Fall Decorating with Willow Pattern China

There is just something about the cool chill in the air and the changing of the leaves that makes fall my favorite season. It helps that I love to decorate my home with fall colors too! I love to sit on the porch, cozy up with a cup of coffee and soft blanket and just be. I am never alone though! I have Bella, my coon dog, Sheldon, my yorkie (thinks he is a coon dog), Tigger my orange cat (the only one in the crew that can meow..so he does it loudly), Brutus (a stray that continues to grow on me) and Mittens the grey cat with white paws.

The highlight of this season is the decorating! I love mixing colors and textures to make a table look like it was dressed up for a cover of a magazine! I do have a few struggles these days. I have 3 pieces of “blue” willow that I cannot fit in a china cupboard to store. All three are a little too large to fit between shelves or simply are too wide/long to display anywhere else other than my 16 foot long dining room table. These would be 2 enormous cheese keepers and my 40 inch long warming platter.

The center of my table always has to be the biggest part of the display. Although, I don’t have any willow pattern vases to use that fit the bill for Fall colors….heck, I don’t even have a blue and white willow vase…So this year, as you can see I opted to use my Royal Doulton Spittoon. Yes it is clean! No spit was involved in this decorating.

I couldn’t just use it in the center of the table because of the size of the warming platter, so I decided to use the warming platter to elevate my spittoon to be a show stopper! I added a fall color table cloth underneath to pull it all together. And what fall decorating is complete without pumpkins?

I don’t know how you feel about using Blue and White willow in your fall decorating, but I think it is simply stunning, especially the older English pieces. You can see in these pictures I also used a multicolored willow pattern plate. I think it all compliments each other pretty well.

The bright oranges, yellows and greens make me want to sit by a camp fire and make smores! I simply love it. Many of my pumpkins boast a reminder to always Give Thanks. In a world that is so torn upside down as it is right now, we have to remember to be thankful for what we have and not wallow in what we don’t. It is so easy to be taken down a path of negativity.

I’d encourage you to play around with using various colors, textures and heights when you set your fall table. And seriously set it. It makes you feel so much better to see a stunning table, regardless of whether you have company coming over or distancing due to COVID. Just because you may be alone is no reason to not enjoy your willow finds!

Tiffany & Co. AND Blue Willow – A Match Made in Heaven!

Who doesn’t truly love the class and style of Tiffany & Co? Beginning several years ago when my husband and I were trying to determine if we continue to fight for our marriage or if we simply walk away, he decided for my birthday to take me to New York City. I had really never been to a big city like the Big Apple. I am just a little hometown girl from a very small town in rural West Virginia.

We were kind of at our breaking point. We didn’t know what else to do besides try and reconnect with one another. I remember that trip like it was yesterday. I also recall being in awe of the huge buildings, the crowds of people and how cold it was. We went in December! But I totally fell in love when he took me to Tiffany & Co. on 5th Avenue. I never dreamed I would be walking into this store, much less leave with a small Tiffany blue box wrapped with a red bow for Christmas.

The feeling you get when you walk into a Tiffany store is that of sheer elegance, class, sophistication. You feel “special” “princess like”. It is the one time, you can shop with the rich and you walk out with the same box they have and the people working there treat you with the same respect. This specific store has been open since 1837! Rarely do businesses keep their door open that long!

I believe my first piece of Blue Willow was a creamer I purchased from Copeland with the Tiffany mark on the bottom. It was so special to me. I do still have it by the way! To see the Willow Pattern with the Tiffany New York mark on the bottom made me realize how valued the Willow Pattern was and how it was probably a fairly prominent family who had purchased a tea set like the one pictured above.

The Tea set above has the Copeland and Tiffany New York mark impressed on the bottom of each piece. It includes a tray measuring just under 4 feet long (you can tell by my picture, it is almost as long as my 6 ft. round table). It has a beautiful teapot, creamer, sugar and 4 demitasse cups and saucers.

