I received an email from a reader this week, asking for help. The man who wrote has some antiques and collectibles that have been in his family for generations. He’d like to know what they’re worth and who to go to for that information.
It wasn’t that long ago that finding out the relative value of your heirlooms was a difficult process. It usually required taking your items to an appraiser or sending photos and detailed information. And it could be expensive.
For fine, rare and unusual antiques, that is still the case. You definitely need a professional’s opinion before selling or insuring. But, for most mass-produced items made some time in the last century, there’s an easier way.
Go to the crowd.
Take a look at Pinterest. See what people are talking about, linking to and pinning to their virtual pin boards. Check online auctions like eBay and vintage marketplaces like Etsy, where you can get an idea of what your collectible is worth at the moment and what such things are selling for around the world. This will give you a good idea of condition and rarity and help you gauge demand.
Ultimately, most things are worth only what someone is willing to pay. Collectibles, like fashion, are subject to popular trends. What was highly prized a few years ago, may not be sought after today.
Most of us never get that Antiques Roadshow moment, finding out the trash in the attic will make us rich. But, you never know. For every treasure there’s a treasure hunter.
Cheryl-Anne Millsap also writes about travel at Home Planet. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Vintage toys have great appeal because they not only reflect an era or specific period of time, they carry fond memories of childhood and play. And vintage die-cast cars are one of the most enduringly popular collectibles. For some, the curators, only mint collectibles—preferably still in the box—will do. For others, the sentimental treasure hunter, the obvious signs of use, the dents, scrapes and wear and tear of play, only add to the appeal.
I saved a shoebox full of the matchbox cars my children played with, but although I’ve admired plenty at flea markets and antique sales, I’ve never bought a vintage toy car or truck. Until a few days ago when I saw a 1960s die-cast replica of a VW Microbus on the shelf in a local thrift store and I couldn’t leave it behind.
The toy is completely intact with none of the little pieces of trim missing. There are a few scratches here and there but the doors still open and close and it rolls straight. But to be honest, none of that mattered. What really drew me to it was that it reminded me of my son, not as a little boy pushing toys around in the sand box, but as a young man who likes to tinker with things.
Several years ago he bought a real vintage Volkswagen bus the same robin’s egg blue and white as the toy. The bus was in great shape when he bought it and he continued to make improvements to the interior. By the time he was done it was a compact, comfortable, camper. He and his friends camped all over the Pacific Northwest in it.
While the VW bus was fun to work on, and fun to use, it just wasn’t practical for everyday use so he sold it for a tidy profit. But whenever he rolled up my driveway in the driver’s seat, he had a smile on his face and I hated to see it go.
So, when I saw the vintage 1960s Microbus I brought it home. It doesn’t have any great monetary value, similar toys are selling online for under $20. But at $3.99, and considering the pleasure it brings me each time I look at it, my new toy was a real steal.
The cover story of the December 29th New York Times Magazine was “The Lives They Lived” and it featured profiles of a number of celebrities and luminaries who died in 2013. What I found most interesting were the photos of possessions belonging to some of those profiled: James Gandolfini’s battered Cadillac. Editta Sherman’s tube of red lipstick. Esther Williams’ swimsuit. The gloves Scott Carpenter wore in Space.
I especially liked that the Times used the phrase “Objects of Affection” to describe the things people loved. That’s my phrase, too.
I’ve always been fascinated by the things we hold dear, the things we hold on to. Over the years, in my Treasure Hunting columns and Spokesman.com blog posts, I’ve shared the story behind a number of my own favorite possessions, but in November 2013, I started a series on my Treasure Hunting blog featuring the “Objects of Affection” of people in our community. I sent out an email to some of my Facebook connection asking if they’d be willing to share the stories of their favorite objects. The response was immediate and fascinating. Men, women, and even a child, wrote of their love for ordinary objects that ranged from sheet music to paper mementoes to childhood toys to jewelry to heirloom furniture and artwork.
My idea was to give ordinary people a chance to share their fondness for ordinary objects. I was able to post a few before the busyness of the holiday season overwhelmed me—this is a personal project, not an assignment— but in 2014 I’m looking forward to getting more stories up on a regular basis.
Consider this your invitation to show and tell. What is the thing you hold onto? Why? Send me an email (subject heading “Object”) at email@example.com and I’ll do the rest.
