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Travel: Antiquing in Fox Cities, Wisconsin

 


Last fall I spent a few days exploring Appleton and the other small towns and cities that make up  Fox Cities, Wisconsin. It's such a beautiful part of the country and I can see why Appleton has been called one of the best small towns in America. 

I loved the Edna Ferber and Harry Houdini exhibits at the History Museum at the Castle. I made paper at the Paper Discovery Center on the banks of the swift-moving Fox River, a hands-on center that pays homage to the city's past. I toured the grand Hearthstone House, the first house in the world to be powered by hydroelectricity.

And then, because I always try to stop by at least one antiques shop or mall when I travel, I went antiquing.

For those of us who love old things, even in this age of online shopping, it's interesting to see what people collect in different places. I almost always find some little something I don't want to leave behind.

In Appleton, I stopped by the Fox River Antique Mall and hadn't been there long when an old 1920s camera tripod caught my eye. 

It was made of golden oak and in great shape. The slender telescopinng legs were straight and still had the original brass screws to tighten them to the desired height.

I've seen similiar tripods (reproductions) at Pottery Barn, World Market, Restoration Hardware and other decorating and home good stores, most made into lamps and other accessories, and they can be expensive. But the vintage piece in the antique mall near Appleton cost about what I'd pay for lunch and I knew I could make something out of it. I bought it knowing it wouldn't fit in my small carry-on suitcase but before I left I stopped by the post office, put the tripod into a flat-rate box and shipped it home. 

Later, still thinking I would make a lamp, I bought an old-fashioned Edion-style  lightbulb and put it aside with the box holding the tripod, waiting for the right time to start a new project.

Then, warm weather arrived and we started spending more time outdoors, eating most meals on the patio and lingering until long after dark. I put candles around the garden and shadowy corners of the patio. One evening I was looking for something with a little height to hold a candle and I remembered the tripod I'd sent home from Appleton. I finally opened the box and, after putting a white candle on the brass fitting at the top, I put the tripod in a corner beside the wisteria vine that screens the patio. It was exactly right.

Summer faded into fall and when the nights finally got too cool, I surrenderd and moved back indoors. But I brought the tripod with me. I bought a package of small plastic caps at the hardware store and covered the sharp metal spikes on each telescoping leg (useful for balancing and steadying a heavy camera in grass or soil, but not kind to hardwood floors)  and replaced the chunky white candle with a wax-covered flameless candle. I set the timer and now each afternoon at 5pm the faux candle comes to life and flickers throughout the evening, creating a warm glow in what would otherwise be a dark corner. And each time I look at it I remember the trip to Appleton.

Most of us like to bring home some kind of little souvenir of the places we've traveled to. I know I do. They are special because they are tangible reminders of a vacation or travel experience. But when I stumble on a lovely old thing and can come up with a practical use for it, I love it all the more.

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 catmillsap@gmail.comˆ

History and mystery engraved in silver cigarette case

    When I have a little time to myself, I like to drop into my favorite chair in the living room, the one next to the low white bookshelf near the fireplace. 

On the shelves, beside the stack of pages torn from magazines or clipped from newspapers from around the world, are the books I’m reading, or the books I’m hoping to read, or the books I read a long time ago and like to have where I can pick them up and fall back into a familiar story. 

 

    I start reading and before long, out of habit and without taking my eyes off the page, I reach over and pick up my silver cigarette case. My fingers find the latch, press it and the case pops open. But I’m not fumbling for a cigarette.

 

     The engraved silver plate cigarette case is a bit battered but that’s to be expected. It’s almost 100 years old, after all, and who knows where it’s been over the last century? The silver is thin in places, showing the brass beneath, but one can still read the date and message engraved on the top: “To A. Gates from the girls at Manor Works.” and the date: 1918.

 

     I keep colorful self-adhesive paper flags in the case and use them to mark an interesting page or passage in a book so I can easily find it again.