I often wonder, which floor of Tiffany’s this would have been found on and who was the wonderful family lucky enough to take it home?! I suspect from looking at these pieces, there is almost no damage, so they were prized possessions. The detailed gold gilding is amazing.

The tray has to be my most favorite piece. It is in mint condition. It is gorgeous! Seeing how they used the pattern over and over is very interesting to me!

I am curious why types of Tiffany Willow Pattern each of you may have.

In 1837 when Tiffany opened up in New York City, the first day of sales is $4.98! Man, I think it would have been nice to buy the tea set above for $4.98!!! That is definitely not what I paid for it!!!!! Oh and last not least is that Tiffany Blue colored table cloth made in Irish Linen…it makes my heart smile.

I can only pray at this stage, that this iconic building remains to be Tiffany & Co through this COVID mess. So many of NYC businesses are closing up shop and moving to other areas like Florida. It would break my heart to see these amazing buildings sit empty after hundreds of years of prominent business.

What better way to drink than with a Willow Pattern Flask?!

Doulton’s Willow Flask

As all of you know, I am not really a drinker, but if I were, this would be drinking in style! When I came across this piece, I immediately fell in love. The pattern was such a deep vibrant blue and the top of the flask was something I had never seen.

The top of the flask had a fish made for the handle and the top where the cork would have been has a beautiful anchor which made me think this piece was most likely made for a ship or sailor of sorts.

I have done some research on the date of this piece and it appears to be by Doulton & Co. Ltd and dates to 1881-1890 which means this piece is over 130 years old. What an amazing detailed piece.

I have never seen another piece like this one, but I would venture to say there is something else out there! I recall looking at the item, messaging the seller and making some arrangements to purchase it. I immediately took a look at my collection to try and determine what I could let go of to purchase this piece. I am sure I sold more than one willow prized possession but I don’t regret doing so. Usually if I can sell to buy, I feel ok about the purchase!

Anyhow, do you have any willow flasks in your collection? If so please comment and let me know!

Liquor in the Willow Pattern anyone?

Blue Willow Decanters

If you have read much about how I began to collect blue willow, and how I have hung onto every special piece because of brokenness in my life, you know I don’t have alcohol in my household! But it doesn’t mean I can’t collect amazing pieces of willow pattern! I would never do that when I have a loved one that struggles.

These are the only two I have but I believe there are 6 different ones. I have seen SW, IW, C, R, W and B. My thought was Scotch Whiskey, Irish Whiskey, Cognac, Rum Whiskey and Bourbon…but many of the decanters found with a C kind of look like a G….so maybe Gin? I honestly don’t know but I would love to have one of each…so be on the look out for me! I have seen these sets nestled in a 4 section wicker basket for easy transport to the table as well. I will share pics in a bit.

These were thought to be made by George Jones and Sons, Stroke on Trent in approximately 1877. My research says George began an apprentice ship at the age of 14 with Minton and after the apprenticeship completed 7 years later he became a salesman for Wedgwood. (The potteries.org). By 1856 he had opened his own pottery show room. I can’t imagine what amazing finds those items displayed would be for us today!!!

He began manufacturing his own pottery around 1864 on land he purchased from Minton then the following year moved into a newly built factory – The Trent Potteries. How amazing would that have been at such a young age. I am amazed. The last factory stopped producing in 1956.

Below you will find pics of other finds from my willow friends in the IWC! I believe most of these are from Paul Kirves on his prized purchase.

The transferware collectors club also had this picture posted on their face book page and also notes George Jones as being the manufacturer.

I love the placement of the birds on these decanters. I also love the stoppers/corks on Paul’s set. Rarely do you see these with the corks or the stopper.

I have many other alcohol related willow items I will be sharing over the next several posts. If any of you have others in this set, please let me know!

