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Treasure Hunting

Archive for February 2012

Show What You Know and Win!

If you're looking for a little creative inspiration, Custer's 35th annual Spring Arts and Crafts Show is coming up this weekend and we've got a chance to win free tickets!

Treasure Hunting creative types should go to The Spokesman-Review's weekly news quiz, authored by reporter Jim Camden. Simply by taking the 10-question, interactive quiz this week, you will be eligible to win two free tickets to this weekend's Custer's Spring Arts and Crafts Show. And the overall winner, drawn from among the top scores, earns a $50 gift card to the Davenport Hotel.

Winners are drawn Friday morning. Find the quiz at www.spokesman.com/newsquiz


  

New uses for Vintage Salt Bowls

Last week while out making my weekly treasure hunting rounds, I stopped by the Antiquarian, on Division between First and Pacific Avenues.

The antique mall has been a Spokane staple for a number of years and is a place I always recommend when asked where to shop for fine antiques, especially larger pieces of furniture. (I was there because I'm always searching for a set of oak barrister cases to match the ones I have, knowing it's a long shot.)

Before I left I caught sight of a big bowl filled with small crystal and china salt dishes. While a few were priced a bit higher, most were only $6 each.

I snapped a picture and all the way home I thought about the tiny crystal bowls, imagining ways they could be put to use. I remembered seeing an idea on Pinterest for using small berry bowl-sized dishes arranged in a drawer as storage for little odds and ends. What if you were to adapt that idea to a smaller scale?

Tiny crystal salt dishes on a silver tray on a dressing table or in a dresser drawer would make a pretty way to separate and store earrings, necklaces, rings and other pieces of jewelry. On a desk they could be used to hold stamps and paper clips, or to sort coins for parking meter change. If you already have a collection of crystal salts, you could do what the Antiquarian did and fill a big bowl with them. It would make an interesting centerpiece.

Of course, if you're the practical sort, I suppose you could always just fill them with salt and set the table.

Cheryl-Anne Millsap is a freelance writer based in Spokane, Washington. In addition to her Home Planet , Treasure Hunting and  CAMera: Travel and Photo blogs, her 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 catmillsap@gmail.com

I Have a Lock on Valentine’s Day

(Photo by Cheryl-Anne Millsap)

 

 

I usually spend Friday afternoons out and about exploring local antiques shops. My weekly deadlines have been met and it’s a treat to have the quiet time to myself.

I’ve done this since I moved to Spokane and it’s a ritual I look forward to each week. Frequently the owners are in their shops, prepping for weekend traffic, sometimes already putting out items picked up at the morning’s estate sales, and I can stop and chat. Or, when it suits me, just quietly browse. Even when I travel, I try to find a few minutes on my own, searching for a vintage souvenir.

Last week I made my rounds and stopped by Tossed and Found on north Monroe. I’d been looking at vintage Valentines all morning, thinking I would build a February 14th column around some sweet paper find. But, as it always is with treasure hunting, my Valentine arrived in an unexpected way when I spotted a small heart-shaped lock on a table and picked it up. The black paint on the body of the lock showed its age, faded and chipped in a few places. The hasp had that true rusty patina that comes with time and exposure to the elements. Stamped on the front was the patent date of Feb. 25, 1896.

I stopped looking at postcards and paper. I’d found my Valentine.

Since I brought it home I’ve carried the lock around the house like a child with a favorite toy. For a few days it rested in the dish where I drop my earrings and watch each evening. Then it spent a day on my desk as a paperweight. After I photographed it, the lock lay on the table next to the chaise lounge where I like to sit and have my coffee each morning. From time to time I pick it up and run my fingers over the surface as my mind plays over words and sentences, searching for the perfect line for whatever I am writing. I feel the weight of it and imagine the places it might have been. The little lock is a perfect example of the Victorian philosophy that even the most mundane objects should possess beauty by design.

I considered looping a ribbon over the hasp and wearing it as a pendant. It’s the perfect weight and shape for a keyring. Of course, if I can find a key, I can use it as it was intended, to secure something I want kept private and safe.

So, some may get cards and flowers. Others will celebrate with jewelry and wine. But I’m happy with my discovery.

 I like to think I have a lock on Valentine’s Day.

 

Cheryl-Anne Millsap is a freelance writer based in Spokane, Washington. In addition to her Home Planet , Treasure Hunting and  CAMera: Travel and Photo blogs, her 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 catmillsap@gmail.com

A Second Look Brings Home the Crown

A week or so ago, on my Friday Treasure Hunting rounds, I stopped by Orphaned Decor in the Gonzaga district. I made a quick swing through the shop and was on my way to the car when I stopped for one more look in the front window.

The heart of the display was a large metal crown-shaped centerpiece. Since exploring the American Southwest and the beautiful old cathedrals in Europe, I've had a thing for the ornamental crowns one might find on the figures of saints. The antiques, many centruries old, are expensive and rare, but there are plenty of reproductions and adaptations around. I'm often tempted but, as I always say when writing about my finds, whatever follows me home must have some practical use. I just don't have the room for (or any love of) clutter.

