Blue willow and Bacon! Yes Please!

Yesterday before I began my commute home for the week there was a “mountain” of packages for me as evidenced by a picture from my daughter who painstakingly brought them in from the porch daily while I work away from home during the week. Some were Christmas gifts for others while some were gifts to myself!

I had purchased 3-4 pieces of willow that take a vast amount of time to arrive when coming from the UK. On package arrived soaked and open, I was not hopeful but to my surprise the double boxing did the trick. Everything was ok and this piece was tucked away on the inside.

I was elated that not only did it arrive and it was safe but it is in near mint condition. I noted no cracks or repairs or chips, just aging. It was listed as Spode but upon inspection I realized it was in fact Grainger (I referenced Connie Roger’s book). I contact my friend Jeff who told me these smaller warming plates were often called bacon warmers. I find that amusing because neither of us know of a reason to allow back to A. get cold or B not be eaten immediately!

I am in love with the details on the handle of this piece as well as the sides. The warming section has a cork with ceramic knob to plug the hole. It appears to be all original and the cork is still intact. Based on the book I believe this piece is from the 1860’s to 1890’s.

I am simply in love with this piece and I have to wonder, who had it that cherished it so much to ensure it never got broken. I am sure it was also loved by them. I also wonder who ever lets bacon get cold. They must be sick or something! I think I will use mine for display and simply eat the bacon as it comes out of the frying pan!

Here is to buying your own willow Christmas presents….a little early!



Blue Willow Addiction? Frog Mugs

About 6 months ago I saw a friend’s post on a website his collection of frog mugs. I was in complete awe of how many different ones he had pictured. Here I was without one at all! To say I was jealous was an understatement. There are collectors out there that seem to find all of the amazing pieces. At this stage in my collecting, unless we are driving on vacation, we don’t normally find rare willow items much of anywhere other than online then you pay and arm and a leg for shipping!

I decided I wanted a collection of frog mugs. I found one then a week or so later I found another….next thing I know, I have 6. Now I have to say my husband would say the two mugs at the ends of the second row are the same, but upon further inspection one frog is smiling while the other one has a closed mouth….I could shout from the roof tops, they are NOT the same. Those of you that collect and of course are not addicts, know what I am talking about.

You can see, I just have not stopped looking for these cups with the surprise in the bottom! I don’t know about you, but to me if you addiction results in a collection you can eventually capitalize on, it isn’t so bad…or at least that is what I keep telling myself!

None of the frog mugs are marked with the exception of the one with one handle and the traditional willow pattern. It has a Mailing mark that would probably date around 1924 or after, so that tells me they remade this lovely line of mugs probably a second time.

Well for now, Happy Willowing!


Blue Willow Baby Feeding

Good Morning! I apologize for being so absent here lately. I have had a great deal going on with life in general, work and recovery ministry and time has not been on my side! None the less, I recently added to my baby feeding collection. Ok, so only two of these are baby feeding devices and one is an invalid feeder, but you get what I am saying. I am guessing since I now have more than two items I can call it a collection! I don’t really know the rules on that!

My newest piece is a baby bottle with the traditional blue willow pattern on it. I typically see these with the Brosley pattern or Two Temples II but I don’t often see the traditional border, so I was super excited to pick this one up. It has a much different shape than the one I already had. This example is much thinner and flat, where the other one is very curved. You can kind of see the difference in the pictures below.

I would date both of these pieces to the early 1800’s. I think a great deal about how things have changed since that time. These days, you see a baby bottle that laid around the house, it isn’t uncommon to toss it out. To think these items may have survived over 200 years amazes me. Think about the fact that someone cherished these items that long and they had to have been passed amongst generations, some of which may not have even known what they were used for!

Lastly is the pap boat mainly used to feed older people who don’t have the ability to feed themselves in hopes of preventing choking. I would guess this is from the same era as the the baby bottles. I simply love the light blue patterns on some of the older English items. They are so gorgeous.

Anyhow, for now, Happy Willowing. I hope to post again soon.


Blue Willow & Fall Decor: Mix and Match!

I must say as we head towards fall, I truly enjoy the crisp mornings, the sunny afternoons and the smell of leaves falling. I love when seasons change. I love the colors that begin to show as the leaves change. I live in West Virginia where the seasonal colors have vibrant shades of reds, oranges, yellows and browns.

I also love a wonderful place setting that reminds me of those times and yes I am a month early with this, but everyone was sleeping! There is something calming for me about taking time to set a table as though someone important was coming to visit or as if a member of the International Willow Collectors was coming for a visit and we were planning pastries and coffee. Neither of which seem to happen but I intend to be ready if the occurrence arises.

This morning I woke well before everyone else, which is par for the course. My internal clock will not let me very far past 6 am, all 7 days of the week. I decided the white table cloth on my big table needed to come off and some hints of fall need to be shown. I quickly through on a gold table cloth, some pumpkins and some leave swags with a huge willow platter front and center. I will show you that table later. Now that we essentially have a household of 7 we use that table often and with my grandson grabbing everything in sight I don’t think it will last long, but for this morning it makes me happy!

My small table in the nook doesn’t get used unless we have a large family gathering. This table is set with a beautiful yellow willow pattern table cloth as the base. I then added place mats from Ireland that are linen. These too are the willow pattern. Next I added a clear cut glass pitcher with a floral arrangement to the center.

I decided I wanted to have hints of blue and white and fall colors. I added some velvet pumpkins and this cute little ceramic turkey jar I purchased at the Goodwill for $2. He is quite the cute turkey. I then decided I wanted to add a teapot and creamer and sugar but decided I wanted silver. These pieces are willow as well and need a good polishing, but I simply haven’t made it that far!

Next I added my newest blue willow plates and a cute little covered tureen used for sauces. It has an adorable lion finial. It is such a cute addition. I didn’t pull out the silverware simply because I was lazy after setting the larger table. I hope you enjoy it!

Until next time Happy Willowing!


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.

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