Saturday, September 18, 2010

Glass Plate with Rose Design

These pretty little plates came from my grandmother on my dad's side. They have an embossed design of roses and leaves on a frosted background. They're perfect dessert plates - wouldn't they be pretty with little tea cookies?

I have 3 of them in all. You're welcome to one, two, or all three.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Vintage Spool of Nylon Sewing Thread

My grandmother made most of the clothes for her family. This little spool of thread was in her sewing box when we found it. Even partially used, it has a certain charm. Whether you choose to use it or display it, it would make a nice addition to a vintage collection.


Sunday, September 12, 2010

You Know It's A Good Funeral When...

You know it's a good funeral when no one wants to leave.

Mom's funeral services on Friday were lovely. The service was beautiful, and my sister gave her a wonderful tribute spoken from the heart. The neighbors and church provided an amazing lunch at the pavillion by the lake.

Toward the end of lunch, my cousin's husband mentioned that he was having car trouble. The check engine and oil lights were on and bells were dinging. Since they had to drive back to Cincinnati that afternoon, we called a local garage to check out the car before hitting the road. The garage owner took the car for a test drive - no bells, no lights, nothing. He pronounced the car safe to drive.

Then, our Cincinnati family wanted to come back to our house to change clothes. When they'd gotten comfortable for their drive home, we said our good byes and they hopped in their cars. All the cars pulled safely out of the drive - except my cousin's husband. He cut the corner too sharply and landed in the ditch!

We pushed and we pulled, but the car wouldn't budge. We called AAA. And waited. And waited. Finally, we set up a card table and chairs in the drive, got out some leftover food from lunch, found a deck of cards, and made ourselves comfy. Needless to say, the tow truck driver thought we were a mighty silly sight! Despite his laughter, he got the car out of the ditch in a jiffy.

Because it was 4:30, it didn't make sense for them to get on the road and sit in Friday afternoon traffic. So we went to dinner.

You know this story isn't over, right?

At dinner as soon as our food was served - you guessed it - my cousin's husband knocked over a full glass of water! Poor guy. It just wasn't his day.

All in all, I'm glad everything happened the way it did. Instead of leaving at 2:00 they left at 7:00. Those extra hours gave us time to visit and catch up - time we wouldn't have had otherwise. Mom would have been pleased.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

In Memory of Opal Koch, 1929-2010

My mom, Opal Koch, passed away Saturday, September 4, 2010 at the age of 80. Mom is the Opal in VintageOpal.

Mom had been in the hospital several times this year, and each visit was more serious. This last time was just too much. She was in the intensive care unit for 2 1/2 weeks, but wasn't able to recover.

She and dad celebrated their 51st wedding anniversary this past June. Together they have three children and four grandchildren.

She will remain in our hearts and memories forever.

The photo was taken when she was in the Navy.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Keep Mom in Your Prayers

Mom is the "Opal" in Vintage Opal. She's been in the hospital, Intensive Care Unit actually, since Wednesday. It's serious. Very.

I'd rather not say more, because she values her privacy. But keep her in your thoughts and prayers if you do that sort of thing.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Leaf-Shaped Glass Candy Dish

This lovely leaf-shaped dish is something I remember having around the house when I was growing up. Mom and Dad would put it out during cocktail parties or bridge parties, filled with nuts or bridge mix - Mom was big on bridge mix.

So was I, now that I think about it. I got a big kick out of sneaking handfuls of bridge mix when the grownups weren't looking.

My guess is this is something they got or bought in the 1960's, shortly after they were married.

It's made of clear glass and in great shape, despite the sticky little kid fingers checking for bridge mix. 

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Buttons For Sale

Sorting through the buttons in Grandmother's button box has been a pleasant activity, almost meditative. Brown ones here, black ones there. And white ones - the most plentiful - right there. Once I had them sorted by color, I sorted them by number of holes, and then by size. Finally, I've been able to put families of buttons together.

On the one hand, it's kind of nice to have my little buttons all sorted out and in shiny ziptop bags. They look so neat and orderly, ready to head off to their new homes. But as I'm listing them, I'm getting nostalgic. Nostalgic over buttons I've never even seen? Yeah.

I'm feeling a little guilty for not keeping them and putting them to good use. Good use? Really? Although I was once a darn good seamstress, I haven't sewn in easily a decade. How on earth could I use up hundreds of buttons? And I have my own collection growing in my sewing box upstairs should a button go missing from some of my clothing.

And what about making something with them? They're great for altered art projects or collage. So, yes, I may keep some. But I'm putting the rest in the shop:

Please take a look. Photographing them has actually been fun. I'm finding they have wonderful character all their own. I'm getting some photos with nice abstract qualities.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The First Sale - A Pewter Honey Pot

The shop has had its first sale - a Queen Art Pewter honey pot that belonged to my Grandmother (Dad's mom). 

It's an adorable little item and I'm sorry to see it go, but I am happy that it has found a good home. I'll get it packed up and shipped off. It's going to someone in Norway.

How exciting!

UPDATE: the honey pot has found its way all the way to Norway, safe and sound. The new owner has blogged about it and included a photo, which I just LOVE:

Grandmother's Button Box

My grandmother kept a button box. Whenever a piece of clothing became too worn out to continue wearing, she would snip the buttons off and toss them in the button box she kept by her sewing chair. 

She made all the clothing for the family - herself, her husband, and their 8 daughters. Whenever she needed a button, she found it in her button box.

Over a lifetime, she accumulated a huge assortment of buttons - mostly black, white, and brown. Very few colorful or fancy buttons, which probably says something about her.

This box was full to overflowing when I found it in the basement. I wish I'd thought to take a photo of it before I emptied it, but alas I did not. And I'm not putting everything back in!

