Friday, January 30, 2009

Antique/Vintage Trade Signs: High and Lo

Who doesn't adore old trade signs? The carved wood ones are especially creative and give a real graphic punch to your wallspace.

Those of us on a fixed budget often find these signs well out of our price range. But fortunately, there's a handful of Etsy sellers who either offer vintage signs on the cheap, or who are creating their own fresh versions of classic motifs.

Take a gander:

The Real Deal: Antique Pointing Finger "Footwear" Sign

. . . currently on sale at Robert Snyder and Judy Wilson Antiques and Folk Art for 975.

Charming Repro: Pointing Finger Signs By Morning Star Designs

. . . Etsy folk artist Morning Star Designs sells these in his shop for 36 dollars (I'm sure they are customizable). He also sells some delightful carved whales, fish, and diner-themed signs to grace your walls.

The Real Deal: Vintage Office Sign

. . . offered by Dennis Raleigh Antiques for 295.

The Real Steal: Vintage Help Wanted Sign

Etsy seller Blue Bell Bazaar sells a number of these charmers in the 40 dollar range. Her shop is a treasure trove of funky vintage finds: highly recommended, especially the chalkboards in antique frames!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Bilston and Battersea Boxes

I'm saving my pennies to purchase -- hopefully! -- one of these charming Bilston or Battersea enamel patch boxes for my birthday. Technically, I know, they're not folk art, but they have a simple, homey charm that I just love.

Battersea/Bilston boxes were produced in England around the late 18th/early 19th centuries. There is an equally charming modern line that goes by the name Halcyon Days, and is also quite collectible. Since enamel chips and cracks, the antique boxes in decent shape can be breathtakingly pricey.

I adore the birds that adorn this gem from Converse Clocks:

The Georgian Bilston/Battersea boxes often sported a sentimental motto. I find this little nautical box from Antiques and Uncommon Treasure really touching!

Finally, the basket motif and "forget-me-not" saying on this snuff box from Acanthus Antiques just floors me.

They're all so adorable, it's almost enough to make me take up a snuff habit!


Friday, January 23, 2009

Sweetest Little Theorem. Ever.

A well-executed theorem can be quite pricey, but I stumbled upon this little gem for a mere 35 dollars at Antiques at Narrowfellow:

Measures about 8 by 8 on cream-colored velvet. Dated '85, which I guess could easily mean 1985. But regardless of its age, there's no arguing with its charm. It would be doubly sweet in a vintage frame.

Snap it up now!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Carved Bird Trees

If you're a bird lover like me, why stop at just one? A whole tree full of brightly-colored friends is sure to coax a smile.

This chip-carved tree by Don Noyes is a whimsmical perch. I love how his paint colors and details resurrect the Pennsylvania craft tradition.

This early 20th-Century bird tree from My Country Treasures is home to no less than 12 birds. Notice how the artist incorporated actual branches!

Finally, carver John Bastian sells a variety of bird trees from his site Holly Spring Trading Company. My personal favorite are the pie birds:

These two set up shop in our plum tree last spring. I'm sure they approve bird trees in any form!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Birds of a Feather: Edward Lear, Fraktur Artist?

Has it really been 2 months since I've posted? Ah, well. Holidays + a kitchen remodel = a neglected blog.

As you know, I'm obsessed with 1) frakturs, and 2) birds. So I was thrilled to receive this in the mail today, my latest ebay purchase:

This sweetie has everything I love about frakturs: whimsmical lines, bright colors, an aged look, and a great period frame. I am not sure of its age.

Ever notice how you seem to stumble across finds in groups? Well, also today, I was browsing online for art, and found these delightful watercolors by the beloved children's lit author and illustrator, Edward Lear. Tell me this doesn't have a touch of fraktur in it:

I'm a bit partial to the yellow bird, myself:

Aren't the calligraphy touches to die for?

You can find the whole collection online at!