 

    When I found the case online I was intrigued. I was searching for reference material about World War I and it popped up because of the date. I wasn’t looking for a cigarette case, but it was a bargain. There is a tiny puncture in the back but the latch still works and even with shipping costs, it was less than a lunch out. And, to be honest, I was attracted to the slight mystery of the engraving—Who was A. Gates? What was Manor Works?—and I knew I would eventually find a use for it. 

    So I placed the order. The day it came in the mail I unwrapped it and again wondered about the man it had been given to. I’m assuming A. Gates was a man. Women smoked at the time but there is something a bit masculine about the case. Still, I could be wrong…

 

    I’ve been searching for more information about A. Gates and Manor Works and I think it might somehow be connected to the historic Crittall Window Company’s Manor Works in Braintree England.  The company began in 1849 and during the early 20th Century moved into the U. S. market manufacturing windows for Ford Model T’s and built steel windows in Detroit. 

    During the Great War Crittall’s role shifted ( as did so many others) and they produced munitions.

    

    In 1918, the year the war ended, Crittall entered into a manufacturing agreement with a Belgian company and began to manufacture metal windows for modern post-war housing.

     Perhaps Mr. Gates was leaving to work in the new enterprise and the the cigarette case was a goodbye gift from “the girls.”

 

    I’m going to keep digging but for now, the case, a kind of mystery of its own, is at home near my favorite chair in the company of a lot of fine old books. I think the girls would approve

 

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” and can be reached at catmillsap@gmail.com

 

Collectible milk glass is both pretty and practical

I’m not a milk glass collector, although there are many people who are, but I do occasionally pick up a particularly pretty piece when I can put it to some practical use. Living in a small cottage means that what comes into the house must serve some purpose, but I didn’t hesitate when I saw this dish in the shape of a woman’s open hands. I knew it would be perfect for any number of things: rings and other jewelry, after dinner mints, keys, and more.

 

Or, perhaps, for showcasing an object. Like a single ripe cherry.

 

One of the best things about living in this part of the country is access to the dark, sweet, cherries that pour into the markets each summer and cherries are my favorite fruit.

 

We drive to the cherry orchards at Green Bluff and pick them right off the tree and I fill freezer bags with pitted cherries to last us through the winter. And, for as long as they last at the grocery store, I can’t resist bringing them home. They are, to me,  the taste of summer and a sweet benefit of our hot, dry, summers and cold winters. During the season, especially a particularly abundant season like we’ve had this year, there is always a bowl filled with cherries in the refrigerator. At the end of the day or on a lazy Sunday morning, I like nothing better than sitting in a shaded spot in the garden with the cherry bowl and a good book.

 

 

I brought home another bag yesterday and I noticed there were only a few left in the store. I packed a few for our picnic at the Spokane Symphony Soiree on the Edge concert at Arbor Crest Winery last night and I’ve been nibbling on them this morning until there was only one left.

 

I suppose it’s possible this might be the last fresh cherry I’ll have until next summer so I dropped the remaining cherry into the palms of the open hands of the milk glass tray I'd just brought home. Perfect. The cool white glass was a good background for the dark, satiny, fruit.

 

Tomorrow the tray will be on my dressing table, holding my watch and the silver bracelets I pick up on my travels. But this morning the hands frame another favorite thing: the sweet bounty of the a Northwest orchard. 

 

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” and can be reached at catmillsap@gmail.com

 

 

 

Travel: Explore Ann Arbor

    If I told you I’d gone to the city to see a few shows, listen to some impressive live music, catch a cutting-edge film festival, spend time in world-class museums, and chow down on an astonishingly diverse and multicultural dining scene including Cuban, Ethiopian, Mexican, Italian, Asian and Turkish food, you’d probably assume I was talking about a big city. Somewhere like Chicago or Seattle or New York.

 

    When when I tell you I did all that in Ann Arbor, Michigan, you should pay attention. 

 

    Ann Arbor, with a population of around 116,000 and home to sports and academic powerhouse, University of Michigan, rivals big urban destinations in terms of food, entertainment, and culture.

