Between Shows

Hi Everyone!

We just wanted to say Thank You to everyone that stopped by our booth in Spirit Lake, IA over the Memorial Day weekend!  We enjoyed visiting with you and catching up.  We also look forward to visiting with everyone that will have a chance to stop by this coming weekend – Father’s Day weekend – in Walnut, IA.  We still have lots of new stuff we found over the winter for y’all to ‘Ooh’ and ‘Aah’ over!  And the weather looks to be nice (so far) for most of the weekend.  So put on your walking shoes and c’mon out!

Michael, Tammy, Lois and Walt

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Life is Short — Eat Dessert First!

EAPG cake stands

I turned 50 this year. Yep – half a century old. And instead of worrying about “getting old” I decided to celebrate with a “Life is Short, Eat Dessert First” party!

We hired a bartender to make ice cream drinks. We had 3 chocolate fountains with a gazillion items to dip including strawberries, marshmallows and homemade potato chips. And we topped it all off with a ton of finger desserts including cake balls, mini cheesecakes, brownies, dessert bars and cookies. Of course, I didn’t even think about setting the food out until it arrived…

Ah – Salvers to the rescue!

So what’s a salver? Salver came from the Latin word salvare’ which means “to save.” And in Europe during the 17th century a salva tray – filled with samples of the food that was going to be served – was given to the “taster” before the King took his first bite.

The popular name for a salver is cake stand. And although cake stands were first mentioned in 1620 – in the United States they were manufactured around 1770 when prosperous families began serving extravagant dessert courses that often included a pyramid of footed cake stands filled with candied fruits, nuts, puddings, cakes and tarts.

Cake Stand Pyramid

English author Hannah Glasse describes an example in her 1760s recipe book, The Compleat Confectioner:

“In the middle a high pyramid of one salver above another, the bottom one large, the next smaller, the top one less; these salvers are to be fill’d with all kinds of wet and dry sweet-meats in glass, baskets or little plates, colour’d jellies, creams, & biscuits, crisp’d almonds and little knickknacks, and bottles of flowers prettily intermix’d, the little top salver must have large preserv’d fruit in it.”

Now – I admit I had not read Hannah’s book before my party. Nor was I trying to re-create a 1770 dinner party (I’m not THAT old!). I just wanted to find a way to put out all of my desserts AND make the table look nice. And since I had recently purchased a collection of cake plates – thank heavens – all I had to do was unwrap them, wash them and set the table.

Now I’m hooked. I LOVE cake stands! And I’m searching for them on all of my antiquing trips. So far most of the cake stands I’ve been able to find are round – but I’ve found a few that are square, hexagonal and even octagonal. And I’ve even snagged a purple slag cake stand and two Vaseline salvers.

Square Milk Glass Cake Stands

Green Depression Glass Cake Stands

Ceramic Ruffled Cake Stand

You can pick up most EAPG and Depression glass cake stands for less less than $100. If you run across colored glass cake stands however, like sapphire blue (1870 and 1910) or Vaseline (1850 – 1940) you can see prices that range from $250 – $500.

But don’t think for a moment  that cake stands are only for cake – just ask Martha Stewart.   She suggests that you can use them as
centerpieces, candelabras or even flower stands.

Hmmm.  A functional — usable antique.  Imagine that!

Girls Weekend

I’m not just an antiquer — I’m also a golfer.  So when the Kansas City Metro Chapter of the EWGA (Executive Women’s Golf Association) invited the Des Moines Chapter to join them for a golf outing in Grove, Oklahoma — I jumped at the chance.

The carpool picked me up bright and early on Friday morning and we headed south on I35.  We had a 6 1/2 hour drive ahead of us — and I had antiquing on my mind!  

I love to drive I35 because Missouri has this antiquing thing figured out.  Every 45 minutes there is a GOOD antique shop — just off the highway. So you can drive 45 minutes — and then shop for 45 minutes.  Drive 45 minutes.  Shop 45 minutes.  Yep — it takes a lot longer to get to Kansas City — but it’s worth it! 

Now, if I had had my way — we would have stopped at every antique mall in every small town between Des Moines and Grove, Oklahoma.   But alas — I was a passenger on this trip.  So I had to strategize. When would we require gas breaks?  When would nature call?  How long would our knees last?  And if I could only convince them to stop once — what would my 1st choice be… 

The Enchanted Frog

I love this place.  They have great dealers with beautiful merchandise.   But the one thing that makes them stand out is that the people behind the counter really know their dealers and are more than willing to call them and negotiate for you!  And if you are looking for something specific — they know just where to look.  Did I tell you I love this place?

My golf mates were very kind — and agreed to stop.  To save time I had planned to just shop 3 of my favorite dealers — but the gal behind the counter suggested I look in two additional booths.  And that ended up being good advice.  I found an unusual RS Prussia Hidden Image Shaving Mug for one of our regular customers.  And two pieces of Czech glass that I know will draw a lot of attention in Oronoco

I admit I wanted to spend more than 30 minutes shopping.  And for the rest of the trip — every time I saw a sign for a mall or spotted that antique flag flying — my heart fluttered and it broke my heart to drive right on by.   But I know I’ll be back.  

Earlier this year we decided that it was time to do a little picking in Oklahoma and Texas.  And now I have a travel plan in mind.  I-35, US-71, I-44 — here we come!

Antiquing over the Weekend

Last weekend Michael and I had the opportunity to do a little antiquing on our way to and from a family reunion.  YEAH! 

We drove the back roads and stopped in every small town along the way.  When you do that — it’s always a crap shoot.  Is there an antique store?  Is someone having a garage sale?  Or will you meet someone at the diner that thinks you should call Uncle Ed because he inherited Aunt Mabel’s stuff and doesn’t know what to do with it?  You never know.  You might find a treasure — or it might be a total bust.  

We were fortunate last weekend.  We stopped at 9 places.   At the first stop we walked through a HUGH warehouse.  Now I’ve got to admit that I am not like American Pickers.   I don’t enjoy wearing gloves and fighting my way through piles of junk.   So this stop was tough for me.  There were three levels of bad garage sale merchandise with a few good items tucked away in dusty corners.  We left with some hand painted butter pats and a couple pieces of amberina.

Royal Nippon Tankard

A few hours and 4 stops later we made the purchases of the weekend.  This time we were in an antique mall about 15 minutes from the Mississippi River.  We had walked the entire mall without much luck – and then at the last booth Michael spotted a hand painted Royal Nippon Tankard.   With a phone offer going to the dealer — we had a few minutes to kill — so we headed back around. 

That was a good decision!

Moriage Cobalt Crescent Vase

For some reason — on the second pass we found two more treasures.  I found a beautiful piece of cobalt moriage.  And Michael found a gorgeous 1949 Esquire Calendar.  He says it’s not for sale —  but as Walt says — everything is for sale!