Blue Willow Condiments

Wow, my surprise when I opened this box. I am in love with these beautiful condiment pieces. I am thinking Pepper Shaker, Mustard (hold a spoon) or Oil and Vinegar (there is a dead give away for that one!

I love the silver tops on each of these and love that they are all in good condition. I anticipate soaking the vinegar in peroxide to remove the staining. The bottom is unglazed so I am sure in a few days I can have it looking good as new. I did the same to an older piece and it turned out perfect. I am really pleased. I will have to share the progress.

I do anticipate cleaning up the silver tops. I was just too excited to do so before I shared these pieces with you. I love the deep blues, the silver tops and the gold around the rims. I will have to keep my eye out for a condiment holder!

I thought these were too cute not to share them with you! I am running out of space so these small pieces are the way I am going to have to go going forward! Either that or I need a new house….wait I have one..maybe I will had a cabinet there.

Happy Willowing Christine

Blue willow and shells (my favorite things)

Ok, yes I know this picture doesn’t clearly show you my willow piece but it is in there. My husband and I just returned from one of our first true vacations. I guess I never really understood what a vacation was all about. I am one of those people that pack every day with many potential options for fun. Some days include antiquing in hopes of finding my next willow treasure.

This year was different. There were no opportunities for antiquing. Ben and I decided to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary in St. Lucia at a Sandals resort. Crazy thing was….while there was a beach, there were zero typical sea shells. The sand was more like tiny rocks and most of what washed up on the beach was coral like pictured above, but I refused to do anything other than relax for a change. We had zero plans!

Regardless, we managed to find a few sea urchins and many pieces of coral to return home with us. All pictured above with my new willow item that arrived while I was gone! Now, can I tell you, bringing home sea shells is probably like bringing home a precious piece of willow. Both propositions fill the pit of my stomach with anxiety and fear of breakage!

On the way home, the larger shell purchased from a vendor at the resort and the pieces of coral scraped off the shore each morning went in a checked bag, carefully wrapped. But the sea urchins I knew would not survive. So I looked through everything I had to find a box off some sort. Now ladies, let me tell you, I am not a princess kind of girl. I just don’t dress up unless I have to and my attire normally requires jeans.

If you have ever been to a Sandals resort (my first time) you must wear dressy clothing to dinner, which forced me to do some shopping. None the less, every dressy little dress required some form of strapless bra… I purchase one online from Target that came shipped in a box. Are you seeing where I am heading with this?

Lets just say I got searched coming through security with three sea urchins in a strapless bra box in my carry on not once but twice and at one point you should have seen me explaining to the customs officer (female) what I had in that box and after she crushed one, she decided to let me pass with the other two….meanwhile I wanted to punch her but it wouldn’t have went well. She did pat me down to ensure I had a bra on…geesh.

Now on to the willow part of this story. My toxic trait is not telling a short story. Anyhow….. while I was gone this beauty arrived and can I tell you, whomever packed it gave me heart failure. They packed the bowl inside the wood surround with no bubble wrap between. It sounded broken as I opened it and pictures of the border patrol agent crushing my sea urchin turned my stomach as I tore away the bubble wrap.

The willow pattern bowl is completely unmarked but it is gorgeous. Normally you would not see the center pattern around the border, but that is exactly what we have here. The wooden surround is gorgeous and has some brass embellishments. I would say it is about 7 inches across, but I have not measured it to be exact. I haven’t ever seen something like this, but I do love it. Much like I love the sea urchins that did make it home in one piece.

Now….I must add on vacation almost every outfit I had was blue and white… seriously. It is a true addiction. Ben and I did not coordinate clothes and he too ended up with several shades of blue and white…as evidenced by one of our 25th wedding anniversary pictures below.

I guess you could say while I didn’t get to shop for willow on my trip, I did truly enjoy just relaxing for a change. I didn’t even do any online shopping! I simply unplugged and came home with some beautiful pieces of coral, a conk shell and a delivery from my Ebay purchase!

In closing, blue and white is gorgeous even if not in willow pattern and a bra box always comes in handy…Happy Willowing!


Go big or go home in Blue Willow!

Davenport Huge Jug

I have to say I anticipated receiving a 7-8 inch jug when my box arrived I was a tad confused. The box was much bigger. I will measure this but I would say it’s a solid 16 inches tall and a solid 10 inches across at the widest point. it’s the equivalent of a jug used for a wash basin

I said it next to a normal willow tea cup for size. It’s hard to picture! It’s is wonderful condition with an impressed mark attributed to Davenport.

This is such a wonderful addition to my collection. I intend to make it the center of a place setting really soon. I love the butterfly border and the details around the rim and handle.