 

    I spent a few days looking, tasting, and exploring. Here’s a roundup of my favorites:

 

Feed Your Mind

    

    Ann Arbor boasts a number of superior museums. The University of Michigan Museum of Art (UMMA) offers an impressive collection of fine art and artifacts. Two of my favorite pieces were the Samurai armor in the Asian collection and John Stanley’s “Mt. Hood from the Dalles”, a beautiful landscape painted in 1871 with an iconic view of Mt. Hood from the Columbia River. 

    Another fascinating stop is the Kelsey Museum of Archaeology. This state-of-the-art facility, housed in an exquisite Victorian-era Romanesque building complete with turret and Tiffany window, is centered around the late-19th Century and early-20th Century collection of it’s namesake, Francis Kelsey. Some highlights of the more than 100,000 artifacts include Roman glassware, Egyptian masks, and an elaborate sarcophagus. The coffin’s owner, the missing Mummy Djehutymose, has his own popular Twitter feed and Facebook page.

    The nearby Gerald Ford Library Museum and archives is also worth a visit. Primarily a holding place for more than 25 million pages of historical documents pertaining to Ford’s political career and the Cold War era, the center offers an intriguing view of the man, including the story of Ford’s birth and childhood.

 

 

 

Taste the World

    My first meal in Ann Arbor, a Cuban burger and batida ( a frozen concoction of mango, pinaeapple, scoop of ice cream and a splash of dark rum) and a basket of what may be the best fries I’ve ever tasted, at Frita Batidas, set the tone for the rest of the week. Everything was delicious and often unexpected. Some of my other favorites were the Ethiopian Injera (soft bread) and Gomen (collard greens cooked with spices, onions and jalapeno peppers) at Blue Nile and lamb-stuffed grape leaves and cold vegetable salads at Ayse’s Turkish Cafe. Of course, no visit to Ann Arbor counts unless you stop by world-famous Zingerman’s Deli. For beer lovers, there are a growing number of microbreweries in the area and you won’t regret a day spent tasting local brews.

 

Always Entertaining

     Football may draw the crowds in the fall, but Ann Arbor hosts large events throughout the year. Seasonal favorites include the winter Folk Festival, a springtime FestiFools puppetry and public art festival, and a three-week summer festival with art, music, food, and film.  

 

Treasure Hunting

    The number of antiques, collectibles and vintage shops within walking distance of Main Street was a nice surprise. Treasure Mart, in the Kerrytown area near the farmer’s market and Zingerman’s Deli, is a rambling historic building full of all kinds of interesting things. Some of the rooms are decorated and arranged like an antiques mall, others are crammed with goodies strewn on tabletops or piled in corners just waiting to be discovered. 

    Located in the Nickles Arcade, a 1918 covered passage lined with unique shops that make the place feel like a bit of Paris in the mid-west, The Arcadian antiques is a jewel box. Crystal and china line the shelves and the store stocks fine antique furniture, but the highlight is a collection of beautiful estate jewelry.  I watched a couple shop for wedding rings, trying to choose from trays of lovely old diamonds and gemstones.

    I did a lot of window shopping but I didn’t come home empty-handed. At Antelope Antiques and Coins, a funky store on the lower level of a downtown building. I plucked an autographed photo of Woody Herman ($10) out of a box of old photos and postcards, and did a little happy dance when I found a Waterford goblet in my (somewhat obscure) "Kylemore" pattern, for only $15.

 

    Like most travelers, I have a fantasy “I could live here” list in my head made up of places I’ve been and couldn’t forget. After this first visit, Ann Arbor moved to the top of the list. A robust arts scene, a vibrant main street, an energetic farm-to-table movement and a cosmopolitan foodie-friendly ethos, paired with a dedication to preserving the past, makes Ann Arbor, Michigan hard to resist. 

 

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” and can be reached at catmillsap@gmail.com

 

This beautiful old chair turned up at the right moment

    For those of us who love beautiful old things, it’s a familiar feeling. Our best “finds” actually seem to find us. We have something in mind and then one day, when we least expect it, we look around and there is the thing we desire just waiting to be discovered.

    

    I was found by a chair the other day. 

    

    Just as I carried a box of clothes and household items to donate through the front door of the thrift store, I saw an oak chair being brought in through the back door.