Oh, and the photo above? That’s one of my own objects of affection. It’s the old yellow ware bowl in my kitchen. It was in my mother’s kitchen and my grandmother’s kitchen before that. I’ve written about it a number of times over the years because I can’t imagine living in a house without it.
Cheryl-Anne Millsap’s audio essays can be heard on Spokane Public Radio and on public radio stations across the U.S. She is the author of “Home Planet: A Life in Four Seasons” (available at Auntie’s Bookstore in Spokane) and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
(Photo by Deena Caruso)
Tonight is Sophia Anne Caruso’s big night. As part of the cast of NBC’s landmark televised live production of “The Sound of Music,” starring Carrie Underwood, Stephen Moyer and Audra McDonald, she’ll be a part of something that hasn’t been done by any network in half a century.
But the 12-year-old veteran performer’s favorite collection—a stack of Broadway musical scores—shows she’s been preparing for years. She’s learned them all—”Annie,” “Mary Poppins,” “Les Miserables,” “Hairspray” and more— and sings them for both the pure pleasure of it and for the constant auditions that are a big part of any actor’s life.
As it happens, one of her favorite shows is “The Sound of Music.”
“I saw the movie when I was five or 6 and I loved it,” Sophia says. “So my mother got the Broadway score for me and I learned it. I sang it constantly.”
Tonight she will perform those familiar songs again, this time for millions of viewers.
Sophia Caruso has worked steadily since moving with her mother from Spokane to New York City 18 months ago, and will play Brigitta von Trapp in tonight’s live production. She says it’s the role she would have chosen.
“I love Brigitta,” she says. “She’s a lot like me. We both like to read.”
Her mother, Spokane business owner, Deena Caruso, is the score keeper.
“I always have some of them with me,” Deena Caruso says. “You never know when you’ll need one.”
Tonight, when the show is over, she’ll pull out Sophia’s copy of “The Sound of Music.” “I’m going to have it signed by everyone in the cast,” Sophia says.
When asked if she thinks she’ll keep the stack of musical scores, Sophia Caruso doesn’t hesitate.
“Oh, of course, I’ll have them forever. They are my treasures,” she says. “They’re signed and marked in my kiddie handwriting. Years from now I’ll look at them and I’ll always remember how much I loved to sing those songs.”
Watch “The Sound of Music” tonight at 8 p.m. on KHQ-TV
Cheryl-Anne Millsap’s audio essays can be heard each week on Spokane Public Radio. She is the author of “Home Planet: A Life in Four Seasons” which is available at Auntie’s Bookstore in Spokane.
Some of us hold onto a few bits a pieces of paper for sentimental reasons, but most of the countless notes, forms, to-do lists, etc. that seem to bombard us are quickly discarded. Still, who hasn’t thought about one or two things with regret, realizing too late that what had seemed disposable at the time was actually a paper fortune, hinting at the future?
Susanna Baylon, former KXLY news anchor, is unabashedly sentimental.
“Almost everything on display in my home has a story,” she says.
To illustrate this, Baylon points to a framed piece of paper hanging on her dining room wall. It is a 2001 invitation to the first Diamonds and Diva’s gala. The fundraising event for the now-shuttered Spokane Opera was held in the lobby of the Davenport Hotel, which was undergoing an extensive renovation before its grand reopening.
Although she didn’t know it at the time, it was also an invitation to a new life.
Baylon was Master of Ceremonies for the gala. She’d invited a male friend to go with her and the tall man across the table had brought his mother to the Black Tie event.
“I thought, ‘What a nice guy,’” Baylon says, “But that was it.”
They went their separate ways that night but the next time their paths crossed, she remembered him from New Year’s Eve. And this time there was a spark. Eventually, Dean Fries contacted her and they had their first date at Rockwood Bakery, near Manito Park. Surrounded by the rich raspberry-colored walls, romance bloomed.
Almost exactly one year after their New Year’s Eve introduction, Baylon ran across the printed invitation and realized it marked the beginning of what she was already hoping would be a lifetime together. So she made a plan.
“I had it framed for him for Christmas, hoping he would someday ask me to marry him and that I would get it back and it would hang in our home,” Baylon says. On the back she’d written, “A miraculous night I thank God for every day.”
