen White everywhere.
I read a ton of stuff that was on the web about the paint. But in a fashion true to who I am I dove right in and painted a piece.The paint goes on easily and is very well....chalky. So far so good. NOW the sealer. A wax with a very creamy type consistency, unlike anything that I had used before. I prefer the "aged look so I went right ahead and covered the piece with dark wax (YIKES) thinking I could just rub it off as I do with my glazes.
WRONG without getting into details....It was a gunky mess! and impossible to make better. So I tested that paint out (it says you can paint over anything. So I painted right over it!
Well....after about 3 to 4 tries the piece was covered with layers of
And I was still  far from skilled at using this new product.
So I read some more.....
AH have to put clear wax on FIRST then use the dark wax.
At this point I am hardly an expert however I am inspired by all the other furniture refinishers who use this paint. Soooo I have leaped outside the box (so long Linen White) and have gone color crazy!
I am having a blast and if you check out my facebook page you see all of the pieces.
I am layering colors and mixing odd combinations. I'm loving it!
My goal is to have the back room of my shop not so much of a furniture storage but more of a second display area of finished pieces so I can have a nice combination of BM Linen White (and Aqua and that fab Red I do) and more chalk painted pieces showcasing all of my techniques that I have developed over the last 2 years.

I hope you will pop in and check it all out....or maybe drop in on Tuesday afternoons when I have my open furniture painting class.
I'll be teaching my Benjamin Moore techniques for the month of March.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Why Keep The "Vintage" in Savannah Hope Vintage

The truth is I could not make a living selling Antique/Vintage.
I tried.
So slowly, without real thought my little shop has evolved into a place where vintage, one of a kind and handmade items coexist.
I have been a collector of American China, Pottery and Glass since the early 80s. And at times have had some collections with well over 50 or 60 pieces. There was a time when "the hunt" was filled with excitement and anticipation. I hit garage; tag and estate sales every week end hoping to find a rare piece or needed addition to my sets.
Over the years I have learned a lot about American dinner wares and while most of my collections have been sold I still have a soft spot for the likes of Stangl and Blue Ridge, Cambridge and Heisey, Weller and Fulper.
These days the excitement comes not from "the hunt" but from taking some of these things that I have already aquired (that in todays market have little to no value) and repurposing them creating something new and usable.
And so with the evolution of my business over the last year I have often thought about dropping the "Vintage" from Savannah Hope Vintage. My business entity is Savannah Hope LLC so any "tag" word after that is just that...a tag word.

I would love to support more and more artisans who like myself feel a real need to recycle, reuse and reinvent that which has already been created and "consumed" in an effort to reduce waste.
But these days business has been slow....and while I hear many positive comments from wonderful creative people.......I just can't seem to reach the point of making enough to support Savannah and I.
I'm not giving up, I promise. BUT right now in an effort to continue to offer NEW things to all of my customers I have decided to bring in more vintage.

I am "Destashing" my vintage pottery, china and glass and linens.
Expect to see items not only repurposed but bunched and tagged so hopefully you will follow my and my artists lead and create and repurpose....or enjoy them in the original form.

So while I have contemplated dropping the "Vintage" for now it will remain.

Stop in to see and feel the changes that are happening and support my business.....not necessarily for me but to foster and sustain the truth that in an effort to save our planet we must consider our deliberations and our impact.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Happy Birthday Dr. Seuss and The American Forests Fund

I've written about First Fridays before.
Each Month Boonton Main Street retailers all stay open late the First Friday.
Typically we have a theme and everyone goes all out to make it a great night.
(read PAR  TAY)
This month for (the very obvious) Valentines theme I had a local photographer in and created a "kissing booth". He photographed people of all sorts kissing or hamming it up.
It was a fun night!
But next month.....we honor Dr Seuss!
I'm so sooooo excited!
It would have been his birthday on March 2nd had he not passed in 1991.
Dr. Seuss was a man who I admire on so many levels.
He was a visionary and an environmentalist with a tremendous sense of humor.
When Savannah was small every year we would dress up as the same thing. (well one year she was a bride and I was the bridesmaid...but I think it still counts)
Savannah was probably about 4 and we were both the Cat in the Hat.
I think if you ask her today....what she remembers would likely be mom singing Disney tunes (most specifically one from The Little Mermaid) us dancing "the hustle" in our undies and "Horton Hears a Who". It was a favorite of mine (which means it became a favorite of hers) and I spent many a day reading and doing every character in a different voice. It still makes me smile.
Dr Seuss had an uncanny knack for taking a serious complicated intense topic and bringing it down to it's simplest form. So the smallest of small could understand.
In 1971 he published a genius book called "The Lorax".
Back then many were called "ecologists" and I include myself on the simplest level. You don't hear that term much anymore
 (arrg this is a you know your old when... moment) but what you do hear and see is real change in the way people view our Earth and the "stuff" in it.
The Lorax was the spokesperson for trees (because the trees had no tongues).
The lesson was simple...put thought into what you are producing...because while it is filling a need, you must consider the harm it is doing too.
For as long as I can remember I have considered....and while it was not really planned, it is no surprise that my business is one based on recycling, repurposing and reusing.
So it is oh so fitting for me to honor Dr. Seuss for the lesson he tried to teach about our Earth, the trees and corporate greed and destruction.
Thus my THEME for First Friday
(and the whole month of March) is
"The Lorax" and his monumental reminder:

"Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It's NOT."

I am working on creating tee shirt bags from repurposed tees that were donated to me (by the oh so beautiful Domestic Goddess) and ones I have had or found in thrift shops.  I will make as many as possible in the next few weeks.
These bags signify an alternative to paper shopping bags (formerly known as trees). They are unique, one of a kind, and can be used over and over (and washed with regular laundry).
I will be giving out these bags for a small donation (5.00 or more)
100% off all monies raised will go to The American Forests Fund.

You see the truth is I have believed for a very long time that I can and do make a difference in this world.
And I encourage all of you to consider....
you too can make a difference.

I have also set up a listing here if you cannot make it into my shop on First Friday or all month of March. I will ship your tee shirt bag to your address listed.

"Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It's Not"
The Lorax   by Dr. Seuss

Happy Birthday Dr. Seuss!

Tee Shirt Bag. Assorted Styles.
100% of all money goes to: 
The American Forests Fund.

shipping address

Monday, January 2, 2012

Happy New Year....Whats New?

It's been a while since I've posted. While I am not absolutely sure why I think it is because I have been working so much....I just haven't had much to say.
The Holidays, this year, were the very best I have had in a long time.
While I did not go overboard with decorations (trying to keep the electric bill down)
or overspend on presents (again trying to be careful to not spend too much) It was the happiest of holidays for me in almost 10 years.
I'm very grateful.
And a year end Thank You.
Thank You for reading my blog, and shopping in my little shop, being supportive, and being my friends.
I really mean it....Thank YOU.
This year is huge for me...lots of big things will be happening.
I am hoping to be able to keep moving in this positive direction so that maybe, possible, hopefully I will be able to achieve my one (or perhaps 2 or 3) goals that I have had for as long as I can remember.

Stay tuned....there will be lots new!