I handed off the box ,took my tax receipt and walked straight back to the man holding the chair. He put it down and walked away and I picked it up.

    

    It was a pressed-back oak chair. Mass-produced in great quantities around the turn of the last century, pressed oak pieces are not hard to find. But when I looked at the chair closely I realized it was a “youth” chair, meant to be used when a child is too big for a high chair but not quite big enough to use a chair designed for an adult. That’s not quite as common.

    

    The thing is, just the night before I’d had my daughter’s family, including the 2-year-old toddler, over for dinner. The toddler wasn’t happy about sitting in a high chair and insisted on sitting at the table with us. The dining room chair was too big for her, of course, so we were all up and down throughout the meal, making sure forks and spoons and anything else within reach didn’t fall to the floor. I told my daughter we needed a youth chair to make baby more comfortable and allow her to sit at the table with the rest of us. And, as sometimes happens, the very next morning a youth chair found me.

    

    The ornamental designed pressed into the back of the chair, an elaborately carved portrait of a man’s face, was obviously designed to attract a child’s eye. He looks like a fairytale King or some mythical figure.

    

    The sturdy chair has a few nicks and dings, but it’s in pretty good shape. And at  $20 it was a great deal. I put it in the back of my car, where just a few minutes before I’d had a box of giveaways, and brought it home.

    

    The toddler loves it and it’s her seat of honor now when she’s at the table. She likes to run her finger over the impression, tracing the face of the figure on the back, and we don’t have to hover while she eats.

    

    And I like the idea that occasionally we just have to be in the right place at the right time to be rewarded with the next great find.

 

 

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 catmillsap@gmail.com

 

Easy DIY: From CD Cabinet to Linen Chest

    Sometimes, all it takes to completely recreate an object, to repurpose and in that way recycle an item, is to change the way we see it. 

 

    I recently found a solid pine cabinet at a local antique mall. What drew me to it was the weathered pine finish and the rustic look. It wasn’t old at all, but it was solid, the wood was in great condition and all the iron drawer pulls were still attached. When I pulled out one of the drawers I realized it was meant to hold CDs and DVDs.

 

    In my pre-war Cape Cod house, the living room, kitchen and eating area are all somewhat open. That leaves precious little wall space for storage pieces, but there is a little slice of space between the pantry, the edge of the tile kitchen floor and a window. I’d been looking for something useful to fit the space but hadn’t had much luck finding anything. I wasn’t exactly sure what I needed, just that I could use more storage space and that’s where I wanted to put it. Whatever it was.

 

    When I saw the CD cabinet, tall, narrow and with five drawers, I knew it would fit the small space and I liked the height of the piece. I still wasn’t sure exactly what I would use it for but the price was right so I brought it home. 

 

    It was a perfect fit.

 

    It stayed empty for a few days while I thought about how to use it. Then, one day, looking at the drawers I realized I might be able to make a small linen chest out of it.

 

     I have a collection of linen napkins I’ve picked up at flea markets and antique shops all over the world. Some are delicate and very old. Others are sturdy linen or cotton. I prefer these fabric napkins to paper and I use them at the table quite often. Until now they’ve been taking up space in the armoire I use to store my china and serving pieces, but I discovered a dozen folded napkins fit easily into each drawer.

 

    My friends teased me about the way I decided to use the chest. “Who has that many linen napkins?” one asked.

 

    I know most people don’t bother with linen napkins and I don’t always. But I find them hard to resist and I add a few more pieces to my collection each year. I like the feel of the fabric and the exquisite workmanship that went into the embroidery and stitching of some of the pieces. 

 

    But I came up with other ways I could have used the pine chest that didn’t seem so frivolous. Lined with felt, the shallow drawers would be perfect for jewelry. It could be used to store supplies for hobbies and crafts, or perfect in a bathroom for holding soaps, washcloths and hand towels.

 

    Who knows? I may use it for one of those purposes later. But right now, I’m happy with the project. I didn’t have to paint or repair or change the chest in any way. All I had to do to make it into something new was change the way it is used. And that can be done again.