She got her wish. The couple married in 2003, in the place where it all started—the lobby of the Davenport Hotel. And the framed invitation took a place of honor in the home they now share with their 7-year-old daughter. It shows well against the deep hue of the wall which just happens to be the exact shade of the interior of Rockwood Bakery.
“When I look at the invitation now,” Baylon says. “I always wonder how different my life would be if I had not been a part of that event.”
“And how many women can say they met their future husband and mother-in-law at the same time?”
Cheryl AnneMillsap’s audio essays can be heard each week on Spokane Public Radio. She is the author of “Home Planet: A Life in Four Seasons” which is available at Auntie’s Bookstore in Spokane.
I suppose you could argue that an artist, especially someone from a family of artists, would naturally be sentimental about artwork. But ceramic artist Gina Freuen’s love for a particular painting is more about the memories within it than the work itself.
“The painting was done by my mother when she was 33 years old and I was 5. Mom is 90 now. It is a painting of my great Aunt Maggie sitting in a rocking chair, with a curio cupboard behind her, book shelves and a window that looks out at a path that leads away from the house,” Freuen says. “ My mother painted this painting with naive skills. The rocker floats and the feet sit lower than the chair, but it shows the skills she was developing in becoming a wonderful painter in her mature years.
Freuen rescued the painting from her parents’ garage sale many years ago as they prepared to retire and move to the Oregon Coast.
“They had visions of a new, fun, retirement life and all of this old stuff had to go,” she says.
To Freuen, the history of four generations of women in her family is captured by her mother’s brush strokes and she couldn’t let it slip out of her hands. She brought it home with several other special pieces.
“My Great Aunt Maggie lived in the original homestead up in Almira, Washington. Our trips up there as children were looked forward to for weeks,” she says. “The path leading to the house (is) imprinted on my mind. When I picture the house, I picture the path. I picture Great Aunt Maggie standing at the door.”
The house still stands and now Maggie’s daughter, Eileen, lives there. The curio in the painting is still there. The bookshelves are still there. The path is still there.
But the painting holds a deeper significance in Freuen’s eyes.
“As mother moved into her Alzheimer years she lost her ability to paint, so having one of her early paintings is very important to me. She has never recognized the painting as one she values because she only sees skills that needed to be better,”Freuen says. “It could be said that memories are the most important to us not objects; this painting holds my most cherished memories.”
“If my house were to catch fire, I would grab it and run.”
Cheryl-Anne Millsap’s audio essays can be heard each week Spokane Public Radio. She is the author of ‘Home Planet: A Life in Four Seasons’ and can be reached at email@example.com
When Susannah Wessel reaches into her jewelry box, she can trace the happiest summer moments of her youth in the simple crescent of a sterling silver bracelet. The band, engraved with her initials on the inside and the letters M and W on the outside, is a loyalty bracelet from Camp Merrie-Woode, a girls camp in North Carolina that has been operating since 1919.
“My father’s company purchased a company condo in the small town of Sapphire Valley, North Carolina in 1981,” Wessel wrote. “Shortly thereafter, my family started to spend our vacations there whenever possible. There is a lake called Lake Fairfield. One day we decided to take a walk around the lake and we stumbled across a camp for girls: Camp Merrie-Woode. It was in such a beautiful setting, nestled beneath Old Bald Mountain.”
After talking to the director, Wessel’s parents enrolled her for the next summer. Wessel received her bracelet in 1988 after attending six summers. She spent a total of 10 summers at Camp Merrie-Woode, the last three as counselor.
“The camp is still one of my favorite places on earth. It was there that I learned how to shoot a bow and arrow and ride a horse. I learned canoeing, kayaking, and sailing. I slid down rocks and swam a mile to the dam in the Dam Swim. I went on campouts, hikes, and river trips, and I even slept out in a canoe on the lake,” Wessel wrote. “I made life-long friends, and I cried like a baby on the last night each year when it was time to go back home.”
The idea of a silver bracelet given to loyal campers was conceived by Dammie Day, the founder of the camp. The bracelet is given at the campfire of the last night of each camp session and over the years, thousands of girls have received their Merrie-Woode bracelets. Wessel and her husband Sean eventually purchased the North Carolina condo from her father’s business and their daughter followed in her mother’s footsteps. She’ll receive her own bracelet this summer.