One last picture to try and show its size.

Well for now happy willowing! Don’t forget to go big!

Blue Willow Beading

Two of my favorite things are blue willow and antique beading. I am simply in love this this piece. It is mounted to a very heavy cardboard It is beaded with very tiny seed beads. This piece is probably from the late 1800’s. The beads are various shades of blue, white and olive green. It is simply stunning.

I just have to say, this piece probably took quite some time to complete and man the detail needed to do this is amazing. This reminds me of something my aunt would have done, but she was more into quilting. It also reminds me of a time when things were so much simpler. I often wish I lived without a cell phone or social media, but it would never happen!

My dad was born in 1918 and while life was hard, it was definitely simpler. There was more time spent with family and less time being distracted by technology. I could see someone sitting by candle light working on this piece after drawing it out on a piece of burlap. It just makes me think about how someone cherished this piece and kept it nice for so long.

This is a pretty large piece at 19 1/12 inches long and 9 inches wide. I have it tucked in a china cabinet until I can find a nice vintage frame to do it justice!

Happy Willowing.


Blue Willow Pattern Only?

Yes, my collection started out solely as the blue and white willow pattern. I started with mostly pieces my mom found for me. Most of my initial collection was either American or Japanese. I didn’t really have any English willow until the Kroger grocery store started handing out Churchill Willow with $100 in a grocery purchase. We used to hold out to buy groceries to get the credit and now I walk away with 3 bags of basics for $100! Man how times have changed.

At some point on a trip to Erie with my husband, we found our first set of pink willow at a little shop in downtown. We then found a restaurant ware set in Pink in Morgantown WV. So the collection expanded. I only had one china cupboard back then! Boy have times changed!

I knew nothing about the old English pieces or anything of a multi colored pattern. I was simply clueless. Ben and I joined the IWC and took our first vacation as a married couple to Richmond Virginia. I had no idea how that convention would shape my newly found liking of very old English pieces and also Tams ware in a multicolored pattern. That convention changed my “Only blue willow” mentality. I was head over heels in love!

The picture above is a mixture of traditional willow and some other willow variants or patterns. I tend to love bright greens or yellows displayed with my willow and sometimes even purple. But I tell you all of this because I was a fairly closed minded willow collector for some time!

You can probably tell, I have some very old English willow with a light blue two temples two pattern, a more traditional willow pattern and a burly palm willow plate. The table cloth is Irish linen and is simply gorgeous with the traditional willow pattern. The plates are a new realm for me. I didn’t have one piece with the curly palm trees, but when I saw a set of 6 for $38 what was I supposed to do? Walk on by……heck no, they called my name. Once again I have fallen in love!

This piece is also English and is a traditional willow pattern. It arrived at my house in pieces so I painstakingly cried and glued it back together then sat and painted areas where needed various shades of blue. Had I claimed the insurance on this piece, it would have been gone forever and I loved it enough to glue my fingers together! Don’t laugh, you have probably done the same.

I have really begun to love this vibrant blue pattern and think it works well with my more traditional patterns. I am beginning to be less of a blue willow strict collector and I am buying what is more pleasing to my eye!

Happy Willowing. Sorry it has been so long.


Blue Willow Place Setting Competition

As the International Willow Collectors Convention is approaching, I need to plan a new place setting entry for the place setting competition. This is usually the only competition I enter but it is so much fun for me. I love dressing up my tables with willow. At any given point when you walk into my dining room you will see a display of willow, typically themed by the upcoming holiday!

I enjoy mixing colors, manufacturers and patterns for a different effect. I am going to share some of my place settings I have used in the past. Any fresh new ideas you may have would be greatly appreciated! I look forward to feedback. Beside I enter to win! You all can help me do that!

This is a fall place setting I did last year showing off some mustard willow by Doulton. I do love these colors together. Another fall place setting below with Doulton and the newer willow multicolored pattern.

I love the vibrant reds and oranges in this place setting. The greens help pull it all together as well.

This beautiful blue and purple place setting was my winner last year. It was a great win, my membership was free this year! $40 is all it costs to be a part of the IWC. The news letters alone far surpass that value….don’t wait to join.

And lastly my spring time place setting. I took this to Hershey PA to my second or third willow convention. I won first place and got a cute little framed blue willow teapot picture with a blue willow ribbon. I was in heaven!

So in closing, what do you want to see from me this year for a place setting. Give me some ideas! I really want to take home the first prize again!

Happy Willowing.

Another Surprise Willow Mug!