    

Details: I found this piece at Vintage Rabbit Antique Mall, 2317 N. Monroe, Spokane

 

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 catmillsap@gmail.com

 

The appeal of vintage maps

 

 

    Recently, going through boxes in the basement, I ran across an old map of the place I once lived. I brought it with me when I moved west, clipping it from a crumbling book that was too far gone to save, intending to frame it one day. But I never did.

 

    Alone in the room, tracing with the tip of my finger the twists and turns of surprisingly familiar rivers, mountains and geographic boundaries drawn on fine old gilt-edged paper, I could suddenly and distinctly recall the essential elements of my childhood in the South. The the slant of the hot summer sun and the heavy feel of the humid air, the sound of cicadas and Mockingbirds and the heady fragrance of gardenia and jasmine. It was as if I’d stirred the sediment at the bottom of a pond, releasing a wealth of memories only lightly buried. And all this from a piece of illustrated paper.

 

    In some ways every map is a treasure map. 

 

    An old map is a moment in history captured on paper. Time passes and people and places change. Rivers are dammed and swallow small towns. War and weather alter the landscape. Political pressures ebb and flow, shifting boundary lines. Governments fail, people rise, and maps are drawn and drawn again.

 

    There are other maps in other boxes in my basement. Some, like the state map I saved, are markers of another life. Others are souvenirs of places I’ve been or tokens of places I’d like to go. A few have no significance other than the fact that they are beautiful as only a map can be. Elaborately illustrated, beautifully designed, they are time capsules, a link to a place before it became what it is now. 

 

    Because I am a planner, I am already thinking ahead to the time when my life will shrink to fit a room, maybe two, and what I will carry with me when that time comes. I imagine the walls will be covered by some of my favorite paintings and a photographic timeline of the life I have lived; images of a young couple just married, both of us made beautiful by youth and happiness and love, portraits of the children we cherished and still more portraits of the families our children created. 

    And there will be a map or two, I think. A big world map and another of the United States.

    

    Maybe I’ll keep a map Paris, too. Why not? I like the idea of finding it again some day, of running my finger over the lines so finely drawn, chasing the memory of my younger self down those beautiful and familiar streets and boulevards, when I am too old or frail to fly.

    

 

 

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 catmillsap@gmail.com

Vintage VW microbus a sweet little ride

   

      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.

 

You can read more of Cheryl-Anne Millsap’s work on her Spokesman.com Home Planet blog. She can be reached at catmillsap@gmail.com

 

Share your “Object of Affection”

 

 

 

    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 catmillsap@gmail.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 catmillsap@gmail.com

 

 

 

 

Object of Affection: Gina Freuen’s Portrait of Memories

   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 catmillsap@gmail.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Object of Affection: A Silver Merrie-Woode Bracelet

   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 catmillsap@gmail.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Shopping: Mad Hatter Vintage Flea Market this weekend

 

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!

Thrift store shopping in Bergen, Norway

    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 catmillsap@gmail.com
  

Once Upon A Time with ‘My Book House’ stories


   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 catmillsap@gmail.com.

Hope Chests and Silver Spoons: How girls’ graduation gifts have changed

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.

 

Farm Chicks Antiques Show this weekend

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

Shopping: May Calendar of Vintage Sales

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
Missoula, MT

Down the Rabbit Hole

May 4th
10am-4pm
412 West Hazard Road
Spokane, WA

Farm & Frills At The Barn Antique Show
May 11th 9am - 5pm Admission $5
Genesis Farm & Gardens
41925 236th Ave SE
Enumclaw, WA 98022


2nd Saturdayz
May 11th 9am - 4pm
$5 entrance
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
Admission $5
1200 NW Fairgrounds Rd
Bremerton, WA

Thurston County Flea Market
Thurston County Fairgrounds
May 17, Saturday 9am - 4pm
May, 18, Sunday 10am - 4pm
3054 Carpenter Rd SE
Olympia, WA
  

SSF Vintage Art in the Garden
Saturday, May 25,  
9am-5pm
3225 W 7th Ave., Spokane

Shop ‘Down the Rabbit Hole’ this weekend

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.