Blue Willow Stenciled Kaftan

I have to tell you, this has been a very difficult week. We celebrated the 3 year anniversary of our recovery program and it brought a wealth of mixed emotions for me. I am learning to deal with these emotions through crafting and writing. So at the moment, this blog is my saving grace!

I will tell you, the reason I purchased the Willow Pattern stencil in the first place was seeing a Kaftan made by Helen Morris. Her white Kaftan had a much better shape than mine, but this one served its purpose. It has kept me busy each evening this week. It is hard at the moment getting used to the quiet in the house after all of our kids have moved out. Not sure how well I like this empty nest thing.

Anyhow, let me tell you how I tackled this. First off this item is linen so it needed to be ironed. I will be the first one to tell you, I DO NOT iron! I was never good at getting the right settings, but I had no choice, I could not stencil something wrinkled!

So after a good ironing, I laid it across my dining room table. I lightly sprayed sheets of paper with adhesive spray to put in between the front and back of the Kaftan so the paint would not bleed through if I got it on heavier than I wanted. Helen Morris gave me this advise and it worked well. It kept the paint from going clear though the thin fabric.

Next I stenciled the bottom of the Kaftan. I used two different colors to give it depth, but you really don’t have to. I only used one color for the pattern I chose for the chest of the Kaftan. I probably could have chosen a different part of the pattern, but I think it turned out ok.

I then waited until the following evening to do the back of the Kaftan. Then I followed the exact same process as I did with the front. Now, I could probably add something to the sleeves, but I really didn’t want it too busy. I think this little piece would look great as a beach cover up! Now to find a piece of furniture!!!!!!!

I am finding the more I deal with folks struggling with drug addiction, I need some form of outlet and this keeps my mind quiet and focused. Plus the end result makes me smile.

Because so many of you have asked, the stencil I purchased came from The Stencil Library.

I am providing the website address below. There are so many on this page I would love!

https://www.stencil-library.com/

If you do decide to make a stenciled draft, let me know how it goes! I would love to see it.

Blue Willow Pattern Crafts

Do any of you love the blue willow pattern so much that you use it in your crafting? I decided after seeing a Caftan on Instagram, I was going to give it a shot. Turns out, I was destressed for about 25 minutes while I focused solely on my project!

There are many necessary items to any stencil project. First and foremost, you need a stencil you would use for more than one project. They are too expensive to only use once, but I figured starting with a $2.50 white tee shirt would tell me where my skill set was. Next I went out onto Youtube and watched videos by Helen Morris from The Stencil Library in the UK.

I had always been one of those people who could never get the paint to stay inside of the respective lines…now I know why! I was doing it all wrong and didn’t have any of the correct supplies. Below you will find my supplies I used for my project.

Using stencil brushes is really important. It helps you get an even application of paint and these brushes are all round. You will need one brush for each color of paint. The goal is to work the paint up into the brush, not have so much on the bristles.

The next item I used was the beloved willow pattern stencil. I can’t wait to do furniture with this beauty! I have no room in my house, but maybe in my rental house I could squeeze in a piece!

You will need the 3M adhesive spray to put on the backside of your stencil to hold it in place on your project. You don’t need much. Hold it about a foot away from your stencil and spray it. Basically you want it as sticky as a sticky note…I may have applied a little much, but it worked out with no damage to the stencil.

The paint I purchased was specifically for fabric as I knew I ultimately wanted to do a shirt or caftan like I saw on Instagram. I bought mine off of Amazon. I used two colors for my project. I couldn’t decide on which one I wanted, so I used some of each.

The ultimate goal is to work the paint up into the brush and have an almost dry brush when you begin your project. After each application of paint you will use a circular motion on the paper towel to work the paint up into the brush.

I sued the same circular motion and dabbing motion on my shirt as I applied the paint. I have to be honest, I really wasn’t sure how this would turn out, but I am fairly pleased. I did place paper inside of my shirt to keep any paint from passing through incase I applied it too hard. By the way, tee shirt material is tough! It stretches and moves easily.