“I wear my Merrie-Woode bracelet the whole time she is there. In so many ways it connects me to her as she is enjoying so many of the same experiences I had there many years ago,” Wessel wrote. “ We will be connected by a bond that will never be broken and will always hold a special place in my heart.”
“This simple, elegant, bracelet is a beautiful, tangible reminder of that.”
Cheryl-Anne Millsap's audio essays can be heard on Spokane Public Radio and on public radio stations across the country. She is the author of ‘Home Planet: A Life in Four Seasons’ and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
This weekend, starting Friday at 4pm, the Mad Hatter Vintage Flea Market will bring vintage fun to the Five Mile Prairie Grange.
Once again the mother and daughter team of Gladys and Celia Hanning will fill the historic grange with antiques, music and good food. In addition to the more than 30 dealers joining Gladys and Celia, Kayleen Jeffery of Vintage Mamma & Friends will be bringing her special biscotti to the market along with other good food and Haley & Ashlee from Accoustic Vibrations provide music.
The annual Mad Hatter Flea Market has become one of Spokane’s favorite fall vintage events and the perfect place to score all those great finds to jumpstart the season for decorating and entertaining.
Happy treasure hunting!
After spending a couple of days in Oslo and then a day in Kirkenes , Norway, I boarded the Hurtigruten coastal cruiser “Midnatsol” for a week-long cruise south along the coast to Bergen.
Each day I walked down to the gift shop on deck 5 to look at the beautiful Dale of Norway sweaters. The heavy hand-knitted sweaters are iconic Norwegian. They're beautiful and they're expensive. The women’s sweaters, usually in the $200 to $350 range, can sell for as much as $600.
At the end of the cruise, when we docked in Bergen, I checked into my hotel and went for a walk through the neighborhood. Almost immediately I noticed a rack of beautiful vintage Norwegian sweaters through the window of the Fretex, or Salvation Army, thrift store which was exactly what I'd been hoping for. (When I traveled to Iceland I picked up my prized Icelandic sweater at the same kind place.) It was too late to shop but I was there when the store opened the next morning.
The sweaters were older versions of what I'd seen on the ship and in store windows down by the touristy section of town. The most expensive, a long red Dale of Norway sweater was priced at only $83. I was tempted and tried it on but it was too big. That’s how it goes when you’re thrift shopping. Sometimes you win, sometimes you don’t.
I moved on to the books where I spent the next hour, my head tilted at an angle as I moved along reading titles. There were pre-war schoolbooks, beautifully illustrated art books and even Norwegian translations of American classics like Margaret Mitchell's “Gone with the Wind.”
I looked through the household items and was seriously tempted by a partial spice set with the names of the spices written in curling script on the front but let them stay. They were pretty to look at but not something I needed or would use.
I did leave Bergen with one vintage souvenir, though: a small hotel-silver coffee pot. I didn't recognize the hallmarks on the bottom but it is heavy and in great condition. Perfect for serving coffee or hot chocolate on the patio, or by the fireplace in cold weather.
I'm bringing home the usual assortment of standard souvenirs for my family but so far, with reindeer antlers, the vintage coffee pot and sea glass I picked up by a fjord, my own keepsakes from my trip to Norway are more unique and personal.
And that’s exactly why I’ll treasure them the most, of course.
Cheryl-Anne Millsap is a travel writer whose audio essays can be heard on Spokane Public Radio and on public radio stations across the country. She is the author of ‘Home Planet: A Life in Four Seasons’ and can be reached at email@example.com
Some of my favorite childhood memories are of the hours I spent sitting sideways across my grandfather’s big reading chair, one padded chair arm at my back, the other under my knees, and a book under my nose.
We had an old set of My Book House books, a classic collection of stories edited by Olive Beaupre Miller. They may have been my mother’s when she was a child, but for as long as I can remember they were on the bookshelf by that chair and I read them all. I liked the old-fashioned Nursery Rhymes and I was intrigued by the myths, but my favorites were the Fairy Tales. As a young girl my head was filled with the elaborate illustrations of tall castles with moats and towers, dashing knights in armor and fierce horses draped in colorful blankets and bridles.