It had a few things other than buttons, too: my grandfather's pipe and the bowtie he wore with this work uniform. A couple old bus tokens. A marble. Two dice - one very old and one very new. A religious medal. Interesting everyday things that reveal little bits of who these people were.

I'm sorting the buttons by color, size, and style. The ones I cannot use myself are listed in our Etsy shop. They're perfect for creating authentic vintage outfits, should you choose. Or for creating collage or mixed media art.

Either way, I think my grandmother would be pleased to know that her buttons are being put to good use.

See our buttons here:

Sunday, August 15, 2010

The VintageOpal Online Store is Open!

Finally, the Vintage Opal online store is now open! It's taken quite a while to get to this point and find items that Mom and Dad are comfortable selling. We've had garage sales, and they're good for getting rid of the clutter that we should have been clearing out all along. But some items are too sentimental or valuable to set out in the yard.

So we've talked a lot about what do we do with stuff that's sentimental, but they just can't keep any longer. We decided to open an online store and find new homes for those items. Mom and Dad are ok wiht that idea, provided that I tell the story of all those items. They are historical items - items with a history - and it seems a shame to let that history be lost.

I've started with a few items just to help Mom and Dad ease into this online thing. My plan is to continue to add items gradually. I think posting dozens of things all at once would be too stressful for them.

And this makes it manageable for me. I can go through one box at a time, photo the things, and list them. It means that there may not be much rhyme or reason for what's listed when -- I never know what's in each box -- but that makes it a bit of treasure hunt.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Garage Sale, August 14

So, when you have a houseful of stuff, what do you do with it? 

We're beginning to sort through things, and there's just so much of everything. After long discussions, we're getting consensus from Mom and Dad to let some of it go. As you look through this stuff, you'll see that we're a family of readers and cooks - we have stacks of books and lots of cookware. And cookbooks.

We have an old wooden playpen that's just fantastic. Three old wooden sleds - two from Sears and one Monoplane. Maybe a few old tools. And a few things we can't even identify.

We're having a garage sale this coming Saturday, August 14. We're setting up some things in the garage; the photos show us about half done.

This is just the start of it. We're still going through things and will have another sale next month. 

If you're interested, stop on out on Saturday. We're in Bainbridge Township. Take Rt 422 to the Rt 306 exit and go a half mile to the Pilgrim Village development. Follow the signs. I know of two other houses having sales that day.

Friday, August 6, 2010

So Why Do We Need A Blog?

Everybody goes through this: our parents get older and need to move out of the house where they raised the family. They need someplace smaller and more manageable. They need someone to help out once in a while.

None of that is exactly novel.

My point exactly. I've never gone through this before, but lots of other folks have. How do you start discussions with Dad about how maybe the house was getting to be too much? I navigated that blindly, and not always well. 

How do I find a better place for him and Mom? Whew...that was a trip.

Now that they've decided they should move, what do we do with all the stuff? How do I make the transition easy for them.

By now, I'm realizing that I'm not alone in this. Everybody goes through this. Maybe by blogging, I can gain some help from other folks who have been through this, and help out those who have yet to do it.   

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

What Does "Vintage Opal" Mean?

When we were trying to come up with a name for this blog and eventually our online store, my sister and I tossed around lots of ideas. 

Because we have a house full of stuff that we're dealing with, I thought of "housefullofstuff" or "MomandPopsstuff" or "VintageTreasures" - that sort of thing - to convey the quantity and type of stuff we have.

My sister offered "VintageOpal" and it was perfect. We're sorting through mountains of stuff, most of which is more than 40 years old, and some of it is well over 100 years. 

Plus, Mom's name is Opal, and what nicer way to remember her in this? She's an October baby, so her birthstone is opal, and so is her name.
VintageOpal it is.

p.s. We just couldn't figure out how to work Dad's name into it. Sorry, Pop.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Family Dinner

We have a tradition, as many families do, of getting together for dinner once a week. Right now, we're having family dinners on Sunday. Over the years, we've tried almost every night of the week except Fridays and Saturdays, depending on our schedules.

My friends all know not to invite me to do anything on Family Dinner night; missing it is not an option.

Most often Mom cooks. This week she asked me to make pork with peanut sauce, so I did, plus rice pilaf and a spinach salad. I have several peanut sauce recipes, but this one is hands down my favorite. (I have one for pasta which is pretty good, too.)

This sauce is great on pork tenderloin or chicken. It's even good on grilled shrimp. It doesn't do much for beef, though.

Marinate the meat in a little bit of the sauce for a couple hours ahead. Serve the remaining sauce on the side. It's extra good if you heat it up before serving.

This recipe makes enough for 8 people or about 2 pounds of meat.

2/3 c smooth peanut butter
2/3 c teriyaki sauce
1/2 c lemon juice
1/2 c vegetable oil (canola or something mild - not olive)
1 Tblsp ground ginger
1 Tblsp dried basil
1 Tblsp garlic powder
1 Tblsp onion powder (the recipe calls for this but I don't use it)
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper

Combine ingredients by hand or in blender. Make it several hours ahead to give the spices time to rehydrate. Adjust any seasonings to your taste.

What's your family dinner tradition?

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Welcome to Vintage Opal

I’m Karen, a middle-aged “kid” from Ohio. My parents are retired and getting ready to sell the house they’ve lived in for 35 years. My sister and I are helping them sort through their basement, closets, and drawers.

Each box and drawer we open reveals something from our childhood, their childhood, our grandparents – and even great-grandparents. One by one, we’re deciding which items to keep and which need to find new homes.

From books to china to linens to toys, we never know what we’ll find next. It’s a real trip down memory lane.

We started this process earlier this summer, and I've already learned things about my family that I never knew and have seen photos of relatives that I didn't know existed.

Join me as we uncover generations of much-loved treasures.