I don’t know about you, but I think it turned out pretty cool. I am no longer afraid to do this on the linen caftan I bought for the project. And I didn’t end up wasting my $2.50 tee shirt either!

What crafts do you apply the willow pattern in? Would love to hear.

My Largest Willow Plate!

To the normal eye, you simply would think, why does she have a picture of a regular willow pattern plate? Looks can be very deceiving my friends. This plate weighs in at around 35 pounds and is 40 inches tall. No, this is not china….it is wood!

Last May, I was surfing the internet, for my next find and decided to switch over to Instagram. I often don’t look on Instagram for willow pattern items, but just by chance, I saw this piece. There was a front and back picture of this plate hanging in an art gallery in London at Sans Pretention. I immediately wanted to know more about this piece, so I sent a direct message to see what info I could get.

His response was this is a 19th century carved wooden plate, most likely a private commission piece used as a shop sign. He told me he purchased it in Italy at auction, however it was definitely English in Origin. I obviously wanted to know if this was something he would ship the the US and well, I will spare you the details of how much the plate itself cost.

The piece arrived while my husband was out of town. I always cringe when I purchase a large piece of willow and see that it is arriving when he is home and I am out of town. You know, the questions begin!!!! He knows I love willow as much as he loves Martin Guitars, so we don’t give each other much of a hard time at this point in our 25 years together.

Sorry for how bad this picture looks but I managed to get this box up two flights of stairs to the spare bedroom for unpacking. With the packing, boxes, foam etc. it weighed in excess of 50 pounds, not to mention the box was nearly as tall as me, so dragging it up stairs was no easy feat! It was also strapped to a pallet….ugh no hiding this one! You can see from the picture the basic size of the piece…..

The next question that arose was where will I put this, it must be out in the open to be seen. Otherwise, I was going to be shoving this under the bed, leaving my coon dog no place to sleep on stormy nights….so around the house I went.

I stopped in the kitchen where I had a beautiful oak sideboard my husband and I purchased in Ohio near Amish Country. Above it I had a framed hand painted picture I had received when I worked at a previous job and to be fair it probably had bad juju anyhow! I was like ok, how do I get that off the wall? I knew it had taken two men to get it up there….little old me (I like to think I am little…so please lie to me and tell me its true!)

I managed to get the picture down and took it down a flight of stairs to the basement. By the time I was done with that, my arms felt like they were on fire….yeah, not much muscle tone there! Next I began to figure out how to lift this 35 lb plate above my head on a step stool to snag the anchor hook in the wall. Recall my arms were still shaking.

After several times, the plate finally caught the hook and it was a success. I wondered how long it would take before anyone noticed the swapping of art pieces. I knew my hubby would notice it and say….hmmmm how much did that cost? But I was prepared, I had been selling all sorts of stuff on Ebay so I could make this purchase happen.

I want to share some pictures of the up close pattern, the back and you too can fall in love with this wooden plate that will forever hang in my kitchen until I die and my kids have to figure out what in the heck to do with all of the willow!

You can see how detailed this piece is. It is a shade of navy blue, I apologize for the pictures making it look weird against the yellow walls, but you get the gist. As you can see the plate is truly shaped like a plate would be. The detail is simply amazing. I would love to know the life this piece has lived.

I have to say, this is my most prized willow plate. I am simply in love with it and it makes my kitchen complete. No more bad juju picture!

I would love to hear from you what you most prized piece of willow is. So Please Share!!!!!

Talk soon!

Where did my “need” to collect come from?

Bart Ash setting foot in the glass factory in Salem, WV

For as long as I can remember, I have loved glassware. The glassware with facets and color always appealed to me, even as a small child. I recall, going to my grandparents house as a small child and seeing the display of glassware around their kitchen sink placed neatly on shelves.