The day before I left for a recent trip to France, I dropped into The Vintage Rabbit. I’d been upstairs at the public radio studio to record audio essays for the upcoming weeks and although I was pushed for time, I couldn’t resist. I walked through quickly and was turning to go when I saw the distinctive green-to-blue “rainbow” covers of the books I’d loved as a child. The mixed-edition set was a bargain at only $28. Sold. I gathered the books, paid and left.
I knew what would happen if I opened one so I put the set on a shelf near my favorite reading spot and didn’t go near them again until I was packed and ready to catch my flight the next morning. Finally, worn out from all the work that goes into preparing for any trip, keyed up and a bit stressed, I sat down and looked over what I’d bought.
It was like going back in time. The stories and illustrations were so familiar to me I knew exactly where to find my favorites.
A few days later I was walking down the narrow, curving, cobblestoned streets of Carcassonne, the beautiful medieval fortress city in the south of France. As I climbed up to walk along the stone walls, I thought about the little girl who’d buried her nose in fairy tales. The lucky coincidence of finding the books again was particularly sweet.
Then, a week after my return from France, a friend and I drove down to the little town of Rockford to shop at Hurd Mercantile. One space was filled with vintage French items, including books. One 1907 book, ‘A Spring Fortnight in France’ was particularly intriguing. The cover was illustrated with an old photograph of the French countryside and it was about the travels of two young women who’d visited southern France more than 100 years before I’d set foot there. The chapter on Carcassonne had photos of the city as it had been at that time. Sold again. I brought it home and read most of it that night.
I traveled on a modern Air France jet. I carried an iPhone, a digital camera and a credit card, but my trip was even more memorable because as a child my imagination had been fired by the illustrations in a set of story books. Then, when I returned home, I was able to contrast my trip with the words of a woman writing for other women more than 100 years ago.
My own experience was bound with words and pictures from long ago.
Cheryl-Anne Millsap is a travel writer whose audio essays can be heard on Spokane Public Radio and on public radio stations across the country. She is the author of ‘Home Planet: A Life in Four Seasons’ and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This past weekend in Spokane, thousands of high school seniors graduated and most received gifts from friends and family.
My daughter graduated this weekend, as well. And, just as it was with her siblings, our gift was a computer to take to school with her. It's a pretty common gift these days, a tool for study and work. Exactly what the contemporary student needs to succeed. But that wasn't always the case.
In the not-too-distant past, girls didn't get that kind of gift. Instead, they were given items that would prepare them for becoming wives and mothers. College was fine, but the real work came after they were awarded their 'Mrs.' degree. Later, in the 1960s and 70s, luggage became a popular graduation gift, suitable for a traveling coed, single working girl and (fingers crossed!) eventual honeymooner. Remember Mary Tyler Moore's matched set of white luggage?
I write a column about antiques and collectibles for Nostalgia Magazine each month. In the latest column I wrote about the tradition of Lane Furniture Company gifting high school senior girls with a miniature cedar chest to be used as a jewelry box. The hope was that soon they would be buying, or be given, a full-size 'hope chest' to fill with things they would need as wives and homemakers. Silver companies gave girls a miniature sterling spoon or knife, often fashioned into a pin, when they picked out a silver pattern.
Today the idea of a hope chest filled with household items, linens and lingere seems laughable. But it wasn't that long ago that young women were expected to marry young and set up housekeeping right away.
Spokane's homegrown vintage gala event happens this weekend when the annual Farm Chicks Antiques Show hits the Spokane Fair and Expo Center. With everything from rustic farm implements to shabby chic finds to one-of-a-kind handmade items, the sale is always a hit with Spokane vintage treasure hunters.
Here are all the details:
Where: Spokane County Fair and Expo Center, 404 N. Havana Street, Spokane Valley, Washington.
When: Saturday, June 1st, 9am – 6pm
Sunday, June 2nd, 9am – 4pm
Admission: $8 per day. (Note: There is no early admission this year.)