Vendors include:
All That Glitter
A Brush Stroke Away
Barnmarche
Branches
Cary Burnett Photography
Iona's Antiques
Ladybird Creations
Paint in My Hair
Palouse Soap Company
Peace Within
Sisters Creed
Two Women Vintage Goods
Unexcpected Necessities
Whimisical Details


Details:
When: May 4, 2013
Time: 10am-4pm,
When: 412 West Hazard Road, Spokane, WA.
  

April Calendar of Antiques and Vintage Goods Sales

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

Junk Drunk
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
Spokane, Washington

2nd Saturdayz
April 13th 9am - 4pm
$5 entrance
The Old Post Office
1102 A Street Tacoma, WA
http://2ndsaturdayz.blogspot.com/

The Prairie Sisters Party
April 6th 10am to 4pm
$5 admission / children under 10 are free
The Metra Park, Billings, MT
www.theprairiesisters.com

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

Vintage Clothing: Collecting Mary Maxim Sweaters

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 catmillsap@gmail.com
  

March Treasure Hunting Calendar

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'!

 


MARCH 2013
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
TRAC Center
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

2nd Saturdayz
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
Salem Armory
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

More Than a Century of Winter Fun at Manito Park



   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 catmillsap@gmail.com
  

Vintage Shopping on Etsy

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 catmillsap@gmail.com

Making Good Use of Vintage Hammered Alumium Pieces

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.

 

 

1930s Depression Glass juicer still has a place in the kitchen

(Photo by Cheryl-Anne Millsap)  

 

   Each morning I put bananas, blueberries, oranges or clementines, yogurt and a big handful of spinach in my blender and whip up smoothies for our breakfast. Last week I noticed the clementines were just old enough to be difficult to peel in a hurry, so over the weekend, when I had a free moment, I stood at the counter, peeled them all and then reached into the counter for one of my most low-tech pieces of kitchen equipment.

    The green Depression-era juicer was my grandmothers and I’ve carried it with me from kitchen to kitchen for more than 30 years. The glass juicer fits on top of a measuring cup—I also have a larger cup found at an estate sale—and all it takes is a twist of the wrist for fresh juice.

    I sliced the clementines and twisted each half around the grooved top of the juicer until they were all done and the cup was filled with sweet tangerine juice. I gave each an extra twist or two in order to get as much pulp as I could.
    For a moment, as I worked, I was able to connect to my grandmother’s kitchen, a place I spent so many happy hours as a child

    I put the juice in the refrigerator to be ready for the morning’s breakfast smoothies, washed the glass juicer and measuring cup and put them both away.

    It occurred to me again how much sentimental weight the old objects we treasure can carry. And how sometimes the simplest tools can remain relevant and useful in our harried and hectic modern lives.
  

Travel: Carol Hicks Bolton ‘Antiquities’ in Fredericksburg, TX

The first time I read about Carol Hicks Bolton, in a magazine in the late 1980s, was the first time I’d really heard anything about Fredericksburg, Texas. The description of the German heritage of the historic small town, and the photos of the architecture of the soft, white, limestone buildings of the area, intrigued me. And Carol’s work, her flair for creating personal, elegant interiors with what was, at the time, an almost unheard of combination of fine antiques and rustic and tattered objects and materials, was unique. 

I put Fredericksburg, and Carol’s store on my list of places to visit and finally made the trip to the Texas Hill Country in early December of this year. The first stop I made as I pulled into town was at Carol Hicks Bolton’s Antiquities, her newest retail venture. I’d just read about the new store in Jo Packham’s Where Women Create magazine and that had once again piqued my interest.

Antiquities is big. The 15,000 square-foot interior is spare and elegant, filled with an eclectic collection of antiques and linens, with furnishings, books, ephemera, natural objects like bones and rocks and antlers all beautifully displayed. Sunlight streams through the windows and the open door.

I could have happily spent the rest of the day looking at every little thing in the store but unfortunately I was on a schedule, with more stops to make before checking into my guest house.