I was lucky enough to grow up just down the road from my grandparents. My grandfather was always on the go…high strung is the best way to describe him. Yeah, those of you who know me, this is where I get it from! Drive and ambition didn’t fall too far from the tree!!!

I recall his stories behind much of the glassware on the shelves over the sink. Each one had some sort of story. Maybe it was a second and thrown out to be trashed, or maybe it was a new line for the factory. Above you will see a picture of my grandfather setting foot at the glass factory in Salem WV. I don’t know when this was taken…maybe the 50’s or 60’s. He was still fairly young in this picture.

Setting foot at the factory was a big deal, he would tell me. You only got to set foot if you were good at what you did. The glass factory career wouldn’t just be my grandfathers. All of his boys, my Uncle Junior, Uncle Bill and Uncle Wally all followed in his foot steps. They worked in many factories.

The factories often changed hands in West Virginia. Our state has always struggled with poverty and these factories didn’t pay near enough to put up with the heat blowing off of those furnaces. I am sure if we now did a walk through of that 1950’s factory, OSHA would have a field day of all of the safety issues!

I know they worked in factories like McBride, Salem Glass Factory, Judell, Princess House, Louie Glass and Tiffany… and I am sure there are many I am missing. As a kid looking at the bright red glassware my grandmother collected, I grew fond of those pieces and I knew touching wasn’t allowed. I knew this because they had VALUE!

Yep, there is is the root of my collection……finding VALUE. I do this in every single area of my life. I look for value. I look for value in what I do at work. I look for value in being a partner in my marriage and providing for my family. I look for my value in ministry…reaching those who are lost and trying to show them grace, hope and purpose.

Now…..you see where I am going with this. From as small as I could remember, yard-saleing and flea marketing were a way of life and making a living…VALUE. My collecting of willow pattern items is no different…they add value and each new find brings me joy. I am notorious for selling when I need to and then living with the regret later.

I have found myself in some pinches when I found an item I couldn’t live without..I mean I have 3-4,000 pieces, seriously I could live without 95% of what I have. But in the rush of the hunt, I always feel like I need that next unusual piece or someone else will get it. This morning I was cruising Ebay and found a set of prestopans for $25 with a buy it now. I have both of them, but holy momma I just couldn’t pass it up. So something else will have to give.

All in all, at a minimum, what I have collected all has monetary value. I need to consider at some point letting my children know what is of value, how to go about getting rid of this when I die, but I am in my 40’s.. I have no time to spare for that right now!!!!

I’d like to hear what got you into collecting. Mine was passed down from many generations of glass blowers and my mom being an antique dealer. Tell me about yours…just click below and leave a comment! I am interested to hear.

Willow Toby Post #7

A Newer Willow Toby Jug & Advertising

Newer Willow Pattern Toby Jug

I recall back in the late 1990’s getting a newsletter from the IWC speaking of a toby jug being produced out of Pennsylvania. It was specially designed and produced for Louise’s Old Things in Kutztown, PA. I so badly wanted one of them, but the timing just wasn’t right.

In the early 1996, Ben and I were married in March. We were both college students and I was expecting my first child. Both of our parents wanted us to do the right thing by getting married. We struggled and I mean we struggled hard. We both had jobs, my mom and stepfather took care of our little girl, Alexis while we worked and stayed in school full time. By the Grace of God in 1998 we graduated, myself with a degree in accounting and management and my husband with a degree in Aviation (complete with a commercial pilot’s license) and a management degree.

Times were tough. We didn’t have two cents to rub together. Our parents helped us until we could get on our feet. We moved into my childhood home where the kitchen cabinets had been salvaged by my father from another home he renovated. They were white, with yellow counter tops. My mom helped me by willingly giving me my first box of blue and white dishes….willow to be exact.

It wasn’t long before I was in love with those dishes. My mom being an antique dealer, it was in my blood anyhow! Let’s be real here, it never leaves. That rush of the hunt…it never goes away. I guess, there may be some tie to the fact that I had some brokenness in my life. My father struggled with alcohol growing up.