Good morning everyone! I have to admit it has been far too long since I wrote a blog post. I truly do miss doing this. I have found it to be stress relieving and to be honest, it doesn’t get much worse than these last two months! Pictured above is my latest surprise willow mug. I bought this beautiful example knowing full well it was damaged but I thought it would compliment my other frog mugs really well.

I haven’t been online much, haven’t purchased much simply because I was in the process of purchasing a second home in the city where I work. I had no idea how stressful that process could be and the scrutiny my finances would be under. My bank turned into the FBI and IRS all wrapped up together! So for about 2 months there were no willow purchases other than this piece and a few pieces I picked up for less than $100 while visiting Ben in Columbus.

Anyhow, some discussion of my mug! This one is very different than my others. I don’t know the pattern off the top of my head but will enlist some folks to help me in that arena. There are no birds on this pattern. It wasn’t listed as willow but the border really appeared to be willow and well…the frog sold it anyhow! I am a sucker for those little guys. This piece is not marked. It is not an ironstone like one of my other examples. This one is more like a bone china, very thin and light weight but obviously very old.

Below are examples of my other “surprise” mugs as they are often called in the UK. You drink your ale to the bottom only to have a surprise staring back at you! The loving cup in the middle of these pics is not a surprise mug but it is one of my favorites. You can see my other single handled frog mug is the traditional blue willow pattern with no border, so they really are all very different as are the frogs on the inside.

As I have told many of you before, a true willow collector can’t really pick their favorite willow find! For me I have favorite willow collections such as: toby collection, willow cat collection, willow dog collection, cow creamers, cheese domes…….and the list, well it goes on. This is one of my favorite willow collections and it is near impossible to pick a favorite from these!

Happy Willowing, stay safe and enjoy the sunshine!


Where Did Your Obsession with Willow Start?

My obsession with willow first started out of necessity. I often get asked what willow do you collect? It is a fairly easy answer…..any of it! I have various shades of willow. I have willow furniture, pictures, embroidery work, jewelry, china and even clothing. I like to think of myself as being born in the wrong era! I think I could have totally rocked the 50’s and 60’s like my momma did!

The picture above is of me in a beautiful linen willow pattern dress I purchased at a willow convention and have subsequently worn from time to time. It takes me back to the south in an older era where the cooking is filled with carbs and no one cares! I will say it has taken me a solid 3 months to get into this dress but I am happy to find it zips!!!!

Anyhow, where did it all start? Bills, lots of bills! When Ben and I first got married, the word broke didn’t even do our situation justice. I remember seeing this ceramic box sit on my mom’s counter always filled with bills that needed mailing back out with payment. Hence my first piece of willow was a Japanese salt box pictured below! I adored this piece so I decided to see if my mom had any more pieces of the pattern. We were both in college, I was expecting and we had minimum wage jobs. $4.75 per hour was what we made at the time!

My mom quickly gathered a box of blue and white china in various patterns from her store and passed it on. Much of it was blue willow but there were some blue onion pieces and Currier and Ives as well. Those pieces found their way back to her once I realized the difference!

I have to say though, my collecting has changed. I buy pieces that display well, even if they have repairs but I do so love the English older pieces more than American made patterns (with the exception of Buffalo…I do love it!) I have many pieces from all sorts of manufacturers but the English steals the show for me.

I posted pics last week of a pair of English Kent Cats that I purchased. My mom told me I was crazy when she saw what I paid for them, but I assured her I had gotten a bargain. She just shook her head. The willow convention did open her eyes to values and wide range of patterns and items with the willow pattern on them so she figures I probably have a little bit of a clue! Regardless, no regrets on the purchase.

I have recently also posted a picture of one of the dogs I purchase off of my friend Loren Zeller. If you don’t have his book….stop wasting time! It is totally worth the money, so much info in this book…It is becoming my bible for collecting. And it happens to match my dress! Win win!!

Anyhow, my first dog purchase was for Loren and I completely fell in love. The excitement when the mail lady showed up with a package!!!!!

Here is the details on Loren’s site for this piece:

Date: c. 1890-1900+
Dimensions: H 5″
Maker: James Kent
Maker’s Mark: Unmarked
A rare Staffordshire Whippet with the base printed with  the Standard Willow border. The figure was hand painted. While these figures with over the glaze painted decoration sometimes appear in market today, examples with a transfer printed base are considered quite rare. Attributed to James Kent.

Now as most of you know me so well, I can’t just stop there. Listen folks addiction comes in all forms! But I must say mine happens to be a healthy investment for my kids in the future! Next up is another purchase from Loren that makes my heart happy! Two dogs with spots and the willow pattern!!