Details: Free Parking
Thanks to Brian Gallagher and Junk Nation Review for the May Treasure Hunting Calendar:
The Prairie Sisters Party
May 4th 10am - 4pm
Admission: $5.00 (children under 10 are free)
Missoula County Farigrounds
Down the Rabbit Hole
412 West Hazard Road
Farm & Frills At The Barn Antique Show
May 11th 9am - 5pm Admission $5
Genesis Farm & Gardens
41925 236th Ave SE
Enumclaw, WA 98022
May 11th 9am - 4pm
The Old Post Office
1102 A Street Tacoma, WA
Kitsap Antique Show
Presidents Hall, Kitsap Fairgrounds Complex
May 11, Saturday 10am - 5pm
May, 12 Sunday 10am - 4pm
1200 NW Fairgrounds Rd
Thurston County Flea Market
Thurston County Fairgrounds
May 17, Saturday 9am - 4pm
May, 18, Sunday 10am - 4pm
3054 Carpenter Rd SE
SSF Vintage Art in the Garden
Saturday, May 25,
3225 W 7th Ave., Spokane
Spring fever has been creeping up on us since late March, but Gladys Hanning and Celia Hanning Therens, the mother-daughter team behind Junebug Furniture and Design are willing to bet it will bloom this weekend. So the pair are holding a special spring home and garden show and sale—Down the Rabbit Hole—at Therens’ Dartford area home.
Therens moved to the 1940s era home last August and she’s been busy researching the history and stories behind the house since the move. But she was quick to suggest they invite a few friends to join them for a sale in the front garden.
“People are ready to decorate for spring and summer and they want to get out of the house and shop for vintage finds,” Therens adds. “We’re ready, too.”
With fourteen vendors joining the fun, and salads, cheeses, scones and other treats for hungry shoppers, the sale is the perfect way to welcome the spring shopping season to Spokane in the company of good friends and treasure hunters.
All That Glitter
A Brush Stroke Away
Cary Burnett Photography
Paint in My Hair
Palouse Soap Company
Two Women Vintage Goods
When: May 4, 2013
When: 412 West Hazard Road, Spokane, WA.
Thanks again to Brian Gallagher of Junk Nation Review for supplying this month's calendar of sales and junkin' opportunities. Check out Junk Nation Review!
Custer's 38th Annual
Spring Antique & Collectors Sale
April 26th 4pm - 9pm $6 admission good all weekend 12 and under free
April 27th 10am - 6pm
April 28th 10am - 4pm
Spokane Fair & Expo Center
404 N. Havana St. Spokane Valley, WA 99202
J & M Monroe Antique Show & Sale
April 6th 10am - 5pm $5 admission
April 7th 11am - 4pm $5 admission
Evergreen State Fairgrounds
14405 179th Ave SE, Monroe
April 13th 9am - 5pm $4 admission good both days
April 14th 9am - 4pm
N.E. Washington Fairgrounds Ag-Trade Center
411 W Astor Colville, WA 99114
The Vintage Faire
April 27th 9am - 4pm $5 admission
Okanogan County Fairgrounds
175 Rodeo Trail Rd Okanogan, WA 98840
Past Blessing Farm's Second Annual 'Spring Has Sprung' Sale
April 12th 9am - 4pm
April 13th 9am - 4pm
8521 N. Orchard Prairie
April 13th 9am - 4pm
The Old Post Office
1102 A Street Tacoma, WA
The Prairie Sisters Party
April 6th 10am to 4pm
$5 admission / children under 10 are free
The Metra Park, Billings, MT
The Island Chicks Spring Vintage Market
April 27th 9am - 4pm
$5 Admission / $3 with a food item
The Port of Anacortes
100 Commercial Ave, Anacortes, WA 98221
I have a big vintage armoire in my bedroom. I found it at Roost Antiques on Main Avenue in downtown Spokane and it stayed there a month or more after I purchased it while I cleared a place for it in my small house. But finally, after I figured out where I would put it, the armoire was delivered just as the weather began to turn cold and I immediately filled it with sweaters. On one side are the sweaters I wear each day. On the other side, my collection of “ranch” sweaters.
I started collecting the bulky handknitted sweaters after moving to Spokane in 1999. To me, they completely captured the outdoorsy ethos of the Northwest. I work from home and I like to keep the heat turned down, so the sweaters are not only a collection, they have kept me warm and cozy on cold winter days. But I've been drawn to them, and continue to love them, primarily for the vintage look and the idea that they were made by women who took pleasure in the folksy design and the warmth of the finished product. In the last decade I've gathered a variety of sizes, all purchased at flea markets, thrift stores and antique shops across the Northwest from Oregon to British Columbia.