Since Carol home-schools her children, she wasn’t there. But I was able to talk to her husband Tim, who’s been by her side as she built the business. He gave me plenty of room to explore and shop, but any time I had a question he was there with an answer.

Since time, and space in my suitcase, were limited, I decided to focus on the rows of iron shelves filled with old books. And almost immediately I found my prize: a 1929 'Les Guides Bleu' guidebook to Paris. The small book is filled with maps, delicate little works of art all on their own, and when I opened it the pages fell almost immediately to a map of the neighborhood where my favorite hotel, also built in 1929, still sits.  I’ll be at that hotel in a few weeks, celebrating the new year in Paris with my youngest daughter.

I closed the book already knowing it was mine.

Treasure hunting, when done right, is like eating dessert. It’s sweetest when you have only enough to leave you wanting just a bit more. That’s just how I felt when I walked out, the vintage book in my hand.

Just as I suspected I would when I first read about it, I loved everything about Fredericksburg and the surrounding Texas Hill Country. And the time I spent exploring the objects Carol Hicks Bolton and Tim Bolton have gathered and brought back to Texas was memorable, as well.

I have the feeling this was only the first trip. I’d like a little more, please.

Cheryl-Anne Millsap is a freelance travel journalist 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 catmillsap@gmail.com


  

Shopping: Catching Sunlight in an Old Jar

One recent afternoon in Chappell Hill, Texas, touring the area around that antiques Holy Ground, Round Top, I stopped by Heritage Garden and Mercantile on the town's main street, looked around for a few minutes and was on my way back out the door when a display of lids meant to fit old canning jars caught my eye. The neat thing about the lids was that each one held a tiny solar light. They could turn any jar into a lantern.

I loved the idea and bought two, dropping them in my suitcase. Later, when I got home I put the lids in the big English armoire I use as a china closet, filling it with linens, dishes, serving pieces and candles.

When I pulled out candles for the Thanksgiving table, I saw the lids and a few days later I put one on a jar from the pantry. I left it on the table to charge and then forgot about it again. Very early in the morning, when I got up to get ready to catch an early flight, I walked into the dark kitchen and the room was lit by the glowing jar.

I went online and discovered there are several brands of solar jar lid lights at various price points. And, if you're particularly crafty, I found instructions for making your own. I used the solar lid on a clear Kerr jar but it would be just as pretty with a vintage blue Mason jar.

I may be late to the party, but I'm happy to have found the little lights. They give new purpose to empty, unused jars and bring a beautiful new glow to lovely old glass. And, it's a good reminder that we never know what we'll find as we travel.

 

Cheryl-Anne Millsap is a travel writer 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 catmillsap@gmail.com

Travel: Feathering My Nest at Montana’s Vintage Whites Market



   I’ve followed Jana Roach’s Vintage Whites Market for several years and have written about her before, but I’d never been to one of her sales. There was always something on my calendar. So, when a planned trip to Whitefish and Kalispell, Montana coincided with the dates for her Christmas Market, I boarded the Eastbound Empire Builder at 12:45 am and dozed until we arrived in Whitefish just as the sun was coming up. I’d booked a room at the Red Lion Hotel in Kalispell (Red Lion Hotels is headquartered in Spokane so I think of it as a way to travel and still support a Spokane business) and the hotel shuttle was waiting for me at the Whitefish station.

   After checking in, I made a beeline for the Kalispell Fairgrounds and the Vintage Whites Christmas Market.

   I got there about an hour after the doors opened to early-sale ticket holders and the floor was crowded with shoppers. The  Christmas market is Roach's largest show and the 50-or-so dealers had filled their spaces with a variety of vintage items and I took my time at each display. I picked up a tall wood candlestick, a flat candle holder, a glass cloche, some old deer antlers, a few pieces of linen and a faded old wood sign with the word “Pie” painted on it.

   I finally got to meet Jana and we chatted a few minutes before I left. I dropped my treasures off at my hotel room and explored Kalispell on foot, doing some research and a little more shopping at some of the downtown stores. The next morning, after a big breakfast at the hotel, I had time for more Christmas shopping at the Kalispell Mall, which is adjacent to the Red Lion.