The feelings of being in the way, or not being enough, I carried from a very young age. He passed away when I was in middle school. I truly believe this was the root of my “rescue” behavior. I felt the need to help those who didn’t feel loved, felt like they weren’t enough. These feelings have not helped my want for that next willow piece to put on display and cherish.

Anyhow, getting those IWC newsletters where the highlight of my world each quarter. They took me to a place of dreaming when everything else around me felt like struggle and chaos. I guess you could say, I found my happiness in reading them over and over again. I have stacks of them still to this day! I desperately wanted one of those toby jugs and knew eventually they would hold value….but I just didn’t have the money to make a purchase….maybe some day.

Well some day came two years ago…almost 20 years later when I presented at an IWC convention on toby jugs. I was so darn nervous. Standing in front of 50-60 people who know way more than I do about collecting and sharing my collection and finds was hard. You know how it goes, you don’t fear the speaking, you fear the questions!

After my teaching, Jeff Siptak asked about a copper printing plate I had brought for his presentation. I had some him a few over the years (ok many) and so he had one of these little toby jugs…so after the convention, we chatted and made a deal, so I was finally able to get my hands on one of these little gems.

He is numbered 24. I have no idea how many were made. If any collectors read this and you have info, please share.

This little guy finally made it home after a tough negotiation with Jeff! I was happy to add him to my collection as he was different than all the others and it also made me realize, if you just keep dreaming….some day it will happen!

Now for my last toby and willow item, an advertising card! The toby jug doesn’t have willow on it, but I display it with my toby jugs anyhow!!!!

What a way to market your business! This to me is simply lovely. Anything with willow and toby jugs would be a fine hit in my opinion.

This is the last in my willow toby jug series, as I simply have no more toby jugs to share, you have seen them all!!!! If by chance, I come across others, I will for sure let you know.

Now, I had a friend (Evgeniy) send me a link to this post:

Fort Worth, Texas, 1940-04-10.”Mrs. Dan T. Leary, of the Worth Hotel, looking at a Toby jug. Mrs. Leary is a collector of Toby jugs and is shown holding up a copy of the original Toby jug. She is standing beside a table on which there are several different Toby jugs on display.” I have to admit most of the jugs there, including the big Toby she’s holding, are not original English and not that old as Mrs. Leary probably thought. But that’s not a crime!

Do you see what I see? Seriously this lady had great taste! It is kind of like “Where is Waldo” with a willow toby jug!!!!

If you don’t have a willow toby jug, feel free to comment, if I get a duplicate, I often pass them on to other collectors. As you can see Mason has purchased many off of me when tuition comes due!!!

Have a great week. I hope you enjoyed learning about toby jugs……here’s to finding the next unusual willow toby jug. Christine

Willow Toby Post #6

Willow Creamer or Vase?

This little guy is simply adorable and stands about 5 inches tall. I don’t know anything about him as he is unmarked and I have only seen a couple of these! I find it interesting that he stands on his own! I have yet to determine if he is a vase, a creamer or what he would be used for.

He has such a beautiful willow pattern jacket on. My friend Paul has one just like him with pink britches on. I would say he dates to about the mid to late 1800’s. He is definitely English. I am so very drawn to how different he is than my other toby jugs, which all have a very noticeable spout for pouring.

This picture was taking from Antiques.com. This gent is listed as a Staffordshire Toby Vase dating to around 1860. He appears to be the very same shape as my little guy. I haven’t been able to locate anything in any of my books, so I am open for discussion on this one! He is listed at $300!

I will say if it is a vase, there wouldn’t be a whole lot of flowers you could place in it without it tipping over. I suppose it could have just been a figurine of sorts. He is the only toby jug I have that actually stands on two legs! By the way I am leaning towards it being a creamer!

Please share if you have insight into this little guy!

Have a great day!

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