Earlier this month I traveled to Mantitoba to see and photograph the Northern Lights over the small town of Churchill. To reach Churchill I first had to fly into Winnipeg to catch another flight to the small town on the edge of Hudson Bay. I spent most of my day in Winnipeg exploring the Manitoba Museum where I learned about the Innuit culture and the history of the Hudson Bay Company. There is also an excellent exhibit about the native flora and fauna. But, as I was leaving the building I passed a display of sweaters and recognized one of the patterns in my collection, a sweater that features an evergreen tree and what I always assumed was a moose or elk. Intrigued, I stopped to take a closer look.
The display included a bit of history about the Manitoba Sitton Mills and the Mary Maxim patterns that have been, and still are, so popular. Immediately, I knew I'd found the source of most of the patterns used to make the sweaters I've collected.
Debuting in the 1950s, the Mary Maxim sweater patterns and wool yarns, similar to the heavy knitted sweaters produced by Native Salish on Canada's western coast, were popular with knitters. Soon, the sweaters became iconic, even showing up on celebrities like Bob Hope and British royalty. Evenutally, to meet US demand, the company opened an office in Michigan.
I loved the Manitoba Museum and it was an added treat to learn more about the sweaters I've collected, especially one favorite pair of sweaters—both child and adult-sized— with a flying pheasant theme. I'm looking forward to the (brief) time my grandaughter will think dressing like her grandmother is cool so we can wear them together.
As always, while traveling, I found something useful and informative in the last place I expected. But, then again, that's usually the way treasure hunting goes.
Cheryl-Anne Millsap is a journalist and travel columnist whose audio essays can be heard on Spokane Public Radio and on public radio stations across the country. She is the author of ‘Home Planet: A Life in Four Seasons’ and can be reached at email@example.com
Note: Good news! Brian Gallagher, of Junk Nation Review, will be providing a monthly Treasure Hunting calendar of antiques shows and sales around the region. Happy Junkin'!
Antique and Collectible Show and Sale calendar provided by Junk Nation Review:
Portland Expo Center Antique Show
March 2 - 9:00am - 6:00pm $7 entrance
March 3 - 10:00am - 5:00pm $7 entrance
Portland Expo Center
2060 North Marine Dr. Portland, OR
Custer's 36th Annual Spring Arts & Crafts Show
March 8th - 10am - 8pm $7 entrance good all weekend
March 9th - 10am - 6pm. $7 entrance good all weekend
March 10th - 10am - 4pm $7 entrance good all weekend
Fair and Expo Center
404 North Havana St, Ste 1
Spokane Valley, WA
Tri-Cities Spring Antique Show with a Twist of Vintage
March 8th - 4pm to 8pm $6 entrance
March 9th - 9am to 5pm $6 entrance
6600 Burden Blvd Pasco, WA
The Vintage Whites Market
March 9th - 10am- 5pm $5 entrance
Utah State Fairgrounds
155 N 1000 W Salt Lake City UT
March 9th - 9am - 4pm $5 entrance
The Old Post Office
1102 A Street Tacoma, WA
Salem Collectors & Flea Market
March 17th - 6:30am - 9:30am $6
March 17th - 9:30am - 2:30am $2
2320 17th ST NE Salem, OR>
Spring Fling Junk Fest
March 23rd - 5pm - 9pm $10 entrance
March 24th - 9am - 4pm $5 entrance
Portland Airport Embassy Suit
7900 NE 82nd Ave Portland, OR>
Groovy Girlfriends - A VERY Vintage Market
March 25th - 10am -4pm Free entrance
Lake City Community Center
12531 28th Ave NE Seattle, WA
The morning after the season’s first snowfall, as I worked at my computer I could look out the window and see a steady parade of people heading down my street toward Manito Park.
Parents towed toddlers on sleds and teenagers laughed and pushed and punched one another as they trudged to the traditional sledding hill at the edge of the park. I couldn’t help myself. I had to smile. Welcome to winter in the heart of Spokane.
I stopped typing and watched another family as they walked past my window and, not for the first time, I appreciated the direct link to the past this park provides. Each winter, for more than 100 years, the view has been essentially the same. Snow falls and people come out to play.
I moved to Spokane in 1999 and for several years we lived outside of the city, north toward Green Bluff and near the shallow, curving Little Spokane River. But in 2006, when I realized we were spending a big part of each day driving to and from the city, we sold the big house with the big yard and moved into a little cottage around the corner from Duncan Gardens. My surroundings changed from sprawling suburbia to the intimacy of an old neighborhood with a big park next door.