   When I was ready to go, the shuttle drove me back to the Whitefish Station. I was able to check my luggage early and spend the afternoon on Whitefish's wonderful Main Street before meeting a friend for dinner. The train had a weather delay so we were able to linger over our meal and catch up on one another’s lives before she dropped me back at the station.

   The next day, after unpacking, I pulled out the things I’d picked up at the Christmas Market. I put the candlestick on the mantel with the one I already had. I’d intended to put the glass cloche over a favorite bird's nest, something else I've written about before, to protect it and, although it hadn’t occurred to me when I bought it, I realized the flat candle holder was the perfect base, just the right size to hold the glass bell over the fragile nest.

   All in all, it was a great weekend. I got a train ride, a trip to Montana, a chance to do some treasure hunting and a chance to catch up with a friend. And just as important, I now have a safe place for the little bird’s nest that reminds me so much of my own little home.


Cheryl-Anne Millsap is a travel writer 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 catmillsap@gmail.com
  

Travel: Exploring Round Top, Brenham and Washington County, Texas

    Too often, when we travel to big events, the only thing we see of a town while we’re there is the crowd and the attraction. There’s no time to take the side roads and explore. But as a traveler I’ve learned it pays to make another trip when the crowd is gone, to see a town or city or part of the country when it’s not on show. When the roads are clear, the diners and cafes are more relaxed and rooms are not scarce.

    Anyone who’s ever been to one of the Round Top, Texas, antique shows knows what it feels like to roll right into a big raucous party. Acres of antiques, miles of traffic, parties and people everywhere. It’s all great fun but if you make the trip between shows, you get a different view.

    I’ve spent hours treasure hunting, moving from one vendor to another in search of the perfect antique, but this time I was looking for more than that so I spent an off-season week exploring the small towns in and around Washington County, Texas, including Round Top. There was still a trace of autumn color on the big oak and pecan trees and although the temperature dipped at night, the days were warm and golden. But this time, instead of antiques, music and food, history took center stage.

    I stood in the reconstructed Independence Hall at the Washington-on-the-Brazos historic site at the edge of the Brazos River and listened to the story of the fierce struggle to gain independence that happened at that site. A town was born, transformed and then faded away but the legacy of fiery confidence and determination still remains in the pride of native Texans.

    At the same park I strolled through the home of Anson Jones, the last president of the Republic before Texas gained statehood and I traced the timeline of events that led to the creation of contemporary Texas at the Star of the Republic Museum.

    I spent time in Brenham, one of the state’s oldest settlements and toured the Simon Theater, a 1925 movie palace and show hall that is undergoing a complete restoration. I explored Chappell Hill, an old stage coach stop that has a rich history of cotton farming and was home to Polish immigrants who traveled to the United States in search of a better life.

    And the day I stopped by the George Bush Presidential Library and Museum just happened to be election day. I traced the story of the man who became the nation’s 41st president while at that moment, across the country, men and women were casting ballots to elect the 45th president. One of the rights that was fought for by men and women who built the simple Independence Hall I’d toured the day before.

    Nothing beats the fun when the tents are up and the antiques are everywhere, but that’s only half the story around Round Top and Washington County. The beautiful rolling Texas countryside is rich with history and the stories of ordinary people who did and continue to do extraordinary things.


Cheryl-Anne Millsap is a travel writer based in Spokane, Washington. Her essays can be heard on Spokane Public Radio and on public radio stations across the country. She can be reached at catmillsap@gmail.com

Shopping: It’s beginning to look…

Over the weekend, there was a big change in display windows in Spokane's downtown Carnegie Square and West End Shopping District. Several stores, including Two Women Vintage Goods and the just-opened Amby Designs, decorated their big front windows in traditional and vintage holiday style.

From all accounts, the first annual Shop Hop was a success, and individual stores are planning open houses and holiday hours. So, enjoy a big plate of turkey and fixings on Thursday because it's already beginning to look a lot like Christmas around town.