Oh how I love these little guys. I think now that I have three willow dogs I can name them after my current dogs, Trapper, Bella and Sheldon! The description from Loren’s site is below:

Shape Type: Dog Figures
Pattern Name: Standard Willow Border Pattern
Date: c. 1890-1900+
Dimensions: H 5″
Maker: James Kent
Maker’s Mark: Unmarked
A rare pair of 5″ Staffordshire Spotted Whippets with the base of each printed with  the Standard Willow border. Figures are hand painted with luster and gilt decorated.  They were featured on the cover of IWC News, V. 5, 2006. While these figures, with over the glaze painted decoration, are sometimes appear in market today, examples with a transfer printed base are considered quite rare. They are unmarked but can possibly be attributed to James Kent.

Now, I will tell you, if you truly are a willow enthusiast, you willingness to purchase reproductions fades. You willingness to purchase newer items, unless for every day use will go away. You may also find you begin to like willow items more than others. I love animals, frog mugs, cow creamers and toby jugs more than I do purchasing plates, simply because I have no room left at the inn so to speak!

I am in the process of purchasing a home in Charleston where I can stay during the week when I am at work. It will be my home away from home, but I can’t even begin to think of separating my collection. So I anticipate not much of my collection will be going with me.

For now, I am going to close. If you have an old soul like me don’t be afraid to show it by throwing on an old cotton dress and enjoying your tea or coffee. We need more of that in the crazy world we are living in.

Happy Willowing, much love!


Willow Pattern Baby Bottle & Invalid Feeder

Well, today is my son’s 20th birthday and tomorrow is my husbands 45th! I can’t help to think back to when my son was born. Our daughter was almost 4. She was so excited to see her little brother. We had to buy her a big sister shirt at the gift shop in the hospital. It is so crazy how times have changed. Tomorrow I get to hold my 3 month old grandson.

It reminded me I have never written anything on this baby bottle. Yes, this is a baby bottle from the 1800’s. It is nothing shy of a miracle that it survived. Can you imagine using this to feed an infant? My daughter would have a heart attack if I attempted such a thing with my grandson!

I do happen to love this piece and the delicate nature of each of these I get to see. This one has the butterfly border, and no birds. It is a gorgeous piece. I still cannot image how it has survived all of these years.

Up next is the invalid feeder. I have seen some call this a pap boat as well. These are also pretty hard to find. Mine has been well used an has some damage here and there but I felt like it was worth cherishing anyway. This piece I suppose would be considered medically related.

I simply love these pale blue and white pieces. They are so light and delicate. The same butterfly border pattern exists on the inside of this piece. Both of these pieces are unmarked so I am clueless as to who made them or where to even start. I felt they were worth sharing anyway!

Here’s to Birthday Parties, Grand Children and Willow!


Just Us Cats (Willow Cats)

So I picked these little cats up online. I was in love with the black willow pattern, so I simply had to have them. They are made by James Kent and are marked. I love the shades of yellow with the black willow pattern. It makes me smile!

I have to tell you a little story about where the title came from for this post! First I love willow pattern animals including cats, but there is a much funnier story behind the title. Several years ago my mom had a cat who had two beautiful little kittens. One was orange and the other was Siamese….yes same litter. Both cats were male but my kids insisted on bringing them home.

If anyone has had two male cats in your home that have not been neutered you know what you have to deal with. They will spray darn near anything! We kept them in a small area of the house when we weren’t home but often they would get into the garage where we stored things.

My house is full of avid hunters, my husband, and my son and during hunting season, my brother in law and my father in law often go hunting together. When we first got moved, there wasn’t much preparation to head to the woods, so they just pulled their hunting stuff out of the bins (completely unsuspecting). They headed up towards the hill when the wind began to blow and all of a sudden, they smelled their clothing… guessed it, male cat pee!

At that point it was day light so as they walked up the hill, my brother in law made the wise crack to the unsuspecting deer, “It’s just us cats”. I don’t recall if they actually were successful on their hunt, but they learned to pull their clothing out well in advance and prep! So today is about It’s just us cats!!!

You are probably thinking the same thoughts my husband did. The first thing he asked was “Don’t you have blue willow cats” I responded yes. He informed me they were the same thing. At that point my face needed deliverance…seriously Ben, Black willow and Blue Willow are very different. Needless to say he still doesn’t understand but knows they are not being sold!

To show you, they are different but made by the same manufacturer. I would say the cat mold was different, one being a little taller than the other.

I don’t know if I am the only one who feels this way but I would buy every set I cam across if the cushion was a different color or the collar was a different color. After all, they are DIFFERENT!!!!!!

Happy willowing cat lovers.


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