We’d visited Manito Park from time to time, but after the move the 90-acre oasis became more than a place to visit. It became a seasonal marker for my days. In the spring we watch the tender green buds unfurl and dress the gardens. In the heat of summer I walk through the rose garden at the end of the day and the air is sweet with the scent of a million blooms. In the fall, the park glows with golden leaves.
Every day, in every season, people come to the park. But there is a subtle shift in winter. This time of year Manito is a more solitary place. Icy mornings bring out only the most diehard walkers. And night comes too fast.
But after a fresh snowfall, it’s as if the park sends an invitation to a party. Just as it has been since 1903, the sledding hill is crowded with people and laughter fills the air.
Several years ago, after recording my weekly public radio program in the studio upstairs, I stopped by Vintage Rabbit Antiques on Monroe. One of the dealers had a box filled with vintage postcards and I pulled out one that showed a crowd ice skating on the pond at Manito Park. I loved the slice of life captured in the photograph, with men, women and children celebrating the simple pleasure of skimming over a frozen pond, cold air biting at faces, the wind stinging hands and ears.
I bought the postcard, scanned the card and keep it on my computer; a wintery moment frozen in time, linking me to both the past and the present in a place I’ve grown to love.
Note: This column was featured in the Jan/Feb 2013 issue of Nostalgia Magazine
Cheryl-Anne Millsap blogs about antiques and collectibles at The Spokesman-Review. Her audio essays can be heard on Spokane Public Radio and on public radio stations across the country. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
On a recent trip to Paris, I did everything I wanted to do except one thing. I didn't get a chance to scour the flea market for the vintage linens I love to collect. The days were too packed with museums, monuments and sightseeing and I was there with my 17-year-old daughter who has no interest in spending hours shopping for “junk.”.
However, a few nights after my return, I did the next best thing. I logged onto Etsy and selected the “Vintage” shops. Immediately, items listed by sellers from all over the world filled my screen. One particular vendor, located in a small town in France, quickly caught my interest and sure enough, I made a purchase. Soon a package from France arrived in my mailbox and I unwrapped the beautiful old monogrammed linen bolster I'd ordered. It was exactly what I would have chosen if I'd found it in a flea market stall and even with international shipping, the price was comparable to what I would have paid in Paris.
Etsy gets a lot of attention for its endless selection of handmade and handcrafted items, but more and more the vintage side of the online marketplace is making the news. There are sellers who specialize in new items made from vintage materials. (the latest issue of Country Living Magazine features an iPod charger crafted out of repurposed vintage books) and it's worth noting that there are quite a few Spokane sellers listed on Etsy.
It's a cliche to talk about how small the world seems to be these days. But it's not always a negative thing. I loved every minute of another visit to Paris. And the quiet moments I spent shopping another corner of France from the comfort of my favorite chair in my own living room, were just as much fun.
Cheryl-Anne Millsap is a travel writer and antiques lover based in Spokane, Washington. Her audio essays can be heard on Spokane Public Radio and on public radio stations across the country. She can be reached at email@example.com
In the year since my granddaughter was born, we've added a variety of toys to my house. The rolling wood box that used to hold Kilim pillows now serves as a toybox. And, a stack of sturdy picture books has replaced the magazines beside my favorite chair in the living room. But what has turned out to be baby's favorite plaything was already on the coffee table.
I picked up a set of vintage hammered aluminum coasters at a thrift store years ago and they move from one table to another. The six coasters nest in a small carrier with an elaborately pressed handle. They are well-made, sufficiently neutral to fit with my decorating style and, best of all, virtually indestructible. This is a good thing because baby likes to take them out and toss them into a pile on the floor. To her delight, the clang of metal on metal is satisfyingly loud. She will navigate across the the table and fling them one by one. Then, practicing her balancing and other skills, she'll pick them up and do it all over again.
When I was raising my four children, our house was filled with vintage objects that had served other families before finding their way to ours. Including the set of coasters. It pleases me to think the tradition continues with new little hands..
Hammered aluminum serving pieces have been around since the 1930s but they are still popular with collectors and I've written about that in previous columns. But you don't have to be a collector to appreciate the practicality of these uniquely American objects.