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Wednesday, October 19, 2011

When is a collection too much?

I was reading a blog yesterday (but I'm not sure which one...eeeek!) and came across a topic that got me thinking...  However, I have to explain why I dont know which blog I was reading, and therefore cant credit the entertaining and talented author for credit.  I go on my favourite blogs, then I go down their blog lists and click on those, and sometimes I click on the lists of those bloggers.  So by the end of the night I have no idea where I even found the blog I read!  I know its bad, because many a time I've come across a blog I really liked but cant find it again, because I dont have a clear trail to follow.

Why do I ramble so?  So I was reading this ladies blog and her topic was signs and graphic images in a home and if it gets to be too much or not.  It got me thinking, because I really do like signs and graphic images.

When I started decorating my house years ago (its been evolving for a long time) I started out by buying reproduction signs.  As I started going to antique shows (here in Canada (Toronto area) we dont have the great flea markets you Americans do!  Our flea markets only sell socks and cheap  make up!) I started finding some signs which I liked.  Slowly I started buying a piece here and there (as they are pretty pricey).  I'm actually glad I started when I did, because the prices here have gone crazy!  There were very few signs I could actually afford this year!  Luckily I didnt like most of them and thus wasnt tempted to pay.  If I like something...it nags away until I brake down and justify why I should spend crazy money!
As I started collecting nostalgic signs I gave my reproductions away to my sister, as she would always say 'if you dont want that anymore, I'll take it!'.

Last night after reading that blog, I walked around my house and noticed that pretty much all my walls are covered in collections, home made art, or signs!  I cant stand buying ready made art!  Knowing it will be hanging in thousands of other homes takes the joy out of a piece.  Also I'm a snob about cheap print quality.  Unfortunately I cant really afford good art.  Well, its probably fortunate not unfortunate, as I am pretty fickle and fall just as easily OUT of love as in it!

This morning I walked around snapping photos (sorry, just an iphone camera!).  Let me know what you think?  Too many?

Most of them are in the kitchen.  Really my favourite ones are in the kitchen!  I love this sign:
The dealer said he got it on one of his trips to the United States.  Canada is newer and far less populated, so we just dont have the quality and quantity of antiques/vintage goodies you Americans do!
I dont know why my ceiling looks pink!  Since I'm a tea sommellier now (such a proud one at that!) I have collected a few 'tea' signs.   To be honest, they came by me quite accidentally!  I wasnt out trolling for tea signs!  Really!  I went to a nice mans house to pick up a vintage green bread box and vintage plastic cannisters, when we got to talking...when he found out I was into tea, he pulled these things out and sold them to me for pretty good prices.  He was moving and had to get rid of years of his collections.  I could have bought most of his stuff it was so great!  Unfortunately my wallet wouldnt allow it!  Here are three  signs I bought from him:
I bought this one (Three Trees Tea) NOT loving it, but after a few months when I got the next one reframed and hung them together, I LOVED them!

The Red Rose one is an old advertising poster on cardboard.  It was in a kind of ugly frame, so I had my friend who owns a framing/art shop reframe it in a kinda kitchy/country frame which I adore!  What do you think?  Too kitch? Or is it great!!!????
On its own it might not say much, but look at them together.  Doesnt it look good?  Dont feel obliged to   humour me : )
The last sign I bought from this gentleman, was a counter sign used in a tea shop in England.  Many of his vintage pieces he brought over from England.  He had it on his buffet, but I know in my house it would be at the mercy of many grubby fingers, and framing it was the only way I could preserve it!  Also, my counter surfaces are already overflowing!
I bought a white frame from Michaels, and backed it in my favourite Cath Kidston wallpaper.  It hangs over my pantry door:
My newest sign is the last 'tea' sign in my collection.  I found it quite by accident at the last antique show of the 'Toronto' area.  The price wasn't bad and I loved it!!!!  Its painted from underneath a piece of glass (I think).
Its cute! Oh yes it is!!!  I have two more kitchen graphics, one is again a counter sign from an old variety store.  I took the stand off and use it on my wall as a notice board.  Since getting stainless steel appliances, I had no where to put the kids school notes!  I works great for that, but unfortunately its usually covered, so its cuteness is always covered.
Its an old Tums display stand!  Small packages of tums were pegged onto this board and sold!  Do they have Tums in the US?  Its like alka seltzer but without water.  These last two signs hang with my final kitchen graphic.  This is a reproduction poster which I bought a couple of years ago when the posters were rediscovered in England.  I know its a repro but I love it none the less.
Sorry for the blurry shiny image!  They make a nice vignette on the narrow kitchen entry wall.
Hmmm...my Tums sign is just too functional to be attractive!  Form over function must be applied here I think!

The rest of my signs (all of which are on the ground floor of the house-I wonder why I did that?  I think I have to run out and buy more signs for upstairs!) are okay signs, but just signs...they add character but aren't my favourite signs.  What do you think?
Its old, so old in fact, that I have no idea what 'stop 26' is!
Another old, local sign.  It hangs in my husbands study.
I dont have any history on this one.  I bought it from an architectural salvage shop, and they have many many numbers.
This is a heavy old metal double sided Beauty Parlor sign.  Must be American as its Parlor not Parlour. This is the good side, the other side is very very chippy!
This hangs in the living room, which my husband calls my office, but its there to remind him!  My vice is candy!!!  This is the last sign in my collection.  So, too much of a good thing?

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Now that I have found a new love (Tea), I'm pondering what I should do with this vast body of knowledge I now possess (Heavy sarcasm here).   Should I open a shop?  I want a tea room, but the cost of the kitchen alone is prohibitive...  All I know is I want to be doing something with tea.  Look at that lovely cup of Silver Needle white tea.  So many people would over steep it, use boiling hot water, mix it with 'flavours', do all kinds of things which would hide the subtle fruity flavour of this delicate tea.  It should be savoured, alone, with a good book or a nice view.  Thats it.  No crumpets, no sandwich.  It stands on its own, and has to be enjoyed that way so as not to overpower this lovely drink.

I'm not saying 'I've seen the sign' and want to show people 'the way'.  Well, maybe I am.  I want to show people how and why they should drink tea.  Want to know why?  Because a year ago, I would have bought a plain bag of tea, or maybe been thrilled at a nice fruity/flowery blend at a tea shop.  Now I want to savour a leaf.  Prepared in a specific manner to produce a specific flavour.  The way its been done and appreciated for generations in China.  A way which has just reached me this year.  And, yes, I guess I want to spread the word.