The thing that appealed to me about the crown-like object in the window was its size. The piece was big enough to make a nice display feature without getting lost on a tabletop. And, because it was essentially a round tray with an ornamental canopy, it could be used in any number of ways. So I put it right to work.

Guests were coming that evening so I pulled a pillar candle out of the closet and then poured the rest of the nuts from the holidays (my kids always like to have them around) around the candle and put it on the coffee table. The golden hues of the almonds and other nuts echo the neutral colors and textures I like so much, and they keep the candle from sliding as I move the container. A few days later I moved it to the dining table to replace the orchid that was no longer blooming. Right now it's on a ceramic Chinese garden stool in the master bathroom.

I can see the container filled with excelsior and my hens' brown eggs for easter. Or overflowing with the hundreds of agates I've brought home from the Oregon coast over the years.

So often, when chasing the next great find, we rush in the front door and forget to take a closer look at the window display. I guess the lesson is that everything is worth a second look. Sometimes that's how you bring home the crown.


Cheryl-Anne Millsap is a freelance writer based in Spokane, Washington. In addition to her Home Planet , Treasure Hunting and  CAMera: Travel and Photo blogs, her 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 catmillsap@gmail.com

Basic and Beautiful

The best finds are not only bargains that catch the eye and stimulate the imagination. The real treasures are objects that are useful.

Years ago I spotted this wooden box in a Spokane thrift store. It is basic and beautiful, solidly constructed out of tongue-in-groove pine with traces of white paint. At some point someone attached modern casters to the bottom so it rolls smoothly.

Over the years the box has served many purposes in my home. I've filled it with magazines, used it to hold firewood and even stacked wrapped gifts in it under the Christmas tree. These days it holds three Pottery Barn Kilim floor pillows that are used as extra seating when the house is full of company, as it was last weekend, or to stack by the fireplace for a warm and cozy place to sit by the fire and read.

Now, with the birth of my first grandchild, I can see a new life for the old box. Soon it will be used to hold toys and books for a little girl I am hoping will spend many happy hours with me.

 


Cheryl-Anne Millsap is a freelance writer based in Spokane, Washington. In addition to her Home Planet , Treasure Hunting and  CAMera: Travel and Photo blogs, her 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 catmillsap@gmail.com

Bringing Home a Little Eye Candy

(Photo by Cheryl-Anne Millsap)   

 

    The little book, dated 1894, caught my eye. With its rich turquoise, red, and gold filigree cover and the title “About Women: What Men Have Said” it was impossible to resist.

    I couldn’t help but wonder who had purchased it first. Was it some heartsick young man, seeking to find in the words of the poets what he couldn’t find a way to express on his own? Or, perhaps, a long-married man in search of a romantic token for an anniversary. It might have been a mother, hoping to curb the rebellious tendencies of a wayward daughter by reminding her of the virtues most desired at the time by the opposite sex. There was no inscription or message on the flyleaf so I’ll never know the book’s journey before it arrived at Anita Trinkle’s new shop “Eye Candy,” but it doesn’t matter. The book, wrapped in tissue and with a scrap of lace as a bookmark, came home with me.

    Even in an age of constant wireless communication, there is something about a beautiful book that is hard to resist. And the little volume filled with verse and scraps of poetry singing the praises of the “fairer sex” is a peek into an age when women were valued for their purity, demure manner and motherliness above everything else.
.
    Organized by months of the year, each day of the month features a few flowery lines from poets and authors like Shakespeare, Ruskin, Thackeray and Byron.  Flipping through the pages, I stopped, for no particular reason, on August 18. The passage for the day was from Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables.

    “The glance of a woman resembles certain wheels which are apparently gentle but are formidable…You come, you go, you dream, you speak, you laugh, and all in a minute you feel yourself caught, and it is all over with you.
The wheel holds you, and the glance has caught you.”


    Ah. Obviously, as the book makes clear page after page, there forces that never change. And, as was the case with the book in my hands now, love at first glance is nothing new under the sun.


If you go:
Eye Candy Antiques

3017 N. Monroe Street, Spokane, WA 99205
509-434-8146
Mon. - Sat:10:00 am-5:00 pm



Cheryl-Anne Millsap is a freelance writer based in Spokane, Washington. In addition to her Home Planet and  CAMera: Travel and Photo blogs, her 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 catmillsap@gmail.com
  

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About this blog

Cheryl-Anne Millsap writes about antiques and collectibles and the love of all things vintage. Millsap's Home Planet column appears each week in the Wednesday "Pinch" supplement, and she is The Spokesman-Review's female automobile reviewer. She is a regular contributor to Spokane Public Radio and her essays can be heard on Public Radio stations across the country. Cheryl-Anne is the author of "Home Planet: A Life in Four Seasons."

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